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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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Below a table with main specs.


Phoenix AF 100mm f/3.5 Macro Telephoto Lens



Diameter 68.5mm
Length 68.5mm
Weight 307g - 10.8 oz
Filter Size 49mm
Maximum Aperture f/3.5
Minimum Aperture f/22
Groups/Elements 4/5
Angle of View 24°
Macro Magnification Ratio 1:2
With Macro Adaptor 1:1
Minimum Focusing Distance 42.6 cm - 1.4 ft
As of Dec. 2003 at B&H Photo Video, New York, NY



In the hand, the Phoenix looks and feels like a hard plastic toy. It is very light weight. The autofocus is extremely slow and rather noisy - not really an issue with macro lenses of course. The manual focus is quite loose, but has a very long throw enabling quite precise focus to be achieved.

Looking into the rear of the lens, it is possible to see the focus gearing - there is no dust sealing of any sort. It's possible that exposure to harsh conditions would spell the death-knell of the little Phoenix. However, it is so (relatively) cheap that one tends not to baby it. Over a couple of years mine has been exposed to beach and desert conditions with no problems at all.

One small but thoughtful touch is that the body has a molded non-slip area to grip when mounting or dismounting the lens. I don't recall seeing this on any other optic.

The aperture ring has a notchy feel, and there are no half-stop detents. There is no minimum-aperture lock. (Another common misconception - on current AF Nikon bodies it is necessary to set the lens to its smallest aperture, but it is not necessary to lock it.)



It is in the optical department that the Phoenix 100mm f/3.5 macro lens shines. It is really quite sharp, with excellent center resolution, and pretty good at the edges. Stopped down to f/8 or smaller, there is very little to pick between this lens and more expensive types. It does not match the superb Tamron 180mm f/3.5 macro but it certainly is on a par with the Nikkor 28-105mm f3.5-4.5D IF AF in macro mode, and much better than that lens at the edges. It is possible to count the hairs on an insect's body, though they don't show the hard-edged crispness of the Tamron or a micro-Nikkor.

Mounting the 1:1 adapter (a 49mm screw-in two-element filter) allows the lens to focus in to life size reproduction. Again, once stopped down the results are quite respectable, especially in the center. The edges are quite acceptable.

Contrast is excellent in the "bare" mode, and not too bad with the adapter. Color rendition is a little cool.


(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