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Thread: To macro or not

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    To macro or not

    How close to the action will a Canon macro lens get me? What is the best macro lens?

    Looking for a Christmas pressie. Up to $2000 spend. Just not sure if I need it or not. Where I am at the moment I can see me going lots of still life / macro type stuff so it seems a logical choice. Do I need a ring flash as well or will studio lights / EX580II be good enough.

    Feel free to post opinions and images.

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    What camera(s) do you have?
    What lenses do you have?
    Examples of what “still life" "macro type stuff" means?


    The Shooting Distance is directly related to the Focal Length: longer FL greater SD.

    Maximum Magnification with the Canon Macro Lenses is 1:1, but there is a specialist 1-5x Macro Lens.
    [Canon term "Macro" to mean 1:1 - less than 1:1 magnification is "Close-Up"]

    Maximum Magnification and SD can be manipulated with the addition of Extension Tubes and / or tele-extenders.

    No, a Ring Flash is not essential.

    Depending upon what Subjects - a Tripod, suitable Head and / or Focusing Rails or a Monopod might be a requirement and the 580EX will likely be sufficient, but some DIY mods might be required, like a snoot, for example.

    It is difficult to be more specific to the general question: and understood it is a general question to gather general answers, but knowing the camera you have the lenses you have and typical subjects you think you will shoot, will garner more useful responses, I think.

    WW

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    Account Closed Wayne's Avatar
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    Canon make a superb macro lens MP-E65 which a couple of people here have. at 1+ life size subjects look outstanding. I only wish Nikon made one similar...

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    Gear:

    5Dmk2 | 50D | 70 -200 2.8 | 100-400 | 50 1.4 | 24 -105 | 1.4 ex | 580 + 430 EXII | Manfrotto 190 xprob + ballhead

    In term of subjects, I was thinking flowers and bugs. You know, close ups of ants etc.

    Will have a look at the MP-E65. thanks

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    Quote Originally Posted by fess67 View Post
    How close to the action will a Canon macro lens get me? What is the best macro lens?

    Looking for a Christmas pressie. Up to $2000 spend. ....
    If you are looking to spend big then have a look at the Zeiss ZE (Makro-Planar) 50 and 100 macros for Canon. They will help you to spend that spare cash and have many satisfied users. I've never used them, so can't speak from experience, but if you have a look at fredmiranda.com in the Alt forum you will find hundreds of samples and glowing posts about them.

    It sounds to me like you don't really know what you want, and that's fine, but spending big might not be such a good idea under the circumstances. Maybe it's a better idea to buy something quite cheap and see if you like that style/type of lens in general and then upgrade if you need to. My prefered macro lenses have all been quite inexpensive but then there are lots of ways of going about macro and an SLR lens is not always the best way. You can use bellows (with or without tilt/shift movements) and enlarging lenses but this is cumbersome. Or you can use medium format macro lenses with tilt/shift adapters (my preferred method). The method I like the least is to use a simple SLR 'macro' lens because this gives you the least amount of control although it is the fastest and easiest to use.

    JJ
    Last edited by jjphoto; 22-12-2011 at 9:23am.

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    Unless you have a bit (read lots!) of experience of using macro lenses, I'd stay away from the Canon MP-E65.
    While it can give fantastic results, it is very difficult to use and as you use a FF camera, you'll have to virtually be on top of the item you are photographing if the subject is quite small. You'll also need a ring flash, or use a remote flash.
    The Zeiss lenses are excellent, but are not true 1:1 lenses, but 1:2, which means you can't get a life-sized image on the sensor, only half size.

    The shorter the lens, the closer you need to be for 1:1 images, and the closer you are, the more likely the bug will scatter, and the more likely that you'll need a ring flash, otherwise the lens may end up blocking half the flash.

    I'd get the Sigma 150mm F2.8 Macro with OS (the latest version).
    Unbelievably sharp, with fabulous colours and contrast, and the OS is really worth it if you intend to work hand held.
    Because it is a longish macro lens, you won't need to be on top of the subject, and using your 580EXII mounted on the hot shoe of the camera will give you plenty of light without the lens blocking the flash.
    You can pick them up locally for around $1200 locally or just bit less from OS.
    All my photos are taken with recycled pixels.
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    I use a 5d mark 2 as well and the 7d for macro with canon 100mm l with a image stabilizer and with the ff camera can be used as a portrait lens as well I am very happy with it and def recommend it.
    Dwarak Calayampundi

    Canon 5D Mark II, 7 D Lens Canon 24-105mm L Canon 16-35mm II L Canon 100mm Sigma 10-20mm Canon 50mm 1.8
    http://www.wix.com/dwarak/landscapes

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    Thanks for answering.

    (only considering the Canon line-up), I suggest you consider the EF100F/2.8L IS Macro.

    This lens will give you a suitable working distance both on both your 50D and your 5DMkII.

    There seems to be little advantage in buying the 50/2.5 or the 180/3.5L, considering your outline of what you want to do and also considering your existing lens line-up and considering that you have adual format kit – generally a 90mm to 100mm macro lens fits a dual format kit best, for a one lens solution - and if you have the money then might as well get the newer IS version, than the EF100F/2.8, which is a very nice lens also.

    Another consideration would be a set of extension tubes (as well as the macro lens) I suggest the Kenko, set of three. I suggest buying the Second Series of the DG Version.

    As you already have the x1.4 (Canon?) you can manipulate the extender with the macro lens and also use the tubes with the Macro Lens and also with your other lenses – the 50mm is most suitable for this purpose; and also the 70 to 200 works well for some Close-up work, especially with a 12mm tube

    The 100F/2.8 and the set of three tubes would provide a lot of scope for a broad range of macro and close-up work, both with and without Flash.

    BUT – ants are VERY small: if you want to get down to ants and similar sized subjects then the MP-E65 is the lens to use, but is is a very specialised lens indeed; and will not allow for such a broad range of activity.

    As an indicative the 100/2.8M is fine for averaged sized spiders and subjects of that size.

    Think of the sensor size of the camera and then think 1:1 macro is like pasting the subject 1:1 on the sensor – so therefore a 50c piece fits just about the full frame of your 5DMkII at 1:1 magnification.

    As examples (all withOUT Flash):
    100/2.8M on a 5D –





    100/2.8M on a 5D:






    Closest Working Distance with a 36mm Extension Tube on an EF50/1.4:



    Result - showing a typical Bokeh and typical highlight aperture ring flare (about F/6.3)



    WW
    Last edited by William W; 22-12-2011 at 1:22pm.

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    Loves The Wildlife. Mary Anne's Avatar
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    I own and use almost every day, the Canon 5DMK11 and Canon 40D
    On to these great cameras goes the Tamron 90mm macro, the Canon 100mm L macro or the Canon MP-E-65mm macro lens

    You dont need a Tripod for shooting Macro small insects they are on the run all the time hand help is best for that.
    I use a Monopod when I need something to rest the heavy gear on
    Yes you will need some kind of lighting, you can get away with a speedlite and decent diffuser
    With the Canon MP-E-65mm macro lens I use the Canon MT-24EX Macro Twin Lite.

    My advice is get the Tamron 90mm or the Canon 100mm and work with one of those for a few years
    They will both give you nice sharp images I find the Tamron is better for flowers and the Canon better for Insects others may not

    Stay right away from the Canon MP-E-65mm macro lens till you have been doing Macro for a few years it is not an easy lens.
    It goes to 5x and when you get past 3x in the shade you cannot see in the Viewfinder and have to use the Live view and many times its not spot on.
    Also you have to have the Canon MT-24EX Macro Twin Lite for that one, no others work to my knowledge that I know of.

    I do enjoy using the 90 and 100mm lenses where the closest you can get is 15cms with out tubes
    I cannot take images of anything closer than a few centimeters with the MP-E-65mm then the leaves move as the flash gets closer.
    And the Insects run off so no fun in that..

    This is a Queen Ant taken with the 5DMk11 and the canon 100mm L macro its not a great image but the only one I could find of an Ant



    Canon 40D and Tamron 90mm macro lens BTW all Jpeg images as I started shooting and learning about Raw images 4 days ago..



    Canon 40D with Canon 100mm macro lens, real life 10mm in size. All my images get tightly cropped.



    Not so close Canon 40D and 100mm lens



    Canon 5D and 100mm lens



    Same combo again



    I cannot find any taken with the 5DMk11 and the Tamron, out of time really I have many thousands of images
    Hope this has been of some help

    I shoot with Canon And Olympus Cameras



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    Quote Originally Posted by Bennymiata View Post
    Unless you have a bit (read lots!) of experience of using macro lenses, I'd stay away from the Canon MP-E65.
    I'd get the Sigma 150mm F2.8 Macro with OS (the latest version).
    Loud and clear on the MP-E65. You would go the Sigma 150 over the Canon 100?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dwarak View Post
    I use a 5d mark 2 as well and the 7d for macro with canon 100mm l with a image stabilizer and with the ff camera can be used as a portrait lens as well I am very happy with it and def recommend it.
    Thanks, looks like I am leaning that way

    Quote Originally Posted by William W View Post
    I suggest you consider the EF100F/2.8L IS Macro.

    Another consideration would be a set of extension tubes (as well as the macro lens) I suggest the Kenko, set of three. I suggest buying the Second Series of the DG Version.
    WW
    Thanks for the feedback and the effort you took in sourcing images / comparisons for me. Canon 100 is taking the lead at the moment and Kenko tubes a likely addition.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mary Anne View Post
    I own and use almost every day, the Canon 5DMK11 and Canon 40D
    On to these great cameras goes the Tamron 90mm macro, the Canon 100mm L macro or the Canon MP-E-65mm macro lens

    My advice is get the Tamron 90mm or the Canon 100mm and work with one of those for a few years
    They will both give you nice sharp images I find the Tamron is better for flowers and the Canon better for Insects others may not
    Thanks Mary Anne, very comprehensive response and yes, those images are the type I was thinking of so if it is possible to achieve those with the Canon 100 it may be a go.

    Thank you all

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    Quote Originally Posted by jjphoto View Post
    It sounds to me like you don't really know what you want, and that's fine, but spending big might not be such a good idea under the circumstances.
    Hit the nail on the head JJ. I really don't know what I want. I know I have the offer of a prezzie and I am thinking remote wireless flash unit or macro lens. Pretty much counted the remote unit out due to need for assistant to hold it and subjects to use it on

    At least with a macro I can pick on wildlife when humans do not want to sit in front of the camera.

    Thanks for the response.

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    So what did you end up choosing? did you get a chance to use it yet.

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    The Canon 100mm L lens is an excellent lens, but I doubt it's any better than the new Sigma 150mm with OS as far as sharpness and colours go.
    I've used both and I think the Sigma is just a little better and it also allows you to stay a little further away from the insect to get the same size image.

    However, it is bigger and heavier than the Canon 100mmL and you may find the Canon is more useful for things like portraiture and taking groups of flowers.
    They are priced pretty similarily too, so I would suggest you go and try out both and see which one you prefer.

    I also have the Canon 60mm macro, so for me, I wanted a longer macro than the 100mm, which I have used a number of times, as one of my brothers-in-law has one, and we sometimes swap, but he prefers the Sigma over the Canon too.

    If you've got $2K to spend, you can easily get a macro lens and a good flash and remotes as well.
    Last edited by Bennymiata; 26-12-2011 at 4:26pm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mowgli View Post
    So what did you end up choosing? did you get a chance to use it yet.
    Not decided yet.

    You know I think JJ really did nail it. I am totally in two minds and am probably looking to spend money because it is Xmas and the offer of a gift is there.

    I am not sure that is the best reason to buy something so I will defer my decision for a few months. Sheesh I must be getting old and in the zone where you qualify a spend rather than just go do it and have fun lol

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    Having the same trouble with my Xmas pressie. After dreaming for so long, now that it comes time to lay the money down I don't want to make a bad decision. cheers Brian
    Cheers Brian.

    Canon 7D Kit lenses EFS 18-55 IS EFS 55-250 IS EF28-90 Canon EF 2xll Extender Sigma DG150-500 OS Speedlight 420EX. 580EX

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    Quote Originally Posted by bricat View Post
    Having the same trouble with my Xmas pressie. After dreaming for so long, now that it comes time to lay the money down I don't want to make a bad decision. cheers Brian
    I think the best options are the 100mm 2.8 (L or non-L). Both have had only positive things said about them in this thread (and anywhere I've read).

    Personally, I have the 2.8 non-L. I read advice from here that IS would be good, but won't make a stunning amount of difference in macro photography and most lenses do not have IS (or equivilent).

    So, you won't go wrong with the L or non L 100mm 2.8. Whether you want the IS is up to you.

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