Canon macro lenses?

Ganoderma

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i am in need of a good macro lens. i have a telephoto/"macro" lens, but 70mm is too far away....i need to be able to get close (ideally right in there, but DSLR are not good in that regard it seems.... so closer the better.

I really need something that can catch detail really well of insane close ups (i am doing things like plant skin cells, pollen, flowers etc etc...also with a microscope but still need the macroscopic shots). DOF is important, and *most* subjects will be still (not so many animals, mostly plants/fungus)

i use cannon EOS digital (kiss x). the problem is i am limited for $, so gotta be under $500 USD.

until I saw the price i was looking at the MP-E 65mm f/2.8 1-5x Macro, but costs too much for me.

also looked at the Canon 28-105mm f3.5-4.5 Macro USM, anyone here worked with this? how good is it at getting in there and details?

any ideas?
 

Milky

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cheap alternative, get a M42 manual lense with an M42 to EOS adaptator, and get some cheap fast 50mm manual lense, with extension. Got the whole thing for less than 30euros / $40
 

Jaszek

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Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 . it has something like .35 m focusing distance.
 

usayit

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Get the 100mm f/2.8 macro. It gives you decent working distance, it is a sharp lens, and doubles as a good portrait lens. Don't forget to read up on macro photography as lighting is just as important as the lens and camera (tripod too).

Unless you have significant experience with macro, I would steer far away from the MP-E 60mm macro. It is a fairly difficult lens to use and a proper "setup" is a must (at a price); macro lighting, darn stable tripod, and focusing rails. The MP-E is not a true Canon EF lens as it is a pure manual focusing lens.
 

Hardrock

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Canon 100mm macro 2.8f is a great lense! Well worth the money.
 
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Ganoderma

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sounds like a winner. before i go buy one, how is the tokina version?
Tokina AT-X 100mm 100 f/2.8

or the Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX Macro?
 

Big Mike

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You have to be careful about the word 'macro'. It is sometimes used as an advertising catch word and tacked onto the name of a lens. Canon 28-105mm f3.5-4.5 Macro USM, for example. I don't think that lens is capable of 1:1 magnification, which is what many people consider to be the standard for an actual Macro lens.

The characteristic that really makes these lenses capable of 'macro' photography is the minimum focus distance. The closer you can get to the subject, and still be able to focus on it, the bigger it will be in the photo. A longer focal length gives you more working room. You could get a 50mm macro lens, but you would have to be so close to your subject to get 1:1 magnification, that you would likely be blocking off most of the ambient light. A lot of people prefer the longer macro lenses because you don't have to be so close....although they are pretty expensive.

A cheap alternative is to just use extension tubes. They go behind the lens and reduce the minimum focus distance, allowing you to get closer. They can be used with your existing lenses.
 
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Ganoderma

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ya i hear you, i am definitely wanting true macro capabilities. i have read a bunch of reviews of the 100 mm suggested above, and it seems like a great lens!

you mention the longer distances involved, i can see how that is very useful, but in my situation i already have a lens for distance macro, so the closer ones would actually be best. quite often i am sitting at a desk with the subject sitting right in front of me and i need to take the photo there. with my old cool pix prosumer (i would still use it now but the lens broke, which prompted my upgrade to dSLR a little while ago) i was so happy at being able to get a few cm away, i realise teh lighting issue, but these distances are often times needed for my specific shots.

so closer=better. i am usually about 10-50cm away from my subjects about 80% of the time, for the other 20% i got a lens that i am ok with now :)

how is the Canon EF 50/1.8 II for close ups? its cheap and im thinking maybe as an additional gift :)

thanks for all your imput guys, i am really happy to have this place to learn from!!!
 

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how is the Canon EF 50/1.8 II for close ups? its cheap and im thinking maybe as an additional gift
I don't know it's minimum focus distance, off the top of my head, but I'd say that it's OK. Not bad but not outstanding. You could pair this up with an extension tube for a very cheap macro option.

The 50mm F1.8 is the most recommended lens in the line up, mostly because it's cheap. The optical quality is actually quite good for a $100 lens but the build quality is quite cheap compared to better lenses like the 50mm F1.4 USM.
 

usayit

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you mention the longer distances involved, i can see how that is very useful, but in my situation i already have a lens for distance macro, so the closer ones would actually be best.

Being physically "closer" is different from magnification.

A good working distance is often useful for things like insects as getting to close would disturb them. It also comes in useful when the tripod itself is difficult to position close to the subject.
 

Josh66

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you mention the longer distances involved, i can see how that is very useful, but in my situation i already have a lens for distance macro, so the closer ones would actually be best.

Being physically "closer" is different from magnification.

A good working distance is often useful for things like insects as getting to close would disturb them. It also comes in useful when the tripod itself is difficult to position close to the subject.

Yeah. Is your "long macro lens" actually a macro lens? Can it do 1:1?

Say you have a 50mm, 60mm & 100mm macro lens that all do 1:1, they will each give you the same level of magnification. The only difference is how close you have to be to do it.

With the 100mm macro at 1:1, the subject is only 3-4 inches from the front of the lens. With a shorter macro (1:1) lens, that would be somewhere around 1-2 inches.

Keep in mind - the minimum focusing distance is measured from the film/sensor plane, not the front of the lens.
 

camz

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^^^

I may stand corrected but I thought minimal focus distance is measured from the nodal point where the image is inversed. I think having it at a teared distance from the film/sensor will vary because of the different builds of each individual camera. So to remain consistant relative to the subjects displacement, I think it's actually measured from the reference nodal of the lens which is indicated as a spec on all the lenses.
 
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Ganoderma

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my tele "macro" is the sigma 70-300 1:4.1 / 1:2 which is ok (not a true macro i know) but need to be WAY too far away from the subject for most of my needs (95cm in macro mode).

Being physically "closer" is different from magnification.
Ya, I need both. i need to at least have the option of a maximum distance of 50cm, thats already pretty far for these reasons.

My purpose is mostly taking closeups of flower an plant parts for morphology/taxonomic shots.

I really want the canon MP-E 65mm f/2.8 1-5x, but the cheapest is $900 (i know thats a pretty good price for what it is), but just cant be spending that right now....and any used one gets scooped up pretty fast lol.


With the 100mm macro at 1:1, the subject is only 3-4 inches from the front of the lens. With a shorter macro (1:1) lens, that would be somewhere around 1-2 inches.

is that the canon 100mm macro lens mentioned above? one site says "0.31m / 1 ft. (film plane to subject)"

does that mean its measured form teh film plane?
 

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Reading th thread I get the impression that your not using a tripod for these shots (just the impression). Ir your going to start going beyond 1:1 magnifcation in macro, whilst its possible handheld you will find it a lot easier (and more accurate) using a tripod based setup - its more bulk and setup I appreciate, but it would give you more control and (in the long term) be quicker to use.

For a tripod setup a good solid tripod (manfrotto) is a must, then you will need a tripod head, for macro I would recomend the Manfrotto Junior geared head - its not cheap but it allows for rock solid and very fine control over the positioning of the camera, something you very much need for macro work - you will then need a focusing rail to help with focusing your setup - I would go for one of the ebay focusing rails since they are more affordable over the Novoflex offical make ones (which are very expensive).

After that lets talk lenses - your work appears to be dealing with flowers and fully static subjects indoors, so a shorter focal length macro sounds like a bonus for you over a longer focal length macro (in the full 1:1 macro prime lens range the longer the focal lenght of the lens the more distance you have between subject and camera - important for insects, less so for flowers).

For this I would say go for the Sigma 70mm macro - I recomend this lens because it has full teleconverter compatabilty with sigma brand teleconverters (its not listed as such but it does fit them well, I have done this many times with mine).

Teleconverter compatability is important as adding them wil give you a boost to your magnification factor without affecting the focusing distances (essentailly you get closer). A 2*TC will let you get to 2:1 magnifcation - note that there willl be softening of the end image as a result of the incrased glass of the setup, but its still workable.
I would also recomend you to look at the Raynox series of macro diopters/lens attachments/filters such as the DCR250 since they offer you (again) an increase in magnifcation, though this time by making the lens focus closer to the subject - combined with the TCs you can get some impressive magnifcations

I have some examples here - there are notes on the shots (most of them) explaining my setup
Bee and other macro raynox experiments 1000 - a set on Flickr
IMG_0048 on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Note that whilst they were done with the Sigam 150mm, the 70mm will still give you the same image magnifcations (the same shot framing) the only difference being that the 70mm will require you to be a lot closer to the subject to get the shot - a problem for living insects, less of a problem for your plants.

I will point out that the MPE65mm is generally the sharpest once you start going into the higher magnifactions, but its a very hard lens to get to use. Also once your going beyond 2:1 in any setup you will need to get a torch or similar to give you additional lighting when your focusing your shot - the viewfinder image will go very dark and can look very soft as well even when the shot is in focus - additiona lighting for focusing is important and its why the MPE65mm is most often used with the canon twinlight flash as it can provide a focusing light.

As a final point I would also recomend looking into focus stacking since depth of field becomes very tiny when you get into the higher magnifactions and sometimes you can't get all the shot in focus that you want - though if you stack a series of shots by setting the focus to manual and moving the camera a tiny bit close for a series of shots (using a focusing rail) and thus giving you a series of shots which in total cover the whole area you want in focus. Then using (free) software like Combine ZM you can stack all those shots into a single composit which will link up all the sharp points to give you an inreased depth of field in a single image - it will also give you a boost to sharpness and reduction in noise as well
An example from 5 images stacked into one
stack5 on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Also something that you might bare in mind, but there are adaptors to allow cameras to be connected to microscopes as well as dedicated cameras for this task. I don't know of the image quality possible from one of these setups, but it might provide you a cheaper way of getting the high magnifcation shots your after.
 

CxThree

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Canon 500D close up lens. This is not a close up filter. It actually screws on your current lens and allows it to have a much closer focusing distance. It's a cheaper alternative to a macro lens. They run about $150 and work on any brand lens. You just buy the right size. Here's a video on it from Bryan Peterson.
 
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