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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 09 Dec 2013 (Monday) 11:19
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Which macro lens ?

 
alexxn
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Dec 09, 2013 11:19 |  #1

So I wanted to try some macro photography and would like some input on a good macro lens to start with.

Ideas ?


Nikon D4S, D3, Nikkor AF-S 50 f/1.4G, Nikkor AF-S 85 f/1.8G, Nikon AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8 G ED, Nikkor AF-S 70-200 f/2.8G E VR II
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paddler4
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Dec 09, 2013 11:24 |  #2

I'd suggest that you start with a search on this site. There have been a great many postings on exactly that question, some recently, so that will be a quick way to get started. After that, if you need more information, it would be helpful if you specified what you want to take macro pictures of, and at what magnification.


Check out my photos at http://dkoretz.smugmug​.com (external link)

  
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protege
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Dec 09, 2013 12:03 |  #3

In my opinion, the only real macro lens Canon has is the MPE 65mm. If not, I recommend lenses that have image stabilization on them. I have, for instance, the 100mm f2.8 L IS. The IS allows me not to bring my tripod during long walks in the park. I had the 180mm f3.5 and in my opinion it's a waste of money considering there are cheaper alternatives that will give you pretty good results.




  
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alexxn
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Dec 09, 2013 12:50 |  #4

protege wrote in post #16513588 (external link)
In my opinion, the only real macro lens Canon has is the MPE 65mm. If not, I recommend lenses that have image stabilization on them. I have, for instance, the 100mm f2.8 L IS. The IS allows me not to bring my tripod during long walks in the park. I had the 180mm f3.5 and in my opinion it's a waste of money considering there are cheaper alternatives that will give you pretty good results.

Hmmm you make a good point about the IS - thanks for the info :D


Nikon D4S, D3, Nikkor AF-S 50 f/1.4G, Nikkor AF-S 85 f/1.8G, Nikon AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8 G ED, Nikkor AF-S 70-200 f/2.8G E VR II
www.alexnikolis.com (external link)

  
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phantelope
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Dec 09, 2013 12:56 |  #5

canon 100mm macro. On crop you can also use the 60mm, very good and smaller, but won't work on FF. I have to sell mine, since I upgraded bodies. MPE65 is 'super macro', a fantastic lens with a steep learning curve, I'd not start out with it. One of the above and some extension tubes, MPE for when you really get into macro and want to do a lot of it.


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Madweasel
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Dec 09, 2013 13:03 |  #6

protege wrote in post #16513588 (external link)
In my opinion, the only real macro lens Canon has is the MPE 65mm. If not, I recommend lenses that have image stabilization on them. I have, for instance, the 100mm f2.8 L IS. The IS allows me not to bring my tripod during long walks in the park. I had the 180mm f3.5 and in my opinion it's a waste of money considering there are cheaper alternatives that will give you pretty good results.

That's two pretty extreme opinions you have there protege! If the MP-E65 is Canon's only real macro, then what of the other manufacturers? You would have to say it is THE only real macro on the market. Most people use the macro definition of life-size reproduction at the focal plane. Most dedicated macro lenses will do that. The MP-E (as I'm sure you know) STARTS there and goes further in. It's therefore definitely not a lens to recommend to someone just starting out in macro.

As for the 180L, yes it's expensive, but it's also one of the sharpest lenses on the market and if you use it well (it takes some time to learn) will give outstanding results. I can't agree with the suggestion it is a waste of money, though of course your opinion is as valid as anyone else's.

To the OP, IS is definitely handy for grabbed shots of flowers and butterflies etc., but the closer you focus the less difference it makes. I use the 100mm macro that doesn't have IS and I've never felt the need to switch, though I usually use flash, which freezes movement and allows me to stop down to f/11 or so. Really any of the 60mm - 100mm dedicated macro lenses will do fine. They are all very sharp.


Mark.

  
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1Twist
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Dec 09, 2013 13:04 |  #7

100 2.8




  
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BrickR
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Dec 09, 2013 14:47 |  #8

100 2.8L was on sale for like $745. Don't know if it is still active.

Difference between the 100 L and nonL IQ wise is fractional, but I would rather have the longer FL than a shorter one like 65mm.


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paddler4
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Dec 09, 2013 19:49 |  #9

In my opinion, the only real macro lens Canon has is the MPE 65mm. If not, I recommend lenses that have image stabilization on them.

Wow. This not a helpful comment.

First, most macro lenses will handle up to 1:1 magnification--that is, an image on the sensor that is life size. Every macro photographer I know considers 1:1, and even moderately less magnification, to be true macro. With extension tubes, depending on the length of tubes and the focal length of the lens, you can push those lenses to 1.5:1 or even 2:1. I don't know what it means to say that these are not "real" macro lenses.

The MP-E 65 is a specialty lens that can go up to 5:1. It is a difficult lens to use, and not all that many of the macro photographers I know have one. I don't. Macro is very tough, even at 1:1, so I would never recommend to someone starting out to start with that lens. The regular macro lenses are hard enough to use.

Re image stabilization: regular image stabilization corrects for angular motion. it is of course handy if you are using your macro lens at long distances, but at macro distances, it is not worth much. Canon has a "hybrid IS" in its more expensive 100mm macro, the L, which also corrects for motion parallel to the sensor, which does matter at macro distances. I own one. I find it gives me perhaps 1.5 stops at macro distances, perhaps 2 (which is what Canon advertises). However, this is only useful if you are doing handheld macro in ambient light. If you are using a tripod or a flash, it is not necessary. Most macro lenses that have IS do not have hybrid IS.

If you want to chase bugs, 100mm is probably as short as you should go. longer lenses will give you more working distance, but they are more expensive (all other things being equal) and a pain to aim because of their weight. Using a crop sensor, I used both 60mm and 100mm. With FF, I use a 100mm.

Just for fun, I'll post a few that I took with two of those 'not real' macro lenses.

IMAGE: http://dkoretz.smugmug.com/Bugs/Butterflies-damselflies/i-fHK3pQm/0/XL/_MG_3723-XL.jpg

IMAGE: http://dkoretz.smugmug.com/Bugs/Bugs/i-rNWtttq/0/XL/IMG_2464-XL.jpg

IMAGE: http://dkoretz.smugmug.com/Flowers/Wilted-flowers/i-2M8JLVv/0/XL/2013-11-12-19.41.56%20ZS%20PMax-XL.jpg

Check out my photos at http://dkoretz.smugmug​.com (external link)

  
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protege
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Dec 10, 2013 03:03 |  #10

Madweasel wrote in post #16513778 (external link)
That's two pretty extreme opinions you have there protege! If the MP-E65 is Canon's only real macro, then what of the other manufacturers? You would have to say it is THE only real macro on the market. Most people use the macro definition of life-size reproduction at the focal plane. Most dedicated macro lenses will do that. The MP-E (as I'm sure you know) STARTS there and goes further in. It's therefore definitely not a lens to recommend to someone just starting out in macro.

As for the 180L, yes it's expensive, but it's also one of the sharpest lenses on the market and if you use it well (it takes some time to learn) will give outstanding results. I can't agree with the suggestion it is a waste of money, though of course your opinion is as valid as anyone else's.

To the OP, IS is definitely handy for grabbed shots of flowers and butterflies etc., but the closer you focus the less difference it makes. I use the 100mm macro that doesn't have IS and I've never felt the need to switch, though I usually use flash, which freezes movement and allows me to stop down to f/11 or so. Really any of the 60mm - 100mm dedicated macro lenses will do fine. They are all very sharp.

Again it's just my opinion. Others will agree to disagree. Most of the people think that as long as the lens can produce 1:1 magnification, it's good enough for them. That's all well and good. I personally just feel I want to go beyond that, especially having experience with 3 macro lenses (180, 100, and sigma 75). Having IS on my 100mm is a boon. 2 stops is still 2 stops no matter how you cut it. My hands are not as steady as it used to be. And even between 1/50th-1/100th, the IS is still extremely helpful. As for the 180mm, again - in my experience - my ex sigma 75mm and my canon 100mm IS is sharper wide open. You guys can disagree with that all you like. Maybe I had a bad copy (I don't think I did)...who knows.




  
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Alveric
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Dec 10, 2013 03:23 |  #11
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The 180L has two advantages: 1) it's a longer lens and thus you can stand farther away from skittish insects, and 2) it comes with its own tripod collar. The collar for the 100L has to be purchased separately.

The MPE-65mm is beyond macro and it's manual only. Not bashing the lens by any means, but it's harder to use.

The 100mm 2.8 L should fit the bill nicely, with its image stabilisation and its non-extending body, which allows heavy ring flashes to be attached to it.


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Snowyman
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Dec 10, 2013 05:10 |  #12

The EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro non-L is a wonderful all round lens and is a very affordable way of exploring your curiosity for macro. The MP-E 65mm is a specialist tool and doesn't do anything else unless you put a 2x extender on the front of it: (http://www.fredmiranda​.com/forum/topic/92485​3 (external link)). Then it becomes a very sharp approx 3 times life size to infinity manual lens. ;)

100mm f/2.8:

IMAGE: http://th08.deviantart.net/fs71/PRE/i/2013/185/e/0/mason_bee_redux_by_snomanda-d6bxviq.jpg
100mm f/2.8 with extension tubes:
IMAGE: http://th00.deviantart.net/fs70/PRE/f/2012/204/f/4/the_fly_by_snomanda-d58c4id.jpg

MP-E 65mm:
IMAGE: http://th00.deviantart.net/fs70/PRE/i/2013/290/9/0/_mg_5462_1_by_snomanda-d6qrsab.jpg

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MalVeauX
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Dec 10, 2013 08:15 |  #13

alexxn wrote in post #16513469 (external link)
So I wanted to try some macro photography and would like some input on a good macro lens to start with.

Ideas ?

Heya,

Depends on your budget and how much macro you want to do. You already have the ability to do really good macro with what you have. For like $75, you could convert what you have into a powerful macro setup. But it also matters what kind of macro you want to do. Are you talking about things in the field? Or stationary object macro, like jewelry and coins, etc? It makes a difference.

Ultimately here's some options:

1) Raynox 250. This clip on with your 24-70mm lens, will convert it into a macro lens. It has really good optics. Look in the macro forum. There's people using it and producing amazing results that you would never know an inexpensive clip on lens could do. It allows you to focus closer with your lens, which is all a macro lens really is (something that is better at focusing at smaller distances). This is the easiest way to get into macro without using inverter rings, reverse this or that, etc. You simply clip it on and go to it.

2) Get an inexpensive macro lens. 100mm f2.8 is an inexpensive high quality lens for playing. You have L glass, so maybe you want even better. In which case, there's the 65 or the L 100. It comes down to budget and how much you want to invest in macro in general.

A simple way to approach macro is to know two things right away: 1) you don't need wide aperture, you will actually be using narrow aperture. It's a lot more like landscape photography. You need that for depth of field on a small object. Even with that, some people stack images for the focus over a narrow depth of field. If you're not wanting to get into it that much, you'll need to get a wider depth of field in a single image, and that means narrow aperture. A lot of macro is done in the f8~f11 range. Just like landscape. 2) You'll need a lot of light. You have a flash, and that's all you need. Customize a diffuser that works for you, and play around until you get the exposure you want from the flash. I use a wide octagon hood with a paper towel inside and -2 to exposure for my full flash macro photography. That way it looks the same in daylight and night time. Most macro folk have custom flash setups. Just take a look. You'll see duct tape and camera ball-heads, etc all frakensteined together. Look at the stickies in the macro forum, pay attention to Lord V's setup.

Very best,


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artyH
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Dec 10, 2013 10:14 |  #14

One poster mentioned having a Sigma 75 macro lens. Does this exist? Sigma does make a 70 F2.8 macro lens, a 50 F2.8 macro lens, a couple of 105 macro lenses, and some longer focal length macro lenses. I am not familiar with a 75, but I do have their 50 mm macro lens.




  
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ceriltheblade
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Dec 10, 2013 10:31 |  #15

in continuation to the above mentioned options for macro -
you can also reverse an existing lens onto 1.) the body directly or 2.) onto a regular lens in the correct orientation. Both of these offer higher magnifications for minimal outlay (the adapters are like $10-15 (mine are from photodiox)
you can use extension tubes or even bellows (which are less mobile extension tubes - though can be longer) which was noted above. A full set of kenko extension tubes on an 100mm macro lens can take the max magnification from 1:1 to 2:1 or it can allow closer focus of one of your existing lenses
then of course there is just a regular dedicated macro lens....and while there are slight nuances - all of them are good (1:1) that is. There are IS and OS versions (IS = canon and OS = sigma) from 50 to 180mm depending on the working distance you want...I think that in the past there was a canon 30 something macro - but i am not sure about that...and it isn't readily available anyway.

and then there is the highly specialized mp-e65 which was spoken about at length above
and then you can get into microphotography with microscope objectives etc of which I know nothing about.

so the most relevant question is: what are your macro goals? and then go from there


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