Macro lens recommendation?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Breanna, Feb 3, 2009.

  1. Breanna

    Breanna TPF Noob!

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    I currently have the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 lens in my posession, but it's rented and I have to give it back in 7 days :mrgreen: I need to invest in a quality macro lens, but don't want to spend a fortune. Would like to be in the $400 or less price range. What would you recommend?
     
  2. Samanax

    Samanax TPF Noob!

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  3. Big Mike

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

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    I've heard that the EF-S 60mm macro is practically as good as the 100mm macro and it's a lot smaller, which makes it easier to keep in your camera bag at all times.

    Another option that will give you great macro, would be to buy a set of extension tubes and put them behind your 50mm F1.8.
     
  4. Samanax

    Samanax TPF Noob!

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    One of my shooting buddies took a series of macro shots using Kenko tubes and his EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 II kit lens and the pictures were pretty amazing. He said he had a rough time working with the paper thin DOF while manually focusing and his keeper rate was awful, but the keepers were amazing. He eventually bought the EF 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2009
  5. Sarah23

    Sarah23 TPF Noob!

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    I have the Canon 100 2.8 and love it....I am actually selling it right now though to be able to buy a zoon (im getting into second shooting weddings) I have it listed in the buy/sell area. Great lens!
     
  6. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    If your looking to photograph insects then you want at least 90mm worth of focal length or more in a macro lens to get a good working distance (distance from camera sensor to subject) - going shorter makes things harder since you are closer to the insect and thus have a greater chance of spooking it.

    After that one has to decide if your going to shoot handheld or from a tripod, tripod macro shooting is best for static and slow subjects where you have time to get into position, for insects early in the morning or late evening are decent times, though during the middle of the day most are too active for tripod shooting. One can use a lure to attract some bugs (like honey on a tree or rotting fruit) and then shoot from a tripod.
    Handheld shooting definatly needs a flash nearly all the time (certainly for full magnification) and for moving insects one often has to keep a fast shutter speed, so even on a tripod flash is important - though one can take measure to reduce the glare from a flash.

    For canon the macro lens options are:
    Canon EFS 60mm macro - good solid lens, its down side is that its only EFS compatable (crop sensor cameras only) and its short focal length.
    Canon 100mm macro - very popular choice and a solid performer, it is sold without hood or tripod collar, both of which are important additions. The collar is very important for stable tripod shooting, whilst the hood is - well its a lens hood you should never be without one - though I have read that the hood is not usable when working in macro
    Sigma 70mm macro - good solid choice from sigma and one of their sharpest lenses
    Sigma 105mm macro - again a good solid choice of lens
    Sigma 150mm macro - this and the 180mm macro are sigmas top range macro lenses, both are better builds than the other sigma options; offer HSM focusing motors; teleconverter compatability and are solid performers. The 150mm is light enough to handhold for macro work, whilst the 180mm is generally considered a bit heavy for prolonged macro work
    Sigma 180mm macro - often chosen instead of the canon 180mm macro as its optical quality is the same, but its price is much more affordable
    Tamron 90mm macro - shortest recomended macro lens for insect shooting.

    Generally I avoid the 50mm macro options as they are weaker builds than the others - also the canon is not a true 1:1 macro lens unless you combine it with and adaptor - at which point prices are getting closer to the longer and better options

    In general all the macro lenses listed are sharp and well built and one would be hardpressed to impossible to tell which was used for a macro shot. Generally macro lenses are poorer AF than nonmacro lenses because of the fact that AF is not used in macro photography (one will set the AF to manual, set the focus to the desired level - often full magnification or 1:2 for larger insects like butterflies - and then focus by moving the camera and lens closer and further away from the subject.

    For lighting idealy a ringflash is used, but one can also use speedlites to good effect - even a popup flash on a rebel camera can give usable lighting (though it generally will not give enough light for a full magnification shot - so its tripods and static subjects unless you get a better flash - note that early in the morning its possible to find insects sill cold from the night and static enough for a tripod shoot). For the flash light though I do recomend diffusing the light, I use a 580M2 flash with a lumiquest softbox and I find the softbox to be fantastic at softening the light from the flash. One can also use folds of toiletpaper (white) held infront of the flash (elastic band) as a makeshift
     
  7. ndredsox

    ndredsox TPF Noob!

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    I just picked up a 100mm 2.8 @ Circuit City today, $318 plus tax. You recommend the tripod collar for it?

    Also, there is a thread on another known site that talks about everyone getting the deal at CC since they are going out of business. I suggest if anyone is interested, you act fast. They only had one left in Indianapolis, but could be more in different cities.
     
  8. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I find it much easier to balance the camer and lens setup on a tripod using a collar rather than using the conection on the bottom of the camera. The collar helps to distribute the weight evenly, whilst the camera connection can have a lens act like a lever around it - which can be a pain when you can't have the kit moving in any way for macro
     

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