Nikon macro lens for Fuji XT1

Discussion in 'Mirrorless Digital Cameras' started by mervyn_wilmington, Jan 31, 2017.

  1. I've just bought the Fuji 60mm macro, but I can return it. I wanted it very largely for macro use, but for that purpose in autofocus mode it hunts, hunts, hunts. Of course, it can readily be used in manual mode, and it produces first class images.
    It seems to me that, bearing in mind the cost of the Fuji, there could be a good deal of sense in buying a manual Nikon (or Nikon fit) macro lens, and an adapter at a fraction of the Fuji price. Indeed, I already have, hidden away somewhere, the 'legendary' Vivitar 90-180 macro lens.
    Advice, comments, experience please?
  2. How nice and easy is it for you to operate the aperture by hand?
    I planned to use my X-E1 with an admittedly not entirely macro but at least close up dual range Summicron in the studio. It might work from a tripod but hand held the aperture ring clicks too hard and the EVF goes too dark for my taste. When I am stopping down to f16 the odds to loose my framing and focus seem too high. - I gave up.
    I assume I'd be happier with a smooth aperture preselect lens or an M42 one with the Manual / Auto switch in convenient reach.
    I read the X-T1 might offer an improved EVF experience and maybe you are planning to shoot your hand held macro work at sane apertures in bright daylight. - I'll stick to outdated SLRs with screwdriver AF lenses for mine.
    If you own any adaptable heritage lens right now: try framing a stopped down close up shot indoors before you make up your mind.
    If you intend to work from a sturdy tripod you should be OK with something different.
    I can not address the benefits of Fuji primes over 3rd party in SOOC JPEG quality. Neither my shooting style nor do I own any Fuji prime. - Do you have a RAW converter that you can set up to do lens corrections which handles the X-Trans sensors?
  3. Thanks for that Jochen.
    In the past I have used lenses on a manual stop-down basis. It is slight nuisance, but I didn't find it terrible. Certainly with digital, as compared with film, there is so much 'latitude' in post processing that it is easier to out things right.
    I would only be working indoors, and I have three very sturdy tripods.
    The evf is very good on the XT1 in my experience. I have 6 Fuji lenses, including 4 primes. They have never given me any problems in post processing.
  4. Autofocus is often not reliable for closeup photography. It tends to hunt as you describe. Furthermore it often fails to lock on to the subject you wish to have in sharpest focus. One reason for hunting is that the diaphragm in a mirrorless camera may close down to the preset value during focusing, making focusing less precise. To make a long story short, use the lens in manual control for closeups, say anything closer than 1:4.
    Image stabilization isn't effective for closeups either, and may reduce the sharpness due to spurious activity.
  5. Thank you Edward for your valuable comments. Can I take the issue further though. It is almost exactly 58 years since I bought my first camera. I've had some 'interesting' lenses since then, but I think this one is the most frustrating.
    This afternoon I had the opportunity to test the lens outdoors in decent light. We live in the countryside, and I have a standard walk that takes in near, mid and distant views of a variety of subjects. I took around 40 shots. 80% were fine. Indeed, 'when right' the image quality/definition, even fully open, is very high.
    Let me give one example of the 'frustration'. There is a view that I often use. It is of a small group of houses in the mid-distance with a field in the foreground. I think the architecture lends itself to good focussing - at least it always has in the past. I took the first shot. It was lousy: just about as soft as they come. It wasn't camera movement. In any event, the shutter speed was more than enough. I immediately took another shot. I had changed nothing. This one was perfect. That sort of thing occurred on several other shots.
    What I also noticed was that while usually you can readily tell when a lens is struggling to find focus, there seem to be a variation with this lens. Looking through the viewfinder you can sometimes see a continuing softening and hardening of the image. It is not the juddering that I am more used to.
    As I say frustrating. I shall probably return it to the dealer, and have a think!
  6. Are the firmware updates current?
  7. I use a venerable Nikon 55/2.8 "Micro-Nikkor" for copying slides and documents as close as 1:1. It is completely manual and only focuses to 1:2. To get closer, there is a Nikon extension tube, model PK-13. The lens is very sharp and since it focuses externally, by means of an extended helix, does not breath excessively. When really close, 1:2 or greater, I use a focusing slide to move the entire camera and lens.
    55 mm is probably too short for closeups in nature. The working distance is so short that it tends to shadow the subject, or spook living things. It is perfect for slides and documents for that very reason. Best of all, it is widely available, used, at reasonable prices.
    With your Fuji XT1, make sure the diaphragm stays open during focusing. Somewhere in the menu is an item to preview or "live view" lens settings. When on, the diaphragm immediately closes to the preset value. You will get better focusing if this option is turned off, keeping the diaphragm open at first.
  8. I have had Fuji X cameras since the X E-1 and now have an X T-2. I've had the 60 macro for quite a while. Autofocus and macro go together like fish and bicycles. It is certainly a slow focuser in autofocus but that has never mattered since I rarely use it except on a tripod and usually for close or macro purposes often with a Really Right Stuff focusing rail. Often I use focus stacking with Zerene Stacker and have made some images that please me. I occasionally use it with the extension tube and it is sharp and contrasty. I have used the X T-2 also with the Nikon 55mm f/3.5 Micro Nikkor and it too works well. I actually prefer the look of the Fuji but that is strictly personal preference. Good luck whatever you choose.
  9. Thank you all for the further advice and comments.
    Regarding the firmware updates, the answer is that I don't know. The lens came from a very reputable dealer, and, perhaps wrongly, I had assumed they would have attended to that before sale. However, I have decided to return the lens, and will point that out to them.
    If I can find my Nikon fit Vivitar 90-180 macro lens, I will give that a try with an adapter. It certainly produced stunning images when I used it in the past. It also gets round the 'too close' issues.
    Thanks again for the help.
  10. I can personally attest to the benefits of keeping current with firmware updates. When I got my XT-1 it was a matter of days when discovering that there were even firmware updates available through Fuji. I administered the firmware update on the camera, used the camera with the 18-55 lens then administered the firmware update on the 18-55 lens and the results were night and day regarding focus performance, much more definitive, much lens hunting in low light conditions, definitely a needed solution. How it all works? I don't know, it just works, so before making sweeping decisions on a purchase I would exhaust all options particularly the firmware update through Fuji are free, you just have to follow the instructions and get through it. It works!
  11. Thanks for that Don. Very helpful. Entirely by chance, I looked at that list earlier in the day. Great minds or something!
    Out of interest, if you download the 'latest' firmware, do you automatically download any earlier ones?
  12. Mervyn, Yes, its a compilation from download to download. Its really important and in the case of the XT-1 the update I did from 4.30 to 4.31 I noticed focusing improvement even before the lens update I did a week or so after. Also, when focusing performance is a priority for purpose, don't forget to go to menu function and set "performance" to high. I use this sparingly because it draws more power from the battery shortening battery term, but when you need it in the case of macro work which is demanding on autofocus anyway, its there for you.
  13. If you can wait a little longer, the Fuji 80mm macro is supposedly due out within a few months. I'm using the 60mm (mostly using MF) and it's a darned good lens. My biggest gripe is that it's not long enough. Frankly, if Fuji pulls another 120mm teaser, I'm going to go with a used 105mm Nikkor and be done with it once and for all.
  14. I'm largely in agreement with Ed Ingold. For over 25 years my go-to macro lens was a pre-AI 55mm f/3.5 Micro Nikkor. Mine was built back in 1965 or so and it is just an amazingly sharp optic. Recently, I acquired a 55mm f/2.8 AIs Micro Nikkor. I didn't think it was possible for a lens to be sharper than the 55/3.5, but the 55/2.8 is indeed a bit sharper. The 55/3.5s are about as common as rocks on eBay right now. Don't ask me how I managed it, but I actually own three of them that I'm trying to sell. All three are pre-AI and only one has had the Nikon AI kit installed. They're up on eBay with cheap buy-it-now prices and also with the "best offer" option and I haven't gotten any responses. I'm guessing that all the other eBay sellers of this great optic are experiencing the same thing. So, if budget is at all a concern for you, you can pick up a top-quality lens on eBay for very cheap.
    The Vivitar 90-180 flat field macro is overrated, imo. A while back I saw a Modern Photography resolution and contrast test on that lens and I was surprised at the numbers. Maybe they got a bad copy, because it was nothing to get excited over. But man-o-man does that lens go for big bucks on eBay now. You could sell your copy -- when you find it -- and have enough loot to buy yourself some serious gear. Recently I bought an AIs 200mm f/4 Micro Nikkor. It's still only 1:2, like the 55mm, but it provides you with so much more working distance. such that for nature subjects, it's ideal. Even with an extension tube to get you down to 1:1, the working distance is still much greater than you have with the 55mm at 1:2. These old mf 200mm Micros sell in the $200-300 range, which I think is a very good price range, really. I paid a little less than $200 for mine, but it was missing the tripod mount, which is why I got it for that price. I bought one of those Chinese mounts for EOS lenses you see on eBay and padded the mount so that it would fit the narrower Nikkor.
    Lastly, there's another macro lens that's well worth considering that often can be bought for quite reasonable: the Tamron Adaptall SP 90mm f/2.5 macro. This is also an amazingly sharp lens. It's the only other lens I own that is on par with the 55mm Micro Nikkor. Unfortunately, it is also only 1:2, but it does give one a much better working distance than the 55mm.
  15. I still use the old micro 55 and the micro 105 AIs
    0064 Colgando Gota Agua-Micro-NikkorPC55.jpg Micro-Nikkor 55 on Fuji X-E1

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