Who has used close-up lenses?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Middlemarch, Sep 14, 2005.

  1. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch TPF Noob!

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    I have shot random subjects for a few weeks now and would like to begin concentrating on a particular technique, then move on to something else, etc. After doing some reading and looking, I find myself drawn to macro photography. I believe that the most interesting things in life can often be those which we would normally overlook.

    That being said, I'm not sure I want to spend a lot for a macro lens, so I'm considering a close-up lens (or a set, 1x, 2x, and 4x) for my Pentax cameras (ZX-M and ZX-7).

    What are people's experiences with these lenses? Are you pleased with the results? Were they easy or difficult to use? What are some potential drawbacks? Do you wish you had just sprung for a macro lens? I read elsewhere on this forum that they may be difficult to use with AF. Any other insights or experiences with these?

    Thanks. :thumbup:
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I have a set, made by Hoya. (+1, +2 & +4) You can even stack them for additional magnification.

    I think I paid about $60 CDN...not really cheap but much less than a macro lens.

    I think they are great, for what they are. Sure a macro lens would be better but these get the job done. Because you are adding more glass to an existing lens, there is some quality loss but it's not too bad. I'm sure there are good quality ones and some that aren't so good.

    The DOF can be quite shallow, as with most macro stuff. I don't know if they are worse than a true macro lens or not.

    I was actually using them last night. I don't have time to post the results just yet, but I will get around to it soon.
     
  3. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch TPF Noob!

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    Thanks, Mike. I appreciate the response. I figured there would be some loss of quality, but wasn't sure how much. I'm sure a newbie like me wouldn't notice the difference!

    I was looking at Hoya's 1,2,4 set that are multi-coated to reduce glare. They go for 64.50 US at B&H. The normal set are 44.95.

    Thanks again. I'd be interested in seeing some examples of pics taken with yours.
     
  4. darich

    darich TPF Noob!

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    Have you considered a set of extension tubes?
    They wont lose any quality although you may lose autofocus depending on the lens you use.
    Extension tubes fit between the lens and the body to reduce the minimum focus distance of any lens so you can get closer.
    Not sure how they compare price wise to the screw on lenses you mention - it may depend on the type or size you need.
    Maybe something else to consider.
     
  5. DocFrankenstein

    DocFrankenstein Clinically Insane?

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    Both extension tubes and attachments degrade quality. You usually get bad aberrations with dioptric attachments. With the tubes you also get aberrations and light loss. There are no additional glass, but the working distance is so close, the light has to come into the lens at a very small angle and it creates problem. You'll also find your apertures very slow and minimum working distance.

    You can however experiment with it and learn macro flash work... etc...

    But a dedicated macro lens gives you better quality and flexibility.

    Also, unless you use your flash as the main light source, you'll want a geared head with a macro rail. Doing macro without can aggravate you very quickly.

    Good luck
     
  6. SLOShooter

    SLOShooter TPF Noob!

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    You can try a reversing ring and use like a 50 mm or something flipped around backwards. HAven't tried it myself though.
     
  7. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch TPF Noob!

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    Extension tubes start at $130 at B&H. And reversing rings, though cheap, don't seem available for 58mm Pentax.

    A macro lens for my camera is $119 minimum. I may consider this, but I'm baffled by all the numbers. Here's what it says...

    -Macro ratio of 1:1
    -Minimum focusing distance of 1.4 ft.
    -Macro focusing as close as 1:2
    -Includes 1:1x adaptor lens, allowing focusing as close as 5.2 inches.

    What does all this mean? I understand the 5.2 inches, but what do the ratios refer to?

    Thanks for all the help so far!
     
  8. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    It's going to depend on the quality of the close up lenses. I've used cheap close up sets on 35mm SLRs, and the results weren't so hot, but the Rollinar close up lenses for my Rolleiflex do an amazing job.
     
  9. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    1:1 means that what you photograph will be life size on the film or sensor. If you photograph a coin, you could lay the coin on the neg, and it would be the same size.

    This lens actually only goes to 1:2. Meaning the coin would be 1/2 life size on the neg. You have to screw in an included close up lens to get 1:1, so it's not a real macro lens. Although it still may be quite capable of taking good photos.
     
  10. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I also have a reversing ring, and did some of that last night as well. The ring is just a thin ring that allows you to screw two lenses together...front to front. I usually reverse my 50mm lens onto my 35-105 lens. This does give a lot of magnification...almost too much. It's very hard to work with because the lens must be so close to the subject and the DOF is razor thin. But when it works, it's really close. Here is a shot of a slice of bread, taken with a reversed lens.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch TPF Noob!

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    Ah, I see. That's very tricky of them...:confused:

    Thanks for the sample photo, Mike. I can't believe I just ate that!
     
  12. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    Well, just remember, if you see a new macro lens priced under $500, it's probably not a real macro lens (1:1). :)
     

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