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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses
Thread started 27 Aug 2005 (Saturday) 23:11
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Choosing Macro Lens by Working Distance vs. Price

 
J ­ Rabin
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Aug 27, 2005 23:11 |  #1

All macro lenses all brutally sharp, so there is little gained discussing/obsessing sharpness comparisons. Here's a different practical way to compare macro lenses: Consider working distances (WD) versus prices when these listed lenses are close-focused at full 1:1 magnification:

EF-S 60mm Canon = 10 cm WD @ $440
EF 100mm Canon = 15 cm WD @ $480
HSM 150mm Sigma = 20 cm WD @ $620
180mm Tamron = 26cm WD @ $690
EF 180mm Canon = 25 cm WD @ $1,300

WD 10cm. Unless you need this 60mm EF-S macro for specific uses, the 100mm Canon macro is a better all around WD value and flexible use for most people. The 60mm is limited to EF-S mount Canon cameras.
I carry the 60mm macro when working in the field with no tripod, as a portable, hand held macro, letting me use it at moderate shutter speeds without excessive camera shake image blur, as part of a portable field travel kit. It is the only Canon macro that let's you leave on the filter while using the 14EX or 24EX macro flash units.
If you vacation/travel with a wide angle (e.g., 17-40mm) and telephoto zoom (e.g., 70-200mm f/4) this 60mm becomes the lower (if not low) light lens as well as the macro piece of the kit.
Those who long respected the Nikon 60mm f/2.8 micro Nikkor waited years for Canon to make an equal, it just happens to be EF-S mount.

WD 15 cm. You only pay about $40 to add 5 cm of WD from Canon's 60 to 100mm macro lens. Due to floating internal elements, the Canon 100mm has a shorter than 100 mm internal actual focal length at 1:1, likely 70-80mm, maintaining a good field of view while providing 14.9 cm WD. This is a GREAT flexible lens. 5 cm is a big 50% WD distance gain.

WD 20cm. Pay additional $140 for another 5cm WD step gained from the Canon 100mm to the Sigma 150mm. The Sigma comes with a hood, tripod mount, HSM auto focus with full-time manual over ride (I manually focus much of the time), making it an very good middle contender, if it fits your needs. It is the first Sigma lens ever I used that contributed something important to photography performance; not another a “me-too” price-point product. Sigma4Less.com sells it reasonable. You need the Canon 72mm macrolite adaptor to connect the 14 EX or 24 EX macro flash.

WD 25cm. Step up and you pay an added $700 for the next (last) 5 cm WD gained between the Sigma 150mm and the Canon 180mm. This is an amazing optic, little diffraction even when stopped down to f/22+. Ultimate WD.
The longer focal length makes it much easier to compose shots by isolating subjects, eliminating clutter, and much easier to get the lens plane position parallel to where you want the maximum depth of field on the subject.
It's big and long and prefers to be used tripod mounted, except when "butterfly hunting." Works with Canon 1.4x teleconverter as a bonus. The last macro lens you'll ever buy. . You need the Canon 72mm macrolite adaptor to connect the 14 EX or 24 EX macro flash.

WD 26 cm. The Tamron is the longest WD versus price value winner, but I did not use nor consider it because a non-standard lens filter adjuster may prevent using the MT 24-EX Macro Flash.

What is Working Distance? WD is the distance from the FRONT of lens element to the subject when the lenses are focused at their closest focus 1:1 magnification. Macro lenses all focus continuously to infinity also, but we are only calculating close focus distance above.

Calculate WD
= published close focus spec for lens - lens length - distance between rear element and sensor or film plane (which is approx. 4.4 cm for Canon EOS camera system.

Light Loss
WD is a BIG limiting use factor (in addition to the full 2 f/stops of light loss @ 1:1 magnification), so get as much WD as you can afford.

If you're serious about macro, try not to buy a macro where the lens barrel length changes during focus. For casual macro users, this is OK (like carrying the old Canon 50mm f/2.5 in a pocket out for a hike).

More Fun at Less than Life Size
When we mean macro, we mean life size reproduction, (1:1) magnification or greater. There is loads of fun "close-up" photography at less than life size, say 0.25x to 0.70x (butterfly and dragonfly hunting range) that you can do with close-up filters (diopters), close focusing zooms, etc. A cheap Canon XXXmm-300mm zoom with a Canon 500D ($140) +2 diopter makes a good butterfly hunter, providing about 0.4-0.7x depending on focal length and lens.

Using a wide angle lens close-up enables “a thing in its environment” close-ups,” which are useful and popular.

Hope that helps. Jack




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Dante ­ King
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Aug 27, 2005 23:32 |  #2

what about the tamron sp90?


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J ­ Rabin
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Aug 27, 2005 23:42 as a reply to Dante King's post |  #3

Dante King wrote:
what about the tamron sp90?

Hi Dante. All sharp. All take good close-up photos. Never met a macro I didn't like (haha).

As noted, given the choice, I prefer the contemporary macro lenses whose barrels do not extend while focusing closer. I believe (not sure) the Tamron 90 and Sigma 105 fall into that group. You can check.

With the Canon 100mm the rear lens element moves away from the sensor plane as you focus, and lens barrel is stationary. A great innovation. Ditto on this for the new Sigma 150mm.

BTW: did you ever got my e-mail vis-a-vis edge sharpening 70-300 DO images?

Jack




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jylitalo
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Aug 29, 2005 03:52 |  #4

J Rabin wrote:
All macro lenses all brutally sharp, so there is little gained discussing/obsessing sharpness comparisons. Here's a different practical way to compare macro lenses: Consider working distances (WD) versus prices when these listed lenses are close-focused at full 1:1 magnification:

EF-S 60mm Canon = 10 cm WD @ $440
EF 100mm Canon = 15 cm WD @ $480
HSM 150mm Sigma = 20 cm WD @ $620
180mm Tamron = 26cm WD @ $690
EF 180mm Canon = 25 cm WD @ $1,300

This list doesn't seem to have Canon EF 50/2.5 compact macro in it, even though it can do 1:1 with its life-size converter EF.
EF 50/2.5 is nice cheap (USD 230) full frame macro lens. However if you want to go from 1:2 to 1:1, you need life-size converter which costs you USD225, and this will push its price above EF-S 60mm macro (USD400), which offers USM as additional bonus.

[Edit: oops.. it seems that you mentioned 50/2.5 at the end of your article, so in that sense it was already covered.]


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mebailey
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Sep 15, 2005 20:16 as a reply to jylitalo's post |  #5

Thanks for the explaination J Rabin. I have never seen the topic approached from that angle before. It was enlightening....


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Tom ­ Camilleri
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Sep 16, 2005 00:53 as a reply to jylitalo's post |  #6

jylitalo wrote:
This list doesn't seem to have Canon EF 50/2.5 compact macro in it, even though it can do 1:1 with its life-size converter EF.
EF 50/2.5 is nice cheap (USD 230) full frame macro lens. However if you want to go from 1:2 to 1:1, you need life-size converter which costs you USD225, and this will push its price above EF-S 60mm macro (USD400), which offers USM as additional bonus.

[Edit: oops.. it seems that you mentioned 50/2.5 at the end of your article, so in that sense it was already covered.]


I have the EF 50/2.5. Worth it to get the adapter? What working distance would that enable and does it in effect change the focal length of the lens for non-macro applications as well?


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CyberDyneSystems
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Sep 16, 2005 15:49 |  #7

The adapter will actually force you to move closer to get 1/1 than you go now to get half that magnification. It will also change the focal length.. approx like adding a 1.5X teleconverter....

When the Life size converter is added to any lens I have used it with, you loose infinity focus like you do when using extension tubes (or "macro rings").

I assume this is also the case whren it is used with the 50mm... unless the 50mm can focus waaaay past infinity. There is a new section on the LSC in the -=T-Con FAQ=-

Edit.. P.S. Jack's excellent post has also been added to the new working -=EF Lens FAQ=-


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Tom ­ Camilleri
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Sep 17, 2005 12:16 as a reply to CyberDyneSystems's post |  #8

CyberDyneSystems wrote:
The adapter will actually force you to move closer to get 1/1 than you go now to get half that magnification. It will also change the focal length.. approx like adding a 1.5X teleconverter....

When the Life size converter is added to any lens I have used it with, you loose infinity focus like you do when using extension tubes (or "macro rings").

I assume this is also the case whren it is used with the 50mm... unless the 50mm can focus waaaay past infinity. There is a new section on the LSC in the -=T-Con FAQ=-

Edit.. P.S. Jack's excellent post has also been added to the new working -=EF Lens FAQ=-

Thanks for comments. The dedicated adapter for the 50mm compact macro is supposed to be designed specifically to not degrade the optical properties of the lens, "unlike extension tubes." If that's the case I might try it and be able to use the lens as a 50 or 100 prime. It's quite a sharp lens.


40D, Digital Rebel 300D; EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS, EF 28-135 IS, EF 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro, 85mm f/1.8, 28mm f/1.8, Speedlite 380 EX, Sekonic L758DR w/target, Manfrotto 3021 w/3030 pan-tilt head & quick release plate, POTN Strap

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martook
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Sep 17, 2005 14:55 |  #9

One thing that is interesting to note is that here in Europe, the price difference between the 60 and 100 mm Canon lenses is almost $250, so maybe the 60 isn't such a good alternative in the states, but over here it's a different thing.



./Martin

A 20D with katzeye screen, tons of lenses, a couple of
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like a RZ67, Moskva 5 and Agfa Isolette I, II, III :)

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MadMesh
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Sep 20, 2005 20:37 |  #10
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im planning on the 100mm macro one day, some day

I tent to stay away from EF-S, even tho i own a 20D


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J ­ Rabin
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Sep 24, 2005 10:34 as a reply to martook's post |  #11

60mm EF-S vs 100mm macro prices in EU.

Yes, I've been told the pricing relationship of these two is different in EU, making the 60mm better value ...as long as you will stay with an EF-S mount camera.

The 60mm is an absolutely stellar sharp lens, portable, with great color rendition, and good bokeh, though after about f.5.6 the aperture blades do not give creamy round bokeh the 85mm f/1.8. So, I would not buy the 60mm EF-S if you wanted double duty as portrait lens most of the time. In my opnion, it really is a handheld macro in-the-field lens, like the Nikon 60mm of old. That's how I use it.
Thanks, Jack

martook wrote:
One thing that is interesting to note is that here in Europe, the price difference between the 60 and 100 mm Canon lenses is almost $250, so maybe the 60 isn't such a good alternative in the states, but over here it's a different thing.




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nickrowe
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Sep 28, 2005 05:10 as a reply to J Rabin's post |  #12

Thanks for the overview.

This site does a quality comparison of the various 100mm and 180mm macros:

http://www.orchideen-kartierung.de/Macro100​E.htmlexternal link




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chemicalbro
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Sep 29, 2005 14:45 as a reply to Tom Camilleri's post |  #13

Tom Camilleri wrote:
"unlike extension tubes."

extension tubes are just a hollow um....... tube
the lifesize converter contains glass............ therefore the converter is more likely to degrade optical quality than the air in an extension tube... (every bit of glass the light has to go through gets degraded to some extent)

the extensions will however lose some light and you would have to compensate for that.......(i'd rather lose light than image quality any day, .... exposue is easy to fix)


Alan

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Sailare
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Oct 20, 2005 08:36 |  #14

Dig a little deeper than the usual list of contenders and you will find a coule of winners with price/preformance hard to beat:
Tokina 100mm F2.8 1:! Macro -- $ 399.95 -- Lens test in this months PopPhoto Mag.
Sigma 50mm F2.8 1:1 macro -- $ 269.00 -- (For me this is a more versative lens as its a great "normal" as well)




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Ogrt48
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Oct 25, 2005 22:55 |  #15

The Sigma 105 really should be added to this list. I feel it's the best price/performance lens. Just as sharp as the canon 105, $100 cheaper, more working space.. Can't beat it.


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