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I need a better macro lens…

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Viewing 11 posts - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)
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  • #1289
    caradoc
    Participant

    This is the closest I can focus with the 70-300mm:

    #16101
    schnee
    Participant

    That ain’t too bad – nice composition, btw, much closer may have lost some of that.

    Depending on your budget, one can add a diopter to the front of your lens. I have a Nikon 5T that sits on the front of my 70-200mm. I think it is a 62mm “filter”, so I use a step-down ring to go from the 67mm threads on the lens (stepping down is pretty much just stopping down, which increases DOF, which is a good thing for macro). When I add in my 1.4x extender, I can get 1:1 macro ratios (or really close, I can’t quite remember).

    Canon makes a 500D diopter, but it was either way too small or too big for my lens.

    #16102
    caradoc
    Participant

    Thanks! I’ve looked into the diopters and extension tubes, and I’m thinking it might just be better all around to go for something like the Tamron 90mm f/2.8.

    Ideally, I want the Nikon 85mm f/1.8 and the Nikon 105mm f/2.8 VR. The Tamron makes a reasonable compromise at approximately 35% of the total for the other two.

    #16103
    andyofne
    Participant

    I just picked up a fairly inexpensive 50MM/f2.8 Macro for my Canon. Now I just need to learn how to use it effectively.

    #16104
    corsec67
    Participant

    If you are looking for a lens just for macro stuff, you might get good results with a used manual macro lens, since when I am doing macro work I am almost always using manual focus.

    I have a Minolta 45mm f/2 that I reverse in front of my Pentax 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens, for a really close effect, like this picture of *a* BB (it isn’t cropped at all, and I couldn’t get the whole BB in the picture).

    The Pentax 100mm f/2.8 Macro is actually quite annoying to use as a regular lens, since it can’t quite focus to infinity, and if the focus starts to wander, it can go a VERY long ways before it gets in focus. I don’t know if those are shared by most true (1:1) macro lenses, but I think they all suffer from slow focus.

    I use manual exposure as well if I am using any of my flashes with a macro lens.

    #16105
    andyofne
    Participant

    I have a Minolta 45mm f/2 that I reverse in front of my Pentax 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens, for a really close effect, like this picture of *a* BB (it isn’t cropped at all, and I couldn’t get the whole BB in the picture).

    How, exactly, do you perform this maneuver?

    I hear people talking about it but I can’t say I understand it.

    #16106
    millera9
    Participant

    I highly recommend going with a set of Kenko extension tubes before springing for a full-on macro lens. They work great with my Canon gear (including autofocus) and, with combinations of them attached, I’m able to focus as close as the outer element of my lens. The nicest thing is that you don’t lose any quality because there’s no glass in the tubes. Because of that they’re relatively cheap, you can go off-brand with confidence, and if you’ve blown all your cash on pro-quality lenses you don’t have to worry about losing any quality like you sometimes have to with filters or tele-extenders. The only downsides are that they make long lenses even longer and you can’t focus to infinity so once they’re attached you’re pretty dedicated to shooting macros. Aside from those things, they work amazingly well without breaking the bank.

    #16107
    corsec67
    Participant

    I have a Minolta 45mm f/2 that I reverse in front of my Pentax 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens, for a really close effect, like this picture of *a* BB (it isn’t cropped at all, and I couldn’t get the whole BB in the picture).

    How, exactly, do you perform this maneuver?

    I hear people talking about it but I can’t say I understand it.

    It is actually quite easy.
    In that case I have 2 lenses, a telephoto/macro lens (the Pentax), and a fast normal-short lens (the Minolta). The brand of the reversed lens doesn’t matter, since you aren’t going to mount it on anything. I use the Minolta because nobody in my family has a Minolta MD mount camera any more, nor can you easily buy one, so there is no problem using that lens like that.

    You put the macro lens on the camera, and then take the second lens, and either use a filter-thread coupling, or just hold the filter threads together, in this case they both have a 49mm filter thread, so it is easy.

    I get crazy close-up, but the DOF is less than 1mm. I couldn’t get all of that BB in focus, and didn’t even get close.

    Here is one article about it.

    #16108
    andyofne
    Participant

    Thanks, I appreciate you taking the time to explain it.

    #16109
    sleeping
    Participant

    Personally, I think that while diopters and extension tubes are usable, and useful if you don’t want to spend a whole lot or need to travel light, if you want to shoot at magnifications around 1/2x to 1x there’s no substitute in terms of useability for a decent Macro lens with a focal length in at least the 90-105mm range.

    Getting to that level of magnification with a non-macro tele tends to require multiple bits of equipment and is not always very stable and tends to take a while to set up. With shorter lenses (dedicated macro or on tubes etc) you have very little working distance between your lens and the subject, which makes lighting difficult and makes it very hard to get photos of skittish critters.

    The Tamron 90mm is a very good lens. I actually have two of them, the 90mm f/2.5 Adaptall manual focus version and the older version of the 90mm f/2.8 AF Macro. They’re both plenty sharp enough and have very nice bokeh.

    The Adaptall lens (~$100 used) can be used on most 35mm bodies by changing the adapter but it won’t meter on the cheaper Nikon digitals, and it only goes to 1/2x without using a tube or teleconverter (it was designed to be used with the adaptall 2x tele, and that combination makes a 180mm f/5 that goes to 1x magnification with a fairly large working distance).

    The AF version is more convenient on my D70 most of the time, and the AF speed isn’t terrible if you use the limiter switch, but there are times when I do want a bit more working distance at full magnification than 90mm gets (about 4″ I believe).

    Some 90mm examples:
    http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=tamron+90mm&w=74356260%40N00

    #16110
    FutherMucker
    Participant

    if you want to shoot at magnifications around 1/2x to 1x there’s no substitute in terms of useability for a decent Macro lens with a focal length in at least the 90-105mm range.

    Words of wisdom, right there !..It really boils down to the amount of distance you want/need between you, and your subject….Also, how often will you be shooting macro?…If you have the funds, it’s great to have a dedicated macro lens in the bag…..millera9 had a good suggestion, regarding the extension tubes, but if you have future plans to shoot more macro, go with a dedicated macro lens…You may not lose IQ with them, but you WILL lose light as a result…I’ve seen many people go with the tubes, only to wish they had gone with a true macro lens from the start….Whatever suits your needs will be the issue here…I bought the Canon 100mm f2.8 macro, which gives me 1X magnification, but a few months later, I purchased the MP-E 65mm macro that pumps me up to a potential 5X mag….Rather than be a “general” photographer, I opted to focus my attention on IR and extreme macro…..Of course, once you get a dedicated macro lens, you’ll probably want a ring flash to go along with it….The important thing to remember is that glass will last a LOT longer than your camera body…Invest wisely.

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