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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 06 Oct 2019 (Sunday) 13:46
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Please Recommend A Macro Lens

 
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Oct 16, 2019 08:26 |  #16

Wilt wrote in post #18944903 (external link)
Some 'basics'...


  1. Classically, 'macro' means to image an object so that its image is captured at 1:2 (0.5x) or 1:1 (lifesize) on the film or sensor.
  2. Classically, non-'macro' lenses had a minimum focus distance (MFD) of about 9*FL
  3. Along the way, lenses started having 'close focus' capability, and lens manufacturers started to advertise their lens as 'macro' although the lens might not be able to achieve 1:2 with without a supplemental extension ring.
  4. In modern times the term 'macro' degraded so that now it tends to mean 'to shoot at a closer distance than is normally allowed with a non-macro lens of same FL'...if the 50mm lens focuses to 18", most folks mean 'allow me to focus closer than 18" somehow', and the actual magnification of the object does not matter at all!
  5. True macro lenses are corrected optically so they perform well even focused at very close distances (even at 5 * FL distances, for example) whereas non-macro lenses might work reasonable they are not optimized for very close subject distance
  6. The true macro lens is also optimized to have a flat field of focus, so that reproduction of postage stamps can be achieved with everything 'in focus', which might not happen with a lens that has a 'curved field'.
  7. A longer FL allows you to achieve the same reproduction magnification from a longer distance away from your subject. That can greatly help when shooting skittish bugs, since being to close might scare them away. A 100mm lens gives you about twice the 'working distance' from the bug as you would have with a 50mm lens.


As someone getting their feet wet, you don't truly need to buy a 'macro lens'...simply using an extension tube with a non-macro lens might well satisfy what you wish to achieve, if you do not plan on optimally portraying 10mm x 10mm 2D flat objects at 1:1, you do not need a flat field.

Generally speaking, you need a 100mm extension tube with 100mm lens (focused at infinity) to achieve 1:1, while you need only 50mm extension tube with 50mm lens to also achieve 1:1, so there are other considerations to FL choice in addition to simply 'working distance'. You cannot find 100mm extension tube...you would need to 'stack' tubes (which may not be possible with AF lenses that need electrical contacts in the extension tubes).
Most AF 'macro' lenses actually change FL, so a Canon 100mm macro is actually about 75mm when it is set to achieve 1:1.

Certain techniques USED TO work fine, like the use of a 'reversed' lens, because the lens f/stop could easily be controlled in size, and easily stopped down from focus aperture to shooting aperture. The modern AF lens does this very very clumsily because the lens itself has NO CONTROLS, and the reversed AF lens cannot at all be controlled by the body while it is reversed.

A few additions if I may:

100 mm extension to get to 1:1 with a 100 mm macro lens is true, but that imples startign out from infinity. As many lenses do focus closer than infinity, you generally need less in added extension tubes.

As to Macro lenses that change FL when focusing: that is indeed true for IF lenses, and the 100 mm Canon macros are fairly extreme examples of this effect. The 100L becomes a 72 mm lens at 1:1, the 60 mm EF-S a 50 mm, the EF 180L Macro approximately a 120 to 125 mm or thereabouts.
In effect, they use the same principles as many zoom lenses :).

Kind regards, Wim


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Oct 17, 2019 04:15 |  #17

wimg wrote in post #18945279 (external link)
A few additions if I may:

100 mm extension to get to 1:1 with a 100 mm macro lens is true, but that imples startign out from infinity. As many lenses do focus closer than infinity, you generally need less in added extension tubes.

As to Macro lenses that change FL when focusing: that is indeed true for IF lenses, and the 100 mm Canon macros are fairly extreme examples of this effect. The 100L becomes a 72 mm lens at 1:1, the 60 mm EF-S a 50 mm, the EF 180L Macro approximately a 120 to 125 mm or thereabouts.
In effect, they use the same principles as many zoom lenses :).

Kind regards, Wim

I believe the EF-S 60mm is 37mm focal length at 1:1. I was aware of the Canon 100 and 60 extreme differences in actual focal length at 1:1, not the 180mm though.
I'm curious about other manufacturers lenses, Tamron, Sigma etc.
So often a particular focal length is recommended for someone asking about a macro lens, at least for Canon lenses it would seem to be pointless unless when comparing other Canons. ie, EF-S 60mm has the lowest MFD, 180mm the highest.


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Oct 17, 2019 10:02 |  #18

Choderboy wrote in post #18945814 (external link)
I believe the EF-S 60mm is 37mm focal length at 1:1. I was aware of the Canon 100 and 60 extreme differences in actual focal length at 1:1, not the 180mm though.
I'm curious about other manufacturers lenses, Tamron, Sigma etc.
So often a particular focal length is recommended for someone asking about a macro lens, at least for Canon lenses it would seem to be pointless unless when comparing other Canons. ie, EF-S 60mm has the lowest MFD, 180mm the highest.

I actually did calculate real FLs at 1:1 for the EF-S 60, 100 Macro, 100L Macro, and 180L Macro - that is where I got the numbers from. This was based on actual measurements.

The EF-S 60 is 50 mm at 1:1, I am 100% sure.

HTH, kind regards, Wim


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Oct 17, 2019 11:25 |  #19

Choderboy wrote in post #18945814 (external link)
I believe the EF-S 60mm is 37mm focal length at 1:1. I was aware of the Canon 100 and 60 extreme differences in actual focal length at 1:1, not the 180mm though.
I'm curious about other manufacturers lenses, Tamron, Sigma etc.
So often a particular focal length is recommended for someone asking about a macro lens, at least for Canon lenses it would seem to be pointless unless when comparing other Canons. ie, EF-S 60mm has the lowest MFD, 180mm the highest.

What matters is working distance.


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Oct 17, 2019 11:56 |  #20

wimg wrote in post #18945924 (external link)
I actually did calculate real FLs at 1:1 for the EF-S 60, 100 Macro, 100L Macro, and 180L Macro - that is where I got the numbers from. This was based on actual measurements.

The EF-S 60 is 50 mm at 1:1, I am 100% sure.

Interesting. How did you measure the focal lengths?

It also raises the question of what the focal length of the Canon 100L might be at infinity. Is it 100 mm?


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Oct 17, 2019 17:57 |  #21

Archibald wrote in post #18945981 (external link)
Interesting. How did you measure the focal lengths?

It also raises the question of what the focal length of the Canon 100L might be at infinity. Is it 100 mm?

You measure focusing distance from object to imaging plane, and magnification, and use the lens formula to calculate the corresponding FL. The easiest way is to photograph some measuring tape with is crisp and has good etail.

The 100L is approximately 100 mm at infinity. At 20-odd meters it still is as well.

HTH, kind regards, Wim


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Oct 17, 2019 19:43 |  #22

wimg wrote in post #18946155 (external link)
You measure focusing distance from object to imaging plane, and magnification, and use the lens formula to calculate the corresponding FL. The easiest way is to photograph some measuring tape with is crisp and has good etail.

The 100L is approximately 100 mm at infinity. At 20-odd meters it still is as well.

HTH, kind regards, Wim

OK, thanks!


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Oct 19, 2019 09:41 |  #23

I had the Canon 100m f/2.8L IS Macro USM lens. It was so sharp I had to carry band aids in my camera bag. The 85 1.8 is considered to be a portrait lens so with only a 15mm difference it works for that too.


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Oct 19, 2019 16:23 |  #24

digital paradise wrote in post #18946976 (external link)
I had the Canon 100m f/2.8L IS Macro USM lens. It was so sharp I had to carry band aids in my camera bag. The 85 1.8 is considered to be a portrait lens so with only a 15mm difference it works for that too.

Well, 100 to 105 mm FF equivalent is the real classic portrait lens :).

Basically, when you look at a person's face from relatively nearby, your field fo focus is more or less the same as the FoV of a 100 mm lens from the same distance. That is why it works so well as a portrait lens :).

Kind regards, Wim


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Oct 19, 2019 16:42 as a reply to  @ wimg's post |  #25

Wim, no problem with your added comments, but I did earlier state, "100mm extension...100mm lens (focused at infinity) to achieve 1:1"


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Oct 19, 2019 16:45 |  #26

Archibald wrote in post #18945961 (external link)
What matters is working distance.

'Working distance' matters to someone wondering how close/far to an animate subject they will be.

'Actual (vs. engraved) FL at what MFD matters to someone who is trying to determine how much/little additional extension via tubes is needed to achieve a given reproduction factor.


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Oct 19, 2019 16:48 |  #27

Wilt wrote in post #18947169 (external link)
Wim, no problem with your added comments, but I did earlier state, "100mm extension...100mm lens (focused at infinity) to achieve 1:1"

Hi Wilt,

Been a long time :).

I just added that to make sure that more people would understand. I was thinking that maybe not everybody would otherwise :).

Kind regards, Wim


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Oct 19, 2019 16:53 |  #28

digital paradise wrote in post #18946976 (external link)
I had the Canon 100m f/2.8L IS Macro USM lens. It was so sharp I had to carry band aids in my camera bag. The 85 1.8 is considered to be a portrait lens so with only a 15mm difference it works for that too.

This 'crop factor' BS has confused what it means for any particular FL to be 'for portrait', compounded by the fact that the generic 'for portrait' really means multiple definitions to a film photographer with 135 format.

  • Full length standing portait typically was done with 50mm
  • 'Waist up' portrait was typically done with 85mm
  • 'Head & shoulders' portrat was typically done with 100-105mm
  • 'Tight headshot' was typically done with 150-180mm


...and all in the context of a typical commercial studio with limited distance, which made 8-10' studio shooting distance (which renders some of the most pleasing facial perspective) so common with any of the above combinations on 135 format.
So when ANYONE says they 'want a portrait lens', the first question needs to be 'for WHAT KIND of 'Portrait' ?!"

But a '100mm portrait lens' makes for too long of a shooting distance for APS-C, which is better suited with 60mm to permit the facial perspective associated with 8-10' shooting distance. All of the above 'for portrait' FL need to multiplied by 0.6x in order to have the PROPER 'for portrait' FL for ASP-C shooters.

The facial perspective achieved with different FL on a 135 / FF format camera, when shooting a 'tight headshot' portrait (at different distances, suited to the same framing of the same area regardless of FL used, which alters the facial perspective captured:
http://stepheneastwood​.com …/lensdistortion​/index.htm (external link)

Now, 'macro' really means 'closer (than 9*FL) focus' MFD found in a typical non-macro lens. And so often even 1:2 reproduction is never even approached in so many so-called 'macro' shots done by amateur photographers. Terminology distortion happens yet again.

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