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Thread: Nifty Fifty for Macro.

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    Ausphotography Veteran martycon's Avatar
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    Nifty Fifty for Macro.

    I am using an FD50mm f1.8 and 24mm ext tube with oly M10 for macro. I am reasonably happy with the results, and have posted a couple of images (selected from over 100) of 6 to 8 mm long green tree ants. I think my use of the lens is a technically correct compromise. There is lots of detail but it is not sharp enough to satisfy me. I suffer Lens Lust for the oly FD60mm f2.8 Macro, but it is presently beyond my budget. I am considering buying an FD 50mm f1.4 for around $100.
    Can someone help me to decide whether this would be a reasonable alternative.
    It would be great if you could rate the FD 50 f1.4 as somewhere between 1 for Nifty Fifty and 5 for the oly 60mm f2.8 Macro.
    The FD days are long gone, but I live in hope that some members have long memories.

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    This doesn't answer your specific question but I'd suggest an alternative that I think is worth considering, although you would also have to buy an adapter for it. Have you looked at the Nikon Ais 2.8/55 Micro-Nikkor? I bought one for about the price range you are looking at. They are quite common and easily adaptable, although there are a few things to look out for (stiff focusing and sticky apertures to name a couple) so do some research if you go down this path.

    I've had a few macro's over the years to compare it to and I find this lens to have an incredible level of resolution and contrast across most of the frame (on a Canon 5D2). Some consider this lens a reference in this focal length. It is also superb as a normal taking lens, ie at infinity where it doesn't seem to loose very much resolution at all. Pretty damn good for a 30 year old lens.

    See: http://coinimaging.com/nikon_55microais.html

    By the way, there are lots of interesting tests on the above site.
    Last edited by jjphoto; 01-08-2015 at 9:36am.

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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    Hmm! But I wouldn't diverge too much from your intended goal: the purchase of a macro lens.
    Looking at you speedy tree ants, the results don't look too bad, and perhaps some refinement of technique
    would help. I see you shutter speed is up there, 1/400s and 1/320s, but the EXIF shows aperture at f/1. I guess
    this is not the case, but what was it? It looks like a bit more DOF would help the shots, but I know it's hard
    to achieve in many macro situations.

    The trouble with a 50mm lens like you have is that the addition of an extension tube makes the working
    distance to the subject shrink a lot, as too the DOF.

    One could talk about introducing a teleconverter into the train, but if you don't already have one then I would
    NOT go out and get one. Also, you can try to use the lens reversed - via a reversing ring and at great cost
    to technique for subjects that move.

    Nope. You'd better Save up and get an f=100-150mm macro lens
    CC, Image editing OK.

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ameerat42 View Post
    .....

    The trouble with a 50mm lens like you have is that the addition of an extension tube makes the working
    distance to the subject shrink a lot, as too the DOF......
    On a 2x crop camera like an Olympus .. I don't think the 50mm f/l should be an issue.
    It gives an equivalent 100mm f/l FOV.

    Obviously if you want 1:1 magnification then yes .. a longer lens will give you better working distances.
    But not many people just want technical 1:1 magnification .. they're simply after very very close closeups.

    I'd try the reversing thing too. Adapters are cheap.
    Nikon D800E, D300, D70s
    {Nikon} -> 50/1.2 : 500/8(CPU'd) : 105/2.8VR Micro : 180/2.8ais : 105mm f/1.8ais : 24mm/2ais
    {Sigma}; ->10-20/4-5.6 : 50/1.4 : 12-24/4.5-5.6II : 150-600mm|S
    {Tamron}; -> 17-50/2.8 : 28-75/2.8 : 70-200/2.8 : 300/2.8 SP MF : 24-70/2.8VC


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    John, thanks for this great info. I will go this way if Canon fails to suit.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Thanks Am, aperture (manual) was f8 as sharpest for lens and DOF. Focal distance was about 25cm again for DOF, and I cropped about 100%.
    I am a DIY person and enjoy a bit of a challenge to conserve funds. I do however admit to a powerful Lens Lust for an oly FD60mm f2.8 Macro.
    Last edited by martycon; 02-08-2015 at 12:15am.

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    Quote Originally Posted by martycon View Post
    I am using an FD50mm f1.8 and 24mm ext tube with oly M10 for macro . . . There is lots of detail but it is not sharp enough to satisfy me. I am considering buying an FD 50mm f1.4 for around $100. Can someone help me to decide whether this would be a reasonable alternative.
    It might be a reasonable alternative only if (a) you could sell the FD 50 F/1.8 for the same $100 and (b) the replacement F/1.4 Lens was in as good as or better condition than the lens you are presently using. Lenses that old . . . a bit of a lucky dip? no?

    *

    It would be great if you could rate the FD 50 f1.4 as somewhere between 1 for Nifty Fifty and 5 for the oly 60mm f2.8 Macro.
    I cannot do that.

    There were various releases of both the FD 50 F/1.4 and the FD 50 F/1.8. My opinion is that neither one over the other would show any great advantage apropos SHARPNESS or GENERAL IMAGE QUALITY for the purposes that you describe and at the typical apertures necessary for those purposes.

    There might be a very slight advantage ‘upgrading’ to any one of the F/1.4 lenses if you have the FD 50mm f/1.8 S.C. MkII – but even then, I expect that it would be only chance that would dictate whether or not you get a better image, even though that particular lens at the time of release, was not up to the expectations of many of the dedicated and experienced Canon users.

    *


    The FD days are long gone . . .
    They are. That’s the rub – it is a very difficult to know exactly in what condition the lens will be now, even if on paper it were to have been rated all that much better several decades ago – and for your purposes there wasn’t that much difference between the F/1.8 series and the F/1.4 series, back then, anyway.

    *

    but I live in hope that some members have long memories.
    I do. I also have many notes and other general and incidental reference material.

    Therefore, if you are hunting for a replacement FD Lens to use as you describe, then I suggest that you hunt for either of the 50mm f/3.5 lenses that Canon released in the FD Series. My notes describe that two were released and both are excellent apropos sharpness, which is understandable, because these lenses are the same lineage as the EF 50 F/2.5, which is one of the three sharpest EF Lenses of the many EF Lenses that I have used: the two others being the TS-E 90/2.8 and the EF 135/2.

    WW

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    Thank you William, AP Members have not disappointed me in their wide ranging and detailed knowledge of their tools. You and John have given excellent advice and a new direction to investigate. The Nikor lens suggested by John is also very impressive. The cost of another mount adapter and ext tubes is not great, so both Canon EF and Nikon are now candidates.

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    Good.

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