Macro Lens or Filter?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by The_Turk, Mar 11, 2007.

  1. The_Turk

    The_Turk TPF Noob!

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    Which sould I invest in, a macro lens or filter, the price difference is huge, and I was wondering if I sould just get the macro filter? Any thoughts?
     
  2. Aquarium Dreams

    Aquarium Dreams TPF Noob!

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    I recommend extension tubes. They will turn any lens into a macro (I learned that the stupid way) and there are no optics in them, so they don't degrade image quality like a filter would. They go from around $129-169usd for three in various lengths.
     
  3. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    There is an option in between. It is called the achromatic closeup lens. It is a two element "filter" type lens that corrects for chromatic aberration. They cost around $100. The don't produce a light loss like extension tubes do and they are less expensive than macro lenses. Optically they are quite good, particularly if used with a good lens. I used one for years for commercial product photography with my Mamiya RZ system. They are used regularly on motion picture cameras. Canon has good ones. Nikon stopped making the famous 6T. You would likely have to get one that is larger than your Nikkor lens and use a conversion ring to match up the filter threads. I still have a 62mm 6T and you can certainly find them on Ebay.
     
  4. photobug

    photobug TPF Noob!

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    How often will you do macro work? If you do it quite a lot then a dedicated macro lens makes sense. Otherwise, unless you get a focal length that you'll use a lot for other things it's taking up space in your camera bag & not getting used.

    Extension tubes are a viable option, but there is the light loss to contend with.

    The closeup lens fmw speaks of (a dual element one) I've found to be most to my liking. It, like extension tubes, can be used on nearly any lens. It takes up much less room than a set of tubes. I use a Canon 500D (that's the dual element one, don't get just a 500) in 77mm thread. Any single element closeup up lens is IMO not worth the effort except if you only plan to shoot 3 macro shots each year.

    And if that's the case you'd be better off getting a macro reversing ring for you camera or a macro coupler ring (screws two lenses together) because you'll get better results.

    If you're really cheap you can always just turn your lens around and tape it to the body. Or, hold a reversed lens in front of the lens mounted on your camera. Depending on how careful you are you can get get some rather lomoesque results.

    Determine desired usage/results and proceed from there.
     

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