Well no, it’s not about a sheet. I like Panasonic S1 more and more, but the fact that I like it cannot hide the fact that no camera is the best for every task. Each task requires the right tool. S1 is great for portraiture, landscape and interiors. But for example for macro – I prefer something different here. With a smaller sensor – because it’s easier for a greater depth of field, with a macro lens – because it’s easier to have the right scale. Using the moment of breath, today I compared the ease of taking macro photos using the Panasonic S1 + Lumix S 24-105 (because there is no macro lens for the S1 yet, and Lumix S 24-105 is almost macro) and Fujifilm X-H1 + Fujinon 80mm Macro. There could only be one result.
At the beginning, there was no macro lens for Fujifilm X. Then one half of the macro lens has appeared, namely XF 60mm with reproduction ratio of just 1:2. Because of that, the macro photographers either didn’t take Fujifilm X into account, or, like me, used third party lenses with converters, like AF Micro Nikkor 200mm f/4. Suddenly, Fujifilm management promised a real macro lens. Initially rumors were about 120mm, but soon it turned out to be 80mm more probable. We were waiting long time, new dates and deadlines suggested by oracles were passing, and finally it is! So long promised and even longer awaited real macro lens for Fujifilm X!
After several months of use, I have got already quite well crystallized opinion about this lens. In assumptions, it is a macro lens. But focal length of 60mm in case of APS-C size is rather a short tele – I would say it is one of the portrait focal lengths. But I don’t do portraits – I do macro, so my opinion about this lens is an opinion about tool to photograph small objects, from the relatively small distance, for maximum reproduction ratio. And what about the reproduction ratio? Unfortunately it is not 1:1 – it is 1:2 only. Not good for macro lens.
Yesterday I received another package. This time nice addition to the Nissin i60A flash: the Nissin Air 1 Commander:
Every day work during the working week and family activities during the weekends do not leave too much time for photography, so my brand new X-T2 had to wait quite a long time before I finally found some time to give it a try. But finally, today this dat has came. Dark, cold, no light – perfect conditions for test drive of the new gear 🙂
Today I took with me such set: X-T2 and Fujinon 60mm f/2,4 Macro.
As I already mentioned above, there were no light. So I was even more happy with AF speed and quality. Unfortunately the lens has no image stabilization, so in case of longer exposure there is visible some level of the motion blur. But in general I’m very, very happy with the use of X-T2. All the wheels and buttons are comfortable and work pretty well and nice. just one note: as you can see on the picture, I don’t use standard straps. Instead I use special strap, mounted in the tripod socket on the bottom of the body (or grip in this case). This gives me two things: very comfortable carrying of the camera when not used and easy access for my pointing finger to the front wheel. With standard strap I have really hard time trying to reach the shutter release and the front wheel with the same finger.
This time next mixture of hardware: X-Pro2, AF Micro Nikkor 200mm f/4 D ED, extension rings 16mm and 11mm, teleconverter 1.4x Fuji and of course Metabones adapter ring. This setup gives magnification of 1.81. I have used Nikon SB-910 as a main source of light, with Fujifilm EF-X20 as a commander flash. Fuji flash set as “Commander” in X-Pro2 menu, while SB-910 set as SU-4 slave. This means that power of the flash was set manually. The result:
In the previous article, I have described use of the AF Micro Nikkor 200mm f/4 D ED for macro photography with X-Pro2. I use it this way because as per today, there is no real macro lens in the Fujifilm XF portfolio. But there is something what resembles a bit the macro lens (sorry, Fuji 🙂
This “something” is the XF Macro 60mm – a “macro” lens, giving 1:2 magnification and focal length of just 60mm – too short for work with living insects for instance. But I decided to give this lens a try – reaching maximum reasonable magnification I could potentially get with this lens. So I added three things to the lens.
What you can see above, are X-Pro2, Fujinon XF Macro 60mm, extension ring 16mm, extension ring 11mm and the 1.4x teleconverter. Theoretically, the teleconverter is incompatible with the Fujinon XF Macro 60mm. The teleconverter has front lens protruding far to the back lens of the Fujinon, so any attempt to mount one with the other will definitely lead to destruction of one or the other or even both. It is important to mount first the teleconverter on the body, then both extension rings and finally Fujinon. This way extension rings make space necessary to keep the protruding front lens of teleconverter in a save distance from back lens of the Fujinon. Some examples of use of this setup you can see below.
The above pictures were taken with maximum possible magnification – first the lens set to the maximum magnification and then focus achieved by moving macro focusing rail. So what’s this maximum magnification scale? Let’s see:
The above picture shows so called “millimeter paper” – the distance between two lines is 1mm. Let’s count: we can see 18mm horizontally. The sensor is 23.6mm long. So simple calculation says that the maximum magnification scale is 1.31:1. Quite nice, I would say.
Unfortunately this setup has it’s drawbacks. Let’s leave aside poor AF performance or sometimes AF not working at all – this is natural and I prefer manual focusing, using macro rail. But what is really an issue is big light falloff – flash is a must. But as we know, today Fujifilm doesn’t offer too much in this range. I was using tiny Fujifilm EF-X20 as this is the only flash for Fuji X-Pro2 I currently have. I have added a simple diffuser made of white windscreen washer bottle, installed above the lens. But I would definitely prefer two off-camera flashes, with wireless control. And the second thing – Fujinon XF Macro 60mm has the manual focusing ring. But this ring doesn’t have a mechanical connection to lens groups, instead it works sending electrical signals to the body’s CPU which in turn commands the motors inside the lens. I don’t like such thing in macro lens, where I usually use manual focusing, because turning the ring I have no idea if I have already reached the extreme setting or not. And one more thing: geometry. The above picture shows clearly the barrel distortion, which in this case has almost no meaning, but also field curvature and sharpness falling towards edges, what makes hard setting focus correctly for entire picture.
Despite the small issues, in my opinion the Fujinon XF Macro 60mm is still a nice lens – but someone who wants to achieve magnification bigger than 1:2 and photograph living insects, he will not have easy life.
…no, not FUJINON XF60mm F2.4 R Macro. It is hard to call this lens not only the best macro lens, but macro lens at all. With 1:2 reproduction ratio and 60mm focal length I would call it rather “pseudo macro”. This is why macro Fujifilm passionate have to invent something on their own. And I invented something like that: