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"Closeup" Lenses/Achromats
Basic Section
Searching for the right lens

Like others I have gathered information about "closeup" lenses.
This is my personal reference with a special focus on bridge cameras like the
Panasonic FZ5.


This is not a guideline for beginners!
- Many visitors will only search for the chart of achromats:The Chart -


If you are new to the macro theme, you should stop at the sign: Introduction
Simply bookmark this page and come back later.

If you need help in your decision between simple macro sets or achromats, please look at these links
Close-up lenses (shene)
Achromats (Joris)

M.Plonsky has answered many questions of beginners regarding macro photography some time ago
Just read his excellent article first: Bug pictures
He is working with single lenses and moved to reversed lenses lateron
I don`t recommend cheap single lenses, but this link gives you an impression, what can be done with this glass.

..and if you don't like my page, take this on:
Earthbound - photo tip

..and if you still like books, take one from the masters: eg. John Shaw!







.. still here? ok:
So let's look at: Lenses for a defined distance now

Achromats and simple closeup lenses transform our zoom trigger into a
MAGNIFICATION TRIGGER
at a constant distance to the object!

The more zoom you have, the more magnification you get.

The name "closeup lenses" is misleading with our modern cameras!
They were additions for optics with a close focus around 20cm to 1m in former times.
Many point and shoot cameras can focus at a distance of 3cm (FZ5) or closer.
This is a nice function in some cases, I have used it even with hornets.
Unfortunately this function is restricted to low zoom levels,
a "far" macro like that one included in the FZ5, 12x zoom, 70cm is quite unique!
If we need a defined distance (!) to the object we need specific lenses.
So the excellent Mcon40 is a constant FAR-FOCUS LENS at all zoom levels for the distance of 40cm.
Objects of the same size would need a distance around 5cm without this lens.
..and the perspective is quite strange at these distances, as you can see here: (xacti 2cm)

--please click to enlarge--

Is there a macro life without any achromats??
With a different camera and very slow movements....
Have a look at my xacti page!
The new FZ18 has got a similar wide / close range starting with 1cm.
A very interesting feature, I would have liked to see that on the FZ5 too!

Apart from the perspective there is another good reason, not to use the wide / macro mode.
If we admire blurred backgrounds, we have to use longer focal lengths.
We will not get the results of the dSLRs with our small sensors,
but with achromats we have at least a better chance to get blurred backgrounds.
Another option is to mask the main object in post processing and blurr the rest.
All of my attempts in this direction were a disaster.
I stay with natural light and photos....

These are examples with the FZ5 - Minolta #1 achromat:

If we use the long tele and the backgound is far away, there is a little bit of dSLR feeling.


With a steady hand and a cooperative "object" we can use a closer approach: (FZ5, +7.7 diopt.):


by the way...
- If you start with strong lenses first (eg DCR250), frustration is guaranteed!
- Try to shoot tag sharp pictures in the beginning, lateron you can start to look at composition or light.
- Post in communities that really criticise your output.
- Even experts in macro photography have to delete more than 90% of their attempts!

On this page you will find information on:

- Recommended achromats Recommended
- Classification of lenses - Working Range
- Many achromats sold new or used at this time The Chart
- Threads front and rear
- Distance object-front lens
- Weight
- Lens diameter
- Field of view Coverage
- Depth of field DOF
- Dark corners Vignetting
- Focussing Range
- ...and some tricks with onboard flashes here: Light


(this insect is 40 million years old..)

Recommended lenses, sold new

..if you are in a hurry....
There are still some Nikon lenses (4T, US) sold new! Take them if you get them....
Minolta (55mm) lenses are recommended too, but I found only the smaller lenses on sale
I have seen excellent results with any of the following lenses!

It is a good practice to start with lenses around (+1) +2.5 to +4 diopters
The next lens could be a lens like the raynox dcr150 for smaller and closer objects
Just in case that you need to capture even smaller objects and you had no
problems to manage light and depth of focus (DOF) you can add a lens
like the raynox dcr250 to your set.
If you don't like the "clamp attachment", there are step rings available.
The new coated Marumi/Soligor +3 and +5 lenses look quite interesting - see the main table!
Reducing reflections is quite important with these lenses!
Even small sun shades can help to improve the pictures too.
-new-: Hoya/Kenko sells some twin lenses now. (Kenko is the name for Hoya in Japan). - see the main table to get the data.
After Nikon left the game of achromats, there are new choices now from serious manufacturers.
So we don't have to buy the small vignetting lenses up to +4 diopters any longer.

Lens Diopters min. Size Pros Cons distance(mm) d. inch thread info
Canon 500D +2 butterflies not vignetting price? 500 19.7 52,58.. .
Olympus Mcon40 +2.5 butterfly not vignetting no front thread 400 15.7 55 pdf
Olympus Mcon35 +2.85 butterfly not vignetting . 350 13.8 62 pdf
Nikon 4t +2.9 butterfly not vignetting . 345 13.7 52 ama.
Sony VCL M3358 +3,0 butterfly not vignetting . 330 13.5 58 info
Soligor/(Marumi) DHG +3 +3,0 butterfly not vignetting . 330 13.5 (49)52,55,..,67 (..77) info
Soligor/(Marumi) DHG +5 +5,0 bugs not vignetting . 200 8.0 (49)52,55,..,67 (..77) info
Canon 250D +4 bugs not vignetting price? 250 9.8 52,58 .
Raynox DCR150 +4,8 bugs price vignetting 208 8.2 43,clip info
Raynox DCR250 +8 ants price vignetting 125 4,9 43,clip info
. . . . . . . .
Leitz Elpro1 +2,5 butterfly not vignetting if money is no issue 400 15.7 55 .
Leitz Elpro2 +4,9 bugs not vignetting if money is no issue 200 7.9 55 .

The pathway: a staircase to the macro heaven

The following diagram can help you to find the right lens
If you know the size of the desired object or the distance, there should be no problem to find an achromat for your needs

- please remember: the distance to the object is fixed through the whole zoom range!
- the green area shows the "new" range covered by the achromats
- Objects in the red area can be captured without achromats, ... but at variable distances!
Only the achromats give you the magic zoom-magnification effect at a constant distance!
- the gray area stays out of reach.

ac1

How to read this graph?
Let's use two examples:
Your targets are shy. You can't imagine to get closer than 35 cm.
- Olympus mcon40, Nikon 4T ... are a perfect choice for butterflies!
These "mild" achromats don't give so much problems with depth of focus.

You want to hunt for animals tolerating a distance to the camera around 20cm.
Their sizes cover the range from frogs to big bugs.
- Take the canon 250d.
- to save some money you could take the raynox drc150,
but this lens has a smaller range on some cameras (vignetting).

FZ5 specific: Please don't forget to "sand down" the cheap plastic thread,
or use a filter with longer threads as a "starter" for your expensive lenses!

..and this is a special version for the FZ50 (thanks to Luisflorit for the data!)
The numbers in the yellow circles are the focal lengths at the basis of 35mm film
The tcons can "substitute" an achromat, if the right one is missing.
ac1

Luis found a "sweet" spot at 120cm focal length! So start to use it!
So the FZ50 has the same unexpected step in the medium zoom range like the FZ30.
This behavior of the lens was discussed in detail here:
Lao Chen, FZ30 macro focus
Information in my graph was reduced to the most common lenses now:
A perfect set: Raynox DCR150, DCR250 and a "butterfly lens" like the b.macro.
Larger objects can be covered with +1 diopter lenses like the minolta #0
All ranges of the achromats were calculated with the camera focussed at infinity.
This is the intended use of this glasses!



...this is the end of my remarks for beginners



Introduction
Advanced Section
Using the expensive parts


-- a short summary --
Achromats/closeup lenses are the reading glasses for our far-sighted cameras (at higher zooms)
The distance to the objects is fixed through the whole zoom-range
Magnification is determined by the used zoom factor
There is no loss of light with these lenses
Each diopter increases the magnification of the object by 25%
The focal length of a lens in mm is given by 1000/diopters
The focal length is the maximum distance to the object
There is a new table for FIELD of VIEW, please use it to find the adequate lens for your purposes!

My calculations used the parameters of the FZ5: 1/2.5'' sensor, 0,005mm CoC (circle of confusion).
Many results can be used for the whole FZ - family. The trends shown in the graphs are valid for all cameras


Let's look at: Single Lenses first

Using simple (single lens +1,+2,+4,+10) close-up lenses will degrade the quality of your pictures.
The center of the shots might have a tolerable sharpness, but the edges will be soft.
This effect is increased if you stack these lenses.
Lenses with +1 to +4 diopters "can" be used for some time if you have purchased them already.
An uncorrected lens with +10 diopters is a terrible piece of glas.
I would prefer to search for a good used achromat instead of buying a new "close-up set"
See the difference!
Here is a comparison: (both at f:8!!)
On the left a +10 diopter - not cheap, but still a single lens!
On the right a russian bionocular lens (excellent!)



This is a comparison of an excellent achromat: MCON40 with a +3 close up -single lens.
My standard test uses the flat surface of a TFT screen.
Two squares in this excel sheet are excactly 1cm long.


The soft effect of the cheap lens is clearly visible in the corners.

Here is a 100% crop of the centers and corners:


Due to the stronger spherical aberration the cheap lens cannot find a perfect focus.
The main colours are only separated in the center.
In the corners the chromatic aberration melts blue and red into a nice magenta.
The achromat shows a very good correction in the center and the corners.

Using a small aperture reduces the effect of the spherical aberration with both types of lenses.



Nikon has done such a test for the 6T. There is a reference in the next chapter.

One last tip on these cheap lenses:
If you use this glass for black and white photography, converting the green channel to b&w, helps to avoid the chromatic aberration.
There is still a spherical distortion that can be minimized with a small aperture.

Achromats

Achromatic lenses compensate chromatic and spherical aberrations.
They bring two wavelengths into a common focal plane.
These multi-element lenses help us to keep a specific distance to small (living) objects.
We need them even with "0cm macro cameras", because we can't shoot animals
at this distance and there is no chance to add some light.
The distance to the object rapidly increases when we have to zoom.
The FZ5 has a tele-macro mode with a distance starting around 70cm.
This can be fixed and reduced - see the table!

Practice:
- Achromats shall not be used in macro mode! They are not used to focus even closer than 3cm (FZ5 min. 1*zoom macro distance).
- These lenses transform the normal (!) focussing range of eg. 2m-infinity to a closer range. Example MCON35: 30 to 35cm.
- The focal length of the lens is the maximum distance to the object in any(!) case. Example: Mcon40 - 40cm, reversed lens 35mm - 3.5cm
- Use autofocus in the range shown below or fix the focus and find the right distance to the object (I prefer this method).
- You need control over the aperture - another reason, not to use the macro mode.
- So use aperture priority with f:8 (or less) or manual control. You will need the added DOF and sharpness.
- Small apertures help to correct aberrations too: Nikon 6T - aperture comparison
- So: Don't open the aperture to get less DOF! Image quality in the corner and the center part will degrade!
- Start with low diopters around +2, continue with +4 diopters and stack them lateron.
- Stacking lenses: add the diopters. eg. 4T and 3T ..+2.9 +1.5 = 4.4 diopt.
But don't stack too many of them, two of them is enough. This camera is definately "over-achromated"

(4* minolta plus 3* elpro - 23 diopters, an expensive super soft filter)
- Fix the lens with the higher diopters at the camera and stack the lower diopter ontop
- Use a tripod, monopod or bean sack. There are tripods which can be used close to the ground!
(eg. Slik, Manfrotto or Linhoff - in this case)


- A macro rail on the tripod is the best way of focussing


- Look for excellent light or use bounced flashes -onboard or external


- Even duffusing the flash can be fun:

- the milkboddle

- there are no limits!

(these were some examples of my other pages)

- Align the axis of the object to the sharp area of the picture
- Achromats have an asymetric design, they give poor results if they are turned around!
- Some optical aspects of achromats are described here: wiki:achromat - Most of us will never need reversed lenses. This is close to microscopy!
- You can stack achromats between frontlens and teleconverters to get a closer view. Not recommmended! The slight increase in magnification is destroyed by the loss of resolution with the additional lenses.
- You can attach achromats in front of teleconverters (tape). This increases magnification, but using the adequate achromat should be better.
- If there is not enough Depth of Field (DOF), try to shoot non moving objects in different layers. These pictures can be stacked lateron. The first picture above is a combined shot, stacked by helicon focus.

By the way, this is how good manufacturers sold their lenses in ancient times:

Olympus: achromat (triplet), diffusor (!), data sheet and leather-like box

Achromats - choices

The refined graph shows nearly all aspects of the achromats with the camera focussed at infinity.

ac2

The size of the rhomboids is a symbol for the fast decreasing DOF.
The curves show the range covered by the cameras alone


The Leica people did quite a good job, the native camera covers the area close to the curve.
You can shoot:
- a wasp at 5cm distance (be careful please)
- a butterfly at 12cm (might scare him away)
- big butterflies (frog) or a butterfly on a flower at 28cm
- a sparrow at 53cm
and then the tele macro takes over!

All that achromats give us is: MORE DISTANCE!... but this is important.
... and an approach to very small objects sometimes.
The zoom scale shows, that the higher zooms are needed for the magnification.

A combination of an achromat and a teleconverter does not expand the range very much.
The minolta #2 (+4 diopt.) and a tcon17 starts to focus at 46cm with a field of 3.5cm
This can be done with a Olympus mcon40 alone with a much higher resolution
The minolta #1 (+2 diopt.) and a tcon17 starts to focus at 81cm with a field of 5.7cm
This can be done with a Nikon 3+ alone with a much higher resolution again

So if you take part in the "stacking-mania" and want to improve your results:
- add the diopters of your achromat stack
- devide this number with the factor of the tcon
- take this as resulting diopter in the diagram
- you will be close to the left end of a bar, the distance is valid!
example
+2.9 +2.9 +3.8 = 9.6 diopt. tcon14 *1.4 -> 6.9 diopt.
so stacking two lenses with +2.9 and +3.8 diopt. would be better :-)
The distance is 14cm in both cases, the magification is similar
...but you can't impress somebody with your stack (only with your pictures...)


- if your lens is missing, just look at the diopters
- the zoom scale helps to adapt these results for different cameras
the FZ5 has a focal range from 1*zoom = 36mm(35mm)to 12*zoom = 432mm(35mm)

The curve of the Sanyo xacti e6 is an example for a "0cm macro zoom" camera.
Starting with 1cm distance you can shoot objects of 1,3cm size without any addons.
The flash is close to the lens. With a diffusing paper it can be used even at 1cm distance.
If you can shoot your objects at such close distances, there is none of the achromats needed.
Only a reversed lens (50mm) increases the magnification.
The FZ cameras didn't give us these opportunities until the FZ18 arrived.
I guess we had to pay this price for a clear, sharp and CA-free picture over the whole zoom range.

Francesco gave me some data for the FZ20, which have not been added to the chart above:
1*zoom, min. 5cm distance, FOV 5.5cm
2.5*zoom, min. 1cm distance, FOV 3.5cm
12*zoom, min. 130cm distance, FOV 12.5cm


Searching for used lenses?: all the lenses shown above, plus:
55mm Minolta No1, No2; Olympus Bmacro(cheaper), MCON40 (same glass)
Nikon 3T, 4T, 5T, 6T
Olympus a life size - hard to find, but excellent glass!

!!! Achromats can be very expensive parts. !!!
If these lenses (or the necessary money) are not available at your part of the world, try this:
- any kind of magnifying glass
- slide projector lenses
- reversed SLR lenses eg. 135mm, 50mm
- lenses of binoculars (stereoscopic microscope): excellent achromats!
- front lenses of (old) spyglasses: often achromats between +4 and +7 diopters
This picture was take with such a lens. (Revue optic 55mm thread!)

(oh I needed a currency picture so badly.....)

First Results: Spyglass Achromat

-- THREAD --


The FZ5 has a very bad plastic "thread" of 55mm in the adapter for the sunshade.
Some people use filters (UV or empty) with longer threads as reliable connectors.
Special thanks to Fred - fmoore - for his solution:

Fred removes some plastic of the FZ5 adapter to the point where the thread starts.
He is rubbing against fine grit (#100) sandpaper on a hard flat horizontal surface.
Removing the first mm from the adapter front does not damage the lens hood channels.
The lens hood will still connect.

Fred even knows a more radical method providing a 52mm metal thread:
FZ5 Modification



52mm lenses need a stepdown adapter 55mm-..52mm
58 and 62mm lenses need a stepup adapter
The raynox lenses need a snapon adapter 52-67mm -- 43mm
Reversed lenses need macro couplers with two male threads

Many local stores have standard adapters
There are many suppliers for couplers, filters and achromats; these are just examples:
B&H (US)
2filter (US)
Bugeye (US)
Jessops (UK)
Brenner (GER)
Amazon (many countries)
..and fleabay if you like it ;-)

The Chart

A compendium of "reasonable sized" achromats
(please report errors or additions!)
The values of the diopters are not very precise - We should gather exact focal distances!
If you don't know the focal length of any kind of lens, simply wait for a bright sunny day.
Take the lens(es) and burn a hole into some kind of paper.
The distance between the lens and the hot image of the sun is the focal length!

Brand Achromats Thread Front Diop- focus dist-
front
ance
to
in cm
object
price optimized for weight lens

Thread ter mm 0,70 2m infinity mm g mm
Leica ElproVIa (macrotar) 44mm VI same 2,50 400 25 33 40 expired 50 46g 36mm
Elpro 1 55mm(44mm) same 2,50 400 25 33 40 50 ?g 36mm
ElproVIb (macrotar) 44mm VI same 4,92 203 16 18 20 exp 50 54g 36mm
Elpro 2 55mm(44mm) same 4,92 203 16 18 20 new 190$,used:euro 40-80
50 ?g 37mm
ElproVIIa (macrotar) 54mm VII same 1,66 602 32 46 60 exp 90-135 53g 47mm
Elpro 3 55mm same 1,66 602 32 46 60 90-135 ?g ?mm
ElproVIIb (macrotar) 54mm VII same 0,75 1333 46 80 133 exp 90-135 ?g ?mm
Elpro 4 55mm same 0,75 1333 46 80 133 90-135 ?g ?mm
Nikon 3T 52 same 1,50 667 34 50 67 euro 60 80-200 45g 46,5mm
4T 52 same 2,90 345 23 29 34 euro 60 80-200 ?g ?mm
5T 62 same 1,50 667 34 50 67 euro 82 80-200 ?g ?mm
6T 62 same 2,90 345 23 29 34 expiring! euro 82 80-200 78g ?mm
Canon 240 48,52,55 same 4,20 238 18 21 24 exp ?,61,?g ?,46,?mm
250d 52,58 same 4,00 250 18 22 25 $ 72/87 30-135 54,79g ?,56mm
450 48,52,55? same 2,20 455 28 37 45 exp achromat?? ?g ?mm
500d 52,58,72,77 same 2,00 500 29 40 50 euro 65,79,124,140 70-300 ?g ?mm
Olympus amacro 49 no 2,50 400 25 33 40 exp 135 65g 45mm
bmacro mcon40 55 no 2,50 400 25 33 40 $ exp/100 180 94g 50mm
a life size 49 no 7,70 130 11 12 13 exp used:euro 60 - 80 35-135 120g 46mm
mcon35 62 72 2,85 351 23 30 35 $ 85 135g 55mm
close up 80 49 same 5,90 169 14 16 17 80 ?g 23mm
Sigma AML=achromatic macro lens 52,58 same 1,60 625 33 48 63 70-300 31,?g 47,?mm
life size 52 same 3 350 25 31 35 . 90 .g .mm
Raynox DCR-150 + adapter 43(52.67) 49 4,80 210 16 19 21 $35-45 50-300 50g 35mm
DCR-250 + adapter 43(52.67) 49 8,00 125 11 12 13 $40-70 50-300 80g 35mm
Sony VCLM3358 58 58 3,00 333 23 29 33 48$ - euro 70 70g ?mm
Marumi DHG macro 3 52,55,58,62,67,72,77 same? 3 350 25 31 35 50-100 eur -coated!
DHG macro 5 52,55,58,62,67,72,77 same? 5 200 16 18 20 50-100 eur -coated!
Soligor macro-330 +3 DHG 49,52,55,58,62,67 (72,77) same 3,00 330 24 30 33 euro 75-110 80g -...g ?mm
matched macro adapt.1:1 49 ? 4,00 250 18 22 25 ? ?g ?mm
+5 DHG 49,52,55,58,62,67 (72,77) same 5,00 200 16 18 20 euro 75-110 80-...g ?mm
with slide duplicator 52 ? 10 100 9 9 10 euro 109 ?g ?mm
JVC HZ-CL6103 52 ? 3 330 24 30 33 exp.? ? ?g ?
Minolta=Konica No.0 49,55 same 0,94 1064 42 69 106 euro 49/49 50-200 ?g ?,50mm
No.1 49,55 same 2,00 500 29 40 50 euro 49/- 24-200 ?,49g ?,47mm
No.2 49,55 same 3,80 263 19 23 26 24-50 ?,69g ?,47mm
Panasonic DMW-LC55E 55 same? 2 500 29 40 50 euro 80 500mm 50g ??mm
KonicaMinolta CL49-200 49 same 4 260 19 23 26 exp. 200mm 70g 46mm
Hoya=Kenko HMC AC 2 element 49,52,55,58 ? 3,00 333 23 29 33 120-140$ . ?g ?mm
HMC AC 2 element 49,52,55,58 ? 4,00 250 18 22 25 120-140$ . ?g ?mm
HMC AC 2 element 49,52,55,58 ? 5,00 200 16 18 20 120-140$ . ?g ?mm
+10 2 elements 49,52,55 ? 10,00 100 9 9 10 81$ . ?g ?mm
.

.

exotic parts

Raynox DCR5320pro +2 lens 72mm 72mm 2,00 486 28 39 49 "oversized" 50-xxx 105g 68mm
DCR5320pro +3 lens 72mm 72mm 3,00 311 22 28 31 "oversized" 50-xxx 290g 68mm
DCR5320pro +2+3 set 72mm 72mm 5,00 170 14 16 17 260$ 100-xxx 395g 68mm
Kenko AC No.0 55 55 1 1080 43 70 108 exp. historic! 100-200 50g 49mm
AC No.3 55 55 3 330 23 29 33 exp. historic! 50 ?g ?mm
AC No.5 55 55 5 200 16 18 20 exp. historic! 50 ?g ?mm
Lomo? AL-4-52x0,75 52 52 4 250 18 22 25 ? ? ? ?
Minox L=100 32 bajonet - 10 100 9 9 10 expired ? ? ?
Zoerk Typ1 52 52 12,00 83 7 8 8 euro 348 50-135 120g 36.5mm
Heliopan achromat close up 49,55,67,82 ? 3,4,5,6 . . . . expensive . .g .mm
Century Optics Achromatic diopter 58 ? 2,4,7 . . . . expensive 40-300 .g .mm
Opteka 52,55,58 10,00 100 9 10 10 $80 50-300 ?g ?mm
MBS-10 90mm none! none! 11,00 90 8 9 9 part of binocular ?g ?mm
reverse SLR 50mm 20,00 50 5 5 5 ?g ?mm
Raynox msn-200(202) 37(52.67) no 33 30 3 3 3 60g ?mm
msn-500(505) 37(52.67) no 56 18 2 2 2 86g ?mm
Seemolf mcon 16 55 no 6,00 160 13 15 16 bino frontlens 98g 45mm
Seemolf mcon 8 55 no 12,0 80 7 8 8 2 bino frontl.s 220g 45mm

Distance_cm is the distance between the front lens and the objects at 12*zoom.
Camera setting from 2m to infinity FZ20,30 or 0,7m to infinity FZ4,5,7
The FZ20 (10,30,50?) can be focussed at 1.30m with 12* zoom
Lenses with an effective lens diameter of 34mm will start vignetting below 4* zoom
(eg. Raynox lenses) with FZ5, FZ20
Cameras like the FZ30, FZ50, FZ7 and TZ1 will not vignette that early
There is no vignetting with lens sizes around 47mm.
Some achromats can be combined: eg. Nikon 3T, 4T or Minolta #1,#2

The new Marumi / Soligor +3 and +5 DHG achromats are coated(!) and cover a wide range of threads.
If you plan to migrate to bigger lenses (dSLR?) size matters.
This is a new choice of not vignetting lenses with an attractive price and availability.
Don't mix them up with the cheap conventional (non DHG) closeup lenses of these brands.
Marumi - filter - choices
I have not seen test shots with these lenses up to now, did you??

Don't buy the old Elpros VIa or VIb before you are sure to get a stepdown adapter like xxmm -.. 44mm.
There are not many series VI (44mm) adapters on sale!
I asked my fleabay partner and got a stepdownring 49mm -.. 44mm ontop.
Nikon closeup lenses #? and Canon 250, 500 are single element closeup lenses!
I haven't seen a positive report on opteka lenses, are there any?
Some of these lenses had to be reversed - wrong mount?

The Raynox MSN-xxx lenses are not recommened for the FZ cameras from my point of view
Just look at the terrible test pictures on the raynox pages!
Testshots of Raynox lenses FZ30
Enjoy pure colour fringing with the H1:
Testshots of Raynox lenses Sony H1
This looks like a mismatch to me. Are these lenses calculated for smaller lenses?
..but please send me links to better pictures and I will change my opinion!
In the meanwhile, I have seen some promissing photos with the FZ,
but I guess that using reversed prime lenses is still the better choice.

I don't know the 2 element Hoyas up to know. A +10 diopter lens with only 2 elements sounds strange.
Good lenses with more than 5 diopters should normally be tripletts or more.
They don't even call this lens achromatic, but the other Hoya lenses will be good.

based on:
- own researches and:
Joris van den Heuvel - achromats
some bigger lenses are included here(pentax e.a.)
This was our first excellent reference:
- Greg Erker - closeups
This page would not exist without the ouput of these pioneers!
(both are members of the dpreview - panasonic forum)

Vignetting

Vignetting depends on the distance to the front lens, the design of the achromat and the camera
Diameter is not the only criterium. Some of the unknown lens parameters are more important.
Does anybody know the data of the entrance and exit pupil at different zooms for the FZ5??

If you are not stacking step rings, use this as a simple rule for the FZ5:
eff. lens size, minimal zoom
45mm , 1*
40mm , 2*
35mm , 3-4*

But there are differences!
The Raynox DCR250 (eff. lens 36mm) starts vignetting
below x3 zoom with the FZ30/50 and
below x6.5 zoom with the FZ20!

These graphs give you an impression of the available focussing range with our achromats.

FZ5: 0,7m to infinity at 12* zoom)
frc


fri

The range is extremely small with high diopters.
Adjusting the distance to the object is our only choice.
The tele macro modus (0,7m) should not be used, if you follow my rules.
There is no control of the aperture in this case,
but there is a trick: simply fix the focus in tele macro mode and
switch over to the aperture mode without changing the zoom again.

NEWS

Nikon has stopped production of all achromats.
Some Olympus lenses (mcon35 and mcon40) were sold directly via ebay (US).
If you need a lens, search for cheap used one at ebay: Nikon, Olympus, Minolta, Elpro
These lenses can be purchased new at the moment:
Nikon 4T
Canon 250D, 500D
Olympus MCON40, MCON35
Raynox 150D, 250D sometimes sold as set CM-2000 (DCR150,DCR250 and adapter) for 80-100 $
But they are sold for 40$ each elsewhere - in this case with two adapters!
..and
Sony VCLM3358
Soligor +3 and +5 in many diameters! 52-67 (77)
Zoerk

Raynox has added the DCR5320pro Lens-set: +2, +3 diopters - combined +5. These achromatic lenses try to fill the gap left by the discontinued Nikon lenses. DCR150 and DCR250 lenses are too strong for many beginners. These lenses need a very close distance. There are only few reports about the new lenses up to now, but we can expect excellent quality with this glass. There could be some vignetting below 50mm focal length. Please consider the weight and the price!
The "super macro lenses" MSN xxx are not covered here at the moment.
These are extreme lenses with a focal length eg. around 20mm.
I prefer cheap used SLR lenses (50mm f:1,4 20$) or enlarging lenses
(componon,rodagon).


.....and don't forget:


Concerning our compact cameras, most achromats are of nearly equal quality!
But some think, their achromats are more equal.
(my elpros don't perform better at higher zoom ranges than the olympus lenses)

But the achromats were designed for specific focal lengths - these are shown in the charts above!
Vignetting starts at lower zoom ranges with small lenses (eg. raynox).
There is no vignetting with bigger lenses (eg. mcon40). This expands
the range, but we will need high zoom rates for macros most of the
time.

This diagramm help to determine the minimum visible fields at 12* zoom:

field1

Field of view = coverage

I have calculated a table now, showing the range covered by an achromat using different zoom settings
The term "magnification" will not be used here. There is no need to know the relation between the object and our nearly invisible sensors. The coverage shows, which object size covers the whole sensor.

Example: With a large lens of +4 diopters you can cover objects from 2 to 24,2 cm at the constant distance of 25cm (see above). Vignetting of small lenses will prevent lower zoom factors. The equations used: focussing to infinity! We can get a slightly bigger view with focussing at closer distances.

Field of view (long axis) in mm vs. Diopter for different zoom factors: FZ5

zoom:

12x

10x

8x

6x

4x

3x

2x

1x

distance

diopter

in cm

1

81

97

121

161

242

322

483

967

100

1,5

54

64

81

107

161

215

322

644

67

2

40

48

60

81

121

161

242

483

50

2,5

32

39

48

64

97

129

193

387

40

3

27

32

40

54

81

107

161

322

33

4

20

24

30

40

60

81

121

242

25

5

16

19

24

32

48

64

97

193

20

6

13

16

20

27

40

54

81

161

17

7

12

14

17

23

35

46

69

138

14

8

10

12

15

20

30

40

60

121

13

10

8

10

12

16

24

32

48

97

10

20

4

5

6

8

12

16

24

48

5

40

2

2

3

4

6

8

12

24

3

60

1

2

2

3

4

5

8

16

2



Field of view (long axis) in inch vs. Diopter for different zoom factors: FZ5

zoom:

12x

10x

8x

6x

4x

3x

2x

1x

distance

diopter

in inch

1

3,17

3,81

4,76

6,34

9,51

12,69

19,03

38,06

39,37

1,5

2,11

2,54

3,17

4,23

6,34

8,46

12,69

25,37

26,25

2

1,59

1,90

2,38

3,17

4,76

6,34

9,51

19,03

19,69

2,5

1,27

1,52

1,90

2,54

3,81

5,07

7,61

15,22

15,75

3

1,06

1,27

1,59

2,11

3,17

4,23

6,34

12,69

13,12

4

0,79

0,95

1,19

1,59

2,38

3,17

4,76

9,51

9,84

5

0,63

0,76

0,95

1,27

1,90

2,54

3,81

7,61

7,87

6

0,53

0,63

0,79

1,06

1,59

2,11

3,17

6,34

6,56

7

0,45

0,54

0,68

0,91

1,36

1,81

2,72

5,44

5,62

8

0,40

0,48

0,59

0,79

1,19

1,59

2,38

4,76

4,92

10

0,32

0,38

0,48

0,63

0,95

1,27

1,90

3,81

3,94

20

0,16

0,19

0,24

0,32

0,48

0,63

0,94

1,89

1,97

40

0,08

0,10

0,12

0,16

0,24

0,31

0,47

0,94

0,98

60

0,05

0,06

0,08

0,11

0,16

0,20

0,31

0,63

0,66


reverse 50mm = +20 diopt. 35mm = +29 diopt. 28mm = +36 diopt. 16mm = +63 diopt.
The coloured ranges will not be used under normal circumstances. The field of view without additional lenses is: 40x30mm for 1*zoom and around 85x63mm for 12*zoom. There is no need to use an achromat with bigger objects than 80x60mm.
..Sensor size: 1/2.5'' frame size 5,8 x 4,3 mm; diagonal 7,2mm..
diopt


diopt


DOF

You will notice that at higher diopters the range in field of view is very small. This is accompanied by a shallow depth of field (DOF).
Increasing the diopters decreases the DOF dramatically. The smallest available aperture (f:8.0) helps a little bit:

Using a small aperture (f:8) increases the depth of field by the factor 3, compared to an open aperture.
But in this case it is 3* 0,2mm !! This means that moving the camera only for 1mm brings your object completely out of focus!
The last pictures were taken with an additional aperture in front of the achromat
The outer vignetting parts of the pictures were removed.

F:8 can be compared to F:32 on many dSLR cameras.
We get much more DOF and less blurry backgrounds with our small sensors.
Diffraction starts to degrade the resolution below f:5.6 at the FZ5.
Smaller apertures than f:8 are of little use in this case.

For a given combination of aperture, sensor size and size of (small!) objects the DOF
is constant for any type focal length!
Depth of Field When Image Size is Constant

This example shows a change in perspective with 1.9*zoom native FZ5 (right)
and minolta no.2 achromat (left),
but there is no substantial change in DOF.


DOF diagramms for the FZ5 with achromats


The following diagramms show the available DOF at different zoom settings (2,4 and 12), with changing apertures:
Used circle of confusion: 0,005mm
F:11 is not available at the FZ5 (without tricks ;-) )

The lens formulas don't give us the exact values at very close ranges, but the curves show us the trend!

Only precise measurements would give us the exact values!


dof02


dof12


dof12

Here is a demonstration of a very narrow DOF range
Left picture: reversed lens +20diopter, FZ5 f:8.0, 12* zoom
Right picture: same setup, three pictures of the living ant combined by helicon focus
(these pictures can be enlarged by a simple click..)


Stacking again


As I said before, I don't like stacking.
Too many surfaces destroy our images.
But there is one interesting effect with stacking, that should be shown here.
Achromats are asymetric lenses, most of them should not be reverted!
I was searching for good (2'') eyepieces for a telescope lately.
A very common -and good- construction: the PLÖSSL (ploessl) design uses two achromatic lenses.
The first lens is in a reversed position!
This is shown here:
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Okular
So I took my two elpros VIb (this is essentially the elpro2)and reversed the first one.
These lenses did a miserable job with normal stacking before:


The reversed design helped a lot to improve the corner sharpness
and this a nice and sharp eyepiece for my telescope too:



As you can see this trick does not effect the chromatic aberration.
There is a good correction in both cases. Reversing affects the flattening of the projection

As far as I know, some achromats - like the Minoltas and Raynox lenses - don't need this trick,
but I saw a similar design with Nikons before.
Francesco (fraF, narmer) reverted a lens in a stack a long time ago.

So if your stacks are not performing well, try to reverse a lens - this is a second chance!

..I have learned now, that this was a common trick in the pre-digital era (thanks, CK!)

Motivation


I needed specific lenses for my amber shots
I found it extremely difficult to find complete informations about available lenses.
Even manufactures hide most of their data and publish only rough estimates of their diopters
One of the worst examples: Panasonic close up lens DMW-LC55E:
no diopters!, no lens informations, only the price! (which is high)
If they did the same with their cameras, they would not sell a single one of these parts!
User krakelis at dpreviews asked for the specs.
A distributor provided these data:
Focusing distance 40-50cm -> +2 diopters
Lens Structure: 2 elements in 1 groups -> achromatic(?)
Filter diameter on camera lens: 55 mm
maximum diameter: 62 mm
overall length: 12 mm
Weight (approx): 50 g
(thanks for the "data sheet", Bas!)

So I hope you can start faster with your projects now
...and please add your advice to improve this page



This ends our little technical excursion. Good luck with your lenses, and post your results!


Page2
Some rudimentary tests

This was a view on conventional achromats.
But different lenses can be attached too: enlarging lenses, front lenses of binoculars...
..if you need more information, here is an old test of my own lenses (click on the image)
This is more than +40 diopters!

Special thanks to Francesco - narmer for the corrections and the FZ20 data!
..and greetings to all those nice people at: Steves and Dpreview .
These are good places to post the questions not answered by this page.

Bottomline
I have so many choices -
Which lenses do I use in the field?
- Minolta #1, +2 diopt., 50cm distance -> butterflies
   (this lens replaced my olympus mcon40 = 40cm distance)
- Minolta #2, +3.8 diopt., 26cm distance -> bugs
    stackable and not vignetting
- Olympus a-life size, +7.7 diopt., 13cm distance
- reversed 50mm, enlarging lens

Which lenses would I buy, if I did not have these lenses?

- both Nikon lenses (used or new)
- Raynox dcr250

...and if I had a different camera? (eg.FZ30,50)
- I would add a +1 diopt. lens, eg. Minolta #0 for distances around 1m
    the FZ5 has a macro tele and does not need such a lens

...or a dSLR?
- I would sell all achromats and buy a good apochromatic prime macro lens
- Achromats can be used with kit lenses, but degrade the image quality of dedicated macro lenses.
- Only one lens will never be sold: the alife-size from Olympus.

My lastest pictures are published in this community: - Fotothing

(lichen at 1cm distance, Sanyo xacti E6 - no achromat needed ;-) )


Thanks for visiting my pages! Have a nice day - Sven

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