Fuji X Macro [Part 5]: Native 1:1 Macro Lens for Fuji (Zeiss)

It has been 2 and a half years since my last post about Fuji X macro photography. My last post was part 4 of the series titled “Fujifilm Extension Tube MCEX-11 & MCEX-16“. A lot has happened since then. During this time, I migrated back from Malaysia to the UK and it took a while to settle down. Life was so busy I hardly had time do to photography, let alone writing a blog post. Now that everything is settled down and I am starting to devote more time to this blog.

A lot has also happened in the photography world since then. In 2016, the Zeiss 50mm macro was the only Fuji X mount lens which offers 1:1 magnification. Now we have the fantastic 80mm macro and also some 3rd party options.

With that said, the Zeiss 50mm macro remains one of the best Fuji X mount lenses. It is small and lightweight and the image quality is exceptional. If you don’t need OIS and the reach of the 80mm, the Zeiss is the best option for you. Unlike the 60mm, it is internal focusing and also focuses faster. I used it for months, sold it before I moved to the UK and the bought it back again this year. I really missed it when I didn’t have it.

Here are some photos taken with the lens.

Non macro photos:

Macro photos:

Now that Fuji is a well developed and popular system, there is probably no need for me to write about other 1:1 macro lenses as these would have been well covered by other photographers, bloggers, and YouTubers.

Thanks for following this series and I hope you learned something useful.

Please check out the other posts in my Fuji X Macro series:

Part 1: x100s + Raynox-250
Part 2: Fujinon 60mm f2.4 with or without Raynox-250
Part 3: Adapted Macro Lens
Part 4: Fujifilm Extension Tube MCEX-11 & MCEX-16
Part 5: Native 1:1 Macro Lens for Fuji (Zeiss)

Poppies 2019

I can’t believe after living in the UK for nearly 15 years, I have not been to a poppy field. Officially a type of weed, Poppy has a very important symbolic function. To keen photographers, a big field of blossoming poppies is like a heaven.

This year I have decided to take a few hours off my busy schedule to hunt for a poppy field near where I live. I first went to a location suggested by a friend but to my disappointment, there were only a few flowers there. I then blindly drove around the area and to my great delight, I found a big field near Kidderminster.

At the time, the sun was almost gone and I had around 30 mins of sunlight left. It was also very windy which made using a small aperture for a larger depth of field impossible. I didn’t even get to use the tripod I brought with me. With a 28mm lens, I was able to quickly grab a few handheld shots before the sun fully set.

As poppy blossom only lasts for a few weeks, and it has been raining heavily for 1-2 weeks since I took those picture and it is forecasted to rain further, I don’t think I have the opportunity to go back there again this year. I am so glad I made the trip. I will definitely plan it better next summer.

Fuji X Macro [Part 4]: Fujifilm Extension Tube MCEX-11 & MCEX-16

When Fuji X system first came into existence, there is very little 3rd party support. With the XF 60mm macro lens only goes to 1:2 magnification and without any 3rd party macro lenses for the X-mount and good usable extension tubes (from Fuji or 3rd parties), the only ways to get to 1:1 magnification is by using close up filters like the Raynox or adapting lenses. I remember reading horror stories of people using poorly made extension tubes which damages their lens mounts and lenses.

So when Fujifilm announced their extension tubes MCEX-11 and MCEX-12 in 2014, it was indeed a fantastic news for Fuji X macro shooters. I owned both of these extension tubes and they are very well built and fit nicely to the the lens mount and the lenses.

You can achieve different magnification depending on which lens you use. Generally speaking extension tubes have greater effect on shorter lenses. Fujifilm has published a guidance chart as seen below. What fujifilm didn’t include in the chart is the effect of combination of both the MCEX-11 and MCEX-16 extension tubes. I often use both of them together to achieve greater than 1:1 magnification.

mcexchart

These extension tubes cost around $100 each. You can get cheaper 3rd party ones but my advice is to stick to Fuji ones. $100 sound like a lot for extension tubes but you get the best quality and it is much cheaper than a macro lens.

Here are some example photos.

XF35/2 with Extension Tubes:

XF35 with extension tubes

XF35 with extension tubes

XF35 with extension tubes

XF56/1.2 with Extension Tubes:

Green Praying Mantis on forest ground

Hairy spider on its web waiting for prey

Brown milipede looking for food on the floor

Please check out the other posts in my Fuji X Macro series:

Part 1: x100s + Raynox-250
Part 2: Fujinon 60mm f2.4 with or without Raynox-250
Part 3: Adapted Macro Lens
Part 4: Fujifilm Extension Tube MCEX-11 & MCEX-16
Part 5: Native 1:1 Macro Lens for Fuji (Zeiss)

Fuji X Macro [Part 3] : Adapted Macro Lenses

macro-insect_2016-07-28_21-05-49_0048_©KetSangTai2016

Due to the limited availability of native 1:1 macro lenses, many photographers started using adapted macro lenses. Using an adapter, many old and classic as well as modern lenses can be used on Fuji camera. The excellent manual assist features on Fuji camera make manual focusing adapted lenses very simple and straight forward, even for people like me who have never used manual focusing before.

Lens Adapters

There are many options out there and I won’t go into all the different types of adapters and many people have covered this topic extensively. This blog has good information about lens adapters and how they work. For the purpose of macro photography, the easiest option is to get a Nikon to Fuji adapter as there are a wide ranges of Nikon mount macro lenses available both from Nikon themselves and from 3rd parties like Tamron and Sigma. You need to know there are two types of Nikon to Fuji adapters, the Nikon G to FX and Nikon F to FX.

Nikon F to FX adaptor is almost like an extension tube except that it is of fixed length and has a Nikon mount at the front end. There is no electronics built in. This can be used with any Nikon mount lenses (after 1977) which have an aperture ring. You can’t use it with newer Nikon G lenses or 3rd party lenses without aperture ring as there is no way you can control the aperture.

That is where the Nikon G to FX adapter comes in. It has a built in aperture ring with a mechanical lever which changes the aperture on the lens itself. This can be used on all Nikon F and G mount lenses and all Nikon mount 3rd party lenses, including those with and without aperture ring.

Tamron 90mm with Nikon G to FX Adapter
Tamron 90mm with Nikon G to FX Adapter

Camera Settings 1:

When you use adapted lenses, make sure you set your Fuji camera to “shoot without lens”. If you do not choose this option, the camera will think no lens is attached as there is no electronic contact and the shutter will not fire. It is under Shooting Menu 3 as shown.

FullSizeRender (3)

You can also tell the camera what focal length you are using so it will include it in your EXIF data.

Fujifilm Adapted Lens Setting

Fujifilm Adapted Lens Setting

Camera Settings 2:

With adapted lenses, as there is no electronic contact between the lens and the camera, you don’t get automatic aperture. Automatic aperture means the camera keeps the lens aperture wide open while composing and focusing and only closes it down to the desired aperture at the time of exposure. Without automatic aperture, the aperture will be stopped down to whatever you set during composing and focusing, which means your viewfinder will be darker. With EVF, the brightness of the viewfinder is boosted but it can get very grainy if you shoot in low light with flash. Make sure you set your camera’s Screen Set Up to Preview Exp/WB in Manual Mode OFF.

FullSizeRender (5)FullSizeRender (6)

A few other points to note about adapting lenses:

  1. There is no autofocus.
  2. If your lens has image stabilisation, it won’t work.
  3. There will be no aperture info in EXIF file.

Here are some of my photos taken using Tamron 90mm with Nikon G to FX adapter.

macro-insect_2016-07-28_21-19-06_0102_©KetSangTai2016

macro-insect_2016-07-28_20-59-51_0031_©KetSangTai2016

macro-insect_2016-07-28_21-08-40_0066_©KetSangTai2016

Dragonfly

Please check out the other posts in my Fuji X Macro series:

Part 1: x100s + Raynox-250
Part 2: Fujinon 60mm f2.4 with or without Raynox-250
Part 3: Adapted Macro Lens
Part 4: Fujifilm Extension Tube MCEX-11 & MCEX-16
Part 5: Native 1:1 Macro Lens for Fuji (Zeiss)

Fuji X Macro [Part 2] : Fujinon XF 60mm f2.4 with or without Raynox-250

Fujinon XF60mm f/2.4 is the first and only native macro lens until Zeiss produced the 2.8/50 M. Its color rendition and sharpness rank among the best of all Fujinon lenses. However, due to the fact that its maximum magnification is only 1:2 (0.5), it has serious limitation if you want to use it to do a lot of macro work. Its slow focusing also put people off from using it as a general short telephoto lens. It is also dwarfed by the XF56mm for people who want to do serious portrait work.

Having said that, its small size is a huge advantage and if you add a close up filter like the Raynox 250, you can get more than 1:1 magnification. If you are interested in how to calculate the magnification with close up filter, here is the formula:

Magnification of close up lens = Primary lens focal length/Focal length of close up lens

Focal Length of the Raynox.250 is 125 mm. So the Raynox 250’s magnification on the 60mm lens is 0.48(60/125)

Total Magnification = (1+max mag of primary lens) x (1+mag of close up lens) – 1

So for the 60mm macro lens:

Max magnification =  (1+0.5)(1+60/125)-1 = (1.5)(1.48)-1 = 1.22

Here are some example of photos taken with the XF60mm.

X-E1, XF60mm, 1/250, f/8, Flash
X-E1, XF60mm, 1/250, f/8, ISO800 Flash

X-E1, XF60mm, 1/250, f/16, Flash
X-E1, XF60mm, 1/250, f/16, ISO800 Flash

X-E1, XF60mm, 1/250, f/8, Flash
X-E1, XF60mm, 1/250, f/8, ISO800, Flash

X-E1, XF60mm, 1/125, f/5.6, ISO800, no Flash
X-E1, XF60mm, 1/125, f/5.6, ISO800, no Flash

Please check out the other posts in my Fuji X Macro series:

Part 1: x100s + Raynox-250
Part 2: Fujinon 60mm f2.4 with or without Raynox-250
Part 3: Adapted Macro Lens
Part 4: Fujifilm Extension Tube MCEX-11 & MCEX-16
Part 5: Native 1:1 Macro Lens for Fuji (Zeiss)

Macro Photography with Fuji X [Part 1] : x100s + Raynox-250

[Updated Aug 2016] More than 2 years since I first started doing macro work using Fuji, I have tried various different options and decided to make this a series of 5 posts about doing macro work with Fuji X.

Part 1: x100s + Raynox-250
Part 2: Fujinon 60mm f2.4 with or without Raynox-250
Part 3: Adapted Macro Lens
Part 4: Fujifilm Extension Tube MCEX-11 & MCEX-16
Part 5: Native 1:1 Macro Lens for Fuji (Zeiss)

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Since I started using the Fuji X system a few months ago, I often come across people in various forum asking if Fuji X system is good for macro and what lens or accessories should they use? I have decided to write a few articles about this with some pictures I took using different set up.

Macro Photography at Home

I would say Fuji X is not ideal for macro work if:

1. You often need to go beyond 1:1 magnification.

2. You are a pro macro photographer and you make macro pictures for living

3. You are into fast moving inserts

This is because the only native lens in Fuji’s macro lens line up is the 60mm f/2.4 which only goes down to 1:2 magnification. Having said that, Zeiss does make a 1:1 macro and you can use macro lenses from other brands like Tamron or Nikon using an adaptor. It gets the job done. However, if the above 3 points apply to you, you may want to consider investing in a mid range Canon camera to use their fantastic range of macro lenses ranging from 180mm 1:1 macro lens to the one of a kind 5:1 macro lens, as well as choices of at least 2 dedicated macro flashes.

Fuji, however is more than good enough if you do macro work for fun or the type of macro photography you do does not need to go beyond 1:1 on regular basis.

So what are the options with Fuji?

1. Dedicated Macro lens – The 60mm f/2.4 is a great lens. It has an equivalent focal length of 90mm and it is very sharp and it produces great colour. As said previously, it only gives you 1:2 magnification. It is still pretty close.

2. Close Up Lens – There are many close up lenses around and the most popular one is the Raynox brand. I own the Raynox-250 which is a great piece of accessory. If you put it on your 60mm lens, you can get down to 1:1 magnification. It can also massively increase magnification of any other Fuji lenses you have. It works best on longer focal length (>60mm) as it will gives you more magnification. For example, if you put it on the XF 55-200mm zoom lens, I was told you can get down to 2:1 magnification. On wider lenses and on the XF 18-55mm, it causes a bit of vignetting which need some cropping.

3. Extension Tube – From what I can gather from forums and various blog posts, there is no good Fuji extension tube in the market at the time of writing of this post. Those on the market are not fit for purpose and some can damage your camera. I would avoid this until someone else have produced a better one.

4. Adapted Lenses – Personally I have not tried this. There are many people posting on forums and writing blog posts about this. The most popular adapted macro lenses are Tamron and Nikon lenses. Ideally you want one which has its own aperture control, otherwise you will need a special adaptor to control the aperture.

I own the 60mm lens. I will show some picture in my next post. Today, I want to show you what can be achieve using the Raynox-250 close up lens on my x100s. The x100s already has very close focusing distance. If you add the Raynox-250 on, you can get really really close. Here are some pictures. Most are not cropped or only very slightly cropped.

Macro Photography with X100s & Raynox-250

Macro Photography with X100s & Raynox-250

Macro Photography with X100s & Raynox-250

Macro Photography with X100s & Raynox-250

Macro Photography with X100s & Raynox-250

Around Birmingham City Hospital

I was working on one Saturday and got bored of facing the computer all morning and decided to take a walk around City Hospital during my lunch break. I have my X-E2 in my work bag (I have been making an effort to have my camera with me all the time) and I decided to take it with me for the walk.

Here are a few snapshots I took.

Lunch time walk about around Birmingham City Hospital

Lunch time walk about around Birmingham City Hospital

Lunch time walk about around Birmingham City Hospital

Spring is around the corner

The last picture is the one I like most. It is not technically challenging or perfect, but it really means something. This is the first time this year I saw wild flowers. It is the signal that spring is around the corner! To me, this is the best time of the year, especially after a horrible rainy winter.