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Thread: Macro lens V's Extension tubes.

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    Macro lens V's Extension tubes.

    Hi All,
    I am seriously looking at getting into macro photography. therefore I am exploring the options. Should i lash out and get a macro lens - say a Canon 100mm 2.8. Or will a set of tubes coupled with my existing medium zoom do the trick?

    Ta

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    Ausphotography Regular wideangle's Avatar
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    If you are unsure how much you will get into macro photography then maybe just get a set of extension tubes to begin with as this will allow you to get results without having to spend lots on a dedicated macro lens. Extension tube sets can be bought for under $200. Then if you get into macro shooting you can get a macro and also use the extension tubes on it so you are getting even more close shots.
    please ask before PP my images

    "Life is what happens to you while your busy making other plans"

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    As Keen As Mustard NikonNellie's Avatar
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    Wide angle has given you some good advice - I just wanted to add that I also use my macro lens for portraiture as well to make it a little more versatile.
    CAMERA: Nikon D800, Nikon D7000
    LENSES: AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8, Tamron SP AF 90mm F/2.8 Macro, Sigma 10 - 20mm F/4 - 5.6, Sigma 150 - 500mm F/5 - 6.3 APO DG OS, Nikkor 18 - 200mm F/3.5 - 5.6 VRII,
    Sigma 70 - 200mm f/2.8 APO EX DG OS, Tamron SP 24 - 70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD, Sigma 85mm F/1.4 EX DG, Nikkor AF-S 16-35mm F/4 ED VR, Nikkor AF-S 200-500 f/5..6E ED VR
    MY WEBSITES: www.nawimages.com, http://nelliewajzerphotography.smugmug.com/, http://NellieWajzerPhotography.blogspot.com



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    However a Tammy 90 can be had for around $400... and it's not going to go to waste if you're not shooting macro all day.

    I only use my macro lens for close up work about 20% of the time, but having a longish fast prime can IMO only be a goo thing.

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    Ausphotography Veteran rwg717's Avatar
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    All the above applies but what you need to think about is just how much use you will get from a dedicated macro, I have a Canon EF100 f2.8 and use it for lots of different things, but I must say that after I bought it I didn't do nearly as much macro work as I thought I would.
    Always hard decisions these, is there something more pressing in your budget?
    Richard
    I've been wrong before!! Happy to have constructive criticism though.Gear used Canon 50D, 7D & 5DMkII plus expensive things hanging off their fronts and of course a "nifty fifty".

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    Loves The Wildlife. Mary Anne's Avatar
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    I love my Tamron 90mm Macro lens I use it more than any other of my lenses almost every day.
    99% of my flower pics are taken with it plus all the insects and butterflies, dragons, frogs, bees and the list goes on.
    Its great for portraits and lots of other things..
    I have ex tubes and have only used them three times since Christmas

    I shoot with Canon And Olympus Cameras



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    Thanks Guys,
    That sounds like good advise. I gather from the resonses that a dedicated macro lens is favourable to a set of tubes - if you had a choice between one and the other?

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    Moderately Underexposed I @ M's Avatar
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    Buy both and get double the benefits?

    What is your budget credit card like?
    Andrew
    Nikon, Fuji, Nikkor, Sigma, Tamron, Tokina and too many other bits and pieces to list.



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    If you are serious get the dedicated lens. Extension tubes are not overly expensive but are a great benefit to macro photography. As there is no glass in and image quality is not affected by them don't bother with the Canon ones or even Kenko, you can get a cheap set for around $100. I have owned a set of Triplus tubes I picked up for $90 for the last 2 years without an issue at all.

    Check around too, there are always a few good second hand lenses for sale on ebay and the likes from time to time.
    Critique and comments welcomed on my images!

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    Canon EOS 5D MKII x 2 | Ef 70-200mm f2.8L IS II USM | Ef 16-35mm f2.8L II | Ef 180mm f/3.5L macro | Ef 24-70mm f/2.8L | Adobe Photoshop CS3 extended | Digital Photo Professional | Photomatix Pro 3 | Adobe Lightroom 2.3

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    Another vote for 'get both' here.

    I would start off with the tubes on a 50-90mm lens and see how you go. However once you start getting into macro, you will find that NOTHING is close enough and you will end up using a dedicated macro lens and a set of tubes together for that extra magnification ;-)

    Good luck
    Paul
    Australian Nature Photography

    Nikon D7000
    Nikkor 12-24, Nikkor 28-70/2.8, Nikkor 50/1.8, Tamron 60/2, Sigma 100-300/4, Sigma 180/3.5 macro, Nikkor 500/4, 1.4x TC, 1.7x TC

    (Comments And Critique On My Images Most Welcome)

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    I'd get a macro lens first - buy a used tammy 90mm, EFS 60mm or EF 100mm. If you find that you don't enjoy macro photography, then you can sell the lens for about the same price that you paid for it.

    Whilst I'd agree that tubes AND macro lenses are great together, my advice would be to learn with a macro lens alone for a while. Depth of field is so narrow once you're using tubes, that it could get disheartening for a first time macro shooter... learn how to use a 1:1 macro lens first and then (in due course) get tubes for >1x magnification.

    I'd advise against using tubes with a kit lens. The results will be disappointing compared to even a cheap macro lens, and might put you off macro photography altogether.
    Richard
    Canon 5D4 | 11-24 f/4 L | 24-105 f/4 L| 100-400 L II | 85 f/1.2 L | 100 f/2.8 L macro | MP-E 65 f/2.8 macro | 1.4x | 580EX2 | MT-24 Twin Lite | Manfrotto | Photoshop CS5


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    Ausphotography Site Sponsor/Advertiser OzzieTraveller's Avatar
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    G'day 7Duser

    May I offer my 2-bob's worth - as having used all this stuff for many years
    Firstly, Extension tubes are a very good & easy way to enable any lens in use, to take close-up/macro images, and like any of our photographic endeavours, the better the glass, the better the result

    Now - some minor technicalites ...

    Rule #1 ... when the extension equals the focal length you are viewing at 1:1 image size
    [ie: if the lens was at infinity, then 50mm of lens + 50mm of extension tube would give you 1:1 images]

    So that while a "macro" camera lens will have more-than-normal extension via its focussing mechanism to get you to (say) 1/2:1, adding to it via an extension ring will soon bring it to 1:1 life size stuff ~ all well & good.

    Rule #2 ... Depth of Field reduces as image size increases
    So as you get into macro mode, you automatically get closer - to see better - and the image size increases ~ in practical terms at 1/2:1 you 'should' be shooting at f16 at least, and at 1:1 you 'should' be using f32-f45 whenever you can [my old macro lens went to f45]

    Rule #3 ... When Extension tubes are used with a zoom lens you must not use the zoom mechanism because immediately you do so, you change the focal length, you also change the % of lens extension compared with the extension tube, and the point of focus will dramatically alter and you're out of the race.

    To come back tou your original Q - While you can use tubes on a zoom lens (with great care) you are infinitely better off using 1- a dedicated macro lens and 2- maybe using Ext'n tubes if necessary

    Hope this helps a bit
    Regards, Phil
    Of all the stuff in a busy photographers kitbag, the ability to see photographically is the most important
    google me at Travelling School of Photography
    images.: flickr.com/photos/ozzie_traveller/sets/

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    Just to re-iterate what many of the other posters have said, the tamron 90mm is amazing value for money and is versatile. It produces stunning images over a range of focal lengths and will definitely be a lens you will love!
    Whilst i can see the advantage of extension tubes, the optical quality will not be as high and in my experience makes focusing more difficult.

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    Member rick75's Avatar
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    Ok so about to get a macro lens, either the tamron 90mm f2.8 or the tamron 60mm f2.0, so my question is which is going to give the best all round performance, interested in jewellery photography, bugs, but also as a general lens. For the bugs etc I assume the 90mm would be the best, but I thought the ability of the 60mm in general and low light conditions would be better, what does everyone think?

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    Im also looking on getting a tamron 90mm for general macro work with Canon mount - does anyone know if the extension tubes will work effectively on this lens coupled with my 40D? Cant see there being a problem but better checking than getting caught out!
    Kellie

    Canon EOS 40D | BG-E2N Battery Grip | 70-200 F4 L USM | EF 24-105mm F4L IS | EF 50mm | Tamron SP AF90mm Macro | EF-S 18-55mm | EF25 II Extension Tube | Sigma EF-500 Flash | Blackrapid R-Strap RS5 | Photoshop PSE8 | Lowepro Slingshot 350 |Slik Tripod and Monopod


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    Member NikonUser's Avatar
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    I think that would work just fine Kellie.

    I know my Dad uses a Tamron 90mm with tubes on a Pentax body with no problems.

    Paul

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    Amor fati!
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    tammy's 90 and 60mm macros are excellent value. even it you dont use them as macro they make nice primes.

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    Thanks guys - heres hoping getting a few dollars for my birthday to go and buy one! then thats it now more! LOL
    (once this photography bug bites it bites hard! LOL)
    Cheers

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