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Better macro:kiron 105mm f2.8 or 60mm f2.8?

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by pood, Oct 19, 2012.

  1. pood

    pood Mu-43 Rookie

    Aug 27, 2012
    I'd like to pick up a macro lens this month. I was waiting for the release of the 60mm f2.5, but I recently learned of the kiron 105mm f2.8.

    I'm thinking of getting the Kiron 105mm first because I'd like a little more distance for macro, even if it's not automatic (I'd probably want manual anyway for macro?).

    I'd probably pick up the kiron/vivtar/lester dine for less than $300.
  2. OpenCS

    OpenCS Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 16, 2012
    Manual focusing old lenses in good condition are perfect for macro, as you suspect.

    I've just picked up the Elicar 90mm f/2.5; unbelievable close focusing ability, but quite a long and heavy lens (impossible to hand-hold, basically). Cost £80, which is a steal in comparison to autofocusing modern macros and, as you say, you'd be using manual anyway. I'm not sure how common they are, though. I believe there was also a version designed for medical work which won't focus to infinity (which won't be an issue if you want it purely for macro).

    The only drawback is, I can't really post any images because I don't get it until Christmas >_< Check my flickr, there are a couple of very quick test shots on there - you really can't tell what the subjects are. "Flowerhead Thing" is as it sounds - the individual bumps on the flowerhead were approximately 1-2mm across. The fir cone blades shot is actually just the gap between two blades of a normal sized fir cone, which should give you an idea of how close the thing will focus.
  3. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    The Kiron 105mm f/2.8 is what I use. It's an excellent macro lens, and is the focal length I like in Macros.

    The quality out of these lenses is superb for its day. However, it's still an old lens and doesn't quite compare with the quality I get out of any of my Zuiko Digital lenses. I can get very similar images to a High Grade Zuiko Digital lens only after a bit of levels enhancement in post (clipping the dynamic range to get rid of the slight wash-out from the poorer light transmission on the older lens/coating - aka tonal mapping) on the Kiron image. The sharpness out of the Kiron is on par, but the colors are duller.

    In short... the advantage of the m.Zuiko 60mm macro would be 1) superior quality if you're picky (especially without any post-production), and 2) a wider focal length will make for a steadier shot if hand-held. The advantage of the Kiron would be 1) price, and 2) the longer focal length will make for more even lighting and more flattering compression.
    • Like Like x 1
  4. zapatista

    zapatista Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Mar 19, 2012
    Albuquerque, NM
    Mike Barber
    I've observed much the same with using my Canon FD f4 macro (1:1 native). Detail is about the same as the 45mm f2.8 P/L or 60mm f2.8 Oly, but the colors need messing with in post for punch or vibrance from the Canon. The Canon is an incredibly nice macro lens for insects as working distance from the end of the lens to subject for 1:1 is about 20 inches.
  5. uci2ci

    uci2ci Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 22, 2012
    Los Angeles, CA
    Pretty much what Ned said.

    I'd like to also add that the Kiron is a heavy lens, so take that into consideration if your planning on walking around with it. I walk with it all time but after an hour, my hand starts to fatigue.

    Don't pay 300 dollars for the Kiron lens (unless your in a REAL hurry, in which case, my humble opinion is to just get the 60). I got mine for $100 (or 150, but no more than that) dollars from ebay with some patience. Search for all variations of the lens: Kiron 105 2.8, Ricoh Rikenon 105 2.8, Vivitar 100 2.8, Lester A Dine 105 2.8, Vivitar Series 1 105 2.5. Some people are unaware of the Vivitar and Rikenon rebrands, so you might be able to find those cheaper.
  6. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Yup, my lens is actually a Vivitar 100mm f/2.8 though it is identical to the Kiron 105mm f/2.8. Any Vivitar lens that has a serial # that starts with 22 was manufactured by Kiron, but in the case of the 100mm f/2.8 Macro I think there was only one model ever made. In other words, I don't think you can find a Vivitar 100mm f/2.8 Macro which is not identical to the Kiron 105mm f/2.8 Macro, but if you do happen to find one with a serial # that doesn't start with 22 then you'll know I was wrong. :) 

    The Lester A. Dine 105mm f/2.8 "Dental Macro" is probably the better known re-brand of this lens. The Ricoh is even new to me. xD
  7. veereshai

    veereshai Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 12, 2011
    Arlington, VA
    I have the Lester Dine version of this lens and love it. Yeah, it could be a pain to carry it around but it's plenty sharp for my needs. So far, I am yet to be impressed with the 60mm, somehow I don't seem to find the images to be that appealing. I might settle for a 75mm with achromats for close-up work.
  8. Grinch

    Grinch Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 9, 2011
    Just traded all my macros for a PL45 and the colours are definitely more vibrant. Detail wise I'm not sure it's any better, but what a lense.
  9. fin azvandi

    fin azvandi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 12, 2011
    South Bend, IN
    Another Kiron 105mm user here, it's a quality lens and the extra distance is handy for shooting live insects. It is a bit heavy but in my mind well worth the cost difference. If you're willing to do a little PP (as Ned said, mainly levels) you can get some great images out of legacy glass.
  10. danska

    danska Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 21, 2012
    Portland, OR
    If you have an EM-5 the 60mm is a wonderful option as it's only the third weather-sealed lens (first prime) for the system. Living in the PNW that is a major blessing for me. It's also the second sharpest lens for the system. I really love the lens and feel like it was worth every penny. The focal length is a nice one to work with.

    I find the AF very usable for macro purposes. The auto 1:1 switch is handy too.
  11. arentol

    arentol Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 29, 2012
    Not really an answer to this question, but if you want macro setup that lets you get 1:1 or thereabouts with really good working distance check out this thread I created a while back.


    Just the lens alone is great, with the macro-teleconverter you can get good results from quite a ways back when shooting insects. And it is useful for other stuff as well being a 70-210.
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