Review: Macro on the cheap – Marumi DHG200 +5 achromatic lens

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by IVN, Nov 3, 2013.

  1. IVN

    IVN Veteran

    Aug 27, 2013
    More than two years after release Nikon still doesn’t offer a native macro lens for its Nikon 1 system. This means that if you intend to take macros, you are left with a few “odd” choices. The most powerful, but also the most expensive and bulky solution is to buy the FT-1 adapter and a DX or FX Micro-Nikkor, like the 40mm f/2.8, 60mm f/2.8G ED, 85mm f/3.5 IF-ED or 105mm f/2.8 IF-ED. These lenses will allow you to achieve even greater image ratios (above 1:1) on N1 cameras than when used on DX or FX Nikon DSLRs. Including the FT-1 adapter these setups will cost you from $530 up to $1000. The other two solutions are intelligent extension tubes for existing Nikon 1 lenses (you can’t buy a “dumb” tube, because AF will not work, and “by wire” MF and aperture control on N1 lenses need power from the camera) or achromatic and close-up lenses. Both are considerably cheaper, but also less powerful. BUT, depending on your expectations, cheap solutions such as extension tubes and achromatic lenses could be just the right thing for you. One of my main reasons for investing in Nikon 1 was low size and weight, which was the reason I wasn’t ready to add so much weight and bulk to my photo bag with the FT-1 and a full grown Nikkor. I ended up buying the Marumi DHG200 +5 achromatic lens with a 52mm filter thread and a 40.5mm to 52mm step-up ring instead, which turned out to be perfect for my needs. At least until Nikon releases a native Micro-Nikkor for Nikon 1, in which case I will get that lens and use it WITH the Marumi. Here is what the Marumi looks like mounted on the Nikon V1 and 10-30mm.


    It’s small and light, you won’t even notice it in your photo bag or on the lens. However, you shouldn’t expect miracles when it comes to image ratio. On the 10-30mm Marumi will double the size of bugs, insects and spiders in the frame, but you will still need a more expensive solution for 1:1 image ratio. Still, the Marumi comes very close to a real macro lens. And I bet it will have an even greater effect on magnification, when used on a longer lens, such as 30-110mm. Achromatic and close-up lenses have a greater effect on magnification, the longer the lens they are used on is.

    In one recent discussion I was asked whether the Marumi had a negative effect on AF speed. It doesn’t! The 10-30mm is still plenty fast, you will however need to pay attention to where the AF is focusing exactly, because the box on the V1 is quite large and may decide to for example focus on the body of the fly behind the head, instead of the head. Pay attention to what the AF is doing and you’ll be fine.

    Some of you may ask yourselves why I have bought a comparatively large Marumi (52mm), instead of the smaller one. The reason is, because you can use the 52mm version on any Nikon 1 lens. All you need are step-up rings. For the 10-30mm and 30-110mm you only need the 40.5 to 52mm step-up ring. At this time we don’t know how large the filter threads of future N1 macros will be (there is a patent for a 37mm f/2.4). Regardless, they can’t be too large for a 52mm Marumi. Look at it this way: with a 52mm Marumi you pay only once for the most expensive part ($70/£50/€50) of the macro setup, the achromatic lens itself, and buy several step-up rings, which are dirt cheap (less than $/£/€ 5). I have even used the Marumi on my 18.5mm f/1.8, even though it has quite poor image ratio compared to the 10-30mm. Still, you can achieve some very interesting results, thanks to the large aperture of the prime lens:


    In my opinion buying a Marumi or any other decent achromatic lens is the most affordable and flexible macro solution for the Nikon 1 system. You can acieve better results with the FT-1 adapter and DX/FX Micro-Nikkors, but they will cost you much, much more and add considerable weight and bulk to your photo bag. Neither will they be as flexible, as a Marumi with a handful of step-up rings. You can use the letter to boost the macro capability of any, not just N1, lens you have on which the achromatic lens can fit. In my opinion it’s perfect to bridge the time until Nikon finally gets of their backside and release a native Nikon 1 Micro-Nikkor.

    Visit my blog or my flickr to view all the macros I've taken with the Marumi DHG200 +5 and 10-30mm.
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  2. stratokaster

    stratokaster Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Dec 27, 2010
    Kiev, Ukraine
    Great review! But I have one question for you: how do you manage to get that close to insects? :)
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  3. Great review, Ivan. It occurs to me also that a 52mm thread will also fit my Pentax kit lens (yes, still haven't sold the Pentax gear). I really must try to source one of these, locally
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  4. IVN

    IVN Veteran

    Aug 27, 2013
    That's right Sue, you could use it on quite a few lenses, if you buy a Marumi with a large enough filter thread. I've settled for 52mm, because I don't plan to use it on anything other than N1 lenses. 52mm should be enough even for larger, faster lenses that could be released in the future.

    I'm especially excited about the prospect of mounting it on a N1 native Micro-Nikkor, to boost image ratio even further. That would be so sweet! :)

    I copy the movement of chameleons. I close in to about 1m distance, than I stretch my arms forward, while moving slowly like a leaf in the wind, back and forth. Insects seem to ignore this kind of movement. They let you get really, really close. You can almost bump into them with the Marumi. :)
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