View Full Version : What diopter close-up filter for 40-150?

06-02-2008, 12:00 AM
A few years back, I helped a friend here in Japan buy an E-500 2-lens kit. Later this month she is getting married in Hawaii, and I was thinking I'd send her a few camera accessories. (She's taking her E-500 and also a digital P&S.) I assume she'll be taking photos of tropical flowers and also her wedding paraphenalia, so I thought she might appreciate one or two close-up filters.

I've read a lot about the Canon 500D etc. but haven't been able to find them here in Japan. My main choices seem to be Kenko, Hoya, and Marumi. Would one filter be enough, or would you recommend two? What diopter should I get her? I was thinking +2 and +3. Does that sound about right?

My friend is unlikely to invest in other ZD lenses in the near future, so she could get by with 58 mm filters, but would you recommend a larger size to avoid edge softness? Are the step-down rings a hassle to use? Do they look funny? :rolleyes:

Would the filters be at all useful on the 14-45, or should she use them exclusively on the 40-150?

Or do you think I should just lend her my EX-25?

OR do you think I am barking up the wrong tree and should be sending her some other kind of accessory? (suggestions welcome). I don't want to spend a lot, because I already have a few other presents for her. I'm thinking something inexpensive that is not difficult to use and will help her preserve her memories better.

Thanks in advance!

06-02-2008, 12:24 AM
Julie, my experience with diopters is limited. But I borrowed my uncle's Voigtlander Bessamatic a number of times, and his diopter set too. He had the +1, +2, and +4. I thought the +2 good enough, and only used that. Infinity became about 3'. Then you could rack in the lens to its minimum focus.

I only tried to use the 50mm Voigtlander lens with diopter; all I can now remember is shooting two pictures from a book. This was done with no special assist (no tripod, no special light). Shot at f/22. The results were so real that they fooled my shutterbug cousin. He asked me when I had gone there.

The 1-2-4 set is more than adequate, giving up to +7 when all three are used. I shot slides and noted no fringing, vignetting, nor softness around the edges.

Your question about filter size puzzles me. If you want to serve both kit lenses (58mm) and 14-54/50-200, that's 67mm. Of course you would want either two sets (or just two filters!); or 67mm plus stopdown rings. There is one other dodge: reversal rings, but you need to know if that would serve on that lens/those lenses. Most Gauss formula (symmetrical) work; and some others. You just have to learn more to be sure. Note you'll lose all automatics. Why not just give her the EX25? Is her lens/are her lenses fast enough to work with that?

Don't forget that putting a 67mm filter on a 58mm lens would preclude attaching the lens hood. You could borrow a different hood, but at risk of either vignetting or uselessness.

If price is the watchword, you can scarcely find much else than the diopter lenses. For example a Justin clamp costs nearly $100 at regular prices. Don't know how much the Canon 500D costs because I have been unable to find it. Canon's site wants to show me only lenses, even when I input "filters". Weird! You *might* be able to find an off-brand slave flash for peanuts?

06-02-2008, 12:30 AM
Julie, seems the 500D is a hot item recently. :)
The price of the 58mm Canon 500D is here. (http://www.tincheungcamera.com.hk/product/1247)
58mm will be fine I guess, because Nate just tested his 72mm close up filter on the 11-22mm and no vignetting (http://forum.fourthirdsphoto.com/showpost.php?p=310159&postcount=9).
What is the diopter I am not sure, 500D is 500mm focus distance and another variant is 250D means 250mm, may be Nate and Jens can offer more information.
Apart from this close up lens, then what is the budget? tell us then easier to choose.

06-02-2008, 03:00 AM
Hi Julie,

I'd recommend an achromatic close-up lens of +4 diopters to go with her 40-150.

I have had the the Canon 500D (+2 diopters) for a while and used it quite much with the 50-200 because they are a very good match to each other. However, the shorter the zoom lens becomes, the shorter focal length (higher diopter) of the close-up lens is needed.

So, when I got the 40-150, I bought a 58 mm Canon 250D (+4) to make for an extremely versatile and lightweight travel kit with very good macro functionality. They have a perfect fit and it takes very nice macros down to almost 1:1. I can't remember if I have posted any examples here yet. I can take some tonight if you like?

Of the brands you mentioned, I think Hoya's only achromatic one is +10 diopters which is very strong and is well reputed (but she will be able to shoot the individual eyes of an insect's compound eye with it). I have seen recently that Marumi is advertising their "designed for digital" achromatic +3 and +5 close-up lenses. They are probably very good (matching the prices I have seen). I have no idea about Kenko - but if they are achromats (double or triple elements) it indicates some kind of ambition level. If they in addition claim high resolution (a.k.a. "designed for digital") they might be worth a try.

Cheers, Jens

Cheers, Jens.

06-02-2008, 05:23 AM
OK Julie,

I found a couple of test shots I made last year with the E-510 and the 40-150 with a Canon 250D, both taken at about 25 cm distance:

Zoom set to 40 mm and f/22 (nominal aperture), distance to subject about 25 cm:
(full frame resized)

Here is an 800x600 pixels² 100% crop of the above photo:

Here is the zoom set to 150 mm focal length and f/22 (nominal aperture), the same distance as above (~25 cm):
(full frame resized)

Finally, an 800x800 pixels² 100% crop of the photo taken with the zoom set to 150 mm:

I guess this will give you an impression of what such a close-up lens is capable of.

Cheers, Jens.

06-02-2008, 05:34 AM
The Hoya Pro1 close up "filter" is excellent but a bit hard to find as is the Canon (both). They're all a bit pricey and it gets to the point where I have to wonder if the 35mm macro lens wouldn't be the better long term investment but I've used them and they're excellent.

Step up/down rings are not hard to use at all and I think that's actually a reasonably good idea not so much because of edge issues but because you'll be able to use the close up lens on more lenses in the future! 72mm would be my suggestion. Perhaps pick up a hood for 72mm threads if they go this route so that they'll have some flare protection.

Just food for thought!


06-02-2008, 05:39 AM
Jens, very good examples. :) ( Sorry Julie, hijacked your thread :p)
Jens, want to have a clearer understanding, [a] if I use the 50-200mm, no matter with EC-14 or not, the 500D is close enough? (i.e. 250D will be too close to the subject?) [b] you mentioned "nominal aperture", at this small opening, a flash is almost a must?

06-02-2008, 07:25 AM
Thanks very much everybody, for your helpful suggestions, and especially Jens for the nice sample images.

My understanding of optics is really poor, so I'm going to need a little time to digest everything. In the meantime, I've been looking at my usual Japanese online vendor, and I did find the Canon 250D and 500D. I don't know how I missed them before, but anyway, the Canons are more than I want to spend for now: just under $80 per filter for the 58 mm size. Also, it looks like some kind of adapter is necessary?

Kenko does have a designed-for-digital achromatic type, the PRO1D. The 58 mm size runs around US$50. Right now it's only available in +2, +3, and +5. Kenko also has a less costly +3 filter for $15.

Marumi has a +3 (coated for digital) for around $30.

The only Hakubas available are around $10 and are not digital-specific.

The Marumi +3 is looking good right now. My friend doesn't spend any time on photography sites, and I doubt she will print larger than 5X7 (if that), so I don't know that she needs the very best filter. I think she will be excited enough to be able to shoot close up.

So, those are my thoughts for the moment. If I get the Marumi, I will try it out and let you know how it performs. If it's half decent, I might also order one for my mother (I bought her an E-500 a few years ago)...and also for myself? :D

06-02-2008, 09:15 AM
...and also for myself? :D

Seems you made up your mind already. :D

06-02-2008, 10:23 AM
I found this at web, http://www.adorama.com/BW72CU2.html
Is that good? :)

Eric A.
06-02-2008, 11:00 AM

06-02-2008, 12:47 PM
The Canon C-U lenses are said to be excellent; but I successfully used Hoya ones (chiefly the +4) with a ZD 17.5-45 before I got a 35 macro.

06-02-2008, 01:15 PM

An EX-25 would be more useful for a wide/normal zoom like the 14-45. A 25mm lens with a 25mm tube focuses to 1:1 at infinity, but a 150mm lens only focuses to 1:6 at infinity. Tubes are useful on telephotos, but more to get a bit closer than to get very close. Think butterflies, not house flies.

Buying an EX-25 to use on her 14-45 is a good solution, too. It doesn't sound like she's going to be shooting things that will run away from her, so she doesn't need a big working distance. But, do you really want to be without your EX-25, Julie? :)

The only other cheap solution is to buy a cheap 50mm lens and reverse it on her 40-150. You can go way beyond 1:1 with that setup. But even cheap 50's are $30, and you'd need a reversing ring ($10), and they're a big pain to shoot with, and they look very funny. So scratch that. :D

If you want to give her a gift, a cheap diopter is a good way to go, I think. Your EX-25 might perform a bit better than a distortion-causing cheap hunk of glass, but at least the diopter is hers, and it's easier to lug around with you than an extension tube.

Make sure to tell her to practice before the honeymoon! The first few times she tries to use it she'll probably end up with a bunch of blurry, poorly-framed pictures. Shooting close-ups is hard work!

06-02-2008, 01:34 PM
Hi Johannes,

Jens, want to have a clearer understanding, [a] if I use the 50-200mm, no matter with EC-14 or not, the 500D is close enough? (i.e. 250D will be too close to the subject?) [b] you mentioned "nominal aperture", at this small opening, a flash is almost a must?

I'm not sure I can help with the understanding but I can always try, but to answer your questions, we will have to use a little bit of optics and I can add in some of my own experience.

How they work.
The way close-up lenses (CULs) work is that they essentially shift the infinity focus point of the camera lens to a distance equal to the focal length of the close-up lens (like using readers when the lens in the eye is getting old and stiff and can't focus close enough).

Anyone allergic to physics, math, or numbers may be tempted to skip the next sections (although chanses are that you will understand it) and continue to read after the text: "[/some elementary optics & examples]".

[some elementary optics & examples]
I decided to make this as clear and simple as I can because I feel that many here don't have a feeling for what is going on with close-up lenses.

The focal length of close-up lenses are most often given as diopters (dp), the dp-value is equal to 1/(focal length) (in meters) so that the 500D (500 mm focal length) is +2 diopters and the 250D (250 mm focal length) is a +4 dp lens. The reason for this odd diopter denotion is that when combining two or more CULs*, one can just add the dp values together and get a feeling for the combined strength. So if we for example put together a 500D and a 250D, we will end up with a +6 dp CUL. It is now straight forward to invert that value to get the combined focal length: 1/6 dp = 0.167 m = 167 mm. I hope you follow me this far.

Now, why do I tell you about diopters? Well, it is because the same principle of adding the diopters goes for calculating the focal length of the combined camera lens + CUL. If I for eaxample use a ZD 40-150 mm lens together with a 250D CUL, the combined focal length in diopters when zoomed to 150 mm becomes 1/0.150 m + 1/0.250 m = 10.7 dp which inverted becomes 94 mm combined focal length. So you see that the effect of the CUL was not only to bring the focusing distance closer but also to shorten the used focal length.

As you may know, the aperture number f/#, is the ratio of the effective diameter of the aperture and the focal lenth of the lens. So if we set the camera lens to 150 mm and f/22, the aperture opening is effectively 150 mm/22 = 6.82 mm. Adding the 250D CUL and keeping camera setting at f/22 (the nominal aperture) doesn't change the physical size of the aperture although the focal length is reduced to 94 mm. We can thus calculate the real aperture number with the CUL as 94 mm/6.82 mm = ~14, that is f/14. This explains why one has to stop down one or two stops extra when using CULs in order to maintain the DOF one is used to get at a certain magnification.

* Stacking non-achromatic CULs was very popular before digital came around. However, the performance of the combined CULs aren't good enough for high resolution requirements of digital sensors, so I wouldn't recommend that unless being on a budget. Using a single achromatic CUL is far superior when going for the larger diopter values.
[/some elementary optics & examples]

To recapitulate; the close-up lens shortens the focal length and it reduces the aperture to a real f-number smaller than the "nominal" aperture which is read out on the camera's display. The DOF is reduced correspondingly.

So for your questions, if one repeat the calculations for the ZD 50-200 and a 500D or a 250D with and without an EC-14, one will see that the effects of the 500D is roughly compensated by the increased focal length as well as the loss of one stop when adding the TC to the lens. Note that the focus distance isn't changed by the EC-14 so the answer to [a] is that you will gain about 1.4x in magnification with the TC but the 500 mm focal length of the 500D will roughly halve the focusing distance from 1.2 m to about 60 cm. With a 250D, the distance will be halved again but the gain in magnification isn't twice because the focal length is also almost haved. However, my experience is that negligible image distortion is imposed by a high quality CUL if its focal length is more than twice as long as the focal length of the camera lens. A 250D on the 50-200 may thus be introducing some distortion. One good thing here is that the camera's AF still works with the CUL which is very useful.

For your question [b] about the required illumination and the nominal aperture, one can say that a lens equipped with a CUL is always brighter than the naked lens and thus also needs less light if the aperture isn't stopped further down. If the lens isn't stopped fully down, I would recommend using an aperture one to two stops smaller than what you would have used with a dedicated macro lens giving the same magnification. That will give you the same DOF as you are used to. A good thing is that the camera's metering will automatically take care of any exposure change with the CUL so there is no need to compensate the flash or anything else.

Cheers and congratulations to all who have made it to this bottom line,


06-02-2008, 02:04 PM
Thanks a million, Jens :) http://forum.fourthirdsphoto.com/images/icons/icon14.gif
The diopters thing I understand, because I wear glasses, but the formula I was confused, all the physics I learnt before went back to my teachers :p, you made examples of calculation for me (including benefits to all members here :thumbup:) then I have the cleared mind now !!!

And the question I asked previous, I found B+W CUL is half price of Canon 500D, is it good or Canon is the best? :happy0060:

06-02-2008, 02:34 PM
I haven't used the B+W close-up lens. It is a single lement lens and I stopped using such close-up lenses entirely about 4 years ago. After having wasted a unique opportunity by using expensive Heliopan single element CULs, I exchanged all my single lement CULs for achromats and I have been very happy with that. (Not to say that B+W is as bad as those Heliopan's but I was naive enough to believe in the good reputation of the Heliopan brand. So you better test the lens yourself for the intended application.)

Cheers, Jens.

06-02-2008, 02:46 PM
I haven't used the B+W close-up lens. It is a single lement lens and I stopped using such close-up lenses entirely about 4 years ago. After having wasted a unique opportunity by using expensive Heliopan single element CULs, I exchanged all my single lement CULs for achromats and I have been very happy with that. (Not to say that B+W is as bad as those Heliopan's but I was naive enough to believe in the good reputation of the Heliopan brand. So you better test the lens yourself for the intended application.)

Cheers, Jens.

Yup, I will test it first, thanks again. :)

06-04-2008, 01:19 AM
May be a nonsense question... what will be the IS react at 'changed' focal length when the 500D is mounted.....?

06-04-2008, 01:36 AM
May be a nonsense question... what will be the IS react at 'changed' focal length when the 500D is mounted.....?

Stabilization of pitch and yaw will be less effective on the augmented lens, unless one manually informs the camera of the changed focal length. Painful to do when using a zoom. But in the kind of shooting done with close-up lenses this kind of stabilization is less important anyway. Lateral shifts start becoming relevant at portrait range, dominating blur creation by macro range, and Olympus makes no claim that their IS implementation attempts to counter them. Even if Olympus IS does address lateral displacement (without bragging about it), the magnification reported by a digital lens would be wrong so the counter shifts would be inaccurate. All in all, for sharp macro images, with close-up lenses or not, it's probably best to revert to traditional techniques: posture, tripod, and flash.

06-04-2008, 10:29 AM
To add to the thorough and detailed post by Jens, the first question you want to ask is do you want a one or two element close up lens. The two element ones are much sharper at wider apertures and over the entire field of view whereas the single element ones tend to work best only when the lens is stopped down.
The second issue is picking the best diopter for the lens you have. The 45-150 (if it is the older version) will focus by itself down to 1.5 meters. Using the formula FD = 100/D (where FD is the focusing distance of the lens and D is the diopter of the close up lens), the lens by itself will have a diopter equivalent of 0.67 at minimum focus. You can add the diopter of the lens itself and the diopter to give you a rough idea of the magnification of the total system. So ideally you would pick a diopter of .67 which would allow the lens a continual focus from infinity to 1.5 meters by itself, and focusing from 1.5 meters to about .75 meters with the diopter. If you pick a diopter of less than 0.67 you will have a gap in continuous focusing ability but the magnification will be higher.
Once you have decided on the diopter, and if you have decided on the two element types, please see Greg Erker's site on 2 element achromatic diopters.
As you can see there is nothing that exactly fits your requirements so some compromises are needed. The closest fit is probably the Pentax T132 or T226 67mm but they probably are not available. You might also try a Nikon 5T 62mm.
If you go with one element CU lens there are lots more choices. A one diopter will allow focus from 1 meter and closer so you will only have a gap from 1 to 1.5 meters.
And if you friend wants to use the common 14-45 go through the same analysis above for this lens. Of course one of the main differences is that you will be much closer to the subject, which is not good for spider, snakes and the like.


06-15-2008, 07:08 AM
Here's an update: I had decided on the Marumi +3, but then I realized it had to be back ordered. That seems to be true with most of the close-up filters that looked promising to me. Since time was running out, I mailed my EX-25 to my friend a few days ago, and I'll get it back from her when she visits her family here in Hokkaido later this summer. In the meantime, I'll order a close-up filter and plan on giving it to her when I get my EX-25 back.

It's nighttime here, and she's leaving for Hawaii tomorrow, but she is excited to have the EX-25 and has spent all day playing around with it (she has been packed and ready to leave for several days--not a last-minute bride like I was, I guess!). She has been practicing shooting their wedding rings, as she wants to get some pictures of them against the tropical flowers in her wedding bouquet. She says she likes the results she's been getting with the extension tube and thinks she will be able to get some nice shots in Hawaii.

Thanks again for your help, everybody. I'll post some of my friend's pics when she gets back to Japan, and I'll also post my impressions of the closeup filters when I get them.