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  1. #11

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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/akiyanroo...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 philosomatographer; 05-14-2009 at 03:07 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  2. #12
    cmo
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    Quote Originally Posted by philosomatographer View Post
    I imagine this thread is just a general discussion, and not because you are looking for one. So my simple answer would be, one of the Ultra Micro Nikkor lenses, followed closely by the Olympus OM Macro 80mm f/4.
    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.

  3. #13

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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!

  4. #14

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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

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by philosomatographer View Post
    (slightly over-enthusiastic, if you ask me)
    By "enthusiastic" do you mean statements like this??

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

    Wow.

  6. #16
    cmo
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    Quote Originally Posted by philosomatographer View Post
    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.
    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 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...

  7. #17

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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....

  8. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by xtolsniffer View Post
    My word, I had no idea that the Olympus 80mm macro had such a following!
    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?

  9. #19
    cmo
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmo View Post
    Next thing is that Olympus lens and I might be ready...
    :-) Will get one delivered by monday :-) And an adapter to fit the Olympus-fit bellows to the EOS.

    The countdown begins...

  10. #20
    tac
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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.

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