Why do you need the MPE when reverse lens does the same?

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anvancy
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Why do you need the MPE when reverse lens does the same?

Post by anvancy »

I faced this question from my friends who are into macro photography. Their question is, if reverse rings and extension tubes help you achieve either 1x or 2.5x why will you need a $900 lens to do the same job?

I am going to cover this topic under my own blog(which is under construction for the moment), but I need expert inputs in tackling this question better. I am going to write articles in phases pertaining various topics highlighting advantages of each under the field. Lets go through some common points.

1. Both are easy to use on the field. so draw here.
2.The humble 18-55mm when reversed gives you 1x at 50mm. So score goes to the kit lens.
3.Cost is of course the severe factor here.

Many who either are into macro photography or step into macro photography limit themselves into believing that reverse rings and extension tubes are the correct investments and the MPE is a waste. So I need inputs to see the other side of the coin.

And BTW I also own the MPE.

Thanks

Anvancy
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Olympusman
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MPE

Post by Olympusman »

I don't have Canon gear, but when you reverse an AF lens, you don't have any aperture control, do you? If so, you are stuck with some pretty thin depth of field.
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rjlittlefield
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Post by rjlittlefield »

Correct, there's no aperture control on a reversed kit lens unless you buy an expensive adapter such as https://www.novoflex.com/en/products/ma ... eos-retro/.

There's also an issue of image quality. The reversed kit lenses that I've tested have not been stellar, although they're certainly adequate for most purposes. In contrast, the MP-E is top notch and holds up well clear out to 5X if you open the aperture enough to avoid diffraction.

BTW, I'm curious. Since you own an MP-E, why do you need other people's inputs regarding its advantages? Is the problem that you have no experience with reversed kit lenses, or that you personally don't see value in the MP-E?

--Rik

spongepuppy
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Post by spongepuppy »

Avancy,

As with most equipment designed for specialist use, the MP-E offers considerable ergonomic and workflow advantages over the reversed lens option.

For most frequent users, this alone justifies the additional cost of the MPE.

I would also expect a better end result from a purpose-designed lens, all other things being equal - but the ergonomic benefit of the MPE over reversed lenses on extension should be very obvious (particularly to your friends who, ostensibly, are into macrophotography).
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anvancy
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Post by anvancy »

Well, in the case of canon(and i think nikon will work the same way) when the lens is attached normally, you set an aperture say F8 and then press the DOF preview button. While the camera is ON,you remove the lens and reverse it. So now you have a locked F8 on your reverse lens setup.

I do see value Rik.Thats why I purchased it. :) Lately what I am facing is many people come to me saying that why you invested in such a lens which doesnt have a resale value as such. I for one find it immensely wonderful and tack sharp to use. When you mentioned reverse lens or extension tubes setup are good for the purpose, thats the exact statement others give when they ask justification for the MPE. I want to cover this topic on my blog and thus am looking for multi angles to it.

I agree Sponge. I think its more of facebook culture that if A can shoot nice macros with a reverse lens then that makes the MPE non existent.

Anvancy
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johan
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Post by johan »

anvancy wrote:I agree Sponge. I think its more of facebook culture that if A can shoot nice macros with a reverse lens then that makes the MPE non existent.
Not entirely, it is also a system limitation. To buy MP-E you (with the exception of the metabones adapter) need to also buy into the Canon system. Nikon, Pentax and so on can't use MP-E whereas we can reverse a lens.
My extreme-macro.co.uk site, a learning site. Your comments and input there would be gratefully appreciated.

spongepuppy
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Post by spongepuppy »

The 'resale value' mentality is one that I completely fail to understand. Buying a tool with the express (or implied) intent of selling it in the future is like a carpenter buying a hammer made of gold - who cares if it's a good hammer, the resale value will be great! In fact, the carpenter would buy a second, steel hammer that actually saw use because it turned out that the gold hammer was worth more in showroom condition. What a great saving!

I imagine that there are huge vaults of camera gear that sit, unused, gathering dust across the world while their owners congratulate themselves on not wasting money because the resale value is better than X lens they would have actually used.
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Post by rjlittlefield »

anvancy wrote:When you mentioned reverse lens or extension tubes setup are good for the purpose, thats the exact statement others give when they ask justification for the MPE. I want to cover this topic on my blog and thus am looking for multi angles to it.
Perhaps the distinction between doing a job well and doing a job better will resonate with your correspondents. The MP-E's aperture adjusts at the turn of a ring and also allows you to focus wide open and then shoot stopped down. In contrast, the reversed lens runs at fixed aperture until you disassemble and reassemble the rig twice to change it. So the reversed lens is harder to use and/or more limited, and it generates a lower quality image, but in exchange it's a lot cheaper. It's a tradeoff -- what else is new?

--Rik

anvancy
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Post by anvancy »

I think I got the answer that I was looking for. Your post carries it Rik and sponge.I will cover these in my blog and will let you know the same.

Anvancy
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Guido
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Post by Guido »

With a bit of luck you find an old lens to reverse.
The old lenses have a manual diafragma that you can set to any position.

Focussing manual and light measuring manual is no problem because that is mostly done above 1:1

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Post by ChrisR »

The "point" of the MPE can resolve to a simple issue, of providing a usable tool where nothing else would work.
In the field, using handheld flash, you need
  • to be able to see to focus,
    to use a small aperture for adequate depth of field.

That means using an automatic diaphragm.

You can use "auto" extension tubes with a dedicated macro lens the "normal" way round, but you'd need rather a lot. Even then, usablility is only to a point, where working distance and lens quality become limiting.

For evidence, just look at the huge number of photos here from pberter or orionmystery. I'm sure neither sets up a tripod for every shot.

anvancy
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Post by anvancy »

Chris I had a question where you said to be able to see the focus in the event of reverse lens. To my knowledge the reverse lens setup will work exactly how the MPE will. You will have to physically move till you focus on the subject. when you reverse the lens you will still see the subject from the viewfinder when you physically move right?

Till now wherever I have used the MPE I have found it a gem to use.

Anvancy
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Post by ChrisR »

To my knowledge the reverse lens setup will work exactly how the MPE will
No!
Hand-holding camera:
  • Reversed lens dark, can't see what you're doing. Lens/diaphragm manipulation moves the camera, lose focus. And lose live subject which has moved. Two reasons for No Picture.

    MPE bright, press the button. Picture every time.
Try it, at f/16 at 3x.

anvancy
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Post by anvancy »

So Chris if I go by you then when I reverse my lens I dont see anything in my viewfinder and its a totally hit and miss trick?

Rik before I conclude this thread can you please throw some additional light on extension tubes? I know you will have loss of light and sensor dust but I wanted to know what drives extension tubes so much? Just because they are cheap? Also is it ok if I take info from here and put it on my blog with due credit and links given there?

Anvancy
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Post by ChrisR »

Anvancy, I would urge you to try it. It's much better to write from experience on your blog than quote someone else.
f/16 at 3x is effective f/64.
See if you find you can focus accurately looking through that.

Extension tubes are cheap, and will for example get a 50mm lens to 1:1, retaining the auto features. Their competitor is one of the multi element close-up lenses such as a Raynox. There are pros and cons as with everything else.
Again, you really need to try it yourself, to see how it "feels".

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