Would anyone else like to see a ~100mm macro lens?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by getoutandshoot, Dec 8, 2015.

  1. getoutandshoot

    getoutandshoot Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 28, 2012
    Someday, I'd really like to try some macro photography using the focus bracketing / stacking recently added to my E-M1. I often hear that longer focal length macro lenses have the advantage of giving you more working distance, with many pros using 200mm on full frame. So I'd love to see a micro-4/3 100mm true macro lens (1:1) that allows me to use the focus bracketing/stacking feature. Personally I don't need the lens to be ultra fast. I would usually use a tripod and want greater depth of field, so f/2.8 would be fine with me and I'd like the lens to be optimized to work best from maybe ~f/4 to f/8...?

    There's nothing out there like that right now, right? I guess instead of waiting I should just buy the Olympus 60. Everyone seems to love it. But I'm in no big hurry so I was just curious how others like the idea.

    • Agree Agree x 1
  2. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    There is this one but is manual focus only so no auto-bracketing:

    Rokinon 100mm f/2.8 Macro Lens for Micro Four Thirds 100M-MFT

    There is also a Four Thirds Sigma 150/2.8 EX DG HSM APO macro, adapted on the E-M1 could work fine, but I really have no idea how the focus stacking could behave. Maybe someone with Four Thirds lenses could report about this. Not a common lens to find though.
  3. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    No focus stacking for 4/3 lenses - AF m4/3 lenses only.
  4. DoofClenas

    DoofClenas Who needs a Mirror!

    Nov 9, 2012
    Traverse City, MI
    I've only seen one pop up on the used market (4/3) in the last 2 years...but that was in the UK.
  5. zensu

    zensu Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 8, 2012
    Alabama USA
    I too would love a longer focal length macro. I've got the 60mm and it is superb. When I shot film I used the Nikkor 200mm because it not only had a greater working distance but also isolated the background into a creamy blur (bokeh?). Maybe even a longer focal length for m43s', like a 150mm F2.8!
    Bobby :coffee-30:
  6. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    Macro is one of those categories where autofocus is (in my opinion) not important at all. As a result, I use an old Minolta-mount Sigma 90mm/2.8 MF Macro on my M4/3 bodies. It's probably the sharpest lens I own. I also was able to pick it up, new-old stock, for just $100. And on top of that, it's compact (52mm filter) and light (350g).

    I can understand the appeal of a native lens for in-camera focus bracketing/stacking, though. In that case I might just recommend using a high-quality lens with near-macro capabilities (40-150/2.8 PRO?) with a high-quality Macro diopter (e.g. Raynox DCR-150). I've used that diopter with great success on my Panasonic 100-300mm, though at those FLs it is easy to achieve magnifications of greater than 1:1, so even at f/11 (the farthest I could push it handheld) you need to focus stack in order to produce a workable image.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  7. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    120mm equivalent is already a fairly long macro lens. THe "Pro" FF macros are in the 150-180mm range, typically, which is also where 100-105mm macros would be on APS-C. I don't know if I've seen a 200mm equivalent from anybody. 120mm is longer than the standard 100mm macro on film/FF.

    Remember that 1:1 on m4/3 already represents and area that is 1/2 the diagonal of FF at 1:1 anyway. So shooting your 60mm at 1:2 should give you the same size object as 180mm on FF, but with even more working distance.

    So I guess, sure, It would be a nice option. But the 60mm macro is pretty close, honestly.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. TNcasual

    TNcasual Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Dec 2, 2014
    Knoxville, TN
    I was going to mention legacy glass as well. I haven't spent too much time with the Leica Macro Elmar-R 100 f4 that I acquired. What I have, though, I have been impressed with the results.

    On the other hand, Focus Stacking would be awesome.
  9. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I used to say that, but with living creatures, I find my keeper rate is MUCH higher with AF. It just depends on your experience level and goals.

    I do agree there are some pretty fantastic MF options for macro, though.
  10. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    Nikon has a 200mm/f4 Macro and Canon has a 180mm/f3.5 Macro. Both are big (1.1 kg!), serious, expensive ($1400-1800) pieces of kit, though.
  11. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    Bugs are my main macro subject, but since I'm trying to basically fill the frame with them, I don't find the AF to be particularly helpful since it doesn't know where to focus and the depth of field at these magnifications is typically only 1mm or so, so I'm getting a slice of the insect regardless. I just set the MF to my desired magnification ratio and wobble my whole body gently in and out while using the burst mode. Keeper rate is extraordinarily low, but I only need 1, really...

    Your mileage may vary, though! I'm sure I'd enjoy an AF lens if I had one. But I don't love the feel of manually focussing fly-by-wire lenses, so almost never do it if I have the choice.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  12. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Yeah, I sometimes wonder if I really needed AF enough to pony up for the Leica 45mm, but it's nice to have. It would be the first lens to go if I needed the cash, though.

    Was not familiar with the Nikon. Canon, Tamron and Sigma make 180mm 3.5 and Sigma makes a 150mm f2.8. Not cheap!

    Just another thought not related to the quote above:

    Working distance can be tricky, though, because yes, a longer lens has a longer MFD at 1:1, but MFD is measured from sensor. So if you have a longer lens that is also physically longer, or extends when focusing, you can end up back where you started. Prime example in Canon land is the Canon 60mm macro vs the Tamron 90mm. The Tamron extends when focusing and the Canon does not. So despite the 50% longer focal length, you end up with only 10% more working distance. A massive 180mm lens vs a short little m4/3 lens might be the same story.
    • Informative Informative x 1
  13. Gary5

    Gary5 Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 15, 2014
    I've tried a macro adaptor on the 50-200. For me, it's a lot easier to use than a fixed 200mm because magnification increases as I zoom in. But it doesn't have the super flat field like a real macro lens, which is probably a big deal for some people.
  14. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    Isn't flat field primarily a major concern for repro / scanning / archival work? I guess when I look at my macro photos the DoF is so thin already that a completely flat field is not even necessarily an advantage, depending on the subject. I may be mistaken here, though.
  15. Gary5

    Gary5 Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 15, 2014
    Flat field is not important to me, I just notice the difference. Here are some example shots with an inexpensive zoom plus adaptor in the hands of a 10x better photographer than me: PEN E-PL1: Cheap thrills
  16. Carbonman

    Carbonman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jul 10, 2014
    Vancouver BC
    I use the Oly 60mm Macro and really like it. For close to 1:1 magnification I usually go to manual focus and move my body to change the area that's in sharp focus. This may change when using focus stacking in my new E-M1.
    I also shoot a lot of close up work with the 12-40. It doesn't go anywhere near 1:1 but gives good results at its maximum magnification.
    The 40-150 Pro is really good for quasi-macro. It gives lots of working distance and can give pretty high magnification alone or with the 1.4x TC. Adding a set of Fotga extension tubes to the 40-150 + TC lets me get down to a field of view about 1-1/8" across. I should also be able to use focus stacking because the extension tubes pass the electrical signals.
  17. getoutandshoot

    getoutandshoot Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 28, 2012
    Thanks everyone for sharing your thoughts about this. It does appear there is a gap in native mu-4/3 lenses for an *autofocusing* longer focal length macro lens with greater working distance. And judging by the responses so far, I can kind of see why we have not yet seen such a lens. Most of you are not clamoring for it.

    However, I wonder if the advent of focus bracketing/stacking might make it more likely that such a lens will eventually be offered. I don't have much macro experience, but I've admired a lot of people's macro photos. Often, it is just impossible to get the entire subject in focus, and I'm sure that is part of the art/skill, i.e., selecting what part of the subject is sharp and how the out of focus parts are handled in the frame. That will always remain true, but in the past it was true partly out of necessity.

    Many of you may have read this page on the Olympus web site, explaining how focus bracketing/stacking is used in macro photography: Utilising the OM-D E-M1 Ver. 4.0's Focus Stacking and Focus Bracketing Modes in Insect Photography, with Professional Photographer Kazuo Unno

    When I read that I was surprised how many frames may be needed when bracketing/stacking: "When shooting a small insect of about 1 to 2 cm in length, focus step can be set to 2 or 3 if the insect isn't moving, and about 50 to 70 shots produce good results." (with an aperture of f/5.6 or f/8).

    That really makes it clear why the automation is needed!

    I'm sure sometimes the process fails because the subject moves. Also, if you want to use flash, which I know really improves a lot of macro photography, well even if the camera tries to execute bracketing/stacking, I doubt it would work very well to wait for your flash to recharge 50 times...

    So I know the automatic focus bracketing/stacking will have limitations like anything else, but still it is pretty cool to have the option, and it makes me want to try macro even more. I'll probably play around with "near macro" close ups first using my Oly 12-40. As I said, I'm in no hurry... And I know the Oly 60 is a great lens.

    Last edited: Dec 9, 2015
  18. Speedliner

    Speedliner Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 2, 2015
    Southern NJ, USA
    I have the Sigma 150mm macro in 4/3 mount. It's a great lens. Adds plenty of working distance. A MFT version of such a lens with MFT-grade size and AF would be a great addition.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  19. getoutandshoot

    getoutandshoot Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 28, 2012
    Wow. Interesting to know that, Graham. I'd be very interested to see examples of close-up/near macro shots with and without focus bracketing/stacking using just the 40-150 + TC at full zoom, without extension tubes (~210mm). Or whatever you might have to share. No rush.

  20. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    Yikes, that seems crazy to me. I understand that there's an advantage to shooting at an optimal aperture like f4 or f5.6 to get absolute maximum sharpness...but I've never found that post-processing goes flawlessly, especially when stacking shots from an insect that is alive and possibly moving, and sitting on a leaf that's possibly moving, shot with a camera that's possibly moving. And a movement of 1mm in any of those circumstances represents a huge variation in the macro image.

    But what do I know! I prefer to stop down a bit more (f/11 or f/14) even though that's into the dreaded diffraction territory (scary!) and stack somewhere between 2-5 shots. Though that's entirely un-automated and shot handheld, which is the only way I've found it possible to be successful doing this kind of photography. I wish I had automated focus bracketing / stacking, but it's not going to stop me from enjoying this kind of photography in the mean time.