Canon EF 50mm f2.5 Macro

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by smackitsakic, Jun 4, 2010.

  1. smackitsakic

    smackitsakic TPF Noob!

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    Is the Canon EF 50mm f2.5 Macro a good macro lenses for a newbie? I want to get more into macro photography, for nothing other than personal gain/interest, and am wondering if this is going to be a better purchase for me than a set of extension tubes.

    I've done some light research and worry about DOF field issues with ET's. I only have my two kit lenses and feel restricted to what I can do with macro.

    I also realize that lighting is a HUGE part of macro photography. I don't have an external flash and would have to rely on natural lighting for my macro shots, which i'm not opposed to.

    Can anybody experienced with this shed some light for me? My issue is that extention tubes will cost me about $180 shipped and I can get this macro lens around $300. Is it worth the extra change?
     
  2. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    In short - the 50mm canon macro is not worth it.
    In long - the canon 50mm macro is not, infact, a true macro lens. It achives around half true life size in reproduction unless you also purchase the lifesize adaptor for this lens. At which point you have spent far more than several other good true macro lenses would have cost you.

    For true macro on budget you can consider the following:
    Sigma 70mm macro lens - this one is fullframe compatable if you ever dream of a 5D in the future its a good choice.
    Tokina 60mm macro lens - crop sensor only
    Canon 60mm macro lens - crop sensor only.

    If you want to work with insects I would recomend that you try to push for something like the Tamron 90mm macro lens - the extra focal length will give you added working distance over the shorter lenses above - however whilst this is desireable, its not essential. Working with shorter focal length lenses and insects is very doable, if a harder skill to learn.

    On the lighting front you are not totally limited - you have a popupflash!! Build yourself a custom "snoot" design diffuser for the popup flash and you can get enough light for a macro lens to work with whilst letting you have a small aperture and good shutter speed.
    A good design is in this thread here:
    http://www.juzaforum.com/forum-en/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=4901&start=45
    scroll down a little to find it.
     
  3. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I'm not sure why the Canon 50mm f/2.5 EF Macro is not a "true macro" lens; it is a true macro lens, only it offers merely 1:2 life size reproduction ratio with the base lens. The lens has extremely good flat-field correction,extremely low linear distortion, a long,slow focus throw, and is optimized for the range from 1:10 to 1:1..it is in fact a "macro lens". It's just not a modern design with the 1:1 magnification ratio built-in; it uses the much older system of a separate lifesize converter. It is not optimized for Infinity focus, like a field lens...it's just an old-school macro lens design.

    Still...50mm macro and 55 and 60mm macro lenses are largely a PITA for a lot of close-up work, with the front of the lens usually around 4 inches from the subject matter at 1:1, which makes lighting the subject trickier than if a longer lens is used. When the lens front is 4 inches from a subject, that means also that the camera is very close, and behind the camera is often a photographer, with a body, so daylight/skylight is often blocked off, and flash units that are really,really close to the subject suffer from huge flash output differentials at uber-close ranges. (Inverse Square Law).

    I would definitely look into a longer focal length macro lens--look for a used macro lens if you want to save money. Many macro lenses are bought, tried, then stored away for years, then re-sold later due to lack of use. Sigma, Tamron,and Tokina have all made some very good 90 to 100 to 100mm lenses that are very affordable use, as well as 150 or 180mm macro lenses with really beautiful image quality.
     
  4. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I've always understood that "true macro" is being able to achive a 1:1 magnification factor with the lens on the camera (that is reflecting the image on the sensor/film at the same size as the subject is in real life).
    Otherwise you could say that all the 70-300mm macro zooms are also "true macro" lenses when all they can achive is the half lifesize that the canon 50mm macro (without the adaptor) manages.
     

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