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Macro lens attachments

I recently got a set of marco lenses for my DSLR, an old E300.
They are the simple kind, basically a magnifying lens that screws onto the the existing lens system like a filter.
My first impressions of this simple and relatively cheap alternative to a dedicated macro lens in the 400$ range were quite good.
But I also found some downsides and would like to know if they are a general thing to accept or a result of poor quality standards.

1. Although about 20% of the lens are unused (nothing at all visible when covering the outsides of the lens) there is some nocticable distortion happening.
Especially the corner areas of the image when the object fills the entire picture appear to be slightly bend.
Is that due to the marcro lens being a single and cheap system or a general thing with these marcro filter lenses?

2. It is quite hard to to get a clear focus even with F22 settings and good light.
With the X4 lens it is not too bad and leaves about 8mm of totally sharp image before it gets blurry.
But when using the X10 lens I often have troubles getting a sharp image of an object that goes less than 5mm into the background.
Using a smaller setting, like f11 and only 1-2mm of the image is clear and sharp while everything in front or in the back of this area gets more and more blurry.
Is this due to the marco lens affecting the focus?
For example taking a full size shot of a rose flower is next to impossible if the entire flower should be be sharp - I would like to be able to get at least 10mm of totally sharp image when using f22 settings :(

If this is a downside of cheap filter lenses then I already learned my lesson, but would like to know a bit more before saving money on a dedicated macro lens that I will rarly use...

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bertwert2 years ago

Hello Downunder35m, I have never used macro attachments.

Another option is extension tubes.

I haven't used that either :-)

What lens are you using these on?

Zoom in all the way (If applicable) and then set the lowest aperture.

Example:

18mm lowest aperture: F22

55mm lowest aperture: F40

Make sure you use a tripod.

I, personally, like a very shallow DoF for macro photos.

For my macro I use my kit lens, example (click on image):

Camera: Pentax K-50

Aperture: f/5.6

Shutter: 1/160

ISO: 100

Focal: 55mm

Focus: Manual

IMGP2952.jpg
Downunder35m (author)  bertwert2 years ago

Thanks for the info!
I played around a bit more and it seems I did not fully understand the function of these marko lens adapters.
Here are my findings:
With the standard lens (14-50mm) I can do a close up down to about 35cm of distance.
Although it seems the marko lens is just a magnifying lens it acually just reduces the focal point.
So the higher the magnification level of the lens, like mine from 1 to 10, the closer you get to the object.
The actual image size does not really change compared to no lens attachment but the image is of course clear and sharp.
That is also th next point:
The focus lenght shrinks drastically withmarco adapters!
Where I am able to get around 3cm of clear image at F22 with the standard lens this goes down to under 4mm with the X10 lens.
I assume higher F levels would fix tht but 22 is the limit of my cam.
For effect pictures like a flower with the leaves in the background already slightly blurry this is totally fine, for 3D phogrammetry it makes things quite hard LOL

Although it seems the marko lens is just a magnifying lens it acually just reduces the focal point.

Exactly!

The extension tubes (googling...) do increase magnification, I should try them myself. Here is a calculator for magnification and extension tube explanation.

Looking at this chart, your sensor has a crop factor of 2 and mine is 1.5.

A 50mm lens on your camera would be a 67-ish mm lens on mine (changes lens...) Damn! This lens doesn't focus at 35 cm :-) My lens cap (49mm) completely fills the frame from 35 cm at 67-ish mm, though totally out-of-focus.

The standard lens of the E300 seems to be the 14-45mm? That would be a 60mm lens on my Pentax. The lens cap still mainly fills the screen at this focal length from 35 cm away.

How big is your object you are photographing? I am guessing it would work fine without a macro lens/attachment?

You might be able to crop after (though with 8MP on your cam, you might want the high-res)

I bet none of this helps :-)

Side note: The viewfinder setup is weird in the E300!

Downunder35m (author)  bertwert2 years ago

I pictured a small micro switch, 2.2x5.1x6mm in size.
As the images were needed for a 3D scan I had to get fairly close as otherwise there simply is not enough switch in the image.
On the "long" sides I had some focus problems but I got around it in the end by modifying the scan results in the software a bit.
For the few images I take in a year it is not worth spending a lot of money on a new body with 14 or more MP.

I pictured a small micro switch, 2.2x5.1x6mm in size.

Is that what you are taking a picture of?

A nice guide for Cheap Macro.

Downunder35m (author)  bertwert2 years ago

Yes, a tiny micro switch that can get lost in a micro USB plug ;)
But the link to the guide is quite nice as it shows and explains all the things I encountered with the focus.
Might invest in a reverse adaptor for my next tiny object now.

Toga_Dan2 years ago

you are talking shallow depth of feild. As Bert says, a small aperture will help. You may need more light, or longer exposure time. I dont know digital cameras well, but have done exposure times of several minutes with film.

Think of a small aperture as being almost a pinhole camera. A pinhole needs no lens, and has astonishing depth of feild.

a light ring will help illuminate subject, allowing smaller aperture.