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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 24 Jan 2008 (Thursday) 21:18
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Buying a macro lens. Any suggestions?

 
BlairMacro
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Jan 24, 2008 21:18 |  #1

I'm about ready to buy a new lens and I think I want a nice macro lens (better than the Sigma 70-300). Just wondering what you guys would suggest. Thanks for the help.


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arrgeebee
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Jan 24, 2008 21:36 |  #2

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro is said to be a mighty fine lens and at a cost of just over $400 new, it's a great deal too.


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mebailey
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Jan 24, 2008 21:39 |  #3

It would help to know what are your subjects and what do you want to spend.


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tracer ­ bullet
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Jan 24, 2008 21:40 |  #4

There's a Sigma similar in size and cost as well that gets good reviews.

I think when getting a real macro you have to think of 2 things:

1) What ratio do you want? 1:1, 1:2 (or is that 2:1, I forget)
2) How close can you be to the subject (which means you need to think about 50, 100, etc. and also if you have a crop sensor or not).

In other words - what do you want to take pictures of? Work that backwards and it'll tell you a lot about what to get.


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SilverHCIC
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Jan 24, 2008 22:56 |  #5
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arrgeebee wrote in post #4777134 (external link)
Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro is said to be a mighty fine lens and at a cost of just over $400 new, it's a great deal too.

... Yep, I have the 100 Macro, and I can assure you it is a fantastic lens, both for macro work and as a 100mm FFL prime. IQ is unbelievable.


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RPCrowe
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Jan 25, 2008 00:20 |  #6

All Macros Produce Good Imagery...

Just about every macro lens produced today will give you good imagery. Even the el-cheapo Phoenix macro (distributed under a variety of names) will produce good imagery.

I personally like a macro lens of 90mm or 100mm.

IMO the 50mm macros require too short of a lens to subject distance sometimes resulting in difficulty lighting the subject (I always use flash when shooting macros) and the short lens to subject distance often scares the tiny critters you are shooting. The new 60mm Canon is a little better but, even on a 1.6x camera, I would not like to work with the shorter lens to subject distance. Actually the only "really true" macro lens on the market today is the Canon 65mm MP-E lens. This is an expensive lens ($800) and is restricted to shooting imagery of 1:1 to 5:1. It can do this without adapters but cannot shoot at less than a 1:1 ratio. The reason I called it "the only true macro" is that the proper definition of "macro-photography" is shooting at 1:1 imagery and larger. However, in recent years, the term "macro-photography" has been watered down to mean close-up photography. In fact the Canon 50mm f/2.8 macro lens cannot even obtain 1;1 imagery without the use of an adapter

The 150mm and 180mm macro lenses give you a much greater lens to subject distance but, they IMO have two slight drawbacks. They are fairly expensive and they are fairly heavy. Whether the weight-price drawbacks are important or whether the longer lens to subject distance is more important is up to the individual photographer. They will, of course, produce excellent imagery.

The 90mm or 100mm focal length lenses are, IMO, a good compromise between weight, price and lens to subject distance.

The Canon 100mm f/2.8 macro lens is always a good choice. There is nothing bad you can say about this lens. The 90mm f/2.8 Tamron SP Di is another excellent choice. The Canon will hold its value better on the used market so; if I were buying new, I’d opt for Canon.

Since the Tamron does not hold its value quite as well, I would opt for a Tamron if I were going to buy used (and if I could find one). There are actually three 90mm Tamron lenses that have been produced. The first is the Adapt-All version which was a basic lens that used adapters to fit on various manufacturer’s cameras. The Adap-All was not a particularly good lens and I would avoid it. The present Tamron offering is the SP 90mm f/2.8 Di (In the Tamron alphabet soup language – Di signifies that the lens has been optimized for digital). Previous to the introduction of the Di model; Tamron offered the SP 90mm f/2.8 without the Di added to the name.

I have the previous non-Di model and I don’t know how Tamron could make this lens perform any better. My Tamron produces imagery that equals that of my best “L” glass lenses. It is a great lens, not a great lens for the price – but a Great Lens overall. However, I also got this lens used for a Great Price paying less that $125 USD including shipping for a minty lens from an eBay seller. You cannot often find the non-Di models on eBay. I would expect that few photographers would want to sell this jewel of a lens; especially not for a hundred or so dollars. However, if you can locate one selling somewhere between $100 and $200 – SNAP IT UP IMMEDIATELY. It is a great lens! By the way, the beautiful bokeh it produces makes it a great portrait lens.

Oh yes; I checked and there are none being offered on eBay at this time.


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4g63photo
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Jan 25, 2008 00:26 |  #7

Well said Master Chief Petty Officer RP Crowe.


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Twitch1977
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Jan 25, 2008 08:41 |  #8

I've got the Canon 100mm macro lens and my only beef with it is the lens diffraction you get when you're around 2:1 magnification and start trying to shoot smaller than f14. At f16 and above at 2:1 the diffraction is doing serious damage to your picture.

While I still really like the Canon 100mm macro and I think this will really only be an issue at higher magnifications I would be very interested to compare some of the 3rd party macro lenses in terms of the amount of diffraction they get at smaller apertures.

Kurt


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Lester ­ Wareham
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Jan 25, 2008 08:46 |  #9

Twitch1977 wrote in post #4779660 (external link)
I've got the Canon 100mm macro lens and my only beef with it is the lens diffraction you get when you're around 2:1 magnification and start trying to shoot smaller than f14. At f16 and above at 2:1 the diffraction is doing serious damage to your picture.

While I still really like the Canon 100mm macro and I think this will really only be an issue at higher magnifications I would be very interested to compare some of the 3rd party macro lenses in terms of the amount of diffraction they get at smaller apertures.

Kurt

Then you might want to look at this if you have not seen it already, http://translate.googl​e.com …-8&prev=%2Flanguage_too​ls (external link)


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Lester ­ Wareham
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Jan 25, 2008 08:55 |  #10

Yes good advice from RPCrowe there, I would just add that the larger macro lenses not only being heavier will also be more difficult to handhold in ambient light due to needing higher shutter speeds.

Light is at a premium for macro work because at 1:1 for example, there is an inherent 2-stop light loss due to the magnification. On top of that the magnification means that the lens angle of view is halved meaning that you need to double the shutter speed you would use in normal photography. So longer lenses are more of an issue.

Most people handhold for daytime insect photography due to the subjects mobility, static subjects like flowers can be shot using a tripod. For this reason and those about light loss above flash tends to be used a lot for insects. There are a number of specialist macro flash (I use the twin flash MT-24EX) or you can use a general purpose flash on a bracket.

I too suggest a good general focal length of 100mm as a trade in cost, size, weight, handhold-ability and distance from the lens to the subject.

All of the prime (not zoom) macro lenses on the market are good, but I would also recommend the Canon 100mm f2.8 macro USM.

Visit the macro section in this forum to find out more.


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Twitch1977
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Jan 25, 2008 08:59 |  #11

Lester Wareham wrote in post #4779684 (external link)
Then you might want to look at this if you have not seen it already, http://translate.googl​e.com …-8&prev=%2Flanguage_too​ls (external link)

That's a great link! Thanks.

Kurt


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Grimm75
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Jan 25, 2008 17:27 |  #12

Canon's 60mm macro is a 1:1 macro and it is dangerously sharp.


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liza
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Jan 25, 2008 17:31 |  #13
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Get the 100 mm macro lens. i have it, and it rocks!



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JWright
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Jan 25, 2008 18:02 as a reply to  @ liza's post |  #14

I've been using the Tamron SP 90mm Macro for years and love it...


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RPCrowe
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Jan 25, 2008 18:21 as a reply to  @ JWright's post |  #15

Good Advice from Lester Warham

I always use a flash on a bracket when I shoot hand held. If I am shooting inanimate subjects using a tripod, I will occasionally hand hold the flash off the camera with one hand and hold a reflector with the other hand. I trip the camera using the self timer. I just make sure that I am not jiggling the camera by stretching the cord.

The bracket that I use for hand held macro work is the Siegelite which I purchased for five dollars at a garage sale quite a few years ago. I didn't have a specific use in mind but, thought that I would eventually use it for something. This pack-rat habit of mine drives my wife nuts but has paid great dividends for me; as in the case of the Siegelite. I have also recently purchased a used video shoulder-pod on eBay for a very low price and have begun experimenting in using it for macro work. Although it really steadies the camera/lens; it does restrict my movements a bit. I seem to shoot most macros in the landscape configuration so shifting the camera to portrait would not be a problem. The jury is still out on this rig. Here is a link to a new copy of the one that I purchased used.

http://cgi.ebay.com …ZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcm​dZViewItem (external link)

When I first started macro photography, I was guided along by Dr. Deepak Rao of Bangalore, India. Dr. Rao is a top-notch macro photographer and he emailed me pictures of his macro-rig. As soon as I saw Deepak's rig, I realized that the Siegelite bracket would be perfect for that use and dug it out of the storage area where I hold my other pack-rat treasures until I find a proper use for them.

The finger grip on the handle makes it very easy to hold the camera/lens/flash combination and actually seems to steady the rig. The bracket articulates and it is also relatively light.

I have seen copies of this bracket sold on eBay numerous times and they usually go for under $20 USD. I have attached an image of the rig.

The rig that I use now is slightly different from the image I posted since I am using a 30D camera instead of the 10D and a 550EX flash instead of the 420EX. However, basically - this image should give you an idea of how well a five-dollar garage sale bracket can work in macro shooting. The mini lightbox diffuser gives the light a nice quality and is also somethingthat I had lying around.


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Buying a macro lens. Any suggestions?
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