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01-25-2011, 10:33 PM   #1
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Hoya macro filters on Amazon...worth it?

I would like to do the occasional macro shooting, but don't do it often enough or have the budget to purchase a macro lens. How are the screw-on threaded macro filters that hoya makes? Some different versions on amazon between $40 and $50 or so, not exactly sure the differences. If the image quality is halfway decent I could see this being economical and handy for me, but not worth $2 if it is crap IQ. Are they decent? Any better than Hoya? I don't want to get one of the raynoxes, just want a screw-on 58mm macro filter to easily carry around and pop on my DA* 55.

Also for macro shots I'd love to use a little fill flash but don't want to buy an external flash. I asked this in accessories but didn't hear much.....for my pop-up flash is it worth getting a gary fong puffer or should I just tone down the level of the flash?

Thanks for any help! -LE

01-26-2011, 03:11 AM   #2
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I have a set of these and so far they are pretty decent though admittedly I've not used them all that much. $50 is about what I have seen retail. You can pick up a set pretty easily used though for half that. I think I saw a set recently in the Marketplace. You might want to try a search there.
01-26-2011, 07:57 PM   #3
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Thanks MK, sounds like it might be worth picking up some.

Would I be better off getting them for my DA* 55 for the low light capability or for my DA 18-250, seeing as it is already a zoom?
01-26-2011, 10:01 PM   #4
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Honestly I don't know because I don't have much in the way of those kinds of lenses. My Tamron digital has a much bigger thread and I have no step up rings that will actually work to use that lens with the set so I haven't tried that.

Most of my lenses are vintage and manual. I've used them on all my lenses though that have a 49-52MM thread with the two step up rings that I got with them and so far I think I like them best with my 50's and my 105MM Takumar. The Vivitar zooms not so much.

I'm not actually sure which step up rings are supposed to come with these. Mine had the two, but the ads I've seen don't mention them or only mention the 52-55MM one. I got my set used and I think maybe the second ring in mine might have been added. A good set of step up rings just might be needed with these if you have a lens thread larger than 52MM, I think.

01-26-2011, 10:49 PM   #5
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Can't say much about the filters, but I think your pop-up flash will need some manipulation because you will be close to the subject and the lens may cause a shadow, or the flash may overshoot the subject. Bounce and swivel flashes can be had for under $40. Might use a 3x5 card to direct some light downward.
01-27-2011, 02:29 AM   #6
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I just did a quick eBay scan and I see various new sets in the US$20-35 range, and used sets from other sources often go for much less. I bought a few sets of various sizes, all for around US$5-10 each.

These "close-up filters" are +dioptre meniscus lenses that act as a magnifying glass atop the host lens. They aren't really good for macro shooting, as they degrade image quality more than just about any other strap-on. They aren't corrected for optical aberrations, as are the highly regarded Raynox macro adapters.

What they effectively do is shorten your working distance. From "The Pentax Way" by Herbert Keppler:

"Generally speaking a +1 lens focuses from 20" to 38"; a +2 from 13" to 20"; a +3 from 10" to 13"; a +4 from 8" to 10"; a +5 from 6.5" to 8"; a +6 from 6" to 6.5"; a +8 at 5" and a +10 at 4". The focusing distances are not dependent on focal length. No matter what lens you use on your camera, subject distance with the same close-up lenses remain the same. Naturally, the area covered varies with the focal length of the lens and the image size will be greater with the lens of longer focal length."

If image quality, especially around the edges, isn't your primary concern, these can be fun to play with. I'll use a +1 on a slow lens to drastically thin-out it's DOF, which is handy in portraiture. There's a variant called a split dioptre, which is half magnifier and half optical (or no) glass. This can apparently drastically thicken DOF, by letting you focus on something close while the further background remains sharp. But watch where the dividing line goes!

My suggestion: Get a used set cheap, like under US$15. Play with them. Then get a Raynox.
01-27-2011, 03:23 AM   #7
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Good advice Rio.....the raynox has a thread on size of 49mm....will it vignette on my 58 and 62mm filter size lenses??
01-27-2011, 03:24 AM   #8
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Also is the raynox 250 a tripod only adapter for practical purposes? I want to shoot hand held and am curious if the 150 would be better...

01-27-2011, 03:55 AM   #9
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From what I have read here it would seem that the DA(L) 55-300 (or similar) zoom in combination with the Raynox 150 gives good results and a convenient working distance. At ~200mm and beyond vingetting doesn't seem to be a problem either.

The diopter strength (1/FL) of the Raynoxes are 4.8 (150) and 8 (250), these translate to focal lengths 208mm and 125mm respectively. A usually close enough approximation for magnification is <add-on FL>/<lens FL> where you'd probably want to end up around 50%-100% to handhold. Another useful approximation is that working distance is about the focal length of the add-on.
01-27-2011, 06:12 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Loren E Quote
Thanks MK, sounds like it might be worth picking up some.

Would I be better off getting them for my DA* 55 for the low light capability or for my DA 18-250, seeing as it is already a zoom?
Earlier you said...I don't want to get one of the raynoxes, just want a screw-on 58mm macro filter to easily carry around and pop on"...

I encourage you to rethink this position. The Raynox DCR 150 is almost perfect for your 18-250 lens. It is small, lightweight, and clips on almost instantly. It will yield excellent results over a broad range of magnifications, surely better IQ than the Hoya close-up lenses which I presume are not achromatic.

Low light capability doesn't matter much for macros because depth of field is so limited you need to use fairly big f-numbers.

My experience shows little interference between the flash and Raynox clip-on with a 55-300mm zoom.

If you don't like the Raynox' clip-on adapter, you can remove it and use an adapter ring to screw it onto the primary lens.

Dave
01-27-2011, 06:15 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Loren E Quote
Good advice Rio.....the raynox has a thread on size of 49mm....will it vignette on my 58 and 62mm filter size lenses??

I can tell you the Raynox 150 does not vignette badly on my 55-300mm zoom (58mm filter) either with or without the clip-on adapter.

Dave
01-27-2011, 06:17 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Loren E Quote
Also is the raynox 250 a tripod only adapter for practical purposes? I want to shoot hand held and am curious if the 150 would be better...
Yes, the 150 on a long focal length lens would be better because of its longer working distance. The 250 is about twice as strong so it has about 1/2 the working distance and is hard to hand-hold.

Dave
01-27-2011, 06:38 AM   #13
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Here's what magnifications to expect with the Raynox 150 on the 18-250mm superzoom:

With primary lens focused at infinity:
mag.closeup.lens = focal.length.primary.lens/focal.length.closeup.lens

With primary lens extended:
mag.total = (1+mag.primary.lens.extended)(1+mag.closeup.lens) - 1

Focal.length.Raynox.150 = 208 mm, mag.18-250.extended = 0.28

for the zoom lens with Raynox 150 from 18mm at infinity focus to 250mm at closest focus:
18/208 <= mag.total <= (1.28)(1+250/208)-1 or 0.087x <= mag.total <= 1.82x

A huge continuous range of magnifications.

Dave

PS the max mag may be less than 1.8X because of Internal Focusing aspects of the Zoom lens. EDIT based on the published specs for the DA 18-250 I expect the maximum mag with the Raynox 150 will be closer to 1.2x than to 1.8x. This is because the minimum reported focusing distance of 450mm at 0.28x & "250mm" implies the actual focal length is less than 80mm.

Last edited by newarts; 01-27-2011 at 09:45 AM.
01-27-2011, 09:01 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Loren E Quote
Good advice Rio.....the raynox has a thread on size of 49mm....will it vignette on my 58 and 62mm filter size lenses??
QuoteOriginally posted by Loren E Quote
Also is the raynox 250 a tripod only adapter for practical purposes? I want to shoot hand held and am curious if the 150 would be better...
The patented Raynox clip-on adapter works well (without vignetting nor jamming) on threads in the 52-67mm range. It can also be force-fit onto a 49mm thread, although it's better to use a 49-43mm step-down ring for that. My Raynox DCR-250 normally rides inside my carry bag in a thick baggie with its clip and with three rings: 49-43 step-down (for use on 49mm-thread lenses); 49-52mm step-up (so I can use 52mm filters on it); 49-49mm reversal (just because that's a handy place to store that ring).

I use my DCR-250 mostly on my FA50/1.4, the DA18-55 and DA18-250 zooms, and the FA100-300 zoom. I'll handhold on the shorter focal lengths in sufficient ambient light. At longer FL's I'll often use a ringflash, handheld. I haven't needed a tripod yet.

I've had the -250 for a couple years now. I should probably get a -150 also, just because I accumulate this stuff. Hmmm, I wonder how it'll work atop a 50/4 or 90/2.8 macro lens? Or on a 28/2.8 pseudo-macro lens? Time for some experimentation. IGOR, READY THE LABORATORY! SHARPEN MY SCALPELS! BRING IN THE FRESH SUBJECTS! Yes, this will be fun, heh heh.

Last edited by RioRico; 01-27-2011 at 09:10 AM.
01-27-2011, 01:00 PM   #15
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because of the 49mm thread size I thought vignetting would be an issue, thanks for clarifying guys, you've got me convinced! It sounds like the 150 would be the better one to start with? (I have Da* 55 and DA 18-250). Thanks for the great input all
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