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Lens Reviews

Phoenix 100mm f/3.5 Macro Lens Review

Paul Fisher (Paul_Fisher)

Keywords: phoenix, lenses, non_nikon, macro

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High quality macro lenses are not inexpensive. Super performers such as the Micro-Nikkors can cost several hundreds of dollars or euros. And the offerings from independent manufacturers such as Tamron and Sigma are somewhat lower priced, but still not inexpensive.


Phoenix AF 100mm f/3.5 Macro Telephoto Lens


So is it possible to design, manufacture and market a budget price macro lens that compares with the superstars? This review will attempt to answer that question.

There are on the world market a number of almost identical 100mm f/3.5 macro lenses, all manufactured by Cosina in Japan. They are branded as Cosina, Phoenix, Vivitar and Voigtländer. The Pentax 100mm f/3.5 macro lens appears to be the same lens as well. The subject of this review will be my Phoenix AF 100mm f/3.5 Macro Telephoto.



On receiving the lens, I was first struck by its very light weight, specially as it is not an especially compact optic. The construction is almost entirely plastic - not the tough polycarbonate used in Nikkors and Tamrons, but a type which feels harder and more brittle. I have no doubt this lens would crack open if dropped. However, the lens mount is not plastic - it is metal.


The lens barrel is a double-extension type (one extending barrel inside the other) and the lens is more than twice as long when extended fully. Surprisingly perhaps, the front element does not rotate during focusing. (It is an oft-repeated fallacy that front element rotation is a function of internal focusing - it is not). The inner extending barrel is printed with scales in meters, feet and magnification ratios for both the "bare" lens and the lens with the 1:1 adapter fitted.

At full extension, there is a slight wobble in the barrel - about the same amount or a little less than my first Nikkor - the old Nikkor 28-80mm f/3.5-5.6D AF lens.

Again surprisingly, the aperture scale is engraved (or molded) rather than just printed onto the plastic.

The filter threads are 49mm, and take a matching 1:1 macro adaptor. Without the adaptor, the lens can focus to a maximum 1:2 magnification ratio by itself.


(2 Votes )
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Originally written on January 12, 2004

Last updated on October 28, 2016

Paul Fisher Paul Fisher (Paul_Fisher)

Awarded for his multiple article contributions

Perth, Australia
Silver, 12884 posts

1 comment

Lynn Watkins (LE49Wat) on November 25, 2015

I stumbled across your article. I was interested in learning the little Phoenix was useful, since I wish to up my shooting in macro without bankrupting myself. Do you use this at all with digital bodies? Thank you

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