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imacro

Sony A6400 for macro and super macro?

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Hey guys, I'm getting into underwater macro and super macro photography. I've done many dives with GoPro but have not taken any UW photography with a proper rig. I want a camera that takes excellent photo on land (significantly better than iPhone) and great macro photos underwater. I'd also like occasionally record UW video too. The rig should be fairly small and packable for travel.

After looking into so many options starting from compact cameras to mirrorless with the helps of other members on my other thread, I'm leaning toward the Sony A6400 because the reviews for on land and underwater are great. There are a variety of housing options available. I can either shoot with the 16-50 mm lens and macro wet lens then upgrade to the Sony 90mm lens later. The price is not more and the size is not significantly larger than compact rig.

What do you think about the A6400 setup for my use case? Could someone share their experience with their A6400 rig? Thanks

Edited by imacro
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I use an A6300 with 90mm f/2.8 macro lens, and it works well enough, but that lens eats through the battery charge pretty quick - two dives is the most it can manage, and if I'm not careful, I can run the battery dry towards the end of the second dive. With 16-50mm or 10-18mm, I can get three dives out of a battery. Unless you feel comfortable changing batteries between dives (or get a housing with an extended battery; I believe Nauticam offers one), A6600 with its larger battery is probably a better option.

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I'm also looking for a good macro lens for my sony A6000 (plan to upgrade to A6400 later). Currently I use the 30mm macro that is good for close-up but not really for serious macro work. I also have an old 100m minolta macro, which I may adapt and use in manual mode.

Now I'm leaning towards the Sony FE 50mm f2.8 macro or the Sigma 70mm f2.8 DG Macro ART lenses.

Any opinion about those two lenses?

 

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Both of them extend to focus, making operation behind a port a potential challenge.

When I was looking for a macro lens, I found multiple complaints about the 50mm (both Sony and Zeiss) having trouble autofocusing behind port glass, but I have no personal experience, as after reading those, I decided to bite the bullet and spend the money on a 90mm. The Sigma 70mm was not yet available at the time.

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I mainly do cold water low vis dives, so for me 90mm is a bit long, a 60mm macro would be perfect. The sony 50mm and Sigma 70mm are just half the price of the sony 90mm, which is also a major issue. In the film times I used slow focus extending macro lenses. Although they're not that easy to focus with with a proper port (if there's no vignetting) and enough light (focus light) it's managable .

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How is the AF of the SEL90mm lens UW? The Backscatter sales guy said the lens is quite slow. Also what housing do you guys use? The Nauticam is quite expensive, the ports for the lens alone is over $1k. Fantasea has discontinued their housing for A6400. Ikelite doesnt have port allowing screw on macro wet lens for 16-50mm that I want to start out first


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I have been using the Zeiss 50mm Macro with my A6400. It has been a rockstar so far. 
eyedflounder.thumb.jpg.758c1c0a795854a77d90061affb0cdab.jpg

Great photo. What housing are you using?


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I'm using a Nauticam housing with a pair of Sea & Sea YS-D3 Lightnings. The setup has been pretty fantastic but I'm demoing a Canon R5 for a couple of weeks. One of my projects is underwater maternity portraits. And I'd like the bigger file size for enlargements. 

Here's a couple more from a the same shoit a Blue Heron in late November. 

ray.jpg

scorpionfish.jpg

Edited by ScottAudette

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I agree with Scott regarding the Zeiss Touit 50mm F/2.8 macro. It is smaller than the other lenses and the best choice in the bunch. I shot these two images with A6400 in an Ikelite housing with Ikelite strobes. The eye photo was shot with a Scubalamp MS20 Snoot which is a continuous light source with several colors. Like Scott both of these images were shot at Blue Heron Bridge.

Regarding the Sigma 70mm it is painfully slow on the macro end and because it extends way out to get to 1:1 Nauticam has no port to support the lens. A port would be so long it would vignette as you move towards the wider end of the lens. 

The zeiss lenses can be found from time to time in the Wetpixel for sale section at about half the retail price. 

I also like the Zeiss Touit 12mm F/2.8 and Sony E 10-18mm for wide angle. Both with the Zen 170mm or Nauticam 180mm ports.

untitled-00909.jpg

untitled-00797.jpg

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21 hours ago, imacro said:

How is the AF of the SEL90mm lens UW? The Backscatter sales guy said the lens is quite slow. Also what housing do you guys use? The Nauticam is quite expensive, the ports for the lens alone is over $1k. Fantasea has discontinued their housing for A6400. Ikelite doesnt have port allowing screw on macro wet lens for 16-50mm that I want to start out first


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If you're worried about those port prices, Maybe Sony is not the way to go?  The lenses and everything are more expensive.  Many people are happy with ikelite housings but they have limitations in particular be sure to read the fine print on port choices especially for their smaller housings and some models there is only one flat port which has to do for all lenses.  Regarding AF speed many of the mirrorless macro options will be a bit slow and challenging, but certainly usable but not comparable with the top line DSLRs.  

If you go for the Touit you will want to make sure the port is a good fit, closest focus is only 150mm from the focal plane  and the lens length plus flange distance is 109mm from specs I found.  This means working distance from end of lens is 41mm at 1:1.  You might want to confirm that distance is correct or not.  That also means that closeup diopters won't be that useful as they function by allowing the lens to focus closer and you don't have that much working distance to play with to start with.  41mm doesn't leave a lot of room for lighting.   and you'll lose at least 10mm between the end of the lens and the port flange.  Probably usable but challenging

I would suggest you review a few different systems to compare price and performance and

 

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On 1/19/2021 at 8:13 PM, imacro said:

How is the AF of the SEL90mm lens UW? The Backscatter sales guy said the lens is quite slow. Also what housing do you guys use? The Nauticam is quite expensive, the ports for the lens alone is over $1k. Fantasea has discontinued their housing for A6400. Ikelite doesnt have port allowing screw on macro wet lens for 16-50mm that I want to start out first


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Look into the Seafrogs housing

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Imacro you may be interested in reading my review for the Sony A6400 and Ikelite housing. Back issue #108 at UWPMAG.com This is a free PDF download.

Regarding the Ikelite macro port system Ikelite offers two macro ports with the 67mm thread for closeup lenses. This is not a stand along port as it appears  Chris Ross post is inticating if I am understanding correctly. It is a modular system where you can add port extensions to the main macro port for different macro lenses. Some of these extensions also work with different wide lenses behind a dome port.

Sony and Zeiss 50mm macros both work with macro port 5516.45 and 5516.55 extension.

Sony 90mm macro, Canon 60mm F/2.8 macro with metabones adapter and Canon 100mm macro with Metabones all work with macro port 5516.50, the longer 90 and 100mm lenses use extension 5516.70 while the 60mm uses extension 5516.55 same as the 50's. 

Fantsea housings also supports the A6400 and both Sony and Canon macros with lens adapter. 

Meikon, AKA Seafrog supports the A6400 in the salt line but macro lens support with proper length ports is limited.

 

 

 

untitled-108.jpg

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6 minutes ago, Phil Rudin said:

Imacro you may be interested in reading my review for the Sony A6400 and Ikelite housing. Back issue #108 at UWPMAG.com This is a free PDF download.

Regarding the Ikelite macro port system Ikelite offers two macro ports with the 67mm thread for closeup lenses. This is not a stand along port as it appears  Chris Ross post is inticating if I am understanding correctly. It is a modular system where you can add port extensions to the main macro port for different macro lenses. Some of these extensions also work with different wide lenses behind a dome port.

 

I'm just suggesting to read and check the ikelite port charts carefully, there are some surprising gotchas floating around in them.  I'm aware they use a port plus various extensions.  Also specifically for the 50mm macro - working room is limited and if the port is too long then that steals some of that working room so it is worth checking.

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Imacro you may be interested in reading my review for the Sony A6400 and Ikelite housing. Back issue #108 at UWPMAG.com This is a free PDF download.
Regarding the Ikelite macro port system Ikelite offers two macro ports with the 67mm thread for closeup lenses. This is not a stand along port as it appears  Chris Ross post is inticating if I am understanding correctly. It is a modular system where you can add port extensions to the main macro port for different macro lenses. Some of these extensions also work with different wide lenses behind a dome port.
Sony and Zeiss 50mm macros both work with macro port 5516.45 and 5516.55 extension.
Sony 90mm macro, Canon 60mm F/2.8 macro with metabones adapter and Canon 100mm macro with Metabones all work with macro port 5516.50, the longer 90 and 100mm lenses use extension 5516.70 while the 60mm uses extension 5516.55 same as the 50's. 
Fantsea housings also supports the A6400 and both Sony and Canon macros with lens adapter. 
Meikon, AKA Seafrog supports the A6400 in the salt line but macro lens support with proper length ports is limited.
 
 
 
untitled-108.jpg.f35f32b3f7ab91498f8213b5b0ab578c.jpg

Could you share a link to the full review pdf? Thanks


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I've just clarified with seafrog (Meikon, Salted Line) that they don't have a proper port for Sigma 70mm macro.

Now I'm leaning towards the 50mm macro, so it's narrowed down to Sony or Zeiss Touit.

However, the Zeiss is almost twice as expensive as sony and what I learned its AF is not that fast.

The image quality is probably superb but I expect sony to be in the the same ballpark.

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The Sony FE 50mm lens is designed for Sony full frame cameras while the Zeiss lens is designed for APS-C. Lenses like the Sigma 70mm macro, Tokina 100mm macro and others made for full frame telescope to reach life size and don't fit well into a port that's why you won't find them on anyones port chart. If cost is the main issue you may want to consider the Sony E 30mm F/3.5 macro lens also in a review in issue #66 called enhanced viewfinders where all photos are with the Sony 30M. Also discussed in issue#65 in an article called Mirrorless Macro. On the Ikelite port chart for A6400 port 5516.45 can be used for the Sony E 30mm Macro, Sony FE 50mm macro and Ziess 50mm Macro. I would expect the same with other manufactures. You may want to consider that you can start out with the least expensive and move up later as needs change.

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The issue you will have with these lenses in ikelite is they all use the same port but they are different lengths.  30mm is 56mm long, SOny 50mm is 71mm long but extends to focus close, while the Zeiss is 91mm long.  Min focus distances are 95mm, 160mm and 150mm respectively.  This means min focus and 1:1 is inside the port glass on the Sony 30mm.  The min focus distance measured from the sensor to the subject so even the Zeiss lens will only have at the very most about 50mm working range from the end of the port at 1:1 . 

With any of those lenses you want the port to be as good a fit as possible, so you don't lose working room.

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On 1/28/2021 at 4:22 PM, Phil Rudin said:

The Sony FE 50mm lens is designed for Sony full frame cameras while the Zeiss lens is designed for APS-C. Lenses like the Sigma 70mm macro, Tokina 100mm macro and others made for full frame telescope to reach life size and don't fit well into a port that's why you won't find them on anyones port chart. If cost is the main issue you may want to consider the Sony E 30mm F/3.5 macro lens also in a review in issue #66 called enhanced viewfinders where all photos are with the Sony 30M. Also discussed in issue#65 in an article called Mirrorless Macro. On the Ikelite port chart for A6400 port 5516.45 can be used for the Sony E 30mm Macro, Sony FE 50mm macro and Ziess 50mm Macro. I would expect the same with other manufactures. You may want to consider that you can start out with the least expensive and move up later as needs change.

I already have the Sony E 30mm Macro but it's really just good (I like it) for close ups.I hoped for a while that Tamron will produce a 60mm macro.

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I run a A6500 and got myself both a Sony 90mm 2.8 Macro and Canon 60mm 2.8 EF-S Marco with an adapter for it.

Due to Covid my underwater experience with either has been limited however.... From topside I can report the Canon 60mm 2.8 is easier to use, and the 90mm has a longer curve to get used to, but both very good lenses..

There is also a good price benefit of the 60mm in that is can usually be picked up 2nd hand and due to it not needing any zoom complications works with cheapo adapters, I use my MC-11 on my Tokina 10-17 and a Fotodiox adapter on my Canon 60mm macro and doesn't seem to affect the performance.

I originally looked at the Sony 50mm and there weren't that many positive reviews compared to the Canon 60mm.  It fits my housing, although is only Autofocus, but with back button focus and the usual techniques works fine on my limited beneath the waves.

The 16-50mm with wet lenses also works and actually better than expected, but with limitations.  I used it for my first trips with the camera and found it acceptable but really not a huge step up from a good compact set up.  The dedicated lenses are.

 

 

 

 

 

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19 hours ago, lostloki said:

I run a A6500 and got myself both a Sony 90mm 2.8 Macro and Canon 60mm 2.8 EF-S Marco with an adapter for it.

Due to Covid my underwater experience with either has been limited however.... From topside I can report the Canon 60mm 2.8 is easier to use, and the 90mm has a longer curve to get used to, but both very good lenses..

There is also a good price benefit of the 60mm in that is can usually be picked up 2nd hand and due to it not needing any zoom complications works with cheapo adapters, I use my MC-11 on my Tokina 10-17 and a Fotodiox adapter on my Canon 60mm macro and doesn't seem to affect the performance.

I originally looked at the Sony 50mm and there weren't that many positive reviews compared to the Canon 60mm.  It fits my housing, although is only Autofocus, but with back button focus and the usual techniques works fine on my limited beneath the waves.

The 16-50mm with wet lenses also works and actually better than expected, but with limitations.  I used it for my first trips with the camera and found it acceptable but really not a huge step up from a good compact set up.  The dedicated lenses are.

Have you also tried the MC-11 with the Canon 60mm 2.8 EF-S ? Is there any difference in AF speed between the 2 adapters?

 

 

 

 

 

Have you also tried the MC-11 with the Canon 60mm 2.8 EF-S ? Is there any difference in AF speed between the 2 adapters?

Edited by gobiodon
Text was in a wrong place

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Unfortunately the Canon 60mm EF-S's plastic fitting at the camera end seem to stick out too far which means the MC-11 cannot mount it.  To explain it better Signam and many 3rd party lenses have the electronic connectors almost flush with the end of the lens, the native ef-s lenses extend out further with a plastic ring.

The ring means it won't mate with the Sigma adapter.  However I have heard of people removing the plastic ring from their EF-S lenses to get the to fit, but didn't want to go down that route, and as said it works fine with the cheapo adapter as there is no zoom needed.

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14 hours ago, lostloki said:

Unfortunately the Canon 60mm EF-S's plastic fitting at the camera end seem to stick out too far which means the MC-11 cannot mount it.  To explain it better Signam and many 3rd party lenses have the electronic connectors almost flush with the end of the lens, the native ef-s lenses extend out further with a plastic ring.

The ring means it won't mate with the Sigma adapter.  However I have heard of people removing the plastic ring from their EF-S lenses to get the to fit, but didn't want to go down that route, and as said it works fine with the cheapo adapter as there is no zoom needed.

Thanks for this very valuable information.

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Have you ever tried to use good quality close up adaptors? I found using 50-75mm lens with these created killer macro photography. 

 

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