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Yasuhara Nanoha x5 Macro Lens Review

Yasuhara Nanoha x5 Macro Lens Review - We test the Yasuhara Nanoha x5 macro lens designed for ultra close up shooting with Micro 4/3rds cameras.

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Category : Interchangeable Lenses
Product : Nanoha x5
Price : £311
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Features
Handling
Performance
Verdict
Specification

Attached to Olympus E-P2 camera
The Yasuhara Nanoha x5 macro lens is a solidly built lens for Micro 4/3rds cameras, such as the Olympus Pen and Panasonic Lumix DMC-G range. The lens offers a much higher magnification than is available when using a traditional macro lens and takes you into the range of bellows photography without the bulk.

USB connection

Yasuhara Nanoha x5 Macro Lens Features

The lens has a metal chassis and is very weighty and substantial for the size. It feels robust like an old Russian lens, that would be described as tank-like.

Key Features

  • x5 high magnification macro
  • Four aperture settings
  • Metal body
  • Built-in Illumination (3 LEDs)
  • Powered by USB connection to computer or battery pack
There are just two controls: a zoom ring ranging from x4 to x5 that acts as the focus ring and an aperture ring with settings f/11, f/16, f/22 and f/32.

A plastic LED lamp housing screws onto the front and provides illumination when connected via a standard camera USB cable to a computer or battery pack.

The front has slots to attach a target holder to the front, which lets you place tiny objects quickly in the center of the lens.

The optics are glass and the lens has five aperture blades.

Rear
The rear with metal mount
Front attachment
Front with target holder attached

Yasuhara Nanoha x5 Macro Lens Handling

The lens feels solidly built and has a metal mount which fits onto the bayonet mount of a Micro 4/3rds camera body positively. When in place you connect the LED housing to power from a computer or battery pack via a standard USB cable. The battery pack route is essential if you want flexibility as being tied to the confines of the computer could be restricting.
LEDs removed
The LEDs with housing can be removed, but having to use a screw driver is slow and fidly. A bayonet or screw thread attachement would be better, like you have when attaching a lens hood to most modern lenses. With the housing removed the lens can be used with natural light, although it's hard not to get shadows on the subject when shooting at such close range.

The aperture ring is click stopped in full stop steps and was stiff on the sample we tested.

The subject should be 11mm from the front lens element (about 110mm from the sensor at x5 magnification) and that gives 8mm of depth to play with when adjusting from the x4 to x5 setting. In practice I tended to place the lens over the subject and use the zoom ring to focus rather than as a magnification scale. Those scientific photographers who want to be more precise could set the zoom ring to the desired magnification and then use a macro rail to move the lens and camera to a new focus point. The only problem with this, and the LED housing, is that the subject has to be smaller than the 25mm hole at the front when using the lens at x4 magnification.

I also found I got bits of my subject stuck in the front casing when shooting items like dust on the computer vent and the biscuit.


Yasuhara Nanoha x5 Macro Lens Performance

I took a series of photos of different subjects and found the lens fun to use and capable of producing decent, but not outstanding results. Depth of field is minimal so you have to ensure the subject is flat or focus on the important part, knowing the rest may be out of focus. Precision is critical. You could use it with focus stacking software to combine several photos with different focus points providing the subject is still.

The lens is even across the frame with no signs of distortion or vignetting and the LEDs illuminate evenly making it easy to shoot a variety of subjects. I was also surprised not to see any chromatic aberration which is often present at this level of magnification, certainly so when shooting through a microscope attachment.

The images below are of everyday objects taken with the lens. See if you can guess what they are without reading the caption below each photo. You can click on individual photos to view the original full sized photo that are RAW files and have been processed without any sharpening and saved as JPEGS.

Yasuhara Co Ltd Nanoha x5 Sample Photos



Value For Money

The lens is quite unique for Micro 4/3rds users, the nearest thing you have is the Panasonic 45mm f/2.8 Macro which is just 1:1 magnification and costs around £530. I say just 1:1 - that is the usual for a macro lens, but the Nanoha at x5 is much closer. Other options are Chinese made lens reverse adaptors and extension tubes, but neither get you to that incredible x5 magnification. Canon users have the MP-E 65mm f/2.8 which offers 1:1 up to x5 magnification, but costs £1250.


Yasuhara Nanoha x5 Macro Lens Verdict

Nanoha x5

I enjoyed using the lens which opened my eyes to textures that you don't normally see. Objects took on a whole new life at this magnification. I'm not sure I'd want to pay £300+ for the privilege, but those who enjoy or specialise in close ups can now do so using the Micro 4/3rds format and at a price far less than the option from Canon.

Insect photographers may find this a useful addition to their outfit, especially when the shots are stacked (assuming the insect is resting), but the 11mm focusing distance may put some off. The Canon is 240mm from the sensor compared with approx 110mm for the Nanoha.

Yasuhara Nanoha x5 Macro Lens Pros

Super close ups
Solid metal build
LED Illumination

 

Yasuhara Nanoha x5 Macro Lens Cons

Small maximum aperture of f/11
USB power cable not as convenient as batteries (surely button cells could be housed)
11mm Lens to subject distance too close for some subjects
Screw fastened LED housing inconvenient to remove
Thanks to the Yasuhara Nanoha lens, objects take on a whole new life. It's Recommended. 


FEATURES
HANDLING
PERFORMANCE
VALUE FOR MONEY
VERDICT

Yasuhara Co Ltd Nanoha x5 Specifications

ManufacturerYasuhara Co Ltd
General
Lens Mounts
  • Panasonic Micro Four Thirds
  • Olympus Micro Four Thirds
Lens
Focal LengthNo Data
Angle of ViewNo Data
Max Aperturef/32
Min Aperturef/11
Filter SizeNo Data
35mm equivalentNo Data
Internal focusingNo Data
Focusing
Min FocusNo Data
StabilisedNo Data
Construction
Blades5
Elements10
Groups7
Box Contents
Box ContentsNo Data
Dimensions
Weight310g
Height84mm

View Full Product Details  
For more details and to order the lens visit Yasuhara's web site

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Comments


Ade_Osman e2
11 4.5k 36 England
18 Jan 2012 1:18PM
Think I'll stick with my Canon kit, despite the expense....

Ade

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"...the 11mm focusing distance may put some off - the Canon is 240mm"

The Canon's is measured from the plane of the sensor, not the front of the lens. It will still be further away from the subject, but not as far as it would appear from your statement.

Dan
Pete e2
13 18.7k 96 England
18 Jan 2012 8:00PM
Thanks Dan, very good point. I've reworded the article so it's clearer.
2 Sep 2012 11:53PM
What's the shutter speed in these pictures (I'm assuming you're using the light kit)?
Pete e2
13 18.7k 96 England
3 Sep 2012 9:10AM
Yes they were all taken with the lighting unit. The shutter speed varies between 0.8sec and 1/20sec. You can find the speeds listed on all the images here Yasuhara Nanoha X5

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