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Macro lens - Minolta 50mm 3.5 vs Vivitar Series 1 90mm


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I am going to be holdaying in Western Austrlia during the wildflower

season and want to take a macro lens with me to (obviously!) record

what I see. I am a "reasonably good" amateur but have no pretense

about my work being saleable, it is to have "good" photos of the

flowers with the hope that a select few may be suitable for enlarging

and framing for my own house. I would like a macro focusing lens that

provides more flexibility than the 1:3 Makinon 300mm mirror lens

(fixed at f5.6) that I currently use, and two lenses that have come

to the top in my reasearch are the Minolta 50mm f3.5 macro + 1:1 tube

and the Vivitar Series 1 90mm f 2.8 + 1:1 tube. What are the benefits

of the shorter / longer focal length in this type of photography and

who has experience with either or both lenses who can offer advice. I

use a Minolta X-570 and a Minolta X-700. Thanks in advance.

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The biggest concern would be the very close working distance (from front of lens to subject) that you will get with a 50mm lens. The short working distance will make it difficult to light the subject. Also the angle of view is larger with the 50mm lens. At the same magnification, it will take in more of the background. That may be important depending on what you want and how distracting/attractive the background is. I don't have my information on FL vs working distance, but when I use my 70-210 at 210mm + a 1.4x Tc (approx 300mm) with a dual element closeup lens, I can get about 0.85x magnification at about 18 inches working distance. I think a 100mm lens gives about 10 to 12-inches at 1:1 and a 50 gives about 2 to 3 inches. Maybe someone else can give you more accurate numbers.


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I would personally opt for the Minolta MC/MD 100mm f4 macro lens with the 1:1 tube, especially a tube with a tripod mount, found on the MC versions of the lens but works with MD versions too. This gives you the working distance advantage of the 100mm macro lens and a 100mm telephoto lens, albeit a slightly slower (aperture) one. The macro lenses are some the Minolta's best manual focus lenses, so either the 50mm or 100mm are good.


Good luck, Scott.

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I have the Series 1 90mm/2.5 macro. I have not compared it head to head against the Minolta 100mm/3.5 or /4 macros, but it would be very hard for the original Minoltas to be better. When stopped down to f/3.5, the Vivitar produces perfect pinpoint circles for a starfield (albeit shot at infinity, not macro distances; but considering this lens is designed for macro use, it is infinity that would suffer.)


Three advantages to the Vivitar as well. It is faster, which is immaterial for macro work but very good for portrait work. The 1:1 adapter has a built in tripod mount. The 1:1 adapter has glass elements, designed to correct for close focusing aberrations. But in the end, either a 100mm Minolta or the 90mm Vivitar will be excellent.

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