Dilemma... need help!

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Starting with the macro… or an adapted lens... suggestions are welcome
The incredible Olympus OM Zuiko Telescoping Extension Tube and the OM Zuiko 135mm ƒ/4.5 is a great combination that can be had for under US$200 for the pair.

The nice thing about this route is that it is a "gateway drug" for exploration of the full line of range-specific OM Zuiko Macro lenses: 20mm for 16:1, 38mm for 4:1, 80mm for life size, as well as the 135 for greater than life size. Then there's the more general 50mm ƒ/3.5 macro (which is super-sharp and can be had for a song!), and the 50/2 and 90/2 macro lenses.
Old manual focus Nikon 55mm Macro Nikkor. Yes, with a manual focus lens, you cannot do focus stacking.
But you can do focus bracketing† manually with any lens!

I've found focus stacking to be fairly limited. There is lots of free/cheap software to stack focus-bracketed images.

†Focus stacking refers to an in-camera process; focus bracketing is an external process, possibly aided by the camera in changing the focus on auto-focus lenses.

whether a fisheye or a telephoto would get more use
Are you an introvert, or an extrovert?

My theory is that introverts are more drawn to telephoto and macro, while extroverts are more drawn to wide-angle.

If you're tempted to try fisheye, you might start with a used copy of the Olympus 9mm Body Cap Lens. You can get into that for under US$100, and if you decide you don't like it, you can probably get every cent back.

On the telephoto end, two of my favourite legacy telephotos are the OM Zuiko 500mm ƒ/8 Reflex and the OM Zuiko 300mm ƒ/4.5. Either of these can be had for under US$200 with careful shopping.
 

Noeppel

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Tough choice. I second the 9 mm fisheye because it's cheap, has good sharpness (it's really underestimated) and in most cases will be used for creative perspectives. It's so small that i always have it with me.
The 60 mm 2.8 is on a different level, though. Extremely sharp and it doubles as a portrait lens. A good manual macro can be bought for cheap though, and i end up using manual focus anyways and would even prefer a mechanical focus ring over the electronic one.
I say go for the macro, because macro photography was a new world for me and i spend a lot of time with it.
 

CD77

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I would just go for the oly 60mm macro and get one lens you will be happy with.
Get others at a later date when the funds are available.
For me every time I compromise [within reason] I regret it later
This is where my head is at, I think I'm at the stage in my photography where I shouldn't be compromising... I should be getting the best I can afford and waiting/saving for the next thing.
The incredible Olympus OM Zuiko Telescoping Extension Tube and the OM Zuiko 135mm ƒ/4.5 is a great combination that can be had for under US$200 for the pair.

The nice thing about this route is that it is a "gateway drug" for exploration of the full line of range-specific OM Zuiko Macro lenses: 20mm for 16:1, 38mm for 4:1, 80mm for life size, as well as the 135 for greater than life size. Then there's the more general 50mm ƒ/3.5 macro (which is super-sharp and can be had for a song!), and the 50/2 and 90/2 macro lenses.

But you can do focus bracketing† manually with any lens!

I've found focus stacking to be fairly limited. There is lots of free/cheap software to stack focus-bracketed images.

†Focus stacking refers to an in-camera process; focus bracketing is an external process, possibly aided by the camera in changing the focus on auto-focus lenses.


Are you an introvert, or an extrovert?

My theory is that introverts are more drawn to telephoto and macro, while extroverts are more drawn to wide-angle.

If you're tempted to try fisheye, you might start with a used copy of the Olympus 9mm Body Cap Lens. You can get into that for under US$100, and if you decide you don't like it, you can probably get every cent back.

On the telephoto end, two of my favourite legacy telephotos are the OM Zuiko 500mm ƒ/8 Reflex and the OM Zuiko 300mm ƒ/4.5. Either of these can be had for under US$200 with careful shopping.
When I say focus stacking, I really mean focus bracketing... I know it can be done manually, but it is so much simpler and quicker if the AF does it. I've used it quite a bit on the limited macro work I have done, and may be a function of using the raynox and macro tubes where I think the DOF is reduced over a dedicated macro.

And on introvert/extrovert... about a decade ago I took part in a personality test that categorised your personality into 1 of 4 categories, about 1 in 100 people scored the same for two categories... I made the 1 in 100! I'm an introvert/extrovert... happy to take both a back seat and the lime light... take from that what you will. It might go a long way in explaining why I want both short and long focal lengths, and macro and telephoto lenses all at the same time!
 
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CD77

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The OP mentioned that he has a P45-175mm. I happen to use that for close up together with a close up lens that was discussed at https://www.mu-43.com/threads/hoya-zoom-close-up-accessory-lens.107633/
Stick one or a set of m43 auto extension tubes on it, and you have a macro set up for less than £30 extra.
Been there, done that... I've found the images using that lens and the Raynox + tubes to be somewhat lacking, usually they end up looking a little flat. I've started using my O45 f1.8 with the Raynox + tubes and have been a lot happier with the image quality I have been getting but I've found I'm needing to crop to get the final image which makes me think I need a dedicated macro lens to get in even closer whilst maintaining image quality.
 

PakkyT

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I thought the 4/3 O70-300 was ok on CDAF bodies???
To answer your question from a page back, yes the old 4/3rds 70-300mm was one of the few 4/3rds contrast detect AF optimized lenses so should give reasonable AF speeds and not be as slow as other non-CDAF optimized lenses.


If you just wanted to have "fun" with the fish eye, there is a s/h Olympus body cap 9mm fisheye on Wex for £47.00. For the money I've been surprised at what the body cap lens can produce and really enjoyed using the different (for me) equipment.
If you're tempted to try fisheye, you might start with a used copy of the Olympus 9mm Body Cap Lens.
Great bargain of a lens. <$100 usd new and often can be had used for 60%-70% of that price. Even though I have a Peleng 8mm fisheye lens (a big heavy Soviet era (I am guessing) lens design all metal and glass) but bought the BCL because it is so tiny, it is great for when you travel or anytime because it literally is no bigger than a body cap and a rear lens cap screwed together so you can always fit it into a bag even a fanny pack or jeans pocket for impromptu fisheye shooting.


My theory is that introverts are more drawn to telephoto and macro, while extroverts are more drawn to wide-angle.
Fish-eyes lens themselves to both since they have miles of DoF and usually focus close, you can get big wide shots or super close in shots and make people look wicked attractive!

24113269222_85002b470a_o.jpg 2015.10.10-13.17.04 by Patrick, on Flickr
 

Gerard

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I did macro for a while with the oly 60 and 30 pair. It wasnt for me. But if it is therefor you you can get more experienced in it, which will be fullfilling. Besides that, the 60mm is a versatile lens, a portrait lens and a short tele lens.
The samyang wide angle is a one trick lens, fun as long it lasts.
Manual focus on a vintage telelens - I own an OM 300 - is extremely difficult, even for non moving subjects. Though very satisfying when you nail a shot.

with a tight budget I would go for a (second hand) oly 60 macro.
Limiting one’s options is not a bad thing.
 

CD77

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Tough
This is what I did

Macro: Old manual focus Nikon 55mm Macro Nikkor. Yes, with a manual focus lens, you cannot do focus stacking. But it was less than $50.
Being stuck in the house, and bored, I am getting ready to start shooting macros again.

Fisheye: I don't have anything less than 12mm so, I can't comment.

Long: Olympus 75-300.
If you want really long . . . I use an old Nikon 500/8 mirror ($135). But that leaves a pretty big gap between 175 and 500.
I shoot sports, where I use this lens, but even so, I don't use it a lot. Only for softball/baseball (from the outfield fence), and long/tight tennis shots.
If you are a bird photographer, you would use it a lot more than I do.

Personally, I would plan a stagged purchase.
  • Decide which is most important, say a macro.
  • Then what is next, maybe the 75-300.
  • Then last, the FE.
That is how I built my systems, in stages.
I could not afford to buy EVERYTHING at once, so it was done over several/many years, as I could afford it.
I'm a relatively patient person and have being slowly building my system over the last 3-4 years (and on the cheap), I just don't usually get my hands on a decent lump of cash all at the same time. I have ideas of what I want to do over the next year in terms of images (helped by my camera club's competitions setting the direction), macro and telephoto will play a big part in that work. The fisheye is for a bit of experimentation to see how this might fit into my competition work... I haven't seen many fisheye entries, which might be for a good reason, but I want to test the water as I like to put forward images that are quirky so they stand out.

I am leaning towards the whole budget on a single lens and that will be either macro or telephoto, the fisheye will have to wait. The O60 macro would give me a step up in both image quality and scale over my current set up, and it also covers a usable focal length for another of my biggest uses... my daughters dance competitions, where I often use my O45 combined with an A200 front 1.5x teleconvertor to give a 67.5mm FL. I've been considering the O30 macro, which at approx £150 second hand would leave a decent amount to go towards another lens, but it would only be a macro lens as I am covered at around that focal length in a prime with my P25 f1.7m.

But... and it's a big but... I don't have anything that gives me reach. My P45-175 is my longest lens and I have been feeling like at the moment almost every image taking using it has to be cropped. The telephoto would primarily be for wildlife and I go up against some serious birders in club competitions so any images need to be top notch in terms of quality whilst being a little different (which I can do to some extent... that bit doesn't cost).

I feel like I am bumping against ceilings and walls with my current kit vs what I want to achieve with my photography which is why I don't know which way to go.
 
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bassman

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OP: I don’t have any of the three lens types you’re talking about, so feel free to ignore my perspective. But I’ve found that compromising on this sort of stuff inevitably leads to spending more money as you upgrade your early inadequate choices, sometimes more than once. In my case, I started with the 40-150/3.5-5.6, but wound up buying the 12-35/2.8 and selling the kit lens at a loss. Etc., etc., etc.

So I would buy the 60mm macro. It’s a great lens, satisfies several needs at once, and you’ll never need to upgrade it. Then, if you still have some funds left over, get the body cap fisheye. It’s cheap, and will let you learn if you actually like using a fisheye. If you buy it used, your loss will be limited if you find it’s not suitable. Let the long lens wait for another day. Who knows; by then you might have a PDAF body which would make something like the 50-200/2.8-4 4/3 lens plus the 1.4 TC attreactive.
 

ac12

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I'm a relatively patient person and have being slowly building my system over the last 3-4 years (and on the cheap), I just don't usually get my hands on a decent lump of cash all at the same time. I have ideas of what I want to do over the next year in terms of images (helped by my camera club's competitions setting the direction), macro and telephoto will play a big part in that work. The fisheye is for a bit of experimentation to see how this might fit into my competition work... I haven't seen many fisheye entries, which might be for a good reason, but I want to test the water as I like to put forward images that are quirky so they stand out.

I am leaning towards the whole budget on a single lens and that will be either macro or telephoto, the fisheye will have to wait. The O60 macro would give me a step up in both image quality and scale over my current set up, and it also covers a usable focal length for another of my biggest uses... my daughters dance competitions, where I often use my O45 combined with an A200 front 1.5x teleconvertor to give a 67.5mm FL. I've been considering the O30 macro, which at approx £150 second hand would leave a decent amount to go towards another lens, but it would only be a macro lens as I am covered at around that focal length in a prime with my P25 f1.7m.

But... and it's a big but... I don't have anything that gives me reach. My P45-175 is my longest lens and I have been feeling like at the moment almost every image taking using it has to be cropped. The telephoto would primarily be for wildlife and I go up against some serious birders in club competitions so any images need to be top notch in terms of quality whilst being a little different (which I can do to some extent... that bit doesn't cost).

I feel like I am bumping against ceilings and walls with my current kit vs what I want to achieve with my photography which is why I don't know which way to go.
Well sounds like you have "something" to get you 60mm for your daughter.
And you have something that will do closeup, but not quite macro.
I could not justify a $800 Nikon 105mm macro, for as little as I shoot macro. So I bought an old manual focus 55mm macro for less than $50. Not as good, but good enough for as little as I use it.​
So it sounds like your hole is a LONG lens.
But ask yourself if you will shoot a LONG lens enough to justify the cost.​
I could not justify a $1,400 Nikon 200-500, so I bought an old manual focus 500mm lens for $135. Not as good, but good enough.​
As for birds. Maybe you need to learn fieldcraft, so you can get closer to the birds.​

Prioritize.
Which is more important to YOU, macro or LONG?
 
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a function of using the raynox and macro tubes where I think the DOF is reduced over a dedicated macro
Depth of field is based on aperture and reproduction ratio. So if the image is the same size, it doesn't matter if you're using macro tubes or a dedicated macro lens or a close-up filter — the depth-of-field will be identical.
 

Kae1

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I feel like I am bumping against ceilings and walls with my current kit vs what I want to achieve with my photography which is why I don't know which way to go.
Sorry to say it, but ………..... it sounds like you need a spreadsheet :rolleyes:
 

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As always, lots of great advice already from the folk here. As already mentioned, £300 doesn't go far within this hobby, so I would have to draw up a priority list. What genres of photography appeal the most? What focal lengths and features would be most helpful within those genres? For me, I like to get close to nature, so macro and telephoto would top my list. Nature doesn't sit still whilst I focus, so fast AF is essential. For landscapes, wider is generally better, and AF is less critical, but a fisheye perspective is unnatural and defishing can eat away at that wide angle benefit. Distorted portraits of people and pets is fun, but the novelty wears off quickly, so a fisheye would be the last on my list. My 9mm BCL hardly comes out of the bag, though it is fun on the odd occasion.

I've dabbled with macro, but it requires a learning curve that I haven't yet found the time for. I've had better results from the Olympus 30mm macro than when using a Raynox on a telephoto zoom, but the 30mm does require you to get close to your subject. With a f/3.5 max aperture, you'll need good light, so it's maybe not the best option for insects. I'm sure the 60mm would be more forgiving with its faster aperture and greater working distance, but the 30mm can give some impressive results in the right conditions.

My P100-300 gets a lot of use. Again, it needs good light to get the best results, but I typically use it outside on sunny days out, so for me that's not a big problem.

I would probably go:

Used Oly 70-300 and either a used Oly 30mm or cheap fisheye if funds would stretch, or a used Oly 60mm if macro has the higher appeal. Personally, I wouldn't spend a lot on a fisheye because I feel it has a limited potential.
 

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For macro I just bought the Olympus 30mm Macro from B&H for $224.00 USD. Its a very sharp lens and works very well as non macro 30 mm lens as well. I am using it with a OMD M5 MkII body.
 
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Oly 60mm would be my choice. It can so so many things, all of them well. Portrait, close sport, short telephoto, and both close-ups (flowers and big insects) and proper macro too - plus you have your Raynox to stick on the end for smaller than 1:1

With a fast prime like the P15 or Oly 17, the 60mm makes a fine two-lens kit for convenience.
 

jimr.pdx

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My 4thirds 70-300 works great. Curiously it's the adapter that appears to be the issue for me, as cheap models with contacts are inconsistent on my gx7/gx1 and useless on em10. I need to get a genuine OEM adapter to make more frequent use of this fine lens.
And yes it's quite a beast, wish a tripod adapter came along..
 

archaeopteryx

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I feel like I am bumping against ceilings and walls with my current kit vs what I want to achieve with my photography which is why I don't know which way to go.
I have a Panasonic G7, so my standard lens set is the Panasonic 12-60 f/3.5-5.6, Panasonic-Leica 45 f/2.8 macro up to 1x, Panasonic 45-175 at higher magnifications, and Panasonic 100-300 II for longer focal lengths (I also use the 45-175 for tele when it doesn't make sense to carry the 100-300). Since you mention autofocus bracketing it's worth noting the E-M10 II is somewhat limiting for deeper stacks (say, 0.5x and higher magnification, though it depends) but at least it's not crippled like the E-M10 III.

I would tend to suggest Panasonic lenses and bodies if autofocus bracketing is particularly important due to various practical concerns. In particular, if you don't mind compressed 8.3MP, the G7 and later bracket faster than any other ILC currently available. If you want to stay with Olympus bodies and don't anticipate doing a lot of bracketing around 1x or at higher magnifications then the Olympus 60 f/2.8 macro seems preferable to me.

The nice thing about this route is that it is a "gateway drug" for exploration of the full line of range-specific OM Zuiko Macro lenses: 20mm for 16:1, 38mm for 4:1, 80mm for life size, as well as the 135 for greater than life size.
I think you meant less than life size but, otherwise, all true. However, there's a decent chance the Panasonic 45-175 @CD77 already has is the best native mount available for use as rear lens for autofocus bracketing with a coupled lens pair. Coupled pairs are less cumbersome than bellows or tubes and are a stop faster (EA = NM) than magnification by extension (EA = N(M + 1)) from somewhere around 3x and up. The Zuiko bellows macros are also quite pricey compared to reversing enlarger lenses on the 45-175 and aren't usually cost or image quality competitive with Olympus UIS.2 objectives at 4+x (both are thinly traded and things are funky right now with the coronavirus, but a quick look suggests this is still mostly the case).

So, in this particular case, I'd suggest checking E-M10 II AF bracketing with the 45-175. If it's well behaved then it'll probably also work OK with the 45-175 as a rear lens, longish stack acquisition times due to the E-M10 II's fps and buffer limitations aside. It is useful to spend some time stacking with a regular macro up to 1x before reversing a 75-80mm or shorter focal length enlarger lens to take the 45-175 above 2x, though.
 
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CD77

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Well... I've made my mind up... well actually more than that... I've pulled the trigger!

Firstly I discounted the fisheye... it is the cheapest lens type of the 3 (and therefore more easily obtainable without sustained saving) and also the most niche.

Secondly, I weighed up what benefits I would gain from getting either a macro or a long lens, what my first option in each lens type brings to the table and whether that benefit could be achieved in another way, then if there were any secondary benefits to the first option in each category, and finally, which would be the most fun!

I decided that the O60 macro was the way for me to go, I just love the shots that are taken with it as both a macro and as a portrait lens or short telephoto. It was the extras that I would get with the O60 that the won me over in the end, the extra focus range that I will get over my current macro setup, the short telephoto capability that I can put to good use at my daughter's dance comps (when they start up again). The zoom only really gave me more reach...but I plan to save up for the O70-300, and have already some funds towards it as I got a decent price on the O60 that I bought!

Thanks to everyone who contributed to this thread, it helped enormously in focusing my thinking to get to this point!
 

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