Help needed on finding a nice macro lens

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by Wolf, Feb 28, 2012.

  1. Wolf

    Wolf Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 14, 2012
    I'm looking for a nice manual macro lens for my GF2 / EPL 2
    any recommandations ?

    The panasonic 45mm is a bit too expensive
  2. foto2021

    foto2021 Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 5, 2011
    SE England
    There are a wealth of excellent macro lenses for 35mm SLRs that are available at low prices.

    I would suggest looking at anything in the 50-60mm focal length range. The 55mm f/3.5 and f/2.8 Nikkors are very sharp indeed and even the Sigma 50mm f/2.8 is a good lens. These will give an angle of view similar to 100mm - 120mm on full frame/film.

    If you want a longer working distance, there were many classic 90mm - 105mm lenses including those from Tamron, Tokina, Vivitar and Kiron, although the 105mm is a cult lens and quite expensive. But you can still buy a Kiron in an 'unpopular' mount such as Minolta MD or Canon FD for fairly reasonable money, and it makes a lovely lens for environmental portraiture.

    I only infrequently shoot macro so have no need of a dedicated macro lens. I use the Olympus 45mm f/1.8 with +1, +2 and +4 close-up lenses. They give very acceptable results when the lens is stopped down to f/5.6 or f/8.

    If I was going to buy a dedicated macro lens I would choose the Tamron 90mm f/2.5 Adaptall 2. Like the Kiron, it makes a good portrait lens, and it is fairly cheap.
  3. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    I'm a fan of longer focal lengths in macros for better working distance, so for me my best choices would be something along the lines of the Kiron 105mm f/2.8 or the Tamron 90mm f/2.5. The Kiron is actually the lens I use, but the Vivitar branded version which is identical except for name.


    The 50-60mm macro lenses give you a closer working distance, but are steadier and easier to handle. The longer focal lengths (like 90-105mm) gives you greater working distance to keep away from your subject (especially for things which are dangerous or easily spooked) and greater control of lighting.

    So it's really up to you and what you like to shoot...
  4. 13Promet

    13Promet Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 11, 2011
    I just tried my Micro-Nikkor AF-D 60mm and it works great on the GX1 (have a look at the thread just below tis one: "Adapting Nikon AI lenses").

    In your case it could be reasonable to look for a cheaper MF lens, unless you're planning to use it on an SLR too, because the AF function of the AF-D and its popularity make it an expensive lens.

    As for the focal length, I prefer the 60mm because I shoot a lot the environment of my aquariums, so I need the tank glass to be as close to the lens as possible (in order to be out of focus) and it also doubles up as portrait lens on my D300s with its 90mm equivalent (120mm on m4/3).
    On the other hand, especially when shooting small animals, the 105mm is better because allows not to get to close to the subject, as already stated by Ned.
  5. zettapixel

    zettapixel Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 12, 2010
    Canon FD 50/3.5 Macro - excellent lens (at least the later version I got), very cheap, very small. If you need higher magnification extension tubes are very cheap as well.
  6. Wolf

    Wolf Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 14, 2012
  7. Wolf

    Wolf Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 14, 2012
    How close can you get with the 45mm (using those close up filters)

    can you maybe post some samples ? ;-)
  8. Vertex Ninja

    Vertex Ninja Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 29, 2012
    Could you show me some results with this lens? I have one in k-mount and am getting rid of my 35mm and dslr stuff for :43:. I'm thinking of keeping this lens because it's been amazing. I actually sold a Vivitar Series 1 model only to miss it enough that I got a second copy identical to yours. The second copy is actually a slightly better performer and I'm afraid I'll sell it only to end up purchasing another one later. My biggest concern is the weight and torque it will place on the mount without a tripod collar and I also worry that such a long focal length might make it slightly harder to work with.

    BTW there are multiple versions of this lens. The kiron 105, the Lester-a-dine 105mm, the Vivitar Series 1 105mm f2.5, and the regular vivitar 100mm 2.8 you show. They are pretty damn good macros but prone to purple fringing from 2.8-4.0 or so.

    Here's a few pics from my first copy on the K10D and a couple on Velvia 100.

    070721_DayAtTheZoo_0136 by Vertex Ninja, on Flickr

    MacroCloseUp_07 by Vertex Ninja, on Flickr

    080706_FlowerBugMacro_0005 by Vertex Ninja, on Flickr

    070721_DayAtTheZoo_0138 by Vertex Ninja, on Flickr

    070819_Mantis_0008 by Vertex Ninja, on Flickr

    070819_Mantis_0068 by Vertex Ninja, on Flickr

    070706_VelviaTests_007 by Vertex Ninja, on Flickr

    080608_Nikon_RVP100_Misc_0016 by Vertex Ninja, on Flickr
    • Like Like x 3
  9. runner girl

    runner girl Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Nov 26, 2011
    Wolf - Here are some I got with the Oly 45mm - no extensions or converters just using the Exe Tele Conv mode on my G3




    This was with the Oly converter for the lens

    • Like Like x 2
  10. runner girl

    runner girl Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Nov 26, 2011
    The spider was with the converter. Also cropping was very minimal.
  11. Sammyboy

    Sammyboy m43 Pro

    Oct 26, 2010
    Steeler Country
    My favorite legacy macro lens is the Leica R100mm 2.8 APO. It has good working distance and is very sharp, but i wouldn't recommend it on this forum due to the very high cost.
    The photo below was taken with an mZuiko 40-150 zoom with a Marumi DHG +5 achromat close-up lens attached to the front of the zoom. It's a very inexpensive macro set-up, plus the zoom lens offers a big bang for the buck when it comes to performance. Maybe something to consider.

  12. AlexK

    AlexK Mu-43 Rookie

    Feb 25, 2012
    Here's my setup:

    GH1 > EOS to m4/3 adapter > Kenko ext. tubes > M42 to EOS adapter > Mamiya/Sekor 55mm f1.4.


    And a quick shot of a ball pen (no crop)

  13. addieleman

    addieleman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 5, 2010
    The Netherlands
    I'm a Minolta addict so I naturally recommend not to forget about the Minolta macros which are still relatively cheap. Especially the MD 100/4 is superb and caused me to sell everything else in this range including the renowned Kiron 105/2.8, Tokina 90/2.5 and Micro-Nikkor 105/4.

    That said, it is difficult to find a bad macro lens. All major brands, extinct or not, made fine glass of this kind, and also third-party manufacturers usually made very respectable macro lenses as well; look for Vivitar, Kiron, Panagor, Tokina, Tamron, Sigma and the likes. A macro lens is probably the best optic you can get because it's optimized for image quality across the frame and no distortion and a large max. aperture was mostly considered secondary. Beware however of zooms with a "macro" setting, they are much worse than any decent real macro lens.

    The Canon FD 100/4 you were looking at? You won't be disappointed I'm sure. If you have to pay more than $150 for it, I'd start looking for something else, there's enough on offer these days.
  14. Harmonica

    Harmonica Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 15, 2012
    You're right...I have that Vivitar Series 1 105mm f2.5 (PKA mount) which I have used on K-5. I belive it's bit heavier than the rest of these (really build like a tank! and it includes also build in hood). And there are at least two versions more of these same macros made by Kiron...Ricoh Rikenon 105mm f2.5 macro & Soligor C/D 105mm f2.8.

    My personal favorit macro lens would be: Voigtlander Apo Lanthar 125mm f2.5....but their (today's) selling prices are much too high.

    By the way...nice photos :smile:!
    • Like Like x 1
  15. Harmonica

    Harmonica Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 15, 2012
    Good to know addieleman. I'm not very familier with Konica-Minolta lenses (except that exeptional white 200mm f2.8 APO G HS I have...long story). BUT now as I will soon have my first micro 4/3 body...who knows...I could test some of Minolta's as well. And expecially if I'm gonna like small micro 4/3 system so much that I would be ready sell my hevier Pentax gear away one day.

    I knew that ''Bokina'' (Vivitar 90mm f2.5 & Tokina 90mm f2.5) should be even bit sharper than these different 100mm-105mm macro clones made by Kiron. So by then, no doubt...your Minolta should be very good lens. Does it straight 1:1 or should you use some kind of macro adapter to get it (like those two Bokinas)? How about weight of the lens?
    What comes to these old time about 100mm mf macros...perhaps it's still very difficult to beat Olympus OM 90mm f2?
  16. addieleman

    addieleman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 5, 2010
    The Netherlands
    The Minolta MD 100/4 goes to 1:2 by itself and needs a 50mm extender (without glass) to go to 1:1. You can find some pictures here. Its weight is 385g, which is fairly light and goes well with my GH2 and light tripod and head (Gitzo 1580QR). The older Minolta MC or MD Macro 100/3.5 is MUCH heavier at 600g and is not as good, notably less contrasty although almost as sharp. I bought the Tokina 90/2.5 a few weeks ago and sold it again rapidly because it had less contrast, I like the image rendering of the 100/4 better. The Tokina's sharpness was excellent but not better. It's also heavier and felt a bit front-heavy on the GH2. Background unsharpness was the same as that of the 100/4 at the small apertures around f/8 I use; wide-open its bokeh is indeed beautiful, although it shows some colour fringing there which I would find objectionable.

    Can't say anything about the Olympus macro 90/2 which is universally praised. I'd be interested to see how that one holds up to the other respected macro 90-100mm's. If its price is any indication, it must be out-of-this-world superb :smile:, but I've seen too often that a large aperture is not really an advantage for a lens used for macro. Even the contemporary and expensive Zeiss Macro-Planar 100/2 is not perfect wide-open judging from a number of test pics I've seen on the 'net. At this point in time I'm fairly sure that there isn't anything really better than the Minolta 100/4 for my work, except maybe the Zeiss and Leica 100mm lenses which I find too pricey for the extra quality they may offer.
  17. dbuckle

    dbuckle Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

  18. Vertex Ninja

    Vertex Ninja Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 29, 2012
    Thanks for the info, I didn't know about those other two! I bought a Series 1 back in 2007 when a bunch of new old stock showed up on ebay. I got it for a steal! I then replaced it with the DA 35mm Limited only to miss the longer focal length. :frown: My current Vivitar 100 is identical, though. The only difference I can see are the markings on the barrel and the focus ring material. The 100mm also has the built-in flock lined hood.

    Ditto on that Voightlander, I wish I would have purchased one when the new price was so low(comparatively)!

    Thanks for the comments!
  19. GRID

    GRID Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 22, 2011
    I took this with a Raynox 202 on my 14-140mm kitlens.
    It´s cheap and works well if you want to get really close.
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