macro lenses? Not so quick...

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by meg27, Nov 14, 2005.

  1. meg27

    meg27 TPF Noob!

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    Hi again,
    I need to take close up images of cosmetics for a website i'm working on...nail varnish pots and that type of thing. Do i need a macro lens? I'm using the minolta 5d, with a 18-70 and a 75-300.
    We've been on ebay looking for a deal...but just don't really understand what it is we're looking for, or if we even need it at all? (i think my partner wants a macro lens but is using this as an excuse, so any advice or tips on shooting macro would be fab!)
    My main concern is that they look so small on ebay, and the guy in the shop in town was saying it would cost £300 but he didn't have any in stock. Usually price goes up with size!! Am i looking at the right thing on ebay?
    I was expecting the lens to be small, but not that small? It looks like just one piece of glass...

    thanks....
     
  2. jstuedle

    jstuedle No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Close up lenses are like a filter that screws on the end of your primary lens. Do you have a normal 50mm lens? The close-up lenses just screw on and permit you to get much closer, they are usually used with prime or non-zoom lenses for best results. They come in sets of 3 or 4 and are about $50.00. A true macro lens is a specialized lens that would be the preferred method of shooting close-up, but if you are not going to use it much it can be an expensive option.
     
  3. Big Mike

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

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    The problem is that "macro lens" is a pretty loose term. A true macro lens will give you 1:1 magnification...which means that the size of the image on the film or sensor is actual size.

    A macro lens for your camera, like the (Minolta 100 2.8 AF-D MACRO), will give you the best optical quality. However, they are expensive.

    What you a probably seeing on E-bay is a close-up filter. Just a magnifying glass for the end of an existing lens. They are much cheaper than a macro lens but quality is not as good...but maybe good enough for you.

    Another option is extension tubes. They go between the lens & the camera and allow the lens to focus closer, getting better magnification.

    It should be easy to take some test shots, to see if your current gear will work. Get the camera as close as it will focus and see if that's enough magnification. You should use a tripod in conjunction with a remote or self timer. Use a small aperture, which will probably mean shutter speeds too slow to hold.

    The trick will be lighting...if you are really close to the subject, the camera & lens might block the lighting.
     
  4. Marctwo

    Marctwo TPF Noob!

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    I'd just add that with a frame size of about 3000 x 2000 pixels you'll have loads of margin to crop the image for the web.
     
  5. zedin

    zedin TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Depending on your lens you might not need anything. A lot of 50mm lens can focus pretty darn close which might give you a large enough product image which you can crop.

    If you find you need to focus closer I would definitly go with a set of extention tubes. In the US they cost around $120 for 3 different lengths and can be interchanged or stacked to give you lots of possibilities. You can use a small one to help your lens focus closer to the object letting you get closer or you can really stack them up for good magnification.

    The one thing to keep in mind at least with extention tubes is the quick loss of DoF depending on how much extention you add to your lens.
     
  6. jstuedle

    jstuedle No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    As you can see there are many ways to similar ends, each method has it's own compromises.
     
  7. meg27

    meg27 TPF Noob!

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    cool, that helps alot, thanks everyone!
    been practicing with lights and things and i don't think i need another lens...
    unless i'm shooting ants! (with a very small gun)
     
  8. jstuedle

    jstuedle No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I like that, nice sense of humor.
     

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