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Mid-range macro recs for Sony FFs?


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I'm curious if anyone has recommendations for a more mid-range macro (50-60mm) for the Sony full-frames. From what I've heard, the 50mm is horrendously slow. Matt Sullivan mentioned on The Underwater Photography Show that the Canon 60mm with a Metabones adapter performs great, but I'm having trouble figuring out which port to use with that since it's not a 'tested' or 'recommended' combo from Nauticam. I generally prefer the 90mm, but in certain situations (e.g., blackwater), the 90mm is an exercise in patience and cursing. 

 

I'm also trying not to break the bank on any investments in this mid-range, since it really is a more specific circumstance rather than a go-to combo for me. FWIW I've already got the N100 macro port 55, so if something would work with that...that'd be ideal in my book. Any experience or thoughts are appreciated!

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Unfortunately, I don't think there's an ideal mid/short macro for Sony yet. All the options have some limitations. 

 

If you have a port for the Sony 90mm, then I'd think the Canon 60mm with adapter should fit in that (that combo is a little smaller than the 90mm). 

 

The Canon 60mm has some vignetting on full frame at medium and far distances but not at close distance. I'm not sure that its AF will be an improvement over the 90mm, but it's pretty fast in good light using the central focus points. 

 

Another option is adapting the Nikon 60mm. From what I've heard it doesn't work quite as well on the adapter as the Canon, but it is a full frame lens with no vignetting. 

 

The Sony 50mm is reported to be slower focusing than the other options. 

 

I'm curious how much vignetting the Zeiss 50mm has on full frame, but I haven't been able to find an account of someone trying that.

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2 hours ago, StephanieW said:

I'm curious if anyone has recommendations for a more mid-range macro (50-60mm) for the Sony full-frames. From what I've heard, the 50mm is horrendously slow. Matt Sullivan mentioned on The Underwater Photography Show that the Canon 60mm with a Metabones adapter performs great, but I'm having trouble figuring out which port to use with that since it's not a 'tested' or 'recommended' combo from Nauticam. I generally prefer the 90mm, but in certain situations (e.g., blackwater), the 90mm is an exercise in patience and cursing. 

 

I'm also trying not to break the bank on any investments in this mid-range, since it really is a more specific circumstance rather than a go-to combo for me. FWIW I've already got the N100 macro port 55, so if something would work with that...that'd be ideal in my book. Any experience or thoughts are appreciated!

Hi @StephanieW. I have both the Sony 90mm and the 50mm. The 50mm is pretty slow with early iterations of the A6xxx series, but I've used it with my current A7c and A6600, and it's pretty good once it locks on and tracks. Not great for quick grab shots, say a speedy fish swimming by or blackwater. It's a 75mm equivalent with the APS-c sensors. I use Nauticam N100 ports, the flat port 45 and a 30mm extension.

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2 hours ago, Isaac Szabo said:

 

I'm curious how much vignetting the Zeiss 50mm has on full frame, but I haven't been able to find an account of someone trying that.

I've kept my APS-C Zeiss Touit 50 after changing from A6400 to A7CR because it's such a great lens, and AF is fast enough with the latest Sony bodies. I use it in crop mode. I doubt I would ever sell it, as it also has other advantages over the Sony 50, inc internal focus (no extending) and more compact design.

 

Re Nauticam ports for this lens on the A7CR, I use N100 to N85 20mm adapter plus original N85 45 macro port. Super compact. NB: sensor to port flange increased by 15mm for A7CR housing vs A6400 housing. Total extension is therefore 65 (plus the extra 15); vs 75 as per Nauticam port chart for Sony N85 system (45 macro plus 30mm ext).

 

As I've posted before, with crop turned off, it vignettes quite a bit at the ends of the frame. However, if you then change from 3:2 to 4:3 aspect, only small corners are vignetted. I might post some examples when I have time.

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15 hours ago, StephanieW said:

I'm curious if anyone has recommendations for a more mid-range macro (50-60mm) for the Sony full-frames. From what I've heard, the 50mm is horrendously slow. Matt Sullivan mentioned on The Underwater Photography Show that the Canon 60mm with a Metabones adapter performs great, but I'm having trouble figuring out which port to use with that since it's not a 'tested' or 'recommended' combo from Nauticam. I generally prefer the 90mm, but in certain situations (e.g., blackwater), the 90mm is an exercise in patience and cursing. 


Hi @StephanieW  I have the Canon EF-S 60 macro and found it works well with the Metabones V on both the Sony a1 and a7rV.  Focus seems accurate and the hunt is a bit snappier than the Sony 90, although there is still some hunting on complicated subjects.
 

For ports, I have found either the normal Nauticam N100 Port 105 for the Sony 90 or Flat Port 45 + 30mm extension work.  I would assume your Port 55 + a 20mm extension would be the same as my 45 + 30.  

 

As mentioned, this is an APS-C lens.  As such there is a quite noticeable vignetting in the corners in FF mode, but gives the desired medium macro.  I purchased it for blackwater diving specifically which negates the issue of corner vignettes so long as the subject is framed in the center.

 

Hope this helps!

chip

 

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Posted (edited)
On 6/2/2024 at 10:56 PM, StephanieW said:

I'm curious if anyone has recommendations for a more mid-range macro (50-60mm) for the Sony full-frames. From what I've heard, the 50mm is horrendously slow. Matt Sullivan mentioned on The Underwater Photography Show that the Canon 60mm with a Metabones adapter performs great, but I'm having trouble figuring out which port to use with that since it's not a 'tested' or 'recommended' combo from Nauticam. I generally prefer the 90mm, but in certain situations (e.g., blackwater), the 90mm is an exercise in patience and cursing. 

 

I'm also trying not to break the bank on any investments in this mid-range, since it really is a more specific circumstance rather than a go-to combo for me. FWIW I've already got the N100 macro port 55, so if something would work with that...that'd be ideal in my book. Any experience or thoughts are appreciated!

I own the Sony 50, Canon 60 and Sony 90.  If you find the 90mm an exercise in patience, I doubt you would prefer the 50 and 60 on blackwater dives. They perform much worse Autofocus wise.  On my a7Riii, a focus light goes a long way to get better results with the 90mm. 

 

The 50 and 60 I like using on lower visibility dives. Both of them produce sharp results and I personally find the Sony 50mm much more enjoyable to work with. The tracking AF works much more reliable and in a bigger area of the frame on the Sony. 

On land I did notice both lenses AF come alive a bit more on my A7iv (still hunting but less) but I haven't tested them with that camera underwater.

 

For both of them (canon 60 + adapter and Sony 50) you need the 32mm port + 40mm extension or 45mm+30mm both combinations work well.  If nauticam would start selling a 20mm n100 extension I guess that should work similar with your 55 port.

 

 

 

An option for your 55 port would be the Zeiss 55mm f1.8. This lens is great on land and can be obtained for a reasonable price used.   This lens sits against the front of the 45 port on its own, it's a very tight fit and I would be worrried about it long term but it works. Nauticam recommends this lens in the 55 port in combination with the cmc-1/2 but warns about vignetting on full frame.  The vignetting might not be an issue in black water dives at all but can be fixed by adding a macro extension tube inbetween the lens and the camera. 

 

To make the lens with tube fit, a 9mm tube would be perfect if such a thing exists. Otherwise shaving off half a mm on a 10mm tube would give it enough clearance.

 

 

 

Edited by Robin.snapshots
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On 6/3/2024 at 2:06 AM, Isaac Szabo said:

 

Another option is adapting the Nikon 60mm. From what I've heard it doesn't work quite as well on the adapter as the Canon, but it is a full frame lens with no vignetting. 

 

 I have this Nikon 60mm used with Monster adapter. Fits the Sony 90mm port with little to spare.

Tried the combo out few times on blackwater dives, it did feel slightly better than using the 90. But it might just be me.

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2 hours ago, Robin.snapshots said:

To make the lens with tube fit, a 9mm tube would be perfect if such a thing exists. Otherwise shaving off half a mm on a 10mm tube would give it enough clearance.

 

 

 

After some searching online I found that photodiox has an E mount extension tube set that includes a 7mm. 
 

I expect the lens to work without vignetting on FF in the 55 port with that one.  With a cmc-1/2 it will be underwater corrected and I expect cheaper in total than the other options.

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5 hours ago, Sokrates said:

 I have this Nikon 60mm used with Monster adapter. Fits the Sony 90mm port with little to spare.

Tried the combo out few times on blackwater dives, it did feel slightly better than using the 90. But it might just be me.

The Nikon 60mm is a very popular lens for Blackwater Diving! The AF is quite fast (at least on Nikon cameras). If the adapter does not introduce any problems, that lens would be my recommendation. You can use it as a Macro lens (1:1), but also for fish portraits and blackwater. 

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Posted (edited)
On 6/3/2024 at 6:34 AM, ChipBPhoto said:


Hi @StephanieW  I have the Canon EF-S 60 macro and found it works well with the Metabones V on both the Sony a1 and a7rV.  Focus seems accurate and the hunt is a bit snappier than the Sony 90, although there is still some hunting on complicated subjects.
 

For ports, I have found either the normal Nauticam N100 Port 105 for the Sony 90 or Flat Port 45 + 30mm extension work.  I would assume your Port 55 + a 20mm extension would be the same as my 45 + 30.  

 

As mentioned, this is an APS-C lens.  As such there is a quite noticeable vignetting in the corners in FF mode, but gives the desired medium macro.  I purchased it for blackwater diving specifically which negates the issue of corner vignettes so long as the subject is framed in the center.

 

Hope this helps!

chip

 

Thank you, Chip! I ended up buying the Metabones and lens off eBay to try out and just got them in yesterday. I didn't realize how long the Canon 60 was with the adapter so I thought the port for the 90mm would be excessively long, but it's actually not a bad fit. Some vignetting from the port at the corners but not as bad as I was originally thinking it would be and sufficient enough for my use cases to not need to buy a new port or extension 🙂

 

And thank you everyone for the thoughtful responses. I know there's no ideal mid-range combo for this, so the collective experience here is really helpful. I may still get the regular Sony 50mm to try out to see how they compare - some of the responses here (particularly @Robin.snapshots) have made me reconsider!

Edited by StephanieW
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21 minutes ago, StephanieW said:

Thank you, Chip! I ended up buying the Metabones and lens off eBay to try out and just got them in yesterday. I didn't realize how long the Canon 60 was with the adapter so I thought the port for the 90mm would be excessively long, but it's actually not a bad fit. Some vignetting from the port at the corners but not as bad as I was originally thinking it would be and sufficient enough for my use cases to not need to buy a new port or extension 🙂


Excellent; happy to help!  I tried the lens without a port and did not see much different much difference in the vignetting.  Most seems to be related to the FF sensor vs the APS-C lens coverage.  
 

Please let us know what you think of it. 

 

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I am thinking more of close up coral colony and medium sized fish pictures that suit this focal length rather than pure macro.


Just wondering what the conclusion is between the Sony 50mm macro and the adapted Canon 60mm macro on a late model Sony like A7Rv? Maybe a different prime is better like a close-focusing Tamron?

 

 

 

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11 minutes ago, John E said:

I am thinking more of close up coral colony and medium sized fish pictures that suit this focal length rather than pure macro.


Just wondering what the conclusion is between the Sony 50mm macro and the adapted Canon 60mm macro on a late model Sony like A7Rv? Maybe a different prime is better like a close-focusing Tamron?

 

 

 


The Canon EF-S 60 is a reasonably fast focus with the a7rV and a1, but there is significant vignetting on a FF for anything other than blackwater.  It would not be my choice for daylight photos.
 

While I have not tried it, the Sony 50 macro should work reasonably well for subjects that do not need high-speed focus.  The reason it is not a desired choice for blackwater is due to the slower focus hunt speed.

 

Phil Rudin has found very good success with the Sony 20-70 f/4 lens.  It appears to have a sharp focus and performs well underwater due to its close focus capability of 9”.  It also works well above water, if needed.  It is not, however, a macro.


If macro is desired, the options are limited.  Non-macro has more choices, provided they are capable of close-focus. 

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Thanks Chris, The Tamron 35mm has a close focus of 15cm. I can't see a slightly longer prime for Sony from them. 

 

I have wondered about the 20-70 and am tempted. I wonder how is does in an 8 inch dome? I see 9 inch is recommended. I am fussed about centre sharpness but not overly fussed about the extreme corners as this is mainly for photos with a central subject.

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Posted (edited)
25 minutes ago, John E said:

I have wondered about the 20-70 and am tempted. I wonder how is does in an 8 inch dome? I see 9 inch is recommended. I am fussed about centre sharpness but not overly fussed about the extreme corners as this is mainly for photos with a central subject.


According to Phil’s testing, it works well behind an 8” or 180 dome.  Search this site and you should find his review on it. 
 

Here are some comments from Phil on the Sony 20-70 and Tamron 17-50:

Regarding the Sony FE 20-70mm F/4 Nauticam recommend the 250mm port for best results and with the Tamron 17-28mm F/2.8 Nauticam recommends the 180mm for best results. While I have not run tests with the Nauticam 250mm port I have used the 20-70 with 230mm and 180mm ports. As you would expect at 20mm the corners become a bit soft V. larger ports but for me it was not a deal breaker because I was using the lens more often in the 50 to 70mm range while using the 17-28mm in the 180mm port for wider shots. My port extension lengths vary when testing with My Marelux A1 and A7R V housings but the 180mm and 230mm ports sizes remain the same. I also use a 12 inch (305mm) port for surface and split shots so have a very good idea how the 17-28 works in a very large port. 

For someone already shooting the Sony 20-70mm in the 170/180mm dome you may also want to consider the Tamron 17-50 for a better range or the stellar Sigma 17mm F/4 which I have used in both the 180mm and 140mm ports with excellent results. While I like the versatile of a 17 to 28/50 the Sigma 17mm prime is excellent because it will focus to 1:3.8 at 12cm (4.7 inches) this is closer than Tamron 17-28mm or Tamron 17-50mm which both focus to 19cm on the wide end of the lens. 

Edited by ChipBPhoto
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2 hours ago, John E said:

Thanks Chris, The Tamron 35mm has a close focus of 15cm. I can't see a slightly longer prime for Sony from them. 

 

I have wondered about the 20-70 and am tempted. I wonder how is does in an 8 inch dome? I see 9 inch is recommended. I am fussed about centre sharpness but not overly fussed about the extreme corners as this is mainly for photos with a central subject.

I have been pondering this question for some time, and was wondering about shooting the 20-70 behind a flat port, IF I could get say, 35-70 happening. Can't tell without getting my hands on one. I do have the now-discontinued Nauticam Compact Port system which has a larger port window compared to their macro ports, which may help.

 

If I do buy the 20-70, it will only be because I want to shoot it on land as well. Couldn't justify it for purely UW use.

 

I also considered that Tamron 35 1:2, but all the reviews say while it has decent IQ, its AF is poor, which is a deal breaker for me for fish photos. Amazingly, despite a huge number of 35mm options, none focus decently close (except for the Tamron).

 

For now my go to lens is the 40mm Zeiss CF f2.0. Its max magnification is just under 1:3, or to be more precise, a subject approx 112mm long fills the frame horizontally at minimum focus. If you include some background for context, then the minimum practical subject size at minimum focus is say half that (55mm), or a bit less if you crop. Working distance is satisfactory for small gobies.

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Since Chip has brought up my name I will add my thoughts regarding the 50/60 macro range.

 

First macro was in the film days defined as life size or greater so, 1:1, 2:1 and so on. Now with the different sensor sizes and accessory C/U lenses the common view is that larger subjects up to say 1:5 or 6 might be considered macro.

 

I own Sony A1 and A7RV cameras and both the Sony FE 50mm and FE 90mm macro lenses. To me the 50mm becomes more of a fish portrait lens than a true macro lens because at 1:1 you need to be very close and it doesn't work very well with a closeup lens like +10 or +15.

 

With the adapted Canon 60mm macro you are getting an APS-C size image on FF that is equivalent to the 90mm +/- a degree or two. I fail to see the upside to getting the same AOV on APS-C that I can get on FF with the 90mm. On A7RV this would take my image from 61MP to 26MP still an impressive file for sure but what is the point. With the 90mm on APS-C I get an equivalent 135mm macro at 26MP. With the Nikon 60 macro you are at least getting full frame but the adapters for Nikon lenses are not as well refined as those for Canon.

 

My recommendation for small subjects in the 1:3 or greater range is now the Sony FE 20-70mm which I fine very useful for a wide range of subjects. I covered this lens in a uwpmag.com review issue #135, a free download. At the time of the review I recommended it along with the Tamron 17-28 or Sigma 17mm for a wider AOV. I am now recommending the new Sony FE 16-25mm F/2.8 G. This lens focuses close and will work very well in the 180mm dome port it also has GM image quality for half the price. I also use the 20-70 in the 180mm dome even though larger ports up to 250mm are recommended. This is overkill for me and I find the loss of sharpness in corners to be over hyped. Looking back over ten years of using 16 to 35mm lenses I found that over 95% of my images were in the 16 to 24 range so for me the 26 to 35 range will not be missed as it is well covered with the 20-70mm. The 20-70 can also be used in APS-C mode in a pinch to get you to 105mm at about 1:2.

 

Regarding using the 20-70 behind a flat port I tried this with my 90mm macro port with 67mm threads. The 70mm end of this lens is when it is fully extended and I was able to zoom to 63mm before hitting the inside of the port. I could only zoom back to about 59/60mm before it started to vignette. I think you could get a zoom range of perhaps 70 to 50mm in a flat four inch port but the extensions would need to be perfect at 70mm.

 

Because I actually use the equipment and don't just measurebate about it I have included some photos at the wide and extended ends of the lens.

 

Cave diver shots are at 20mm shooting at F/9 (something measurebaters say should not or can't be done with full frame).

 

Fish are at 68mm to 70mm at F/10 to F/16.

 

 

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Thank you Phil, for this valuable summary of experience...👍

 

I have a question on Tamron 17-28 vs. Sony 16-25 (I currently own the Tamron and use it on A7R5): Did I read it correctly that  IQ of the Sony is better compared to the Sony? Or do you recommend it, because it offers 16mm at the wide end, compared to 17mm (Tamron)?

What about the 16-35mm GM (I+II) lenses? Do they perform equally well or are they just too expensive?

 

Thanks, Wolfgang

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15 hours ago, Phil Rudin said:

With the adapted Canon 60mm macro you are getting an APS-C size image on FF that is equivalent to the 90mm +/- a degree or two. I fail to see the upside to getting the same AOV on APS-C that I can get on FF with the 90mm.

This is not quite correct. The image circle of Canon EF-S 60mm is considerably larger than an APS-C sensor - it has minor corner vignetting on FF, which goes away at macro distances, i.e. at 1:1 it covers the FF sensor completely.

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From Phil: "I also use the 20-70 in the 180mm dome even though larger ports up to 250mm are recommended. This is overkill for me and I find the loss of sharpness in corners to be over hyped."

 

I completely agree. If it's a technically perfect shitty photo, it's a shitty photo.

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9 hours ago, Architeuthis said:

Thank you Phil, for this valuable summary of experience...👍

 

I have a question on Tamron 17-28 vs. Sony 16-25 (I currently own the Tamron and use it on A7R5): Did I read it correctly that  IQ of the Sony is better compared to the Sony? Or do you recommend it, because it offers 16mm at the wide end, compared to 17mm (Tamron)?

What about the 16-35mm GM (I+II) lenses? Do they perform equally well or are they just too expensive?

 

Thanks, Wolfgang

 

Wolfgang, I did not intend to hijack this thread, in short the 16-25 had better corners than the Tamron 17-28, 17-50 and Sigma offerings. Also out preforms the original Sony FE 16-35mm F/2.8 GM and not worth the cost difference v. FE 16-35 GM II unless you need the longer end for twice the cost. Sony 16-35 Minimum focus 28cm, GM II 21.1cm and the 16-25 18cm. At 18cm you can shoot in a 180mm port without compromise. 21--28 not so much. Also smaller, lighter and 67mm v. 82mm threads which is an upside especially it you own the S&S converter lens in 72mm. 

 

5 hours ago, Barmaglot said:

This is not quite correct. The image circle of Canon EF-S 60mm is considerably larger than an APS-C sensor - it has minor corner vignetting on FF, which goes away at macro distances, i.e. at 1:1 it covers the FF sensor completely.

 

My understanding was that while it would cover the frame the corners were not sharp as you would expect, so great for things like blackwater were corners are not an issue. I have never been a Canon guy so trust your description. I have had a bunch of Canon friends over the years and never remember any of them using the 60 macro on their full frame cameras.

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8 minutes ago, humu9679 said:

From Phil: "I also use the 20-70 in the 180mm dome even though larger ports up to 250mm are recommended. This is overkill for me and I find the loss of sharpness in corners to be over hyped."

 

I completely agree. If it's a technically perfect shitty photo, it's a shitty photo.

It kinda makes you think some folks here should spend more time in the water and less time pixel peeping and posting.

 

The UWPMAG.com article is here.

 

 

Sony20-70.jpg

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2 hours ago, Phil Rudin said:

It kinda makes you think some folks here should spend more time in the water and less time pixel peeping and posting.

 Good point, well made!

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