Comparison Of DIY Macro Solutions

A quick comparison of the lenses I can use for macro with around 2X magnification. Thought I could share it... I don't own a dedicated macro lens, but I'm still happy with the results.


The subject was a dead butterfly I found a while ago, it looks a bit strange with the broken antennas. It is also always a challenge to get the light right for macros, even in the "studio". Here I used a yoghurt-cup mounted in a Pringles-tube as diffusor and placed a piece of aluminum foil beneath the insect to get the lower part brighter.


The comparison pieces are 100% crops from the untouched raw-images, shown in (how I think) chronological order. A relarively new 35/1.8, a Nikkor 35-70 from analog times, a Canon 50/1.8 and a Fujinon 50/1.4. (Click the links in the image notes to see the details) I tried to keep the viewing angle, magnification and focal plane identical, but I did not completely succeed.

An external flash with a diffusor was used set to minimum power, so all the shots were taken at the same amount of light.


My winner is the Fujinon lens, followed by the Nikkor 35-70. Contrast and grain is pretty good. This is more or less the result I expected, I'm happy my 35-70 performes still good, since I bought and modified it especially for macro. The Canon lens was very bright, and the results here could be caused by diffraction, since I had to close the aperture quite a lot. I'm a bit disappointed by the Nikkor 35/1.8, but anyway the lens is not my favorite since it sometimes produces some ugly CA even in "normal" use.

The large image is a bigger crop of the Fujinon test shot.


Comments and favs are highly appreciated! I'll be sure to look at your stream.

Featured at DIYPhotography, many thanks!

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Taken on December 18, 2011