Which of my lenses for detail / macro shots?

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Hello,

First I know none of my lenses are true macro, but I am wondering which of my lenses would be best for wedding detail shot like the rings. I have a wedding coming up and don't want to mess around learning while I'm there. I am pretty sure I should do it with my 70-200, but wanted some opinions.


I have:

  • Tamron 70-200 2.8 non vc - Min Focus .95m
  • 50mm 1.8D Min Focus .47m
  • 35mm 1.8G dx
  • Tokina 12-24 f4
  • Tamron 17-50 2.8 non vc - Min Focus .27m

Fairly confident the Tokina is out. I've tried close up shots with the 17-50 and just never got satisfying results. The 50 has a larger minimum focusing distance to than the 17-50 so that should be out too. The 70-200 has the furthest but its focal length I believe makes up for it. What do you guys think?
 

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use the one with the best reproduction ratio (closest to 1/1 as you can get).

50mm 1.8D = 1/6.6 (0.15x)
35mm 1.8g = 0.16x
Tamron 70-200 @200 = 0.32x
Tamron 17-50 @50 = 0.21x (if the specs I found are right)

with those specs I'd be using the tamron 70-200 @200 at (or very close to) the minimum focusing distance, set it to manual focus, set the focus to the minimum focus distance, and leave it there, then physically move the camera to get the focus point where you want it in the image. a stopped down aperture will help expand the DoF too...I wouldn't be using a wide/ultrawide as a detail close up shot unless that look/feel is what you're going for.
 
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use the one with the best reproduction ratio (closest to 1/1 as you can get).

50mm 1.8D = 1/6.6 (0.15x)
35mm 1.8g = 0.16x
Tamron 70-200 @200 = 0.32x
Tamron 17-50 @50 = 0.21x (if the specs I found are right)

with those specs I'd be using the tamron 70-200 @200 at (or very close to) the minimum focusing distance, set it to manual focus, set the focus to the minimum focus distance, and leave it there, then physically move the camera to get the focus point where you want it in the image. a stopped down aperture will help expand the DoF too...I wouldn't be using a wide/ultrawide as a detail close up shot unless that look/feel is what you're going for.

Didn't realize you could research the reproduction size.

Thanks for the focusing tip
 

Gavjenks

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In general / rule of thumb, unless you're using extender tubes or bellows, you will get the most magnification from (in order):

1) Macro lenses
2) Long telephotos
3) Certain normal range zooms that are made to have close focus distances, often to make them more marketable as kit type lenses
4) Everything else

Confusingly, though, if you use extension tubes or a bellows for macro, it's sort of the other way around, with WIDE lenses being vastly more affected by extension than long lenses (adding just a few millimeters of extension to some superwide lenses is enough to push the maximum focal distance so far back that it is inside the lens and thus useless)

Also, random point to mention: one major advantage of long lenses used for macro, like the 70-200, is that you don't shadow your subject by being too close to them, and that you don't scare your subject by being too close to them (bugs fly away. Brides won't fly away, but may get more nervous with a lens an inch away from them)
 

cgipson1

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Personally I would just buy a macro lens, if I were you! Best way to get that professional quality that wedding photography requires. If you are really budget constrained, consider a Raynox diopter lens. You can just clip it on the front of whatever lens you are using.. and it will give you much better macro capability than any of the lenses you listed... and it is a lot easier to use in a fast moving environment, than tubes are. Amazon.com: Raynox DCR-250 Super Macro Snap-On Lens: Camera & Photo

If if you are wondering about detail quality? I used that diopter to take this: Fleshfly (family Sarcophagidae) | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
 

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+1 on the getting a macro lens, it'll be leaps and bounds better for this type of stuff...can't speak for the raynox personally, but charlie's example is definitely a good one. which lens was it attached to for that?
 

tirediron

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And if a macro lens isn't in the budget right now, a reversing ring or set of extension tubes (with the tubes being the prefered method IMO) are inexpensive ways to get in close.
 

cgipson1

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+1 on the getting a macro lens, it'll be leaps and bounds better for this type of stuff...can't speak for the raynox personally, but charlie's example is definitely a good one. which lens was it attached to for that?

It was attached to a Tokina 100 macro which (along with the Tamron 90) is a great inexpensive macro lens. The Raynox works well on other lenses too though.. it will turn a 50mm into a decent macro lens.
 

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Last edited:
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Thanks for all the good information.

I have plans to get a true macro, with my interest directed towards the Tamron 90mm. But my piggy bank just went to the D600 that should arrive today. (Going to be the longest day at work EVER)

I do need a decent standard zoom for FX and will look into the 24-85 mentioned, I was unaware of it's close up capabilities. Though I was really looking towards a 24-70 or constant 2.8, but those lenses are a fair amount more expensive/
 

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