Canon EF 35-80mm

Rieda Lorelai

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Hello. My friend wants to buy the 35-80mm macro lenses. At first it was this one with closest focusing distance: 0.4m (0.4m/1,3ft III) Then the one with 0.37m (0.37m/1.2ft II)... His camera is 1100D. Which one is better? I thought the one with 0.4m maybe is a little better..
 
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beagle100

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Hello. My friend wants to buy the 35-80mm macro lenses. At first it was this one with closest focusing distance: 0.4m (0.4m/1,3ft III) Then the one with 0.37m (0.37m/1.2ft II)... His camera is 1100D. Which one is better? I thought the one with 0.4m maybe is a little better..

tell your friend to get a Canon 60mm 2.8 macro or 100mm 2.8 non-L for true 1:1 macro shooting insects, flowers, etc.
or maybe a Tamron 90 2.8 macro

(forget that old 35-80 !)
 
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TCampbell

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35-80??? I can't think of what lens your friend is referring to. I sometimes see a range where I realize which lens someone probably meant, but I am not aware of any Canon EF lens with a similar range. (there are a few 24-70 lenses but none are true macro).

There are numerous ways to do close-up photography... you can buy a lens with "macro" capability, or use close-up "filters" (not really filters, actually magnification diopters but they screw onto the filter threads on the front of the lens so people often use the term "close-up filters"). There are also "extension tubes" and even reverse-mounts for lenses.

But the highest quality close-up shots come from using true "macro" lenses.

Macro lenses will typically list their macro scale in the specs. Purists will say that it isn't a "true" macro lens unless it can photograph at 1:1 scales.

The scale of 1:1 means that the size of the image projected onto the sensor inside the camera will be the same size as the object is in real life. The Canon 1100D has an APS-C size sensor and it measures roughly 15mm tall by about 22mm wide. If you imagine photographing a coin... many coins have a diameter wider than 15mm which means the coin would more than fill the frame of the image and the lens can actually focus at such close distances.

Several zoom lenses will have the term "macro" somewhere in the name ... and they do this because these lenses allow closer minimum focusing distances than most other lenses. These zooms typically never have 1:1 scale (I've actually never encountered a single zoom lens that can do 1:1 scale). Usually the closest focus they can achieve might allow for 1:4 scale... and sometimes maybe even 1:3 scale.

In other words... having the term "macro" in the lens name doesn't necessarily tell you how close or how large the object will appear in your image. You would want to read the specs and specifically check for the macro scale ratio.

The Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM is an extremely good macro lens... offers 1:1 scale, and I was always impressed with it's image quality. This lens only works on Canon cameras with an APS-C size sensor (such as the 1100D). I donated my copy to a family member when sold my APS-C camera and bought a full-frame camera -- but I always thought that was one of the best EF-S lenses I had ever used.

Canon makes one specialty macro-only lens called the MP-E 65mm f/2.8 1-5x Macro. That lens can ONLY do macro photography (unlike all the other macro lenses that could also be used for normal photography). That lens can let you get so close that you end up with a 5:1 scale image (object on the sensor is 5x larger than it is in real life)... and at it's farthest focusing distance it gets down to just 1:1 scale... but you can't actually shoot farther away than that (if you are too far from the subject the lens wont be able to focus -- this is what I mean by it's a "dedicated" macro-only lens.) This is probably a lot more extreme than your friend wants... but they do make such a lens.
 

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