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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Macro Talk 
Thread started 09 Mar 2016 (Wednesday) 13:48
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If You Had a Choice on a lens Other than MACRO

 
russellsnr2
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Mar 12, 2016 10:31 |  #16

LordV wrote in post #17932575 (external link)
Not sure if you were aiming at me but Yes I do use flash a lot for shooting at 1:1 or higher mags but use natural light at lower mags. No I don't often bother balancing natural and flash except when shooting backlit subjects like dragonflies. With flash I often try and make sure there is some background close to the subject but I'm not totally averse to black backgrounds.

Brian v.

Hi, Many thanks for that.
Russ


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Mar 28, 2016 12:46 |  #17

Depends what look you want, could go wide or tele depending on how much perspective compression and environment you want to show. You can use ext tubes, teleconvertor or dioptre lens to improve minimum focus, technique needs to be matches to the lens.


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Mar 28, 2016 12:56 |  #18

I think you should consider the Canon 24-70L F4 IS

It has a macro mode that has a .7x magnification - therefore it may fill your goal, I'm not exactly sure what it is however, that you can use it for macro, and the shorter FL, will give a larger DoF, all other things being equal - which I think is something you are after.


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John ­ Koerner
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Apr 04, 2016 18:58 |  #19
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For me, I would choose a 50 mm or 28 mm (manual aperture).

You can place a reverse-ring on them, and get 1:1 magnification, or 2:1 magnification, respectively.

They are cheap, and high-quality.

Here is a general landscape lens I took with the Nikon 28mm manual (note how it allows very close focus on the flower).

IMAGE: http://www.thenaturephotographer.club/thumbnails/1/1_thumb_0000001292_medium.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://www.thenatureph​otographer.club/JohnKo​erner/606/1292/medium  (external link)

And here, flipping the same 28mm lens around, with a $35 reverse-ring, is an image I took with it (now at 2:1) of a tiny crab spider:

IMAGE: http://www.thenaturephotographer.club/thumbnails/1/1_thumb_0000001266_medium.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://www.thenatureph​otographer.club/JohnKo​erner/345/1266/medium  (external link)

The 28mm lens only cost me $539 and I think does more than any 100mm macro lens, allowing you both the freedom to shoot very wide landscapes and ultra-close macros, in one small tool.

Jack



  
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John ­ Koerner
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Apr 20, 2016 09:04 |  #20
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A few more words on the 28mm Ai-S as an all-around great non-macro lens:

It's funny, because I was just talking about this as my favorite, all-around lens, for the reasons mentioned (it does super-wide, wide, close-up, and extreme macro ... all in 1 inexpensive lens.)

And then I read this:

"The Nikkor 28mm f/2.8s also famed for its ability to deliver images of extremely high contrast and resolution. It has long been a favorite among many seasoned photographers as one of the best wideangle lens for all round photography ....

"Wide 74° picture coverage lets you handle wide scope of applications, such as it can be used to take candids, portraits of people in their surroundings, landscapes, travel photos, night lights, architecture and interiors, nudes, and star trails etc.
* Focuses down to 0.2m (0.7 ft.) - the closest minimum focusing distance of any Nikkor lens; Close-Range Correction System insures sharp images even at its closest focusing distance.
* Excellent for high-magnification close-ups when mounted in reverse on a bellows unit - up to nearly 9X magnification is possible.
* Superb picture quality from center to edges because it is extremely well corrected for coma and spherical aberration.
* Exceptionally light - weighs only 250 grams."

Check out the full article (external link).

Since "a picture is worth a thousand words," let me post 4 photos that show the extreme versatility of the Nikon 28mm Ai-S:

I used the "infinity" end of the wide-angle lens (properly-oriented) to document the entire area, looking back, where I hiked:

IMAGE: http://www.thenaturephotographer.club/thumbnails/1/1_thumb_0000001307_medium.jpg

I used the mid-range end of the lens and document the plant/flower upon which I found the spider:

IMAGE: http://www.thenaturephotographer.club/thumbnails/1/1_thumb_0000001316_medium.jpg

The lens also has a very close min focusing distance (properly-mounted) to get a standard close-up of the flower type on which it was found (again, normal lens mounting):

IMAGE: http://www.thenaturephotographer.club/thumbnails/1/1_thumb_0000001315_medium.jpg

And then, just slapping on a simple reverse-ring, and turning the lens around, I am able to get an ultra-close 2:1 macro shot of the spider on the end of a flower bud (again, stacked image, natural light, macro rail):

IMAGE: http://www.thenaturephotographer.club/thumbnails/1/1_thumb_0000001323_large.jpg

Again, all from 1 small, innocuous lens 8)

All I know is, I am a believer.

The small size + light weight + low price yet high-quality + the incredibly-wide range potential applications have made the Nikon 28mm Ai-S my favorite lens on a nature hike.

I still bring 2 other specialized lenses, but this 1 lens does more total work now than any of them. As funny as it may seem, I consider it lens to be the most versatile, valuable lens in my bag (yet it is also the least expensive).

Jack



  
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John ­ Koerner
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Apr 20, 2016 09:08 |  #21
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A few more words on the 28mm Ai-S from the latest Nikon 1001 Nights (external link) articles, compiled on the development of their lenses:

"While many users tend to focus on aspects and specifications ... I think that more importance should be placed on minimum focus distance and maximum reproduction ratio. These aspects are directly related to the degree of flexibility a lens offers. For example, have you ever photographed flowers with a normal zoom lens, and then switched to a telephoto lens to make the flowers appear larger or closer, only to find that you couldn't make the flowers appear any larger or closer because the minimum focus distance for the telephoto lens was quite long? Micro lenses are the best lenses for situations like this. Therefore, with actual shooting, the minimum focus distance is every bit as important as focal length. If we look at brochures in this way, the unique characteristics of the AI Nikkor 28mm f/2.8S covered in this tale become clear. It has a minimum focus distance of just 20 cm, one of the shortest among wide-angle lenses, and a high maximum reproduction ratio of 1/3.9×. This is one of the reasons this "approachability" is still included in our manual focus lens lineup."

The fact I can get so close to a subject, and capture the environment behind it, is what makes the 28mm f/2.8 Ai-S such a great naturalist's lens to me. While no, single lens is perfect, this comes as close to a perfect, single lens (for my purposes) as I have ever shot with. The detail, color, and bokeh I am able to get (reversed) as a macro lens is exceptional. Its low weight and low cost make me comfortable using it "for anything." It does many things very well, some exceptionally well. The landscape shot I took, above, had an overcast sky and it didn't seem to affect the detail or contrast. Also, with Lightroom, so much can be "brought back" that I am not too worried about it.

This lens can't replace my 300mm telephoto for distance shots of creatures that won't allow close approach, and I can't capture a 1:1 butterfly shot from a far-away distance (as I can with my Voigtländer 125mm (external link)) either, but the 28mm Ai-S can capture everything else about the natural world that these two lenses cannot duplicate. And, reversed, it goes 2:1, not just a mere 1:1. So it takes me beyond a standard macro also. Further, when oriented properly, it can also capture very close "near-macro" shots, and the environment behind the tiny subjects, because it allows such close approach while still being wide-angle. (In this respect, the Nikon Ai-S is very much like the new Laowa 15mm f/4 Wide Angle 1:1 Macro (external link).)

The all-manual Nikon 28mm f/2.8 Ai-S may not be perfect at all things; but it is really good at just about everything I need it to be good at, in 1 lens choice 8-)

Jack




  
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Apr 20, 2016 09:08 |  #22

If you are into switching non macro lenses around to reverse them, I suggest looking at something like this.

http://www.bhphotovide​o.com …everse_mount_ad​apter.html (external link)

It will make that endeavor quite a bit easier.


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John ­ Koerner
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Apr 20, 2016 09:12 |  #23
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Yes, that is what you need (for Canon).

For Nikon, it's even easier: http://www.bhphotovide​o.com …_Lens_Reversing​_Ring.html (external link)




  
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Apr 20, 2016 09:14 |  #24

You can get reversing rings like that for Canon too, however the Vello allows the camera to meter properly and talk to the lens, and shut down the lens during the shot, while leaving it wide open during the framing and focusing.


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Apr 20, 2016 09:42 |  #25
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TeamSpeed wrote in post #17978282 (external link)
You can get reversing rings like that for Canon too, however the Vello allows the camera to meter properly and talk to the lens, and shut down the lens during the shot, while leaving it wide open during the framing and focusing.

When using an all-manual lens, such as the Ai-S, there is no need for the lens to "talk" to the camera, as you control the aperture manually.

That is one of the bonuses of Nikon. Their old-school, all-manual lenses not only still work on today's camera, but many are still being manufactured today. Better still, they are actually sharper and better-corrected than most of the AF/auto-aperture lenses proliferating the market. And they are much cheaper.

Jack




  
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Post edited over 3 years ago by TeamSpeed. (2 edits in all)
     
Apr 20, 2016 09:48 as a reply to  @ John Koerner's post |  #26

Sure with manual lenses, however for Canon shooters, there are many EF and EFS lenses that are cheap and work outstandingly well as a reversed macro. I am sure the same is true with Nikkor lenses. I have used reversing rings with those, but it is tedious without the electronic solution that Vello offers.

This was shot using a simple reversing ring and a kit 18-55 EFS lens (cheap at $50). However it was tedious to frame and focus because I had the aperture locked down to something very small before taking the shot, and it was difficult to see everything in the viewfinder.

You can spend $15 for a Canon reversing ring all the way up to the $100 full DSLR capability that Vello offers so that you can use alternative lenses for macro use. If I were doing that all the time, I would personally spend the extra to make life easier.

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Apr 20, 2016 09:56 |  #27

Some points of clarification on the topic...


  1. 'macro' generally refers to 1:2 thru perhaps 5:1 magnification ratios, otherwise you simply are trying to do 'close focus photography'
  2. genuine 'macro' lenses are a) optimized for performance at focus distances closer than about 1:5, not merely at distances > 1:5 thru Infinity, b) 'flat field' corrected in order to shoot things like stamps


What OP describes is 'close focus' capability, unless you are trying to fill your frame with blooms that are smaller than 3". You can shoot with ordinary lenses on extension tubes, to accomplish #1 without needing to have #2

On a real budget, you can get very inexpensive extension tubes that have the electrical connection pass-thru to maintain communication between the camera body and the lens, so that you have aperture size control, automatic stopdown at time of exposure, and (not so important to have) AF. While sometimes extension tubes (even expensive $150 ones) do NOT permit 'stacking' while retaining all of the three functions listed, I have a very inexpensive set of extension tubes ($50) which DOES stack successfully and maintains communication.

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Apr 20, 2016 09:59 |  #28

TeamSpeed wrote in post #17978276 (external link)
If you are into switching non macro lenses around to reverse them, I suggest looking at something like this.

http://www.bhphotovide​o.com …everse_mount_ad​apter.html (external link)

It will make that endeavor quite a bit easier.

That is a cool accessory.

It is certainly possible to reverse a lens and get excellent sharpness when above a magnification of 1, but it is awkward and tedious because it can be tricky getting the magnification you require, and there is the problem of communication of the lens back to the body. This device should help with the latter.

Another issue with reversing the lens is that the working distance will be small. Not a show-stopper, but something that needs to be reckoned with.

All in all, reversing the lens is great for macro on a budget, and for experimenting, but IMO is not a substitute for a good macro lens if you can afford one.


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John ­ Koerner
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Apr 20, 2016 10:24 |  #29
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Archibald wrote in post #17978334 (external link)
That is a cool accessory.

It is certainly possible to reverse a lens and get excellent sharpness when above a magnification of 1, but it is awkward and tedious because it can be tricky getting the magnification you require, and there is the problem of communication of the lens back to the body. This device should help with the latter.

Again, if you select manual lenses, you don't have to worry about "communication."


Also, getting the right magnification isn't all that tricky, either, if you just follow the specs on the reverse-ring instructions:

Archibald wrote in post #17978334 (external link)
Another issue with reversing the lens is that the working distance will be small. Not a show-stopper, but something that needs to be reckoned with.

Pretty much any time you're going 2:1 and over, your working distance is going to be small. My working distance going 2:1 with the 28mm, reversed, is actually greater than the working distance the MP-E 65mm has at 2:1.


Archibald wrote in post #17978334 (external link)
All in all, reversing the lens is great for macro on a budget, and for experimenting, but IMO is not a substitute for a good macro lens if you can afford one.

Budget? I shoot on a Nikon D810. How bout you?

For long distance macro, I have a better macro lens than any macro lens commercially-available today: the Voigtländer SL 125mm f/2.5 Apo-Lanthar Macro (external link). It is sharper, has better bokeh, and far better CA color-correction ... and sells for more (at around $2,000) for a 15 year old lens. So I am on no "budget."

Still, the Voigtländer SL 125mm f/2.5 doesn't do greater than 1:1.

For greater than 1:1, Canon shooters move to the MP-E 65mm, while Nikon shooters need to reverse-mount and/or use bellows.

With 3 all-manual lenses, I can go from 1.1x - 3.4x with a simple reverse-ring. And I can get everywhere inbetween with extension tubes. Not many people go over 3x in the field, so I really don't care about 4x+ for my purposes.

Those 3 prime lenses cost twice what the MP-E 65mm costs. And while the MP-E is more versatile for extreme macro, it is a useless paperweight for anything else ... while I can flip these lenses around and take spectacular "normal photos" with them. (Hence the purpose of my original posts, above.)

If I were on a budget, and wanted 1-3x lifsize, in 1 lens, I could get the cheap, used 36-72 mm f/3.5 Nikon Zoom (external link), reverse it, and get 1.1-3.4x lifesize in one adjustable lens, for about $99 on eBay.

I just happen to prefer primes, so I went the more expensive route. As I did by purchasing the Voigtländer, which is more expensive than even the Zeiss macro, and is a better lens to boot. (Read the link to find out why ;) )

Jack


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Apr 20, 2016 10:53 as a reply to  @ John Koerner's post |  #30

Anyone know why Nikon calls 'macro' lenses 'Micro-' ?!?!?! I thought microphotography was > 10X


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If You Had a Choice on a lens Other than MACRO
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