Macro for Fuji X-T20 MCEX options or adapted Rokkor Macro

Discussion in 'Macro' started by bob_estremera, Jul 19, 2018.

  1. I shoot Fuji and have the very nice 60mm macro. Not really macro, I know which leads me to my question.
    I want to start doing macro. I have a few manual focus Rokkor lenses that I enjoy using which opens up some options. Can I get the Fuji to 1:1 by stacking the MCEX11 and 16? If so, that is a nearly $200 option. Or, I can find a 50mm 3.5 Rokkor macro with 1:1 adapter for around $100.

    What do some of you macro people suggest? From what I've read, I can see that even with the Fuji MCEX option, I might be forced into manual focus because of the focus hunting the MCEX option seems to cause.

    Thanks, Bob
  2. I am not much of a macro and or Fuji shooter. - To me an automated aperture (stopping down for exposure) seems valuable, while handholding a macro attempt.
    If you want to shoot details of coins in a studio from a sturdy tripod stopping down by hand should be fine and OK.
    Handholding at 1:1 seems too close to too hard to do anyhow; I am way too frequently shaking my cameras out of focus. Yes, we shake back and forward too.
    I have promising heritage lenses for close up photography but don't use them on Fuji. The cameras are too light, the f-stops click too hard and once stopped down the X-E1's EVF refresh rate becomes obnoxious; i.e. the finder lag makes everything too complicated for my taste. I rather struggle with all drawbacks of rangefinder photography or cope with my old DSLRs' bulk.
    A warning on the side: I've never been happy with extension tubes (I have 3 sets for plain k-mount from film days) and think they become twice as annoying on digital, where time changing lenses gets rewarded with dust on the sensor.
    From what I read the Fuji 60mm is great glass with annoyingly sluggish AF. While I really like the focal length and wouldn't need more speed I am ultra reluctant to ponder a purchase. Since such a lens lends itself to portraiture, a swift & snappy AF would be extremely desirable. - Yes, posed compliant subjects could be handled by view camera shooters but the world is full of interesting facial expressions on less compliant subjects. - I appreciate the AF performance boost that switching from Pentax / Samsung to contemporary Canon provided and fear if you buy anything known to be really slow, you are unlikely to settle for it in the long run.

    Do I recommend anything at all? - Maybe get an old bellows lens fully adapted; i.e. cobble something remote release for it on Fuji together, where you combine a cable release to stop your lens down with a contact to release your shutter?
    There was a 100mm f4 by Pentax that would focus to infinity too. - For real macro work it is a nice focal length since with a 50mm the filter ring is way too likely to kiss & your subject and cast a shadow on it.
  3. Thanks for the information and insight Jochen.
    The 60mm Fuji is indeed a very sharp lens and great for portraiture. I've used it to great advantage for street portraits as well. Yes, it can be sluggish to focus but it is still effective. We're so used to such monster focus speeds now that something that is merely 'quick' is considered too slow. Your thoughts on camera movement are helpful. Macro is a lot like super telephoto where even tiny movements are amplified into out of focus images.
    Thanks again.
  4. I forgot to say: I am still proud to not(!) own the dedicated 1:1 macro extension tube for the 90mm Tamron Adapt All. And as unhappy as I am with the aperture shaped internal reflections caused when the lens gets stopped down, I would not exchange it against a manual Pentax 100/2.8 1:1 macro, that comes with a really unbearable focus throw for portraiture to infinity. - For general photography I liked the focus throw on the Leica R counterpart way(!) more. Maybe that is another reason why I suggested a bellows macro above.

    Slightly embarrassing: For my Leica Ms I have the close up stuff; i.e. a dual range 50mm/2 which I could only shoot in close range setting with additional goggles on digital and also a 90mm pseudo macro that came with a goggled RF coupling extension tube. While in theory fitting on the APS-H M8, that lens with extension tube is practically too hard to frame well enough, to bring a 4K still home, with the RF. The extension tube is an option to shoot an odd flower in the park with FF M9, especially when I chimp & retry, if haste and fear of dirt on the sensor permit. - ""M" stands for masochism." could summarize such efforts. - OTOH: It is a lovely little camera to carry around...
    The 50mm usually stays at home. - It was a neat thing on the film M3 but carrying a heavy built second 50mm for a rather limited additional close up option feels not worth the effort. - The lens might shine with its head mounted on the old extension tubes with 4 legs for framing copy stand device, that consists of tubes to shoot postcards, A5 and A4. In rational light: A lot of cash sunk into barely used slightly Rube Goldberg-ish stuff.

    Macro experience on APS-C Pentax & Samsung DSLRs: I have an old 50/2.8 (1:2) and the heavy 100/2.8 (1:1) from film days. both "killer" glass, really impressive. - The 50 suffers from having no AF range limiter, while hunting for portrait focus. For stuff I am doing at work (print products) 1:2 seems more than enough. I don't recommend getting 1:1 for such a short lens. The 100mm is even sharper, has a right subject distance for macro work and a focus range limiter for general photography. -Only reason I am not using it all the time: I also have a 135/2.8 that seems good enough and lighter.

    Practical issue &/ challenge: If you wanted to shoot printed paper 1:1, to get an insight into your screen dots shape & look, you'll most likely fail filling your frame with sharp dots at f16 during your first 50 attempts. Stopping down further won't cut the cake since diffraction will kick in severely. You might get the job done using an old movie titler or rigging something like a microscope holding that print and your camera up and adjusting everything till stuff seems really angled properly but handholding is almost impossible.

    Bottom lines for @bob_estremera
    1. 1:1 macro is a major PITA, yery(!) likely to shout "focus stacking!" sooner than later.
    2. Maybe keep your 60mm as is. Either buy something 3rd party smart extension tubes (with contacts for everything) or splurge on a longer Fuji macro if you can combine that with OIS / IBIS. Macro wants light; f16 does still mean "no DOF" and all that damn good glass is wasted if you are attempting to handhold 1/250sec conventionally, i.e. unassisted, behind it. Yes, Fujis have a nice high ISO performance but it eats details.
    3. For toes dipping, dabbling, sniffing or such: Stick to least expensive heritage solutions. Can you toss a reversed lens on something bellows and an adapter for beyond 1:1? You'll appreciate a tripod and a focusing slider, probably even a geared one. (mine is not). I'd suggest doing that macro stuff "in the studio" (i.e. at home), preferably tethered.
    4. Otherwise: Maybe bring flash. - The "round light" speedlite to ringflash conversion softboxes are inexpensive and awesome, just as bulky as sticking your camera through a snare drum when rigged up though. Did Fujis use the same TTL contacts as Canon EOS? - If so: Buying a 3rd party extension cord should be a good idea. - I have a Fuji flash but regret buying it already for X-E1 since I am not happy at all with it's indoors AF performance behind my dim consumer zooms. - Some day I'll scoop up a more recent used body.
    Would I like to own a longer than 100mm macro? - In theory, to shoot insects and such of course: "Yes!". In the real world? - Not really; I'm too lazy as a makeshift pack animal. What I have seen seems as overweight as a darn 70-200/2.8. - I don't fancy taking mine out for a stroll, to just look & see. Daily tourism is more fun with a Fuji 50-230.

    Good luck with making a right decision for your macro subject choice. And my honest envy for your patience with the 60mm.
    I'm not at your state of mind yet; TBH: I'm still warming up with the "monster focus speeds" and in other cases happier to be occupied with manual focusing, despite the fact that I am probably slower than an unspectacular AF, that I'd be waiting for impatiently. - Let's see when I'll mature too.
  5. Thanks again Jochen,
    I think I’ll stick with my 60 and be satisfied with that level of ‘macro’. Since my objective is a simple walk around solution and the Fuji does indeed have very nice high ISO performance, I think that’s a better option than pulling my hair out.

    You’ve been helpful.
  6. For the best high-magnification macro (1:1 or better), manual focus and a copy stand or tripod are still best.
    For such shallow dof, it's unreasonable to expect the focus algorithm to pick out what YOU want.
    Jes' sayin'
    rodeo_joe|1 likes this.
  7. I agree with JDM that once you get to lifesize or larger, then AF is of little use. But then your camera is most likely going to be tripod-bound and aimed at a static subject. So even manual stop-down isn't much of an issue.

    However, continuous AF is very useful in the field when you're handholding the camera and, say, sneaking up on a butterfly, moth or beetle. Useful too for simple flower shots where the subject is moving back and forth in the breeze. A tip in such circumstances is to grab the stem - out of frame of course - to steady the flower/plant. It's just about possible to handhold the camera with the other hand if you're without a tripod, and supplementary flash certainly helps to freeze the subject as well.

    Oh, BTW. The flash doesn't need any fancy TTL ability or cumbersome light-pipe arrangement. You can pick up little Centon brand ring flashes for peanuts. They have a serviceable auto-aperture mode and a low trigger voltage that won't upset the camera. The same flash is sold under a whole range of other names.
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2018

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