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Author Topic: Manual Focus Lens Recommendations?  (Read 1232 times)
7h3C47
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« on: June 12, 2013, 05:48:01 PM »
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I'm in the market for something around the price point of the Canon 60D or Nikon D7000.  That having been said I know both companies make great bodies--I really care more to put time and research into lens options.

My shooting style is slow and methodical--very often with a tripod and remote.  My main use for the system will be macro photography which of course already lends itself to manual lenses--but I'd take any standard zoom prime lens recommendations as well (35-55mm range)!

So, any good experiences with *SHARP* manual lenses?  Like I mentioned, a macro lens, specifically in the 70-105mm range, would really hit the spot (that's the working distance I prefer for flowers etc.).

Please share your experiences!
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Jim Kasson
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« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2013, 06:52:43 PM »
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The Zeiss 100mm f/2.0 Makro-Planar is available in both Nikon and Canon mounts, and is very sharp. Manual focus only, which fits your needs. Won't go to 1:1.  I have the Nikon version and like it a lot. At slightly less than $2K, it may be more than you want to spend, considering the bodies you're looking at.

Hard to focus with most modern DSLR finder screens.  You'll probably want to use live view to focus, so make sure that the body you pick is good at that.

Jim
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wildlightphoto
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« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2013, 07:13:04 PM »
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... any good experiences with *SHARP* manual lenses?  Like I mentioned, a macro lens, specifically in the 70-105mm range, would really hit the spot (that's the working distance I prefer for flowers etc.).

Leica-R 100mm APO.  Can be adapted to either Canon or Nikon (or Sony).  Sharp sharp sharp and deep rich colors.  For 1:1 you'd add the dedicated Elpro close-up lens.  Not inexpensive, but you didn't mention a price range.
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7h3C47
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« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2013, 07:18:55 PM »
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The Zeiss 100mm f/2.0 Makro-Planar is available in both Nikon and Canon mounts, and is very sharp. Manual focus only, which fits your needs. Won't go to 1:1.  I have the Nikon version and like it a lot. At slightly less than $2K, it may be more than you want to spend, considering the bodies you're looking at.

Hard to focus with most modern DSLR finder screens.  You'll probably want to use live view to focus, so make sure that the body you pick is good at that.

Jim

Leica-R 100mm APO.  Can be adapted to either Canon or Nikon (or Sony).  Sharp sharp sharp and deep rich colors.  For 1:1 you'd add the dedicated Elpro close-up lens.  Not inexpensive, but you didn't mention a price range.

Nice!  I've definitely heard good things about both in the past.  A bit out of my price range for the time being, unfortunately.  Enthusiast grade and under $1000 would be more up my alley.
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Peter McLennan
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« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2013, 07:20:37 PM »
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If I'm quick, I get in before bill t does.  : )

We've both said it here before.  The old fully manual Nikkor 55mm f3.5 is an astoundingly sharp lens.  You can find them all over the Internet.  A good sample would run less than $300.  I loved my first one so much, I got another.  I paid less than $300 for the two.

It's a little shorter than your spec and it only focuses to about 1:2, but it is a useful, very high resolution lens.  My D800 absolutely adores it.

There.  I beat him.  
« Last Edit: June 12, 2013, 07:22:47 PM by Peter McLennan » Logged
leuallen
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« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2013, 09:18:31 PM »
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The older Tokina 90mm 2.5 macro lens is very good if you can find one. Not too expensive, mine was less than $400. Renown for its creamy bokeh wide open which is how I like to shoot some flower subjects. It comes in two parts: the lens for up to 1:2 and an optical extender to 1:1. Be sure you get both parts. Don't be alarmed by the extender. It is matched to the lens and corrects for aberrations that occur at higher magnifications so it is a plus if you do not need to be able to cover the magnification range in one swoop.

There are Vivitar and I believe Kiron variations which are very similar and highly thought of. I believe these lenses come from the early 80's.

Be wary of some of the older lens designs as they are not coated on the rear element and in certain rare instance can cause the lens to flare back to the sensor. I have a Tamron which is otherwise very sharp but exhibits this phenomenon.

Larry
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RobSaecker
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« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2013, 10:12:57 PM »
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The old fully manual Nikkor 55mm f3.5 is an astoundingly sharp lens.  You can find them all over the Internet.  A good sample would run less than $300.  I loved my first one so much, I got another.  I paid less than $300 for the two.

I'll second that opinion, with one caveat; if you're going to use one with a D7000, make sure you get the AI version. My pre-AI model made great photos on my D5000, but it's been sitting on the shelf since I got the D7000. Maybe one of these days I'll find someone to do an AI conversion.

Also consider the manual Micro Nikkor 105. I don't have one, but I've seen good reports. In the $300-400 range.

And then for something a little longer, consider the Sigma 150 Macro. The older non-IS version can be had for around $600, and I really like mine.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2013, 10:25:16 PM by RobSaecker » Logged

Rob
photo blog - http://robsaecker.com
Peter McLennan
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« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2013, 10:23:10 PM »
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I'll second that opinion, with one caveat; if you're going to use one with a D7000, make sure you get the AI version.

An excellent point, Rob.  AIS is a must-have.
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2013, 10:40:54 PM »
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Have you considered the Zeiss 50mm f2.0 ZF.2?

It currently is my favourite 50mm lens.

AF can help with macro images when using live view at 100%, I would not rule out the Nikkor 60mm f2.8.

Cheers,
Bernard
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NancyP
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« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2013, 10:35:30 AM »
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Maybe visit the forum at mflenses.com? The forum members would have information on compatibility and on adapters needed. For Canon bodies, you will need a functional auto aperture stop-down or if not present, a physical aperture ring. Only some Canon FD mount lenses can be adapted to Canon EF mount - the other FD lenses won't reach infinity.

Don't overlook incompatible-mount lenses that can be used with an adapter. M42 screw mount lenses will fit on Canon EF/EF-S mount via an adapter. I have a number of legacy manual focus, manual aperture lenses sitting in my closet, and plan to test them using cheap e-bay adapters.

If you want to buy inexpensive new manual lenses, try Samyang/ Rokinon/ Bower lenses (all made by Samyang, all identical). I have the 14mm f/2.8, and it is a fun, good quality lens for a bargain price.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2013, 11:34:11 AM »
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Hi,

Most short tele macros are pretty good. Macrophotography is not easy, keep in mind, good technique using the lens may be more important than lens quality.

I have experience with Minolta/Sony gear, but I have seen a lot of discussion around lenses. The Zeiss lenses are said be very good and with small sample variation. The new Canon 100mm-f2.8L is said to very good: https://www.lensrentals.com/rent/canon/lenses/macro/canon-100mm-f2.8l-is-macro.

A more feasible alternative may be one of the Sigma Macro lenses, the 70, 105 and 150 are said to be a match for any lens.

Manual focus may be easier with an MF lens, as they have a longer focus stroke.

Lensrentals has lot of good info, they have dozens of samples of each lense and they test all lenses coming in and out. The owner is an optics freak.

I'm not sure there is a lot of difference between good lenses if they are stopped down to f/8 - f/11, check this: http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=77956.0

Best regards
Erik
« Last Edit: June 13, 2013, 02:08:49 PM by ErikKaffehr » Logged

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