View Full Version : Economical "Macro"?

Paul Kierstead
5-May-2009, 12:33
I find myself doing quite a bit of work in the vicinity of 1:1; single flowers and the like. I would like a lens that is optimized for this kind of work (and offers reasonable working distances) without going into hock.

It would need to cover 4x5.

Any suggestions on reasonably available economical lenses optimized for 1:1 or thereabouts?

5-May-2009, 12:52
I suggest Tominon 75mm/105mm . About 30-50 dollars in a copal shutter.

5-May-2009, 15:00
You also could use an enlarging lens made for 4x5 negs. You may not need a shutter since most of your exposures are over a second anyway. I use a 135mm macro ed nikkor in copal #0 shutter but it doesn't give you me very much working distance so I often use a 210mm instead. The 210mm f9 or 150mm f9 repromaster lenses are quite sharp for cu work as well and can be had for about $30, mine were free.

Dan Fromm
5-May-2009, 18:17
Re the Tominon macro lenses for the Polaroid MP-4, the shorter the lens the better it is relative to the competition. I've had three 135/4.5s, all lousy. These lenses were made to be screwed into the front of a #1 shutter, e.g., the MP-4 Copal Press #1, which has no diaphragm. I think Mikec's price suggestion is optimistic, but you may hit it lucky.

If you can find a 105/4.5 Comparon (Comparon, not Componon or Componar) in #0 Copal (I extracted mine from a Sirchie ID camera) it will do better around 1:1 than most enlarging lenses and has the advantage of easy reversal should you want to shoot above 1:1.

I'm so taken by my 4"/5.6 Enlarging Pro Raptar that I had SKGrimes make an adapter that holds it in front of a #1. From 1:8 to 4:1,it shot better at the apertures I'm likely to use than a known good 100/6.3 Luminar. Unfortunately they're not common.

Paul Kierstead
6-May-2009, 11:39
The Tominons are, indeed, a good deal. I will definitely have a hard look at them.

I was given to understand that enlarging lenses were not so good at 3-D work.

Bjorn Nilsson
6-May-2009, 11:52
The Tominon 127mm which comes in a Press Copal 1 shutter is also very useful for close-up work. They are quite easy to find at say $50 or so. (Maybe you have to rip it from a Polaroid camera, but the price should be the same.)
Apart from being a decent lens, the shutter itself is very useful and quite popular for conversions of barrel mounted lenses like some G-Claron lenses etc. So in short, a good buy which brings you two useful tools.


Dan Fromm
7-May-2009, 05:28
Second Bjorn's suggestion. And on 2x3 the Polaroid CU-5 (also DS-34, "Gelcam") 127/4.7 Tominon is quite good at all distances. I once bought one "for the shutter," tried it out, and was so pleased with it that I put it in my out-and-about kit.

Bjorn, not all lenses that fit a #1 cock-and-shoot shutter will fit a #1 Press shutter (Copal or Prontor). The Press shutters' diaphragm is set farther to the rear than the cock-and-shoot's, will prevent proper seating of rear cells that go deep into the shutter. Not a problem with a 150/9 G-Claron, a big bad problem with an 80/2.8 Planar. I'm still looking for an affordable shutter for the 80/2.8 Planar cells a friend gave me.

Paul, I've never tried a 105/4.5 MP-4 Tominon, have had and tried all of the others. The 17, 35, and 50 aren't best in class but are usable. The 75 is so-so and all of the three 135s I tried out were poor. Given the progression, I have doubts about the 105. As Bjorn mentioned, the 127 seems to be a fine lens but it wasn't mounted in barrel for the MP-4.

That enlarging lenses are poor at 3-d work is a canard. All taking lenses are designed to have minimal aberrations, including field curvature. The well-meaning idiots who advocate using lenses with bad field curvature for shooting subjects with depth seem to believe that all subjects with depth have the same radius. In my limited experience this isn't so.



Paul Kierstead
7-May-2009, 08:06
How would something like a G-Claron 150mm compare with a Nikkor 120mm Macro? I really like the speed of the Nikkor (almost all of the shooting will be indoors, modelling lights only illuminaition), but of course it is roughly double the price. If the Nikkor provides excellent results comparable to the G-Claron, I might be inclined to spring for the extra speed. Or I might be insane. Note I have other, non-close-up lenses in this range so general purpose use is not really a requriement. I think I am mostly looking from something like about 1:4 to 1:1 or so.

Dan Fromm
7-May-2009, 09:30
Paul, I've had only a few G-Clarons. 3 240/9 dagor types (old model) and 1 150/9 plasmat type (new model). I bought the 240s as speculations because they're very hard to use on my cameras and I could get them for very little money, have sold all three. I was given the 150 and have sold it too. I did some test shots with all four lenses. The 240s all shot very well near and far. IMO the 150 wasn't as good as either of my 150/9 Apo Ronars and that's why I sold it.

For work in the range 1:1 to 1:4 my 150/5.6 Comparon is quite good. Its cells are direct fits in a #0, which means that reversing the lens for shooting above 1:1 is very easy. The 127/4.7 CU-5 Tominon that Bjorn mentioned is also very good in the range you want, but since it is in a #1 reversing the lens is very hard. There's one on eBay now, so far at a low price.

I don't know where you formed your estimates of prices. The 120/5.6 AM ED Nikkors I've seen offered have all sold for considerably more than twice what 150/9 G-Clarons in shutter bring. The big exception was when B&H cleared out their Nikkor LF lens stock, but those are long gone. I have no experience with the 120 Nikkor, regret not buying one during the clearance sale.

Come to think of it, I have a spare 150/9 Klimsch Apo Ronar. This is a tiny lens whose cells will not go in any shutter. SKGrimes has quoted me $65 for an adapter that will hold it in front of, e.g., a #1 shutter. I'll sell it to you with no shutter and no adapter for front-mounting for $75 plus postage. General purpose it ain't, it won't cover 4x5 at infinity. It covers 2x3 at infinity and on that format it is very good at all distances. But that's what Apo Ronars do.



Paul Kierstead
7-May-2009, 10:00
I don't know where you formed your estimates of prices. The 120/5.6 AM ED Nikkors I've seen offered have all sold for considerably more than twice what 150/9 G-Clarons in shutter bring.

KEH; heh, may not be the best way, I was just looking for estimates. Nikkors seem to go for about $400 (little less on forums, little more at retail); the only 150 G-Claron in a shutter I immediately tripped over was about $200 (retail). That might be wildly inflated.

The Tominons on the bay are worth checking out; I didn't see them, as they didn't show up on ebay.ca (doh). One lists shipping to a huge part of the world, except Canada. Weird. Some messages are in order, I guess.

Dan Fromm
7-May-2009, 11:08
http://cgi.ebay.com/Polaroid-Tominon-127mm-f4-7-Lens-No-Reserve_W0QQitemZ230341550338QQihZ013QQcategoryZ15247QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem is the one I was thinking of.

This one http://cgi.ebay.com/Polaroid-Tominon-127-mm-F4-7-lens-in-a-Copal-Shutter_W0QQitemZ260405126245QQihZ016QQcategoryZ15247QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem seems not to have a manual shutter trip lever.

This isn't described as well as possible: http://cgi.ebay.com/Polaroid-CU-5-5-Lens-88-5-5-Inch-Lens_W0QQitemZ270386293909QQihZ017QQcategoryZ162480QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

Mark Sawyer
7-May-2009, 14:37
The Rodenstock Ysarex and Ysaron should be good low-priced options too.

Joshua Dunn
11-May-2009, 16:32
I have the 120mm AM ED Nikkor and it is an outstanding lens (I did catch the B&H clearance, I think it was $300). I also have the Rodenstock Ysaron but the Nikkor is a much sharper lens and (for me at least) has better contrast. I have done up to 3:1 with the Nikkor. Additionally since they both have relatively short focal lengths you need less bellows draw for Macro work as compared to 210mm and 300mm Macro lenses. If you can afford it the Nikkor is the way to go.