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The Nanoha x5 has been tested by D. Beno

Published: 18.04.2012

I have recently been contacted by e-shop and if i would be interested in making a review of a new specialized macro lens Nanoha x5. I was really pleased, because this type of macro lenses with extreme magnification, is a big attraction not only for me.


Let me introduce it then.

As already stated in the previous review it is a macro lens, which reaches extreme magnification 4 - 5x, this means that we only see 4,5 – 3,6 mm in the viewfinder. This gives us an actual magnification of 8-10:1 if we convert it to fullframe. These are enormously large values. I had a month to get to know the lens and that is why i will share my experience with you.

Nanoha s držiakomLens Construction


The lens is made of high quality materials – metal. It leaves a solid impression while held in the hand, there is no creaking. There is the manually controlled aperture ring and the so called focusing ring, with which we continuously change the magnification. In the front part of the lens, there is a cover with three LEDs, which can be taken off. The aperture ring enables to set the aperture from f/11 to f/32. The only thing i do not like about the construction is the inaccuracy and less qualitative execution of the focus, but it is nothing tragic.




The Nanoha x5 allows photographing with 4-5x magnification. This magnification is really  not for begginers and even profesionals have problems making a well-focused sharp picture without any blurr. This magnification, allowed by the lens is its strenght but also weakness which holds it back. Since we sometimes do not even fit the whole object into the viewfinder, the lens is really for those who require absolutely extreme magnification.


Optical quality


With all lenses this is the parameter i am the most curious about, because nothing freely available reaches high-quality drawing (sharpness and contrast) with such big magnification as 8-10:1. The aperture f/11 scared me a little with such big magnification, because i was scared of difraction, but the lens reaches a really high-quality drawing, given the magnification it reaches. What I did not like was a little foggy picture with a fully opened aperture (f/11), right after switching the aperture to f/16 the picture had nice contrast. I have noticed no aberation on any photo i have taken with the lens, which is a prove of high quality optics.


Výrezy z fotografií


Diffraction is a chapter on its own. Even after setting the aperture to f/32 diffraction was to my surprise very  very low, if any, this i have not seen on any other macro lense so far, that the lens has perfect drawing with 8-10:1 magnification and f/32 aperture. I had the opportuinity to compare the Nanhoa x5 with Canon MP-E 65 mm where the MP-E reached a bit better sharpness and that is thanks to f2,8 aperture. What i really liked about the Nanoha x5 is the „extremely big“ depth of field, compared to any other competition and also to the MP-E.


Nanoha x5 DOF


Working distance


The manufacturer gives a working distance of 11 to 19mm. With 4x magnification it is 19mm and with 5x magnification it is 11 mm. It is really a decent parameter for such a big magnification, but many peoople may have a problem with lighting. You have to think trough what lighting to choose. I recommend flash lighting, because the natural light gave me long shutter speed (2-3 seconds) and there were problems with sharpness of the pictures caused by vibrations. I used manually controlled flashes as lighting, which I fired manually with a cheap radio remote controller for 40 Euros.


The lighting module


Lighting with the three strong LEDs is a great solution. It is good for making videos and photographing. However it creates a very sharp light and many photograpgers, like me, will probably decide for an own way of lighting.


Pros and Cons (+,-)


+       matchless macro lens for micro 4/3 and Sony E mounts

+       huge magnification

+       extra large DOF

+       very good sharpness and contrast


-        no possibility to set lower magnification

-        weaker accuracy of the focusing ring

-        only for micro 4/3 and Sony E systems

-        low aperture (f/11)

-        5 blades aperture




To tell the truth this lens does not have any competitors among micro 4/3 and Sony E lenses, because no other lens with such big magnification is in production. Canon MP-E 65 mm f/2,8, which is meant for DSLR, could be the only possible competition. It allows to shoot with magnification 1:1 – 5:1 and thus it reaches lower magnification than Nanoha x5. If we use extention ring or convertor we can also get a simillar magnification  with the MP-E, but at the cost of quality. The price of MP-E is higher, but it has a little bit better sharpness and contrast.


The ideal aperture


I always test the lenses I shoot with, so that i know which aperture is ideal for it, when the lens reaches the best sharpness and contrast. For Nanoha x5 it is aperture f/22.


sánky s jemným posuvom

Stacking pictures


Stacking of  pictures for bigger depth of field is today a casual standard, if you want to reach high depth of field with big magnification. I use this method very often, because with such big magnifications the DOF is very low. You can see a fairly big DOF on the sample photos and that is thanks to picture stacking. Micro slider/rail can be bought on ebay.comwith a gentle motion. Or maybe you can use an old high quality Zeiss microscope, but you have to pay more for it. With good macro rail and perfect light you can shoot and stack, delete and shoot and stack again and again. :-)


Oko motýľa Portrét lesného mravca
 The eye of butterfly Portrait of an ant
 Portrét muchy  Portrét muchy II
Portrait of a fly I  Portrait of a fly II
 Pestrica  Peľové tyčinky
Hoverfly Pollen sticks
 Skákavka  Zubná kefka - neskladaná fotografia
 Jumping spider - not stacked picture  Toothbrush - not stacked picture


My Advice

If I can add some advice, I recomend to use a quality tripod to avoid vibrations. Shoot by remote control or wired shutter release. Powerful lamps for lighting or even better flash system for a complete "freezing" of the image.

I would like to thank to the company MakroFoto Ltd., which is also the importer of the lens into the Slovakia and EU for giving me the possibility of testing the Nanoha x5.


I will leave the conclusion for you, because it is not said for whom the lens was made. It requires certain knowledge and experience, for the person to use the feature, which the lens provides. A picture with extreme magnification will be a reward for everyone who can master it.

Company MakroFoto Ltd. thanks to photographer Dusan Beno for his time and willingness to test the new and as the article shows a high quality macro lens Nanoha x5. More macro pictures from work of Dusan Beno can be seen here

At the request of customers we have prepared a comparison photo of three macro / micro lenses (Nanoha x5, Canon MP-E and a microscopic lens Mitutoyo M Plan x5).

Macro lenses comparison

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