What is the best macro lens ever for 1:1 size?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by cmo, May 13, 2009.

  1. cmo

    cmo Member

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    I am planning to do some slide/negative duplication. So I will buy a macro lens and/or bellows and a holder for slides and negatives.

    My main concern is the absolute best quality, I want to achieve uncomprimisingly good results.

    What is the best macro lens ever made for this purpose? Which is the best, most precise bellows and slide/negative holders that I can get for my EOS?
     
  2. dougjgreen

    dougjgreen Member

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    What, exactly, do you mean by "best"? Does it have to be mountable to an EOS?
     
  3. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Me thinks the OP is looking to start a flame war or a bar room brawl! :surprised::surprised::surprised:

    :munch::munch::munch::munch::munch:

    Steve
     
  4. Shawn Rahman

    Shawn Rahman Subscriber

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    Nikon 105 Micro. Not really sure if it will work on your EOS though. ;-)

    Second best? Try Tamron's 90 Macros.
     
  5. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member

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    I think Shawn's got it. I don't shoot Nikon except on my classic Bronica, but I've had a Tamron SP 90/2.5 since I bought it new in the 1980s, and it's been an excellent performer. I've bought and sold many 35mm lenses since then, and that one's always been a keeper.

    The Tamron Adaptall II EOS mount is hard to find, but it's a solid chunk of metal with no optics or mechanics, so there are perfectly good Chinese knockoffs.

    Now at higher magnifications, I like my Canon FD 35/2.8 Macrophoto, which is an RMS mount lens that requires a bellows.
     
  6. Kiron Kid

    Kiron Kid Member

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    Kiron 105 f/2.8 macro lens. It's phenomenal, goes 1:1 without any adapters, filters, etc.

    Kiron Kid
     
  7. Marc Akemann

    Marc Akemann Subscriber

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    I'm with the Kiron Kid. I've been using a Kiron 105/2.8 1:1 Macro lens for my mf Nikons for about 10 years now. It is a fantastic lens in the 35mm format (and I've used a few others). However, you'll have a difficult time finding one for your EOS,...I think. If you do find one, jump on it!
     
  8. cmo

    cmo Member

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    Well, somehow. I have adapters for Nikon and Contax lenses as well as for Novoflex equipment as I often use those long follow-focus lenses.

    Simple definition of "Best": making the sharpest, most detailed pictures with good contrast, let's say "the APO Summicron of macro lenses", the "Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch", and somewhat sharper than the real McCoy :smile:

    Some candidates that were named by friends:

    - Tamron SP 90mm
    - Canon 100mm Macro
    - Canon MP-E 65mm
    - Leica APO-Macro-Elmarit-R 100mm
    - Carl Zeiss Makro-Planar T* 100mm f/2 ZF
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 14, 2009
  9. cmo

    cmo Member

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    Nope. I just ask about your experience. I didn't ask anyone to start a religious war...
     
  10. xtolsniffer

    xtolsniffer Member

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    For 1:1 and above the best combination so far that I've found is an Olympus 80mm macro on bellows. I use this with a Nikon camera having converted the rear mount of the bellows from olympus to nikon by gluing two thin extension tubes together - olympus to nikon. You get no connections from camera to lens though, but you can use a double cable release to close the aperture prior to taking the shot. I think the bellows also has an optional slide copy attachment. This isn't the easiest route I'm sure, but if you can find this stuff secondhand, and want to apply a little effort, it's a cheap way of getting outstanding results. I don't know about EOS cameras, are there issues with having no camera to lens connections?
     
  11. philosomatographer

    philosomatographer Subscriber

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    Without having imperative data on all available lenses, I have used a number of Macro lenses from different Manufacturers, including Nikon, Canon and Olympus. Let me just point out something important in your quest:

    None of the "all-around" macro lenses mention here, be it the Nikon 105/2.8, Canon 100/2.8, long-discontinued Olympus 90/2.0, or any of the Sigma/Tamron/Tokina/Kiron lenses which can focus at infinity, will be among the "best" at 1:1. All of these lense are optimised for image reproduction around 1/10th life size (give or take), and use clever optics and floating elements to give very good performance on either ends, i.e. infinity, as well as 1:1. Often, such an all-rounder is the "best" lens because it can be used in so many way. For this use-cases, all of these very similar lenses are great, and usually comes down to brand loyalty.

    If, however, you are talking about perfect optical performance at 1:1, you have to start looking at the dedicated 1:1 lenseds, and for my money there is no beter performer than the Olympus OM 80mm f/4 lens, wich is perfectly optimised for 1:1, and can go from 1:2 to 2:1. Your other option for this class of performance is to use a good enlarging lens from Schneider-Kreuznach or Rodenstock. Al of these lenses need to be mounted on a bellows (and Olympus has a nifty adjustable metal extension tube which is great with the 80mm lens) - they cannot be mounted directly ont he camera. The amount of extension controls the magnification.

    As far as I know, the absolute all-time best resolving macro lenses are the Ultra Micro Nikkor lenses made by Nikon. Some of these are very exotic, including focusing different (invisible) wavelengths of light, thus not all that useful for general photography (these are industrial lenses). You will likely never find, or be able to afford, these lenses, but some (slightly over-enthusiastic, if you ask me) info on these lenses can be found http://homepage2.nifty.com/akiyanroom/redbook-e/ultra/um125mori.html

    When looking at more readily available lenses (aka. Canon/Nikon) I believe you won't find better than Canon's MP-E 65mm f/2.8 lens, which ranges from 1:1 to 5:1 magnification. A wonderful lens, although the Olympus 80mm f/4 ont he Olympus variable extension tube handles just like it, with helical fine-focusing thrown in to boot.

    So, when simply discussing the "best" 1:1 lens, I am sure it would be one of the Ultra Micro Nikkors. However, for slide duplication, you won't easily find a better setup than an Olympus 80mm f/4, mounted on an OM Bellows with the slide duplication setup. You can easily mount it on your EOS with an OM-EOS adaptor, it's very easy to use (has marks on where to focus the bellows for 1:1 magnification for the 80mm lens, etc). You could get this whole setup, I think, for about $700 - the bellows and slide attachment go for about $150 if you are lucky.

    Of course, if you want to duplicate (do you mean "digitise"?) slides, you can get a top-of-the range flatbed scanner for that amount, which will likely outperform a macro-lens + bellows + digital SLR for slide digitisation.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 14, 2009
  12. cmo

    cmo Member

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    Thanks, that was helpful. As the Ultra Micro Nikkor lenses are as scarce as hen's teeth the Olympus lens could be the choice. Adapting it with a bellows to an EOS camera will not be a problem at all. I could find out that there are two versions, one of them has an automatic diaphragm, that's the only mechanical issue as I don't know how to make that work as a stopped-down lens as the EOS will not tell it to close the diaphragm before the shot.
     
  13. philosomatographer

    philosomatographer Subscriber

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    Even on an Olympus OM camera, you do not have automatic aperture stop-down on the bellows (you do, however, on the auto extension tube) so the solution there was to use a duble cable release.

    On a canon, you will jut have to manually stop down the lens before taking the shot. There is not much difference between the two version, but of course the newer version of the 80/4.0 with automatic stop-down shoudl ahve improved lens coatings etc, so look for that one. But the OM bellows with slide duplication attachment is a great, convenient setup, better quality than any of the 'exotic' lenses mentioned earlier such as the Leica or Zeiss prime lenses (they are not optimised for 1:1) and quite inexpensive.

    Good luck!
     
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  15. Konical

    Konical Subscriber

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    "Kiron 105 f/2.8 macro lens. It's phenomenal, goes 1:1 without any adapters, filters, etc."

    I agree. I have this lens in Olympus mount; it's easy to use and extremely sharp.

    Konical
     
  16. rthomas

    rthomas Member

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    By "enthusiastic" do you mean statements like this??

    "Samurai Beauty"
    "The First Class Lens"
    "Grand History of The Legend"
    "King of the Lens"

    Wow.
     
  17. cmo

    cmo Member

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    Today I met my camera dealer, and he had a Novoflex bellows with a slide duplication attachment in very good condition, with Olympus OM bayonet. It was a steal - just 40 bucks :D Novoflex made the bellows and other parts for Leica for many years, quality is superb.

    Next thing is that Olympus lens and I might be ready...
     
  18. xtolsniffer

    xtolsniffer Member

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    My word, I had no idea that the Olympus 80mm macro had such a following! I was lucky enough to be given an Olympus bellows, plus 20mm, 38mm and 80mm zuiko macros. Since the demise of my OM-4, I adapted it to fit my Nikon FM3a. I was shooting some flower stamens on Provia this afternoon with the 38mm on the bellows at 5x magnification. At that sort of magnification, you're lucky to even find the subject in the viewfinder. With the 20mm I can get up to 12x, but that gets kind of ridiculous....
     
  19. snowblind

    snowblind Member

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    Seems to me, from looking around on the web, quite a lot of the OM Zuikos have "such a following".

    I have had the OM bellows and slide attachment for a few years now and never got around to using it but, now that people are on the topic, I'd like to ask a question about that setup: what is the best way to provide light through the back of the slide copier? Flash? If so, on auto? Some kind of continuous light source?
     
  20. cmo

    cmo Member

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    :smile: Will get one delivered by monday :smile: And an adapter to fit the Olympus-fit bellows to the EOS.

    The countdown begins... :D
     
  21. tac

    tac Member

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    Always made E-6 copies with Bowens Illumitran 3 Slide Duplicator w/ contrast control (pre-flashing), on kodak dupe stock, with a Schneider enlarging lens. Best quality, better than original often. There's one for sale on ebay, usually.
     
  22. Pumal

    Pumal Member

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    Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/3.5
    Micro Nikkor 200mm f/4
    Canon FD 100mm f/4
     
  23. Chazzy

    Chazzy Member

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    I'm surprised that no one has mentioned the Zeiss Luminars, although I know that they are very expensive.
     
  24. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

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    Also, no one has mentioned the effect of a camera optimised for autofocus but used for manual focus as opposed to one optimised for MF in the first place.

    Probably much more significant for the end result than the differences between various good lenses....
     
  25. Tim Gray

    Tim Gray Member

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    I've been looking for one of these for a good price, so I shouldn't say anything, but the Rodenstock Apo-Rodagon D 75mm is an 39mm thread mount lens optimized for 1:1 reproductions. It might fit the bill for what you want.
     
  26. Phillip P. Dimor

    Phillip P. Dimor Member

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    When I read the title that is the first thing that came to my mind..