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Macro Lens Options for A7 III?


brthegreat117
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Hey everyone. I'm new to the world of legacy lenses. 

Modern lenses are a bit out of my price range at the moment, so I'm looking into the legacy lens market for some nice lenses. 

I currently own a Sony A7 III with a Sony Sonnar Zeiss 55 1.8. The lens is great, but the focusing distance isn't that great. 

I shoot a lot of action figures, and like a macro lens for still photography. 

Any recommendations as to what I should be looking for? 

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Lots of vintage macro lenses to choose from...since autofocus is not needed, I would suggest you look at the Canon  50mm 2.5.  You will need a Canon to Sony E converter (about $10).  I have this little macro and it is impressively sharp.  Around $150 used.

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Tokina 90mm f2.5 ATX Macro

I bought this lens in 1986 in OM mount for my Olympus OM 1  bought it with the 1:1 extender and it did come with a great leather case (which I still have) I will never sell this great optic. 

I use it now on my A7Riii with great results. The only drawback is some CA in extreme contrast in the far corners.

Check eBay, KnH or B and H for current prices. I think it retails for $400-$500 without 1:1 optical extender. $600-$800 complete with case.

http://makingnottaking.blogspot.com/2010/05/tokina-90mm-f25-at-x-macro-bokina.html?m=1

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  • 4 weeks later...

Having an expensive camera with such a good sensor and then using vintage glass is a charming in theory but may leave you dissatisfied in terms of image quality. Vintage glass was designed for film, after all. 

Choice will also depend on what kind of macro. Stills or jumpy insects; Also - really macro (>1:1 or just close up 1:5 to 1:2 range...) For casual macro:

Option 1: Buy a 25mm extension tube and use your current 50mm with it.

Option 2: Exchange your Zeiss 50mm for a Canon EF 50 or Nikon 60mm modern macro lenses + latest Metabones or TechArt adapter. Both are adequately fast and will double as a normal lens just as well. Or buy the Sigma/Tamron in Sony mount to get better AF speeds than with adapter.

Option 3: For physically close up photography, try a Canon EF 28mm f2.8 + 12mm extension tube + adapter. For stills and flowers where some distortion in perspective is acceptable, you won't complain...! See photos for this option. The butterfly and dragonfly shot with a Canon 5D Mk II using a 28mm/f2.8 IS lens+ 12mm extension tube. You can expect similar results with a Sony FF body. 

 

 

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On 11/9/2018 at 6:45 PM, Yeti said:

Having an expensive camera with such a good sensor and then using vintage glass is a charming in theory but may leave you dissatisfied in terms of image quality. Vintage glass was designed for film, after all. 

Interesting opinion.

When it comes to Legacy lenses the effect is very much the choice of the photographer. There has been a lot of supremely made lenses that all give slightly different qualities. Possibly one of the key differences is the glass in modern lenses can no longer contain certain chemicals such as Arsenic and Lead and so lose the qualities these elements provide - equally modern lenses tend to have similar modern coatings and the manufacturing process is more precise - some think this leads towards "perfect" lenses whilst others think it leads to "Clinical" - rather like the arguments for and against vinyl records!

All down to personal taste, but legacy lenses can be a lot cheaper than all singing and dancing modern lenses.

Have fun experimenting!

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We've heard it all before -- from people who don't know better -- "You get what you pay for", "Newer is better", etc. etc.

You can easily find a superb Minolta Celtic 50mm f3.5 Macro lens for under $20.

Here's a exhaustive list of Minolta's incredible macro, micro, and bellows lenses:

http://www.subclub.org/minman/macro.htm

A fool and his money are soon parted.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 11/9/2021 at 5:05 AM, XKAES said:

We've heard it all before -- from people who don't know better -- "You get what you pay for", "Newer is better", etc. etc.

You can easily find a superb Minolta Celtic 50mm f3.5 Macro lens for under $20.

Here's a exhaustive list of Minolta's incredible macro, micro, and bellows lenses:

http://www.subclub.org/minman/macro.htm

A fool and his money are soon parted.

I agree.  There are no bad macro lenses, at least I haven't met any and I have more than a fair share of them in various mounts and formats.

Your sense of pricing vintage macro lenses is quite behind the times.  If you have a Celtic 50/3.5 Macro lens that you want to part with in that price range +/- a few bucks, I would buy it in a heartbeat.

Do you have any of those micro and macro bellows lenses?  I have Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 100/4.0 Bellows lens and have adapted my Schneider Componon-S enlarging lens (50/2.8 so far 80 and 135 to follow) to be used with Pentax Bellows.  I would love to pick up a Minolta Bellows Micro Rokkor-x 25mm 1:2.5 lens but a couple of idiots on eBay seem to think that it's made out of gold just because it;s rare.

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I regularly check out EBAY for Minolta macro gear, and I see some great stuff go for unbelievably LOW prices.  I recently grabbed a complete Minolta MC Rokkor 50mm f3.5 with case, extension tube, and reversing ring for $30.  The case is a little rough, but everything else is like new.  I don't need it so I'll clean it up and relist it.  A lot of gear goes for low prices due to lousy descriptions, horrible photos, poor ending times -- like 4AM -- etc.

I agree about enlarging lenses.  You can get a lot of these for next to nothing and they can be great on a bellows.  FYI, some enlarging lenses have illumination windows that you need to cover up while using on a bellows.  Here's a great site with a list of enlarging lenses:

http://www.photocornucopia.com/1061.html

I have all of the Minolta bellows lenses, but I never paid anything close to what some sellers are asking -- ridiculous!!!

There are also lots of other SPECIAL lenses -- like the FUJINON-EFC LENSES -- that can frequently be obtained for next to nothing. 

http://www.subclub.org/fujinon/efc.htm

There are SOME others here:

https://www.closeuphotography.com/lenses

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Hi XKAES,

Thanks for these links, a lot of information to take in - I'll read through them over the next many days.

Does all enlarging lenses with illumination window need to be covered up?  Only the 135/5.6 is without the illumination window.

Thanks,

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The illumination windows let a small amount of light from inside the enlarger OUT so that you can see the f-stop in the dark.  But when used on a bellows, that same window lets outside light IN -- not something you want.  If you are using flash to expose your subject it probably won't make any difference, but with natural light and longer exposures, it can create flare, loss of contrast, over-exposure, etc.  Just put a small piece of removable opaque tape over the window -- there might be a windows on both sides of the lens.

Minolta made a Leica adapter for the C.E. lenses that has a built-in window cover to solve the problem.  They realized it's a possible problem.  See:

http://www.subclub.org/minman/access.htm

Perhaps other enlarger lens manufacturers did as well, but they are probably as impossible to find as the Minolta version. 

Besides, tape is cheaper!

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Hi XKAES,

What you say makes perfect sense.  I'll just tape over the window and use the stop down function on the Componon-S lens to set the working aperture (2 clicks per stop from f2.8 to f16).  I don't believe Schneider provided any window covers for their enlarger lenses.  I've had my trio of enlarger lenses from about the mid 80's when I was dabbling in all three formats with a darkroom and I didn't see anything that could be considered as the aperture window covers in the box.  Just the aperture control lever taped to the cavity on the bottom of the plastic lens case.

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Enlarging lenses are very different in design.  I have several Componons, and most don't have windows/pipes/etc.  Same with Minolta and Fuji enlarging lenses -- most don't have windows, but some do.  They are easy enough to cover up after you have composed and focused wide open -- and then stopped down.

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In my case, the culprit is the red window above the rear element, sort of like a miniature safelight.  I think I should paint the red window with an opaque paint pen, after carefully masking the rear element.

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You are correct.  You can block the light on the outside of the lens -- or the inside.  All you need is a tiny bit of removable opaque tape over the window on the outside OR the inside.  The outside makes more sense so that you can see the f-stop before you cover it up. 

Painting either means that you won't be able to use it in the darkroom!

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Just waiting for Amazon to deliver black paint pens tomorrow.  If I don't use these enlarger lenses as bellows lens, they will just stay in the box.  And I don't want to sell them because I will get diddly squat for them - hi-res, flat field lenses that seems to be made for macro, it would be a shame not to use them.

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