Vivitar 2X Macro Focusing Teleconverter (for Minolta SR/MC/MD Mount)

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by Hawkman, Jul 30, 2014.

  1. Hawkman

    Hawkman TalkEmount Top Veteran

    943
    Sep 10, 2013
    Virginia, USA
    Steve
    So, inspired by some of the great macro shots on the forum lately, and disappointed with my own results from admittedly brief use of a few close-up filters, I did a little more research and spotted a potential budget-friendly solution to two of my desires in photography right now. (1) I would like a decent macro lens, and (2) I would like a telephoto beyond the SEL55210 (but below telescope reach). The answer I thought of was... well, the thread title gives it away: the Vivitar 2X Macro Focusing Teleconverter.

    From what I've been able to gather from information floating about on the web, the Vivitar 2X Macro Focusing Teleconverter - the 7 elements in 5 groups version, not the plain Vivitar 2X-5 Teleconverter - is fairly well regarded as a teleconverter and macro focusing extender. It may not be quite up to the optical standards of the Minolta 300-S as far MD mount teleconverters go, but everything I read was encouraging. The notion to attempt "killing two birds with one stone" was too much. So last Friday I ordered one from KEH.

    It arrived this morning before work, leaving me no time in the sunlight to test it out. But this evening, upon returning home, I unpacked it, mounted my MD 50mm f/2 on it, mount the interesting combo to my a3000, and tried a few test shots. First checked it on a focus target I printed off the web (oh, yeah, you say). That was encouraging, so I scrummaged around for some appropriate near-1:1 test article and settled on... a shiny new penny.

    14604562868_e5c12bbdc6_o. Untitled by SRHawk64, on Flickr

    (EDIT: BTW, this is a straight SOOC JPEG, no PP, no cropping)

    I basically jury-rigged an impromptu macro "studio" setup with my tripod, an LED lamp, two LED mini-flashlights (on the sides), and a placemat set on our dining room buffet table. While the results are not awe-inspiring, and there is noticeable CA, and perhaps some soft focus on the edges, I am very pleased so far. This is much better than I managed with close-up filters. Easier to focus too.

    Is it a match for the well-regarded Minolta MD Macro 100mm f/4? No. But is it workable for me? Yep! And, uh, is my math correct in causing me to believe the 2X converter turns the 50mm f/2 into the equivalent of a 100mm f/4?

    Tomorrow morning I'll try some more test shots, both telephoto and macro. Maybe even some flowers and bugs.
     
  2. Hawkman

    Hawkman TalkEmount Top Veteran

    943
    Sep 10, 2013
    Virginia, USA
    Steve
    Now I need to practice some more...

    Okay, was able to sneak in a few shots this morning before work with the MD 50mm f/2.0 and Vivitar 2X Macro Focusing Teleconverter.

    First, some flowers in our garden...

    14612162957_736469aca3_o. Knockout Macro - Version 2 by SRHawk64, on Flickr

    [​IMG]Macro Pink - Version 2 by SRHawk64, on Flickr

    Both aperture priority at f/4 (so, uh, f/8 after 2X converter?)

    And then one close-up of one of my two favorite models...

    14608204738_f2b1ff8d3b_o. Close-Up Katie by SRHawk64, on Flickr

    I need some more practice on exposure and composition for these things. But I think I'm getting the hang of the macro teleconverter on the MD 50/2. So far, so good.

    BTW, the two flower shots were raw run through some PP to enhance and boost. The other, SOOC JPEG.

    Thoughts and C&C?
     
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  3. NickCyprus

    NickCyprus Super Moderator

    Oct 11, 2012
    Cyprus
    Nick
    I like the 2 flower shots, even though the lighting is a bit harsh (flash?)
     
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  4. Hawkman

    Hawkman TalkEmount Top Veteran

    943
    Sep 10, 2013
    Virginia, USA
    Steve
    No flash, just bright late morning sun. Maybe the PP over boosted them a bit.
    Good point though... something for me to work on.


    Sent from TalkEmount app on iPad
     
  5. Hawkman

    Hawkman TalkEmount Top Veteran

    943
    Sep 10, 2013
    Virginia, USA
    Steve
    More practice... less sun...

    Got off another couple of quick shots this morning as more practice. Getting the feel of the dual-focus function - one ring on the 50mm and one on the TC.

    Similar flower to yesterday's Pink Macro shot. Taken this morning after a little light morning rain or drizzle. Overcast skies. No crop. No PP, except to convert the raw file (liked its colors better than the SOOC JPEG).

    14806051535_047ba559f4_k. Raindrops on Pink Macro - Version 2 by SRHawk64, on Flickr

    1/160, ISO 250, f/3.5
     

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  6. mingus2112

    mingus2112 TalkEmount Regular

    142
    Jun 16, 2014
    Had to give this thread a second read. I find this REALLY interesting. I think I need to find one of these. Looks like it could be super useful on any number of lenses!
     
  7. Hawkman

    Hawkman TalkEmount Top Veteran

    943
    Sep 10, 2013
    Virginia, USA
    Steve
    Well, it's certainly worth the $23 I got it for off KEH. I think they still had a couple left the last time I checked.

    It is designed/optimized for macro with 50mm lenses (someone posted a scanned copy of the manual online - http://mailch.blogspot.com/2012/08/the-users-review-vivitar-2x-macro.html ). But it works well for macro and tele conversion with most lenses. As with any teleconverter, there is noticeable light loss (2 stops?). And I think I notice a little bit of image softening at telephoto lengths... But that could just be me and the lack of stabilization (although I tried it on a tripod as well). I'll keep trying it, and when I have the time to do a detailed comparison, I'll post some more shots.


    Sent from TalkEmount app on iPad
     
  8. Hawkman

    Hawkman TalkEmount Top Veteran

    943
    Sep 10, 2013
    Virginia, USA
    Steve
    Okay, here's one of my half-way decent tests at telephoto from this morning.

    14838588524_e2e6afda24_k. Birdy Fence Party - Version 2 by SRHawk64, on Flickr

    MD Celtic 135mm on Vivitar 2X teleconverter, Shutter priority, 1/400, ISO 160, f/5.6, SOOC JPEG, cropped only to a quasi-panoramic to get rid of the deck in the foreground. Makes it a 270mm for a 405mm 35mm-equivalent FOV. My first impression from this... not too bad. Some loss of light - to be expected. Maybe some softening of focus or loss of sharpness. Hard to tell given my own relative inexperience with manual focus at such telephoto lengths. And yes, a tripod was used.

    In any case, it was leaps and bounds better than I could achieve with my MD mount TOU/FiveStar 75-200mm f/4.5 zoom also on the Vivitar Teleconverter. All the shots I managed from that lens came out very soft indeed. And that included a spectacularly failed attempt at the moon last night. ;)

    So, from this initial limited, non-scientific testing, it would seem that the teleconverter magnifies whatever flaws a lens might have. Does this match others' experience with similar teleconverters? Hmmm, maybe I need a nice inexpensive MD Celtic/Rokkor 200mm f/4 to try on it.... *cough* more GAS *cough*
     

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