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Best Legacy Macro Lens

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by mccalltd, Jan 5, 2012.

  1. mccalltd

    mccalltd New to Mu-43

    Oct 14, 2011
    Hi All,

    I recently jettisoned my Canon SLR gear for an E-P3. One thing I miss is my EF 100mm f2.8. Amazing lens. But I didn't use it for anything but flowers and abstractions. I was wondering if I could get some recommendations of legacy macros that people love with their m43 cameras. Image samples are welcome. To stay similar to what I had before, something that gets me around 160mm (100mm on Canon APS-C sensor) would be especially helpful. I know the DOF is not the same with m43, but if there are some nice f2 lenses, I'm all ears.

    And while I'm at it, if you could mention the legacy adapter you use, that'd be great.

    Attached is a sample of what I liked to do.

    Attached Files:

  2. shan564

    shan564 Mu-43 Rookie

    Dec 30, 2011
  3. pawzitiv

    pawzitiv Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 28, 2010
    I've owned and used many macro lenses over the years and in my experience the only macro lens that betters the Kiron/Lester Dine is the Voigtlander APO-Lanthar 125mm f/2.5 SL.

    The Voigtlander is now discontinued and if you can find someone willing to part with one, you'd better have $1500 handy.

    I own 2 copies of the Lester Dine but I have yet to adapt it to :43:. Someone had better grab the Lester Dine offered for sale on this forum .. it's a steal.
  4. leendertv

    leendertv Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 22, 2011
    Rotterdam, Netherlands
    The Tamron 90mm f2.5 macro
  5. wlewisiii

    wlewisiii Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 16, 2011
    Hayward, WI
    William B. Lewis
    I like my Nikon micro-Nikkor 55/3.5, especially with an extension tube.

    But that's just it - they all made good macro lenses. Canon, Nikon, Minolta, Pentax Contax, etc. it's all good. Do you have an adaptor yet? If so get the one made for that. Otherwise decide which system you want to play with. I'd suggest Nikon or Canon FD because they made the most and so tend to be cheap - especially Non-AI glass from Nikon. Canon FD is silly cheap for great glass because only micro4/3 (maybe NEX?) can use them on digital.

    Whatever you get, have fun.

    Edit: Two other bits - I use an extension tube to get to 1:1. Works but that gets to be a heck of a lot to hang off of a little camera like an E-PL1.
    Also, per the OP's request, I'm cheap and use Fotodlox adaptors from Amazon.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. mnhoj

    mnhoj There and back again

    Dec 3, 2011
    Los Angeles
    John M
    I liked the Tamron adaptall while I had it. Very solid lens and reasonably priced.

    I liked the Tokina 90 2.5 aka Bokina even more but it wasn't as reasonable.

    I have a Nikon 55mm 3.5 now and for the amount/type of close ups I shoot it's perfect.

    All of the above mentioned lenses magnify to 1:2 only.
  7. Markb

    Markb Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 9, 2011
    Kent, UK
    Tamron did a 1:1 adapter (extension tube) for the Adaptall version of the 90 SP. You can often find it included with the lens as listed here.
  8. addieleman

    addieleman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 5, 2010
    The Netherlands
    Minolta MD Macro 100mm 1:4. One of Minolta's best, amazingly sharp even wide-open both near and far. Quite cheap (still), sometimes less than $100 and certainly less than € 100. This one replaced the Micro-Nikkor 105/4 (not as sharp and a bit decentered even though treated gently), which in turn replaced a Kiron 105/2.8 (visible CA in critical circumstances, not great wide-open). All my mushrooms pictures (see Pictures link below) are taken with this lens.

    I bought a bunch of these adapters. They mostly need tightening of the screws on the Minolta bayonet flange and sometimes the tension of the "springs" needs to be increased. Others have had the same issues with these adapters which are sold under various brand names. The lenses focus past infinity, so no problem there unless you want to be able to depend on scale focussing.
    • Like Like x 1
  9. fredlong

    fredlong Just this guy...

    Apr 18, 2011
    Massachusetts USA
    I don't know if it's the best, but I've had one since the the 80's and it's always been one of my favorite lenses. They're typically around $100. You can get an adapter for whatever adaptall mount is on it or there are adaptall to m4/3 adapters available.

    Downsides are it's only 1:2 and quite heavy by today's standards.

  10. fredlong

    fredlong Just this guy...

    Apr 18, 2011
    Massachusetts USA
    A couple of other lenses come to mind since you're looking for the best. A later OM mount lens from Olympus, the Zuiko MC Macro 90mm f/2. It was always out of my price range. They're still expensive and hard to obtain.

    Also in the expensive category is the Leitz Macro Elmarit 60mm f/2.8. Very nice lens, somewhat expensive, but more widely available than the Zuiko. You can find examples at the Fred Miranda website in the alternative systems threads.

  11. steve16823

    steve16823 Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 26, 2011
    Brookfield, IL
    I don't have much to add as far as legacy macro lenses but I do want to point out that the example you have posted is nowhere near 1:1 (unless that flower is a lot smaller than I think it is!) so that may not be a feature that interests you. You might be better off getting something more flexible like the 45mm f/1.8 (although the max .11X magnification might not be enough for you).

    Olympus sample (it's too cold for flowers here!)


    Or the new 12-50mm which is clearly pretty good at macro:

    Robin Wong: Olympus M.Zuiko 12-50mm F3.5-6.3 Review: Macro Shooting at Butterfly Park, KL
  12. Spuff

    Spuff Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 5, 2010
    Berkshire, UK.
    Mmm, the new Olympus 12-50, indeed seems not too shabby, and one would have the conveniences of a native lens.
    I didn't realise until, as a result of that link, that it has a macro mode button.
  13. veereshai

    veereshai Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 12, 2011
    Arlington, VA
    I'd second Lester Dine/Kiron or the Tamron 90mm f2.8 or the Canon 200mm FD f4 or Nikon 105mm f2.8 or f4. They're all great. Check out what Naturecloseups could do with various lenses including the cheap Nikon 75-240mm lens + Nikon 3T/4T.

  14. mnhoj

    mnhoj There and back again

    Dec 3, 2011
    Los Angeles
    John M
    Thanks Mark.

    As does the Tokina - although the Tokina is literally impossible to find. May be that the Vivitar version will work. I didn't get the chance to find out as I sold it foolishly.

    I'd like to also note that if in the market for a 1:1 adapter for the 55mm Nikkor, the M2 ring(cheaper) will work just as good as the PK-13 since aperture info isn't translated to m43.
    • Like Like x 1
  15. st3v4nt

    st3v4nt Mu-43 Veteran

    May 26, 2011
    Jakarta, Indonesia
    Seeing that this thread talk about legacy lens....how about Nikon Micro 60/2.8 AF-D? I read the specification that it is 1:1 and have CSC. How close do I need to take the picture in order to get 1:1....all I know that via m4/3 to Nikon F-Mount adapter it will have 120 mm field of view how the magnification relate with that?
  16. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Magnification is the same - it relates to size of image vs. size of subject. The sensor is half the size, and so is the angle-of-view of the subject.

    In practice though, you'll be printing or displaying at the same size, so it'll look like 2:1 at minimum focusing distance, were you to compare it with a full-frame camera.

    As to distance, the lens extends at close focusing distances. Can't say exactly how much, but you won't have a whole lot of working distance at minimum focusing distance.

    • Like Like x 1
  17. fredlong

    fredlong Just this guy...

    Apr 18, 2011
    Massachusetts USA
    With a 60mm lens you get 1:1 reproduction at 240mm from the sensor. Some modern tricky optical designs may change that slightly, but I don't know for sure. How far from the front of the lens depends on the optical and physical design.


    I just edited this because I wrote 360mm by mistake. Just calculated and typed too fast.
    • Like Like x 1
  18. taurus9

    taurus9 Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 3, 2012
    BC, Canada
    I have the Olympus Zuiko 90mm f/2 Macro. Its cons as a macro lens is its reproduction ratio of 1:2, and the difficulty in finding a sample (relatively rare and expensive); the original lens hood is even harder to find (but of course it uses a common 55mm filter thread so not too hard to find a substitute).

    Optically it's a spectacular lens and even wide open it's sharp and contrasty. It also has 9 blades for its aperture opening and the bokeh is sumptuous.
  19. b-bernd

    b-bernd New to Mu-43

    Dec 27, 2011
    Don't forget the Asahi Pentax lenses like the Macro Takumar 50mm/f4. The eldest version even works up to 1:1 and is a wonderful crafted lens. Optical all versions are very good.

  20. brnmatsumoto

    brnmatsumoto Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 18, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    A lens which has become my favorite is the Vivitar Series 1 90-180 mm macro zoom. One problem with shooting closeups is getting the magnification of the image just right. With manual focus lenses on a focusing rail, you have to play with both focusing and the rail. Not a big deal, but it can get irritating. But with a zoom macro, you can use the zoom control to size the image perfectly. Also the lens has a rotatable tripod mount. If you mount it on a tripod, you can easily rotate the camera for a vertical or a horizontal composition. Also, it serves as my general zoom lens, although it is a bit on the heavy side!

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