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Phoenix 100mm f/3.5 Macro

Weight: 11oz
Filter Size: 49mm

   Macro lenses are generally expensive, and there is quite a bit of irony in that. Take the $970 Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 ED-IF AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor for example. Most serious macro work is done on a tripod, where VR is best turned off. The depth of field is so thin that stopping down considerably is the norm, and AF is not accurate enough. IF stands for internal focusing, which is great if you have a polarizer on the front. Once again not a likely situation for macro photography. So on a $970 lens we're turning off most of its features and stopping the lens down considerably. Now is the obvious question, why have all those features if they are all turned off? Versatility. The well made Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 macro is a sharp lens for all types of photography, albeit a bit slow to focus.
  On the other hand, the Phoenix 100mm f/3.5 Macro is not versatile. The lightweight, all plastic and glass lens has little to offer outside the realm of macro photography, but it is $870 cheaper than the Nikkor. The build quality is dismal, but the focus throw is nice and long. The lens only reaches 1:1 life size reproduction with the included matched adapter.

Image quality is good but not breath-taking. Better than you'd expect for only $100.

Nikon D5100, Phoenix 100mm f/3.5 Macro @ 1/25 f8 ISO 100

A 100% crop of the in focus area on the bottom.

Nikon D5100, Phoenix 100mm f/3.5 Macro @ 1/25 f8 ISO 100

What's interesting is that the lens works well with the old Nikon PK-13 extension ring, now capturing a larger than life sized image. This is not your normal full sized flower.

Sony NEX-5N, Phoenix 100mm f/3.5 Macro @ 1/8 f16 ISO 400
A 100% crop with no sharpening.

Sony NEX-5N, Phoenix 100mm f/3.5 Macro @ 1/8 f16 ISO 400

The above may not look like much, until you realize how small this insect is. Godzilla finger!

  Build: 3/10                    - Terrible quality build, feels like a plastic toy.
  Handling: 6/10              - Better than one would expect considering the build. Aperture ring is snappy and focus is smooth (but not Nikkor smooth of course)
  Performance: 6/10      - No stunning sharpness, but not terribly soft here either.
  Value: 9/10                   - A dedicated Macro lens for little more than the cost of a tank of gas?

  Overall: 7/10                - If you're looking to do some macro photography as a hobby on a budget, look no further.

Practicality for kayaking: 1/10  It's a macro lens. It would be a dismal lens to use for shooting anything else. As is, combined with a used PK-13 you can have some fun macro experiences for under $150 and get decent optical results.

Other links:
Nikonian's Review