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roadkill_6mm
7th December 2010, 05:08 PM
Righty-ho, I'm after a bit of advice.....

Currently I have my E-510 with the twin kit lens and the 12-60mm + 50-200mm SWD Zuiko.

What I dont have is a macro lens. I did have the 70-300mm which produced acceptable macro results, however I sold that to put towards the 50-200mm

I'm now finding that I am missing macro photography so have decided that I need a new lens!

Thing is which to get!

I've been looking at the 35mm and 50mm Oly lenses - there is quite a big difference in the price.

Is the 50mm worth the money over the 35mm??

Also what about 3rd party lenses eg Sigma?

I will be upgrading my body in the future (quite distant future as it'll take a while to save up for an E-5!)

I know there is always a trade-off between price and quality but I dont want to go beyond the 250-300 mark.

So what are your thoughts??

Regards

Neil

PaulE
7th December 2010, 05:56 PM
Righty-ho, I'm after a bit of advice.....

Currently I have my E-510 with the twin kit lens and the 12-60mm + 50-200mm SWD Zuiko.

What I dont have is a macro lens. I did have the 70-300mm which produced acceptable macro results, however I sold that to put towards the 50-200mm

I'm now finding that I am missing macro photography so have decided that I need a new lens!

Thing is which to get!

I've been looking at the 35mm and 50mm Oly lenses - there is quite a big difference in the price.

Is the 50mm worth the money over the 35mm??

Also what about 3rd party lenses eg Sigma?

I will be upgrading my body in the future (quite distant future as it'll take a while to save up for an E-5!)

I know there is always a trade-off between price and quality but I dont want to go beyond the 250-300 mark.

So what are your thoughts??

Regards

Neil

I started with the 35mm and no so long ago picked up a 50mm macro off here too. Apart from the larger aperture and images having just a touch more contrast there is very little else between them IMO - if the 50mm is sharper I can't see it. Obviously the 50mm gives you just a little more working distance - but then you don't get 1:1 like you do with the 35mm. The AF is more accurate on the 50mm IMO but it is slower. I can't comment on the Sigma macros as I've never tried them but from what I've seen of them I'm not sure that they would live up to either of the Olympus lenses in terms of sharpness or contrast - which is a deal breaker for me - you may see the extra working distance they afford to be more important - as many others do.

Knowing what I know about the lenses now, would I buy the 50mm over the 35mm macro and take the hit on the price? ..... probably not, as good as the 50mm is I'm really not sure that it's that far ahead of the 35mm to warrant such a huge difference in price - that's not to say that I will sell my 50mm now I have one though!

photo_owl
7th December 2010, 06:37 PM
first off I agree with what PaulE has said, and also understand why he struggles to understand why he feels that way!

your choices also include adding an EX25 to your 50-200 - this works pretty well in the close up range.

at the end of the day the 35 gives you the opportunity to get in real close (magnification wise) with superb sharpness - but to do so you need to get real real close to your subject!

the 50 is in another class - many believe it's really an SHG peice of glass - and can be mated with the EC14 and EC20 to increase the magnification optuions. For you it's also a lot faster than anything you have - making it a great portrait option as well.

don't rule out the 12-60 for close ups, in line with the 50-200 - EX25/70-300

If I were you (and I was) I would (did) get the 50. I subsequently got the 35 and then got rid of it. The extra magnification just didn't work for me.

roadkill_6mm
7th December 2010, 06:50 PM
What sort of magnification would I get with the 50-200 and ex25?

Was also considering an OM 50mm f1.8 with a cheap extension tube.....would this work or would the results be disappointing re sharpness when compared to the digital lenses?

Regards

Neil

jamie allan
7th December 2010, 07:09 PM
Neil,
I bought a Sigma Achromatic diopter for the 70-300 and it works well I think. They don't make them anymore but I got it for only 10 on eBay. I think Canon still make an achromatic lens and you can see various YouTube presentations of this. You get them in various filter sizes
This stamen was no more that 4-5mm in height.
http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/1056/PA314394s.jpg

I also bought a Tokina 28-70mm macro lens which I've been pleasantly surprised with - especially for 2.20 off eBay.
Tree moss close up
http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/1056/PC044477s.jpg

Melaka
7th December 2010, 07:17 PM
For my purposes it's working distance that matters. I soon replaced my 35mm with the 50mm (which I still have though don't use much), then got the Sigma 105mm with which I never really felt comfortable. It was sold (on eBay as no forum member was interested) to part fund a 150mm Sigma which does me well for insects etc.

Greytop
7th December 2010, 09:17 PM
If you can find one I would recommend the Sigma 150. I think it's a wonderful macro lens, very good build and superb optics, one of Sigma's best I think.

Crippledsandwich
7th December 2010, 09:38 PM
I have the 35mm which is a cracking little lens for the price. But you have to get very close to your subject to achieve 1:1. Its not impossible to take pictures of insects but its very hard, better for static subjects in my experience.

I have recently purchased a Sigma 105mm Macro second hand for 215 but I have seen them between 200-280 SH, which is in your price range. really please with the lens, results and build quality.

What i tend to do is to look on Flickr and search for photos taken with the kit im reviewing.

Chris

Ellie
7th December 2010, 10:57 PM
I have the 35mm which is a cracking little lens for the price. But you have to get very close to your subject to achieve 1:1. Its not impossible to take pictures of insects but its very hard, better for static subjects in my experience.
I also have the 35mm macro and am very pleased with it. Yes, you do have to get close to the subject, but when you can there are very good results. Or at least I think so.

Can't remember if links will work, but here (http://ejwilkins.shutterchance.com/photoblog/Osteospermum_/4/) and here (http://ejwilkins.shutterchance.com/photoblog/Autumn_/4/) are a couple of shots I took last year.

Photographing insects - a tip - if they're sitting still try not to get between them and the sun, and don't move to quickly because they have remarkably good eyesight.

(Shameless plug for my blog (http://ejwilkins.shutterchance.com/archive.php) ... tomorrow's picture (8th December 2010) is a rather good shot of a dragonfly's head/eyes, also taken with the 35mm macro.)

I can't speak for any other lenses, although have also had decent results from the 14-42mm kit lens, so I'd guess the 12-60mm is even better. I also use the 70-300 with satisfying results, but I don't find it easy to focus on something very small unless I can get really close to it.

jamie allan
7th December 2010, 11:21 PM
I also use the 70-300 with satisfying results, but I don't find it easy to focus on something very small unless I can get really close to it.
Ellie,
If you can pick up the Sigma Achromatic Diopter it was designed for the Sigma 70-300 which some say is very similar - if not the same - as the Oly 70-300. It gives good close ups at a reasonable distance from the subject.

Crippledsandwich
8th December 2010, 12:17 AM
I also have the 35mm macro and am very pleased with it. Yes, you do have to get close to the subject, but when you can there are very good results. Or at least I think so.

Can't remember if links will work, but here (http://ejwilkins.shutterchance.com/photoblog/Osteospermum_/4/) and here (http://ejwilkins.shutterchance.com/photoblog/Autumn_/4/) are a couple of shots I took last year.

Photographing insects - a tip - if they're sitting still try not to get between them and the sun, and don't move to quickly because they have remarkably good eyesight.

(Shameless plug for my blog (http://ejwilkins.shutterchance.com/archive.php) ... tomorrow's picture (8th December 2010) is a rather good shot of a dragonfly's head/eyes, also taken with the 35mm macro.)

I can't speak for any other lenses, although have also had decent results from the 14-42mm kit lens, so I'd guess the 12-60mm is even better. I also use the 70-300 with satisfying results, but I don't find it easy to focus on something very small unless I can get really close to it.

Thanks for the advice. You are indeed right, cracking lens. I really like the first link and the dragon fly:)

roadkill_6mm
8th December 2010, 05:18 AM
Oh what to do!!

I would ideally like to be able to take a wide range of macro shots, from flowers to insects. My local nature reserve has a nice little pond with a walk-way into the middle, the pond itself is teeming with dragon and damsel flies in the summer, which I got a few snaps of using my 70-300 (before I sold it)

Thing is its not possible to get closer than say 6ft of the subjects and from what I've been reading about the 35mm that might not be close enough.

I'll show my ignorance now (and a lack of research!) but what exactly do extension tubes (such as the ex25) do? I know they effectively move the lens further away from the sensor, but what effect does this have on the minimum focus distance, the actual image produced and can it be used with any Zuiko lens??

Sorry for all the questions, and I really do appreciate everyone taking time to give me advice.

Regards

Neil

Ross the fiddler
8th December 2010, 05:42 AM
What sort of magnification would I get with the 50-200 and ex25?

Was also considering an OM 50mm f1.8 with a cheap extension tube.....would this work or would the results be disappointing re sharpness when compared to the digital lenses?

Regards

Neil

For the EX 25, it is a useful extension tube which can be used with an number of lenses including Sigma & other 4/3s lenses. The maximum magnification using it with your ZD 50-200 lens, would be at 50mm & achieve aproximately half life size. It gets less at the longer lengths. See the compatability charts http://www.olympus.co.jp/en/support/imsg/digicamera/compati/di004042e.cfm

To achieve 1:1 with the ZD50 macro lens you can use the EX25 (cheaper) or the EC20 (more expensive but more useful too).

I have the ZD35 macro lens & lighting becomes an issue at 1:1 because of the closeness & isn't much good for chasing bugs, whereas I also have the Sigma 150 macro lens (which I also use with the EX25) & love it.

I have posted some photos with it here, but Greytop (Huw) has posted some very impressive examples with it too. The 150mm lens allows a very good working distance & is also compatible with the EX25, EC14 & EC20 tube/multipliers. It could be argued the ZD50 is sharper but the Sigma is pretty sharp. The Sigma 105 macro is also a good lens if the budget won't extend for the 150mm & also lighter.

BTW, if you are thinking of getting a Sigma lens you need to hurry before stocks run out as they have stopped making them for 4/3s.

Here's a couple of examples
http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/506/thumbs/PB132723as.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/506/PB132723as.jpg)http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/505/thumbs/P9249983acr2xs.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/505/P9249983acr2xs.jpg)
http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/27154/size/big/cat/

I almost forgot. The cheap extension tube can be used with an OM50 lens, but also get a lens reversing adapter for 4/3s. They come in various filter thread sizes & allow a constant approximately 2" working distance & focusing by moving the camera. All fun for experimenting. You would still leave the OM to 4/3s adapter on the lens to adjust the aperture. Focusing becomes difficult with a closed aperture.

Ross the fiddler
8th December 2010, 06:01 AM
Oh what to do!!

I would ideally like to be able to take a wide range of macro shots, from flowers to insects. My local nature reserve has a nice little pond with a walk-way into the middle, the pond itself is teeming with dragon and damsel flies in the summer, which I got a few snaps of using my 70-300 (before I sold it)

Thing is its not possible to get closer than say 6ft of the subjects and from what I've been reading about the 35mm that might not be close enough.

I'll show my ignorance now (and a lack of research!) but what exactly do extension tubes (such as the ex25) do? I know they effectively move the lens further away from the sensor, but what effect does this have on the minimum focus distance, the actual image produced and can it be used with any Zuiko lens??

Sorry for all the questions, and I really do appreciate everyone taking time to give me advice.

Regards

Neil

As it moves the lens away from the sensor the image becomes bigger on the sensor but also limits the focusing range. When the focusing lens element moved in to achieve infinity focus before, it can't do it at the same distance from the sensor now because the whole lens is further away (by 25mm), but the same focusing element (whether it be external or internal) can move a further 25mm away from the sensor which allows a closer focusing distance than possible before which in turn gives a larger image on the sensor than before. Again, check the compatability charts & take note of the minimum & maximum focusing distances & magifications for each lens. It can be a bit pointless with some lenses, but otherwise achieve useful results with others.

http://www.olympus.co.jp/en/support/imsg/digicamera/compati/di004042e.cfm

I can actually get 35% more magnification using the EX25 with the Sigma 150 lens & getting up to 1.35 life size results from it (approximately, at the closet focusing distance).
Sorry if I'm repeating myself but I hope that helps.

Greytop
8th December 2010, 09:19 AM
Hi Neil,

I'm not sure if it might help in your considerations but here are a couple of links to slide-shows of some images I've taken with the Sigma 150mm.

http://s870.photobucket.com/albums/ab269/Greytop_photos/Sunday%20lunch/?albumview=slideshow

http://s870.photobucket.com/albums/ab269/Greytop_photos/More%20addictive%20macro/?albumview=slideshow

snaarman
8th December 2010, 09:46 AM
Oh what to do!!


Thing is its not possible to get closer than say 6ft of the subjects and from what I've been reading about the 35mm that might not be close enough.


Regards

Neil

If you are six feet from the object, then I would think you could forget the 35mm and the 50mm, excellent though they are. In these cases you are talking about six inches working distance.... Maybe the Sigma route is the better bet..

Pete

photo_owl
8th December 2010, 12:45 PM
Oh what to do!!

I would ideally like to be able to take a wide range of macro shots, from flowers to insects. My local nature reserve has a nice little pond with a walk-way into the middle, the pond itself is teeming with dragon and damsel flies in the summer, which I got a few snaps of using my 70-300 (before I sold it)

Thing is its not possible to get closer than say 6ft of the subjects and from what I've been reading about the 35mm that might not be close enough.

I'll show my ignorance now (and a lack of research!) but what exactly do extension tubes (such as the ex25) do? I know they effectively move the lens further away from the sensor, but what effect does this have on the minimum focus distance, the actual image produced and can it be used with any Zuiko lens??

Sorry for all the questions, and I really do appreciate everyone taking time to give me advice.

Regards

Neil

to avoid the obvious confusion that is setting in you need consider only the following 'equation' -

magnification is a function of focal length and subject to sensor distance

so for any given magnification a smaller focal length lens will have to get closer than a longer one - simple.

extension tubes increase a lenses capability to increase magnification by enabling them to focus much closer than they would be able to otherwise. Not a good solution if you are trying to work at a distance!

teleconvertors work by increasing the focal length, whilst (generally) retaining the same focus distance - better for your objective.

the screw on magnifiers are exactly that - they increase the magnification over and above that already provided by the optics.

if you are after dragon flies without the hours to get up close and personal then, frankly, get the 70-300 back and stick a quality diopter on the front (as someone has already said there's a Sigma, and there's also the Canon 500D range which are excellent optics)

Sigma 150 + EC14/EC20 would also be a good solution (but relatively expensive)

andym
8th December 2010, 01:10 PM
I think if you are looking at skittish insects ie butterflies ,moths or dragonflies you have the lens already ie the 50-200.If coupled with the EC14 I can get great picture of such subjects from about 3 to 6 feet.
The Sigma 150 looks very good and I would like to own one one day.
I also own the 50mm macro which is very sharp coupled with the ec14 but you have to get close.

The big problem with extension rings is the very shallow DOF which makes insects hard to capture.

photo_owl
8th December 2010, 04:50 PM
The big problem with extension rings is the very shallow DOF which makes insects hard to capture.

DOF is a direct function of magnification (and aperture) - it doesn't matter whether you use extension rings, focal length or working distance to achieve your magnification; you get the same DOF

andym
8th December 2010, 05:02 PM
DOF is a direct function of magnification (and aperture) - it doesn't matter whether you use extension rings, focal length or working distance to achieve your magnification; you get the same DOF

I think what was trying to say is that when start getting closer by using extension rings thats when you have to be very careful of DOF.

roadkill_6mm
8th December 2010, 05:51 PM
Thanks for all your help, I think I'll probably be looking at the Sigma 150mm - seems to get some very good reviews. I just worry about a 3rd party lens being as tack sharp as the 50mm - but I dont always want to work extremely close up so I guess I need to compromise!

Although beyond my budget I think it'll be worth waiting and saving a bit more in the long run as it seems to fit my needs more than say the 105mm and the 2 Oly lenses - though I dont doubt i the future when I upgrade my body I will look at the 50mm for working close to the subject - unless the Sigma can match the quality of the E-5 macro pictures posted a little while ago with the Oly 50mm (+ I suspect either a TC or the ex-25)

Regards

Neil

Kenz
8th December 2010, 06:25 PM
I have used the Sigma 105mm lens and it is excellent, gives great IQ.

Also you dont need to be so near the subject, so a lot will depend on what you want to photo.

I have Sigma 150mm at the moment and that great to but it is a much heavier lens to carry around at 915 grams, the 105mm is only about 430 grams.

Both great lenses you will really pleased with the results if you got either one.

4/3 sigma 105mm went on Ebay a few weeks ago for 250 as a buy it now.

Check FTU I think somebody may have one they considering selling.

Cheers
ken

Ross the fiddler
8th December 2010, 09:24 PM
Thanks for all your help, I think I'll probably be looking at the Sigma 150mm - seems to get some very good reviews. I just worry about a 3rd party lens being as tack sharp as the 50mm - but I dont always want to work extremely close up so I guess I need to compromise!

Although beyond my budget I think it'll be worth waiting and saving a bit more in the long run as it seems to fit my needs more than say the 105mm and the 2 Oly lenses - though I dont doubt i the future when I upgrade my body I will look at the 50mm for working close to the subject - unless the Sigma can match the quality of the E-5 macro pictures posted a little while ago with the Oly 50mm (+ I suspect either a TC or the ex-25)

Regards

Neil

I don't think you will be disappointed at all, but impressed with the quality. It comes in it's own lens case with a shoulder strap & with a tripod mount ring which balances the outfit nicely when using it on a tripod but I usually mount my lighting (twin flash) on it & can rotate the assembly into portrait position quickly & easily.
http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/28449
These additions (which includes a LED ring light that I use for night focus assist) come as you want to experiment & do other things but otherwise an FL50 with diffuser works quite nicely (& the FL36 should too) with the lens hood on. I should add, I use this lighting to be able stop the lens down to f16 (for best DoF) & still keep a low ISO, on the other hand, Greytop (Huw) has some wonderful examples of daylight macro shots. I love his work.

As I said earlier, the new Sigma lenses are only available from remaining stock & will become increasingly harder to get. My wife let me get mine on that basis as Olympus doesn't make a macro lens with that length & very unlikely ever will (in 4/3s), but as others have said, it depends on what you want to use it for.

I hope you can end up with something that will be what you want & enjoy using.
*chr

Ellie
8th December 2010, 10:47 PM
You seem to have decided to buy the Sigma prime, but ... you can't zoom in with a prime, so, whichever macro it is, if you're just that bit too far away (and you say you can't get closer than 6ft to where you expect your subject to be) then you could well be unhappy with the result. You're also likely to have to depend on cropping into the image to get 'close'. So, although he does also suggest the Sigma 150mm, I think I agree with PhotoOwl ...
... if you are after dragon flies without the hours to get up close and personal then, frankly, get the 70-300 back and stick a quality diopter on the front (as someone has already said there's a Sigma, and there's also the Canon 500D range which are excellent optics)

P.S. @ Crippledsandwich - thanks.

photo_owl
8th December 2010, 11:11 PM
.... the quality of the E-5 macro pictures posted a little while ago with the Oly 50mm (+ I suspect either a TC or the ex-25)

Regards

Neil

the ones I suspect you refer to included the EC20 with the 50/2 and, probably as importantly, the RF11 unit was also used (just possible it was the TF22 but looking closely at some of them I am sure I see the telltale RF11 signature.

on static set shots I am starting to use a couple of FL50R's in slave mode as well as the RF11 to get both all round lighting and definition, but which ever way you look at it lighting is as important to such shots as the lens (or camera). The 510 was also a good macro camera because of the weaker AA filter, and the E5 gives even more resolution.

Nick Temple-Fry
9th December 2010, 01:10 AM
At 6 feet you will not get 'macro' shots of any insect, they are just too small and distend to small a portion of the field of view. Macro style shots are possible of a large hoverfly at about 2-3 ft distance using the sigma 150 coupled with the ec1.4/2.0. Shooting these shots in the 'wild' is about seeing plants/areas the insects favour for feeding/resting and positioning yourself amongst that vegetation and waiting. Shooting these shots is very challenging, which is in part the fascination, and you can easily spend a couple of hours without getting a 'good' shot.

However if you stay still for several minutes you will find that there are lots of insects far closer than 6 foot, you just need to wait for them to move.

Nick

Ellie
13th December 2010, 11:53 PM
Here are a couple of examples that you might be able to use see what to expect from a couple of lenses.

Both images are 'as is' - not cropped, just resized for the web.

This one was taken with the 70-300mm, the EXIF tells me it was at 190mm. The dragonfly was about eight or nine feet away.

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/680/P6045131.JPG (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/29310)

This was taken with the 35mm macro, at probably about 6 inches distance.

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/680/P5244943.JPG (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/29311)