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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Macro Talk 
Thread started 07 Jan 2016 (Thursday) 11:44
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Macro Lens Comparison

 
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John ­ Koerner
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Post edited over 3 years ago by John Koerner. (3 edits in all)
     
Jan 07, 2016 11:44 |  #1
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MACRO CHAMP: The Most Bang for the Buck

IMAGE: http://www.thenaturephotographer.club/forumposts/2016/January/sigma.png
The Sigma 180mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM APO Macro LensIMAGE LINK: http://www.bhphotovide​o.com …80mm_f_2_8_APO_​Macro.html  (external link)

I have shot 4 different Canon macro lenses (100 f/2.8, 100 f/2.8L, 180 f/3.5L, and the MPE-65) over the last 8 years.

I have typically held the belief that moving to a 3rd party macro lens was a step down (if not in image quality, in build quality).

However, all of that changed after reading enough reviews on the Sigma 180mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM APO macro lens, and after purchasing it, I can honestly say it's the best macro lens I have ever put at the end of my camera.

So I thought I would create a blog post (external link), giving a detailed breakdown + list of important features (among 10 different macro lenses), to show how the Sigma 180 stands up, that I hope proves both interesting and useful to those who are rubbing their chin about their next macro lens purchase :)

Enjoy,

Jack



  
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Poe
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Jan 07, 2016 17:52 |  #2

This is a very comprehensive analysis you've put together. Your analysis and subsequent rating appears to chiefly stress length of the focus ring throw, what you call focus precision, and then focal length. I conclude that the list of 13 lens parameters are not ordered from most to least important?



Nikon D750, D7200 | Nikon-Nikkor 14-24G, 60G Micro, 70-300E | SIGMA 35A, 105 OS, 24-105 OS | ZEISS Distagon 2.0/25 Classic, Apo-Distagon 1.4/55 Otus, Apo-Planar 1.4/85 Otus, Makro-Planar 2/100 Classic, Apo-Sonnar 2/135 Classic

  
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John ­ Koerner
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Post edited over 3 years ago by John Koerner. (3 edits in all)
     
Jan 07, 2016 18:54 |  #3
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Poe wrote in post #17849010 (external link)
This is a very comprehensive analysis you've put together.

Thank you. Took 10 days to complete :grin:


Poe wrote in post #17849010 (external link)
Your analysis and subsequent rating appears to chiefly stress length of the focus ring throw, what you call focus precision, and then focal length.

No sir.

My rating system was based on a combination versatility combined with optical excellence.

The ability to do more and do a better job in a wide variety of possible macro/nature applications.


Poe wrote in post #17849010 (external link)
I conclude that the list of 13 lens parameters are not ordered from most to least important?

They are listed in the factors that are most-important-to-least-important ... to me :lol:

As stated in the beginning, and at the end, your mileage may vary.

The central table is comprised of factual realities and performance ratings.

How I interpret those factual realities as to their importance may differ dramatically from how you do (which is kind of explained all throughout).

For example, if your primary passion is ultra-close arthropod portraits, you may not care about overall versatility, and so select the MPE 65 because of its versatility within the 1:1 - 5:1 parameter. The MPE is essentially useless for anything but ultra-close macro shots. However, if that is your primary shooting range, then you would stand my rating system on its head.

If you never use a tripod, and what matters most to you is to have a light, versatile macro lens to hand-hold, you may rate all of the facts in a totally different way (as encouraged to do in the article).

However, if you're looking for the macro lens that is across-the-board superior optically, built ruggedly, and that allows you to have more options than any other current offering, it would be hard to argue against the way I have arranged the stats and rating system.

Cheers,

Jack




  
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Archibald
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Jan 07, 2016 19:15 |  #4

Good article, and I would like to read it more carefully, but for now, I would suggest to replace minimum focus distance with minimum working distance as a criterion. The latter is the distance of the front of the lens to the subject. It is way more important than the distance from the back of the camera to the subject.

A long MWD helps in not scaring live subjects, but a short MWD greatly helps lighting quality (if using diffused on-camera flash). So the optimal MWD depends on the kind of shooting you are doing.


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Poe
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Jan 07, 2016 19:22 as a reply to  @ John Koerner's post |  #5

Ah. Thanks for the additional clarification.



Nikon D750, D7200 | Nikon-Nikkor 14-24G, 60G Micro, 70-300E | SIGMA 35A, 105 OS, 24-105 OS | ZEISS Distagon 2.0/25 Classic, Apo-Distagon 1.4/55 Otus, Apo-Planar 1.4/85 Otus, Makro-Planar 2/100 Classic, Apo-Sonnar 2/135 Classic

  
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John ­ Koerner
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Post edited over 3 years ago by John Koerner. (2 edits in all)
     
Jan 07, 2016 19:50 |  #6
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Archibald wrote in post #17849147 (external link)
Good article, and I would like to read it more carefully, but for now, I would suggest to replace minimum focus distance with minimum working distance as a criterion.

Thanks and I realize it is painfully-long (it was 14 pages and 6700 words in MS Word :eek: ), but if you grab a cold one and take a moment to read it critically, you will get more out of it.

Sure, and good distinction.


Archibald wrote in post #17849147 (external link)
The latter is the distance of the front of the lens to the subject. It is way more important than the distance from the back of the camera to the subject.

Agreed, thank you.


Archibald wrote in post #17849147 (external link)
A long MWD helps in not scaring live subjects, but a short MWD greatly helps lighting quality (if using diffused on-camera flash). So the optimal MWD depends on the kind of shooting you are doing.

Agreed again. You'll realize I cover all this, if you do more than skim the article.

I rate each lens based on my preferred way of shooting, but I encourage the reader to really read the strengths/weaknesses of each lens, and apply them to their preferred way of shooting, and so re-order the hierarchical importance as they see fit. (Described previously to Poe.)

If weight is a huge factor, then "my" primary choice (with weight as of no concern) might be another person's total refusal.

"What's best for me might not be best for you," etc.

Seeing how each lens stacks up factually, in the center table, is interesting in-and-of itself ... and can be reinterpreted as to each reader's importance, as the reader applies them to his/her primary interests and focus.

The fact that the Canon 100L has the worst MFing capability might not matter to a person who never uses a tripod and whose primary method of shooting is to nail moving bees in flight. Etc.




  
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Archibald
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Jan 07, 2016 21:04 |  #7

I know a guy who had the Sigma 180mm macro and loved it. He got great images with it. I would consider it for my stable of lenses, especially for hand-held available light macro work outdoors. (I already have the 65mm and 100mmL.)

A note on your writeup of the MP-E 65mm - you give a focus distance of 23.88 cm at 1x and then a working distance of 4.1 cm at 5x. It would be better to be consistent, and I would suggest using working distance in both cases. (It's 10.1 cm at 1x.)


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Dave ­ Webster
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Feb 09, 2016 17:49 |  #8

I have to take you to task on one of your comments about the Sigma 105 ex dg os hsm macro lens in your blog.
You state that the lens extends when focussing ?
It does not extend at all as it is an internal focussing lens.
I do agree though that it is very heavy lens.

Dave Webster.




  
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Archibald
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Feb 09, 2016 18:27 |  #9

Archibald wrote in post #17849254 (external link)
A note on your writeup of the MP-E 65mm - you give a focus distance of 23.88 cm at 1x and then a working distance of 4.1 cm at 5x. It would be better to be consistent, and I would suggest using working distance in both cases. (It's 10.1 cm at 1x.)

I wasted my breath, the inconsistency is still there.


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Dalantech
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Feb 10, 2016 01:04 |  #10

Archibald wrote in post #17892228 (external link)
I wasted my breath, the inconsistency is still there.

It's not a valid comparison of macro lenses or even a review. The whole piece can be summed up as "I love my lens and all the others are flawed". Happens when someone writes an opinion piece based solely on their style of shooting...


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Choderboy
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Feb 11, 2016 10:20 |  #11

It's simply not true that the macro twinlight flash is needed to shoot the MPE65 effectively.
There have been plenty of POTN members that have proven that.

Agree that working distance should be used instead of MFD for all discussions of macro lenses.


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John ­ Koerner
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Feb 14, 2016 19:35 |  #12
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Dalantech wrote in post #17892610 (external link)
It's not a valid comparison of macro lenses or even a review.

It is a valid comparison.

You just have taken "The Art of Reading Badly" to a new level.

Dalantech wrote in post #17892610 (external link)
The whole piece can be summed up as "I love my lens and all the others are flawed".

No, your statements can be summed up as either, "I didn't actually read the review," or possibly, "I lack comprehension."


Dalantech wrote in post #17892610 (external link)
Happens when someone writes an opinion piece based solely on their style of shooting...

Yes, exactly. Based on my style of shooting. Very astute of you to notice (seeing as I said this all throughout the piece).

I also made notations under each specific lens, saying how they might be rated higher, "if the shooter's style is X or Y."

So there absolutely were allowances and statements made under each lens, based on other styles of shooting.

You missing this, over and over again, is what happens when people either don't actually take the time to read the whole piece ... or don't cipher information very well.




  
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John ­ Koerner
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Feb 14, 2016 19:45 |  #13
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Archibald wrote in post #17892228 (external link)
I wasted my breath, the inconsistency is still there.

You wasted your breath? That's a laugh. You hardly can write more than one line.

I am the one who wasted enough time writing a several-thousand-word piece for those who can only skim words and then write 1- or 2-line nitpicks.




  
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Feb 14, 2016 20:17 |  #14

John Koerner wrote in post #17898518 (external link)
I am the one who wasted enough time ...

Yes, I believe you are correct. :-)


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John ­ Koerner
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Feb 14, 2016 21:26 |  #15
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Choderboy wrote in post #17894334 (external link)
It's simply not true that the macro twinlight flash is needed to shoot the MPE65 effectively.
There have been plenty of POTN members that have proven that.

It's amazing how many people skim what they read.

I didn't say the MacroTwinlight the 'only' choice.

What I said was, you either need a flash or a macro rail to shoot the MP-E-65 ... and that whichever you choose (or both) becomes an added expense.

I do agree I should have said "flash" rather than specify the TwinLite.
However the takeaway isn't to quibble over minutia, but to recognize the need for additional lighting (or absolute stability) with the MP-E.

No way are you shooting greater than 1:1 wildlife photos without a flash or without a macro rail.

You will not be able to show me a single (sharp) non-staged wildlife photograph taken with the MP-E 65 at greater than 1:1, without the assistance of either some kind of flash or a macro rail.




  
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