Help with Macro Lens

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by Feezor, May 24, 2010.

  1. Feezor

    Feezor TPF Noob!

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    Looking to get a Macro lens. I want to get one that is going to be best quality for a non professional without breaking the bank. Preferably under $1000.

    Currently looking at these 3:

    Canon Telephoto EF 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro Autofocus Lens
    Canon | 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro Autofocus Lens | 4657A006 | B&H


    Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM Lens
    Canon | EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM Lens | 3554B002 | B&H Photo


    Sigma Telephoto 105mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro Autofocus Lens for Canon EOS
    Sigma | 105mm f/2.8 EX Macro Autofocus Lens for Can | 257101


    Been doing a little research and seems to me alot of people say to get a 100mm or longer lens. I do plan to do bug and flower pictures and really anything. I like to shoot just about anything.


    I am shooting with a Canon T1i
     
  2. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Optically speaking (image quality wise) you won't be able to notice an in the field difference between any of those lenses - infact even in studio tests and differences are likley to be small and possibly the result more of sample variation than anything else - macro lenses are sharp one and all.

    So that side the next three major things are:
    1) focal range
    2) Features
    3) price

    Since you're looking at 100/105mm lenses the focal range point is moot; price and features are next. Features wise the Canon EF 100mm f2.8 Macro IS USM lens beats the other two in the featuers department - having a hybrid IS that gives you stability when shooting handheld - a great boon for any work with the lens for regular work and also (whilst it has reduced effect) a great thing for handheld macro work.

    The other canon is the next level down, cheaper in cost, but still sporting some impressive features such as USM focusing which is generally faster, a lot quieter and also allows you all the time manual focusing.

    The Sigma is last - by no means a poor performer, but its AF focusing is nothing special (it lacks HSM - sigma brand USM - which means both the canons will have a better overall AF feature). A solid performer for your money certainly, but if you have more budget there are the better options.

    Note that AF is not a limiation for macro work as its mostly done through manual focusing, since most AF setups cannot focus well at macro distances and further tend to suffer from a lot of hunting, which you don't need - manual make things a lot easier in the macro world.

    You might also want to consider the Sigma 150mm macro and 180mm macro lenses if you are looking at the higher priced optoins. These are higher grade sigma lenses with HSM focusing and also teleconverter compatabilty (with sigma brand teleconverters); something that the canon 100mm macro and sigma 105mm macro lenses lack (Though kenko TCs might fit these lenses). I belive (but am not sure) that the 100mm L macro from canon will fit canon teleconverters ,but check this before purchasing.
     
  3. Aye-non Oh-non Imus

    Aye-non Oh-non Imus TPF Noob!

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    ACKKK.... Canon....... listen to Overread. He knows his $h1+.
     
  4. Feezor

    Feezor TPF Noob!

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    Thank you Overread very informative.

    If in the Macro world manual focusing is better would it be better to get more expensive glass without an AF feature so in a sense paying the same price as one mentioned but better glass without the AF feature?
     
  5. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Yes and no - yes in that a limited or lack of AF won't impede your macro shooting abilty with the lens - no in that it can be a desirable thing to have good af on a lens when it can be used for more than just macro work.

    As you might have gathered macro lenses are sharp and many (most) are used for a lot of things outside of macro work - the 100mm range for example is often used for a portrait lens.

    Also the USM/HSM focusing setups are very nice to have - not only good AF overall, but fulltime manual opens up a lot of creative options as you get more into your shooting. I have a 70mm lens without HSM and whilst its very usable I do miss it when doing non-macro work with that lens.
     
  6. Feezor

    Feezor TPF Noob!

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    Thank you very much Overread you have been very helpful.
     
  7. NateS

    NateS TPF Noob!

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    If you can afford the Canon 100mm IS then I would suggest another option. If you really like bugs and stuff, you might want a little longer. Look at the Sigma 150mm f2.8 and the Sigma 180mm and Tamron 180mm. I have the Tamron 180mm f3.5 macro and it is incredible. I can still handhold it and get incredibly sharp results. The biggest 2 bonuses to the longer length are 1. A little more distance between you and the critters and 2. The bokeh is much nicer on a longer lens.....the background just melts away with my 180mm.

    Only two disadvantages to the longer lens are 1. a little harder to handhold and 2. a little harder to light..but with some practice and trial and error it can be worked out.

    So, if your price allows you might look at some of the Sigma/Tamron's in the 150-180mm length as well.
     
  8. xjrrrdx

    xjrrrdx TPF Noob!

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    I have the Sigma 150mm 2.8F. I use it for some telephoto stuff, and I have been trying to do some portraits, stopped down it's super sharp.

    Here are a few samples from mine. I love it! The HSM is quiet but can be a bit slow, but it is a macro so it isn't super fast.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  9. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I own the 100mm Canon EF USM model, as well as the Tamron 90mm 2.8 AF-SP macro. I think the Tamron has better bokeh. The Canon 100mm USM creates sharp-sided out of focus diaphragm images in its defocused backgrounds, the Tamron has a more-rounded diaphragm. I think the Sigma 105 might be a better imager, in terms of bokeh, than the older Canon 100 USM model. I am not that familiar with the new L-series Canon with Image Stabiliser, but honestly, it seems overpriced for what it is, based on the couple of reviews I have read of the lens.

    I just can not see buying a really expensive 100mm macro lens, in the $1,000 price range; if spending that kind of money, I would want a longer lens, for more freedom.
     
  10. Feezor

    Feezor TPF Noob!

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    Defiantly got some more research to do, and saving too!
     

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