A few months ago, a friend of mine ordered a generic close-up filter for his Nikon 35mm f1.8G AF-S DX lens. Fast forward to now, I borrowed the filter before it gathered more dust at his place due to neglect. That, and to sharpen my macro ninja skills before they get rusty and dusty as well.
Since there were no bugs for me to spy on, I resorted to my ring and made it act as my model for this test.
The verdict: The results were more than acceptable for me. Sharpness was a-okay but the addition of another layer of glass to your lens can cause some unwanted chromatic abberations in your photos. Focusing is hard too since the filter is fixed and you have to move around to focus on your subject.
Lighting can be very tricky as well since the added layer of glass only contributes to your woes. To get around that, I placed the ring on top of a Nikon SB-900 speedlight with a diffuser attached to it. To compensate for the extreme light of the flash, I lowered the ISO, raised the aperture to f22 and maxed out the sync speed at 1/250.
All in all, this filter (which, unfortunately, doesn’t have a brand in its packaging) is best used for small still subjects such as rings or coins. For professional photographers who cover weddings and other fast-paced events, this filter won’t make the cut at all. The same can be said for those who love to shoot bugs and insects in their natural habitat. To solve that, you can get a true macro lens because this filter will just give you a harder time.
Nikon D90 + Nikkor 50mm f1.8D AF + Nikon 18-55 f3.5-5.6G AFS VR