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I need advice about macro lens?
Hi to all .

I'm newbie to DSLR and I just got a Canon EOS 40D with a EF-S 17-85 mm 1:4-5.6 IS USM Lens. Is this lens capable of taking extreme macro shoots? If not, what's an ideal lens for that purpose?.

I want to do a lot of macro work, but haven't been able to as close as I'd like with this lens. I'd be grateful for any advice..

Thank you very much.Dhani...

Comments (33)

Note: Canon, like probably every other reputable manufacturer of lenses, reports minimum focusing distances on their web site..

For instance.

Http://www.usa.canon.com/...odelInfoAct&fcategoryid=149&modelid=10511.

If you're REALLY into extreme close-ups, see.

Http://www.usa.canon.com/...ModelInfoAct&fcategoryid=155&modelid=7325http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/lenses/mp-e-65.shtml..

Comment #1

Does a revering ring work with a DSLR? If so........

Comment #2

Dhani33 wrote:.

Hi to all .

I'm newbie to DSLR and I just got a Canon EOS 40D with a EF-S 17-85mm 1:4-5.6 IS USM Lens. Is this lens capable of taking extreme macroshoots?.

You can make any lens focus closer by using either extension tubes, which fit between the camera and the lens, or a supplementary close up lens which screws onto the filter thread. Or indeed both together. But, as my mother used to say, that's throwing good money after bad - for serious macro work you need a dedicated macro lens..

As Leejay Wu has already said, tell us more about what you want to do...

Comment #3

True macro lenses generally are available in 3 focal lenth categories. (1) 50-60mm. (2) 90-100mm and (3) 180-20mm..

All three groups generally will have lenses that allow either 1:1 or 1:2 reproduction ratios. that means simply that, in the case of 1:1, the subject will ber recorded on the meida (sensor) at it's exact lifesize (if it is 8 mm tall in real life, it will cover 8mm of the sensor). At 1:2, it will be one half lifesize when recorded..

Note, there is a misconception that macro means "how close to the subject you can get". While there are variation in subject working distance based on other issues, the "macro" nature of any lens is purely one of subject size to media recording size results..

There are one big differences in which of the 3 categories a person might choose..

It IS working distance, but not because it give more macro, that is still usually 1:1 maximum today. It is because the longer the focal length, the farther away the miminum focusing distance is from the subject..

Thus, a 180mm gives you the most working distance. This is good (better, at least) for hornets, poisionous snakes, etc.; and to keep your shadow out of the frame and from blocking some light. You will be working at about 20" or so from the subject to the sensor at full macro..

A 90mm with 1:1 will give you the same area of coverage, but you will need to be closer to acheive it. (About half the distance, which is it's minimum focusing distance. Usually, around 10" from sensor to subject.).

A 50mm will move you closer still (perhaps too close at about 5" from the sensor to the subject yu are literally on top of the subject) and still allow the same maximum coverage..

Being "prime" lenses (single focal length), most macro leses tend to be faster (of aperture) than zoom lenses with quasi-macro features. This means little in terms of low light shooting in macro situations, as the depth of field issues are so demanding of small aperture shooing (f/16-32+). But it generally does mean that the optimum sharpness aperture is reached before any slower lens could, like zooms)..

Van..

Comment #4

I have just bought a Sigma 70mm macro lens. So far it looks great for macro but it will double as a useful portrait lens.Greg.

When you've got a moment, have a look at my newly updated site including my blog:http://www.wrightphotos.co.ukalsohttp://www.wrightphotos.co.uk/FromeInFocus.

Winner of the South West Rural section of the BBC's Picture of Britain Competition...

Comment #5

With your lens you can do same macros using macro tubes as adviced before..

Since macro tubes are placed between camera and lens they reduce light signifficantly - you need to shot at bright sun or from tripod using longer exposures, or using powerful flash(strobe)..

Special Macro lenses like Tamron 90mm f/2.8 Macro 1:1 or Sigma 105mm f/2.8 are build to be able to focus at very close subjects without tubes. Using them in combination with macro ring flash gives you more control/flexibility. At the end you can use them in combination with macro tubes too..

Some examples made with Tamron 90mm f/2.8 1:1 and Minolta 7D DSLR body:.

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

Http://www.stan-pustylnik.smugmug.com..

Comment #6

It rather depends on 2 things:1) just how extreme you want your macro to be and2) what exactly do you want to take pictures of?.

Let's start with #2. If your subjects will not run away - like jewelry, or flowers, or teeth or something like this:.

Http://lordofthelens.smugmug.com/gallery/3036379#165014345.

Than you just need a true macro lens. But if you are planning to take pictures such as those:.

Http://lordofthelens.smugmug.com/gallery/3036379#165037386.

Http://lordofthelens.smugmug.com/gallery/3036379#P-2-15.

Http://lordofthelens.smugmug.com/gallery/3036379#165039025.

Http://lordofthelens.smugmug.com/gallery/3036379#165032034.

Http://lordofthelens.smugmug.com/gallery/3036379#165013451.

Http://lordofthelens.smugmug.com/gallery/3036379#165049782.

Than you may actually be better off with a tele, like 100-400 L + extension tubes and/or TC, because otherwise you'd have to be about 5 cm away from your subjects and they'll run/swim/fly away long before you come that close..

Now back to #1. If you want more than lifesize magnification, than this is a unique lens for you to consider:.

Http://photo.net/equipment/canon/mp-e-65.

But you must bear in mind that it will take some time and effort to learn to use it properly, due to difficulties with DOF, lighting and exposure times..

Http://lordofthelens.smugmug.com/..

Comment #7

MICHAEL_61 wrote:.

... you may actually be better off with a tele, like 100-400 L +extension tubes and/or TC, because otherwise you'd have to be about 5cm away from your subjects and they'll run/swim/fly away long beforeyou come that close..

Not sure if that's a typo, but the typical working distance of a 100 mm macro lens at 1:1 is nearer 15 cm than 5..

(Sorry to be picky)..

Comment #8

You are right, but I was talking not about the distance from subject to the sensor, I was talking about the distance from subject to the front of the lens..

Http://lordofthelens.smugmug.com/..

Comment #9

MICHAEL_61 wrote:.

You are right, but I was talking not about the distance from subjectto the sensor, I was talking about the distance from subject to thefront of the lens..

Then it wasn't a typo it was an error. The working distance, i.e. the clearance between the front of the lens and the subject, at 1:1, of the Canon EF100/2.8 USM is 149 mm. Sigma's 105 mm macro has a minimum working distance of 123 mm. My own EF100/2.8 MkI is a little less at 112 mm due to the extending barrel; the new Nikon 105 mm macro has a working distance of 150 mm...

Comment #10

Canon probably do microscope adapter for extreme but rather static pictures. But you'll need a decent microscope and a special lens (perhaps called something like a projection lens (?)). Although a P&S pointing down a microscope's eyepiece will do quite well. (Only P&S's have lenses about the same size - physically - as a microscope's eyepiece.).

Here's a dead bee on the microscope's stage (on a slide with a white paper cover) and the resulting picture of the leading edge of it's wing..

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

The sharp black thing's a pointer in the eyepiece for demo purposes..

Regards, David..

Comment #11

Steve, you are 100% correct, but I never mentioned the lenses you do. You just assumed that. What about 50mm macro? 60mm? 70mm? But that doesn't really matter. 5 cm or 15 cm, it's still too close - the butterfly will fly away..

Http://lordofthelens.smugmug.com/..

Comment #12

MICHAEL_61 wrote:.

Steve, you are 100% correct, but I never mentioned the lenses you do.You just assumed that. What about 50mm macro? 60mm? 70mm? But thatdoesn't really matter. 5 cm or 15 cm, it's still too close - thebutterfly will fly away..

Why can't you just have the good grace to admit you made a mistake?..

Comment #13

Thanks everbody for your advice  I really appreciate it.

I know I still have a lot to learn, this forum help me a lots and I learn new things everyday..

I like taking pic of wildlife, flowers and bugs..and I can't stay to close to the subject coz I don't wanna scare them away (except for flowers)..

The 100-400 L lens is that Canon Lens?.

How about Canon 100mm, Sigma 105mm or Tamron 90mm?Which one is better in term of price and function or the all almost the same? I save money to get the camera coz I really into photography,and I need to save again for the lens (I don't mind tho ).

Is it possible to get telephoto lens with ability to take good macro pics (with detail) and also animal?.

I'm sorry if my question sounds silly as I still learning. Thank you kindly...

Comment #14

How about Tamron 70-300mm f/4-5.6 LD Macro?Macro Mag. Ratio 1:2?.

I read good review bout it and it's not that expensive, is it good for starter? Have anybody used that? Is it good to take good macro pics without beain to close to the subject?.

Thank you kindly.RegardDhani...

Comment #15

Because there was no mistake:. I never stated that my figure is correct for a 50mm or 70mm or 100mm focal length macro lens, you arbitrarily assumed that we are talking about 100mm. Why are you so fussy about it? I was quite honestly trying to give good advice to the initial question and I never intended to hurt YOUR feelings in any way..

Http://lordofthelens.smugmug.com/..

Comment #16

1) That 70-300 you mentioned in your previous post is not a true macro lens, just close-focusing;2) 100-400 L lens is a Canon lens, and a very excellent one too. See:.

Http://www.fredmiranda.com/...php?product=19&sort=7&cat=27&page=1.

3) Canon 100mm, Sigma 105mm or Tamron 90mm - are very good, but you will be too close and scare away your subjects..

4) Most important, maybe:.

- Is it possible to get telephoto lens with ability to take good macro pics (with detail) and also animal?- 100-400 L is exactly that!.

Http://lordofthelens.smugmug.com/..

Comment #17

If you want macro, get a macro lens. Any of the dedicated macro lenses will do a great job making a high quality photograph..

As mentioned, the longer your focal length, the further from the subject you can be..

The 70-300mm lens you mentioned will get you better magnification than the 100-400L. However, the 100-400L will likely make photos with better clarity and color. It's all about the trade-offs. If you want magnification, get the 70-300..

If you shoot static subjects, you can usually save a few dollars by getting a shorter macro like the Sigma 50mm or a Tamron 90mm. For skittish subjects, get something longer like a Sigma 150mm macro..

Alternatively, you can get a 50mm 1.8 from Canon($80) and some extension tubes ($120) and take great macros, with some limitations of course. Extension tubes cause you to lose light, meaning you may need a flash more often. You may also be very close to your subject. It's hard to use the 50mm with tubes for some insects.'Be right, fearless, faithfull, and true to others...'T.S. Elliott..

Comment #18

MICHAEL_61 wrote:.

Because there was no mistake:. I never stated that my figure iscorrect for a 50mm or 70mm or 100mm focal length macro lens, youarbitrarily assumed that we are talking about 100mm. Why are you sofussy about it? I was quite honestly trying to give good advice tothe initial question and I never intended to hurt YOUR feelings inany way..

Quote:.

... you may actually be better off with a tele, like 100-400 L + extension tubes and/or TC, because otherwise you'd have to be about 5 cm away from your subjects.

Clearly we speak a different version of English..

Why am I so fussy about it? Because you gave an answer which is at best misleading and at worst just plain wrong, in answer to a beginner question. So I (perfectly politely, even apologetically) posted a correction, and you have spent the last three or four posts arguing that black is white. You can't cope with the fact that someone has had the audacity to point out (politely, apologetically) that you posted misinformation..

Clear now?..

Comment #19

Bodies are repalced, regularly.Glass tends to stick around.Spend your money on Glass..

Sigma 105mm is fine performer.Almost all macros perform well, actually.Canon has better contrast but we are picking nits here..

Dave PattersonMidwestshutterbug.com'When the light and composition are strong, nobodynotices things like resolution or pincushion distortion'Gary Friedman..

Comment #20

Thanks for your advice .

I'm looking at Sigma 105mm too, coz it's not really expensive and I read a lot of good reviews about it, but I also looking at Sigma APO 180mm f/3.5 EX DG HSM Macro which give you more working distance..

What you guys think about the 180mm?.

Kind regardDhani..

Comment #21

Dhani33 wrote:.

Thanks for your advice I'm looking at Sigma 105mm too, coz it's not really expensive and Iread a lot of good reviews about it,.

If you are going to go in the 100 mm range, then except for price, the Canon is a clear winner. The barrel doesn't extend or rotate when focusing, it has full time manual focusing, faster auto focusing at normal distances, and longer working distances than the Sigma 105 and Tamron 90 mm..

But I also looking at Sigma APO180mm f/3.5 EX DG HSM Macro which give you more working distance.What you guys think about the 180mm?.

I haven't tried the Sigma 180 mm, but it has excellent reviews. I tried the Canon 180 mm for a while, but the bulk and weight of the 180 mm lenses wasn't for me. I really wouldn't recommend a 180 mm lens as a first macro lens..

Longer working distances are probably more important for avoiding blocking light than scaring insects, except for butterflies. And to be honest, you don't need 1x magnification for butterflies, a close focusing telephoto with a small extension tube or tele-convertor is better..

You may want to look at the Sigma 150 mm. It isn't as big as the 180 mm lenses, but has a few more centimetres working distance than the 90-105 mm lenses..

Here are some approximate working distances at max magnification:60 mm.......9 cm (Canon EF-S)90 mm&&..9.7 cm (Tamron)100 mm....14.9 cm (Canon)105 mm&.12.2 cm (Sigma)150 mm....20 cm (Sigma)180 mm....25 cm (Canon).

Brian A...

Comment #22

Hugowolf wrote:.

If you are going to go in the 100 mm range, then except for price,the Canon is a clear winner..

Per the Photozone review, the Canon is not really a "clear winner":.

"The Tamron AF 90mm f/2.8 Di SP is a superb lens without any significant flaw. In fact optically it is every bit as good, maybe even slightly better than the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM macro"http://www.photozone.de/8Reviews/lenses/tamron_90_28/index.htm.

From other reviews I've read, the Canon is certainly very good, but so are most of the others.PatcoA photograph is more than a bunch of pixels..

Comment #23

Patco wrote:.

Per the Photozone review, the Canon is not really a "clear winner":"The Tamron AF 90mm f/2.8 Di SP is a superb lens without anysignificant flaw. In fact optically it is every bit as good, maybeeven slightly better than the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM macro"http://www.photozone.de/8Reviews/lenses/tamron_90_28/index.htmFrom other reviews I've read, the Canon is certainly very good, butso are most of the others..

IQwise there is little difference in the dedicated macro lenses within a focal length range. The main differences come in price, build quality, and usability. I stand by a modified version of my original statement; In the 90-105 mm range, given the similarity of image quality, apart from price the Canon 100 mm lens is a clear winner..

It has faster, quieter AF, full time manual focusing (without the awkward clutch mechanism of the Sigma), longer working distances, and the lens barrel neither rotates nor extends during focusing. These for me make the price difference worthwhile, others may prefer to weight their decision more on the optical quality/price ratio..

Brian A...

Comment #24

Hugowolf wrote:.

Patco wrote:.

Per the Photozone review, the Canon is not really a "clear winner":"The Tamron AF 90mm f/2.8 Di SP is a superb lens without anysignificant flaw. In fact optically it is every bit as good, maybeeven slightly better than the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM macro"http://www.photozone.de/8Reviews/lenses/tamron_90_28/index.htmFrom other reviews I've read, the Canon is certainly very good, butso are most of the others..

IQwise there is little difference in the dedicated macro lenseswithin a focal length range. The main differences come in price,build quality, and usability. I stand by a modified version of myoriginal statement; In the 90-105 mm range, given the similarity ofimage quality, apart from price the Canon 100 mm lens is a clearwinner..

It has faster, quieter AF, full time manual focusing (without theawkward clutch mechanism of the Sigma), longer working distances, andthe lens barrel neither rotates nor extends during focusing. Thesefor me make the price difference worthwhile, others may prefer toweight their decision more on the optical quality/price ratio..

I'll buy that - now how about the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM macro versus the Nikkor 105mm VR Micro?Just kidding .

PatcoA photograph is more than a bunch of pixels..

Comment #25

Patco wrote:.

Hugowolf wrote:.

Patco wrote:.

I'll buy that - now how about the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM macroversus the Nikkor 105mm VR Micro?Just kidding .

Actually, I would be interested: because of Canon's shorter registration distance, Nikon lenses work fine on Canon cameras with a converter; although only MF. Given Nikon's reputation, I would expect the 105 mm to stand up well. Although I have heard that the VR isn't much of an advantage at 1:1..

The 105 mm Nikon's working distance is similar to the Canon's at 150 mm compared to 149 mm..

Brian A...

Comment #26

Thanks again Guys! .

Y'all been very helpfull. I've been thinking and I only have 2 options of lens now.Canon 100mm or Sigma 150mm..

I read lots of good reviews about either Canon 100mm or Sigma 150mm. I consider Sigma 150mm coz it come with tripod ring and also lens hood with reasonable price. With Canon 100mm I have to buy it separate and gonna cost me more..

The question is, this is gonna be my 1st macro lens. Which lens is better for beginer like me and work well with my EOS 40D?.

I really appreciate your advice.RegardDhani..

Comment #27

Dhani33 wrote:.

The question is, this is gonna be my 1st macro lens. Which lens isbetter for beginer like me and work well with my EOS 40D?.

IMHO a the best general purpose range for a macro lens is 90-105 mm; anything longer or shorter becomes less general purpose. Also longer focal lengths can be a real hindrance to the initial learning curve..

I think that you should ask yourself "what is my primary subject matter". If it is insects then the longer length will probably work out better in the long run..

My primary subjects are botanical specimens, often in situ. Even on a FF camera, but especially on a cropped sensor, 100 mm can be too long at times. Flora in general involves magnifications from slightly beyond 1:1 to generally close up photography that isn't really macro. Full frame shots of large flower heads, for example, are close up but nowhere near 1:1. Sometimes there isn't enough room to move further back. I use 50mm, 60 mm, and 100 mm macro lenses and let the Sigma 150 mm go because of it's lack of use..

Another example: I often use a macro lens for food photography. And while there are close ups shots, there are also full place setting shots (knife, fork, class of wine, etc). If these are shot on a table I need a need a very tall tripod and a step ladder with the 100 mm lens on a crop frame camera. Or I am continually swapping lenses. The size of potential subject matter really drives focal length choice for prime lenses..

The Sigma 150 mm lens is somewhat unique. While it is bigger and heavier than the 100 mm lenses, it is much smaller and lighter than any of the 180 mm macro lenses. It is a good compromise for someone who does a limited amount of flora and no art reproduction and copy stand work..

With the 150 mm lens, extension tubes will have less effect on magnification, but you can always use tele-converters or supplementary close up lenses for magnifications beyond 1:1..

The question: do I need or want the extra 5 cm of working distance that the 150 mm has over the 100 mm, is in all probability, unfortunately a question you cannot answer without having tried either..

Brian A...

Comment #28

Thanks for your advice ('-').

I like taking pictures of insects also flowers, dew etc. I think I'm gonna get Sigma 150mm instead. My question now, is that lens compatible with EOS 40D?.

RegardDhani..

Comment #29

Dhani33 wrote:.

Thanks for your advice ('-').

I like taking pictures of insects also flowers, dew etc. I think I'mgonna get Sigma 150mm instead. My question now, is that lenscompatible with EOS 40D?.

It is..

I think it's worth emphasising a point that Hugowolf made. All the working distances we have been talking about are at 1:1 macro, but don't forget that is the extreme case and in practice you often won't use that. You'll be further away, fitting slightly larger (well, less small) subjects into your field of view..

I have a Canon 100 mm Macro, and I can hardly ever recall wanting more working distance than it gives me. And mine is the MkI version - the current model is even better. Ok I'm not out every day photographing skittish insects like butterflies, and if you really are going to do a lot of that kind of work then your situation is different. But for me the ease of use and relatively compact design of the Canon lens makes it a much more practical proposition...

Comment #30

Hugowolf wrote:.

If you are going to go in the 100 mm range, then except for price,the Canon is a clear winner..

Sorry, I disagree. Price is so far out whack, comapred to the realitve advantages of the Canon, that it's simply obscene..

I have absolutely no problem buying that which is worth it's cost/ But to purchase somethign that says, "Canon" simpy beacuse it says Canon?.

No. Not a Fanboy. Can't help it..

Yes, you are correct the lens barrel does not extend or rotate and that is a plus..

Faster focusing? Who cares.This is not a sports lens.But But But, what about Bugs?In flight?.

In such a situation, it's doubtful the lens is going to be used as a true macro lens. ie: getting as close as a 100mm will dictate, in order to get actual 1:1 magnification..

So, Focusing speed is a non-issue, for 99% of the macro photography which most tend to "Do" ..

Contrast & Bokeh are improved slightly better with the Canon, though only so-so slightly on the Bokeh..

In almost everyother aspect, other than barrel rotation, the differences are so slight as to be negligible..

Expect for the price..

As for which Macro, 100 or 180? Get teh 180, if you can afford it. Once one pruchases a macro, the next most impotant thing is SUbject distance. get the most subject distance you can get. Less chance of scaring of the subject, or getting bit by it..

ANother important aspect is light, the farther away you are, the less like you block. Too, buying a quality thrid party lens may enable you to buy the better Macro Flash..

Dave PattersonMidwestshutterbug.com'When the light and composition are strong, nobodynotices things like resolution or pincushion distortion'Gary Friedman..

Comment #31

Midwest Shutterbug wrote:.

Sorry, I disagree. Price is so far out whack, comapred to therealitve advantages of the Canon, that it's simply obscene..

In the US the Sigma 105 mm and Tamron 90 mm are substantially less expensive than the Conon 100 mm. But in many parts of the world the Tamron can be as expensive as the Canon. (The OP is in Australia)..

And since you seem to place emphasis on working distance above everything else, the Canon has better working distance then either of the two other lenses in this range. The Tamron, in fact, has less than 1 cm more working distance than the Canon EF-S 60 mm macro lens at 1:1..

But But But, what about Bugs?In flight?.

What about them? The OP clearly stated that he wanted a general purpose macro lens, and mentions flowers as well as insects. Not everyone's primary interest is flying insects..

Brian A...

Comment #32

Try a search on Google or whatever and go for words like "digital" "camera" etc but include the word "dentistry" as a lot of makers do specialised brochures about dentist's use of macro and show all the close-up stuff they do. Yukky pictures of teeth and gums btw but we have to suffer for art....

Regards, David..

Comment #33

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