gfspencer wrote in post #16401589
1. If you are shooting with a camera like a 6D which will put three shots together in HDR would that be similar to stacking?
2. If you bought a Canon 65mm, 100mm, or 180mm macro lens could you use it like a "regular" lens when you weren't shooting macro?
1. Agreed... Stacking images for increased depth of field is the same idea as combining images for HDR, except that focus stacking is done picking out and using the sharp, in-focus portion of each of the images in the stack, while HDR uses the "correct" exposed portion of each image to combine into a single image that "compresses" the dynamic range of the image into usable form.
As with HDR, there are specialized softwares that can be used for focus stacking. I haven't used it, but I understand Magic Lantern can be used to generate a series of shots where focus "steps" (but only with an auto focus lens, so it wouldn't work with the MP-E 65mm that's the primary lens being discussed in this thread). For post-processing, there is Helicon Focus, for example, which works to combine the multiple images into a single, final image.
HDR is now a common enough technique that there are processes to do it built into more general purpose s'wares. Photoshop has Photomerge, for example. Heck, some cameras can even do HDR in-camera (I've never tried it). Focus stacking is more specialized and would need to either be done manually or with one of the few s'wares designed for the purpose.
2. Yes, again I agree. Macro lenses often can be used for other non-macro purposes, with some limitations. The MP-E 65mm is strictly macro (1:1 to 5:1 magnification), so is not a dual purpose lens. But most others are capable of shooting anything from infinity to 1:1 or 1:2 and can be used for many purposes.
If you plan to do that, you need to know that most macro lenses are slower focusing than non-macro lenses of similar focal length. Don't expect to use them for fast shooting such as sports. But they might be fine for more sedate shooting, such as portraits, still life, scenics, etc.
I sometimes use my Canon 100/2.8 USM for general walkaround purposes... Shots of buildings or whatever else holds still long enough to focus:
I am currently trying out a Tamron 60mm f2.0 macro lens, hoping it might take the place of three lenses in my camera bag (50/1.4 and 85/1.8 I often use for portraits, as well as a macro).
The Tamron 60mm has a full stop larger aperture than the Canon 60mm, which should make it even more versatile. I haven't directly compared, but I suspect the Canon 60mm with USM is faster focusing.
Note that both the Tamron and Canon 60mm lenses are "crop only", so wouldn't be usable on a Canon 6D. These two lenses are designed for use on APS-C crop sensor format cameras (7D, 60D, 70D, the Rebel series, etc.)
But there are plenty of other very good macro lenses to choose among. Both the Canon 100mm lenses are top notch (100L IS and 100/2.8 USM). Tamron offers two 90mm (the original and a newer model with both VC stabilization and their USD focus, which is similar to Canon's USM). Sigma offers a 70/2.8, a 105/2.8 and a 150/2.8, the last two with OS and HSM (similar to Canon's IS and USM). Tokina offers a 100/2.8.
There are also Canon and Sigma 50mm macro lenses, but these give very little working distance when trying to shoot high magnification. They tend to be more useful for studio macro shooting, than for field work.
I also wouldn't be too quick to recommend any of the 180mm macro lenses for general purpose. They are excellent macro lenses, but tend to be slower focusing and somewhat more specialized. The Tamron and Canon do not have stabilization. There is a Sigma with OS that might be a little more usable for non-macro purposes.