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| p.1 #12 · Regular 50 mm. lens goes macro - Please correct my statement |
First, I am not sure if I understand your concept of macro right. A salad plate in my book is not a real macro subject. It might be a close focus subject, unless you want to shoot details from the salad like the structure of salad leaves of micro organism in the salad Seriously I believe a normal 50 mm will do a salad plate I guess. So I guess you mean some closer and real 1:1 or maybe 1:2 image size, about that.
Anyway, you mentioned you want to talk yourself into or out of some gear We like that
Assuming you want real macro, and a normal lens. And you want it for "free" Here are the tips and tricks:
If you want a normal lens and good macro performance too, "trick number one" to have it all is this. When you reverse your 50 mm the lens performance for macro improves significantly. A "normal" 50 mm lens, often with optimum correction at 50x the focal length, for most lens designs gets it's optimum correction at around 1x the focal length when the lens is reversed. This is well known among macro photographers and reverse rings are a cheap addition to your photokit. There are a few hurdles to be taken, like setting the aperture, having a hood over the mount, and working distance which is getting small anyway. But the "trick" really works.
Tip number two is one of my favorite solution I often recommend to macro lovers: use a bellows with an enlarger lens. These enlarger lenses are macro gems by the nature of their design and can be bought for almost nothing since darkroom processing is not popular anymore. A great EL-Nikkor, Rodenstock Rodagon or Schneider Componon is hard to beat by even the most expensive macro glass from Nikon, Sigma or Tamron. I bet you can buy a bellows and enlarger lens at a price below 50$. At the Dutch version of e-bay the like new enlarger lenses go for 15 euro and a bellows in good condition for 30 euro at the moment. A medium format enlarger lens (80mm-105mm) gives you the advantage of some more working distance, but they are harder to find than 50mm EL lenses.
In my opinion if you want high image quality macro it doesn't have to be very expensive, unless you insist to have autofocus. I would rather spend the money on a great normal AF lenses for generic purposes and have a manual focus macro setup with top quality imaging at a bargain price. You could spend the money you save on one of those great camerabodies you mentioned. No need for cropping, enlarging or digital zooming like you assumed in the OP.
Have macro fun!