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Thread: Macro for a beginner

  1. #1
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    Macro for a beginner

    Hello all,

    first off great community you have here, looking forward to learning as much as I can. You guys'n'gal's are gonna have to put up with my novice questions for a bit until I get up to speed. I know nothing about photography but I know what looks good and what works as a designer.

    Ok so I am looking for some advice to help me decide on which beginner macro setup I should go for, nothing too serious, something that I could quickly pull out of the bag without too much setup if that is at all possible with macro stuff. I would like to be able to capture usable clips as well as stills.

    What is everyone's opinion on those cheap reverse adapters? The price point makes it very appealing but my concerns are how close would the camera have to be, would there be enough light if it is so close, really shallow dof, and the thought of exposing the delicate parts of my primes to the elements. Though purchasing a cheaper lens just for this may be an option.

    Tubes, know absolutely nothing about them. do you just wack your lens on the end and that's it? seems like a safer alternative? would I need an adapter to fit the tubes onto the camera itself?

    Macro lenses, expensive from peoples opinions. I don't mind investing in one good quality one though I would probably budget myself to around $1k AUD ($800US i think) Do i stick with a prime macro or zoom macro lens? What is a good size to get keeping in mind i will be using it on a gh1 with crop factor but the long term investment would be for a full frame dslr when they've polished up video integration in future. Any suggestions for some Zeiss C/Y macro lenses as that's what I am currently building my general collection on, though I am open to other suggestions that work better for macro as it would be a dedicated setup.

    Thanks in advance

    cheers.

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    Super Moderator Cindy Flood's Avatar
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    Re: Macro for a beginner

    Hi,
    Welcome to the forum. This is a great place to learn.
    I have not tried the reverse adapters, so someone else will probably chime in on that.
    I use the Oly Zuiko digital 50 f/2 on my G1's and E-P1. It requires a 4/3 to micro 4/3 adapter. It is one of the sharpest lenses you will find and can be used for general photography, too. A dedicated macro lens is the easiest way to do macro (in my opinion). It does not AF on the G1, so I don't think it would AF on the GH-1, but you would manual focus for most macro applications anyway.
    I have extension tubes that I use. They are handy to have in the bag and turn almost any lens into a macro solution. They are a little trickier to use, but give good results at a minimum price. You would have to use an adapter with them. You could choose from Oly, Nikon, Canon and other brands of extension rings as long as you matched it to the correct adapter/lens.
    Most zoom macros are not true macros. You would probably best avoid those for macro use.
    Maybe someone else can advise on the Zeiss glass. I used to use Zeiss C-Y on Canon, but no longer have any.

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    Subscriber Member TRSmith's Avatar
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    Re: Macro for a beginner

    Welcome! I'll just add a few comments in a general way since I don't own a 4/3 camera. Same principles apply though. My own recommendation would be to go with a macro lens. There are many very good ones out there both used and new that would work on your camera. If budget is a consideration, I've heard good things about the Sigma and Tamron macros.

    Tubes do work but in my mind present a barrier in terms of ease of use that might prevent you from making the effort to take a shot simply because it's a hassle. Not a big one mind you, but just that extra bit that could persuade you to pass on an opportunity. Same seems likely with a reversing ring.

    I prefer to have a little working distance between subject and lens so I like a longer focal length macro. The 100s are great lenses although my all time fave is a 200 internal focussing macro from Nikon. Pricey though.

    Having said all that, I'll just add that almost any lens/adapter configuration that gets you as close as you want to be can provide macro shots. I've made some decent ones using a lensbaby with a 10x magnifier lens screwed to the front of it! A lot will depend on how close you want to get and whether you'll be shooting close a lot or just occasionally.

    Good luck and have fun!
    Tim

  4. #4
    vlatko
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    Re: Macro for a beginner

    Cheap reverse adapters' only advantage is that they are cheap. The working distance is very small. But the real problem is with modern lenses, those that don't have aperture rings. You're stuck with the largest aperture and therefore very shallow DOF. You could use a zoom lens on a reverse adapter when it serves as a kind of bellows, and can be used at a slightly larger distance, but the problem of aperture is still present. But the adapters are so cheap you can try them with a manual lens...

    Haven't tried 50/2 on Pen, only 35/3.5. It doesn't really work. Autofocus is racking the lens in and out and in again and then misses the focus. OTOH, I didn't check the compatibility info before trying the lens so it's my fault. :-)

    What I'd be interested in is seeing what's the upcoming Leica Macro 45/2.8 like. Or waiting for Olympus 50-200 SWD firmware update so it's compatible with contrast AF, and then trying it out on a 4/3 -> m4/3 adapter plus EX-25 extender ring. 50-200 plus EX-25 is quite an interesting close-up combination. Not really macro, but interesting nevertheless.

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    Senior Member pellicle's Avatar
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    Re: Macro for a beginner

    Mr Fanny

    welcome aboard.

    Quote Originally Posted by MRfanny View Post
    ...Though purchasing a cheaper lens just for this may be an option.

    Tubes, know absolutely nothing about them. do you just wack your lens on the end and that's it? seems like a safer alternative? would I need an adapter to fit the tubes onto the camera itself?
    this is the option I use presently. I use a FD lens adaptor (cost $75) to mount manual focus lenses onto the G1 ... I then bought a bundle of 3 extension tubes from ebay for about $20 which were Vivitar and slip them in behind the FD 50 f1.8

    Since I'm typically stopping down to f22 for reasonable DoF I find that any lens faster than that is quite pointless. This has enabled me to get images such as:






    It looks like this:



    taking this:



    notice that the camera is using only 2 extension tubes there something like 12mm and 20mm stacked ... I used just the 40mm tube on the record stylus above ...
    note: this is right out of the camera, no processing

    I also bought a small focusing rail to put the camera on to allow more subtle camera movement in positioning the focus right. With extension tubes you'll find that you're moving the camera more than just focusing with the lens in obtaining the right view and focus.

    best value for money and most compact carrying gear I've ever had.

    This was no tripod balanced on my boot.



    easy to use and cheap to purchase ;-)

  6. #6
    elf
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    Re: Macro for a beginner

    Well, there's macro then there's MACRO If you're doing flowers and still lifes, the working distance can be quite small. If you're into insects, then a longer working distance is better. The Sigma 105mm is a good performer down to 1:1 with a reasonable working distance. If you need more working distance, then the Sigma 150mm would be a good choice.

    I use a reversed El-Nikkor 50mm f/2.8 lens on a custom bellows for most of my macros. Here's a recent 4 frame focus stacked macro panorama :

    This thread has lots of examples for Canon gear (a lot of them could be adapted to other cameras): http://photography-on-the.net/forum/...d.php?t=142566

    This site has lots of info on most of the ways to do macro: http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/index.php

    fredmiranda.com has a good macro forum as well.

  7. #7
    Senior Member pellicle's Avatar
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    Re: Macro for a beginner

    Hi

    Quote Originally Posted by elf View Post
    Here's a recent 4 frame focus stacked macro panorama :
    nice job ... at first I was wondering about the contrast on it, then when I read more carefully it made sence

    looks very natural

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    Senior Member JBurnett's Avatar
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    Re: Macro for a beginner

    Extension tubes or a reversing ring are among the cheapest options. Tubes are probably easier to work with. I haven't seen either of these built for micro-4/3 specifically, so you would likely be looking at a "legacy" lens and an adapter to use them. One thing to consider about tubes is that each extension cuts the amount of light, and requires a slower shutter speed.

    Bellows are another, much bulkier, option.

    Close-up filters/lenses can also be an inexpensive choice, but the key is to get good quality ones (Canon or Nikon for example). This means more expense (likely more than tubes).

    "True" macro lenses (i.e. those with 1:1 or 1:2 magnification) are typically primes. They generally offer the best image quality (least amount of distortion, best edge sharpness, etc.) among these macro choices. The Olympus 50mm f/2.0 and 35mm f/3.5 are exceptional for image quality; they require the 4/3 to m4/3 adapter. I use the much-less-expensive 35mm on a G1 where it is manual focus only, and have been very pleased. Vlatko stated above that the 35mm doesn't auto-focus well on the E-P1, and I'm sure that's true. OTOH, I don't think I have ever used autofocus when doing macro work, even when it was available to me.

    There are many excellent legacy macro lenses in other mounts available. And, although used macro lenses often retain their resale quite well, sometimes you can find a very good deal.

    Macro accessories to consider: Good tripod with low-to-ground capabilities; a horizontal/variable angle center post is also helpful. Focusing rail. Remote shutter release. Macro flash.
    Best regards,
    John.
    http://jburnett.ca

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    Re: Macro for a beginner

    thanks for the warm welcome, tips and advice guys.

    I'm gonna scratch going down the reverse adapter path. I like your setup Pellicle, it still looks like a camera and fairly compact. I might give that a try while I budget for a prime macro lense, though I'm having no luck finding tubes for zeiss C/Y lenses on ebay except for the contax 645 and they're darn pricy just for one tube. Will have to google harder.

    thanks for all the suggestions on lenses, will check them all out. I've got to start telling myself there's more to lenses than zeiss, though I did come across this oddity that's quite interesting.

    http://cgi.ebay.com.au/CONTAX-YASHIC...3286.m63.l1177

    Jburnett - thanks for the shopping list although my wallet says otherwise.

    elf - if your MACRO involves lab coats, goggles, and split atoms, that might be abit too much MACRO for me..ha thanks for the links...will check them out.

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    Super Moderator Cindy Flood's Avatar
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    Re: Macro for a beginner

    I think I saw C-Y tubes for sale on FredMiranda B/S yesterday.

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    Re: Macro for a beginner

    thanks cindy. no luck finding it in the online store. will have to shoot them an email. I did however manage to find an old ebay link in my google quest for some no name set of C/Y extension tubes that went for 6 pounds!

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    Super Moderator Cindy Flood's Avatar
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    Re: Macro for a beginner

    ah...in the forums. didn't think to check there. thanks very much.

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    Re: Macro for a beginner

    I use a lot of different macro gear, including true micro lenses but ease of use doesn't apply to those.

    My general preference on the G1 is the 200 AI micro-Nikkor (a macro lens) but if I'm taking a smaller kit I take a 2 element achromat to put on the front of the 14-45 and 45-200. I've been putting a Nikon 6T with step down rings on the lenses, but am getting a Canon 250D in 52mm size. It's also of shorter focal length, so will cover a smaller area at closest distance.

    Due to the way modern zoom lenses work, these achromat close up lenses (or 'filters') work better than tubes, and the fact that they are small and handy only helps. In the tele region the quality tends to be excellent if you put them on a good lens, and the tele range is most useful in any case. Just don't bother with the single element close up lenses. With the focus and zoom variations, I've got everything covered continuously to very small fields of view.

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    Senior Member pellicle's Avatar
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    Re: Macro for a beginner

    Hi

    Quote Originally Posted by henningw View Post
    ...but if I'm taking a smaller kit I take a 2 element achromat to put on the front of the 14-45 and 45-200. I've been putting a Nikon 6T with step down rings on the lenses...
    Due to the way modern zoom lenses work, these achromat close up lenses (or 'filters') work better than tubes, and the fact that they are small and handy only helps.
    interesting point ... I have not used these "filters" for some time, but had some good results many years ago.

    How is (for instance) working distance when using them?

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    Re: Macro for a beginner

    a quick read up on these achromat close up filters suggest that they act like a magnifying glass? It would make for a very compact setup indeed.

    is it's magnification level higher than using a set of tubes? and image quality, which is better? from my search they both are comparable in price used.

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    Senior Member Per Ofverbeck's Avatar
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    Re: Macro for a beginner

    Quote Originally Posted by MRfanny View Post
    a quick read up on these achromat close up filters suggest that they act like a magnifying glass? It would make for a very compact setup indeed.

    is it's magnification level higher than using a set of tubes? and image quality, which is better? from my search they both are comparable in price used.
    They´re magnifying glasses, indeed, and almost as compact as a pola filter.
    I use them a lot; have owned tubes and bellows for various cameras, but this is far more convenient.

    You won´t get as much magnification, however, and it´s best to stop down a couple of stops (in closeup land, you´ll do that for DOF anyhow), but with good achromats, the IQ is quite decent. Don´t stack them, however, contrary to some advice... (and, if you do, put the strongest one next to the lens).

    As a rule of thumb for choosing strength, first determine the closeup limit of your lens expressed IN METERS. Invert that number, and get an achromat with diopter strength as close as possible (e.g. a lens focussing down to 0.5 m wants a 2.0 diopter achromat). In that way, you get about the same field of view at close limit without the achromat that you´d get with the achromat and the prime lens set to infinity, and thus a minimum of range overlapping.

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    Re: Macro for a beginner

    Thanks for the tip on selecting correct diopter strength. The more I look at them the more appealing they become. At the risk of sounding stupid, how do I find out what distance my lens focuses down to?

    Can you combine an achromat with a tube?

    I just came across teleconverters. Are these used for macro too or are they what they sound, converters for lenses to make them telescopic?

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    Senior Member pellicle's Avatar
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    Re: Macro for a beginner

    Quote Originally Posted by MRfanny View Post
    how do I find out what distance my lens focuses down to?
    on many lenses (like older manual focus lenses) its written on the lens (where it shows the focusing distance). For the kit lens, according to the manual p158:

    Interchangeable Lens (H-FS014045)
    “LUMIX G VARIO 14–45 mm/F3.5–5.6 ASPH./MEGA O.I.S.”
    Focal length: f=14 mm to 45 mm
    (35 mm film camera equivalent: 28 mm to 90 mm)
    Aperture type: 7 leaf shutters/iris diaphragm/circular diaphragm
    Aperture range: F3.5 (Wide) to F5.6 (Tele)
    Minimum aperture
    value: F22
    Lens construction: 12 elements in 9 groups (1 aspherical lens)
    In focus distance: 0.3 m (0.99 feet) to ∞ (from the focus distance reference line)

  20. #20
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    Re: Macro for a beginner

    [QUOTE=MRfanny;128382I just came across teleconverters. Are these used for macro too or are they what they sound, converters for lenses to make them telescopic?[/QUOTE]

    Some are for Macro and others fot Tele.
    Just bought a vivitar 2x Macro converter in OM mount. They are not so expensive. I have a panagor too, but this one is better, I think. It is advised to use it with 50mm lenses but it works with longer lenses as well.

    Here is a Photo I took of some bees working on a Lavendelflower. (size 4cm high) It is amazing what you see passing by a little flower like thi in about 15 minutes. These flowers don't have a moment for themseves. And they come and go in all sizes from bumblebee size till something you can hardly see even looking through the lens.

    Michiel

    This was done with an OM 50/1.4 on the Converter.

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    Senior Member Per Ofverbeck's Avatar
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    Re: Macro for a beginner

    Quote Originally Posted by MRfanny View Post
    Thanks for the tip on selecting correct diopter strength. The more I look at them the more appealing they become. At the risk of sounding stupid, how do I find out what distance my lens focuses down to?
    If it has a conventional distance scale, just read it there. If it doesn´t, just set it to manual focus, turn the ring until you´re sure you´re at the near end, look in the VF or LCD and move the outfit back and forward until, say, a row of books looks sharp. Then measure the distance between the camera and the subject; that´s it (it doesn´t have to be super accurate for this purpose).

    Quote Originally Posted by MRfanny View Post
    Can you combine an achromat with a tube?
    Yes, you can. Only, the achromat doesn´t add very much magnification over a typical set of tubes, so it´s hardly worth the trouble...

    Quote Originally Posted by MRfanny View Post
    I just came across teleconverters. Are these used for macro too or are they what they sound, converters for lenses to make them telescopic?
    You get the same close focussing limit with double the focal lenghth (for a 2x converter), so you do get about double the magnification. If you use tubes as well, put them between the converter and the lens, not between the converter and the camera body. However, converters often degrade the image noticeably.

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    Re: Macro for a beginner

    thats a nice pic michiel. had to double check 4cm on the ruler to realise how small it was. how close were you to the actual flower?

    thanks again Per Ofverbeck for your advice. I came across a contax mutar I 2X teleconverter hence my query but if they do tend to degrade the image I may just play with a set of tubes first and possibly an achromat to get a better understanding of macro.

    Thanks again everyone for your inputs. looking forward to posting some images up to learn more from you all.

    cheers.

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    Senior Member petermcwerner's Avatar
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    Re: Macro for a beginner

    Quote Originally Posted by MRfanny View Post
    2X teleconverter hence my query but if they do tend to degrade the image I may just play with a set of tubes first and possibly an achromat to get a better understanding of macro.
    Example with achromat on the G1 kit lens:




    The next one with a macro lens + teleconverter. This combination corresponds to a 400mm macro lens on the G1 :



    G1 - Leica APO-Macro-Elmarit-R 2.8/100 + APO Extender-R 2x - ISO=100 - Raw Therapee + Gimp
    Peter Werner
    Leica M8, R9+DMR & Digilux 2; Nikon D700; Panasonic FX01, FX150 & G1; Samsung TL350 (WB 2000)

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    Re: Macro for a beginner

    Quote Originally Posted by MRfanny View Post
    Macro lenses, expensive from peoples opinions. I don't mind investing in one good quality one though I would probably budget myself to around $1k AUD ($800US i think)
    An excellent value is the Pre-AI Micro Nikkor 55mm. You can be find them for less than US $100
    Peter Werner
    Leica M8, R9+DMR & Digilux 2; Nikon D700; Panasonic FX01, FX150 & G1; Samsung TL350 (WB 2000)

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    Senior Member Per Ofverbeck's Avatar
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    Re: Macro for a beginner

    Quote Originally Posted by MRfanny View Post
    .... I came across a contax mutar I 2X teleconverter hence my query but if they do tend to degrade the image I may just play with a set of tubes first and possibly an achromat to get a better understanding of macro.
    ...
    Well, the Mutars are absolute top-of-the-line... There´s some degradation, and I still don´t think it´s as convenient as a good achromat, but if it´s cheap, maybe you´ll find use enough for it...

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    Re: Macro for a beginner

    petermcwerner - Im not sure if it is the subject but that second pic with the macro and teleconverter is alot sharper. would that be because you were using a good macro lens vs stock lense? or achromat vs teleconverter?

    Thanks for the Nikkor reference. That brings up another question 55mm vs 100mm ,short vs long, which would be a better investment? Would it depend on shooting style or subject?

    Per Ofverbeck - I had a feeling they were better than the average teleconverter but wasn't 100% sure so didn't bid. ebay is such an evil place..ha

  27. #27
    Senior Member petermcwerner's Avatar
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    Re: Macro for a beginner

    Quote Originally Posted by MRfanny View Post
    petermcwerner - Im not sure if it is the subject but that second pic with the macro and teleconverter is alot sharper. would that be because you were using a good macro lens vs stock lense? or achromat vs teleconverter?
    Both factors: The kit lens does not have the same quality as a dedicated macro lens (and the Leica 100mm APO is about the best macro there is, including its teleconverter). I have seen better results than in the first picture with the kit lens and a Raynox macro adapter attached in front. You can find some examples by searching this forum. The two examples I posted stand for the cheapest and the most expensive solution.

    Thanks for the Nikkor reference. That brings up another question 55mm vs 100mm ,short vs long, which would be a better investment? Would it depend on shooting style or subject?
    As you suggest, it mainly depends on the subject and the magnification factor you want to achieve. Most macro lenses in 35mm-land are 90-105mm. The 55mm Nikkor would equal a 110mm on a 35mm FF camera and is a good compromise. The subject of the second picture was an ordinary daisy (approx. 8mm diameter) photographed from 2 meters distance.

    Cheers
    Peter
    Peter Werner
    Leica M8, R9+DMR & Digilux 2; Nikon D700; Panasonic FX01, FX150 & G1; Samsung TL350 (WB 2000)

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    Re: Macro for a beginner

    Hi, I am doing almost only macro with my G1. My setup consists of Jinfinance FD adapter with;
    - Canon Fd50mm f/3.5 Macro
    - Canon Fd100mm f4 Macro
    - Canon 50mm extension tube
    - Tokina ATX 90mm f/2.5 Macro
    - Tokina ATX Macro extender
    - Vivitar Series1 90mm f/2.5 Macro
    - Novoflex Bellows

    I have used Canon250d, Canon500d and Sigma Achromatics in the beginning but fixed Macro lenses do much better.

    Some examples:










    For more see my stream: http://www.flickr.com/photos/elchivato/show/

    Regards,
    Jerry

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    Senior Member JBurnett's Avatar
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    Re: Macro for a beginner

    Quote Originally Posted by JerryMK View Post
    Hi, I am doing almost only macro with my G1. My setup consists of Jinfinance FD adapter with;
    - Canon Fd50mm f/3.5 Macro
    - Canon Fd100mm f4 Macro
    - Canon 50mm extension tube
    - Tokina ATX 90mm f/2.5 Macro
    - Tokina ATX Macro extender
    - Vivitar Series1 90mm f/2.5 Macro
    - Novoflex Bellows
    Some really nice shots, Jerry. It would be interesting to see how big some of these lenses are on the G1 -- do you have any shots of them mounted?
    Best regards,
    John.
    http://jburnett.ca

  30. #30
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    Re: Macro for a beginner

    Nice shots Jerry,
    Quote Originally Posted by JerryMK View Post
    - Canon Fd100mm f4 Macro
    - Tokina ATX 90mm f/2.5 Macro
    - Vivitar Series1 90mm f/2.5 Macro
    Why three different lenses around 100mm? You just happened to have them or is there a specific reason?
    Cheers
    Peter
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    Re: Macro for a beginner

    @jBurnet: they are not to big on the G1 I will post some photo's later on.

    @Peter: you are right and I have them because I started out with the Canon 100mm and cannot say goodbye to it. And later added the Tokina 90mm because it is just the best macro lens out there and the bokeh rendering is superb. The Vivitar 90mm is my backup and is actually quit the same as the Tokina.

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    Re: Macro for a beginner

    JerryMK - those pics are quite surreal which is the reason why I like macro, very very nice. I'd love to capture video/stills as good as that.

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    Re: Macro for a beginner

    Hi MrFanny, thanks.

    For anyone interested, the Tokina ATX 90mm f/2.5 is for sale now. Have a look at: http://cgi.ebay.nl/Tokina-AT-X-90mm-...d=p3286.c0.m14

    If you refer to this topic I drop in a discount

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