Tube Lens Test Final Results

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RobertOToole
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Tube Lens Test Final Results

Post by RobertOToole »

The final complete Tube Lens Test of 18 lenses is now online.

The best performer overall is still the Thorlabs ILT200 but there were some big surprises since my earlier post:(http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/v ... hp?t=37740)

There were some big unexpected results. Some of the lenses, to my surprise, performed much better when focused past infinity or short focused.

This is the link to the full test:https://www.closeuphotography.com/tube-lens-test

Hope you find the results useful. Comments and questions are welcome.

Setup:
Objective: Mitutoyo 5x M Plan APO
Camera: Sony A6300, model ILCE-6300, also known as the A6300
Sensor size: 23.5 × 15.6 mm. APS-C. 28.21 mm diagonal. 3.92 micron sensor pitch
Flash: two Godox TT350s wireless flash units, one Godox X1s 2.4G wireless flash transmitter
Vertical stand: Nikon MM-11 with a Nikon focus block

Final lens test list:
Thorlabs ITL200 Tube Lens
Mitutoyo MT-1 Tube lens
Nikon MXA20696 Tube Lens
Reichert Microscope Tube Lens

Canon 250D Close-up Lens
Century Precision Optics +4 Achromatic Diopter Lens
Century Precision Optics +7 Achromatic Diopter Lens
Cosina MMA Matched Macro Adapter Lens
Raynox +4.8 diopter
Raynox +5.9 diopter
Raynox +8 diopter
Sigma LSA Life Size Attachment Lens

Asahi Pentax Tele-Takumar 200mm f/5.6
Carl Zeiss Tele-Tessar T* 200mm f/3.5
Nikkor 135mm f/3.5 Ai
Nikkor 200mm f/4 Ai
Sigma 150mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM APO Macro
Voigtlander APO-Lanthar 125mm f/2.5

Click on any image open a full size version.

Image

This is the full un-cropped image at 5x with the 100% crop areas outlined in blue.

Image

The results from the Sigma 150 OS was a pleasant surprise! Perfect CA correction and sharp edge to edge.


Image

The Voigtlander 125mm APO-Lanthar was also excellent but I have to mention that the lack of tripod mount collar is a big negative for me (The Sigma 150 does have a tripod collar).

Image

APO-like CA correction for $49. The 135mm f/3.5 Ai Nikkor is one of best lenses and is much cleaner image quality than the 200/4 Ai.

Image

Sigma Normal mount.

Image

Sigma reversed with short (beyond infinity) focus. The cropping will change with the short focus images.

Image

The Century +4 normal mount. Very good performance.

Image

The Century +4 even better with short focus and 110mm between the lens and objective.

Image

Thorlabs ITL200 normal mount.

Image

Thorlabs ITL200 short focus.

Image

Raynox 208mm Normal mount. Excellent.

Image

Raynox 208mm short focus. Excellent +.

Notes:

Some of the lenses in this test were tested with multiple samples, I test three ITL200s and four Sigma LSAs for example. I did not see any variation between samples.

Some of the lenses were tested with short focus, normal focus, minimum objective extension, 50mm extension and 110mm extension in both normal and reverse.

Over the course of this test I shot something like 1400 frames.

Short focus, or using a lens with less extension than is needed for infinity focus means that it is "focused" beyond infinity. This would create an unusable blurry image, but in many cases this happens to work well with tube lenses - as described here. Short focus results in the shorter "effective focal length" used here for magnification calculation purposes, so for example the Raynox +4.8, 208mm lens, with short focus is a 178mm effective FL lens, this would give you .859 x the Mitutoyo objectives marked magnification, for the Mitutoyo 5x M Plan lens this would be 4.29x.

In most cases compared to a down-sized normal focus image, the short focus image is sharper, clean and more detailed.

For more info, images, notes and comments see the post in my site, link at the top of the page.

Be sure to share any comments, questions below.

Thanks.

RobertOToole
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Post by RobertOToole »

Forgot to thank Chris S, Chris R and Saul for making the test possible, thanks Guys!

Also this is important:

THE BEST AT 200MM

Excellent
Thorlabs ITL200 Tube Lens [infinity] - 9.3 - Overall best at 200mm
Century Precision Optics +4 Achromatic Diopter Lens [pushed down with short extension] - 9
Raynox +4.8 diopter - 8

Good
Sigma LSA Life Size Attachment Lens - 7.6
Reichert Microscope Tube Lens - 7

THE WORST AT 200MM

Average
Mitutoyo MT-1 Tube lens - 6.5
Nikkor 200mm f/4 Ai - 6
Nikon MXA20696 Tube Lens - 5.5
Asahi Pentax Tele-Takumar 200mm f/5.6 - 5
Carl Zeiss Tele-Tessar T* 200mm f/3.5 - 5

THE BEST TUBE LENSES SHORTER THAN 200MM

Excellent
Thorlabs ITL200 Tube Lens [pushed down with short extension] - 9.6 - Overall best at shorter than 200
Raynox +4.8 diopter [pushed down with short extension] - 9.6
Sigma 150mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM APO Macro - 9.5
Voigtlander APO-Lanthar 125mm f/2.5 - 9.5
Raynox +8 diopter - 9.5
Nikkor 135mm f/3.5 Ai - 9
Century Precision Optics +7 Achromatic Diopter Lens - 8.5
Raynox +5.9 diopter - 9.5

THE BEST TUBE LENSES LONGER THAN 200MM

Excellent
Century Precision Optics +4 Achromatic Diopter Lens - 8.5 - Overall best at 200mm+
Average
Cosina MMA Matched Macro Adapter Lens - 5.3

THE WORST LENS LONGER THAN 200MM

Poor
Canon 250D Close-up Lens - 4

mjkzz
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Post by mjkzz »

wow, thanks Robert.

However, I'd like to learn how to push down a Raynox +4.8 tube lens in the following statement? Thanks.

Raynox +4.8 diopter [pushed down with short extension] - 9.6

RobertOToole
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Post by RobertOToole »

mjkzz wrote:wow, thanks Robert.

However, I'd like to learn how to push down a Raynox +4.8 tube lens in the following statement? Thanks.

Raynox +4.8 diopter [pushed down with short extension] - 9.6
Hi Peter,

Yes.

Sensor to shoulder of the Raynox: 144 mm extension
Normal mount
Extension from tube lens to objective: 50mm
Effective focal length (used to calculate magnification): 178mm
Effective magnification factor: 0.859 x

I have mounting and set-up for all the lenses on the my site but I can post any info anyone asks for here also.

Robert
Last edited by RobertOToole on Tue Aug 21, 2018 5:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

RobertOToole
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Post by RobertOToole »

mjkzz wrote:wow, thanks Robert.

However, I'd like to learn how to push down a Raynox +4.8 tube lens in the following statement? Thanks.

Raynox +4.8 diopter [pushed down with short extension] - 9.6
This might be more clear for people.

BTW I tested this lens in 9 different configurations and this was the sharpest and cleanest.

Image

mawyatt
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Post by mawyatt »

Robert,

You (with the help from Saul, ChrisS, ChrisR) have done another superb job of helping us folks out with this informative lens evaluation.

Now I need some time to digest all this useful information.

Hat's off to you, and your helpers :D

Best,
Last edited by mawyatt on Wed Aug 22, 2018 7:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Research is like a treasure hunt, you don't know where to look or what you'll find!
~Mike

Lou Jost
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Post by Lou Jost »

This is fantastic and very surprising!! I am especially glad to see that many of the tube lenses can be pushed way down. That's a game-changer for many of us, who always dreamed of a non-vignetting zoom tube lens. Seems we always had them right under our noses!

mawyatt
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Post by mawyatt »

Robert,

With the Raynox 150 & others, did you find the 144mm & 50mm spacing critical? Also wondering if this spacing configuration is unique to the Mitty 5X, or if the Mitty 10 and 20X would benefit as well?

Thanks again for all the efforts put forth.

Best,
Research is like a treasure hunt, you don't know where to look or what you'll find!
~Mike

mjkzz
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Post by mjkzz »

RobertOToole wrote:
mjkzz wrote:wow, thanks Robert.

However, I'd like to learn how to push down a Raynox +4.8 tube lens in the following statement? Thanks.

Raynox +4.8 diopter [pushed down with short extension] - 9.6
Hi Peter,

Yes.

Sensor to shoulder of the Raynox: 144 mm extension
Normal mount
Extension from tube lens to objective: 50mm
Effective focal length (used to calculate magnification): 178mm
Effective magnification factor: 0.859 x

I have mounting and set-up for all the lenses on the my site but I can post any info anyone asks for here also.

Robert
So, we really do not care the requirement of focusing to infinity by infinite corrected objective? Very interesting! Thanks

RobertOToole
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Post by RobertOToole »

mawyatt wrote:Robert,

With the Raynox 150 & others, did you find the 144mm & 50mm spacing critical? Also wondering if this spacing configuration is unique to the Mitty 5X, or if the Mitty 10 and 20X would benefit as well?

Thanks again for all the efforts put forth.

Best,
Hi Mike,

Good question. the spacing was important, but its complicated.

For the test I ran most lenses (except for the telephotos) with minimal, or adapters only, then with a 50mm tube, a 75mm tube and finally with a 110mm tube between the TL and the Objective. Some but not all lenses seemed to respond to these changes, I noted this for each lens in the full test on my site.

The 144 or 145mm distance was convenient, this happened to be the length of a short tube, the body adapter and the camera register. I did not try extremes with spacing since I had such a large group of lenses.

Now this is where it gets complicated. The tube to objective distance is important.

When I short focus or focus past infinity (where the effective focal length drops so the magnification drops a bit) I had to run the lens to distance spacing tests again since image quality changed with some. This is why I had to test each lens so many times, some I had to run 7-9, even 10 times in different configurations.

When I ran a lens with short focus the magnification was pushed down, but if I increased lens to objective distance the magnification went back up a bit.

Also I did have a chance to run two other objectives with similar set-ups, one a Nikon S Fluor, and it did seem to respond in the same way but Nikon being Nikon the extra CAs and small image circle didn't make the best comparison images so I cut the test short but the Nikon objective did respond in the same way. The S Fluor and ITL200/Raynox with a short focus looked excellent.

I do plan to run a 10x and 20x at a later date for sure. I will probably run a Mity 10x first against a couple Nikon 10x objectives and then with the best tubes at different configurations.


Thanks for the questions.

Best,

Robert

RobertOToole
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Post by RobertOToole »

mjkzz wrote:
RobertOToole wrote:
mjkzz wrote:wow, thanks Robert.

However, I'd like to learn how to push down a Raynox +4.8 tube lens in the following statement? Thanks.

Raynox +4.8 diopter [pushed down with short extension] - 9.6
Hi Peter,

Yes.

Sensor to shoulder of the Raynox: 144 mm extension
Normal mount
Extension from tube lens to objective: 50mm
Effective focal length (used to calculate magnification): 178mm
Effective magnification factor: 0.859 x

I have mounting and set-up for all the lenses on the my site but I can post any info anyone asks for here also.

Robert
So, we really do not care the requirement of focusing to infinity by infinite corrected objective? Very interesting! Thanks
Hi Peter,

You do want infinity focus if you want to keep the marked magnification. For image quality, no.:D

The short focus images look cleaner so I checked to see what the difference is, if any, if I re-size the the infinity focus to match the short focus image. So I converted two RAW files and re-sized the infinity image down and the short focus image had better fine detail.

Robert

mjkzz
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Post by mjkzz »

RobertOToole wrote:
mjkzz wrote:
RobertOToole wrote:
mjkzz wrote:wow, thanks Robert.

However, I'd like to learn how to push down a Raynox +4.8 tube lens in the following statement? Thanks.

Raynox +4.8 diopter [pushed down with short extension] - 9.6
Hi Peter,

Yes.

Sensor to shoulder of the Raynox: 144 mm extension
Normal mount
Extension from tube lens to objective: 50mm
Effective focal length (used to calculate magnification): 178mm
Effective magnification factor: 0.859 x

I have mounting and set-up for all the lenses on the my site but I can post any info anyone asks for here also.

Robert
So, we really do not care the requirement of focusing to infinity by infinite corrected objective? Very interesting! Thanks
Hi Peter,

You do want infinity focus if you want to keep the marked magnification. For image quality, no.:D

The short focus images look cleaner so I checked to see what the difference is, if any, if I re-size the the infinity focus to match the short focus image. So I converted two RAW files and re-sized the infinity image down and the short focus image had better fine detail.

Robert
I can still focus to infinity using Raynox 250 with Mitutoyo 5X by setting Raynox 250 at the right position from the sensor, and this configuration has less than marked 5X, 3.125 to be exact (5*125/200= 3.125)
Robert wrote: When I ran a lens with short focus the magnification was pushed down, but if I increased lens to objective distance the magnification went back up a bit.
The other interesting thing is when you change distance between objective and tube lens, magnification changes, too. That runs contrary to design of infinity obj, but of course, if the tube lens is not focused to infinity, anything can happen.

And of course, your experiments show otherwise. Great work, thanks for results.

Adalbert
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Post by Adalbert »

Hello Robert,
Thank you for this excellent test!
May I assume that your results (based on Mitutoyo 5x M Plan APO) are valid for NIKON LU PLANs too?
BR, ADi

RobertOToole
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Post by RobertOToole »

mjkzz wrote:
I can still focus to infinity using Raynox 250 with Mitutoyo 5X by setting Raynox 250 at the right position from the sensor, and this configuration has less than marked 5X, 3.125 to be exact (5*125/200= 3.125)
The Raynox 250 was one of the best in the test! If I remember correctly the 250 was pushing the corners, there was a drop-off on APS-C so I did not try to short focus the 250.

The voigtlander 125 SL had perfect corners but I don't think many people are going to pay $1800 for a tube lens or happen to have one lying around :)

BTW I finished a 3x test with three 4x objectives pushed down vs 4 lenses, that one is coming soon.

Robert

RobertOToole
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Post by RobertOToole »

Adalbert wrote:Hello Robert,
Thank you for this excellent test!
May I assume that your results (based on Mitutoyo 5x M Plan APO) are valid for NIKON LU PLANs too?
BR, ADi
Hi ADi,

I tried a Nikon 4x S Fluor and the results were similar and the Raynox and ITL200 short focus worked great. So I would expect the LU to behave the same way.

As soon as I can make some time I plan to run a 10X LU Plan Nikon vs Mity 10X M Plan with different tubes configurations.

Thanks for the interest.

Best,

Robert

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