Using Hoya close-up filter set

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by larry_johnson|6, Sep 1, 2014.

  1. I do very little macro or close up work, so the idea of spending hundreds on a specialty lens isn't very practical for me. BUT . . . on the rare occasions when I'd like to home in on some tiny subject and fill my FX frame, I'm wondering if the image quality would be really good if I turned to something like the Hoya Close-up filter (+1, +2, +4) set. These would be used with a Nikon 50mm f1.4D. What do you think? Do you have any personal experience or observations to share?
  2. I've used them with film Nikons and a 50.1/4 lens. Didn't work out too good for me. DOF becomes very shallow and image quality was quite poor. Tripod and mirror lockup helped but still not great quality results. I hope it works out better for you than it did for me.
  3. I have a set of Tiffen close-up lenses in the usual +1, +2 and +4 diopters. I've also had some Olympus single and two-element close-up diopters. They work well when matched with the right lens and protected from flare.
    Centers can be sharp, but there's occasionally some softness, chromatic aberration and other problems at the corners and edges. These problems aren't always noticeable unless we're photographing documents or other objects on the same plane. For bugs and blossoms centered in the frame with the rest out of focus, it may not be noticeable.
    Some lenses don't do well up close and the use of close-up diopters or extension tubes may only magnify the weakness. Try adjusting the focus ring away from the minimum focus setting and compare results, even if it means settling for less magnification. And some 50mm normal lenses do better reversed for close-up photography.
    And do beware of flare. The extra elements are very flare prone. Even with a hood you may need to shade the lens with a hat, sheet of black paper or longer hood. And try to avoid direct sunlight or other bright lights anywhere near the exposed lens elements.
    Even with some compromises close-up diopters may be suitable for some subjects. I use them for infrared photography with a Tamron 24mm f/2.5 Adaptall that doesn't focus particularly close on its own. Critical sharpness isn't particularly important to most IR photography, and the hot spots common to many lenses with IR tend to degrade images more than one or more additional filters or close-up diopters.
    I used at least one Tiffen close-up diopter for this infrared photo - possibly a combination of the +1 and +2. Any slight softness was irrelevant, and I actually liked the ghosting flare artifacts from reflected sunlight in this photo, although I'm usually careful to avoid flare with IR.
    Nikon D2H infrared, Tamron 24/2.5 Adaptall & Tiffen close-up diopter(s), ISO 200, 3 seconds.
    Aperture probably f/8-f/16 - some EXIF data missing because my old D2H is glitchy.
  4. I would choose an extension tube over a close-up lens, but if you can't get one, they should be fine.
  5. Alternatively, you can sometimes find a used MF 55mm f3.5 or f2.8 really cheap. My 55mm f3.5 was about a hundred bucks US, and I love it so much that when I went from Nikon to ยต43 I kept it and got an adaptor. (It still works great on my Olympus).
    And the results can be STELLAR. It's the sharpest lens I've ever used in fact.
  6. The working distance will be inconveniently short, and the quality will be very so-so. If you need to use your 50mm lens, extension tubes are better, or perhaps an old Vivitar macro focusing 2x teleconverter.
    The 55/3.5 micro-nikkor is a better idea, and not an expensive one. If you'd like some more working distance on a budget, you may consider used Vivitar/Cosina 100/3.5 or Tamron 90/2.8 macros.
    Achromat close-ups are much better quality than the cheapo sets, and they are most effective on telezooms (a low-power diopter on a tele lens acts as a long macro, providing long working distance and strong relative background blur).
  7. The 3-filter set you mentioned, like most 3-filter close up sets, is made up of three single-element close up filters. They're adequate for an amateur but no better. Close up filters are a handy way to get into this kind of photography but I'd strongly suggest you look for dual-element achromat close up lenses. The Canon 250D and 500D are examples. Much better image quality overall.
    Henry Posner
    B&H Photo-Video
  8. I appreciate the remarks warning about using something like Hoya's single element filters. In doing some follow up research to your advice to get something better I found that Nikon has such a product that will work with my 50mm lens. Would this be a reasonable way to go?
    Nikon D3100 10x High Definition 2 Element Close-Up (Macro) Lens (52mm)
  9. I see that KEH has the NIKON 60MM F/2.8 D MICRO AUTOFOCUS LENS in "excellent" condition for $248 so I'm guessing it can be found for considerably less, albeit without the peace of mind that comes from KEH. But then the Hoya set is in the range $30 to $40. The "Micro" lens also gives you a general purpose 60mm f/2.8 lens, so depending on your other work it can be rather useful. Though it seems ideal for the purpose, be cautious about using it for portraits of ladies - being able to clearly see every pore, hair, etc. has not proved very popular and some female friends now go into hiding if they see me with a camera!
    Anyway, just a thought to add to the mix.
  10. > Nikon D3100 10x High Definition 2 Element Close-Up (Macro) Lens (52mm)
    First time I hear for this, and it doesn't seem to be in any relation with Nikon except trademark abuse?
    It doesn't look thick enough for a +10 diopter two-element achromat. See this +5 Marumi and +4 Canon 250D
    The 52mm thread fits the 50mm f1.4D though.
    See also:
  11. In doing some follow up research to your advice to get something better I found that Nikon has such a product that will work with my 50mm lens. Would this be a reasonable way to go?​
    Nikon had (not has) four 2-element achromat close up filters. They were designated 3T, 4T, 5T & 6T. More here. They are all unfortunately discontinued. You can use any Nikon or Canon (or other brand) close up filter on an camera & lens if the filter diameter matches, or can be made to match via a step ring.
    Henry Posner
    B&H Photo-Video
  12. +1 on buying a 55mm macro. The prices for these on KEH are equivalent to the cost of quality closeup lenses. My 40 year old pre-AI (converted) lens is always in the bag and pixel peeping shows its sharpness exceeds my modern lenses across a FX frame ... probably significantly better than a 50/1.4 with a closeup lens.

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