Canon 180mm or 100mm IS Macro

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by Neil S., Jul 31, 2010.

  1. Neil S.

    Neil S. TPF Noob!

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    I really want to get into macro photography. The only macro lens that I own at the moment is the EF-S 60mm. I find the very short working distance kind of limiting.

    I am considering getting either the 180mm macro or the 100mm 2.8 IS for my next lens.

    My questions are:

    How realistic is it for me to actually handhold the 100mm 2.8 IS for macro work if I wanted to?

    How much of a difference would the longer working distance of the 180mm really make. I have been told a few times that its better by people here.

    I just can't decide, because the ability to handhold seems pretty sexy. I read that the 100mm IS has some kind of special IS as well.

    It would seem that Canon needs to make a 180mm IS macro....
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2010
  2. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    The 100mm is hand-holdable for macro. That depends a lot on the light too though...
    If you make your own light, it doesn't even matter.

    I've never used the 180, but from everything I've heard, it's great.

    The 180 gives you about 6 inches more working room, but since the lens is longer, that's really only 4.5 more inches in front of the lens to work with.

    Minimum focusing distance (MFD) is measured from the sensor, not the front of the lens.
    This is also the distance the the lens will achieve 1:1 at.
    There should be a mark somewhere on the top of the body to show you where this is. It sort of resembles the diameter symbol (this is the Greek letter Phi - but it kinda looks like this: Φ. The line is longer though. The line is where the film/sensor plane is on your camera.)

    The 100mm is 4.8" long (MFD 12"), the 180 is 7.4" long (MFD 18.8"). The mount to the sensor is roughly an inch... (Just guessing ... but that's probably close enough.)

    So, the 100mm will let you focus on something about 6" in front of the lens. With the 180, it would be roughly 10.5" in front of the lens. Doesn't sound like much, but for macro, that's a pretty substantial difference.

    For comparison, the 60mm you have gets 1:1 at about 4" in front of the lens.

    All 1:1 macro lenses will give you the same level of magnification - only the distance required to do that changes. Could be an issue when you're using the lens for non-macro things though...
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2010
  3. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Examining your sig and that your talking about "getting into macro", I'd skip on both.
    Why? Because there's more involved with macro than just glass

    For similar amount of cash, I'd rather get the 100mm f/2.8 macro + MT24EX Macro twin light flash. It is easy to forget that lighting (lots of it... properly controlled) can be more important to a successful photo than just glass; being able to stop down to a small aperture for DOF while maintaining a good shutter speed is essential.


    If I were forced to choose (with a bigger budget), I'd go all out and get the 180mm macro + MT24EX macro twin light. EIther way.. a ring light or twin light would be an absolute must.
     
  4. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Well, he does have the 580EX - so it's not like he doesn't have any lighting at all...

    Not ideal compared to a light dedicated for macro, but assuming that he can get it off camera - it should give pretty good results. Certainly workable.

    But, I agree - the 100mm and twin light would be pretty good.
     
  5. DrongoPhoto

    DrongoPhoto TPF Noob!

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    The 100mm IS 2.8L wows me every time I put it on my 7D. The IS works well for stills AND video plus it's a knockout portrait lens. Here's a link to a hand held shot I took on my first day with it: bee.

    I make my living with this lens. You won't be disappointed.
     
  6. Neil S.

    Neil S. TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the advice, I appreciate it.

    I own the MR-14EX ring light, I forgot to mention that.

    Ya it does seem that getting good shutter speeds is very important for macro.
     
  7. Neil S.

    Neil S. TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the informative post. This is a big help to me. :thumbup:

    Ya I do understand the difference between 6 and 10.5". It does seem like it would help greatly for being covert, and not scaring things away.

    I guess in the end thats what is really important, so I will just have to live without IS I guess.

    That is unless they come out with a 180mm IS macro soon lol.

    One can only dream.....
     
  8. Neil S.

    Neil S. TPF Noob!

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    That is a really good pic, nice job.

    It does seem like a beautiful lens, I would love to own it.

    I am still thinking that the working distance of the 180mm would be pretty important though.

    Thanks for the input. :thumbup:
     
  9. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Don't get me wrong - I love the 100mm, but sometimes I think I would rather have the 180...


    The 180 is a little slower, but you would rarely be using a macro lens wide open anyway...

    For stuff like bugs, the extra working room would be a huge benefit. If you're not really interested in bugs, it wouldn't be as much of an issue.
     
  10. Neil S.

    Neil S. TPF Noob!

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    Ya I think that I will mostly be shooting bugs and flowers.

    Some of the dragonfly shots I have seen here are really cool, and I would like to take a crack at getting some good ones of my own.

    It seems like it would be near impossible to do it with my 60 macro, so I would guess that I should take all the help I can in this area.

    Its funny because if you read the 100mm 2.8 IS macro review on the digital picture, he said he thought that Canon was going to release a 1800mm IS macro instead of it.

    It would seem that this would have been the best course of action, and I am confused why they went with a 100mm IS over a 180mm IS.

    Sometimes I wonder if the decisions Canon makes really are driven more by engineers than photographers.

    Derrel...I am setting you up for a home run here...you don't want to miss this chance do you lol?

    Even though they are not perfect (which nothing is), I still really love Canon. :hugs:
     
  11. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    OH cool! With that known, my vote is the 180mm for the working distance. I don't see much advantage for IS when shooting Macro... your primary light source is the ring flash. Anything less, it would be better to shoot on a tripod. It certainly won't help blur induced by moving bugs nor the wind blowing the flowers around. As already mentioned, the slower aperture isn't a problem because you rarely shoot macro at anything wide open.

    The biggest advantage for the 100mm IS over the 180mm is that it is a dual purpose lens. Improved AF, IS, f/2.8 max aperture, and shorter focal length certainly makes it useful as a handholdable telephoto for portraits and such. It is also cheaper.

    I get the feeling that this purchase is specialized towards Macro so I'm more inclined to recommend the 180mm L. Its been around a while with proven results.
     
  12. Neil S.

    Neil S. TPF Noob!

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    Thank you for the advice. :mrgreen:

    This is what I am thinking at this point too.

    I think its now more about if I really need to get the Canon 180mm over a 3rd party lens.

    But as Derrel pointed out in another thread, 1st party lenses hold their value much better.

    I am guessing that the build quality on the Canon is quite a bit better than the Tamron as well.

    Most likely I would just get the Canon.
     

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