macros and close-up "filters"

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Tony Belding, Jan 1, 2007.

  1. Tony Belding

    Tony Belding Guest

    Just wondering if somebody could help me sort out the pluses and
    minuses of a real (i.e. expensive) macro lens, as compared with the
    close-up lenses that thread on like a filter? I notice there are cheap
    close-up sets with different diopter strengths, and I also noticed
    there are two-element close-up lenses which cost more. . .

    I'm interested mainly in product shooting (such as, for eBay) where I
    want decent-looking results, but not trying to count the grains of
    pollen stuck to a honeybee. I was thinking a close-up "filter" on a
    regular 50mm or 135mm lens would probably be good enough for my
    purposes, is that a fair guess?

    --
    Tony Belding, Hamilton Texas
     
    Tony Belding, Jan 1, 2007
    #1
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  2. Tony Belding

    Cgiorgio Guest

    Have a look at the following link:
    http://www.raynox.co.jp/english/digital/eos300d/index.htm

    (to be used with tele- lens)


    "Tony Belding" <> schrieb im Newsbeitrag
    news:2007010116492616807-zobeid@techiecom...
    > Just wondering if somebody could help me sort out the pluses and minuses
    > of a real (i.e. expensive) macro lens, as compared with the close-up
    > lenses that thread on like a filter? I notice there are cheap close-up
    > sets with different diopter strengths, and I also noticed there are
    > two-element close-up lenses which cost more. . .
    >
    > I'm interested mainly in product shooting (such as, for eBay) where I want
    > decent-looking results, but not trying to count the grains of pollen stuck
    > to a honeybee. I was thinking a close-up "filter" on a regular 50mm or
    > 135mm lens would probably be good enough for my purposes, is that a fair
    > guess?
    >
    > --
    > Tony Belding, Hamilton Texas
    >
     
    Cgiorgio, Jan 1, 2007
    #2
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  3. Tony Belding wrote:
    > Just wondering if somebody could help me sort out the pluses and
    > minuses of a real (i.e. expensive) macro lens, as compared with the
    > close-up lenses that thread on like a filter? I notice there are
    > cheap close-up sets with different diopter strengths, and I also
    > noticed there are two-element close-up lenses which cost more. . .
    >
    > I'm interested mainly in product shooting (such as, for eBay) where I
    > want decent-looking results, but not trying to count the grains of
    > pollen stuck to a honeybee. I was thinking a close-up "filter" on a
    > regular 50mm or 135mm lens would probably be good enough for my
    > purposes, is that a fair guess?


    As you guess, the quality is not as good. How much "not" will depend on
    the lens you are using it on and how close you are going. If you are
    talking about something like a ring, I suggest a real macro, if you are
    talking about something like a camera, you may be happy with the cheap
    solution. Don't use the tele, use it (them) on the 50 mm. You may need
    more than one if you will be photographing a range of sizes.

    --
    Joseph Meehan

    Dia 's Muire duit
     
    Joseph Meehan, Jan 2, 2007
    #3
  4. "Joseph Meehan" <> wrote:
    >Tony Belding wrote:
    >> Just wondering if somebody could help me sort out the pluses and
    >> minuses of a real (i.e. expensive) macro lens, as compared with the
    >> close-up lenses that thread on like a filter? I notice there are
    >> cheap close-up sets with different diopter strengths, and I also
    >> noticed there are two-element close-up lenses which cost more. . .
    >>
    >> I'm interested mainly in product shooting (such as, for eBay) where I
    >> want decent-looking results, but not trying to count the grains of
    >> pollen stuck to a honeybee. I was thinking a close-up "filter" on a
    >> regular 50mm or 135mm lens would probably be good enough for my
    >> purposes, is that a fair guess?

    >
    > As you guess, the quality is not as good. How much "not" will depend on
    >the lens you are using it on and how close you are going. If you are
    >talking about something like a ring, I suggest a real macro, if you are
    >talking about something like a camera, you may be happy with the cheap
    >solution.


    All was fine down to that point.

    > Don't use the tele, use it (them) on the 50 mm.


    No, it's the other way around. Closeup lenses have significantly
    more effect when used in front of a *longer* lense. There will be
    only slight difference with a 50mm lense compared to the effect using
    a 135mm lense, for example.

    >You may need
    >more than one if you will be photographing a range of sizes.


    But note that quality will suffer.

    --
    Floyd L. Davidson <http://www.apaflo.com/floyd_davidson>
    Ukpeagvik (Barrow, Alaska)
     
    Floyd L. Davidson, Jan 2, 2007
    #4
  5. Tony Belding

    Jim Guest

    "Tony Belding" <> wrote in message
    news:2007010116492616807-zobeid@techiecom...
    > Just wondering if somebody could help me sort out the pluses and minuses
    > of a real (i.e. expensive) macro lens, as compared with the close-up
    > lenses that thread on like a filter? I notice there are cheap close-up
    > sets with different diopter strengths, and I also noticed there are
    > two-element close-up lenses which cost more. . .
    >
    > I'm interested mainly in product shooting (such as, for eBay) where I want
    > decent-looking results, but not trying to count the grains of pollen stuck
    > to a honeybee. I was thinking a close-up "filter" on a regular 50mm or
    > 135mm lens would probably be good enough for my purposes, is that a fair
    > guess?
    >
    > --
    > Tony Belding, Hamilton Texas
    >

    In addition there are extension tubes which enable focusing closer than the
    mount allows.

    Which one you use depends on the nature of the use. For the one use that
    you specified, a couple of close up adapters should work fine.
    Just keep the aperature toward the small end of the range to reduce the
    inevitable distortions.

    The various diopter strengths are needed to allow for differing distances
    from the lens.
    For example, the focal length of one of these adapters is 1000/diopter.
    Consequently, with the lens set at infinity, the furtherest distance from
    the lens would be 1000/diopter.

    The two element adapters are intended for use with telephoto lenses because
    the simple single element lenses cause way too much degradation of the
    image.

    Jim
     
    Jim, Jan 2, 2007
    #5
  6. "Jim" <> wrote:
    >In addition there are extension tubes which enable focusing closer than the
    >mount allows.


    The problem with extension tubes is that manufacturers limit the
    close focus mechanical range *because* of the generally
    worsening quality of the optics as the focus distance is
    reduced. Hence, a nice tack sharp lense that can focus to 1
    foot may not be anything like tack sharp with enough extension
    to focus it at 6 inches...

    Generally though, for lenses specifically optimized for close
    focus, extension tubes or bellows are nice. Macro lenses,
    enlarging lenses, and regular (not zoom) lenses that are
    reversed will all generally provide good results.

    The above is particularly significant if close focusing also
    requires a "flat field" lense. One of the big tradeoffs between
    optimizing for close focus or not is a balance between
    astigmatism and flatness of field. If a flat field is not
    required (e.g., insect macro images) then a lense that is not
    particularly noted for a flat field might well exhibit less
    astigmatism, and produce a sharper image. But if the object to
    be photographed is a postage stamp, a flat field lense will make
    a significant difference.

    >Which one you use depends on the nature of the use. For the one use that
    >you specified, a couple of close up adapters should work fine.
    >Just keep the aperature toward the small end of the range to reduce the
    >inevitable distortions.


    Using smaller apertures will extend the depth of field, and
    might reduce spherical aberrations, but not the inevitable
    pin cushion or barrel distortions...

    >The various diopter strengths are needed to allow for differing distances
    >from the lens.
    >For example, the focal length of one of these adapters is 1000/diopter.
    >Consequently, with the lens set at infinity, the furtherest distance from
    >the lens would be 1000/diopter.


    To put that into perspective, a +2 diopter will result in the
    "infinity" focus position on a lense actually focusing at
    1000/2, or 500mm. Which perhaps isn't really very interesting
    because it doesn't indicate how *close* it will be when the
    focusing mechanism is set to its closest focus setting.

    >The two element adapters are intended for use with telephoto lenses because
    >the simple single element lenses cause way too much degradation of the
    >image.


    Not true. Multi element close up lenses are "achromatic",
    meaning the different elements are designed to cancel the
    chromatic aberrations of each other. That works exactly the
    same regardless of the focal length of the lense they are
    mounted on.

    However, diopters provide more dramatic magnification when
    attached to longer focal length lenses, hence it is typically
    more useful to put them on short or medium focal length
    telephoto lenses than anything shorter. A close up lense in
    front of a wide angle lense has very little effect.

    --
    Floyd L. Davidson <http://www.apaflo.com/floyd_davidson>
    Ukpeagvik (Barrow, Alaska)
     
    Floyd L. Davidson, Jan 2, 2007
    #6
  7. Tony Belding

    King Sardon Guest

    On Mon, 1 Jan 2007 16:49:26 -0600, Tony Belding <>
    wrote:

    >Just wondering if somebody could help me sort out the pluses and
    >minuses of a real (i.e. expensive) macro lens, as compared with the
    >close-up lenses that thread on like a filter? I notice there are cheap
    >close-up sets with different diopter strengths, and I also noticed
    >there are two-element close-up lenses which cost more. . .
    >
    >I'm interested mainly in product shooting (such as, for eBay) where I
    >want decent-looking results, but not trying to count the grains of
    >pollen stuck to a honeybee. I was thinking a close-up "filter" on a
    >regular 50mm or 135mm lens would probably be good enough for my
    >purposes, is that a fair guess?


    Yes, for the purposes you describe a close-up lens is an excellent
    solution. The two-element ones give better results.

    KS
     
    King Sardon, Jan 2, 2007
    #7
  8. Tony Belding

    JD Guest

    Tony Belding wrote:
    > Just wondering if somebody could help me sort out the pluses and minuses
    > of a real (i.e. expensive) macro lens, as compared with the close-up
    > lenses that thread on like a filter? I notice there are cheap close-up
    > sets with different diopter strengths, and I also noticed there are
    > two-element close-up lenses which cost more. . .
    >
    > I'm interested mainly in product shooting (such as, for eBay) where I
    > want decent-looking results, but not trying to count the grains of
    > pollen stuck to a honeybee. I was thinking a close-up "filter" on a
    > regular 50mm or 135mm lens would probably be good enough for my
    > purposes, is that a fair guess?
    >

    You might want to check out John Shaw's Closeups in Nature. He covers
    extentsion tubes, closeup filter lenses, lens stacking and much more.
    If nothing else, his discussion of meter calibration is worth the price
    of admission. Mr. Shaw shows the quality that can be produced with a
    dual element filter on a zoom lens.

    As you point out, the two element filters are much more expensive and in
    this case there is a quality difference. It would be presumptious of me
    to state you should go for a Nikon or Canon dual element when a single
    may fit your needs.

    JD
     
    JD, Jan 2, 2007
    #8
  9. Tony Belding

    Paul Rubin Guest

    Tony Belding <> writes:
    > Just wondering if somebody could help me sort out the pluses and
    > minuses of a real (i.e. expensive) macro lens, as compared with the
    > close-up lenses that thread on like a filter?


    Two issues: 1) image quality; 2) convenience. For those ebay shots
    (low resolution web pics that are just supposed to let the buyer see
    the object you are selling) you can generally get away with pretty
    lousy quality by the standards of this hyper-fussy newsgroup, and
    single element diopters are likely to be fine. Convenience in the
    form of not having to continually attach and remove the close-up
    filter, put it someplace you won't lose it when not in use, etc. is
    maybe more significant if you're using the lens a lot.

    I think most ebay shots don't need extreme close-ups. There are lots
    of point and digicams that will focus down to a few inches and if it
    were me I'd probably use one instead of a DSLR.

    The new Nikon 18-55 AFS II (the kit lens for the D40) is pretty cheap
    and will focus close enough to mostly fill a frame with a wristwatch:

    http://kenrockwell.com/nikon/18-55-ii.htm#macro

    It might be a reasonable general purpose choice.
     
    Paul Rubin, Jan 2, 2007
    #9
  10. Floyd L. Davidson wrote:
    ...
    >
    >> Don't use the tele, use it (them) on the 50 mm.

    >
    > No, it's the other way around. Closeup lenses have significantly
    > more effect when used in front of a *longer* lense. There will be
    > only slight difference with a 50mm lense compared to the effect using
    > a 135mm lense, for example.
    >
    >> You may need
    >> more than one if you will be photographing a range of sizes.

    >
    > But note that quality will suffer.


    My suggestion was made based on the fact that most "normal" (50mm)
    lenses will produce a sharper image than the typical 135 mm lens producing
    the same image size. In addition I was also assuming that the camera would
    be a digital and most likely would have a less than full size sensor,
    meaning it would allow a more comfortable working distance than a full frame
    film camera.

    As for "Closeup lenses have significantly more effect when used in front
    of a *longer* lense:" "more" is not always better. For the needs of the OP,
    I would guess the potential for greater magnification when using longer
    lenses is not likely to be useful. For the nature photographer, then the
    added working distance and possible additional magnification could be of
    value.

    Maybe I should have made my reasons for my recommendations more clear.
    Thanks for the opportunity to do just that.


    --
    Joseph Meehan

    Dia 's Muire duit
     
    Joseph Meehan, Jan 2, 2007
    #10
  11. Tony Belding

    Paul Rubin Guest

    "Joseph Meehan" <> writes:
    > As for "Closeup lenses have significantly more effect when used in front
    > of a *longer* lense:" "more" is not always better. For the needs of the OP,
    > I would guess the potential for greater magnification when using longer
    > lenses is not likely to be useful. For the nature photographer, then the
    > added working distance and possible additional magnification could be of
    > value.


    I think the point is that a close-up lens on a telephoto lets you fill
    the frame with a smaller object than the same close-up lens on a
    normal lens. Tell me if I got the following right, since I sort of
    made it up as I went along.

    Example: you have two lenses, a 200mm lens that focuses down to 2
    meters, and a 50mm lens that focuses down to 0.5 meters. Either of
    these will fill the frame with roughly the same sized object, around
    40cm (based on full frame 35mm sensor).

    Now suppose you have a +2 diopter close-up accessory filter. Your
    200mm lens with no filter focuses to 2 meters (0.5 diopter) and the +2
    close-up filter makes it focus to 2.5 diopters or 0.4 meters. Your
    50mm lens focuses to 0.5 meters (2 diopters) and the +2 filter brings
    it to 4 diopters (0.25 meters). That means the 200mm lens with the
    filter can now fill the frame with a 7 cm object, while the 50mm lens
    with the filter can fill the frame with a 20 cm object.

    That's why we say that the close-up filter is more effective on a
    longer lens.
     
    Paul Rubin, Jan 2, 2007
    #11
  12. Tony Belding

    tomm42 Guest

    On Jan 1, 5:49 pm, Tony Belding <> wrote:
    > Just wondering if somebody could help me sort out the pluses and
    > minuses of a real (i.e. expensive) macro lens, as compared with the
    > close-up lenses that thread on like a filter? I notice there are cheap
    > close-up sets with different diopter strengths, and I also noticed
    > there are two-element close-up lenses which cost more. . .
    >
    > I'm interested mainly in product shooting (such as, for eBay) where I
    > want decent-looking results, but not trying to count the grains of
    > pollen stuck to a honeybee. I was thinking a close-up "filter" on a
    > regular 50mm or 135mm lens would probably be good enough for my
    > purposes, is that a fair guess?
    >
    > --
    > Tony Belding, Hamilton Texas


    Nothing beats a macro lens for closeup photography. In fact macros are
    such over all good lenses they are nice for general photography too. I
    use Nikon cameras a bought an excellent 55mm Nikkor micro (Nikon's
    macro) for about $200 on Ebay. This would be a great lens for product
    shots. If you have a lot of smaller items a longer focal macro makes
    lighting easier so look for a 100mm or so, again you save by buying
    used. The nice thing about macros is that it is hard to get a bad lens
    unless it is damaged in some way. Even lowly Vivitar lenses have decent
    macros. If you feel comfortable not using autofocus, manual focus
    macros can be an excellent buy used (at high magnifications 1:1 or 1:2
    manual focus should be used anyway).
    Diopter lenses are bad at their worst and useable at their best. The
    muli lens achromat adapters being the best. But you can get a used
    macro lens for the same price.
    There are other ways to get closeups, reversing lenses, bellows or
    extension tubes. All of which work but require some photo savvy, and a
    lot of testing, which sure is easier on digital than film.

    Tom
     
    tomm42, Jan 2, 2007
    #12
  13. Tony Belding wrote:
    > Just wondering if somebody could help me sort out the pluses and
    > minuses of a real (i.e. expensive) macro lens, as compared with the
    > close-up lenses that thread on like a filter? I notice there are cheap
    > close-up sets with different diopter strengths, and I also noticed
    > there are two-element close-up lenses which cost more. . .
    >
    > I'm interested mainly in product shooting (such as, for eBay) where I
    > want decent-looking results, but not trying to count the grains of
    > pollen stuck to a honeybee. I was thinking a close-up "filter" on a
    > regular 50mm or 135mm lens would probably be good enough for my
    > purposes, is that a fair guess?
    >
    > --
    > Tony Belding, Hamilton Texas


    These work well. I use them in preference to the macro function on my
    lens. It is a matter of perspective. Many "macro" zoom lenses are
    macro only at the longest telephoto focal length. This means you shoot
    from further away than with the plus lenses and a 50 mm lens. In fact,
    when I use the plus lenses on my zoom, I use the 50mm position.

    Now, if the product you are shooting isn't one where you worry about
    the apparent size of the product, it wouldn't make a difference. But
    the use of a supplemental (plus or closeup) lens does tend to make the
    object look bigger and more massive.
     
    Don Stauffer in Minnesota, Jan 2, 2007
    #13
  14. Tony Belding <> wrote:
    >I'm interested mainly in product shooting (such as, for eBay)
    >where I want decent-looking results, but not trying to count the
    >grains of pollen stuck to a honeybee.


    Tony, that is the key to your question. I'm just like everyone
    else and can go on for pages and pages telling you about
    wonderful ways to do photomacrography, but all of it ignores
    what you want to do!

    For eBay you don't want 10Mp images. 600x800 is probably the
    biggest you should use! Details about why achromatic close-up
    lenses are better, and dedicated macro lenses are best, are
    pointless.

    Go to eBay and do a search on "fotodiox close-up" and close-up
    sets in 67mm, 58mm, 55mm and 52mm. They also sell stepping rings
    for any size. Choose the size that fits your 135mm telephoto,
    or the next size larger. Then get step-up rings as necessary
    to fit both the 135mm and the 50mm lenses. Or just buy two
    sets, one for each lense...

    >"filter" on a regular 50mm or 135mm lens would probably be good
    >enough for my purposes, is that a fair guess?


    If you get to having too much fun, and just want to have the
    technical ability to do great photomacrography, buy a 105mm
    fixed focal length macro lense. There are used manual focus
    bargains and there are brand new auto focus lenses too. It
    happens that a good 105mm macro lense is a well understood
    design and virtually *every* manufacture makes a tack sharp
    version. But come back and post a question about those lenses
    before you buy! Rest assured we can regale you with hours of
    delightful arguments about which one is the right one... :)

    --
    Floyd L. Davidson <http://www.apaflo.com/floyd_davidson>
    Ukpeagvik (Barrow, Alaska)
     
    Floyd L. Davidson, Jan 2, 2007
    #14
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