Tell me about diopters aka close-up filters
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Old 10-26-2012, 07:48 PM   #1
etane
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Tell me about diopters aka close-up filters


Hello:

Can someone tell me about diopters?

I googled and googled and can't figure out what it does exactly and what those plus numbers mean.

If I put an diopter on my 17-55mm f2.8 lens, does that mean I can get up closer to the subject? Or, does it mean the subject is magnified? Or, both?

And, with the lens above, how much larger is the image or how much closer to the subject can I get if the diopter is a +1 versus a +2?

Currently, I'd say I can get to within 2' of the subject. Ken Rockwell claims 1.25'.

I don't necessarily want to get up any closer to the subject. I don't mind sitting about 3-4' away from the subject. But, I want to be able to telephoto closer to the subject.

I don't want to spend on a pricy macro or telephoto lens. Recently tried a 40mm f2.8 macro but didn't like it. I learned that I rather shoot from a distance with my tripod than get within inches of the subject. Diopters seem to be the way to go?

Eyeing this right now.

Thanks.
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Old 10-26-2012, 08:14 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by etane View Post
Hello:

Diopters seem to be the way to go?
Nope. Macro lenses are the way to go.

If not a macro lens, look into extension tubes. You'll be better off. Anytime you add glass in front of your lens, you risk distorting the image. Extension tubes are hollow tubes. It spaces your lens further away from the camera body which in turn allows for closer macro-like focusing. There's nothing between the lens and body but air so there's nothing to distort the image. It also allows you to use any lens you have unlike the diopters which can only be used on a lens that has certain size rings. Something like these are nice cause it has the electrical connections so your lens will still meter and focus. $100 more will get you a decent macro lens though.
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Old 10-26-2012, 08:16 PM   #3
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Agreed.

Get a dedicated macro. You won't look back. If you want a bit more reach, you can always get tube extensions which work quite well without sacrificing much IQ.
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Old 10-26-2012, 08:30 PM   #4
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You should get a dedicated macro.

If you are right for cash, you can get extension tubes, or if you have lens you dont care about, you can get adapters to mount your lens backwards on your camera to get the macro.

However, with these adapters, your F stop goes all the way whack. So if you do not have a fast lens, well, you are going to need a lot of light and you'll lose the depth of field.

Watch THE NIKON GUY on Youtube, he did a few videos on the extension tubes, very informative.
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Old 10-26-2012, 09:33 PM   #5
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Wow, that's a lot of feedback in a short amount of time. Thanks everyone.

No argument that a macro lens with telephoto such as the 105mm f2.8 maco would be ideal. That lens is $900 on amazon. I hardly even take my DSLR out for some serious shooting anymore. I have at least 1,000 photos I took during my honeymoon this year that I haven't had time to edit. So, with time invested to phono diminishing for me, I don't think I want to spend more than $300 on additional photo equipment to take pics of my critters with.

I browsed ebay looking for some vintage macro and telephoto lenses but think various options all have their limitations compared to their modern equivalents. For example, most telephotos won't let me get closer than 4' from the subject. And, good macro lenses under my budget seem to have low aperature. So, that's why I started looking at diopters. And, the reason I wasn't looking at extension tubes because it seems to me that they allow you to get closer to the subject, but I don't want to get closer to the subject. 1.25" with my current lens is close enough for me. Ideally, I want to put my camera on a tripod about 2' away from the tank. Well, I read the newer diopters were supposed to be very "clean" such as the Canon 500D and some say the Hoya I linked above is just as good as the Canon.

But, I will continue to learn more about the options presented by you guys. Thanks for your inputs!
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Old 10-26-2012, 09:44 PM   #6
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I am also weighing my options for a Macro lens, but I needed a point and shoot more than anything and spent my money on a Sony RX100 which I got today. Fantastic little camera with a huge sensor 1.8!

Anyway, while looking at my options, I ran across the typical lenses by Sigma and Tokina which offer a MACRO mode. The prices of these lenes were in the $170-$199 range. Although, it is not a true macro lens, it does have a macro mode and if you do not already have a zoom, this may be something you are looking for. They are not fast lenses though.

Ideally, when I do buy, I plan to get the 105DC.. or something FX, I have an D7000 but half my glass are FX lenses. I anticipate moving to Full Frame soon. The reach on my FX 24-300mm on my D7000 Crop is insane.
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Old 10-26-2012, 10:08 PM   #7
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All I can say is every time you use a diopter or extension tube you'll be kicking yourself for not buying a macro lens.

Anything you stick on the lens is going to cut the light through the lens. When doing close in shooting, even at 2 ft, depth of field is everything and that means light, lots of it. So anything that slows down a lens is anathema to getting maximum light through the lens.
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Old 10-26-2012, 11:56 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by concepts88 View Post
I am also weighing my options for a Macro lens, but I needed a point and shoot more than anything and spent my money on a Sony RX100 which I got today. Fantastic little camera with a huge sensor 1.8!

Anyway, while looking at my options, I ran across the typical lenses by Sigma and Tokina which offer a MACRO mode. The prices of these lenes were in the $170-$199 range. Although, it is not a true macro lens, it does have a macro mode and if you do not already have a zoom, this may be something you are looking for. They are not fast lenses though.

Ideally, when I do buy, I plan to get the 105DC.. or something FX, I have an D7000 but half my glass are FX lenses. I anticipate moving to Full Frame soon. The reach on my FX 24-300mm on my D7000 Crop is insane.
I thought the sensor size on the RX100 is 1" same as the sensor size on the Nikon 1?

Earlier this year, I acquired a wide angle Sigma lens for my D90. I wanted to take that to Europe with me instead of the 17-55mm because the latter is big and heavy. But, after taking some test shots, the Sigma went back. And, that lens was supposed to be a "sharp" example of Sigma optics. Maybe I got a bad one. But, I am a bit more hesitant to get another Sigma/Tokina now.

I was reading about the 105DC this morning too.
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Old 10-26-2012, 11:59 PM   #9
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Agreed.

Get a dedicated macro. You won't look back. If you want a bit more reach, you can always get tube extensions which work quite well without sacrificing much IQ.
I've seen plenty of your excellent tank shots and always wanted to be a fly on the wall when you're taking those pics.
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Old 10-27-2012, 12:06 AM   #10
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All I can say is every time you use a diopter or extension tube you'll be kicking yourself for not buying a macro lens.

Anything you stick on the lens is going to cut the light through the lens. When doing close in shooting, even at 2 ft, depth of field is everything and that means light, lots of it. So anything that slows down a lens is anathema to getting maximum light through the lens.
That is true. I understand that logic. I don't know how technology has advanced in terms of diopter technology though. Are the modern "expensive" ones capable of passing light through as well as plain UV filters. The reviews for the Canon 500D on amazon are quite good.

And, speaking of kicking myself, I've learned that when entering a hobby to not buy the beginner set as I will outgrow it quickly. So, part of me wants to overkill on the lens, so I never want to upgrade again. I am just questioning how often will I use a macro lens because if I get one then it will be used only for the tank.
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Old 10-27-2012, 12:44 AM   #11
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I have a 100mm macro lens. I use it everywhere. You can just think of it as a 100mm lens that happens to close focus.
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Old 10-27-2012, 01:13 AM   #12
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No argument that a macro lens with telephoto such as the 105mm f2.8 maco would be ideal. That lens is $900 on amazon
the older version of this lens, used, on ebay goes for $350-400, its smaller and lighter because it doesn't have the VR.
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Old 10-27-2012, 03:48 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by etane View Post
Currently, I'd say I can get to within 2' of the subject. Ken Rockwell claims 1.25'.

I don't necessarily want to get up any closer to the subject. I don't mind sitting about 3-4' away from the subject. But, I want to be able to telephoto closer to the subject.
You're kinda looking at the wrong thing, its close focus AND reproduction ratio that you should be looking at. Reproduction ratio being the biggest issue.

The 17-55 has a 1:5 reproduction ratio. The lower the second number (or the closer the second number is to 1), the bigger the subject will appear.

For example, a lens with a close focus of 2.25' but a reproduction ratio of 1:2 will magnify the subject/make the subject appear larger than a lens with a 1.25' close focus but a reproduction ratio of 1:5....

Get it?
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Old 10-27-2012, 03:53 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by kubalik View Post
the older version of this lens, used, on ebay goes for $350-400, its smaller and lighter because it doesn't have the VR.
Not decided which direction I want to go with yet, I did do a soft bid on [Ebay Link Removed] earlier today. No surprise I didn't win it though.
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Old 10-27-2012, 03:56 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TickleMyElmo View Post
You're kinda looking at the wrong thing, its close focus AND reproduction ratio that you should be looking at. Reproduction ratio being the biggest issue.

The 17-55 has a 1:5 reproduction ratio. The lower the second number (or the closer the second number is to 1), the bigger the subject will appear.

For example, a lens with a close focus of 2.25' but a reproduction ratio of 1:2 will magnify the subject/make the subject appear larger than a lens with a 1.25' close focus but a reproduction ratio of 1:5....

Get it?
Ultimately, with close focus distance being equal, what makes the reproduction ratio get closer to 1:1? Is it how much/far it can telephoto?
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