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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Macro Talk 
Thread started 13 Mar 2016 (Sunday) 21:33
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Macro Lens vs. Telephoto Lens with Extension Tubes

 
medd63
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Mar 13, 2016 21:33 |  #1

I have a question regarding the difference between these two scenarios. I have both a Canon 6D and a T4i. I am interested in taking close up photos of flowers and butterflies and bees, etc..

Scenario #1:

Use my Canon 100-400mm MkI (push-pull) telephoto lens with my Kenko extension tubes (I already own both the lens and the tubes)

Scenario #2:

Get a dedicated macro lens (I'm thinking of purchasing the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS). I'm trying to justify purchasing the macro lens.


Assuming I kept the 100-400mm at 100mm, what would be difference in the photos using the two scenarios outline above? Would the minimum focusing distance be radically different? Would the image captured be different (ie. would the flower be larger in one photo over the other?)

Thanks in advance for the help!


6D, 7D2, T4i, 16-35mm f/4L IS, 100mm Macro f/2.8L IS, 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS, 50mm f/1.4 IS, EF-S 55-250, 1.4 II TC, Kenko Extension Tubes, MeFoto Globetrotter & Roadtrip Tripods, Lightroom CC, Photoshop CC

  
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CyberDyneSystems
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Post edited over 3 years ago by CyberDyneSystems. (3 edits in all)
     
Mar 13, 2016 21:41 |  #2

Macro lens will out resolve the 100-400mm, and get you much closer. Plus 2 for Macro.

Zoom will get you a good image @ 400mm and you wont need to get as close. Plus 1 for 100-400mm


The old 100-400mm was in fact a very good lens to shoot butterflies and flowers as is, @ 300-400mm
(400mm gives you the most magnification, as MFD remains relatively constant while you zoom)

that said, the 100-400mm even with tubes is not really "macro"

Have you tried the bare zoom yet?
A tube will cost very little to try it. Might want to just get one and see, even if you end up with a macro.

If you don't want to justify the "L" get the 100mm Macro and save some dollars.


Not to steer you too far off the macro, but the new 100-400mm MkII focuses even closer than the original, making tubes entirely unnecessary for flowers and large insects like butterflys.


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Bassat
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Mar 13, 2016 21:55 |  #3

CyberDyneSystems wrote in post #17934464 (external link)
...
A tube will cost very little to try it. Might want to just get one and see, even if you end up with a macro.

If you don't want to justify the "L" get the 100mm Macro and save some dollars.

...

You can use the ET and macro lens together for even more magnification. I use a 100mm f/2.8 macro, 1.4x II TC, and 37mm of ETs to get to about 2.2x macro. (1.4x won't mount on the lens. Must use ET between lens and 1.4x.)




  
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Mar 13, 2016 22:31 |  #4

medd63 wrote in post #17934459 (external link)
I have a question regarding the difference between these two scenarios. I have both a Canon 6D and a T4i. I am interested in taking close up photos of flowers and butterflies and bees, etc..

Scenario #1:

Use my Canon 100-400mm MkI (push-pull) telephoto lens with my Kenko extension tubes (I already own both the lens and the tubes)

Scenario #2:

Get a dedicated macro lens (I'm thinking of purchasing the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS). I'm trying to justify purchasing the macro lens.


Assuming I kept the 100-400mm at 100mm, what would be difference in the photos using the two scenarios outline above? Would the minimum focusing distance be radically different? Would the image captured be different (ie. would the flower be larger in one photo over the other?)

The 100-400mm will work fine for photography of larger bugs like butterflies and dragonflies. But you should use it at 400mm, where the magnification is greatest - 0.2x, which is not that great, but works well for those bigger subjects perhaps with some cropping.

At 100mm, magnification will be much less, and is impractical for your butterflies.

Of course you can use extension tubes with the lens to increase magnification. With zoom lenses like the 100-400, this can be a bit awkward, because the magnification will be a bit unpredictable. What happens is that when drawing a bead on a small subject, you will be putting on the tubes, zooming in and out, focusing in and out, and what you see in the viewfinder might not be as expected.

The reason the system behaves weirdly is because the focal length varies from what the barrel says with focusing.

You have the gear, so you should give it a serious go to see if it is OK for you. If you like it, you're home free. Otherwise, try the 100mm L macro, which of course is optimized for macro.

The important parameters in macro photography are magnification and working distance. Look these up online for these lenses (I don't have the info at hand) to see what might work for your intended shooting.


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MalVeauX
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Mar 13, 2016 22:40 |  #5

Heya,

For larger subjects, you don't really need a macro lens unless you are trying to get high resolution images of portions of your subject. For whole subjects in a composition, you probably don't need macro at all. The 400mm even stopped down, will give a very pleasing look to flowers and large butterflies in ambient light or with flash, and have a good working distance so that you can actually take a photo without having to creep up within a few inches and not spook them. If you do need much closer focusing for higher effective magnification (less working distance too), then the extension tubes will help you do that.

I really wouldn't get a dedicated macro lens unless you truly needed macro level reproduction for a subject that is extremely small. For larger subjects, a telephoto is generally sufficient.

Very best,


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DreDaze
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Post edited over 3 years ago by DreDaze.
     
Mar 13, 2016 22:46 |  #6

since you already have the 100-400mm and tubes, i assume you've tried it...if you're not happy with the results a macro lens could work...but it'd help to know why the 100-400mm and tubes isn't working for you

the macro will allow you to get closer, but flowers, and butterflies don't necessarily require 1:1 magnification


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medd63
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Post edited over 3 years ago by medd63.
     
Mar 13, 2016 23:00 |  #7

Thanks for the responses guys.

A tube will cost very little to try it. Might want to just get one and see, even if you end up with a macro.

I know - Like I said, I already own the tubes. :)

If you don't want to justify the "L" get the 100mm Macro and save some dollars.

Well, I kind of want the IS for handholding. I have a friend who offered to sell me his 100MM non-IS "L" macro for a good price, but I was holding off because of the IS.

My wife typically shoots with the 100-400 attached to her T4i.

I tend to do more wide angle (16-35mm "L") or Panorama (50mm 1.4). But I like to do some handheld closeup shots and some mild telephoto and thought the macro might be the way to go.

I just did a test with the T4i and with the tripod mounted bare zoom at 100mm, then at 300mm, then at 100mm with a 12mm ET, then at 100mm with a 12mm ET + a 20mm ET. The results were all pretty good.

I even did a hand held with 100mm with a 12mm ET + a 20mm ET (although I had to crank the ISO up to 6400 on the T4i to get a quick enough shutter speed. It still came out pretty good.

Perhaps I don't "need" the macro lens, although there are still times when I think I would like it (like when my wife is shooting with the 100-400). That lens pretty much lives on her camera.

since you already have the 100-400mm and tubes, i assume you've tried it.

See above!

Thanks again for the responses - you guys have given me a good bit to think about


6D, 7D2, T4i, 16-35mm f/4L IS, 100mm Macro f/2.8L IS, 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS, 50mm f/1.4 IS, EF-S 55-250, 1.4 II TC, Kenko Extension Tubes, MeFoto Globetrotter & Roadtrip Tripods, Lightroom CC, Photoshop CC

  
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Swiftlet
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Mar 14, 2016 14:06 |  #8

I was surprised to find that with a 300L lens, using a close-up Diopter gave me a sharper result than using tubes.
That was using f/11 or f/16.
The subject size was a 35mm film box, and the diopter a Nikon "T" doublet. Canon do the D500 and others I think, there's Raynox of course, and other good makes too.
As long as you avoid the single element diopters..

You don't need a diopter anywhere near the diameter of the camera lens - look at the Raynoxes.

For an approximate field of view: using an APS camera, say the sensor is 20mm wide, then with a 400mm lens the field width is 20/400 = 1/20th the distance.
With a 2 diopter Canon d500 then the field is 500/20 = 25mm wide.
Not bad with a subject half a meter away. The lens there is focused at infinity.

It'll focus closer still on the lens of course, and give you a bigger field at the short end of the lens. Cool.
You may find it easier to just read the distance off the diopter than work out the distance using tubes at different focal lengths, it's easier to put a diopter on than insert tubes, and there's no dust getting in.

Nice lens, the new 100-400L :mrgreen:



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Mar 14, 2016 14:28 |  #9

Swiftlet wrote in post #17935133 (external link)
I was surprised to find that with a 300L lens, using a close-up Diopter gave me a sharper result than using tubes.
That was using f/11 or f/16.
The subject size was a 35mm film box, and the diopter a Nikon "T" doublet. Canon do the D500 and others I think, there's Raynox of course, and other good makes too.
As long as you avoid the single element diopters..

You don't need a diopter anywhere near the diameter of the camera lens - look at the Raynoxes.

For an approximate field of view: using an APS camera, say the sensor is 20mm wide, then with a 400mm lens the field width is 20/400 = 1/20th the distance.
With a 2 diopter Canon d500 then the field is 500/20 = 25mm wide.
Not bad with a subject half a meter away. The lens there is focused at infinity.

It'll focus closer still on the lens of course, and give you a bigger field at the short end of the lens. Cool.
You may find it easier to just read the distance off the diopter than work out the distance using tubes at different focal lengths, it's easier to put a diopter on than insert tubes, and there's no dust getting in.

Nice lens, the new 100-400L :mrgreen:

This will work, I have tried it, but IMO the 100-400mm is too unwieldy for macro work. I have had quite a bit of success with the D500 closeup lens and my old 70-300mm. That lens is much smaller. Working distance is about 1 1/2 foot (500mm) and magnification varied up to about 0.9x, depending on zoom and focus setting.


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Apr 18, 2016 17:57 |  #10

I myself wasn't very happy using a close-up lens with the 100-400 due to more softness than I wanted.

In favor of the 100 macro: 1) Much lighter than the 100-400 with or without tubes 2) F/2.8 is there if you need it 3) In my estimation the 100 is sharper than the 100-400 at full zoom.


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Swiftlet
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Apr 19, 2016 23:03 |  #11

the 100 is sharper than the 100-400 at full zoom.

Unless you can't get closer! Cropping by a factor of 4 , still sharper? I wouldn't have thought so :)



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John ­ Koerner
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Post edited over 3 years ago by John Koerner. (4 edits in all)
     
Apr 21, 2016 10:00 |  #12
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medd63 wrote in post #17934459 (external link)
I have a question regarding the difference between these two scenarios. I have both a Canon 6D and a T4i. I am interested in taking close up photos of flowers and butterflies and bees, etc..

Scenario #1:

Use my Canon 100-400mm MkI (push-pull) telephoto lens with my Kenko extension tubes (I already own both the lens and the tubes)

Scenario #2:

Get a dedicated macro lens (I'm thinking of purchasing the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS). I'm trying to justify purchasing the macro lens.


Assuming I kept the 100-400mm at 100mm, what would be difference in the photos using the two scenarios outline above? Would the minimum focusing distance be radically different? Would the image captured be different (ie. would the flower be larger in one photo over the other?)

Thanks in advance for the help!

I have found these two sites, LenScore (external link) and SenScore (external link), to be valuable tools for making purchase decisions on lenses/camera bodies.

LenScore rates each the various lenses in Resolving Power, Contrast, Color, Bokeh, Distortion, Falloff, Flair, LaCA, LoCA. They also have separate categories for Primes versus Zooms. In almost every case, even mediocre Primes invariably blow away Zooms Lenses in every category.

SenScore also rates the various cameras, for Noise, Dynamic Range, Color Range, Tonal Range, Resolving Power in each of the more popular DSLR cameras. They also distinguish between Full Frame and APS-C cameras. Full Frame cameras invariably blow away APS-C cameras in every category.

With that said, if you look at the original Canon 100-400mm zoom, it is one of the lowest-ranking zoom lenses made (5th from the bottom), with only 767 Resolving Power, 781 in Color, and 531 in Bokeh. If you slap extension tubes between this already-low-level lens and your camera, these numbers will be reduced even further.

By contrast, the Canon EF 100 mm f/2.8L IS Macro (while having a low-level rating among primes, is still far sharper than most zooms and) rates 813 in Resolving Power, 870 in Color, and 925 in Bokeh, and you don't have to slap extension tubes inbetween, so I think the choice should be pretty clear.

Now, if you are talking about the newer Canon 100-400 II zoom, you might make a different choice, seeing is this 4th from the top among zooms, with 992 Resolving Power, 947 Color, and 816 Bokeh. If you owned this particular zoom, it might not be worth buying the Canon macro.

I would bookmark these sites, as they make periodic updates, and you can see where you stand, quality-wise, with the equipment you're purchasing.

Jack




  
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Apr 21, 2016 12:54 as a reply to  @ John Koerner's post |  #13

Thank you very much for that info. I appreciate the time you took to research and type it all up.


6D, 7D2, T4i, 16-35mm f/4L IS, 100mm Macro f/2.8L IS, 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS, 50mm f/1.4 IS, EF-S 55-250, 1.4 II TC, Kenko Extension Tubes, MeFoto Globetrotter & Roadtrip Tripods, Lightroom CC, Photoshop CC

  
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Apr 21, 2016 13:09 as a reply to  @ John Koerner's post |  #14

but what do the numbers mean in the real world...like at what point does a difference become noticeable...i doubt someone would notice a 1 pt difference...so is it 5, 10, 15, 20...numbers are all well and good for scientific purposes, but i feel like they can lose a lot when translated to actual photographs


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John ­ Koerner
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Apr 21, 2016 13:19 |  #15
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medd63 wrote in post #17979788 (external link)
Thank you very much for that info. I appreciate the time you took to research and type it all up.

You're welcome, sir.

Hope it proves useful to you over time.

It sure has for me.




  
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Macro Lens vs. Telephoto Lens with Extension Tubes
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