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05-06-2009, 07:57 AM   #1
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Close up Filters?

Hi, I am looking for some advice on close up filters. I wanted to try some macro shooting, but did not want to spend the money for a macro lens yet. I was curious if anyone has tried them as an alternative to a true macro lens. Also, with which one of my lenses they would give the best results. Due to the different thread sizes, I only want to buy for one lens. I was thinking of the Hoya +1, +2, +4 set.
My lenses
DA*50-135, FA50-1.4, DA18-55, Kiron 80-200 f/4, Kiron 28-80 f/3.2-4.5

Thanks!

05-06-2009, 08:43 AM   #2
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Using 'close-up' filters to initially explore the close-focus/macro side of photography is well considered and economical. You certainly won't expect outstanding IQ results from diopter lenses, but the fact is, close-up photography is more about the type of subjects you want to shoot and the nit-picky techniques you have to use than any particular equipment. If you discover the macro world doesn't hold your interest, you don't have a lot of expense involved. A set of diopter lenses is always useful as a poorman's home Xerox machine too.

Try the diopter lenses first to get into the game. If they begin to limit your potential and/or pleasure you can always step up to high-end toys and expand your LBA habits.

Other economical close-up tools are lens reversing adapters (you can try that out for free just by holding your 50mm up to the camera body), a "lens stacking" adapter that allows you to mount two lenses "face-to-face" (you can sample that for free too) and simple extension rings or a used bellows rack. These are all high quality possibilities too.

Auto-focus and AE capable lenses aren't required. Auto-exposure bodies and instant review of the results (histograms) to analize focus, DOF and exposure are initially your most valuable tools. A stable table-top tripod (or a large bag of rice!), your 50mm lens, a focusing rack and a remote shutter release will be your best friends.

[ I recently picked up a high-school lab quality microscope at a thrift shop for $12 and bought a microscope lens adapter to explore that ultra close-up world - total investment: $23. Finding the time to play with them - priceless!]

H2
05-06-2009, 09:40 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by pacerr Quote
Try the diopter lenses first to get into the game. If they begin to limit your potential and/or pleasure you can always step up to high-end toys and expand your LBA habits.
That's a good way to put it. But I'd add, Don't let the diopters discourage you! Diopters can give you some astounding high-quality pictures -- stuff you didn't know you could do -- show things you've never seen before, stuff you didn't know existed.

But diopters are a pain to use, [much] more of a pain than a regular macro lens. Obviously, you need to unscrew your regular UV filter and install the diopter(s). And then, your range of working focus is severely restricted -- with a 3 diopter, your maximum focus distance may be somewhere around a foot! Takes some getting-used-to.

Also, as you say, the diopters probably fit only one of your lenses (in your case likely your DA*50-135 to take advantage of its tele range and its high quality.) So you need to take that lens whenever you're planning to do macro stuff, and you need to sell the diopters if you ever sell the lens.

So, yes, if high-quality diopters are available for the lens you want to use, they are an excellent way to convince yourself you want to carry macro capability wherever you go. But be prepared for a serious case of LBA, and don't be surprised if you quickly decide to sell your diopters.
05-06-2009, 10:21 AM   #4
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Big difference between 2 element achromatic close-up lenses and single element--both in price and performance. Multi-element models can be stunning eg. Pentax 100/4 Macro for 67 format comes standard with a tremendous multi-element close-up lens. It only works with that lens (due to weird thread design), but boy does it work well! Sharp images printed clear up to 30"x40".

On the used market you'll find the discontinued medium format Pentax multi-element close-up lenses are very highly regarded in reviews. I use the S56 (which was originally for Pentax 645) with several lenses--the "S" means it's for standard focal lengths. I just ordered the T132 from a used vendor for a measely $59. It was originally intended for telephoto 67 lenses up to 200mm. The "T" stands for telephoto and I'll be checking to see which lenses it works with when it arrives tomorrow. Be aware that Pentax also used to make single element close-up lenses which are not well regarded in reviews. The multi-element versions were the ones marketed for medium format.

Though I own several highly regarded macro lenses, I also own a Canon 500D multi-element close-up lens that I got in 77mm filter size. It lets me "cheat" and use my 80-200/2.8 as a macro when traveling and leaving the macro lenses at home. That one also works very well with 300mm telephoto lenses. I even add it onto the trumpet shaped shade on my medium format macro to get better than lifesize on film--that's using the Pentax close-up lens mentioned above and then adding the 500D (for telephoto lenses) to the front of the extended shade (thus holding it far enough from the camera to count as telephoto). Stacking more than one of the single element close-up lenses often results in unacceptably soft images.

Don't be afraid to experiment. The high quality multi-element designs can be pretty darn good and that's when comparing results against highly acclaimed true macro lenses. Do a bit of "google research" before buying to make sure the item you buy really does work.

05-06-2009, 12:44 PM   #5
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Just for fun I bought a Raynox DCR-250. It is cheap and it seems you can get nice results coupled with a good lens. It works very nicely with my FA50 1.4 and should be great with your DA*50-135.

Some with Raynox 250 + FA50 1.4







One with the DA35 Macro + Raynox 250



Originals + more samples @

joj : photos : Raynox 250 Macro lens- powered by SmugMug

Best regards,
Johan
05-06-2009, 02:11 PM   #6
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+1 on the Raynox (there is also a 150 that gives a longer working distance). I struggled with a series on cheap closeup filters, and the difference between these and the Raynox is night and day. For under $50, Raynox is absolutely the way to go (although if you happen to find one of the other multi-element "achromatic" filters, they are probably just as good).

Any closeup lens - Raynox included - work by reducing the minimum (as well as maximum) focus distance. That is, they don't change focal length; they just allow you to focus closer. That means the logner the focal length, the more magnification. A Raynox on a 50 is nice for flowers, but won't do super closeups. A Raynox on a 135 or 200 - now you're talking macro!

Here's the Ranox 150 (again, longer working distance, so less magnification than the 250) on the DA70:



Here it is on an M200/4:

05-06-2009, 03:01 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Voodoo Daddy Quote
I was thinking of the Hoya +1, +2, +4 set.
I recommend the Raynox 250, until you get a true macro lens.

I think I have a set of 49mm close-up filters somewhere at home. It will work with your FA50. Drop me a PM with your shipping address. I'll send it to you when I have a chance to go to the post office. Your cost: if we have a chance to meet, coffee and donuts are on you
05-06-2009, 03:55 PM   #8
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Diopter lenses

> " Don't let the diopters discourage you! ...

Infosyn makes a good point there. Keep your expectations in line with the capability of the equipment and your skill level as it increases.

>" ...and you need to sell the diopters if you ever sell the lens.

Why? I wouldn't be so quick to get rid of them even if you do eventually go up-scale. I've still got diopter sets for just about every lens filter size I've ever owned. They're cheap on the used market (owing to the accumulated "wisdom" of the masses), if you can sell 'em for $6-8 a set you're lucky, and they weigh next to nothing to carry.

My primary use is to provide an instant, portable, personal Xerox copy machine anywhere I go. Library reference material, comparison shopping, auto accident scene info,. . . I even had a Craigs List deal fall through when I asked to photo-copy the persons ID. They don't even have to fit the lens - in a pinch, just hold one in front of whatever you're using. Want to entertain a new photo recruit? Give 'em a diopter lens or two to play with.

Photography doesn't HAVE to be art. About 70-percent of the total images I've made over the years have been for recording information for long- or short-term retrieval. Diopter lenses have been a useful part of that tool kit.

H2

05-06-2009, 06:27 PM   #9
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I've used my camera as a quick photocopier too, but never bother with closeup lenses for that. Pretty much all of my lenses under 100mm or so work just fine for taking a snapshot of something the size of a piece of letter paper. Even if I'm trying to copy something smaller that won't fit fill the frame at closest focus distance, it's not like this kind of work requires super-high resolution - cropping is generally fine. But it is equally true that whatever image degradation the cheap closeup lenses would induce won't hurt any more than the resolution you lose from cropping, and depending on the situation, might do somewhat better. I guess I've never encountered a situation where cropping wasn't sufficient, though.
05-06-2009, 06:42 PM   #10
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To give you an idea of what can be done without a dedicated Macro lens, here's a guy i know from another photography forums in the UK

These are taken simply with a 28mm + a reversing ring/adpater









05-06-2009, 08:18 PM   #11
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My only experience with a close-up filter/dioper lens was with a simple one. It did all right as long as I used it on a really sharp lens. Since you only want to buy one set, you can either buy for your sharpest lens, or do what I did with my circular polarizer - buy a set to fit your biggest lens thread and then buy step-up rings (they are very inexpensive) to use them on any of your other lenses. Stepping up works without problems, while stepping down cuts down how much of a picture you have.

My own preference is for either an extension tube (though I don't have a proper one - mine started out in life as a poor quality 2x TC). I've also used a reversed 50 in front of a couple of different lenses and got some excellent results, too. It seemed like the magnification had more to do with the focal length of the lens than what it's normal focus distance/macro capability was. In other words, I got more magnification with a 135mm non-macro lens with the 50mm reversed than I did with the 105 macro lens and the reversed 50.
05-06-2009, 10:17 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
+1 on the Raynox (there is also a 150 that gives a longer working distance). I struggled with a series on cheap closeup filters, and the difference between these and the Raynox is night and day. For under $50, Raynox is absolutely the way to go (although if you happen to find one of the other multi-element "achromatic" filters, they are probably just as good).

Any closeup lens - Raynox included - work by reducing the minimum (as well as maximum) focus distance. That is, they don't change focal length; they just allow you to focus closer. That means the logner the focal length, the more magnification. A Raynox on a 50 is nice for flowers, but won't do super closeups. A Raynox on a 135 or 200 - now you're talking macro!

Here's the Ranox 150 (again, longer working distance, so less magnification than the 250) on the DA70:



Here it is on an M200/4:

We had this coversation on another thread and now I see the roof!

Wow!

Maybe that will work on my 135!

I'm gone check it out!
05-06-2009, 10:29 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Voodoo Daddy Quote
Hi, I am looking for some advice on close up filters. I wanted to try some macro shooting, but did not want to spend the money for a macro lens yet. I was curious if anyone has tried them as an alternative to a true macro lens. Also, with which one of my lenses they would give the best results. Due to the different thread sizes, I only want to buy for one lens. I was thinking of the Hoya +1, +2, +4 set.
My lenses
DA*50-135, FA50-1.4, DA18-55, Kiron 80-200 f/4, Kiron 28-80 f/3.2-4.5

Thanks!
Try a reversing ring. I just got mine today.

My pic. Super Takumar 55mmf/1.8 reversed.

Name:  moon 014.jpg
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Size:  47.3 KB


Man. That is one ugly Bug.
05-06-2009, 11:38 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
+1 on the Raynox (there is also a 150 that gives a longer working distance). I struggled with a series on cheap closeup filters, and the difference between these and the Raynox is night and day. For under $50, Raynox is absolutely the way to go (although if you happen to find one of the other multi-element "achromatic" filters, they are probably just as good).

Any closeup lens - Raynox included - work by reducing the minimum (as well as maximum) focus distance. That is, they don't change focal length; they just allow you to focus closer. That means the logner the focal length, the more magnification. A Raynox on a 50 is nice for flowers, but won't do super closeups. A Raynox on a 135 or 200 - now you're talking macro!

Here's the Ranox 150 (again, longer working distance, so less magnification than the 250) on the DA70:



Here it is on an M200/4:

Ok Marc.

Checked it out.

What do reccomend.

The 250 or150?

I like photographing insects and flowers

Also is this a universal accesory or is this camera specific?

The Ebay page has it listed for different types of cameras.
05-07-2009, 07:10 AM   #15
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Wow! Thanks for all the advice and Info, everyone. I can't believe the level of participitation on this forum! This was only my second post here, besides my "hello" post, and the response was tremendous. I'm looking forward to putting all this advice to use.
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