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Newbie, should I by a macro or extension tubes?
So I'm very new to real photography and DSLR's (just got a 400D two months ago). The package I bought came with the standard 18-55 kit lens as well as the inexpensive 75-300 lens. I also picked up a 50mm 1.8 lens, and really like that one. I have found that I really like taking pictures of flowers, but don't know if that means I should get a macro lens. I like the bokeh from the 1.8, but the focal distance is to far for some of the flower shots I've been taking. The 18-55 seems to have a closer focal length but I'm just not happy with it yet (probably not skilled enough to use it)..

I've been thinking about getting some extension tubes (the Pro Optics ones) to "introduce" myself to macro photography and to put in front of my 50mm 1.8. Is this the best route to take? Should I consider a real macro lens instead?.

Your thoughts are appreciated...

Comments (13)

To "introduce" yourself to macro for shooting flowers, you could start with a set of close up "filters" or lenses. Here's an inexpensive set:.

Http://www.bhphotovideo.com/.../General_Brand_52CUS_52mm_Close_up_Kit_1_.html.

These will preserve all the autofocus and autoexposure modes. But the sharpness falls off at the edges. That could work well for flowers..

I found extension tubes (and then a bellows) to be too much hassle. But those can make it possible to go closer than 1:1..

A real macro lens is best, of course...

Comment #1

Ojohn wrote:.

To "introduce" yourself to macro for shooting flowers, you couldstart with a set of close up "filters" or lenses. Here's aninexpensive set:.

Http://www.bhphotovideo.com/.../General_Brand_52CUS_52mm_Close_up_Kit_1_.html.

These will preserve all the autofocus and autoexposure modes. But thesharpness falls off at the edges. That could work well for flowers..

I don't have much experience with close-up lenses, but I've seen some good results produced by others..

I found extension tubes (and then a bellows) to be too much hassle.But those can make it possible to go closer than 1:1..

Generally extension tubes are an inexpensive way to begin, particularly with something like the 50mm lens you have. But it's true they are inconvenient, so much so that you may become discouraged. The problem is any single tube, or combination of tubes, covers subjects at a specific distance. By adjusting the focus ring of the lens, this distance can be adjusted slightly. But often you find tubes need to be added and removed repeatedly as you try different ideas, it is indeed hassle..

A real macro lens is best, of course..

If the expense can be justified, then a macro lens offers better quality and more flexibility..

Note that working in the macro range, depth of field can be extremely small, regardless of which method is used; there is still practice and skill required.Regards,Peter..

Comment #2

Check out my Blog. I have an article about the Canon 500D close up lens..

Http://secretsofphotography.blogspot.com/...-500d-close-up-lens-un-macro.html.

I like the 500D close up lens, but when adding it to the weight of a 70-200 2.8 L IS it can be hard to control up close. It really depends on how you are able to control the camera. I was shooting the lamp without a tripod, not the ideal situation!.

Do you have a Point and Shoot? A lot of them have great Macro abilities..

My Blog: http://secretsofphotography.blogspot.com/..

Comment #3

I have the 50mm lens and a set of extension tubes. I also have a Sigma 17-70 zoom..

The tubes work well on the zoom lens and are quite easy to use..

But on the 50mm I find them a pain because the distance to the subject has to be just perfect. Maybe it's okay hand held but your forever adjusting the tripod, and even the slightest change means you have to set it up again really carefully..

In the end, I decided I couldn't be bothered using tubes with that lens, but I quite often use them with the zoom..

Androohttp://Androo.smugmug.com..

Comment #4

"Normal" lenses like your 50mm 1.8 are designed to have a flat field on the sensor side, but often the subject side has a curved field. They are also designed to work best with a shorter working distance on the back side of the lens...ie, the lens is asymetrical..

One cheap way to use that type lens to take macro pix is to reverse the lens. You can buy a conversion ring that screws into the filter threads and has a bayonet on the other side..

BUT, you lose all focus ability and all automated features on the lens. If it doesn't have a manual aperture ring, you can't control aperture. You also may need to add extension tubes or a bellows to control the magnification..

Charlie DavisNikon 5700, Sony R1, Nikon D300HomePage: http://www.1derful.infoBridge Blog: http://www.here-ugo.com/BridgeBlog/..

Comment #5

Your 75/300 will work well with extension tubes for macro.

Extension tubes.

25mm extension tubeCanon EOS 10D ,Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III USM1/250s f/9.0 at 290.0mm, AV mode, iso200, spotmeter, tripodcan focus with zoom ring and or focuc ring....auto focus alsoworks.

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

Bill,Jr'I kind of like the Earth, it's where I keep all my Stuff.'Website; http://www.pbase.com/wboth125 Lake Wylie, SC..

Comment #6

Thanks for all the suggestions everyone. I have a few quick questions in reply:.

1. Is there a difference between the Canon 500D close up lens that elwood linked to and the "close up kit" that ojohn mentioned?.

2. With either of the two above, does it actually shorten the minimal focal distance of the primary lens, or does it just "magnify" the image but your shooting distance remains the same?.

3. Why when using an extension tube with the 50mm 1.8 lens would one need to constantly move the tripod? I realize that since it is a prime lens you have to move it closer/farther like normal, but does adding an extension tube make the focus range change?..

Comment #7

Vikingshelmut wrote:.

Thanks for all the suggestions everyone. I have a few quickquestions in reply:.

1. Is there a difference between the Canon 500D close up lens thatelwood linked to and the "close up kit" that ojohn mentioned?.

The Canon 500D is considerably sharper (and more expensive) than the lenses in the kit. But the kit has 3 lenses with different strengths, so the kit is actually more versatile. The Canon lens is equivalent in focus to the "+2" lens in the kit, which also has "+1" and "+4" lenses..

2. With either of the two above, does it actually shorten theminimal focal distance of the primary lens, or does it just "magnify"the image but your shooting distance remains the same?.

Close-up lenses that go on the front of your camera lens reduce the shooting distance. A "+1" lens will focus at a maximum distance of 40"; a "+2" at a maximum of 20". Focusing your camera lens reduces the working distance even more..

3. Why when using an extension tube with the 50mm 1.8 lens would oneneed to constantly move the tripod? I realize that since it is aprime lens you have to move it closer/farther like normal, but doesadding an extension tube make the focus range change?.

When you put an extension tube on a lens, you lose all semblance of distance focus. With a 50mm lens and a 14mm tube, your maximum focus is about 10" and your minimum around 5". This usually means you have to rack the camera back and forth to get your subject in focus. Often, you find that you can't get the framing you want so you have to add a tube. That's why people buy macro lenses..

Leonard Migliore..

Comment #8

Leonard Migliore wrote:.

Vikingshelmut wrote:.

Thanks for all the suggestions everyone. I have a few quickquestions in reply:.

1. Is there a difference between the Canon 500D close up lens thatelwood linked to and the "close up kit" that ojohn mentioned?.

The Canon 500D is considerably sharper (and more expensive) than thelenses in the kit. But the kit has 3 lenses with different strengths,so the kit is actually more versatile. The Canon lens is equivalentin focus to the "+2" lens in the kit, which also has "+1" and "+4"lenses..

What Leonard said. The reason is that the Canon 500D is TWO physical lenses closely mounted. It's called an 'achromat":.

Http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Achromatic_lens.

I compiled a list of "all" achromatic CU lenses. Some are NLA, but they can still be found used. The prices probably have changed?.

Http://www.1derful.info/RefData/CloseUpLenses2.htm.

I have a set of non-achromatic CU lenses (Hoya +1, +2, +4) and a couple of achromatic ones (the Nikon 4T and the Sony VCL-M3367). I sometimes use the +4 Hoya and the M3367 together. This gives me a stronger effect at the expense of a little CA and spherical aberations. But if you are taking a pic of the center of a flower, the edges are OOF anyway and you can't see any of the "problems" introduced by stackups like this..

Charlie DavisNikon 5700, Sony R1, Nikon D300HomePage: http://www.1derful.infoBridge Blog: http://www.here-ugo.com/BridgeBlog/..

Comment #9

Since you have a normal lens why not get two extensions that equal the 50 mm of your normal lens. that way you can get 1:1. Even close to 50 mm will get the job done. But, use a small lens opening because your depth of field is very narrow when you are in macro mode. Another way to go is close up lens. You can get +1,+2,+3 and+10 these lens go on the lens in reverse order of magantude.

The last one to apply is the +1. These lens are the cheepest way to go. If you get the cokin set then with adaptors they will work on your other lens. Check the cokin web site for more information,..

Comment #10

Vikingshelmut wrote:.

So I'm very new to real photography and DSLR's (just got a 400D twomonths ago). The package I bought came with the standard 18-55 kitlens as well as the inexpensive 75-300 lens. I also picked up a 50mm1.8 lens, and really like that one. I have found that I really liketaking pictures of flowers, but don't know if that means I should geta macro lens. I like the bokeh from the 1.8, but the focal distanceis to far for some of the flower shots I've been taking. The 18-55seems to have a closer focal length but I'm just not happy with ityet (probably not skilled enough to use it)..

I've been thinking about getting some extension tubes (the Pro Opticsones) to "introduce" myself to macro photography and to put in frontof my 50mm 1.8. Is this the best route to take? Should I consider areal macro lens instead?.

Your thoughts are appreciated..

I don't know what your budget is. I have a shooting buddy that does macro and loves his 100mm 2.8 Macro lens. They're almost $500 though. Very nice lens and if you are really serious about Macro, a lens may be the best way to go..

I have tried my 50mm 1.8 for flowers and I'm not displeased, but you are right that you can't get very close. The bokeh is also a bit blotchy in my opinion compared to other lenses..

The reason you don't like the 18-55 is that it is not a great lens. You will never get the bokeh from it that you do from a 1.8 aperture. If you're at 50mm on that lens you're at f/5.6 a huge difference in DOF from 1.8.

Anyway, if you can swing the cash, maybe the 100mm Macro.

I don't know anything about photography. I just like to press the shutter button and hear that sound...

Comment #11

The 100mm is a little pricy for me considering I don't even know how much I'll get into it..

I've looked at the 100mm macro, as well as some other options:Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 macroCanon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 macroSigma 18-55 f/2.8 macro.

Looking at the specs of the above, it would seem (correct me if I'm wrong) that the longer the macro lens the longer the focal distance (in some cases up to 1 foot). If I went with the less expensive 50 or 60mm macro, is the only difference the fact that I need to be closer to the subject? (other than stuff like lens mounts, 1:1 ratio etc)..

I like the idea of finding a replacement for my kit 18-55 that can also do macro shots like the Sigma, but what makes it a "macro"? It's minimum focal distance is around 8", while the cruddy Canon 18-55 kit lens minimum focal distance is around 11". Does that 3" reduction in focal distance constitute it being a macro? Would anyone recommend a lens similar to this Sigma as a replacement walkaround lens that also does macro?.

Sorry for all the questions ..

Comment #12

I haven't read all the responses but if money is a bit of an issue, get a used lens from Adorama or B&H both old established mail order and internet compainies. I've seen a used Canon 100 macro and a used Tamron 90 macro in the last couple of days. You can save yourself some change and get what you need..

Macro lenses are the best way to go, not the zoom lenses with the "macro' setting, they aren't true macro's. The best compromise macro lenghts is in the 90 to 100 mm range.Rationally I have no hope, irrationally I believe in miracles.Joni Mitchell..

Comment #13

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

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