Nisi Close-up Lens

Review

"An affordable and portable way of entering the Macro world with your existing lenses. Perfect for your travels and if you just started to explore macro photography."

Nisi Close-up Lens

When you are like me and really like macro shots but don’t do it enough to buy a dedicated macro lens, costing several hundred of euro’s/dollars, this is the perfect stepping stone to get you into the world of macro photography.

The Nisi Close-up lens is the most efficient way of achieving a closer focus distance with your lenses. The final magnification depends on the focal length you are using but Nisi states a 1:1 magnification will be around 200mm. The ideal working range should be with lenses from 70 to 300mm.

The lens is made of double optical corrective glases with apochromatic design and features the well established Nisi Nano coating so the image is free of purple or green fringing and is optically as sharp as possible.

When the close-up lens is mounted you have a normal working distance of around 20-30 cm so be prepared to get up close with your subjects. It is possible to change the working distance a bit by turning your focus ring of your lens. Focussing at infinity will give your the largest working distance opposed to focussing at the minimum focus distance of your lens, which gives you the shortest working distance. This is normal but as most people will be starting out with this close-up lens in their macro adventures it’s always good to point it out again.

Nisi close up lens
Nisi close up lens on Zeiss
Nisi close up lens kit

Handling and usage

I’m using the close-up filter on my Zeiss Milvus 135mm. And after using it for some time I thought the filter was just way too soft. All of my images were extremely hard to focus and when I had something in focus the results were extremely soft.

I had put away the lens for a week or so and looked around me and wondered why other people had sharper and clearer images. As I didn’t had any other lens like the 70-200 laying around I needed to figure out why it wasn’t working on my Milvus 135mm…

As with all things the devil is in the details. And I think more people could potentially have this ‘problem’ when they are using Sony cameras and adapted lenses. The problem was with my Nikon to Sony adapter. There is an option to change the aperture with the adapter, only very limited but still. Normally this won’t really affect my images but with the close-up lens attached it makes a huge difference!
Set the internal aperture of your adapter wide open and you won’t have any problems regarding soft images. Now we are talking!

Having figured this out, I was finally able to use the filter like it’s supposed to be used. The only thing is that we had a terrible summer. Most days were filled with wind and when shooting macro the wind is one of your worst enemies.
When the timing was right and I could keep everything in focus the close-up filter gave very satisfying results. The images were sharp and had no loss of contrast. It’s really fun to use!

On a side note the way the adapter with aperture control alters the images is also very usable for creative use! Close the aperture on the adapter half way and you will get a dreamy soft look to your images.

Image quality

While the final image quality has everything to do with the lens you use, be assured that the glass used in the Nisi Close-up Lens is high quality glass. When you attach this to a good telephoto lens the resulting images will be sharp without any color fringing in the sharp areas and no fringing around the out of focus areas.

It is advised to use a medium aperture (f/8 – f/16) to obtain a nice depth of field. Because the depth of field is so narrow it is also strongly advised to use a tripod. Even the slightest movement can affect your focus so shooting hand held can be challenging.

Verdict

I am by no means a Macro photographer nor do I have specialised equipment for it like sliders to fine tune your focus and to be able to focus stack your images (which is something a lot of Marco photographers do). But I can say that using the Nisi Close-up Filter really sparkled my enthusiasm for the tiny world out there.

After having solved my issues with the adapter and my lens I could really see the potential of the close-up lens. It’s really fun to use and the resulting images are sharp and full of contrast. I had no issues with vignetting or lens flare. By all means I was even still able to use my lens hood, as the filter isn’t any bigger as your filter threat.

Comparing € 150 for the Nisi close-up lens to the few hundreds of euro’s you would have to spend on a real macro lens, I think it’s well worth the money!

Martijn.Kort

Martijn.Kort

Fine art photographer focusing on architecture and cityscapes as well as capturing unique moments from the cockpit. Writing about photography techniques and sharing reviews. Ambassador for both ZEISS Netherlands and Nisi Filters.If you like my work, consider following me on Instagram!

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