31 Oct Caution: Raynox DCR250 damaging M.Zuiko 60mm lens
The problem and scenario
The combination of the OM SYSTEM / Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm 1:2.8 macro lens with the Raynox DCR250 diopter clip-on lens is very popular among MFT macro photographers, as it offers a versatile setup to get the 60mm above 1:1 magnification.
However, there is a specific problem with this setup, as soon as direct sunlight gets added to the mix, which can damage your lens.
Update: from feedback to this article we know, that this is indeed a physical problem rather than a lens-specific one.
A fellow photographer had her Sony 90mm macro lens damaged in the same way.
In short: this can happen with any lens that is contructed in a specific way, most probably with relatively short barrel lenses.
It seems, that when direct sun rays enter the lens front element through the Raynox, it is the same as if you would try to light a fire with a magnifying glass.
The sun rays are getting bundled and focused, hitting the aperture blades with maximum energy and burning holes through them.
When you use a certain combination of step-up or step-down filter to fit your Raynox on, this might intensfy the situation, as it changes the layer where the hottest point of the focused light hits inside the lens.
Some reports indicate, that you would need direct, bright sunlight to hit the lens to cause that effect, while others deny having ever aimed the lens/camera directly at the sun, which indicates, that also intense stray light might cause problems.
Update 2: Another photographer has messaged me after reading the article and reported, that she had her lens damaged while photographing specimens on the ground, without ever aiming the lens towards the sun/sky at all.
Have a look at the photos from fellow macro photographers, that had their lenses irreparably damaged.
The damage patterns all look very similar.
Damage patterns and example photos
Be careful and protect your lens
As it will be very difficult to prove to the repair-service that you did not handle your lens in an inappropriate way, better be safe than sorry and only use this combination with extreme caution!
Always put a lens cap on the Raynox, when you are not photographing.
Never place your camera down on the ground with the lens facing towards the sky while the raynox is attached.
Personally i never had problems with the Raynox DCR250, but i do not use it as often as others, and rarely shoot into the sky, so i guess the damages might also be connected to specific styles of shooting.
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