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06-09-2011, 07:58 AM   #1
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dedicated macro lens vs lens with Raynox or other adapter

Hi all,

I have a Raynox 150 which I have tried on all my lenses (55-300, A-50/1.7, DA 35/2.4, kit lens) and it works pretty well. DOF is tricky as well as focusing. I am new to this!

What I am wondering is how much difference I would see if I got a real macro lens? I was considering maybe the A 100 2.8 macro. But I'm open to any of them, as long as I can afford them.

But which lens isn't really the point, I suppose. Just wondering what difference there is in image quality, sharpness, ease of use/focusing, etc, when using the macro lens vs the lens with Raynox.

Just for reference, below are some examples of macro shots I've gotten with the Raynox. Would I see a huge improvement in sharpness and magnification with a "real" macro lens?

Any advice and opinion is most appreciated! My budget is strained at the moment, and I'm trying to prioritize which lenses I need to focus on saving up for. Thank you so much!










06-09-2011, 08:49 AM - 1 Like   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by loco Quote

What I am wondering is how much difference I would see if I got a real macro lens? I was considering maybe the A 100 2.8 macro. But I'm open to any of them, as long as I can afford them.

But which lens isn't really the point, I suppose. Just wondering what difference there is in image quality, sharpness, ease of use/focusing, etc, when using the macro lens vs the lens with Raynox.

Just for reference, below are some examples of macro shots I've gotten with the Raynox. Would I see a huge improvement in sharpness and magnification with a "real" macro lens?

Any advice and opinion is most appreciated! My budget is strained at the moment, and I'm trying to prioritize which lenses I need to focus on saving up for. Thank you so much!








The answer to the question is bold text is "not much difference depending on details"

The Raynox approach has two major differences compared to a macro lens. They are:

1). Edge Image Quality. The Raynox 150 tends to have an circular area about equal to the frame height with great image quality - outside that circle is not so good. Here's an example:

This photo shows the upper left hand quadrant of a macro of a flat LCD screen taken with a Raynox 150 on a good macro lens. Notice the edges are not-so-good.

But that doesn't matter much with natural subjects because the DOF is so small and natural subjects are not flat! I can hardly even see the effect on the butterfly wing you posted. The only time this is a real problem is when photographing truly flat subjects like stamps. I dislike even showing this photo because it makes the Raynox look pretty bad when it isn't - just look at your own examples.

2). Working distance with the Raynox is around 8" for any magnification - about the same as that for an old-fashioned 100mm macro lens at 1:1 and probably greater than that for a modern Internal Focus 100mm macro lens. On the other hand the Raynox's working distance does not increase at lower magnifications unlike the dedicated macro lens.

DOF is the same for both a normal dedicated macro lens and Raynox close-up lens (at the same actual f-stop and magnification...there's no simple solution to that problem).

I have a Raynox DCR 150 and good macro lenses; I always carry the Raynox & infrequently use the others.

I am not trying to dissuade you from getting a good macro lens; you won't regret getting one - neither will you be wild with joy I suspect.

Last edited by newarts; 06-10-2011 at 08:16 AM.
06-09-2011, 09:10 AM - 1 Like   #3
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having both a dedicated macro and a close-up adapter like a Raynox and Marumi will give you more magnification.

both are very useful and are a formidable combo.

a dedicated macro will have the advantage of resolving power, contrast and microcontrast, detail, correction for CA, etc... also it is convenient to use as a macro as it is, negating the need for having to put on a diopter.

a diopter lens like the Marumi or Raynox will give you the ability to do macro shots with any of your lenses although it does not solve the lens' weaknesses.
06-09-2011, 09:32 AM   #4
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Thank you, newarts and Pentaxor! I appreciate your thoughts and opinions very much.

It sounds like in an ideal world, it would be great to have both the Raynox and a macro lens. I certainly hope to get a macro lens at some point. It's just something I was wondering if I should put as a top priority right now.

It sounds like I should probably experiment more with what I currently have. I surely have much improving to do and there is probably a lot I can do with my current lenses/Raynox that I haven't even approached so far.

The macro lens will remain on my wish list, though. I am currently in need of a macro, ultra wide, and kit lens replacement. Your responses may have pushed the macro slightly down the list but definitely still on it!

Thank you!!

06-09-2011, 09:38 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by loco Quote
Thank you, newarts and Pentaxor! I appreciate your thoughts and opinions very much.

It sounds like in an ideal world, it would be great to have both the Raynox and a macro lens. I certainly hope to get a macro lens at some point. It's just something I was wondering if I should put as a top priority right now.

It sounds like I should probably experiment more with what I currently have. I surely have much improving to do and there is probably a lot I can do with my current lenses/Raynox that I haven't even approached so far.

The macro lens will remain on my wish list, though. I am currently in need of a macro, ultra wide, and kit lens replacement. Your responses may have pushed the macro slightly down the list but definitely still on it!

Thank you!!
OTOH a 100mm 2.8 macro lens is useful for portraits & in Blues Clubs etc...
06-09-2011, 09:47 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by newarts Quote
OTOH a 100mm 2.8 macro lens is useful for portraits & in Blues Clubs etc...
Are you trying to confuse me? You're right, of course. Once again, that ideal world... I would have so many lenses I wouldn't have any place to put them all!
06-09-2011, 10:08 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by loco Quote
Are you trying to confuse me? You're right, of course. Once again, that ideal world... I would have so many lenses I wouldn't have any place to put them all!
Yes! Of course! LBA is harsh and contagious!

But maybe you could really use some highly important macro accessories like focusing rails, stable tripod, external P-TTL flash, stacking software, etc, etc.....

LBA is a common affliction of common folk! Join the elite ranks of those of us afflicted with generalized photo gadgetry compulsion! (See user RioRico for example).
06-09-2011, 10:25 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by newarts Quote
Yes! Of course! LBA is harsh and contagious!

But maybe you could really use some highly important macro accessories like focusing rails, stable tripod, external P-TTL flash, stacking software, etc, etc.....

LBA is a common affliction of common folk! Join the elite ranks of those of us afflicted with generalized photo gadgetry compulsion! (See user RioRico for example).
Oh, I know! LBA is difficult to deal with, especially for the wallet.

I would love a ring flash, but they are quite expensive and not sure how well they'd work with the Raynox. I do have a cheapie PTTL hot shoe flash. Not familiar with focusing rails, will have to check into that. Stacking software - another interesting concept! I've seen it put to great use by some folks here.

Thanks for feeding my addiction.

06-09-2011, 10:28 AM   #9
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if it's only macro that you need, I don't think that it will cost you a leg or break the bank for you to get a dedicated macro. I'm sure you can get a nice used 90/100mm mf macro for around $100-$150. the costs however would likely double as you add AF functionality which costs around $200-$300 (the cheapest price offered in the used market). I don't think you have to spend more than $500 on macros for your macro purpose unless there are other preferential reasons to consider.

just in case you want to consider an AF macro in the future, a used Sigma 105 and Tammy 90 aren't so expensive.
06-09-2011, 10:58 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pentaxor Quote
if it's only macro that you need, I don't think that it will cost you a leg or break the bank for you to get a dedicated macro. I'm sure you can get a nice used 90/100mm mf macro for around $100-$150. the costs however would likely double as you add AF functionality which costs around $200-$300 (the cheapest price offered in the used market). I don't think you have to spend more than $500 on macros for your macro purpose unless there are other preferential reasons to consider.

just in case you want to consider an AF macro in the future, a used Sigma 105 and Tammy 90 aren't so expensive.
Thank you, Pentaxor! I never worried too much about AF in a macro lens since I usually use manual focus for macro type photos anyway. Just seems easier for me, though none of it is actually "easy"!

The A 100 2.8's I was looking at were in the $350-400 range. But I'm sure there are other options to consider.
06-09-2011, 11:33 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by loco Quote
Thank you, Pentaxor! I never worried too much about AF in a macro lens since I usually use manual focus for macro type photos anyway. Just seems easier for me, though none of it is actually "easy"!

The A 100 2.8's I was looking at were in the $350-400 range. But I'm sure there are other options to consider.
I think you are better off with a Tammy 90 or Sigma 105 for that kind of price you are looking at. atleast you got AF functionality for other uses that require it aside from macro.
06-09-2011, 11:43 AM   #12
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magnification no, sharpness yes. BUT, such small samples with no crops makes it difficult to judge.

im not sure I'd spend $400 on a pentax A 100mm macro personally, but to each their own. My Sigma 105mm cost me $380 new and that has AF.

I dont even like macro lenses as a general rule of thumb however, so dont listen to me
06-09-2011, 12:11 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pentaxor Quote
I think you are better off with a Tammy 90 or Sigma 105 for that kind of price you are looking at. atleast you got AF functionality for other uses that require it aside from macro.
I use the Tamron 90 AND the Raynox 150, usually together but also separately

They are fantastic
06-09-2011, 02:31 PM   #14
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Thanks so much, everyone. I now have a list of good lenses to look for when I'm ready to buy. Sounds like the Tammy 90 is a popular option.

The only thing I don't like about the Raynox is the vignetting (I guess you'd call it that) due to the smallness of the Raynox placed over whatever lens is attached to the camera. It would be nice to not have to worry about that.
06-09-2011, 02:49 PM   #15
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A budget macro lens would be the Cosina 100mm 1:3.5. Plasticky but optically very decent. This has been sold as Cosina, Phoenix, Promaster and even Pentax; turns up on ebay every once in a blue moon (~$100-150).

Cosina 100mm F1:3,5 MC Makro Lens Reviews - Fixed Focal Lengths - Pentax Third-Party Lens Review Database

Cosina AF 100mm f/3.5 macro (Pentax) - Review / Lab Test Report
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