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The Jungle Explorer

New Sony A6500 owner needing macro lens advice

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So, after 7 year of using my old Pentax, I made the jump to a brand new Sony Alpha A6500.¬† My wallet screamed.¬† I then added the Sony 18-135 OSS lens to the cart and my wallet passed out.¬† My wallet¬†is now on life support in an induced coma and I am really¬†needing to get a macro lens.¬†¬†ūüėÖ

One of the reasons I went with the A6500 for my new micro-stock camera was because everyone said that it opened up a world of great older lenses that can be had for a low price and used on this camera with an¬†adapter.¬† Problem is, I have no idea where to start.¬† So I am here hoping some of my fellow micro-stockers can show me the way on a good macro lens for this camera that is not going to put my wallet in the grave.¬†ūü§© ¬†TIA

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If you aren't planning to use a macro lens for other purposes (ie portraits, etc...) then we can agree that you will be satisfied with a manual-focusing lens.

If that is the case, you might consider buying some kind of Canon EF to Sony E adapter (even the cheap ones will do the trick because you won't be using auto-focus much) and then you can either look for used Canon EF 100mm f2.8 Macro, or Samyang's (Rokinon in the US) 100mm f2.8 manual focusing lens. I am using the Canon's one and I love it; never used Samyang's but all reviews I saw so far claim it is very good lens.

On the other hand, 100mm might be too long for an aps-c (depending on the personal preference), in which case somebody else should try to help you, somebody who has experience with 50-60-ish macro lenses designed for aps-c.

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8 hours ago, urbazon said:

If you aren't planning to use a macro lens for other purposes (ie portraits, etc...) then we can agree that you will be satisfied with a manual-focusing lens.

If that is the case, you might consider buying some kind of Canon EF to Sony E adapter (even the cheap ones will do the trick because you won't be using auto-focus much) and then you can either look for used Canon EF 100mm f2.8 Macro, or Samyang's (Rokinon in the US) 100mm f2.8 manual focusing lens. I am using the Canon's one and I love it; never used Samyang's but all reviews I saw so far claim it is very good lens.

On the other hand, 100mm might be too long for an aps-c (depending on the personal preference), in which case somebody else should try to help you, somebody who has experience with 50-60-ish macro lenses designed for aps-c.

4

Thanks.  A friend gave me an old Sigma 50mm F/2.8 for Pentax.  I bought an adapter and tried it out today. I don't know much about this lens other than that it is pretty old. Here are a couple of test shots.  How do you think they look?

 

Mode: Auto Superior with LED computer reading light for light source.

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Mode: Auto Superior with LED computer reading light for light source.

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Mode: Auto Superior with LED computer reading light for light source.

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Mode: Shutter Priority with shoe-mounted External flash with diffuser

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Mode: Shutter Priority with shoe-mounted External flash with diffuser

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Mode Auto Superior with late afternoon natural light.

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On 12/31/2018 at 7:00 AM, The Jungle Explorer said:

So, after 7 year of using my old Pentax, I made the jump to a brand new Sony Alpha A6500.¬† My wallet screamed.¬† I then added the Sony 18-135 OSS lens to the cart and my wallet passed out.¬† My wallet¬†is now on life support in an induced coma and I am really¬†needing to get a macro lens.¬†¬†ūüėÖ

One of the reasons I went with the A6500 for my new micro-stock camera was because everyone said that it opened up a world of great older lenses that can be had for a low price and used on this camera with an¬†adapter.¬† Problem is, I have no idea where to start.¬† So I am here hoping some of my fellow micro-stockers can show me the way on a good macro lens for this camera that is not going to put my wallet in the grave.¬†ūü§© ¬†TIA

Sony 30mm macro lens. I use it on a a6300; very sharp.

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6 hours ago, The Jungle Explorer said:

Thanks.¬† A friend gave me an old SiÔĽŅgma 50mm F/2.8 for Pentax.¬† I bought an adapter and tried it out today. I don't know much about this lens other than that it is pretty old. Here are a couple of test shots.¬† How do you think they look?

 

I'm not an expert in macro, but these photos look very nice to me. It's great that you've found an alternative! :)

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Those shots look excellent with the Sigma. If you have a load of old Pentax lenses all you need is an adapter. I have an A6000 and fit it on my Nikon PB4 bellows with adapter. With an enlarger lens (depending on the focal length) on the front you can go from tabletop to very macro. If you prefer retention of the automatic functions of the camera I'd go for a Sigma 60mm f2.8 Sony E fit and get a set of metal auto extension tubes on eBay (got mine for ‚ā¨45 from China/HK. Make is Viltrox). The lens cost me ‚ā¨100 used and the sharpness will blow you away.

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3 hours ago, stevemart said:

Those shots look excellent with the Sigma. If you have a load of old Pentax lenses all you need is an adapter. I have an A6000 and fit it on my Nikon PB4 bellows with adapter. With an enlarger lens (depending on the focal length) on the front you can go from tabletop to very macro. If you prefer retention of the automatic functions of the camera I'd go for a Sigma 60mm f2.8ÔĽŅ Sony E fit and get a set of metal auto extension tubes on eBay (got mine for ‚ā¨45 from China/HK. Make is Viltrox). The lens cost me ‚ā¨100 used and the sharpness will blow you away.

2

A couple of questions. What would be the benefit of moving to this lens over the Sigma 50mm lens I have; aside from AF that is?¬† Also, I looked for the¬†Sigma 60mm f2.8ÔĽŅ Sony E you mentioned and what I found is this one, Sigma 60mm F2.8 EX DN Art¬†for Sony SE.¬† I the same lens you are talking about?

Secondly, I just ran across some pages about the Reverse lens macro technique. Have you ever tired Reverse lens macro photography, and is it possible to do this with a zoom lens (say an 18-135mm)?  

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The Sigma lens you saw is the one I've got ( Sigma 60mm F2.8 EX DN Art ). If you look it up on DXo lens tests they show how good it is with 'bench testing'). This lens retains all the functions of the A6500 body although it doesn't have Sony OSS stabilisation. Using your Sigma 50mm f1.8 with adapter means no coupling with the camera body and that you have to go from focusing with the lens wide open to manually setting the desired aperture before taking the shot. It is time consuming but would save spending on lenses if you have some Pentax lenses left over.

I've never used the reverse lens macro technique but it does give optically good results (apparently) when done with a 50mm lens. I'm not sure but I think that with a 50mm lens reversed the 'macro' is very macro and not less than 1:1. Using a reversed zoom lens will give you more leeway in the subject to front-lens-element distance and in the macro area (<1:1) but I don't know how good that combination is optically. I'm guessing how 'macro/micro' the reversed lens technique is because I've never done it....plenty of stuff online though.

Pity they're so expensive and effectively overkill on the A6000 series APS-C bodies but the Sony FE macro 90mm f2.8G is THE lens to have!

https://www.opticallimits.com/sony-alpha-aps-c-lens-tests/979-sony90f28apsc?start=1

A great pity that Tamron doesn't do a 90mm f2.8 for Sony E because on Nikon they're great (as attested to by many here....hattip to Rinder for that)!

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2 hours ago, stevemart said:

The Sigma lens you saw is the one I've got ( Sigma 60mm F2.8 EX DN ArtÔĽŅ ). If you look it up on DXo lens tests they show how good it is with 'bench testing'). This lens retains all the functions of the A6500 body although it doesn't have Sony OSS stabilisation. Using your Sigma 50mm f1.8 with adapter means no coupling with the camera body and that you have to go from focusing with the lens wide open to manually setting the desired aperture before taking the shot. It is time consuming but would save spending on lenses if you have some Pentax lenses left over.

I've never used the reverse lens macro technique but it does give optically good results (apparently) when done with a 50mm lens. I'm not sure but I think that with a 50mm lens reversed the 'macro' is very macro and not less than 1:1. Using a reversed zoom lens will give you more leeway in the subject to front-lens-element distance and in the macro area (<1:1) but I don't know how good that combination is optically. I'm guessing how 'macro/micro' the reversed lens technique is because I've never done it....plenty of stuff online though.

Pity they're so expensive and effectively overkill on the A6000 series APS-C bodies but the Sony FE macro 90mm f2.8G is THE lens to have!

https://www.opticallimits.com/sony-alpha-aps-c-lens-tests/979-sony90f28apsc?start=1

A great pity that Tamron doesn't do a 90mm f2.8ÔĽŅ for Sony E because on Nikon they're great (as attested to by many here....hattip to Rinder for that)!

Yeah.  I wish I could afford the sony 90mm macro, but that is not in my budget.  I just found this lens that I can get for a song.  I think it is for the Sony A-mount system though.  If I get an adapter, will it still have all the AF functions of an E-mount lens?

Sigma AF 105mm F/2.8 EX Macro lens for Sony/Minolta

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I doubt it. I thought the Sony 'A' mount is the same as any regular DSLR mount but I could be wrong. I think that only the Metabones Canon EF-Sony E has coupling with AF and the like. No equivalent with Nikon and I don't think that Sony A does either.

When I'm rich, I'll Take an A7R III +16-35G +70-210 f2.8 +90mm G 2.8macro......better start doing the lottery!

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A7R III +16-35G +70-210 f2.8 +90mm G 2.8macro......better start doing the lottery!  Now your talking steve . trouble is ..By then all this will be so Outdated. Im still extremely Happy with a D800 and 5 Top Lenses. Im Past the  saturation Point of having to have this or that. All My clients are very happy with res also and the future Of this Stupid Business is not telling me I need More. Back in the day...It did. And as you know. I still go to My Monster store and test everything. and, Sorry I ain't drinking the Koolaid. Im in the Middle of doing a Months Long job shooting for the french Government On the Hadron Collider shooting the Microscopic Parts. They Rent me a Phaseone 150IQ Back and 3 Lenses and had to build a clean room inside my studio , Till Im done. If I had that camera as Mine My 2 very expensive top of the Line Mac Machines would quit on me. It's a beast. But $55,000 + Glass. Maybe If I buy one I'll be a better penny stock shooter???? Ya think???? Hmmmmmm.LOL

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3 hours ago, Laurin Rinder said:

A7R III +16-35G +70-210 f2.8 +90mm G 2.8macro......better start doing the lottery!  Now your talking steve . trouble is ..By then all this will be so Outdated. Im still extremely Happy with a D800 and 5 Top Lenses. Im Past the  saturation Point of having to have this or that. All My clients are very happy with res also and the future Of this Stupid Business is not telling me I need More. Back in the day...It did. And as you know. I still go to My Monster store and test everything. and, Sorry I ain't drinking the Koolaid. Im in the Middle of doing a Months Long job shooting for the french Government On the Hadron Collider shooting the Microscopic Parts. They Rent me a Phaseone 150IQ Back and 3 Lenses and had to build a clean room inside my studio , Till Im done. If I had that camera as Mine My 2 very expensive top of the Line Mac Machines would quit on me. It's a beast. But $55,000 + Glass. Maybe If I buy one I'll be a better penny stock shooter???? Ya think???? Hmmmmmm.LOL

Hey good to hear from you.  I always appreciate your advice. If you remember my thread a couple of months ago, I was deciding on what camera to go with.  Well, I went with the Sony A6500 in the end. I just could not get all I wanted in my original price budget, but some money came in from an unexpected source, so I was able to push it up a bit.  So I originally bought the A6500 with the Sony 18-105mm lens.  After five days of working with that lens, I decided to return it and buy the 18-135mm.  I just could not work with that Focus by wire AF system on that lens that is designed for video rather than stills.  

So here is where I am at.  I am headed out for the Amazon at the end of them a month.  This is not a work trip, but I hope to have a chance to get some great photo ops in the jungle.  I will be traveling light and living out of a backpack, so my camera space is limited.  So I have the a6500and the 18-135 lens for my all-in-one lens, but I need a good macro.  I have adapted the macro from my pentax and I think it is adequate for most macro purposes, but not for skittish subjects like insects.  I want to keep my lenses to a maximum of two, so I am pondering going with a whole new lens or trying to find a way to adapt the 18-135 lens for long distance macro shooting, so I don't have to get right up next to the subject.  I have never tried any of these macro adaptations before, but from my research, there are three options. 1. Reverse the lens (have no idea if this will even work on this zoom lens) 2. Extension tube. 3. Close-up Macro filter lens.

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6 hours ago, stevemart said:

I doubt it. I thought the Sony 'A' mount is the same as any regular DSLR mount but I could be wrong. I think that only the Metabones Canon EF-Sony E has coupling with AF and the like. No equivalent with Nikon and I don't think that Sony A does either.

When I'm rich, I'll Take an A7R III +16-35G +70-210 f2.8 +90mm G 2.8macro......better start doing the lottery!

Sony A mount is the same as the old Konica Minolta mount (Sony bought Minolta camera division)

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14 hours ago, Laurin Rinder said:

A7R III +16-35G +70-210 f2.8 +90mm G 2.8macro......better start doing the lottery!  Now your talking steve . trouble is ..By then all this will be so Outdated. Im still extremely Happy with a D800 and 5 Top Lenses. Im Past the  saturation Point of having to have this or that. All My clients are very happy with res also and the future Of this Stupid Business is not telling me I need More. Back in the day...It did. And as you know. I still go to My Monster store and test everything. and, Sorry I ain't drinking the Koolaid. Im in the Middle of doing a Months Long job shooting for the french Government On the Hadron Collider shooting the Microscopic Parts. They Rent me a Phaseone 150IQ Back and 3 Lenses and had to build a clean room inside my studio , Till Im done. If I had that camera as Mine My 2 very expensive top of the Line Mac Machines would quit on me. It's a beast. But $55,000 + Glass. Maybe If I buy one I'll be a better penny stock shooter???? Ya think???? Hmmmmmm.LOL

The P1 is a beast! I recently traded my old IQ180 (80MP) on a Hasselblad body for a IQ4 (150MP) on a P1 body as my tool to shoot "serious" landscapes, I love it but it is not my first choice as everyday camera, even for landscape it is a bit of an overkill. These days my first choice for landscape (my first love) is the Sony A7RM3 with a selection of lenses. It really is a great camera but not perfect. For sport or action I still prefer my trusty Canon 1DX2, there the DSLR still rules. Are all these cameras necessary? No, but I love high tech "toys" with the result that I have way more camera bodies than I need, at least with my recent retirement I now finally have time to shoot more and enjoy the "toys".

You are privileged to shoot stuff like the Hadron Collider Laurin! Would love a project like that.

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Jungle,

If you are married or have to "stick" to your budget like the rest of us, I think you'll find the extension tubes (used on your 18-135) your least expensive and most effective option.

I don't shoot Sony so I can't speak from experience but I've found auto focus (when used with extension tubes) does not work extremely well on most cameras.  In addition, you will loose one or two stops (on what I assume is not a very fast lens) when shooting with them.  This probably won't be your long term solution but it won't put your wallet on life support either.  Hope this helps. 

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5 minutes ago, Steve Bower said:

Jungle,

If you are married or have to "stick" to your budget like the rest of us, I think you'll find the extension tubes (used on your 18-135) your least expensive and most effective option.

I don't shoot Sony so I can't speak from experience but I've found auto focus (when used with extension tubes) does not work extremely well on most cameras.  In addition, you will loose one or two stops (on what I assume is not a very fast lens) when shooting with them.  This probably won't be your long term solution but it won't put your wallet on life support either.  Hope this helps. 

Thanks for your answer (and for staying on subject). The sony 18-135 really is a pretty decent lens, and at $500, it had better be. I have not received it yet, so we will see.  The 18-105 was 1 stop faster, but it was also made for video, was bigger and heavier and did not have a true manual focus system.  I have this set of extension tubes on order.  Meike Automatic Extension Tube For Sony E-Mount.  They were cheap so what the heck?  Might as well give it a try.  

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You're welcome!

I have a macro lens so I don't use extension tubes much so I'm not an expert in using these things.  I have the Olympus version of the tubes you bought so I might be able to help if you have any problems. 

Keep in mind that depth of field will be very shallow no matter what f stop you use.   You'll have to experiment before you leave on your trip. 

The focal length of your zoom lens as well as the amount of the extension you use affects how close you can focus, dramatically.  Generally, the shorter the lens focal length the less extension you need.   For example, if you use the complete set on your lens, it will only work at the long end of your lens (135).

Hopefully, I have not insulted your intelligence.  It was, however, on topic.

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4 minutes ago, Steve Bower said:

You're welcome!

I have a macro lens so I don't use extension tubes much so I'm not an expert in using these things.  I have the Olympus version of the tubes you bought so I might be able to help if you have any problems. 

Keep in mind that depth of field will be very shallow no matter what f stop you use.   You'll have to experiment before you leave on your trip. 

The focal length of your zoom lens as well as the amount of the extension you use affects how close you can focus, dramatically.  Generally, the shorter the lens focal length the less extension you need.   For example, if you use the complete set on your lens, it will only work at the long end of your lens (135).

Hopefully, I have not insulted your intelligence.  It was, however, on topic.

Thanks, I appreciate it.  The adapting thing it totally new to me so I appreciate any inside information.

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FUJI XT3 hell of a Camera and lenses, Tested today.. all Im saying. and I was on topic If there was One??? or a Actual pertinent  question.

Seals for the Hadron. Made of gold and Titanium  very small. this was a test. Complete Job is over 300 Pieces.About 3 weeks Left and another Long trip to France.

DSC_6728 B DONE.jpg

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So I got my Vivitar 70-150mm F3.8 lens in and paired it up with the Fotasy Minolta MD Lens to Sony NEX E-Mount Adapter Ring/Macro Focusing Helicoid I bought to use with it.  Here was the closest macro I could capture without extending the Helicoid adapter.

DSC01248.thumb.jpg.de708871163313af9b44bfb114c169a6.jpg

 

Here is the closest I could get with the Helicoid adapter fully extended. 

DSC01254.thumb.jpg.e51492f788c717af913c9214230dd1c5.jpg

 

This is the closet I could get with the Sony 18-135 Lens

DSC01256.thumb.jpg.bcccfa6968358fa92b290df2af6f4e04.jpg

 

This is the closest I could get with the Sony lens with Meike Automatic Extension Tube For Sony E-Mount

DSC01262.thumb.jpg.427172f39de80dbc7a7eb4efaa1b3189.jpg

 

 

This is with the Sigma 50mm macro lens.

DSC01264.thumb.jpg.25887ace99124e17375a6806a1de46ad.jpg

 

 

So, I don't see a point to the Vivitar lens.  I would not consider it a true Macro lens even with the Helicoid adapter.  The Sony lens with the extension tube gives me a good enough macro, I guess.  The OSS lens does not hurt either.  What do you guys think? 

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