Vintage Macro Zooms?

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by Artorius, Jun 9, 2013.

  1. Artorius

    Artorius Mu-43 Regular

    Hello, I was just wondering if any of you had suggestions of vintage macro zooms. There are a ton of them at my local pawn shops and I'm not sure of the names and such. What I really want to know is if there is any I should specifically look for. I'm really starting to like macro photography and would love to get a new lens for it specifically. (Of course native is out of my price range :tongue: )
  2. szanda

    szanda Mu-43 Regular

    Same question here, I would like something little longer and sharp
  3. dancat

    dancat Mu-43 Rookie

    May 19, 2013
    I have the Minolta MD 100mm f4. Very happy about it. But it is not a zoom. Zooms are usually not 'really' macro (the magnification and focus distance will not be as for a specialized macro)

    You can search in the Adapted lenses thread, there are plenty of other options with examples and discussions.

    Sent from my Nexus 7 using Mu-43 mobile app
  4. dougjgreen

    dougjgreen Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 5, 2013
    San Diego
    Doug Green
    I would recommend a fixed focal length macro lens instead of a zoom. Go for something either in the 50-60mm range, or something in the 90-105mm range.

    Most of the macro zooms from the 1980s are pretty weak by the standards of current zoom lenses, especially at the edges of the field, although they can often be pretty sharp in the center. But they're going to be pretty heavy and balance poorly with any Micro 4/3 camera.

    Among the single focal length macros - any of the camera manufacturer's 50-60mm or 90-105mm macros will be excellent. You can probably find a Nikon 55mm f3.5 Micro Nikkor, or an Olympus OM 50mm f3.5 Macro Zuiko for well under $100 if you shop carefully. Canon FD, Minolta MC or MD or Pentax macros will also be great, but not as common to find.

    A few 3rd party macro lenses are also excellent:
    Vivitar 90mm f2.5 Series 1 Macro
    Tamron 90mm f2.5 SP Macro
    Tokina AT-X 90mm f2.5 Macro
    All three of these lenses use a similar if not identical optical formula, and all are outstanding - but the Tamron and Vivitar are much easier to find.

    These lenses will be smaller and easier to use on a Micro 4/3 camera than an older macro zoom, and they will be much sharper in the edges of the frame than any older zoom.

    I personally own and use a 55mm f3.5 Micro Nikkor and a 90mm f2.5 Tamron SP, and the Tamron is my favorite adapted lens of all.
  5. penners_r

    penners_r Mu-43 Rookie

    I'm with the previous posters on this. A prime macro lens is the best choice in my opinion as well. I picked up an Olympus 50mm f3.5 macro for £28.00 on eBay. It's in excellent condition, and let's face it if you are taking macro shots you will probably be focusing manually, so the lack of autofocus here is not an issue. Yet again M43 users win. The equivalent of a 100mm marco lens for the price of a couple of lens caps for a DSLR!
  6. Artorius

    Artorius Mu-43 Regular

    I hear you. Well maybe I'll go to the camera show next week and look.
  7. Zooms are rarely true macros.

    Vintage zooms (assuming early ones) are usually less than impressive IQ wise. They were "new technology" and designers were still improving them.

    Tamron 90mm f/2.5 Adaptall + the proper adapter shouldn't be too expensive. Excellent optics.
  8. Cruzan80

    Cruzan80 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    Denver, Co
    Sean Rastsmith
    One thing some people haven't mentioned yet is that some of the "branded" macros (Minolta, Olympus, etc) originally shipped with a dedicated tube to allow them to get to 1:1 (usually they got 1:2 just with the lens). Check into whatever lens you are looking at to make sure all required accessories are there (or the price reflects the missing pieces).
  9. fuSi0n

    fuSi0n Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 11, 2013
    Bavaria, Germany
    The Canon FD 100 F4 macro is also worth a look. U gan get it for under 100$ including the 1:1 extension tube and the image quality is impressive. In addition its pretty resistant to flare and reflections.
  10. dougjgreen

    dougjgreen Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 5, 2013
    San Diego
    Doug Green
    Other than the Vivitar and the optically identical Tokina 90mm f2.5 which had a 1:1 Macro tube that had optical correction lenses in it, the others all just use mechanical extension tubes with no optics, so ANY tubes of the proper length and mount will serve to get you to 1:1 with the other lenses. Which is important to know because most of these lenses on ebay or in flea markets have long ago been separated from their companion 1:1 tube. The other point is that, while it's not technically 1:1, it's actually 1:2 with double the enlargement - at 1:2 on Micro 4/3, these lenses provide the same field of view as they did at 1:1 on 35mm.
  11. As well as the Tamron 90mm f/2.5 adaptall. 1:2 without dedicated macro adapter. 1:1: with. In my case, it was missing (was it ever packaged?). I found the adapter quite easily on ebay. It results in a 180mm 1:1 and requires a lot of light. I personally would rather avoid extension tubes if possible which is not always the case.

    btw.. In macro, the lighting is actually as important if not more important than the optic. It should be work that into the budget.
  12. dougjgreen

    dougjgreen Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 5, 2013
    San Diego
    Doug Green
    The Tamron 1:1 adapter (at least the one I own for MY generation of this lens, is just an empty 45mm tube - it's labeled "Extension Tube for Tamron 90mm f2.5 SP 1:2 - 1:1) I wonder if they made multiple generations of this lens that were different optically - I know that they made different generations mechanically. The issue with this Tamron tube is that it mounts directly to the lens WITHOUT the Adaptall-2 mount, making it more inconvenient than a generic tube because you need to take the adaptall mount off of the lens and mount it on the tube itself - so I NEVER have used it - a generic tube of the same mount as the camera is much more convenient.
  13. RedNumber5

    RedNumber5 Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 13, 2010
    Antioch, CA
  14. veereshai

    veereshai Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 12, 2011
    Arlington, VA
    If you want a cheap/light zoom lens, get the Nikon 75-240mm. I got a good copy on ebay for $20. Pair it with a good achromat diopter like the Marumi DHG +3 or +5 and you're good to go. See this thread by NC:

    That's one of the cheapest ways to get into macro without spending a whole lot. Just ensure you get achromat diopters and not any close-up lens.

    If you have a slightly higher budget and want a "zoom" macro lens, then look at the Vivitar series 1 90-180mm flat field lens. More info here:

    Making Not Taking: Vivitar Series 1 90-180mm f/4.5 Flat Field Macro Lens
  15. dougjgreen

    dougjgreen Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 5, 2013
    San Diego
    Doug Green
    But that's NOT the dedicated Macro converter for the 90mm SP lens. It's just a high quality 2X Teleconverter - I used to own one of these as well. It can be used to give 1:1, but it's not the dedicated 1:1 adapter. I have that, and it's just an empty tube. BTW, both of these are inconvenient as hell, because they require removing the adaptall mount from the lens and putting it on the tube/converter. That's why I actually use either a generic empty extension tube, or the Kiron 7 element 2X TC with it to get 1:1

    BTW, your Tamron 90mm f2.5 SP is the same version as mine - they made at least 2 other versions, but I think the one you and I both have is mechanically the best.
  16. McBob

    McBob Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 22, 2012
    I own and use a Vivitar Series 1 28-90/2.8-3.5, labelled as "Macro Focusing," not sure of the maximum macro ratio because I use it far more as a variable prime for shooting interviews and portraits - the lens gives an absolutely beautiful, warm, slightly soft rendition.

    Shooting a lot of macro professionally (scientific demonstration), most of my close-in work is done with Micro-Nikkor 55 or 105, or one of the Lumix 2.8 zooms wearing a +1,2,4,10 etc "close up" diopter
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