I’ve always been interested in close-up photography, but the cost of a good MACRO lens usually put a damper on my enthusiasm. I’ve been looking for cheap alternatives. I have a set of closeup lenses (the ones you screw on the front of the lens, but they weren’t very satisfactory.

I bought the Panagor a while ago, it’s a true 1:1 Macro, and you can usually get one pretty reasonably on Ebay and elsewhere. The Panagor 90mm f/2.8 medium telephoto is a hidden gem. It was also marketed as a closeup Dental lens by Lester Dine. This particular lens was a real bargain, and because of it’s age, I was cconcerned about its condition, but I need not have worried. It was in pristine condition, the previous owner had good care of it and after all, Kino builds excellent lenses.

My other cheap alternative was the Kino made Vivitar 2X Macro teleconverter – this is the “good” one… with 7 elements instead of 4, and when you fit a Zuiko 50mm on it, it’s a 100mm portrait lens, and an excellent MACRO. The Zuiko 50mm is very sharp, and allows stopping down to f/16. The Vivitar Macro teleconverter is a beautiful optic, and is a true 1:1 macro. The teleconverter doubles the focal length to 100mm, but costs us 2 stops of light. However, it makes an excellent Macro lens.

I was in the backyard a couple of weeks ago, experimenting with the lenses, and here are the results. I used my OM-1.

Hand held macrophotography is tricky… focusing that close, lighting is critical, we have to be careful about shading the subject with the lens, hand shake is immediately obvious, and of course the extremely shallow depth of field means that if your subject matter is more than a few millimeters deep, it will be out of focus. Macro also photography makes for interesting bokeh, though.

Moss – Panagor 90mm Macro
Corncob – Panagor 90mm Macro

Photographed with an OM-1, 90mm f/2.8 1:1 Macro with Fuji Superia 400 ASA

Cherry Blossom – 50mm +2x macro
Cherry Blossom – 50mm +2x macro
Cherry Blossom – 50mm +2x macro
Cherry Blossom – 50mm +2x macro

Photographed with an OM-1, 50mm f/1.8 and Vivitar 2X 1:1 Macro Teleconverter, Fuji Superia 400 ASA

text and images © 2007 ajoy muralidhar. all names, websites, brands and technical data referenced are the copyright or trademark of their respective owners.
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