ZY Optics Zhongyi Mitakon 20mm f/2.0 4.5X: a new compact super macro lens with high magnification ratio for Nikon F mount

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ZY Optics announced the Zhongyi Mitakon 20mm f/2.0 4.5X - a new compact super macro lens with high magnification ratio for Nikon F mount. Specifications, press release and sample pictures can be found over at PhotoRumors.

Update: the lens is now in stock at eBay and B&H.

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  • Super macro lenses often require focus stacking, which is a major pain in the a**. This lens is no different.

    • For what it’s worth, Affinity Photo (https://affinity.serif.com/en-us/photo/) has a focus stacking algorithm built-in and is quite inexpensive, relatively speaking. It’s not as full featured as Helicon Focus, but Helicon Focus is much more expensive with an “unlimited” license.

    • Mark O’Brien

      There is no way around that if you want maximum DOF, even with a 60mm macro. Use Stack Shot + Zerene Stacker

      • ArnsteinBjone

        I bought Zerene stacker and haven’t tried Helicon Focus, and are extremly happy with it. I can’t think of a more difficult stackingjob than this (a withered dandelion, 10 images), but Zerene did it perfectly: https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0836df012f0e85b9355094538daa2915645af5a72663f26e136698da087084ea.jpg

        • TwoStrayCats

          That’s nice! I should try that stacker program. So far I haven’t had success to make me happy in Photoshop.

          • Spy Black

            Zerene hasva 30-day trial, you should check it out. Zerene also comes with lifetime updates.

        • Spy Black

          Nice pic. I use Zerene Stacker as well, great program.

          • CERO

            Question, I’ve never shot macro. What is the stacking for? stack multiple focal points to make the whole picture in focus? or what does it means?

            • Captain Insane-O

              That’s exactly what it is. Except I’ve tried stacking with changing focus on the lens and it doesn’t turn out well. A focus rail allows you to move the camera away and keep the same lens focus while changing the focus for stacking.

              Gets pricey real quick.

            • CERO

              Thank you!

            • Spy Black

              Yes, it’s a series of images shot in succession focusing on a subject front to back or vice-versa. An important aspect is to make sure, regardless of how shallow the depth of field is, to have overlapping areas in focus, so the stacking software can properly combine the images into a single shot with everything in focus. If your lens isn’t reversed, you don’t really need a focus rail, you can simply turn the focus ring.

              Below is an example from a series of product shots I did some time back. The image on the left is the first focus point, on the very front of the plastic screw. Because I had very shallow depth of field at F/8 with my 105mm Ai Micro-Nikkor, I had to take around 39-49 images (don’t remember exactly) to create the fully focused image stack you see on the right.

              https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/976e925aec0b51ecb0488b61c8e3b0f902a16562cbafe6d5759c6061b90329b6.jpg

            • CERO

              Now thats a detailed explanation. Thanks Spy.

    • TwoStrayCats

      Yep. With 4.5-1 magnification, you’ll need 20 exposures each with a slice of focus about equal to a human hair.

    • novak miler

      Olympus and panasonic have some great stacking and bracketing features which I hope nikon can learn from.

      • peter w

        You mean in camera? Out of the question to do something good with this lens…
        (Well, I didn’t use it, I just can’t imagine what the camera can do with 7 images or more).

        • novak miler

          Their bracketing allows up to 999 images. In camera stacking and post focus would only be useful for standard 1:1 macro…. Possibly aided by their ibis. Either way, it’s still nice to see that tech being pushed for macro lovers, myself included.

      • Daniel Han

        You can get a nice micro translation stage from China for cheap, or get a good used Newport one. Get an arca-swiss clamp, use some metal glue and glue the clamp on, then screw the translation stage to something heavy… say a wooden box with bricks in it. The entire thing costs barely $100 to make. Nikon doesn’t really need these features to be honest. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/147222c2bd2735cfd62c78e20101d92d35b9d88c66ba7fc941d18f54a91c400f.jpg

        A tripod would be too shaky anyway, and oh hand held stacking… nahhh. I’ve done it, not a single success.

        • novak miler

          Thanks Daniel. I ordered my focus rail a little while back already:) I agree with you except for the notion that nikon doesn’t need the feature. I’m wondering if you have tested the panasonic g85 for its post focus ability? I haven’t myself, but it looks really really useful paired with its ibis, which is getting great reviews. Even though this feature spits out a limited image size, I can’t see how any other setup can beat its results…. Specifically talking about quick, on the move shots where you have no time to set up any tripods.

          And when it comes to the bracketing…. Why go through massive manual labor when the camera does it for you? This is an amazing feature for macro. The post work is still needed, but getting precise focus intervals for your stack is quite slick.

          Anyways. I’m no pro but I’m very keen to get my hands on that panasonic.

        • Spy Black

          I picked up a two-way rail some years back at Adorama for about $70. If you scroll down you’ll see a shot of it next to some stacked photomicrographs that I did.

    • Spy Black

      Stacking isn’t that big a deal I think. I use Zerene Stacker and it’s pretty painless. I think it’s easier with a manual focus lens. You really just need to ensure you have overlapping areas in focus. I did various product shots like that, sometimes using over 40 frames for a shot(!).

      • peter w

        I think for this kind of lens and extreme macro, it would be best to move the camera, and not the turn the focus distance thus changing magnification.

        • Spy Black

          Actually it doesn’t make a difference if you use the focus ring or a focus rail. The software reaches the same goal either way.

          • peter w

            Ah, thanks.
            Probably optimum preparation gives faster results?

    • Daniel Han

      Focus stacking is essential in still life photography, unless you have a tilt-shift lens, such as the 85mm PC-E Micro Nikkor, but with that being said, stacking will still allow far better quality compared to use a TS lens. Sometimes the TS lens isn’t even enough to get the entire object in focus anyway. It’s good for what it is.

      If you want to do higher magnifications, you must focus stack. This lens is no exception, and I will be buying it. It seems to be based on an old Pentax 20mm lens that is x5 magnification if I can recall correctly. This lens is a specialised tool for people who know what to do, a really really niché product.

      Here’s some berries with a 105mm Laowa, stacked 8 exposures:
      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2e96dff8d6155b5659e5b6f2a9c6ebe24a33e0b498d118d969bcd7e315f27fee.jpg
      Even at F8, the DoF isn’t enough!

      Here’s a stack of 50 images, using the Ultra-Micro-Nikkor 28mm f/1.8 e-line reversed, compared to a single exposure… https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/92383d9faa379cf077e651a4a4e66fc34512159a0fe81528997857e820d2d390.jpg

      Single exposure:
      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c0468189e28c06f8b06ca0acad5587e7c7b468e631730fe91bcb5624b8d5df6a.jpg

      A friend of mine has already tested a pre-production model, and he claimed that this lens has better IQ than the Canon 65mm f/2.8 x1-x5 MP-E which I was looking to purchase to adapt to my nikon. I love that Mitakon released this thing! Definitely getting it.

      Wait, Canon lens on a Nikon? You can’t focus infinity!
      No, the lens itself doesn’t allow infinity anyway, adding a dumb adapter will only increase the magnification to maybe 1.2-5.2 (much like an extension tube). I can set the aperture with a cheap Canon camera, the optimum is f4. Put lens on > Set to f4 > DoF Preview button > Take lens off immediately. Done, lens at f4 now. Anyway, I don’t want all this hassle. Love seeing China finally stepping up their games in optics!!

  • novak miler

    Isn’t 20mm a bit too close?

    • C_QQ_C

      20mm iis not bad at all for a 4.5:1 magnification …

      • peter w

        ?
        I use both FX and DX and physics are not different at all. Using DX is just cropping into the full frame image, as is to be expected. It is what it is.
        It may lead to a different perception of depth of field. Depending on what you expect to see.

        • C_QQ_C

          Having experimented with many close-up / micro and macro set-ups found that sometimes some lenses behave in un-expected ways when getting into higher magnifications. some off those lenses show shift in colour reolution when getting close , like the Macro-Nikkors , extremely sharp, but colour rendition shows shifts to the yellow end of the spectrum and harsh colours..

    • Spy Black

      I was thinking the same. It may be a reversed 20mm formula I think. I’ve shot reversed with my 20mm f/4 Ai Nikkor on a bellows, and I’m right on top of the subject. I really don’t know what the actual mag value was that I was shooting with, but the bellows (an old Spiratone unit) was fully extended.

      • MB

        Reversing the retrofocus 20mm lens will actually convert it to telephoto lens of about 100mm (that cannot focus to infinity) and it will reduce aperture accordingly to something like f/10 so it should not be declared as 20mm F/2 …

        • Spy Black

          That hasn’t been my experience. Below is an experimental setup I did a while back when I first started experimenting with focus stacking. I put a reversed 20mm f/4 Ai Nikkor on an old Spiratone bellows on to a D5100. Because the lens was reversed, I used a focus rail for focusing.

          The image of the full quarter was a “straight” shot with a 55mm f/3.5 Ai Micro Nikkor. The other two images were focus stacks of roughly 12-15 images each taken with the 20mm on the fully extended bellows.

          Using reversed wideangle lenses for macro photography is a practice that first became popular back in the ’70s, when I first started doing it with this lens and this bellows, although I didn’t have the luxury of the focus rail and stacking software back then. 😉

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/6ccf1e3dc40ba8a57c0cd20e9edbee418ff6d1c9d79691039f98c7119bb73f5f.jpg

    • peter w

      You may notice that the front of the lens is very small. Yes it is close.

  • Eric Calabros

    Both Nikon and Sony are in microscope business, I wonder why they didn’t make something similar.

    • TwoStrayCats

      Nikon makes some very nice binocular dissecting scopes with a turret for a camera right in front of the oculars.

    • C_QQ_C

      Nikon als made a very nice set of “micro” lenses called “” Macro Nikkors” , they were called / used for the Multiphot system, but can also be used (with adapter) on dslr’s Those lenses go up to 20x magnification.. The following were available

      19mm f/2.8 (white colored ring)
      35mm f/4.5 (blue-colored ring)
      65mm f/4.5 (yellow-colored ring)
      120mm f/6.3 (red-colored ring)

      Those lenses are still sought after, and command high prices when available, but are among the best of the best in the micro field..

      For some more info : http://www.naturfotograf.com/lens_spec.html

    • Daniel Han

      https://flic.kr/p/MfnanM

      They have made similar things. Especially Nikon, Nikon has the most macro lenses in the consumer’s camera market.

  • peter w

    Interesting.
    Sadly it is not delivered with a Canon FD mount for my bellows.
    It looks a bit like Canon 20 and 35 macrophoto lenses. Also Zuiko lens are for sale on ebay. Prices between 250 and 500 dollar.

    Link in next post.

    • peter w
    • jojo

      With a bit of luck you might find it screws into 2 pieces revealing an RMS thread!

    • Spy Black

      That’s what duct tape is for…

      • peter w

        I allready used one F-mount Kenko extension ring and an old canon FD extension ring to attach an FD bellows to my D800. Add a Canon FD 28 F2,8 reversed on it. Great fun. And it works in areas without wind. IQ-wise, it could be classified as ‘different’. Perhaps this specialised lens could improve things a bit.

    • Daniel Han

      Use tape, stick it on. You’re using a bellows anyway~

  • peter w

    The easiest way, well, the least troublesome way, to enter this world is with Canon’s MP65E lens. Quite expensive, thought.

  • animalsbybarry

    This lens sounds really exciting
    And only $199
    I am probably going to get one very soon
    I will get it in F mount and use it with a cheap manual adapter (which I already have) rather than buy it in E mount, and use it on my A7Rii with IBIS
    This way I can also use it with my Nikon equipment if I choose to
    The lens is manual so there is no disadvantage to using an adapter

    Some sort of compact light would be use with this lens

  • Daniel Han

    Each of these have their optimum magnification. The 120mm is the best at just 1:1. The 65mm which I have is the best at 5:1 I believe, it can go up to x20 anyway and still produce really good images.

    • Daniel Han

      And also the 120mm covers a huge image circle, something like 8×8… would be great to use on large format 🙂

  • Jeremy Allen

    they also have very flat fields of focus which is critical for hi mag work.

  • Now available for pre-order from B&H.

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