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Thread: Macro: 50mm vs 60mm vs 100mm vs 100mm L

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    Macro: 50mm vs 60mm vs 100mm vs 100mm L

    Heya! I want to eventually dabble in Macro stuff as well. I love experimenting with different photography styles and having the options for other things!

    I have a wide angle, a general purpose, and now would like a Macro lens.


    I have a 50mm f2.5 Macro that a friend gave me after his camera was ruined. It has no auto-focus as that was broken.

    But I've also been reading reviews online about the 60mm, 100mm and 100mm L

    This seems to be getting the best reviews:
    http://the-digital-picture.com/Revie...ns-Review.aspx


    Instead of just basing decisions on reviews, I was hoping people here who have them or have used them would be able to help me decide on a direction.

    Can anyone help shed some light on these range of lenses? What should I look for, etc.


    Would a 60mm be the best value since I can use it for portraits too? Should I fess up and go for the 100mm L-series, or should I save that extra bit of cash for the non L-series?

    Or should I check out Sigma, Tamron and Tokinas variants? I'm not a brand fan-boy, so they seem like fair options to me.

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    what sort of magnification do you want to acheive? If you are shooting macro at highish magnification, auto focus is not really needed and not that accurate anyway. Your 50 macro now can only go to 1:2 magnification, but you probably could get 2x magnification with a set of extension tubes. Even with your kit 18-55mm with tubes you couldget easily close to 1:1 magnification which is what the other macro lenses you have mentioned will do. Of course the lens wont be as fast (only f/5.6) but it is not a bad way to see if you are interested in macro. Kenko extension tubes are relatively cheap ($150) and can be used on all your lenses and have pretty good resale value.

    here is a picture with canon 38-76mm (old cheapo kit lens) with extsension tubes.

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    I have the Canon 60mm F2.8 macro, and it is a superb lens and good at being a small telephoto lens too.
    It's very sharp and has very good colours.

    I have also used the Canon 100mm macros, and these are also excellent, with the L version just a little better than the non L version.

    However, the best macro I've used is the new Sigma 150mm F2.8 macro with OS.
    It is just unbelievable!

    The longer the focal length of a macro lens, the further away you can be from the subject, and being further away opens up lots of different lighting possibilities too.

    However, if you want to get into macro, without breaking the bank, you couldn't go past the 60mm lens, with a cheap (around $120) ring flash, as lighting is VERY important to get good macro shots and you'll use the ringflash even in daylight.
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    I have the 60mm macro, was very happy with it until I used Kerri's (kadon) 100 L macro, IS does make a difference and a noticebly improvement in IQ over the 60mm (but at twice the price) , optionally would consider the new Sigma 150mm macro OS (sigma speak for IS) as Bennymiata mentioned.

    Cheers Dave
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    What does an Extension Tube do??

    Does it allow you to get closer or further from a subject or something?


    Fabian, I'll give my kit lenses a whirl again, see what I can find and come up with I like doing close ups, getting bokeh effects and stuff like that! I've seen lots of macro's of bugs, flowers, random things, etc and want to see what I can achieve!
    But I suppose I haven't given my kit lenses that kind of test yet. So if I can accomplish it with those, it'll save me on lenses, or may make me go out and buy faster haha..

    Thanks for mentioning the ring light Benny! I'll definitely keep that in consideration.


    Seems the 60mm might be a nice buy, however I'm still torn with the 100mm L since you guys have mentioned it being awesome again! Hmm.. Is the 100mm L only good for Macro? What else can be achieved with it that can help make it worth while buying?

    Dave, do you reckon picking a 100mm L over the much cheaper 60mm? Or are you still happy with your 60mm one?
    Last edited by Tommo224; 31-08-2011 at 1:59pm.

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    The 100mm Macro is also a very good portrait lens, or just use it as a light telephoto lens.

    You'd be best to think about the other uses you would have for the lens and then pick a focal length that would suit.
    I doubt either the 60 or 100mm would dissapoint you as an ordinary lens, as macro lenses are, by and large, very sharp.
    I've used my macro lenses even for landscapes, and they are razor sharp, so don't think you can only use a macro lens just for macro shots.

    An extension tube is fitted between the camera body and the lens.
    ie, the lens mounts directly onto the extension, and the length of the extender (there is NO glass in an extender) determines how much closer it will allow the lens to focus down to.
    They don't actually magnify anything, just adjust the closest focus distance the lens will go.
    To get 1:1 magnification on a non-macro lens means you will have to get the end of the lens very close to the subject, which can cause problems with lighting and insects jumping onto the front of the lens.
    However, a normal lens will not be as sharp as a macro lens, and its field of focus won't be as flal as a macro lens either, so the edges may appear a bit blurry.
    Get yourself a set of the Kenko tubes as they are usefull and very cheap, and work really well too.
    Before you go head long into spending lots of $$$ on a macro lens, getting a set of Kenkos will let you dip your toe into the water, so to speak, without blowing lots of dough.

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    If I was to buy a macro lens again I would choose the 100mm over the 60mm. I find that the 60mm is to short and can cause insects to be scared off because of how close you need to get.

    Don't get me wrong the 60mm is a fantastic lens just to short, at the end of the day it comes down to what you can afford.

    Last edited by thelastname; 31-08-2011 at 5:47pm.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tommo224 View Post
    What does an Extension Tube do??

    Does it allow you to get closer or further from a subject or something?


    Fabian, I'll give my kit lenses a whirl again, see what I can find and come up with I like doing close ups, getting bokeh effects and stuff like that! I've seen lots of macro's of bugs, flowers, random things, etc and want to see what I can achieve!
    But I suppose I haven't given my kit lenses that kind of test yet. So if I can accomplish it with those, it'll save me on lenses, or may make me go out and buy faster haha..
    yeah as mentioned above it allows closer focusing distance.

    The magnification you acheive is related to the focal length and also the min focus distance of the particular lens.
    If you want to get close to insects and see compound eyes and the like I would put a set of kenko tubes on your 50mm macro and use that. I would not reccomend a ringlight flash as they produce not very nice light

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    I've got the 100mm (non L) and love it. Gets you in close and great for portraits as well.
    Tania

    CC always welcome http://www.taniafernandesphotography.com.au/
    Canon 5d iii, Canon 7d, 50 f/1.8 II, 85 f/1.8, 70-200 f/2.8 L IS, 100 f/2.8 USM Macro


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    My thoughts on the pros and cons of the EFS60mm, EF100mmm and EF100mm L lenses, having owned two of them (60mm previously and now 100L):

    EFS60mm:
    Pros: cheapest of the three, very sharp, smallest and lightest of the three, perfect focal length for portraits on a crop body (96mm equivalent). Gives highest increase in magnification when combined with extension tubes (approx 2.1x magnification when used with 68mm of Kenko tubes, vs around 1.7x when same tubes are used with a 100mm lens).
    Cons: distance from subject at 1:1 magnification is a bit shorter than the 100mm lenses, but not by that much (minimum working distance or "MWD" is 90mm for EFS60mm and 150mm for the EF100mm L / non-L lenses). Can't be used with full frame bodies.

    EF100mm:
    Pros: Almost as cheap as EFS60mmm, equally as sharp as EFS60mm (ie very), slightly longer MWD, can be used with full frame bodies, excellent focal length for portraits on a full frame body
    Cons: Focal length a bit long for portraits on a crop body (effective focal length 160mm on a crop body) so a bit tight for space when taking portraits indoors, good build quality but not as good as 100L

    EF100mm L:
    Pros: marginally the sharpest lens of the three, marginally better bokeh than 100mm and clearly better than 60mm, Hybrid IS (more useful for portrait/general photos than macro), L-class build quality, slightly longer MWD than EFS60mm, perfect focal length for portraits on a full frame, probably a lens you can keep forever...
    Cons: most expensive lens of the three, focal lenth a bit long for portraits on a crop body, erhmmm not much else really.

    ___

    Basically, you can't go far wrong with any of the three above lenses. If you're planning a move to full frame any time soon, then get the 100L. If budget isn't a primary concern, get the 100L. If light weight is a consideration get the 60mm. If you are planning to stick with a crop body and like to take portraits, get the 60mm.

    Definitely also agree with the comment above re lighting... having a proper macro flash really makes a big difference.

    I'd also stay away from using tubes with a kit zoom lens - although the tubes give you the magnification, non-macro lenses tend to be soft at 1:1 magnification relative to macro lenses. Of course, once you have a macro lens, then using tubes with them is fine.
    Richard
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    I've looked at the prices of Kenko Extension tube sets ( the 12, 20 and 36 mm set )

    Now Benny you said you can experiment with macro photography using the tubes and just a 18-55 mm lens, have you used that set up before, or have any links to photos taken with that set up as I'm quite interested.

    The only way I've ever done, actually no tried to do macro photography is by reversing the lens :S

    Despite it being painstakingly trial and error was pretty fun.
    http://th00.deviantart.net/fs70/PRE/...x7-d39lpzp.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyza View Post
    I've looked at the prices of Kenko Extension tube sets ( the 12, 20 and 36 mm set )

    Now Benny you said you can experiment with macro photography using the tubes and just a 18-55 mm lens, have you used that set up before, or have any links to photos taken with that set up as I'm quite interested.

    The only way I've ever done, actually no tried to do macro photography is by reversing the lens :S

    Despite it being painstakingly trial and error was pretty fun.
    http://th00.deviantart.net/fs70/PRE/...x7-d39lpzp.jpg
    kenko tubes + 18-55mm non IS



    this was taken on 1d and by the size of the coin it looks close to 2x magnification
    Last edited by fabian628; 01-09-2011 at 1:45am.

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    I might give the extension tube thing a try!

    And so far it seems as though the 60mm would suit me better for other uses as well. However, having said that, an extension tube on the 50mm should give me a combination close to the 60mm? Plus an extension tube on the 60mm might bring it in between the 60 and 100mm right?

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    Tubes do not magnify, they just let you focus at a closer distance.
    When you have a tube on a lens, you can't focus to infinity.

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    Took me a while to save the cash but eventually got canon 100mm L series and dont regret the money spent on it.
    Superb image quality (detail colour and bokeh!!!!!!), superb build quality, brilliant IS, a little bit too sharp for portraits, just excelent lens and 100mm alows you to be further away from the object......or very close (min focusing distance is only 30cm!!!!!!!).

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    Oh sorry Benny, I misunderstood. But I get it now Thanks dude!


    Ah fantastic Dredi! =] that's awesome. Sigh I think I need to HIRE these lenses and try them out before buying. hehe

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tommo224 View Post
    I might give the extension tube thing a try!

    And so far it seems as though the 60mm would suit me better for other uses as well. However, having said that, an extension tube on the 50mm should give me a combination close to the 60mm? Plus an extension tube on the 60mm might bring it in between the 60 and 100mm right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Bennymiata View Post
    Tubes do not magnify, they just let you focus at a closer distance.
    When you have a tube on a lens, you can't focus to infinity.
    Just to be clear... Tubes allow you to focus more closely to the subject (ie decreasing the minimum focus distance) and, in so doing, increase the 'effective' (or 'observed') magnification of your lens as the subject is now closer and filling up a larger portion of your sensor.

    A 60mm and 100mm lens have the SAME magnification, ie 1:1 or 1x magnification, which means a 5mm subject covers 5mm of your sensor (which in turn is 22mm wide on a crop body). The 100mm lens achieves this further away from the subject, as it has a longer focal length, but the actual magnification is the same.

    Using 68mm of tubes on a 60mm will result in a higher increase in observed magnification than using the same tubes on a 100mm lens. See discussion here.

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    I'm definitely going to try out these extension tube things. I gave my 50mm macro lens a whirl, and want to see what else I can do with the other lenses I have =] for experimentation sake!

    My attempt:
    http://www.ausphotography.net.au/for...s-and-Spiders-)

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