100mm or 180mm macro?

Discussion in 'Digital SLR' started by Musty, May 28, 2005.

  1. Musty

    Musty Guest


    I would like to add a macro lens to my "arsenal". There are many choices
    (Canon, Tamron, Sigma). I shoot with a 20D so I have the 62% cropping.

    Now, all the lens makers seem to make 100mm f2.8 and 180mm f3.5

    Can anyone tell me under what application one might go for the 180mm? I
    noticed that Canon only make the 180mm as the "L". I also found that Tamron
    have a just as good 180mm for about half the price.

    It seems to me that 180mm is more useful since you can get more close-up
    shots. Does the 1.6x crop factor steer me more towards the 100mm?

    My goal for this lens is shooting bugs and flowers and droplets of water

    Musty, May 28, 2005
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  2. Musty

    Paul Furman Guest

    The 180 would be necessary for bees & skiddish bugs that run away if you
    get too close.
    Paul Furman, May 28, 2005
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  3. Musty

    rda Guest

    You should also consider the Sigma 150mm 2.8.
    rda, May 28, 2005
  4. Musty

    Alan Browne Guest

    Sigma have very nice 180mm 1:1 macro. Judging from the slides I've seen
    from a talented friend of mine, it is a very good lens.
    One problem with macro shooting is light. The 180 will allow you more
    room to control and get light onto the subject. The 100mm is not bad at
    all, the 50mm macro is tougher.

    Note that regardless of focal length, the image size on the sensor of a
    50mm 1:1 macro is the same as the image size on the sensor of a 180mm
    1:1 macro. The perspective of the 180mm will be flatter, of course.

    On DOF, it should be the same at 50, 90 and 180, since to make the same
    'framed' shot at 180mm you have to be about twice as far away, so for a
    1:1 macro shot the DOF will be the same for all lenses for a given
    subject in the frame at the same size.

    Finally, the 100mm will be more usable as a portrait lens than the 180.

    Having said all that ... scout around for a Tamron 90mm f/2.8 macro. It
    is very good a macro, and is very good at portraits as well, given the
    FL and smooth out-of-focus characteristics.

    Alan Browne, May 28, 2005
  5. Musty

    grenner Guest

    I use both the Tamron 90mm Macro and the Sigma 150mm Macro. If I had to
    choose one I could choose the Sigma 150mm macro. I use the Canon 10D. The
    150mm allow me to be a nice distance from the subject. The only downside is
    the size of the lens the 150mm is good sized and not always easy to hand
    hold. It comes with a removable tripod mount.
    Both the Tamron 180mm and the Canon 180mm are real tanks, and I have read
    fairly slow to focus. The Sigma 150 has nice glass and auto focuses fairly

    grenner, May 28, 2005
  6. Musty

    Musty Guest

    Would you put the 90mm Tamron as better than the Canon 100mm f2.8? The
    Tamron sells for $480 @ B&H and has a $40 rebate. Looks like a real nice
    piece of hardware.

    Also, I like the idea of doing hand-held macro-shots, so perphaps the 180's
    are not for me right now...

    Musty, May 29, 2005
  7. Musty

    grenner Guest

    I have looked at the Canon 100mm and own the Tamron 90mm, infact I have
    owned one in one form or another for about 20 years.

    I do not think that the Canon 100mm is really worth the extra dollars and it
    is a bit more bulky.

    grenner, May 29, 2005
  8. Musty

    Musty Guest

    Right now, I will most likely get the Tamron and not just because it looks
    better .... but it really does look better...
    Musty, May 29, 2005
  9. Musty

    Hils Guest

    Musty wrote
    Unless the Tamron has changed (again) since I tried it about six months
    ago it doesn't have full-time manual focusing (the Canon does) and a
    clutch mechanism (against Canon's switch). The lenses handle so
    differently that you really ought to try them both before buying.
    Hils, May 29, 2005
  10. Musty

    Musty Guest

    Is it also true that this lens (barrel) actually moves externally while

    Musty, May 29, 2005
  11. Musty

    David Ellis Guest

    I've done a lot of shooting with the Canon 180 on a 10D and
    I would not want to trade it for something else. It's
    autofocus is a bit clunky when compared to other "L" lenses
    I use. I think it's been around a while. But image quality
    is quite good.


    Some EXIF data are wrong. The subject distance for this shot
    is recorded as 5.18 meters when it was actually closer to
    one meter. This kind of error is common when using a digital
    camera with an undersized sensor.

    As you consider alternatives to Canon brand for your 20D,
    ask yourself whether, without being sent to a service
    center, the off-brand will be electronically compatible with
    the 30D, the 40D and...
    David Ellis, May 29, 2005
  12. Musty

    Geoff Bryant Guest

    I don't know about the Tamron, which was also redesigned fairly recently,
    but the latest Canon 100/2.8 macro is entirely internal focusing. The front
    element does not rotate and the length of the lens does not change, and of
    course it's also USM, which allows you to use custom function 4 to shift AF
    to the AE lock button. I find that really useful as most often I wouldn't
    use AF for macro work but it is handy when using the lens at longer

    Geoff Bryant
    Geoff Bryant, May 29, 2005
  13. I have the 100mm Canon and am very happy with it. A nice thing is you can
    use the 20D internal flash with it and get f22 iso 100 at higher

    The advatage of the 180mm is in working distance for nervous bugs and , in
    the case of the Canon version, being able to use the Canon converters with
    it (to get 2X mag at a good working distance)

    I went for the 100mm as it doubles as a useful general photography lens and
    I can manage ambient light shots of flowers with it.

    I would'nt preclude getting the 180mm Canon in the future, though. But I see
    this as a more specialist lens.

    Lester Wareham, May 29, 2005
  14. Musty

    Musty Guest

    I am still thinking about which one to get ... thanks for all the
    information. I may end up with Canon in the end due to the internal
    focusing, FTM and compatability/resale.

    Musty, May 29, 2005
  15. Will the 180mm make the background of the macro shot look more circular
    than the 100mm would? Or is it the other way around? Or does this not
    happen at all?

    Just wondering, because when shooting with my Dad's Canon AE-1 and an
    80-200mm Macro lens, the background looks like it is spiralling out of
    control when I use a large aperture.

    Sorry for the newbie question!
    Nicholas Wittebol, May 29, 2005
  16. Musty

    Alan Browne Guest

    Either yes or a draw at macro distances. The advantage of the Tamron is
    its dual role use as a portrait lens or mid telephoto lens due to
    smooth oof (bokeh) rendering. The Canon can do portrait too, of course,
    but not as nicely as the Tamron.

    Either lens will serve you well, so don't agonize either way.
    Macro can rarely be done handheld while controlling focus plane. If you
    have enough light to shoot at small apertures, then moreso. But macro
    really focuses the attention of the print viewer on detail and the
    slightest movement creates fine detail destroying blur that you would
    not notice very much in other photography.

    http://www.pbase.com/shootin/image/43718085 here, as you can see, the
    focus is on parts of the petals and on the anther/stamen area of the
    blossom. (This is not really a macro just damned close, about 1:2).
    The depth of this blossom is less than 1 cm. I did handhold this shot
    (about 5 or 6 frames) and this is the only usable image. I had A/S as
    well to help, so this shot is kind of like 1/400s in non A/S terms.

    macro is really a tripod mounted art.

    For that matter I use a ball head, which is not ideal for macro, esp at
    1:1. I will eventually get a geared fore-aft travel device for 1:1
    focus control. This device used with a geared or 3-way allows very fine
    control of the shot.

    Alan Browne, May 29, 2005
  17. Musty

    JPS Guest

    In message <d7af0o$sak$>,
    It also out-resolves DSLR sensors with the Tamron SP 2x converter
    (that's how sharp the new Di version is). All you lose is some light,
    as an effective 180mm f/5.6 2:1 macro. Of course, if you really do the
    2:1 with it, you'll want a shutter speed of at least 1/640 to 1/1000, or
    JPS, May 29, 2005
  18. Musty

    JPS Guest

    In message <B6ame.6991$>,
    Yes, but the lens sits so far from the subject, that you won't bump into

    JPS, May 29, 2005
  19. Musty

    Alan Browne Guest


    Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM

    Alan Browne, May 29, 2005
  20. Musty

    Musty Guest

    Thanks for clearing that up. Nice shot BTW.
    Musty, May 29, 2005
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