Macro on a budget?

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by alaios, May 26, 2014.

  1. alaios

    alaios TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2013
    Düsseldorf
    Alex
    Hi
    I want to be able to take macro shots (ok close to be considered good enough macro) with my sel 1855, sel55-210 , sel50, sel16.
    What options do we have on the budget range? Is it only these filters that allow you do that?
    Would I be able to have still autofocus with my camera or it iwll not any more work?

    Regards
    A.
     
  2. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    If you seriously want good macro photos, there's just no way around a dedicated macro lens. Extension tubes, reverse mounting, close-up lenses and all the other solutions won't even come close to the sharpness of a true macro lens.

    The good news is that there are some quite cheap macro lenses out there, especially if you look at legacy lenses.
     
  3. José De Bardi

    José De Bardi Assistant in Virtue

    Aug 31, 2013
    Dorset, UK
    José
  4. alaios

    alaios TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2013
    Düsseldorf
    Alex
    Hi Poki,
    no I am not looking on a new extra lens. I think for something small that I can always have on my bag and take it out when I am travelling lightweight to shoot. What is an affordable way that you would prefer? What about the filters I have mentioned?
    Alex
     
  5. Tabibito

    Tabibito TalkEmount Regular

    177
    Apr 1, 2013
    If you are on a budget a close up filter would be a good place to start as it allows you to still use auto focus (albeit on restricted focus range) with your e-mount lenses. The downside is the image would look not as sharp, which more apparent on cheap filters. A good quality close up filter with multiple glass elements such as Raynox will give you better results but they are more costlier.

    Another option is by using extension tubes. But the cheaper ones usually don't have electronic contacts inside so you can't use autofocus with them. If you want to use legacy lenses then this won't be a problem.




    Sent from my iPad using TalkEmount
     
  6. unlo

    unlo Sony ******

    Jan 19, 2014
    Ohio
    Matt
    I've made some pretty awesome shots with cheapo tubes and focus rail.

    Sent from my X909 using Tapatalk
     
  7. alaios

    alaios TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2013
    Düsseldorf
    Alex
    which cheapo tube and which focur rail? (what is a focus rail?)
     
  8. eno789

    eno789 TalkEmount Top Veteran

    720
    Jan 1, 2012
    NoCal, USA
    Brian
    First of all, you want to ask yourself, what is the most likely macro subject, that determines magnification ratio and working distance.

    Close up lens, see if http://www.mu-43.com/showthread.php?t=4709 inspires you. Cheap zoom lens, high quality multi-element close-up lens, can give amazing result if you use the right technique. (The Nikon 3T is +1.5 with 52mm thread). This method can apply to your 55-210mm too. But the 55-210mm has a 49mm filter thread, so you either step-up/step-down, or find something like the minolta close-up #1 with 49mm filter thread.

    With your existing native lenses, if you go the route of extension tube, you want to buy one with electronic contact. This is so you can at least control the aperture.

    With both approaches above, you can keep AF. But OTOH, in close focus/macro distance, AF will be of not much help, you'll MF anyway.

    Of course, if you see some MF macro lens within your budget, don't hesitate to grab it. One good candidate, is the Cosina/Phoenix/Promaster/Vivitar 100mm f/3.5 macro. There're samples in the sample images sub-forum. I'm happy with mine, even though I have better macro lenses.
     
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  9. xXx1

    xXx1 TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 15, 2013
    There is one Cosina 100mm 3.5 macro for sale at Ffordes. 49 GBP isn't much. If you go with diopter pick a good one, one of the best is camera lens with reversal ring. If you have a good quality 50mm - 135mm lens a extension tube set may give nice results. You need more extension tubes for longer lens. For example to get 135mm lens to focus to about 60 cm from "standard" 1.5 m you need 50mm of extension tubes and that gives only 0.5 magnification.

    One possible route is using enlarging lens but their prices have gone up much more than macro lenses. Vega-11 might work for you but these lenses don't have focusing helicoid.

    Diopters and extension tubes won't give you flat field and diopters may give some nasty geometrical aberrations (cheap ones are just positive menisculus lenses and generate a lot of barrel or pincushion aberration depending how you mount them). With extension tubes you lose much light (image circle grows as you move the lens farther from sensor).

    Most old macro lenses are just good quality lenses with a long helicoid so you have to compensate for light loss anyway. There is a reason why excellent macro lenses are expensive, they are better corrected and resolution is very high.

    I will probably get a set of extension tubes as those are easy to carry. Will probably work ok with plants..
     
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  10. christian

    christian TalkEmount Veteran

    447
    Apr 12, 2014
    Boston MA
    Here you'll find my thread about extension tubes I use. there are some pictures I took with them and I put the amazon link to the Viltrox tubes. They cost $40 and as they have electronic connections, you keep control on everything on the lens, even if it's a power zoom lens.
    https://www.talkemount.com/showthread.php?t=6662
     
  11. alaios

    alaios TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2013
    Düsseldorf
    Alex
  12. xXx1

    xXx1 TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 15, 2013
    They add 10mm, 16mm or 26mm extension to a lens. These don't work very well with longer focal lengths. For example 26mm with 135mm lens and minimum focus distance of 1.5 meter makes a 0.75 meter minimum focusing distance.

    Sigma 60mm has got minimum focusing distance of 50 cm. With 26mm extension tube it will be 25 cm and magnification of 60%.
     
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  13. christian

    christian TalkEmount Veteran

    447
    Apr 12, 2014
    Boston MA
    Yep, these are my tubes. You keep the AF, but I recomend to use MF for macros, it's more accurate. The AF often do the focus where you don't want to LOL
    As long as you use E-mount, you can put these tubes on every camera (NEX 3-5-6, A3000, A5000, A6000, A7 series)


    https://m.flickr.com/#/photos/118310489@N03/
     
  14. christian

    christian TalkEmount Veteran

    447
    Apr 12, 2014
    Boston MA
  15. WestOkid

    WestOkid TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 25, 2014
    New Jersey, USA
    Gary
  16. christian

    christian TalkEmount Veteran

    447
    Apr 12, 2014
    Boston MA
    That can be a good solution as well but they are generally more expensive and you might loose a little of image quality. What's interesting with the extension tubes is that you keep the original quality of your lens, which can be nice when you know the price of certain lenses, you don't want to see it altered...


    https://m.flickr.com/#/photos/118310489@N03/
     
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  17. davect01

    davect01 Super Moderator

    Aug 20, 2011
    Fountain Hills, AZ
    Dave
    • Like Like x 2
  18. dragion

    dragion TalkEmount Top Veteran

    799
    May 8, 2014
    Boston, MA
    William
    Maybe not cheap, but this one was taken with the SEL 30mm Macro:

    14008184219_ebddc562dc_b.
     
  19. Hawkman

    Hawkman TalkEmount Top Veteran

    943
    Sep 10, 2013
    Virginia, USA
    Steve
    There's been some great info in this thread. :)

    I too am interested in getting into (at least somewhat) close-up or macro-style photography, but am starting out on a budget (as with everything). I've picked up some inexpensive Vivitar close-up filters and have had limited success so far (they seem to add a fair amount of CA; but, then again, I've not made a lot of serious/controlled attempts yet).

    After seeing some of the posts on this thread about the effect of extension tubes on minimum focus distance, I was wondering what the formula is (or where I might read more about such formulas and/or factoring) for determining the effect of a given amount of extension tube or close-up diopter on the minimum focus distance of a given lens. Any insights?
     
  20. eno789

    eno789 TalkEmount Top Veteran

    720
    Jan 1, 2012
    NoCal, USA
    Brian
    Those close-up lenses sold in a set are invariably cheap, low quality, single element ones. Avoid these. As they degrade picture quality too much.

    OTOH, raynox 150 and 250 are very high quality, 3 element achromatic ones. If the base lens is also high quality, by looking at the result pictures alone, I doubt one can easily tell one apart from those taken with dedicated macro lens.

    The extension tubes do not introduce extra glass, that's true. But in this case, more glass is not necessarily bad. The close-up lens will do its part of correction on aberration, and correct a little bit on field curvature. You do lose light when you add extension tube, which the close-up lens does not. Personally I try to reduce the number of times changing lenses in the field, close-up lenses are a bit more convenient in that sense.