Lens options for photographing bugs

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by PrimaryCanary, Jul 12, 2006.

  1. PrimaryCanary

    PrimaryCanary TPF Noob!

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    Good Evening (well it's evening here),

    Ok, here's the scoop. As I posted here earlier, I have been kayaking the local streams and lakes. Along the way I encounter some incredible wildlife. Most amazing are bugs that I've never seen before. I would love to get some shots off of these creatures. What would the "best" lens options be?
    (I know best is a loaded word, I guess I want to know what would produce images that would fill the frame even if I'm a few feet away?)

    Here is what I currently have
    Canon 70-300mm 4.5-5.6 USM
    Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 L
    Canon 50mm 1.8
    EF-S 17-55mm

    Canon 20D.

    The range of distances I encounter these bugs varies greatly. Most dragonflys are content to land on the bow of my boat and drift with me, only inches to a few feet away. Most spiders are on logs I pass by, maybe a foot or so away but I can either anchor or hold on to the log to get very close, maybe six inches or so. Some other bugs are on the water surface not necessarily close and these bugs can move.

    Now the question. What would I be better off using to capture images of these bugs that will fill the frame?
    Use just my telephoto lenses and get as close as focus allows?
    Buy either the 100mm or 180mm L Canon Macro?
    Buy some extension tubes and use them with my telephoto lenses?
    Buy both extension tubes and a new macro?

    I've never been a big bug fan, but seeing some of these things I've never encountered before has piqued my interest. I'd love to grab some pics of these things to identify the bug, make a possible local calendar (my town eats these sort of things up), and to just take some cool pics. I'm not looking to spend a fortune but I am willing to make an investment if it will produce what I'm looking for.

    Suggestions are greatly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. airgunr

    airgunr TPF Noob!

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    Now the question. What would I be better off using to capture images of these bugs that will fill the frame?
    Use just my telephoto lenses and get as close as focus allows?

    Depends on how close your lenses will focus now.

    Buy either the 100mm or 180mm L Canon Macro?

    If you can afford it this is well worth doing.

    Buy some extension tubes and use them with my telephoto lenses?

    This will definitely give you the ability to focus much closer with your current lenses. Kenko makes ones that should allow you to use your AF. Focusing will be slower and you will lose a stop or two in speed.

    Buy both extension tubes and a new macro?

    Again, if you can afford it this is not a bad option and gives you greater flexability.

    You might consider trying out close focusing filters. The cheapest option but it may just get you what you need. If you have a camera store close to you stop in and try some out.
     
  3. Digital Matt

    Digital Matt alter ego: Analog Matt

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    If you can afford a true macro lens, like the 100 or 180, then by all means go for it. If you want to save money though, extension tubes will work great. I've used them on my 70-200 f/4 L to photograph dragonflies with great success. They will give you a better than 1:1 ratio with a 50mm lens.
     
  4. thebeginning

    thebeginning TPF Noob!

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    I've tried kenko's extension tube set and was very impressed, they work very well and get you dang close!

    for macro lenses, you may want to check out sigma's 150mm 2.8. it's apparently very good and has stunning bokeh. there are several 'cheaper alternatives' that are surprisingly good...the sigma 105mm 2.8 and the tamron 90mm 2.8 SP are both excellent macros in the mid-range. check out www.photozone.de for in-depth tests on lenses.
     

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