Need Help w/ Macro Equipment

semicole

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Hey Guys,

I'm new here. I've had my Canon EOS T3 with the kit 18-55mm lens for a few years now and also have saltwater fish tanks, so I'm wanting to get into macro photography to take close ups of my corals.

I don't have the money for a nice macro lens, so I've been reading up on options. So far I've seen that I can do one of these things to take "macro" shots.

-Reverse my kit lens and buy an adapter
-Magnifying lens and extension tubes
-Buy macro lens

The other which I just recently read about is using older macro lenses with manual focus and getting an adapter for them to attach to my Canon. This option seems the most appealing to me, but I don't know enough about cameras to know which of these options would be better for me or which adapters to get or anything.

I really need you guys' help with this. Can you tell me what would be best for my situation and explain it to me like I'm 5? Especially when it comes to which adapters to buy.

Thanks!
 

Buckster

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I've used all three over the past few decades, and they all work, to varying degrees. Since I got my dedicated macro lens, I wouldn't dream of using either of the other two methods. But if I had to pick from the other two, I'd go with my reversing ring and a lens I can stop down mechanically, not just electronically (another thing for you to think about).

The magnifying lens, with or without extension tubes, introduces another piece of glass, usually inexpensive and not terribly optically or color accurate glass, into your image path between the subject and the sensor, which is not usually the best way to deal with almost anything in photography. It can introduce all kinds of unwanted effects, though you may get lucky, or you may find them acceptable.

Now then...

What do you have for light? Whatever you use for a lens to get macro, you're going to want to stop it down to get any decent DOF, and when you do that, you'll need to compensate in a heavy way with more light, and it needs to be fast, as in speedlights, not desk lamps.
 

Derrel

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The absolute best buy in an affordable macro lens to use on an adapter with a Canon d-slr is probably the older Nikon lens, the 55mm f/3.5 Micro~NIKKOR, its official name. No idea why they capitalize Nikkor...anyway....the 55mm f/3.5 is what has come to be referred to as a pre-Ai era lens, so it does not work as-sold on many modern Nikon cameras, which keeps the value of it low on the used market. The 55mm f/3.5 was ruggedly made, with a VERY solid,solid construction. Many of these are in rough, ugly external condition, but the front element is recessed wayyyyyy back into the barrel, well over one inch from the 52mm filter threads, which are solid metal,so the front elements are usually immaculate, even on lenses with horribly scratched and scuffed up barrels. From KEH.com, this lens in BGN or bargain condition often sells for $29 to $35...and the many examples of this I have actually, personally seen in BGN shape have all had smooth focusing! This thing was built like a tank!

ANYWAY... you could buy a simple Nikon F to Canon EF lens adapter from eBay for $14 or so, and that would work. A second item, the older, same-era Nikon M2 extension tube is very inexpensive...it too is not designed for modern Nikon d-slrs so its used value is also very low...it will allow the lens to be focused very close.

Finally, an inexpensive, screw-in rubber lens shade, for use right up next to aquarium glass.

On a Canon 1.6x camera like yours, the 55mm lens will function as a short, tele-macro lens.
 
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semicole

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The absolute best buy in an affordable macro lens to use on an adapter with a Canon d-slr is probably the older Nikon lens, the 55mm f/3.5 Micro~NIKKOR, its official name. No idea why they capitalize Nikkor...anyway....the 55mm f/3.5 is what has come to be referred to as a pre-Ai era lens, so it does not work as-sold on many modern Nikon cameras, which keeps the value of it low on the used market. The 55mm f/3.5 was ruggedly made, with a VERY solid,solid construction. Many of these are in rough, ugly external condition, but the front element is recessed wayyyyyy back into the barrel, well over one inch from the 52mm filter threads, which are solid metal,so the front elements are usually immaculate, even on lenses with horribly scratched and scuffed up barrels. From KEH.com, this lens in BGN or bargain condition often sells for $29 to $35...and the many examples of this I have actually, personally seen in BGN shape have all had smooth focusing! This thing was built like a tank!

ANYWAY... you could buy a simple Nikon F to Canon EF lens adapter from eBay for $14 or so, and that would work. A second item, the older, same-era Nikon M2 extension tube is very inexpensive...it too is not designed for modern Nikon d-slrs so its used value is also very low...it will allow the lens to be focused very close.

Finally, an inexpensive, screw-in rubber lens shade, for use right up next to aquarium glass.

On a Canon 1.6x camera like yours, the 55mm lens will function as a short, tele-macro lens.
MAN. Awesome this is literally exactly what I was looking for with everything I need for it. Thank you so much this is definitely what I'll be going with.
 
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semicole

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I've used all three over the past few decades, and they all work, to varying degrees. Since I got my dedicated macro lens, I wouldn't dream of using either of the other two methods. But if I had to pick from the other two, I'd go with my reversing ring and a lens I can stop down mechanically, not just electronically (another thing for you to think about).

The magnifying lens, with or without extension tubes, introduces another piece of glass, usually inexpensive and not terribly optically or color accurate glass, into your image path between the subject and the sensor, which is not usually the best way to deal with almost anything in photography. It can introduce all kinds of unwanted effects, though you may get lucky, or you may find them acceptable.

Now then...

What do you have for light? Whatever you use for a lens to get macro, you're going to want to stop it down to get any decent DOF, and when you do that, you'll need to compensate in a heavy way with more light, and it needs to be fast, as in speedlights, not desk lamps.
I think I'm going to go with what Darrell mentioned, which is what I had recently read about, but was slightly confused about.

As far as light goes, it will be under LED lights. Mostly 420nm blue light with a small amount of 10000k to 12000k white light as well.
 

Derrel

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semicole

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The absolute best buy in an affordable macro lens to use on an adapter with a Canon d-slr is probably the older Nikon lens, the 55mm f/3.5 Micro~NIKKOR, its official name. No idea why they capitalize Nikkor...anyway....the 55mm f/3.5 is what has come to be referred to as a pre-Ai era lens, so it does not work as-sold on many modern Nikon cameras, which keeps the value of it low on the used market. The 55mm f/3.5 was ruggedly made, with a VERY solid,solid construction. Many of these are in rough, ugly external condition, but the front element is recessed wayyyyyy back into the barrel, well over one inch from the 52mm filter threads, which are solid metal,so the front elements are usually immaculate, even on lenses with horribly scratched and scuffed up barrels. From KEH.com, this lens in BGN or bargain condition often sells for $29 to $35...and the many examples of this I have actually, personally seen in BGN shape have all had smooth focusing! This thing was built like a tank!

ANYWAY... you could buy a simple Nikon F to Canon EF lens adapter from eBay for $14 or so, and that would work. A second item, the older, same-era Nikon M2 extension tube is very inexpensive...it too is not designed for modern Nikon d-slrs so its used value is also very low...it will allow the lens to be focused very close.

Finally, an inexpensive, screw-in rubber lens shade, for use right up next to aquarium glass.

On a Canon 1.6x camera like yours, the 55mm lens will function as a short, tele-macro lens.
The ones I'm seeing on KEH are either AI or non AI, what is the difference and which should I get?
 
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semicole

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The absolute best buy in an affordable macro lens to use on an adapter with a Canon d-slr is probably the older Nikon lens, the 55mm f/3.5 Micro~NIKKOR, its official name. No idea why they capitalize Nikkor...anyway....the 55mm f/3.5 is what has come to be referred to as a pre-Ai era lens, so it does not work as-sold on many modern Nikon cameras, which keeps the value of it low on the used market. The 55mm f/3.5 was ruggedly made, with a VERY solid,solid construction. Many of these are in rough, ugly external condition, but the front element is recessed wayyyyyy back into the barrel, well over one inch from the 52mm filter threads, which are solid metal,so the front elements are usually immaculate, even on lenses with horribly scratched and scuffed up barrels. From KEH.com, this lens in BGN or bargain condition often sells for $29 to $35...and the many examples of this I have actually, personally seen in BGN shape have all had smooth focusing! This thing was built like a tank!

ANYWAY... you could buy a simple Nikon F to Canon EF lens adapter from eBay for $14 or so, and that would work. A second item, the older, same-era Nikon M2 extension tube is very inexpensive...it too is not designed for modern Nikon d-slrs so its used value is also very low...it will allow the lens to be focused very close.

Finally, an inexpensive, screw-in rubber lens shade, for use right up next to aquarium glass.

On a Canon 1.6x camera like yours, the 55mm lens will function as a short, tele-macro lens.
I have the lens and extension tube in my cart, as for the rubber lens shade what exactly am I looking for?
 

Derrel

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Generic rubber lens shade,most likely for a 50mm lens,with a 52mm filter thread attachment size. You want a soft, flexible shade. These have been made by various offshore companies in the 1980's through the present day.
 
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semicole

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Generic rubber lens shade,most likely for a 50mm lens,with a 52mm filter thread attachment size. You want a soft, flexible shade. These have been made by various offshore companies in the 1980's through the present day.
Sweet, I found that, now I see a lot of the Nikon to Canon adapters on eBay and Amazon, but are all of the Nikon lenses the same format or do I need a certain adapter to go with the M2 lens? Can you link to the right one for me? Thanks.
 

nerwin

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When I was first getting into macro, I almost bought the 55 2.8 AIS for $90 which I know is a pretty good macro performer and I think the 55 3.5 is just as good. But for some reason, I ended up spending $800 on a 105 2.8G..not exactly sure what happened there.

I recommend Derrel's advice..you'll get some pretty awesome macros.
 

Derrel

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There are MANY adapters for Nikon F mount lens to Canon EF mount body. The "plain", chrome-plated brass models,like the one shown on my web storage site, the type of silver-colored adapter without the AF confirm chip, are the least expensive, and there are many of them in the $15-$25 range. The 55mm Micro-Nikkor lens does not require the newer G-series type adapters. Just order one, or even two if you'd like, one as a spare.
 

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