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Sharpest macro?

michael rogner , Dec 04, 2006; 07:50 p.m.

I'm wondering if anyone has any opinions/testing regarding FD macro lens, especially in terms of sharpness, i.e. which is the sharpest? I currently have the Tamron SP 90mm 2.5


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Douglas Vitello , Dec 04, 2006; 08:19 p.m.

I would rate my Canon New FD 50mm 3.5 macro lens as one of the sharpest lenses in my inventory.Absolute astounding clarity and edge to edge sharpness.Many times if there is enough light to focus and hand hold I'll use it as my "normal" lens instead of my FD 50 1.4 because of the outstanding performance.If you own a later generation FD body with laser matte focusing screens it works very well as a all purpose lens.

Mark Wahlster , Dec 05, 2006; 09:48 a.m.

It is generally accepted that the Tokina 90mm f2.5 AT-X and Tamron 90mm f2.5 are two of the sharpest macros available for FD mount. I own the 50mm f3.5 nFD and the Tokina 90mm f2.5 AT-X and the tokina is noticably sharper.

Peter White , Dec 05, 2006; 05:54 p.m.

The Tamron 90mm f:2.5 is as close to perfection as I can imagine any lens being. You already have the best macro lens ever made. Why look further? ;-)

Peter McDonough , Dec 05, 2006; 10:12 p.m.

50mm f/1.9 Alpa Macro-Switar glued on to Canon bellows.

Douglas Vitello , Dec 06, 2006; 06:54 a.m.

I use my New Canon 50mm 3.5 macro on a Canon Auto Bellows reversed with extension tubes (approx.8.5 magnification ratio) - (Canon F1N body and Canon Copy Stand 5)and believe me this is a true test for sharpness and flat field distortion and this lens is no slouch.Hand held or on a tripod at 1.0 magnification ratio won't tell you a lot about how sharp a lens can be.

Dave S , Dec 06, 2006; 03:01 p.m.

Douglas, heck, I have to stick my oar in to say I think your last post is not strictly correct.

The conditions you describe (reversed at 8.5:1) aren't that stringent a test for a macro lens. The optical corrections are identical to using the same lens forwards (right way around) at 1:8.5-- for example, like copying a sheet of typewriter paper. Any macro lens should perform very well in this range, and it will perform as well reversed at 8.5:1.

Having said that, I agree the 50/3.5 macro is a stellar lens. I bought mine in 1981. It's been a great all-purpose lens for general use as well as macro.

Douglas Vitello , Dec 06, 2006; 07:49 p.m.

In my previous post I never meant to imply that reversing this lens had anything to do with sharpness.To reach 8.5 magnification ratio on the Canon Auto Bellows system the lens needs to be reversed.What I was trying to get across is that this lens at high magnification ratios is corrected for abberations and flatness of field,unlike some so called macros that work well at life size reproductions but not so good for scientific work.Nonetheless, a great lens for general and extreme photography.Don't want folks getting ruffled over this because we should be proud of what Canon did with their macro system back in the day (FD)- something that went down the tubes when EOS auto focus and digital came along (once again, I'm talking high magnification ratios for scientific work).

Mark Wahlster , Dec 06, 2006; 11:15 p.m.

In actual scientific testing of these lenses the Toknia 90mm f2.5 AT-X is shown to be superior to the 50mm f3.5 NFD Canon plain and simple. The magnification the lens is being used athas nothing to do with it.

Lindy Stone , Dec 07, 2006; 09:14 a.m.

Michael, is your Tamron 90mm 2.5 an adaptall lens? Was it designed to be used with an extension tube to achieve full magnafication.

I've got a "vivitar" 100mm f2.8 in Fd mount made by Kiron. Its a fantastic lens designed to be used without extension tubes. Kiron made others that are supposed to be even better: 105mm 2.5 Series 1.

I've read good things about some of the adaptall lenses. I am only recently learning about their intersting multi-mount system.


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