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I'm looking to get a macro lens for my Olympus E-400 DSLR before I go on holiday - what would you guys recommend? As my camera isn't exactly worth a fortune, I imagine it would be unwise to spend a lot on this lens, so I'm looking for as cheap as possible really - I may consider buying a whole new camera if these lenses are too expensive.
Thanks in advance.
 

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Budget? I've read reviews about Oly's two standard macro lenses, the 35 f/3.5 and 50 f/2. Both are damned sharp, but if it were me it would be the 50 no question. Longer focal length (and thereby greater working distance), wider aperture (f/2 vs. f/3.5), better build quality, though at twice the price of the 35. I suppose if budget is an issue, then the 35 will certainly suffice, but for 1:1 macro shots you'll need to get seriously close to the subject.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for that guys. Budget wise I was thinking £200 max - I'm happy to spend £400 on a lens, but that's considerably more than my camera's worth so it seems stupid to do that.
I had a look on ebay, and 50mm f/1.8 lenses incredibly cheap - sub £30, but I'm guessing they're not any good, or not compatible with a digital camera.
The 50mm f/2.0 seems to go for ~£350, which seems like a lot to me, but if you think it's worth it I'll go for it.
The 35mm f/3.5 on the other hand seems to go for sub £100, and that looks like the best bet to me. However, if there really is such a big difference between it and the 50mm f/2.0 then I'm happy to spend the extra.
Any more opinions?
 

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Quote:


Originally Posted by woodpigeon4
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Thanks for that guys. Budget wise I was thinking £200 max - I'm happy to spend £400 on a lens, but that's considerably more than my camera's worth so it seems stupid to do that.
I had a look on ebay, and 50mm f/1.8 lenses incredibly cheap - sub £30, but I'm guessing they're not any good, or not compatible with a digital camera.
The 50mm f/2.0 seems to go for ~£350, which seems like a lot to me, but if you think it's worth it I'll go for it.
The 35mm f/3.5 on the other hand seems to go for sub £100, and that looks like the best bet to me. However, if there really is such a big difference between it and the 50mm f/2.0 then I'm happy to spend the extra.
Any more opinions?

No, lenses are way more important, so don't worry about your camera's worth versus the lens. Camera bodies will come and go while lenses will stay with you. There's nothing wrong with the E400 and will perform well with either lens. Speaking of which, I personally think that the 50 f/2 is worth the premium for reasons already mentioned. However, you're fortunate that either lens is solid, so you can't go wrong.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Quote:

Originally Posted by GoneTomorrow View Post
No, lenses are way more important, so don't worry about your camera's worth versus the lens. Camera bodies will come and go while lenses will stay with you. There's nothing wrong with the E400 and will perform well with either lens. Speaking of which, I personally think that the 50 f/2 is worth the premium for reasons already mentioned. However, you're fortunate that either lens is solid, so you can't go wrong.
Thanks, I'd rep you if I could

I'll have a look around on ebay and gumtree and see if I can get a good deal on the more expensive one, if not then I'll get the cheaper one - I'm trying to find some comparison shots atm between the two lenses, not having much luck though.
 

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Do you happen to know what type of macro you're looking at?

That is to say, do you need 1:1 magnification? Is 2:1 ok?

Having put my hands on them, the Olympus lenses are great.

Also, the Tamron 90 macro is near legendary. (and a good price at about $300).
To get much better, the Voltlanger and Zeiss 125mm & 100mm respectively are great, however both can command two and three times as much as the Tamron (I'm not sure that they are 2x-3x better).
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by beldecca View Post
Do you happen to know what type of macro you're looking at?

That is to say, do you need 1:1 magnification? Is 2:1 ok?

Having put my hands on them, the Olympus lenses are great.

Also, the Tamron 90 macro is near legendary. (and a good price at about $300).
To get much better, the Voltlanger and Zeiss 125mm & 100mm respectively are great, however both can command two and three times as much as the Tamron (I'm not sure that they are 2x-3x better).
Ah, well this is where I reveal myself as being a total camera noob.
I thought that only Zuiko lenses would work with my camera, but maybe I was wrong there, I don't know. If I was then I guess there's loads of lenses I could be looking at, but tbh I wouldn't know where to start.
As far as magnification goes, I think 2:1 is fine.
thanks
 

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if you are comfortable with manual focus, there are a pletora of cheap, old OM/m43 lenses that will work on your body (with an adapter of course).

if you want a cheap AF 1:1 100mm macro, take a look at the vivtar/promaster/phoenix 100mm f3.5. known as the plastic fantastic in the minolta mount, the lens cost <100USD used and is tack sharp. problem is that the build is horrible (therefore the name), af sounds like a lawn motor (atleast for minolta/sony) and needs a filter for 1:1. but i dont think ive read anything about stripping af gears or broken lenses even on the highspeed a700/a900 af motors.

voltlanger 125/2.5 is unbelievably good.........
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by beldecca View Post
Do you happen to know what type of macro you're looking at?

That is to say, do you need 1:1 magnification? Is 2:1 ok?

Having put my hands on them, the Olympus lenses are great.

Also, the Tamron 90 macro is near legendary. (and a good price at about $300).
To get much better, the Voltlanger and Zeiss 125mm & 100mm respectively are great, however both can command two and three times as much as the Tamron (I'm not sure that they are 2x-3x better).
Tamron doesn't make lenses for the Olympus mount. Sigma does however. I believe their 105mm and 150mm f/2.8 macros are made for Oly mounts. And I think you might have your numbers reversed for magnification ratio. 1:1 is life sized and 2:1 is twice life sized (1:2 is half life sized). Almost all TRUE macro lenses are 1:1 and very few are 2:1 without extension tubes.

Quote:

Originally Posted by woodpigeon4 View Post
Ah, well this is where I reveal myself as being a total camera noob.
I thought that only Zuiko lenses would work with my camera, but maybe I was wrong there, I don't know. If I was then I guess there's loads of lenses I could be looking at, but tbh I wouldn't know where to start.
As far as magnification goes, I think 2:1 is fine.
thanks

Third party manufacturers also make lenses for the major brands. Tamron, Sigma, Tokina, Vivitar, to name a few. However, since Olympus doesn't use an APS-C sensor (uses 4/3 sensor), there aren't as many third party lenses for it. Sigma is the only company I know of that has several to offer.

And 1:1 is all you will get with a typical dedicated macro lens.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Okay, thanks for clearing that up. So, as I don't want an adaptor I'll either be getting a Zuiko or Sigma lens. Can you perhaps point me in the right direction as to Sigma lenses that fit my camera that you'd recommend.
Sorry if this seems like I'm being lazy, but I don't want to run the risk of buying something that doesn't fit my camera, especially if I'm buying the lens on ebay.
 

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GoneTomorrow caught my mistakes (always pick the wrong numbers in ratios).
Sorry about misleading you on the tamron, couldn't find a voltanger (sp) either.

A quick look at KEH has:
an Olympus 35mm f3.5 macro for $172 - good entry http://www.keh.com/camera/Olympus-Di...99089772N?r=FE (you can find new for about $200, though)

an Olympus 50mm f2 macro for $415 - excellent lens http://www.keh.com/camera/Olympus-Di...99068456J?r=FE

a Sigma 150mm f2.8 macro for $600 http://www.keh.com/camera/Olympus-Di...99108261R?r=FE (a little rare - would frame like a 300mm macro, normally more like $750)

In the new realm, adorama has a sigma 105mm (shorter) f2.8 for $480 http://www.adorama.com/SG10528DOMK.html

I think sigma also makes a 24mm macro, but I might be wrong. Good luck!
 

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Quote:


Originally Posted by beldecca
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GoneTomorrow caught my mistakes (always pick the wrong numbers in ratios).
Sorry about misleading you on the tamron, couldn't find a voltanger (sp) either.

A quick look at KEH has:
an Olympus 35mm f3.5 macro for $172 - good entry http://www.keh.com/camera/Olympus-Di...99089772N?r=FE (you can find new for about $200, though)

an Olympus 50mm f2 macro for $415 - excellent lens http://www.keh.com/camera/Olympus-Di...99068456J?r=FE

a Sigma 150mm f2.8 macro for $600 http://www.keh.com/camera/Olympus-Di...99108261R?r=FE (a little rare - would frame like a 300mm macro, normally more like $750)

In the new realm, adorama has a sigma 105mm (shorter) f2.8 for $480 http://www.adorama.com/SG10528DOMK.html

I think sigma also makes a 24mm macro, but I might be wrong. Good luck!

Well, they make a 24mm lens that says "Macro" on it, but like many Sigma and Tamron lenses, that just means that they can focus closer, e.g. 1:2 instead of 1:4.

http://www.dentonimages.com/lensover...ACRO_%284/3%29

Quote:


Originally Posted by woodpigeon4
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Okay, thanks for clearing that up. So, as I don't want an adaptor I'll either be getting a Zuiko or Sigma lens. Can you perhaps point me in the right direction as to Sigma lenses that fit my camera that you'd recommend.
Sorry if this seems like I'm being lazy, but I don't want to run the risk of buying something that doesn't fit my camera, especially if I'm buying the lens on ebay.

http://www.dentonimages.com/review_l...&brand=Olympus

One big thing about macro lenses to know before buying, besides what has already been mentioned: focal length and working distance. Working distance is the exact distance required from the camera to the subject to get 1:1 magnification. Move further, and the magnification is less, move closer and it won't focus.

This matters depending on what you shoot. For example, I once had the Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 macro lens, one of the best lenses I've used. To get 1:1, I had to be approximately 2 inches from the subject. That's pretty close and can be difficult when shooting fast moving insects or whatever.

The greater the focal length, the greater the WD at 1:1. So if you use a 150mm macro lens, the working distance is more than doubled at 1:1, allowing you to be further from your subject without disturbing it.

The only drawback to using longer focal length macro lenses is that the greater the focal length, the more difficult it is to hand held (this is true in general for any kind of lens). Of course you can use monopods and tripods to combat this.

I would suggest a nice middle-of-the-road focal length like 100mm or so, or alternatively you could rent a few lenses (http://www.lensrentals.com/category/...ty/for-olympus) and see which FL you prefer.

Also, check the Wiki for this stuff, it's actually helpful:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macro_photography
 

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I own the 35mm for my e-520. Id get the 50mm if you can afford it. The 35mm is sharp..but the 50mm is sharper. Granted it isnt 1:1 but its a beautiful lens for the price.

The 35mm likes to "hunt" to focus, soI find myself in manual mode all the time if Im indoors.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks for all those replies.
I've taken a look at all those choices, and the Sigma 105mm looks like a great lens. I've got a question though - when looking on ebay, sellers say "for nikon" or "for canon" when describing the lens. Will these still work on my E-400 or will I have to buy one that is advertised as "for olympus"?
Thanks
 

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You'll want one that's "for olympus". Just check with the seller to make sure it's a 4/3rd's mount.
 

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it needs to be for OLYMPUS or PANASONIC. make sure the mount is "fourthirds" or "4/3rd".

but not "m4/3rd" or "micro fourthirds" because they are a different mount.
 
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Quote:


Originally Posted by GoneTomorrow
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Well, they make a 24mm lens that says "Macro" on it, but like many Sigma and Tamron lenses, that just means that they can focus closer, e.g. 1:2 instead of 1:4.

True.

If you're looking for used, consider checking KEH, Adorama, and B&H. Often can get closer to the cost on ebay and you can return the lens (easier) if it doesn't suit you / is broken.
 
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