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 Post subject: minolta Macro Lens
PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 9:29 pm 
Im interested in getting a good but cheap Minolta lens to fit to my sony A100 to take close up Macro shots.

The shots I will be interested in taking will be close ups of static items (like computer parts, static items, bowls of fruit etc.) indoors using my tripod (something to do on a rainy day) and close up detailed shots of animals such as bugs etc..

The problem I have at the moment is I have trouble focusing on on close up subjects as both my 18-70 and 75-300 go blurry unless I am at a distance from the subject.

Can anyone recommend minolta lenses (primes im guessing would best for this and more afordable ) that I will be able to obtain with out to much difficulty such as ebay.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 9:53 pm 
What's your budget?

Expensive solution is 50mm or 100mm macro from Sony/Minolta in any version.

Then there is Tamron 90mm and Sigma 70mm that many find really good. Tamron having the edge on IQ and Sigma on build quality according to some.

Least expensive AF solution is the Cosina 100mm also known as plastic fantastic that should have a horrible build quality but perfect IQ. Needs an adapter for 1:1 macro.

Then there is manual focus lenses, which I would recommend most. Most of the time macro work is manual focus, patience and lot's of misses, so AF is not as crucial as with other kinds of photography. Asahi Pentax Takumar 50mm is not that expensive and only requires an M42 adapter.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 9:56 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 25, 2008 12:48 pm
Posts: 8042
Location: UK
I've been looking at the Minolta 50mm f/2.8 macro lens on ebay recently, one just went for around £150. So considerably cheaper than the current Sony.

It'll probably be cheaper to get a 'macro' zoom actually, as they're usually not able to get so much magnification and less bright. But I don't know what models there are.

_________________
Canon DSLRs: 7D, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 28-80 V, 70-300L, 100-400L, TS-E 24/3.5L, MP-E 65, EF-S 15-85 IS
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
Tinies: Sony HX9V.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 10:56 pm 
I've got a Minolta 50mm/2.8 macro lens and I must say it impressed me in every respect so far. The sharpness of this lens is probably in the minolta elite league being even noticably sharper at 2.8 than 50/1.7 at the same aperture. I also found autofocus pretty good unlike many other people who say they have to use manual focus most of the time. The thing is that if you switch the AF mode from wide to local in the menu, you can autofocus pretty much on anything you want (at least from my experience). See for example this shot of a water droplet on the leaf:

http://www.cameralabs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=7976

The good news is that I usually get pretty crisp and sharp pictures handheld most of the time (but with ISO 400-800) and am happy with 70% of shots. So yes, this is a very good lens to get if you come it by on ebay or elsewhere (I bought mine locally).
For the insect you probably will need 100mm working range but as I understand it will also be more prone to camera shake and a tripod becomes a necessity. That being said, I've recently been lucky to shot reasonably good macros of bugs:)
I cannot comment on the performance of other macro lenses because Minolta 50mm/2.8 is the only one I've used so far.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 10:37 am 
that minolta 50mm 2.8 looks really good, I love the shots you took with it.


is this it:
Image

Image
This second one has MAXXUM written on the lens.. whats that about?

Also whats that lens like for general purpose indoor shots with low light? is there a 50mmf1.4 like the nikkon one?
Do you find 50mm is a good useful focul length? Iv only ever used zooms and im wondering if i will find primes a pain.

the sony 50mmf2.8 is £419 on ebay! minolta seems much cheaper.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 11:38 am 
This is the 1. gen. AF lens, Maxxum was a brand name used in the US only so it just says it was originally sold on the US market. The optical scheme is the same between this and the Sony version, coating might be different and the Sony version is a D lens, other than that it's pretty much the same lens. Nikon does not make a f/1.4 macro (micro) they have a 2.8/60. Most macro lenses are f/2.8 or slower, they are specialized lenses and much sharper than the Nikkor 1.4/50 you mentioned and most important has a flat field. You could buy a faster lens like Sony/Minolta 1.4/50 and put on extension tubes to get macro like functionality.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 12:04 pm 
Yes, this is the lens I have with maxxum brand name in my case. It has a big aperture of 2.8 which is good for low light shooting, too. Most importantly, sharpnes of the lens is the same at any aperture unlike 50/1.7 which you need to stop down to 2.2 or higher to obtain good results. However this lens focuses much quicker than the macro lens which is a clear advantage in some situations.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 12:08 pm 
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Location: UK
Firstly, don't confuse the 50mm non-macro lenses with the macro ones. The f/1.4 and f/1.7 you might also see on ebay are not macro. According to dyxum there were several models of Minolta 50mm macro, and all appear to get decent user reviews.

On focal length, from my limited use of my Sony 50mm f/1.4, I did find myself frustrated with the lack of convenience a zoom gives. You will have to move around more than with a zoom to get the right distance. So I have to admit I don't use it much unless I want serious bokeh from the wide aperture, or where light capturing ability is the priority. You can simulate the experience yourself to get a feel for it. Just set a zoom to 50mm and leave it there. Then see how that feels on test shots.

Conversely, I don't get the same feelings of frustration of lack of zoom when using the Tamron 90mm macro. In this case I am almost certainly taking macro shots only, and getting in close isn't too bad.

Note I chose the Tamron 90mm macro over the Sony 50mm macro lens. It's priced less than the Sony 50mm while giving almost the reach of the 100mm. Street price under £300. If you can afford to go new, I have no hesitation in recommending it.

_________________
Canon DSLRs: 7D, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 28-80 V, 70-300L, 100-400L, TS-E 24/3.5L, MP-E 65, EF-S 15-85 IS
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
Tinies: Sony HX9V.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 13, 2008 7:03 pm 
One thing you need to watch out when buying a heavily used Minolta macro lens on Ebay is a stiff focus they might develop overtime. This may be good for manual work but will be hard on your motor in AF mode. I read in some reviews that this problem is more pronounced for the D (later) version of 50mm/2.8 macro lens, not shown on your picture. So try buying from trusted sellers and ask questions before bidding.


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