Cheap adapted macro lens worth it?

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by Fobok, Jan 26, 2015.

  1. Fobok

    Fobok New to Mu-43

    Jan 21, 2015
    Hello! I'm a photography enthusiast and picked up an Olympus E-PL2 this summer but I've found I don't get to take nearly as many pictures as I'd like, as I'm stuck inside quite often. So, I've decided I'd like to try my hand at macro photography. Given a very low budget of about $100 Canadian max, would it be worth it to try to find an old macro lens on ebay and get an adapter? Or would even older lenses that price range not be worth it? Should I just get extension tubes?
  2. Shadetree

    Shadetree Mu-43 Regular Subscribing Member

    Jun 1, 2013
    Chattanooga, TN
    I found a nice focusing mount to mount M42 Pentax lenses on the micro 4/3 and just got it so I haven't gotten to run it through it's paces yet. Mounted a Pentax 50mm 1.4 and it looks promising. The focusing is almost as smooth as a lens and certainly good enough. It's called an Adjustable Mount Adapter on eBay and priced at $35.10 with free shipping. Looks promising.
  3. Shadetree

    Shadetree Mu-43 Regular Subscribing Member

    Jun 1, 2013
    Chattanooga, TN
    Extension tubes would be a good choice and some are available that will retain the autofocus too.
  4. HarryS

    HarryS Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 23, 2012
    Midwest, USA
    There are inexpensive extension tubes on ebay. They will work with the 14-42 that probably came with your EPL2. I don't have this model. Mine were made by Viltrox. At this price level, you might have to wiggle your lenses to get the contacts to line up. You will have autofocus and exposure control.

    They sell even cheaper tubes with no contacts, but those do not work. If there are no contacts to provide power, an M43 lens cannot be focused manually.

    On the other hand, I think a cheap legacy macro lens is definitely worth it, but I've never been able to find one cheap, which to me is under $50 USD shipped.
    • Like Like x 2
  5. Fobok

    Fobok New to Mu-43

    Jan 21, 2015
    Thanks for the answers and advice! I'll do some price shopping, and if I can find a good legacy lens, I'll go for it. If not, the extension tubes are at least a backup option. :)
  6. silver92b

    silver92b Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 7, 2013
    Atlanta, GA
    Definitely look for extension tubes for old legacy glass. They work really well. The challenge is actually focusing. Also, providing light is a real challenge as the lens gets so close to the subject that it blocks almost all light.... I need to get one of those circular arrays of light to fit on the front of the lens. That might be the best way to address the problem.
  7. Petrochemist

    Petrochemist Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 21, 2013
    N Essex, UK
    These can be focused by changing the camera - subject distance (as is needed for quite a lot of macro work. Apperture control is more of an issue IMO.

    With Legacy lenses reversing rings are also an option, or they can be coupled with your native lenses (filter threads onto filter threads).

    There are many cheap options capable of giving great macro shots if you're willing to master the techniques. DOF (small to non-existant) and lack of light is likely to be your biggest problems.

    Macro is a great exercise for when you're stuck inside - even just photographing coins to try different techniques. Assuming you've already got some normal lenses I'm sure I could get at least 5 different set-ups capable of better than life size for well within your $100.

    Electrical µ4/3 extension tubes, budget legacy 50mm prime (any mount), reversing ring (µ4/3 to the prime), coupling ring (your lens to prime) should be ~$60.
    The change might even be enough for you to get a focusing rail, allowing you to move the camera very precisely & get focus exactly where you want.
  8. madmaxmedia

    madmaxmedia Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 20, 2010
    You should be able to find a reasonably good macro lens on EBay for that price if you shop around. The more patient you are, the better the deal you will be able to snag. If you go for a less popular legacy mount (for example Konica because they cannot be adapted to most all DSLR's), you will probably get the best price.

    Then throw in a cheap adapter, maybe an extension tube too, and you will be set.

    If you want just close but not true macro, for sure you can find a good standard 50mm lens, with extension tube you can get reasonably close.
  9. RDM

    RDM Mu-43 All-Pro

    I think the cheapest option is the Extension tubes with electronics.. I have no experience with them tho ..
    If your not experienced with Manual focusing you should play with some 1st if you can and see if you like or hate it .. I find more people don't mind it than those that do, but the few of whom I know that don't like manual focus legacy glass, they really, really Hate it.
    Since I already had a stable of Legacy glass, first thing I did was get adapters for them. I already had some Macro lenses and really enjoy using them.
    I found that I did not want for more light, but I was using Focal lengths of 55mm to 100mm.

    Lots of similar discussions about this topic in a Very Recent thread HERE, where I also have Posted some Photo examples taken with my Favorite Macro lenses..
    All my photos were taken with a 55 macro lens but the photo of the Bowl of fruit, which was a 75mm c-mount lens.
  10. flamingfish

    flamingfish Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Nov 16, 2012
    Look at the Canon FD 50mm 3.5 macro. With some proper eBay stalking, you should be able to get one well within your budget, with enough room to allow for an adapter to m43. Don't be put off by some of the asking prices on eBay -- if you check the prices on the "sold" listings on eBay, you'll see that many are sold within your price range. I got mine from KEH. It was listed as "bargain" quality, but was actually in quite nice condition.

    This lens is a 1:2, not a true 1:1 macro, but you can get an extension tube that gets it to 1:1. If you check the listings, you'll see that many are sold with the extension tube.

    One warning is that the FD adapter for m43 is a bit fussy. There's a button that has to be in the right position. I think I got my adapter from Amazon.
  11. Cruzan80

    Cruzan80 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    Denver, Co
    Sean Rastsmith
    I have a Vivitar 55mm macro that is within your budget, even with the price of an adapter. It does go to 1:1 natively, and considered one of the better macro lenses. It may be buried in the Buy/Sell forum, as I haven't bumped it in a bit (on vacation, so cant ship immediately).
  12. Fobok

    Fobok New to Mu-43

    Jan 21, 2015
    Thanks, but just a few hours ago I bought a lens on eBay. (The Canon FD 50mm 3.5 that flamingfish suggested.) Thanks again for the offer, though!
  13. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 14, 2012
    New Mexico
    The old Olympus OM system 50mm macro f3.5 is an incredibly sharp lens and be gotten on ebay for well under a hundred dollars. As long as you do not mind manual focusing, it is a wonderful real macro lens. I've always liked manually focusing for macro work anyway. Extension tubes are fine, but a lens designed for close work is a nice thing to have.
    • Like Like x 1
  14. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

    Any brand name manual 50mm lens (<$50) and a $10 set of extension tubes and you are set. You'll get to 1:1 or a little farther and have great optics stopped down into macro appropriate apertures.
  15. evilnim

    evilnim Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 27, 2012
    I've been in the same boat and pulled the trigger on an Olympus 50mm f3.5 macro together with a Cosina 100mm f3.5 macro in OM mount.

    So far on my EM-1 both have performed reasonably in my indoor tests with off camera directed flash. Got em for under £100 combined!

    Sent from my iPhone using Mu-43 mobile app
  16. flamingfish

    flamingfish Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Nov 16, 2012

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