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Macro for a relative newbie.

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  • #1758
    U-Man
    Participant

    A friend bought a Canon 50D for his wife for Christmas. He got an 18-135 IS as the main lens. He is leaning pretty stongly toward staying with Canon lenses but could be bumped to a Tamron or Sigma or something else.

    I’m pretty sure he got or will get a 10-22 zoom.

    Here’s the question – for macro work should he get the 100 mm prime (x 1.6 = 160 mm) or should he get an EF-S 60 mm? These are the Canon versions. Does anybody love their non-Canon (non-Nikon) macro?

    #26129
    olavf
    Participant

    I’ve used the 100mm prime a few times (on loan from a friend) and it’s a pretty nice lens. My biggest problem with it personally was trying to take close-ups of moving things…bugs for example. It was really frustrating trying to track them because of the focal length. For stationary objects it does a really good job though (my hand-written rice shots for ‘Up Close’ were taken with the 100mm).

    Kat ended up getting the Sigma 50mm F2.8 macro. I’ve used it a few times and have been pretty pleased with the results. Like any macro, folks are probably going to complain about the AF ‘hunting’, but I think that’s the nature of the beast. You’re taking really, really tight shots, and any movement either by you or the subject is going to cause the AF to refocus. (When I’m shooting I tend to use manual focus most of the time anyway)

    The Sigma does a good job at portrait-type shots too, so the lens can do double-duty. So, I’d recommend that or the 60mm (which I haven’t used so I can’t speak on).

    I’ll get Kat to wander through and give her thoughts when she wakes up too. She does a lot more macro-photography than I do.

    #26130
    justkat
    Participant

    I got to use the 100, too, when LadyNocturne lent it to us. I decided not to go with it partly because it was outside our budget, but also because of what Olav mentioned. Not just tracking something moving, but finding it in the first place! I took some pretty fabulous shots (as far as clarity and fun bokeh) with that camera and then ended up getting the 50 ml detailed above. I kind of figured I’d just never use the auto-focus, but I do sometimes and I don’t find its hunting issues annoying, because that’s what macro lenses do, no matter how much you pay for them. I wasn’t super wowed by the lens, but I think I’d gone past being able to be wowed by anything I could possibly afford. 😛 I am quite happy with it, though, and would recommend it. I use it a LOT.

    #26131
    U-Man
    Participant

    Olav, thanks for the feedback. To clarify the question further – on a 50D with 1.6 crop, what are the pros and cons of 60 vs 100 mm focal length? Then, which particular lens do you like?

    #26132
    soosh
    Participant

    I’ve had the Canon 100 and then when it was stolen, I replaced it with the Tamron 180. The Canon was so much faster at auto-focus. And while the 180 is a fine sharp lens, I don’t like how far back you have to get for a lot of shots. It does give you a great working distance for bugs and whatnot, but trying to use it indoors can be a pain.

    I plan on selling it and replacing it with the 100, which is a lens I can’t say enough good things about. It is fantastically sharp, has great bokeh, and doesn’t do too poorly as a portrait lens, either.

    #26133
    U-Man
    Participant

    soosh, you shoot with a 20D, right? Have you used shorter macros? I have the Canon 100 and really like it – but I haven’t used a 60 mm to compare.

    #26134
    soosh
    Participant

    no, I’ve never shot with a shorter one. Yes, I shoot with a 20D. I don’t think you get true 1:1 macro without adapters with the shorter ones, but I could be wrong about that.

    #26135
    olavf
    Participant

    Olav, thanks for the feedback. To clarify the question further – on a 50D with 1.6 crop, what are the pros and cons of 60 vs 100 mm focal length? Then, which particular lens do you like?

    Haven’t played with the 60mm, but using Kat’s 50mm as a comparison, I like the shorter focal length better (I think the 60mm Canon lens is an EF-S so IIRC you don’t get the crop factor?). Ideally, I’d want both, but the 50 gives you a bit of an easier time, especially when chasing bugs around. The drawback is, of course, that you need to be closer to get a full-frame shot.

    The Sigma 50, Canon 60, and Canon 100 are both 1:1, the former with ~7.5″ minimum focus vs the 100’s 12″. But remember that’s also to the sensor, not to the edge of the lens, so either way you can have the glass jammed right up on the subject if you want.

    Short answer is, if I were hard-core macro, I’d probably want the 100mm. A little patience will yield a much tighter shot, or an equivalent shot from a little further away. If I wanted something more versatile, that also did a good job doing macro, I’d grab either the Sigma 50, or Canon 60. They’re pretty equivalent spec-wise.

    This was with the 100mm Canon, uncropped. so your frame is limited to roughly three grains of rice.

    This is about as close as I’ve been able to do with the 50mm Sigma. Granted it wasn’t in the studio. It’s also possible I could have gotten closer were I not concerned about her attacking my camera (again)

    #26136
    U-Man
    Participant

    …could have gotten closer were I not concerned about her attacking my camera (again)

    🙂 The ‘again’ made me smile.

    Thanks for the input.

    #26137
    olavf
    Participant

    my pleasure. Hope it was a little help, at least.

    /and Kat’s ‘win’ shot from win…fail… was that mantis standing triumphantly on my camera 😛

    #26138
    ravnostic
    Participant

    Quick question. Somewhere–God only knows where, but I remember seeing something that tells you how to figure out what kind of macro you’ve got.

    Well, I ain’t got one.

    What I do have is my Darlot antique lens (80mm focal length and 40mm diameter; ignore crap photo, I was rushed.)

    That, and with my Canon xTi and Tamron 75-300mm telephoto, zoomed to 300 and with the Darlot held up to it (I’ll need to rubberize the Darlot if I’m to toy with this), I got this (in millimeters):

    (again, ignore crap photography, I just wanted to see if I could focus it and make it bigger than what I’d done with the 28-80 lens).

    So, Canon sez the sensor is 22.2×14.8mm, and I seem to remember someone saying macro was sensor size divided by true image size? Would that be (approx) a 2.2 macro? Or maybe the inverse, a .4545… macro?

    I forgets. We drinks ya know. But just asking. Not that I could catch a bug with it or anything–the depth of field is horrible.

    p.s.; it took a long time (1/4000 exposure, 1600 iso, these little phuckers are phast…), but I got a couple ants. They’re about 2mm each (the backend of one in one pic is about 5mm–guestimations; they don’t sit still for measuring) Pics edited differently.

    #26139
    ennuipoet
    Participant

    I snagged an old version of the Tamron 90mm on a Canon mount about three weeks ago. I am highly impressed with the quality of the lens and photos:

    I shot this today, and the clarity and color are damn good, and this was the OLD version of the lens. All of the reviews of the Tamron 90mm Macro I read were positive and while the critiques were just, I compare if favorably to the Canon 100mm Macro which I’ve used previously.

    For the price difference, the Tamron is worth it.[/img]

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