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03-30-2012, 11:23 AM   #1
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Macro shooting with Raynox lens

I've got a K-x with a 70-300 mm Tamron zoom lens. I want to do some experimenting with macro photography, which I've never seriously dabbled with before. However, before I spend money on a dedicated macro lens I thought I would get my feet wet by using one of the macro converter lenses offered by Raynox. I would pair the converter with my Tamron zoom.

Does anyone have any experience, positive or negative, using a Raynox lens for macro work? I went to the Raynox web site to get more information and they offer the DCR-150 macro as well as a DCR-250 super macro. The 150 has a diopter of 4.8, and the 250 has a diopter of 8. Without getting overly technical, can someone briefly explain the diopter differences and why one of the Raynox lenses may be more useful than the other? I know it has to do with image magnification, but being new to macro shooting I am still getting a handle on the terminology. Many thanks.

03-30-2012, 11:31 AM   #2
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Raynox are great. I have the 150. You need to make sure that the Raynox will fit your lens filter, it is adjustable but can only go so small or large. Too small for my 49mm filter lenses but works great on ones not much larger than that.

I use mine both on a macro lens for extra reach and on non-macro lenses to achieve close focus. They do a great job, good quality optics and can really transform a non macro lens into something different

Basically the 150 has about half the magnification of the 250. I would prob go for the 150 seeing as your lens already zooms to 300mm

That said you can get pretty nice macro lenses (non AF) for like $100, and nice ones with AF etc used for like $300-350 (Pentax DFA100, Tamron 90 Di), although mostly you will MF with macro

The other thing you may want to look into is a tripod. With macro shooting the depth of field is so small tiny movements can throw off your focus so a tripod helps

Raynox club for samples, some there with your lens too:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/lens-clubs/74221-raynox-macro-club.html

Last edited by Deimos; 03-30-2012 at 11:54 AM.
03-30-2012, 12:25 PM   #3
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The Raynox DCR-150 is fantastic on the Tammy 70-300, and is reasonably easy to use in good light or w/flash. IMO it's much more convenient than carrying around a dedicated macro lens when out in the field, unless of course you need absolute picture quality.
03-30-2012, 12:52 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Deimos Quote
Basically the 150 has about half the magnification of the 250. I would prob go for the 150 seeing as your lens already zooms to 300mm
I'd go the other route. Cheap Tamron or Sigma 70-300 zooms are sharper at the short end, so he should get better results using a stronger diopter in the 70-150mm range, than he would with a weaker diopter near the 300mm end. It's also much more difficult to shoot macro with one of these long zooms handheld, when it's fully extended, and, it eats some light.

OP, another option would be an Opteka +10 achromat. Disregard the "10x", it's a +10 diopter (true 10x would be +40 diopters). It's a fraction of the price of the Raynox, but capable of very good results, particularly in the 1:1-2:1 range. On my Sigma 70-300 it's great at the short end, but causes (or magnifies) distortions at the 300mm end (which would be over 4:1 anyway, not particularly useful for handheld or single shot macro). It's four element, multicoated, and corrected for aberrations much like the Raynox lenses.

The main tradeoff of using a stronger diopter is you have to get closer to the subject, about 4 inches with the +10 one above. The advantage is that you don't need as long a focal length for the host lens. Here are a couple recent shots I've taken with it, but I expect to get even better results once I have more bugs to shoot up here. Damn Canadian climate.









03-30-2012, 01:06 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Philoslothical Quote
I'd go the other route. Cheap Tamron or Sigma 70-300 zooms are sharper at the short end, so he should get better results using a stronger diopter in the 70-150mm range, than he would with a weaker diopter near the 300mm end. It's also much more difficult to shoot macro with one of these long zooms handheld, when it's fully extended, and, it eats some light.

OP, another option would be an Opteka +10 achromat. Disregard the "10x", it's a +10 diopter (true 10x would be +40 diopters). It's a fraction of the price of the Raynox, but capable of very good results, particularly in the 1:1-2:1 range. On my Sigma 70-300 it's great at the short end, but causes (or magnifies) distortions at the 300mm end (which would be over 4:1 anyway, not particularly useful for handheld or single shot macro). It's four element, multicoated, and corrected for aberrations much like the Raynox lenses.

The main tradeoff of using a stronger diopter is you have to get closer to the subject, about 4 inches with the +10 one above. The advantage is that you don't need as long a focal length for the host lens. Here are a couple recent shots I've taken with it, but I expect to get even better results once I have more bugs to shoot up here. Damn Canadian climate.
I don't know about the Sigma, but with the Tamron once you stop down a bit sharpness is very similar across all FL's. Personally, I find the 10" or so required by the 70-300 + Raynox combination to be more bug-friendly, and appreciate that I don't have to fiddle with step-up/down rings when switching lenses.

But, holy carp, I didn't realize how expensive the Raynox has gotten! It's nearly 2x the price I paid about 5 years ago!
03-30-2012, 01:24 PM   #6
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Lots of tradeoffs and preference involved. There's certainly nothing wrong with the Raynox lenses, aside from price maybe. It's generally easier to rig a flash on a shorter lens, I know with my Sigma 70-300 fully extended, it's a pain in the ass to avoid shadowing. But yeah, some people may well prefer a more moderate diopter, the increased working distance is an advantage.
03-30-2012, 01:43 PM   #7
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I wonder if the Sigma extends further than the Tammy? I've never had an issue with shadowing when using flash. I mostly shoot bugs, and usually sit or lay down.

5 years ago I paid $38.95 for the Raynox... now it's $70.95!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
03-30-2012, 01:55 PM   #8
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I tried a Tamron 70-300 first, and it died within the first day with a locked up aperture mechanism (I think it slipped a spring somewhere internally). I returned it and got the equivalent Sigma the next day, which was a bit more expensive, but significantly better. The Tamron was a screamer, very high pitched, noisy AF, much worse for CA/PF (in the 20 odd test shots I got off before it broke). I realize this was just a lemon, but even if it's a bit irrational, it has put me off the brand a bit - at least for their cheapest offerings.

IIRC, they both physically extended about the same, though the Sigma might be a bit longer in its 1:2 macro mode.

QuoteOriginally posted by luftfluss Quote
5 years ago I paid $38.95 for the Raynox... now it's $70.95!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Success breeds greed? IDK, I can't see them being that much more expensive to produce now, and if they're selling more of them...

Question: have you ever had any issue with vignetting using a Raynox? My understanding is that without its trademark adapter, it's a 43mm lens, but I commonly see people using them on host lenses with 58mm threads, and up. The Opteka ones have more glass, and a wider physical lens, depending on the size you get (I think they make them right up to 72 or 77mm They must have a bit of heft to them). Step rings don't faze me much, I bought the 58mm version with two target host lenses in mind, and it's easy to step it down to 52 if I get the urge.

03-30-2012, 02:03 PM   #9
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I think I paid maybe $50-60 for mine about a year ago. If they are made in Japan, stock may have become more scare if there were disruptions from the Tsunami, also costs have increased a lot over the past 5 years, oil/gas especially and that affects everything

I havent had any vignetting with mine. Largest filter I used it on for a non-macro lens was 58mm (Revuenon 55mm 1.2) worked a charm no issues
03-30-2012, 02:22 PM   #10
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The advertising for the Opteka 10x sounds good. Opteka 10x High Definition II Professional Macro Lens for Digital SLR Cameras

It is apparently about a 100mm focal length lens (estimated from its closest distance of 4"), 58mm diameter. The "strength" is about the same as that of the Raynox 250.

I look forward to seeing some test results for image quality.

I use a Raynox 150 with a 55-300 zoom, its longer working distance puts it far enough in front of the lens that the on-board flash works to 300mm, infinity focus. It is always in my camera bag just in case.

Don't overlook the Marumi +5 200 either - it is about the same strength as the Raynox 150 (but I can't vouch for its image quality)..

Last edited by newarts; 03-30-2012 at 02:43 PM.
03-30-2012, 02:43 PM   #11
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Really, for the price of the Opteka one, I was very pleasantly surprised. At high magnifications there are some distortions, but it seems to be amplifying distortion from the host lens, as much as anything. For $20, it's really a no brainer. I enjoy using tubes and reversal, as well, but sometimes this is just a lot more convenient to have in my pocket.

I'd love to see comparative test chart shots for sharpness and such of the Opteka vs the Raynox 250.
03-30-2012, 03:02 PM   #12
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From what I have seen for the Raynox 150 at least, there is no degradation in sharpness or distorted colour or anything. Maybe if you pixel peep. But it will also of course magnify any issues the lens has. It would be interesting to see a comparision of all of these products

Here are a couple of Raynox 150 samples. I shoot mostly wide-open aperture for the bokeh.

Tamron 90 f2.8 Di Macro + Raynox 150



Revuenon 55mm f1.2 + Raynox 150


Last edited by Deimos; 03-30-2012 at 03:09 PM.
03-30-2012, 03:15 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Philoslothical Quote
I tried a Tamron 70-300 first, and it died within the first day with a locked up aperture mechanism (I think it slipped a spring somewhere internally). I returned it and got the equivalent Sigma the next day, which was a bit more expensive, but significantly better. The Tamron was a screamer, very high pitched, noisy AF, much worse for CA/PF (in the 20 odd test shots I got off before it broke). I realize this was just a lemon, but even if it's a bit irrational, it has put me off the brand a bit - at least for their cheapest offerings.
I've had 2 copies of the Tamron 70-300 LD Di macro 1:2 yadayada and both had laughably horrendous PF, and slow noisy focus. I now have a Quantary 70-300 which is a rebadged Tammy except not Di, and it is the same except the PF isn't quite as bad. One thing I like about these 300mm 1:2 macro menses is that they are good for butterflies and other large bugs.

My 2nd Tamron did break - it was my fault, an old TC got stuck and I think I broke a gear inside the Tammy - I sent it in to Tamron under warranty and they fixed it and returned it to me in a week.

QuoteQuote:
Question: have you ever had any issue with vignetting using a Raynox? My understanding is that without its trademark adapter, it's a 43mm lens, but I commonly see people using them on host lenses with 58mm threads, and up. The Opteka ones have more glass, and a wider physical lens, depending on the size you get (I think they make them right up to 72 or 77mm They must have a bit of heft to them). Step rings don't faze me much, I bought the 58mm version with two target host lenses in mind, and it's easy to step it down to 52 if I get the urge.
No vignetting at all with the Raynox on the Tammy, but I did get vignetting when I attached it to the Pentax 55-300, only at certain focal lengths.
03-30-2012, 03:16 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Philoslothical Quote
Really, for the price of the Opteka one, I was very pleasantly surprised. At high magnifications there are some distortions, but it seems to be amplifying distortion from the host lens, as much as anything. For $20, it's really a no brainer. I enjoy using tubes and reversal, as well, but sometimes this is just a lot more convenient to have in my pocket.

I'd love to see comparative test chart shots for sharpness and such of the Opteka vs the Raynox 250.
Yeah, I'm thinking I may get it just because it's so darn cheap!
03-30-2012, 03:34 PM   #15
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Sorry for the late response to my original thread re: Raynox lenses Thanks to all for the great feedback. I guess I will give Raynox a go and do some experimenting with macro shooting. I may later get a dedicated macro, but even then I have no illusions about becoming a professional level macro photographer. I just want to have the ability to get some good, clean ultra closeups of primarily outdoor tiny creatures and plant life, without it costing me an arm and a leg.

I realize using a high quality dedicated macro lens will result in some exquisitely detailed shots. Obviously, being the realist that I am, I am not expecting the same results if I am using the Raynox or other substitute. However, that being said and all else being equal, should I expect a big drop off in image quality and detail when using the Raynox lens as opposed to a dedicated macro? Or will the overall quality just be negligibly less, with the image quality still good by most standards? Just wondering, because some of the Raynox macro examples provided in some of the responses to my thread looked pretty darned good to my untrained eye!
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