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John Mitchell

Macro and Sony mirrorless

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A question for users of Sony APS-C mirrorless cameras  (NEX, a6000, etc.). What are you using for close-up and macro photography -- lens attachments, extension tubes, a particular lens, etc.?

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Hi John

 

I don't possess a macro lens and make do with extension tubes and whatever is to hand. I do possess a Zeiss Flektogon that has close focusing, but at 35mm, it's not all that useful. I have some half decent but ancient M42 tubes, and the Zeiss or  ancient Pentax 50 or 100mm will fit. They produce images that pass QC easily enough, but I don't think I have made any sales.  I seem to recall  buying some cheapo Sony or Pentax K  fit tubes but they were poorly made and not too useful. Have to say that Macro doesn't really float my boat and there's plenty of folk who specialise in the area, so lots of competition. Not inclined to buy a dedicated lens any time soon, although should I spot an elderly Tamron adaptall 90mm at a knockdown price I might be tempted. 

 

There's easier and cheaper ways to make saleable photos.

Edited by Bryan
Confusing Zuiko and Takumar!

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Bryan said:

Hi John

 

I don't possess a macro lens and make do with extension tubes and whatever is to hand. I do possess a Zeiss Flektogon that has close focusing, but at 35mm, it's not all that useful. I have some half decent but ancient M42 tubes, and the Zeiss or  ancient Zuiko 50 or 100mm will fit. They produce images that pass QC easily enough, but I don't think I have made any sales.  I seem to recall  buying some cheapo Sony or Pentax K  fit tubes but they were poorly made and not too useful. Have to say that Macro doesn't really float my boat and there's plenty of folk who specialise in the area, so lots of competition. Not inclined to buy a dedicated lens any time soon, although should I spot an elderly Tamron adaptall 90mm at a knockdown price I might be tempted. 

 

There's easier and cheaper ways to make saleable photos.

 

I too bought some cheapo metal extension tubes to use with my legacy Minolta MD 50mm and 45mm MF lenses and NEX cameras. They work OK, but I find that the manual focus doesn't work well. I end up having to move the camera back and forth to get subjects in focus. I also bought an inexpensive set of dedicated AF extension tubes. They too are OK, but the autofocus isn't accurate with them. Again, I end up rocking back and forth in order to achieve focus. Sony makes a 30mm macro for APS-C mirrorless. However, the short focal length and lack of stabilization -- to keep the price down, I guess -- make it a questionable investment. Agreed, there are much easier ways to go than macro. However, I do indulge in the occasional macro shot when I'm feeling especially masochistic.

 

This was taken with the Sony SEL 18-55, handheld with the above-mentioned dedicated extension tubes. Several shots were required before I got one in decent focus. It has been zoomed here a couple of times (to my surprise), plus I actually sold a print on a certain POD site.

 

a-western-honey-bee-or-european-honey-be

Edited by John Mitchell

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John, I owned that Sony 30mm f/3.5 macro. It was not bad, but I sold it awhile ago. Both my Sony RX10 and RX100 iii can shoot 1:1. (I'll let you sort out the details on DPReview.)  And yes, 30mm is a bit short for snapping insects. 

 

I don't shoot micro, macro or smackro, but I do shoot closeups. For my a6000, I have a Sony 10-18 and a 50mm f/1.8. I also have a Sigma 30mm f/2.8, which has been labeled "micro" but  focuses no closer than 11.81".  I had the 16MP NEX-6.  I traded that very good camera recently for the even better a6000 and its 24MP sensor. With 24MP, I can crop a 10-18 image to a 50mm view. That zoom is very useful here in the city. 

 

Rocking back and forth with the manual focus is the way it's done. 

 

Good luck, Edo

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On my RX100 I and II I sometimes use an old 50mm 1.8 Olympus lens hand held reversed, pressed to the lens of the Sony. When zoomed in, it covers 20mm long side.

The quality is superb.

However with my new RX100V this doesn't work any more. The lens gives a circular image even at the end of the 70mm equivalent zoom.

Before you ask: the 1.2 only gives a marginally wider circle. At half the quality.

 

In general using a reversed 50mm lens wide open in front of a (kit) zoom lens is a well known cheap way to get good quality macro images.

Though there are coupler rings for this, most people just use some tape or cardboard and rubber band sort of solutions.

Old manual 50mm lenses can be had for (next to) nothing. Even a desirable (good quality in a small packet) lens like the 1.8-50mm Olympus Zuiko starts at under 10 euros on Ebay. Sometimes it comes with a free camera attached. ;-)

link

link

link

 

wim

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4 hours ago, Ed Rooney said:

John, I owned that Sony 30mm f/3.5 macro. It was not bad, but I sold it awhile ago. Both my Sony RX10 and RX100 iii can shoot 1:1. (I'll let you sort out the details on DPReview.)  And yes, 30mm is a bit short for snapping insects. 

 

I don't shoot micro, macro or smackro, but I do shoot closeups. For my a6000, I have a Sony 10-18 and a 50mm f/1.8. I also have a Sigma 30mm f/2.8, which has been labeled "micro" but  focuses no closer than 11.81".  I had the 16MP NEX-6.  I traded that very good camera recently for the even better a6000 and its 24MP sensor. With 24MP, I can crop a 10-18 image to a 50mm view. That zoom is very useful here in the city. 

 

Rocking back and forth with the manual focus is the way it's done. 

 

Good luck, Edo

 

I've experimented a bit with the Sony 30mm macro and quite like the results. If I see a used one at a really good price, I might even consider buying it despite the shortcomings.

 

David Kilpatrick (Remember him?) likes the Sigma 60mm lens and extension tubes for macro.

 

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

We all miss DavidK.

 

This is where I traded my NEX-6 for the a6000. I also sold them all my Nikon gear. See if they have your lens:  https://www.mpb.com/en-us/

Edited by Ed Rooney

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, wiskerke said:

On my RX100 I and II I sometimes use an old 50mm 1.8 Olympus lens hand held reversed, pressed to the lens of the Sony. When zoomed in, it covers 20mm long side.

The quality is superb.

 

In general using a reversed 50mm lens wide open in front of a (kit) zoom lens is a well known cheap way to get good quality macro images.

Though there are coupler rings for this, most people just use some tape or cardboard and rubber band sort of solutions.

Old manual 50mm lenses can be had for (next to) nothing. Even a desirable (good quality in a small packet) lens like the 1.8-50mm Olympus Zuiko starts at under 10 euros on Ebay. Sometimes it comes with a free camera attached. ;-)

link

link

link

 

wim

 

Not seen that before, thanks Wim!

 

I knew about the idea of reversing a lens to achieve better close up performance, but the compound lens idea is a new one to me.

 

I have the excellent 1.8 Zuiko, bought for £10 with as new camera attached. At f8 on the a6500 it's a star, contrast is down a tad, but resolution superb right across the frame. Need to dig out some sticking plaster and try the reversal idea. I might even shell out for a 49mm reversing ring, or, you never know, I might even have one lurking in the junk box.

Edited by Bryan

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In addition to extension tubes, I have a set of Hoya close-up lenses left over from film days. They work surprisingly well if you don't stack them. I find it easier to focus with these (AF and MF) than with the tubes. The lenses are also not as bulky.

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4 hours ago, Ed Rooney said:

We all miss DavidK.

 

This is where I traded my NEX-6 for the a6000. I also sold them all my Nikon gear. See if they have your lens:  https://www.mpb.com/en-us/

 

Looks like a great place to check out. I'm guessing their quotes were better than what you could get from B&H or Adorama? I sold some Nikon equipment to Adorama when I moved from the D70 to the D700 and still regret giving away my excellent crop sensor lenses for peanuts on the dollar, but while I've done well buying on ebay, I don't relish the idea of selling there. What did you like about mpb?

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Posted (edited)

John, I use my Nikor close up lenses on the end of my 40-150mm Oly zoom as a cheap macro now (a $150 lens that is super light and very sharp - I'm keeping it even though I plan to get the pro zoom because it weighs nothing). I have a legacy 50mm Zuiko lens (from my OM-1 film days) - never figured out that backwards lens thing, Wim. I bought the extension tube to use my legacy 200mm on my EM-1 but it is useless or more likely I'm doing something wrong. Some other stuff I plan to sell...

 

Bryan, I'll have to try the 50mm with my EM-1 and that tube thingy. Guessing the bokeh will be nice.

Edited by Marianne

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Yeah, I sold some stuff to Adorama, Marianne. On the first two items they took, the price was not that bad. After that things got ridiculous.

 

MPB is a British company, with an office in NYC. They are honest and a really good place to buy or sell or trade. There are other operations in the USA now dealing with used gear: KEH Camera and National Camera Exchange. These two take film equipment as well as digital. MPB deals in digital only. 

 

Edo

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Due to the unfavourable (for Canucks) CAN/USD exchange rate, I tend to not shop south of the 49th parallel these days (nothing personal ... honest). Fortunately, a local camera store chain often has good deals on used equipment, plus they offer a 30-day warranty, which is better than nothing. However, the amounts they offer for trade-ins are ludicrous. A lot of their customers don't seem to mind, though. I guess they don't want the possible hassles of selling stuff online.

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Posted (edited)

What if you were to deal with the British MPB, John? 

 

I'll give you the numbers here.  In the trade,  my NEX-6 body (in very good shape) was valued as $190. Their a6000 (in as-new shape and in the box with all the papers) was listed as $364 US.  So I gave them $174 with the NEX-6. 

 

 

Edited by Ed Rooney

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Ed Rooney said:

What if you were to deal with the British MPB, John? 

 

I'll give you the numbers here.  In the trade,  my NEX-6 body (in very good shape) was valued as $190. Their a6000 (in as-new shape and in the box with all the papers) was listed as $364 US.  So I paid them $174. 

 

 

 

Could be worse. One could sell (privately) a used NEX-6 here for about $300-$400 CAN (around $245-$325 USD), I'd say.

 

Shopping in the UK probably would not be any better as $1.00 CAN is currently worth about 0.6 GBP, but I'll check out MPB next time I'm in a trading-in mood. Thanks for the link.

 

I currently have about  £15 left on a  £100 amazon UK gift card that I won from DACS a couple of years ago. I'll probably never spend it because that amount doesn't even cover shipping to Canada for most items. 

Edited by John Mitchell

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