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macro lens purchase advice please

Forums Forums Get Technical Hardware macro lens purchase advice please

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 31 total)
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  • #1572
    justkat
    Participant

    i’m inheriting olavf’s canon 20D and i’m going to git me a macro lens, because i love me some macro.

    these are some of the ones i’ve been looking at.

    http://www.amazon.com/Sigma-17-70mm-2-8-4-5-Digital-Cameras/dp/tech-data/B000EGAMBW/ref=de_a_smtd

    http://www.amazon.com/Canon-50mm-Compact-Macro-Lens/dp/tech-data/B00006I53V/ref=de_a_smtd

    http://www.adorama.com/SG5028DEOS.html

    i love love love taking pictures of small things: bugs, tiny flowers, jewelery, anything nifty and small that you can bring to life up close and personal. if the lens could also function fairly well as an every day lens this would be a plus, but it is not a requirement. the more i spend, though, the more i’d want that sort of thing to be an option. i would say that 400$ is the upper limit and frankly i’d like to keep it under 300$.

    i do have a functional light box but prefer to do most of my macro shooting in bright sunlight –at least as far as bugs and flowers and other nature stuff — so i’m a bit flexible on the aperture side of things, but the closer i can get to my object the better.

    Any suggestions, fellow macro fans? or any questions to help you make recommendations?

    #22016
    linguine
    Participant

    Well since miller is stuck in Saudi Arabia I’ll say to get extension tubes for him.(I think thats what he uses for all his macro shots and he seems to be pretty good at it) I don’t actually have any but I keep saying I’m going to get them so I may get around to it one of these days.

    #22017
    Elsinore
    Keymaster

    I keep meaning to get extension tubes, too. One of these days for me as well…

    That said, keep in mind the 17-70 is not a true macro lens. It’s useful since it’s a normal to tele zoom lens, and it creates a macro-esque effect, but it’s not the same as a true macro lens.

    Of the two other lenses you listed, I have the Sigma 50mm f/2.8 macro for a Sigma mount, and it’s a nice lens. These shots were taken with it, if it helps:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/lady_elsinore/sets/72157605950826769/detail/

    I have heard great things about the Canon lens as well, and that generally, macro lenses are pretty good quality across the board, no matter who makes them. One thing you may consider is that 50mm may be a bit short for bugs (if they’re skittish, anyway), though it would be fine for the other subjects you listed.

    Honestly, when I want to do macro (especially bugs fornicating) the macro lens I reach for more often than not is my Canon A620 point and shoot camera. It has a nifty macro mode with a deeper DOF since it’s a smaller sensor. I haven’t used the macro lens on Dad’s camera much, because I found the more shallow DOF to be kind of challenging.

    #22018
    lokisbong
    Participant

    I have a Canon A560 that is also very good at macro photos but I have been wondering exactly the same thing justkat is asking.Also what exactly does an extension tube do? Right now I only have the kit lens for my Rebel xs and need at least one other choice of lens. I like the macro shots too and don’t think the efs 18-55mm is a very good lens for macro shots. That could just be my lack of experience with a dslr camera though.

    #22019
    olavf
    Participant

    I’m going to chime in, especially since I may want to [strike]steal[/strike] errr…”borrow” the lens on occasion (like for an upcoming farktography contest for example)…

    Anyway, I’ve been trying to help her pick a lens, but I really don’t have a good handle on what’s important in a macro lens. I’ve also notised that there’s a lot of lenses out there that say they’re macro, but really don’t seem to be. I kinda get the idea that one would want a short focusing distance, and that as a general rule for all photography having a lower aperture is better, but what tradeoffs are really important? And would it be better to get a larger prime (say that Sigma 105mm) or a 50mm or something that does a modest range?

    This Sigma 18-50 seems pretty sweet: http://www.amazon.com/Sigma-18-50mm-Aspherical-Digital-Cameras/dp/B000JDJJ82/ref=sr_1_19?ie=UTF8&s=photo&qid=1238729369&sr=1-19 but part of my brain wants to say a tighter shot on macros would be better.

    #22020
    orionid
    Participant

    Weird. I thought I hit submit when I got done typing……

    #22021
    orionid
    Participant

    I love my zoom lens (it’s a nikkor, you wouldn’t like it). And after [one of] Miller‘s shpiel’s about extension tubes, I figured I’d give ’em a whirl. They’re awsome, and way cheaper than a good macro if you already have a good telephoto.

    Extension tubeshold the lens further away from the focal plane in the camera, which forces you to move your subject closer to the lens to focus it, creating a macro effect on a non macro lens. Example, with my telephoto, it’s normal focal range is 6 feet to infinity. With a 12mm extension tube, it’s 12 inches to 10 feet. with the 25mm, it’s about 6 inches to 2 feet. And at 6 inches, 300mm gives a hell of a macro.
    The down side is the increased distance between the glass and your camera’s sensor increases, so the amount of light decreases proportional to the square of the length. Basically, whatever f/stop you’re actually at, think of being at one or two stops higher. On the bright side, there’s no other glass or optics to distort the image.

    this and this are both with extension tubes.

    #22022
    justkat
    Participant

    as olavf and i have chatted offline here we guess we want to know what, then, does constitute a true macro lens and how do we prioritize features?

    #22023
    orionid
    Participant

    Even weirder.

    #22024
    olavf
    Participant

    Thanks for the explanation orionid. Definitely something I plan on keeping in mind down the road for myself.

    #22025
    soosh
    Participant

    the canon 100mm f/2.8 is outstanding. it’s a little outside of your budget, though. there is also the 60mm EF-S lens, which I’ve heard great things about.

    I have a Tamron 180mm macro lens that I’m thinking of selling so I can get another copy of the 100mm canon. The 180 can be unwieldy due to its length. It also doesn’t focus nearly as fast as the 100 canon I used to have (that was stolen, dammit).

    #22026
    olavf
    Participant

    the canon 100mm f/2.8 is outstanding. it’s a little outside of your budget, though. there is also the 60mm EF-S lens, which I’ve heard great things about.

    I have a Tamron 180mm macro lens that I’m thinking of selling so I can get another copy of the 100mm canon. The 180 can be unwieldy due to its length. It also doesn’t focus nearly as fast as the 100 canon I used to have (that was stolen, dammit).

    Sigma makes a 105mm/f2.8 that looked interesting in that area – and it’s just within her budget parameters. What I don’t know is whether I should point her towards something that’s going to be tighter like that (the 105mm has a 23 degree angle of view vs. ~45 degrees for a 50 or 60mm. Or if there’s something that’s good at macro that has a limited range of zoom.

    #22027
    soosh
    Participant

    I’d stay away from zooms if you really want a macro lens. A good macro lens is designed differently than a zoom, for a truly flat field of sharpness, like if you’re doing 2-D macro shots. The shorter ones have a wider field of view, but some of them don’t actually reach a true 1:1 ratio of enlargement, where life-size is reflected on the sensor/film. The shorter the lens is, the less distance you will have between the end of the lens and your subject, so if you’re thinking of macros of bugs, for instance, you’re going to be a lot closer with your camera. I think the 90-100mm range is probably best, but a lot of people do like the 50-60mm range.

    #22028
    lokisbong
    Participant

    I would like to say thankyou as well orionid. That cleared that up nicely.

    #22029
    olavf
    Participant

    that, I think, is the sort of info I was looking for, at least. 🙂

    Our good friend and fellow farktographer lady_nocturne owns a canon 100mm I think. We were thinking about inviting her and her SO along on our photo safari this weekend. Mayhap that will give her some feel for what a ~100mm would be like.

    The Sigma 105mm is in her budget, and seems like a pretty solid lens
    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B0002P19XA/ref=ord_cart_shr?_encoding=UTF8&m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&v=glance

    Otherwise I’ll try and steer her more towards the 50-60mm range. it’s her call though (most of the stuff I do for ‘closeups’ are in the lightbox, so I’ve got a bit more play with standard lenses). My next piece of glass is going to be a telephoto – the other end of the spectrum 😛

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