Looking to buy a macro lens.

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by celery, Dec 7, 2004.

  1. celery

    celery TPF Noob!

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    Hello all, I'm new here and I'm relatively new to photography.

    I'd like some advice on a decent but fairly cheap macro lens.


    I have a nikon fg right now.

    My lens collection includes:
    18-24 mm 4.5 wide angle
    80-200 mm 4.5 zoom
    100 mm 2.8 portrait
    55 mm 1.8 standard
    100-500 mm 5.6 telephoto (will be recieving it in the post soon)
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Welcome to the Forum.

    Are you looking for a macro capable lens or would you settle with something else; like extension tubes or close-up filters? Either will be cheaper than a true macro lens.
     
  3. celery

    celery TPF Noob!

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    Well, I'm not sure.

    I don't know if I'm just doing it wrong, but I'd like to be able to take close up shots of flowers and such, but I can't seem to get a detailed macro shot.

    I'd rather buy a good lens, so if I have to I will start saving my pennies. I've been looking around on ebay but I don't know what I should be looking for exactly.
     
  4. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Each lens has a minimum focus distance. If that minimum distance is too big, you will not be able to focus the lens when you are close up.

    A "macro" lens will have a shorter minimum focus distance so you can get much closer.

    There are a lot of lenses that say "macro" on them but are not true macro lenses. True macro is defined as 1:1 ratio. That is the size of the object will be true size on the negative. You may not need that kind of magnification for most of what you plan to do...so you might be able to get away with a "less than true" macro lens.

    Check the specs for a lens you plan to buy. You should be able to find out the macro ratio or the minimum focus distance. You may have to check with the manufacturer though.

    Extension tube might be a good option. They don't degrade the image quality because they don't have any glass in them. They simply allow you to mount the lens farther away from the focal plane...thus increasing the magnification.

    Close-up filters (or diopter lenses) are probably the least expensive. You just screw them to the front of a lens to increase the magnification. They usually come in sets and can be stacked to even further increase the magnification. They do degrade the image quality and the cheaper they are...the worse they will be. They are so much cheaper than a real macro lens that they are worth while.

    Also, technique is important in macro photography. A tripod is a huge help, also a remote shutter release is good too. The depth of field will be very narrow so you will want to stop down the lens to maximize your DOF. Serious macro photographers will use a rail to mount the camera on. This way they can adjust the camera position precisely to focus rather than the focus on the lens.
     

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