Recommend a Cheap Macro Zoom Lens?

retnull

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Feb 12, 2010
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Hi all, I'm looking for a CHEAP macro zoom lens, for use with Pana GH1, in any adaptable mount.
What would you recommend?

My criteria are:
1. CHEAP
2. close focus
3. image quality
4. did I mention CHEAP?

What mount should I be looking in? Canon FD, M42, Pentax...?

Thanks!
-- Kurt
 

JCD

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Palermo, Italy
I absolutely recommend the Vivitar/Cosina/Voigtlander/Phoenix/Soligor ecc. ecc. 100mm f/3.5 macro 1:2 (1:1 with the close-up lens): for about 100/120€ (~130/150$?) you have a very sharp (and very light) lens.

Take a look at this link
 

Narnian

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Richard Elliott
More details of the requirements would help - what exactly do you need to shoot, can you sacrifice some quality, etc. Some people here have gotten great results (Ricseet and Isabel, I'm looking at you two) with the Raynox 250 Macro add-on lens for $60. And some with simply some less expensive close-up lens sets.

Also if you are looking at net cost of $50 you can buy a nice macro on eBay for $100-$150 and sell it when you are done, recovering most of the cost.
 

photoSmart42

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Vivitar 70-210 zoom has a 'macro' capability, for example, and it's cheap. You won't get true macro capability (at least 1:2; macro zooms will be at best 1:2.5 in macro mode) from any zoom out there, so not sure what you're looking for in terms of macro.
 

retnull

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Thanks for replies! The specific task is this: I want to have a 1" to 2" section of a printed document fill the entire frame. Macro is needed for close focus. Zoom is useful, because not sure of the exact size of the area that needs to fill the frame.
 

photoSmart42

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Thanks for replies! The specific task is this: I want to have a 1" to 2" section of a printed document fill the entire frame.
1" = 25.4mm => 1:1.4 magnification
2" = 50.8mm => 1:2.8 magnification

The 1:1.4 magnification drives you to use a dedicated macro lens. You won't get that kind of magnification with a zoom macro lens. There are cheap dedicated macro lenses out there for under $100 including the adapter (Canon FD 50/3.5 or Nikkor 50/3.5, for example).

Macro is needed for close focus. Zoom is useful, because not sure of the exact size of the area that needs to fill the frame.
Maybe, maybe not. Do you not have the option to move the camera in and out? If you can move the camera, you don't need the zoom capability.
 

carpandean

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in any adaptable mount.
...
What mount should I be looking in? Canon FD, M42, Pentax...?
Do you have adapters for any mounts? Many of the adapters are $20+ (even for the lower quality ones) in the US and many of the cheap Chinese suppliers can take weeks and/or are closed until after the holiday (I've seen this several times recently.)

Also, I'll throw this one out there (I don't know much about macro photography, so it may or may not be a good idea): I've heard people use a reversing ring (basically, one side is the same as the lens end and locks into the body, while the other is male filter threads that the lens screws onto backward) with an existing tele lens for macro work. Those reversing rings seem pretty cheap and if you have an existing tele lens, you wouldn't have to buy new glass for a one-off project.
 

Narnian

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Another thought that comes to mind would be an extension tube or tube set.
 

retnull

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Feb 12, 2010
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Do you have adapters for any mounts?
I do have adapters for Leica and C-mount. Do you think getting reversing rings (and using them with, say, a reversed Summicron 50) would be a better bet than purchasing some dedicated macro glass that can close-focus?
 

photoSmart42

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I do have adapters for Leica and C-mount. Do you think getting reversing rings (and using them with, say, a reversed Summicron 50) would be a better bet than purchasing some dedicated macro glass that can close-focus?
Reversing rings won't give you the flexibility you're looking for in terms of being able to choose your imaging area easily. The reversed lens will essentially ONLY focus at a given distance, so to change your magnification you'd have to reverse some different lenses to get you what you need.

A 50 reversed will give you roughly 1:1 magnification, so to catch your 1" imaging area on a m4/3 sensor you'd need to reverse something a bit longer (magnification of reversed lenses is inversely proportional to focal length - wider focal lengths give you more magnification). Maybe something like a 65mm will do the job, and you may have to crop. For the 2" image you're back to maybe using your kit zoom.
 
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