which body+lens for macro use only?

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Hi, Consdering to buy a dedicated camera body plus one macro lens for taking pictures of flowers only. I'm a M user, not familiar with the Leica R series. I have a Canon EOS system, but I got the impression that a good Canon L costs about the same as Leica, and for 2nd hand, Leica even has the advantage. Also, I'm tired of all the fancy functions with modern SLR, last weekend I forgot to check flash(380EX) battery, the flash fired all the time but without enough output, I ended up taking home a bunch of underexposed pics from my EOS... Anyway I'm looking for something simple with good optics.

Thanks and have a good weekend!

-- Fred Ouyang (yo54@columbia.edu), May 10, 2002


Simple and cheap:

Leicaflex SL + 60mm Macro-Elmarit

More expensive would be to go with the 100mm APO-Macro-Elmarit and/or other Leica R bodies SL2, R3-8. R8 is nice as it has flash metering (might be useful), but R5 through 7 have TTL flash at least.

Leica do make a bellows as well as an extension tube (Macro-adapter) and there are older 100mm Elmar bellows-only lenses, and Photar lenses. What exactly do you need with respect to magnification?

-- Robin Smith (smith_robin@hotmail.com), May 10, 2002.

I use the eos 50 2.5 macro which works very well for me for macro and normal 50. I bought it used for around $200. They also have a really outstanding 100 macro eos lens that is a little more expensive but allows you to work further away from the subject and also is an excellent portrait lens $499 US warranty at Adorama. Good luck.

-- Gil Pruitt (wgpinc@yahoo.com), May 10, 2002.

Thanks Robin, I think 60mm is good to me, at least it could be used as a standard lens as well. Is it working on the older bodies? I don't know about the CAM thing, if the meter readout is good, then I'm in business. I think 1:2 will work, how much $ I should expect for a extender to 1:1?

-- Fred ouyang (yo54@columbia.edu), May 10, 2002.

Canon EOS makes a terrific 90mm tilt/shift macro lens that might be perfect for what you are doing. Nikon makes an 85mm tilt/shift macro lens (which can be used on mechanical/manual Nikons as well as autofocus.

-- Jim Lennon (jim@jmlennon.com), May 10, 2002.

The 100mm APO-Macro-Elmarit is one of the best optics ever made. It focuses to 1:2 alone or 1:1 with a specially dedicated Elpro lens. You can use it with any R camera but I would look closely at the R6/R6.2 for all mechanical construction and excellent OTF flash capability; the R7 for an electronic camera with OTF flash and easy manual metering; or the R8 for the latest and most capable R with a built in flash meter. Personally, I would chose the R8. I think, but would encourage further comment, that Nikon flash cords can be used for multiple dedicated flash set ups.

-- Doug Landrum (dflandrum@earthlink.net), May 10, 2002.

check these web pages:



The Leicaflex SL is a simple as they get: TTL meter, accurate shutter, outstanding viewfinder. Not much to forget to check. Uses any of the Leica-R macro lenses (aside from ROM lenses).

The 60mm Macro-Elmarit-R and 100mm APO-Macro-Elmarit-R are as good as they get, and the discontinued 100mm Macro-Elmar-R is quite good too.

If you want TTL flash you'll need something newer than the SL, like R5 or newer.

-- Douglas Herr (telyt@earthlink.net), May 10, 2002.

All you need is a two or three cam lens if you want to use it on the SL (but not ROM for the SL or SL2). For R3 upwards you can use 2,3 or ROMed lenses. Macro-adapter is not all that expensive - my guess $350 (??). I am not sure right now whether that will take you to 1:2, but probably. The 60mm Elmarit is c $600-700 s/h I think. The 100mm APO more like $1500 + s/h.

-- Robin Smith (smith_robin@hotmail.com), May 10, 2002.

Thanks for all your fast reponses. There's a lot info for me to digest for awhile. Thanks again!!

-- Fred Ouyang (yo54@columbia.edu), May 10, 2002.

Hi Fred. If you are indeed "tired of all the SLR functions," and want a dedicated macro system, why not consider a Visoflex-3 with a 65 Elmarit? I owned such a setup a while back, and found it to be fully capable of truly stunning results. The beauty of this is that it will integrate with your M-system, and, while the learning curve, when compared to that of a modern, TTL/Matrix based SLR, might seem a bit longer, your results might ultimately prove superior with the Viso. This is because you will find it absolutely necessary to immerse yourself in the finer points of exposure -factors, the inverse-square law, etc., thus getting more completely involved in the process - and in the end knowing it inside and out. So, if you are, as your posting implies, "dedicated," then go for the Viso! Make sure to also get the proper focusing helicoid for the 65 (#16464, I think). As for the lens, the chrome version is wonderful, and the harder-to-find black version is just a bit better! Good luck!

-- John Layton (john.layton@valley.net), May 10, 2002.

Visoflex would be fine for flowers I think. I have always favoured the plain ground glass screen, along with the pre-set manual shut down, for pictorial composition where I can use a tripod and there is no hurry. The problem comes with being certain of accurate exposure at high magnification. With modern TTL metering I have almost ceased bracketing exposures, even for slides, except when dealing with reciprocity problems in low light

-- James Elwing (elgur@acay.com.au), May 10, 2002.

The Canon EF 50mm/f2.5 Macro lens has an excellent reputation. The Leica R 60mm/f2.8 macro lens is even better! You can buy one used for about $600-$700 on EBAY. If you get a Novoflex LeicaR-EOS lens adapter from B&H or CameraQuest.com for about $150, you can mount the Leica lens on your EOS body. You will have to focus the lens manually and use it in aperture priority or manual exposure mode on your EOS camera. This way you don't have to buy a Leica R/SL/SL2 camera bo

-- Muhammad Chishty (applemac97@aol.com), May 10, 2002.

Depends alot on your budget. Ignoring that, it's simple...

First purchase: R8 and 100mm 2.8 APO (basics).

Second purchase: 60mm 2.8 and Elpro attachment for 100 APO (more flexibility and magnification to 1:1).

Third purchase: 2x APO extender (gives you a "200mm APO macro").

-- Ken (kennyshipman@aol.com), May 11, 2002.

Sorry to make a non Leica recommendation, but the Canon EF100 Macro is a *great* 1:1 lens. It has most the qualities of one of the higher priced L lenses w/o the cost of that red strip on the front. This lens is one of the primary reasons I wont get rid of my EOS system, even though I'm mostly shooting a Leica right now.

You should be able to pick up the non USM version for about $400- $500. You don't really need the USM (or any auto-focus for that matter)if this is going to be dedicated to macro only.

While it doesn't take you away from the bells and whistles of a modern SLR, it's certainly capable of some fairly nice work.


-- Randy Samos (samos@lensman.net), May 11, 2002.

Ok. I'm a prize screwup, and I hosed up that link above.

This is the link I meant to leave

Sorry - /r

-- Randy Samos (samos@lensman.net), May 11, 2002.

I have a Macro-Elmarit 60 1:2.8 lens, it is indeed an excellent lens

The sharpest Macro lens, however, is Carl Zeiss Macro-Planar T* 60mm f/2.8. It is actually the sharpest of any 35mm lens. I am considering Contax Aria + Macro- Planar T* 60 f/2.8 to replace my Macro-Elmarit +R5

-- martin tai (martin.tai@capcanada.com), May 11, 2002.

Fred, have you noticed a trend here? Virtually every brand's macro lens is one of the best in the respective lines. My Viso III/65 Elmar is a great combination, as is my Olympus 50 macro for the OM series. Probably you should base your choice on what body/SLR system you prefer, ignoring the lens for a moment, and then buy the macro that goes with it. Canon, Nikon, Leica---I really don't think you can make a mistake as far as macro lenses go.

-- Michael Darnton (mdarnton@hotmail.com), May 11, 2002.

i currently use a leica 60/2.8 & 100/4 for macro....i have used canon eos 50/2.5, nikon 55/3.5 & konica 55/3.5 macros......the konica is second to the leica , then nikon then last is canon.......dont overlook the konica lenses.....the 28/1.8, 55/3.5 & 85/1.8 are all excellent !!!....

-- mark kaminsky (mrry33@aol.com), May 12, 2002.

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