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PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2008 8:22 am 
Hey guys,
Couldn't find a review of this lens when i was considering it so thought i'll do one now. Just got it this morning btw :D

Specs
Name : Raynox DCR-250
Price : $45 Aud
Lens : 2 group/3 element optical glasses
Weight : 60g
Comes with : Universal lens adaptor for lens sizes 52-67mm, lens cap and case.

First of this is by no means something that would be able to match the quality of proper macro specific lenses out there. However if you're just thinking about playing around with Macro, its a pretty neat toy especially since it costs around $40 australian, i'm pretty sure you can get it for an even cheaper price somewhere.

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Box

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The lens and adaptor

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The lens screws onto the adaptor just like how you would screw on a filter to your lens

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Handy box included for travelling or storing purposes

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Attached to D80

Test notes:
The Raynox DCR-250 allows some extreme macro shots, it is light, well thought up and handy (fits most lenses and storage box is a sweet). But there are some limitations to it. As you can see from the D80 pic, installing the raynox 250 might prevent you from being able to attach your lens hood which might be an issue for some people. Also the size of the lens itself is pretty small so expect some vignetting(this can be cured by zooming out).

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Most extreme case of vignetting

The image produced is actually decent considering the price of the lens. Some exaples are given below. Note: None of these pics were cropped in anyway. They're exactly how they look out of the camera. Used photobucket to resize.

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remember to clean keyboard before posting pics next time >.<

This shows the level of magnification that the lens can achieve.
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Note: this pic is to show the size of the flower, note the "hard to see arrow" on the bottom right flower.

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This is the magnification of that flower with the lens. To get this magnification i actually had to get up to around 1cm away from the flower to get a proper focus.

I first got this lens thinking that i would be able to get some insect close ups with it. But the raynox 250 seriously has a very short depth of field. This along with the issues of the camera not being able to auto focus with the lens on and also the range needed to get good close up shots make it pretty much impossible. I would greatly recommend using a tripod when using this lens as any slight movement would throw the image out of focus due to the short depth of field. All in all however i am pretty happy with the quality of the lens itself. In the right hands it'll probably be able to provide some really high quality, interesting and clear macro shots.

Pros:
Cheaper than most macro lenses/filters
Nice and high magnification
Easy to install and store
Fits most lenses
Can produce some high quality images

Cons:
Very short depth of field
Confuses auto focus so manual focus needed
Tripod required to get really good shots
Almost impossible to get a good clear shot of a moving subject (depth of field problem again)
Lens has to practically touch the subject to get best magnification

Anyway that'll be all, just post any questions or comments. Hope you all find this useful.

Cheers

UPDATE


This regards the DOF and sharpness issues. The performance of the Raynox depends heavily on the lens you use it on. So far i've found that the best images are with the 50mm f1.8 set at f22. Here are some samples without any cropping.

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Here is a 100% crop of image 1
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Last edited by Melvin87 on Tue Jun 10, 2008 1:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2008 8:45 am 
This is a good review, its gives me a great idea of how this works! Thanks alot

I dont knw if you have any experience with the Cannon 500D lens, but it seems to me as if its about the same? If i m not mistaken isn't that glass just like using a magnification glass?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2008 8:58 am 
Hey Alex, sorry but i haven't had a chance to try out the canon 500D lens. I'm still pretty much a newbie when it comes to dslrs but yeah the glass is more of a magnifying glass than an actual proper lens lol.

Glad you liked the review.
Cheers


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2008 12:18 am 
Hi melvin,


I too have the DCR-250 and share your perspective on this lens in several areas. However, I perceive some of it a little differently.

1) It's a special-purpose lens and - in my view - not technically a "con" that it's DOF is shallow. That goes hand in hand with it's ability to magnify as well as it does.

Although I can't articulate the math behind it, it also has a lot to do with what kind of lens you attach it to. On my 55-200mm lens, the DOF is quite shallow. On my 18-55mm it's noticeably wider.

And, of course, the F-stop makes a big difference as well.

With enough light, I can achieve a good inch of DOF, which for this level of magnification is more than enough for me.

An alternative is to use the DCR-150, which is more forgiving DOF-wise, but still with good magnification and the ability to turn any lens into a macro.

What I learned from having both is to appreciate how specialize the DCR-250 really is. However, when used as intended/designed it can create some amazing "portrait" shots if very small insects with the eyes in complete focus and the rest gradually more blurry.

What is missing from the product description most places is the emphasis on this aspect of the lens.

2) I find that image-quality absolutely stunning. I can't prove it, but I suspect it has to do with using only the "sweet center" of the lens you attach it to. Most lenses are "better" in the center of the glass than at the edges.

However, it is a demanding lens to use, in the sense that there is very little margin for error..or rather..none..lol. Certainly a tripod is critical, not because of shake per se, but because the natural sway of your body will move the focus plane all over the object you are shooting. I don't think it's humanly possible to be still enough to keep the focus plane where you want it. Image stabilization/Vibration Reduction cannot combat this, I believe, since doesn't compensate the "Z-axis", so to speak.

3) The amazing flexibility of the mounting - that it can go onto 52-67mm threads - is pretty darn versatile. It can even go on video cameras.

4) Compared to the alternatives- for example the Kenko rings - the Raynoxes are so much easier to work with that screwing these tubes in before your own lens. Also, when using more than one, they become a little wiggly and lens-alignment is threatened.

Personally I'm very impressed with these Raynox offerings - the price-performance factor is quite unusual in the photographic equipment market, I feel.

Looking forward to seeing some of your shots in the macro-section with this lens. Perhaps we can learn from each other and Paukl, whom I also know have the DCR-250. (dig for his thread with the snail-head in grungy B&W for example..lol).

Mark-A is also into macro-shots (check out his nice shots of the LOTR statues for example) and may be interested in this lens.

Cheers :-)


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PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2008 1:46 am 
Hey Lahlahsr, i totally agree with what you said. Should have probably mentioned that i was using the nikon 18-135 kit lens without VR. VR might actually help quite a bit with camera shake in this case, should try it out with a frens lens some day.

But yeah the image quality is awesome especially since i've been able to play around with it more with a tripod. Just that some people might find it frustrating if they don't have a tripod.

Yea, i've just had a look at Paukl's snail shots and they look great. Would love to get more tips from all of you in the future. Hope to get results like that one day. I've just attached some proper pics while using the raynox 250. Excuse the vignetting, i had it zoomed out for to achieve a larger dof and also to avoid excessive shaking.

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Lens was zoomed out to 18mm

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100% cropped pic

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Baby snail.... was around 2mm in diameter


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PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2008 1:46 pm 
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Location: The Netherlands, Ridderkerk
Thanks for that review Melvin! I thought about buying one of these macro-lenses, but after reading your review, I think I'd better spend my money on a reall macrolens. Thanks!

- Bjorn -

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2008 3:06 pm 
Hey Bjorn, no worries, the lens is pretty good and fun to play around with but a proper macro lens is still much better than it. Glad this helped you out. Cheers


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2008 11:30 pm 
Hi Melvin 87 and Bjorn,

allow me to try and sway your perception of these lenses :-)

It's my personal perception that the image-quality of the Raynoxes is top-notch, when used as intended. Because they - as far as I can tell - utilize the center-glass of the lens you attach them to, they are as good as the best part of your lens.

Their magnification-factor does require you to use some form of stabilization - much the same way you'd have to stabilize an extreme tele-shot.

Since these images are web-based, re-sized and taken by me, I'm sure these examples do not demonstrate these lenses' effectiveness. However, having taken many and scrutinized them closely, I'm personally not convinced that the several hundred dollars more you have to pony up for a macro-lens is worth it. This of course is a personal judgment call.

Here's a few examples that I took when testing them out.

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I find that sharpness, resolution of detail, color truancy fully live up to the lens I attached them on.

Personally Id' recommend them to anyone and I don't find them lacking. They are no slower to put on that swapping to the macro-lens. They are very versatile as they will go on almost any lens you have. And, they are great fun..lol.

Cheers :-)


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PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2008 12:04 am 
Hey lahlasr, Woah those are really some great shots. But i think you're misunderstanding my point of view a bit lol. I love the Raynox-250 and i've mentioned a few times that it has great picture quality.

Like i said the only real drawbacks i can find on this is the really short depth of field (but like you said it is a specialised lens) and also the close range needed to focus for high magnification when compared to some of the higher end macro lenses. I feel that this factor could be the breaking point for the Raynox when it comes to insect shots where higher end macro lenses allow you to shoot at a further range so that you dont alert the insects into running away.

The main point of my review was that it's great for stationary subjects but nature subjects like insects and flowers might cause more of a problem (although it can be done) due to windy conditions and movement. Even a slight movement of a few millimeters would throw your focus out of range.

But no doubt about it, high quality pictures can be gotten out of it and yours are some really good ones.

Cheers


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PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2008 12:12 am 
Hi Melvin,

Lol..knowing myself, there's a good chance that I indeed may have misunderstood you adn in that case, you have my apologies :-)

I agree with you characterization here and tellingly, the examples I provided are as static as I could make them..lol. I'm personally not into bug-shooting, but would like to do some flowers with these now the weather is better.

I am quite convinced - even before trying - that you're absolutely correct: controlling the DOF on even a slightly swaying flower is gonna be a (beep)..lol.

Thanks for the kind words about the images. Not quite the high art I strive for..lol..but good for demonstration purposes. I've never actually looked at ground coffee this close before..lol.

Cheers :-)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2008 12:23 am 
Hahaha No worries about it lahlahsr, the lens have really opened up a new chapter of photography for me too. I've been running around shooting at everyday boring objects to get a better view of them and many people would be surprised at how some of the most boring objexts look absolutely stunning under high magnification. lol


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 01, 2008 12:56 pm 
Sorry for upping this topic so late, but I'm really interested in those Raynox lenses.
I have an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens and I love its performance. It's tack sharp and works just perfect, but I could use some more magnification (1:1 is great but you know... :roll: )
Does anyone have an idea of what would be the result of installing an Raynox DCR-250 on it? And an Raynox DCR-150? And if I install BOTH (can I do that?) ?
Since the 100mm is an prime and I can't zoom it in, would I suffer too much from Vignetting?
Thanks guys!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2008 6:48 pm 
Hi Alex_Venom,

The Raynox lenses will attach to all of your lenses within it's rather wide diameter-specs and increase your magnification noticeably.

You cannot install both and when you see how they work, I daresay that you will not want to.

As for the vignetting, I can't say for sure as I have not tried them on primes. I highly doubt it though.

Cheers :-)


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2008 7:10 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 25, 2008 12:48 pm
Posts: 8022
Location: UK
Alex_Venom,

I assume the Raynox is essentially a convex lens to increase magnification/reduce focus distance like other closeup lenses. If so, it will work on a macro lens although how much more I can't predict. Elsewhere I did try a +10 closeup lens on the 90mm 1:1 Tamron macro, and that went up to about 1.6x magnification.

A compatible teleconverter might be another way to get more magnification.

_________________
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: Where to get?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 06, 2009 12:36 am 
Hey mate, u said u got it for $45 AUD, may i know where did u buy it from? thanks


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