Recommend a long macro lens

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by Speedliner, Jul 4, 2015.

  1. Speedliner

    Speedliner Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Mar 2, 2015
    Southern NJ, USA
    hi folks,

    I'm enjoying my O60 macro, but find that I use manual focus often when getting very close. I'm also finding few bugs willing to let me stick my lens up their noses. So I though a good next thing to try would be a longer FL, manual focus macro lens. I'd love a Sigma 150mm, but can't find one in FT format. Not sure how you set aperture on the various non-Ft AF lenses out there.

    So what would you guys recommend...manual, fast, sharp, long but capable of 1:1.

  2. piggsy

    piggsy Mu-43 All-Pro

    How long do you want long to be? If you want something like the sigma 150, past 90-105mm, as far as I know, you are down to very very few options that do 1:1 + infinity without adding or removing bits, really getting to the point where you are likely better off putting an achromatic diopter or similar on an ordinary telephoto lens.

    My current lust object is this - Vivitar Series 1 VMC 4.5/90-180 Flat Field Zoom

    which does 1:2 at 180mm and makes some really nice looking images from the samples I've seen, also pretty reasonably priced. But it weighs like a kilo. I was actually going to order that this week but I decided to buy a tripod and the raynox 150/250 set instead :D 

    Lenses that would be MF only adapted - there's the micro-nikkor AF 200 f4 D, kind of pricey (apparently the older version of this is not so great?). And another sigma, the 180mm apo macro, also not exactly a cheap buy. There's the Voigtländer 125/2.5 Macro APO Lanthar, again, not inexpensive. Erm. What else - Mamiya Macro A 120mm f/4 M ? Medium format lens but a lot less expensive than the others.

    Then you have things like the Olympus 135mm F4.5 -

    which needs a bellows unit to get going.

    Other option - Vivitar 135mm 2.8 Close Focusing.

    which I have, and it's not at all bad. The 2x Macro Focusing Teleconverter is pretty neat with it too.

    Anyone know any other options?
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2015
  3. Speedliner

    Speedliner Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Mar 2, 2015
    Southern NJ, USA
    Thanks Piggsy. I don't really have a specific FL in mind, just want longer than 60. Anything 90 and above. Value is part of the equation....a Kiron for $100-200 might be a better starting point than a $800 sigma 150. That Canon 200mm is interesting, but I don't know anything about it. Not worth it if it's not sharp, or doesn't really focus closely....

    Thought this an interesting topic and good place to gather user's experiences.
  4. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
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  5. brettmaxwell

    brettmaxwell Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 8, 2012
    I have a Sigma 150/2.8 for my Nikon kit (the older non-OS model) and it's superb. I occasionally mount it on m4/3 and it does equally great there. With the 300mm equivalent, no stabilization, and no AF you'll want to be using a tripod, and fortunately it comes with a collar/foot.

    This is the adapter I use:
    It works great. It has aperture control, but no numbers or clicks, just a smooth, quick slide through the range. The Sigma 150 is so sharp there's really no need to stop down for sharpness, but if you want a little more DOF it's quite simple.
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  6. piggsy

    piggsy Mu-43 All-Pro

    There's a cheaper version ($300-400) of the 200mm micro-nikkor -

    which is apparently a nice tele lens but is 1:2 and has issues with CA once it starts focusing closer, at least according to that.

    I forgot there's also a pentax 200, the SMC Pentax-FA* 200mm F4 Macro ED -

    but maybe quite a lot more money than is reasonable for a hobby purchase. Ditto the Canon EF 180 3.5 USM.

    Once you include 90-105mm you have a lot more options. I have the Vivitar Series 1 90mm 2.5, and the Tokina AT-X 90mm 2.5 (essentially the same lens), both are 1:2 without the matching adapter (which can be expensive to buy it with, and a pain to find if you buy one without it). I would definitely get the Tokina AT-X in preference to the Vivitar if you're buying one. The 2xMFTC works well to bring it to 1:1 in any case, and they have more than enough resolution to support teleconversion.

    There's a version of the Vivitar S1 with adapter on grainlab now in OM -

    grainlab are not cheap and that is possibly not the cheapest way to get it., annoyingly, apparently always list the matched 1:1 adapter separately to the lenses, and I've not actually seen one come up by itself yet.

    Couple of cheap and cheerful options from the last thread on this (there should be a sticky or something? :D )

    Cosina 100mm f3.5 macro

    ^ Sold under many names, all the same as this as far as I know.

    SMC PENTAX-M 100mm F4 Macro

    both are long, cheaper than the 90 Bokinas/105 Lester A Dines classes of lenses by a fair amount, similar focal lengths and probably 90% as good stopped down to useful macro depths of fields.
  7. Listener

    Listener Mu-43 Regular

    I went from using a Sigma 150 macro on a Nikon D7000 body at 1:1 distance to using a Oly 60mm on Panasonic G6 at 1:2 distance. I get back the magnification by cropping. It is much more comfortable than working at 1:1. I never use auto-focus. Focus peaking and image magnification allow me to produce reliable results. I have a Sigma 105mm with 4/3 mount but haven't used it for months. I tried my Tamron 90mm macro and my Sigma 150mm macro on an adapter on the G6 and found no reason to live with that.

    I am usually working 9"-11" from the lens hood to the subject. I don't have a problem with spooking most insects including damselflies. The problem with dragonflies and butterflies is that they do a lot of flying, don't land often and don't stay long. If they cooperate, we get good pictures of them with the Oly 60mm.

    You've got the Oly 60mm, why not experiment with it before you spend money on something else?
  8. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

    That was kind of my thought. Some have recommended some options with 1:2 mag, but just using the Olympus 60mm at 1:2 doubles your working distance already.

    50-200mm with a quality achromatic closeup adapter would likely be excellent as well. Based on rough calculations, a Marumi 330 (+3 diopter) on your 50-200 would get you to 1:1.2 with a 17" MFD and 10" working distance (without hood). Using a Canon 250D (+4) would get you to 1:1 with a 15" MFD/8" working distance.

    60mm has 8" MFD and 4" working distance.
  9. Wab

    Wab Mu-43 Regular

    May 27, 2015
    I've a Vivitar Series 1 90mm f/2.8 which goes to 1:1. It's a well rated lens but not to be confused with the f/2.5 version which goes for a lot more money.

    I paid £110 (British pounds) for mine and I'm well happy with it.

    19197149550_27f8e6398d_z. P1080267 by Whey-Aye-Banzai, on Flickr
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  10. piggsy

    piggsy Mu-43 All-Pro

    I have to say, just from my own perspective, it is extremely liberating getting more reach. The 135mm 2.8 CF + 2xMFTC has something like ~40cm working distance at 1:1 from the end of the (long) lens/tc combo, and you can increase magnification further (not much further :D ) than that or just reduce MFD with the extending tube on it, if you want to go mad.

    Thing is - 1:1 is good to have, but you already have a lens that does that, and generally - not always - but generally the kinds of things that you are going to want 1:1 for are generally not the kinds of things that are going to require the use of a hugely long lens to capture. With the 2xMFTC you can then set 1:4, get 1:2 at something like 65cm from the end of the lens, for a 35mm wide encompassing FOV (it has been a while since I actually tested this - just going from memory). But quite a lot of the subjects you are likely to want this for are going to be larger than 35mm wide to fit in the frame, so you can move even further back for things like bees and dragonflies and butterflies. It gets to a point where say the dragonflies here -

    are from something like 1.5+ metres away. It isn't free though. Downsides are - you lose two stops, so your fastest is 5.6, with the sharpness of 2.8, and all image quality problems of the set aperture are doubled. But then you're rolling around with a 270mm >1:1 close focusing lens, and even a "real" macro one would be well along the way to that kind of speed anyway at that length. And the kinds of problems it suffers from (veiling flare without a lens hood, CA on bright highlights, not entirely flat field) are generally pretty easy to deal with in post or minimised by using only the m43 crop centre of an already centre-tc'd lens :D 

    It was also cheaper to put together (lens, adapter to m43, 2xmftc) than either of the bokinas I have and way less than the 60mm macro (which I got on sale anyway :D ).
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  11. PacNWMike

    PacNWMike Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Dec 5, 2014
    Salish Sea
    I have a Sigma 105mm for 4:3. Works great adapted.
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  12. Speedliner

    Speedliner Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Mar 2, 2015
    Southern NJ, USA
    Thanks for all of the input folks. I stumbled into a very reasonably priced Lester-Dine complete with its ring flash system. Having no free will to resist, I did what I had to do and bought it based on its reputation. It arrived yesterday and I can see why it's loved. It is a very high-quality feeling lens. Focus is fine and nicely damped. This example looks brand new.

    I only popped it on long enough to to test it out a little and compare it to the o60. It as sharp, no question. It did not magnify quite as high as the o60. Both are 1:1 lenses, but at closest focus distances, the Oly magnified a little more-10% maybe. MWD was only a couple of inches longer with the L-D. That was a little bit of a surprise, I was hoping for a little more. I can see why you don't use the L-D so much any longer Phocal. It's a fine, enjoyable ones, but didn't bring as much more to the table as hoped.

    I will keep it because it's still a minty one and the ring flash works, and I paid so little for it - GAS requires it. But the search continues for a long working distance lens/combo. A diopter for the 50-200, a sigma 150mm? Seems like every 50mm of macro FL only adds a couple of inches of MWD. If guess its physics and you can't help but lose much of the gain from a larger, longer FL lens.

    I also want to take "that" picture of a compound eye that fills the screen with every compound detail as soon as I can find a dead Robber Fly or something :) .

    I love macro shots, but boy is it frustrating. Equipment isn't the problem, but I need all of the help I can get.
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Carbonman

    Carbonman Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jul 10, 2014
    Vancouver BC
    I'm with you on that. I'm happy with the 2%-5% 'keeper' rate I have with my high magnification shooting. It's so crazy trying to get a sharp shot of a spider on an outdoor web - a breeze invariably comes up and it's like shooting a closeup of someone on a trampoline. I think flash is really important for macro and I'm still trying to figure out what to get without breaking the bank. Then there'll be a new learning curve...
    Here's a SOOC shot from yesterday using the 40-150 f2.8, 26mm of auto extension tubes and a 15"x25" sheet of polished stainless steel as a sunlight reflector. Success at last!

    19797583902_6e6ba45cfd_b. Persistent Spider by Carbonman_, on Flickr
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  14. techsplorer

    techsplorer Mu-43 Regular

    May 8, 2015
    Townsend, TN
    Rodion "Rod" Molina
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2015
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  15. Runefh

    Runefh Mu-43 Rookie

    Jul 26, 2015
    I can recommend the Vivitar 70-150mm f/3.8 macro focusing. It will require the x2 multiplier to get to macro.
    However with the 2 stop reduction in aperture of the multiplier and stopping the lens down to 5.6 to get it sharp, then you're at f/11, which brings me to the only downside of it, personally i can't shoot 300mm handheld at f/11, but maybe i'm just getting old ;-) so i have to use a tripod with it.
    For reference, I got mine off ebay for 35£ incl. the multiplier.
    • Like Like x 1
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