Need advice on macro lens

Discussion in 'Canon Lenses' started by ifoundnemo, May 19, 2014.

  1. ifoundnemo

    ifoundnemo TPF Noob!

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    Hello everyone! I am new to this forum. I very recently got my first real camera- a Canon Rebel T3i. I am looking to buy a macro lens, but I really have no idea where to begin. I like to photograph very small things, such as insects and frogs. What would be a good lens to purchase? I am a beginner, so I'm not looking to spend too, too much just yet. Thank you!


     
  2. 480sparky

    480sparky Chief Free Electron Relocator Supporting Member

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    Pick a longer focal length. Shorter ones may get you the magnification you want, but you'll be so close to the critters you may scare 'em away.
     
  3. lambertpix

    lambertpix No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I picked up a Canon 100mm macro lens last fall (refurbished from Canon). Very nice lens, though I think something like a 180mm macro might be even better for "skittish" subjects. Bonus: it's not a half-bad portrait lens - it doesn't have the creamy bokeh of some of the "L"'s, but it's a really nice double-duty lens.

    Here are some of the first shots I took with the lens last fall (a couple are more recent):

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/dglambert/sets/72157636818895173/
     
  4. ifoundnemo

    ifoundnemo TPF Noob!

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    Okay great thanks for your help. I looked at the 100mm Canon lens and I think I will get a refurbished one when they're back in stock on the Canon website. As for the focal length, do you think I would be able to get the 100mm lens and some extension tubes t get similar results? The lenses with longer focal lengths are a little out of my price range at the moment.
     
  5. DaninMD

    DaninMD TPF Noob!

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    the 100mm and 180mm and the 50mm will all result in 1:1 magnification, so there is no difference between those three as far as how big the image looks. the difference is how close/far you have to be to get 1:1. just roughly speaking (from memory) the 50mm requires the object to be 6" from the sensor. yes, the sensor not the front of the lens. add on the depth of the body and the length of the lens and the object has to be an inch or two from front of the lens. the 100mm is roughly 12" and the 180mm is 18" or so. so the longer the lens the further away the object is which is better for skittish animals, ability to use flash etc.

    if you want to save money and only want the lens for macro work, then buy an old manual focus 100mm macro lens. you will have to manual focus, but to be honest 90% of my macro work is manual focus anyway.

    I will second the poster above that uses the canon 100mm for portraits. it is really good at that as well, but needs to be stopped down to around f5 or so...very nice lens
     
  6. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Consider something like a Sigma 150mm f2.8 macro. Either the original version (now second hand) or the new OS edition. Both are stunning lenses and give you the longer focal length and thus working distance that you might find you need. Note that with macro lenses most on the market get to the same magnification - 1:1 or Size on the sensor : size in real life.

    What that means is a 50mm 1:1 macro lens and a 200mm 1:1 macro lens are magnifying the subject to the same size, as such the frame covered will be the same. What will change is that the move into out of focus blurring will be more marked with the longer focal length lens than the shorter focal length lens. Not that the depth of field remains the same for both (sometimes ver short macro lenses can appear to have more depth of field; but that's simply the angle of the shot and the out-of focus areas not blurring as strongly).
     
  7. sm4him

    sm4him In memoriam Supporting Member

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    Another good choice is the Tokina 100mm f/2.8 macro lens. That's what I have and it's a really good, sharp lens. I bought mine used.
    When I first bought it, I had the Nikon D5100 camera body, and it wouldn't auto-focus on that camera. That actually ended up being a good thing, because it forced me to learn how to manually focus my macro shots, and as DaninMD mentions, the best macro work often requires manual focus anyway.
    These days, I shoot with a Nikon D7000, which WILL autofocus with the Tokina macro lens, but I almost always choose to manually focus it instead.
     
  8. lambertpix

    lambertpix No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The 100mm macro will work with extension tubes, but it moves you *closer* to your subject -- not further away. An extension tube just allows a lens to focus closer than its normal minimum focus distance, which in the case of the 100mm macro is already pretty close.
     
  9. ifoundnemo

    ifoundnemo TPF Noob!

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    Well that works for me because I really like using the manual focus over the auto focus.
     
  10. ifoundnemo

    ifoundnemo TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for that! I thought it was the other way around- I still have a lot to learn :) The pictures that you posted on your earlier post are beautiful by the way, they exactly the kind of photos id like to be able to take (I meant to post that earlier but I kept getting distracted at work)!
     
  11. krbimaging

    krbimaging TPF Noob!

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    I have tubes, a MP-65 and a 100mm, If I did it all again I would start with a 150 or 180MM. More distance from the subjet is a good thing!
     
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  12. lambertpix

    lambertpix No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Thanks. FWIW, I find the macro lens tons easier to use than a regular lens w/ extension tubes. As others mentioned, the 150mm / 180mm options would definitely give you more distance from your subject, which might be desirable. In my case, the double-duty capability + attractive price on the refurb'ed lens was a major consideration in my picking the Canon 100mm macro. Having said that, I'm very pleased with the lens, and I use it frequently for non-macro subjects.
     

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