View Full Version : Are macro lenses good for normal photography too?

Pages : [1] 2

10-04-2010, 07:37 PM
I just got a Zuiko 35mm/3.5 macro, and I would like to know what the difference is between macro lenses and regular lenses, other than focusing closer. This one seems like the lens elements are a lot different than my other 35mm lenses because they are like recessed inward a lot. Plus, there is no distance readout in feet, only magnification readout in terms of 1:2, 1:3 and so on.

10-04-2010, 07:55 PM
This lens is a good for 'general' photography as any of the other Zuiko 50 mm lenses. Just a little bit slower.
No worries!

Yes, it has a built-in hood. That's due to the extension (i.e. the length of tube in the focussing mount), perhaps, they had to stow away somewhere when not used (i.e. at infinity).
Not significant, not saying anything about it being vastly different.

The difference in general between macro lenses and 'regular' lenses is the flat field and optimisation for close range work. But they generally are great for long range work too. The double Gauss derivative type used in these lenses is little scale sensitive, and non-macro lenses of this type are great in the close-up range as well.

This particular lens is really very good. You'll enjoy the results!

Kevin Kehler
10-04-2010, 08:29 PM
I shoot Nikon and I use my 60mm macro a lot for general photography. Perhaps it is just my copy but I tend to have better contrast than with my 50mm as well as no distortion (the 50 has no distortion but I mean as opposed to a zoom). I tend to walk around with it when possible although it is a lot bigger than the tiny 50mm. On the non-film stuff, it is a short telephoto which is nice for street photography but on the good analogue material (Velvia for example), the colour and contrast seem to pop more than other lenses.

Dan Fromm
10-04-2010, 08:34 PM
It depends on the lens.

Popular Photography never published a test of any version of the 55/3.5 MicroNikkor. I once asked Norman Rothschild why not. He explained that the magazine's policy was not to publish tests of lenses that didn't meet minimum standards at infinity. The 55/3.5 didn't meet the magazine's minimum standards at infinity at all apertures, so they tested every version and published no tests of them.

The conclusion to draw from this tale is that when neither PP nor Modern Photography (same policy) didn't publish a test of a renowned lens it wasn't very good at some aperture(s).

That said, many users, me included, shot their 55/3.5 MicroNikkors at all distances and weren't disappointed by the results.

The 55/2.8 MicroNikkor that replaced the 55/3.5 has a floating element to reduce coma at low magnification. It shoots very well at all distances and both mags published tests of it.

10-04-2010, 11:01 PM
I am assuming you meant a 50mm f3.5 Zuiko rather than a 35mm. There should be a distance scale in addition to the magnification. On mine it is the set of orange numbers closest to the camera body. Other than speed and less depth of field for the faster lenses there is little reason to not use it for your normal lens. Bill Barber

Jeff Kubach
10-06-2010, 10:28 AM
I have a 100 f4 macro Canon FD which does fine in normal photography.


10-06-2010, 11:12 AM
I guess it is a 50mm f/3.5. I thought it seemed to 'long' to be a 35mm.

10-17-2010, 01:32 PM
The 50/3.5 Zuiko macro is a floating element design. It is sharp at all distances. When Nikon changed from the black front 55/3.5 Micro Nikkor Auto (compensating aperture design) to the 55/3.5 Micro Nikkor P it improved the performance for distant subjects. Some people claim that the compensating 55/3.5 is better in the very close range than the later 55/3.5s. I find performance at infinity to be excellent with the P, the PC, the 'K' and the AI 55/3.5s. As has been mentioned, the 55/2.8 AI and AIS lenses also have a floating element design and are sharp at all distances. Other short macro lenses I have found good at infinity include the 55/3.5 Konica Macro Hexanon, the 50/3.5 Canon FL, Canon FD SSC and New FD, the 55/2.8 Vivitar macro, the 55/2.8 Soligor macro and the following Minolta 50/3.5 macro lenses: pre-set, MC Celtic and MD. The MC Rokkor, MC Rokkor-X and MD Rokkor-X lenses all have the same design and should be fine at infinity.

Chris Sweetman
06-10-2012, 01:41 PM
The only Zuiko 35mm f3.5 macro lens is one for the Olympus digital 4/3rds system.

If it is this lens then it won't fit onto an OM system film camera without an adaptor and then it becomes a 70mm f3.5.

The Olympus OM system also included true macro lenses which would only work with a bellows unit and were optimised for macro work.

BTW I have used the Zuiko 50mm f3.5 macro lens at all distances within it's focusing range without cause for concern.


E. von Hoegh
06-11-2012, 09:30 AM
I use my 55/3.5 Micro Nikkor P a fair amount for general work, and it's superb.

06-11-2012, 11:47 AM
For a long time - a couple years - my only 35mm camera and lens was a Nikon F with a 55mm f/3.5 Micro-Nikkor.

Allan Swindles
06-12-2012, 05:58 PM
I use my 50mm f3.5 Macro Zuiko as standard. Infinity to 1/2 life size can't be bad for versatility and it would take a camera club enthusiast know-all to argue that there is any significant reduction in image quality.

06-13-2012, 09:36 PM
It depends on the Macro lens. My Tokina 90mm f/2.5 is very nice at all focal lengths. The 120mm f/5.6 Nikkor-AM, on the other hand has a very small image circle for a large format lens. At infinity, it doesn't even cover 4x5".

I can't speak to your Zuiko, sorry.

Bill Burk
06-14-2012, 12:27 AM
I have never had problems using a 50 f/2 Zuiko macro as a normal lens. Sometimes its dual purpose gave it a spot in the lineup of the few lenses I could bring backpacking. Other times it lost its place because it was "relatively" heavy.

06-16-2012, 10:20 PM
I pack a Zeiss 50mm f/2 macro with my EOS 3.

06-17-2012, 09:29 AM
I just got a Zuiko 35mm/3.5 macro
I have never heard of that lens, 35mm is a very short focal length for a macro lens. I know they made a 35mm shift lens and a 50mm macro.
Anyway, I have made good images at infinity with both my Makro-Planar 60mm and Yashica ML 55mm Macro.

09-11-2012, 03:57 AM
I do know that a number of 35mm/2.8 lenses were modified for close focussing, rather than macro for use by UK Government departments in the mid 70's, this was before Olympus dropped the name Zuiko from the lens front. I think principally they were used by the Customs, but for what purpose I have absolutely no idea.

I only know about them when a dealer specialising in used photo equipment bought a 'job lot' at an auction. You may have got hold of one of these.

09-11-2012, 05:44 AM
Ma canon EF 100 Macro (Non-L) is my longest lens and I use it for both macro and portraiture etc. The only macro lens in the canon lineup that wouldn't be suitable for standard photophapby would be the 5x manual focus macro lens, but that's a specialty item anyway.

09-11-2012, 06:05 AM
They do work fine near infinity but tend (to make an overgeneralisation) to be overcorrected for spherical aberration at long focusing distances, which means that nisen-bokeh (rings and line-doubling outside the DOF) is common at lower (0.1x) magnifications. A floating-element lens will be better in that respect.

Edit: holy thread-revival, batman! I only noticed when I went back to page 1 and saw a reply from QG - a name not seen around here in a long time.

08-08-2013, 05:18 AM
Macro lenses is basically focused on pixels of camera. The lenses 50 mm to 35mm is sufficient for normal photography.