Macro Photography

Discussion in 'Digital SLR' started by Lostin1999, Mar 2, 2005.

  1. Lostin1999

    Lostin1999 Guest

    Hi all

    I'm new to the world of SLR's and such, my first digital camera is now
    about 5 years old, and has died, so I want to replace it!

    however I keep insects and invertebrates as a hobby, and would love to take
    some pictures of them, larger than life so to speak.. I believe this is
    called Macro Photography

    now I am hoping to buy a Canon EOS 350 D camera and wondered what would be
    the best macro lens? (I know this is opinions as much as fact) however I
    also want the camera to be usable for "normal" pictures too (hence deciding
    an SLR may well be my best bet!

    Anyone able to recommend best lens and good sites to buy from (I'm in the


    Lostin1999, Mar 2, 2005
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  2. Lostin1999

    paul Guest

    Last time this came up, it was mentioned that a longer macro lens is
    best for bugs (like 100mm) so you don't have to get too close & scare
    them away.

    Ideally you work with full sun or flash to use higher number f/stop to
    overcome the depth of field problems with macro so an expensive 'fast'
    (low f/stop number capable) lens is not necessarily a requirement. A
    true macro lens can also be used for portraits & a fast 100mm lens would
    be great for that if you have that need. Zoom macros seem to be frowned
    apon. The kit lens is a good thing to have as well for general use wide
    angle zoom for such a good price unless you plan to spend a bundle on a
    better zoom in that range. So then the question is what can you afford
    in a fixed +-100mm macro after the kit.
    paul, Mar 2, 2005
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  3. Lostin1999

    Alan Browne Guest

    A lot of great insect photos are made with "zlr" cameras, that is lenses
    that don't detach from the body, so don't exclude that.

    A "true" macro is considered one that makes at least a 1:2 reproduction
    on film. That is to say, at closest focus, an object 10mm across will
    render a 5mm image on the sensor. The usual standard is at least 1:1,
    that is to say a 10mm object renders a 10mm image on the sensor at
    closest focus.

    For a 350D, I would suggest that the 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro (Canon) would
    be a great choice as well as being a mid telephoto lens for non macro
    work. The 90mm f/2.8 macro from Tamron is another excellent
    alternative. (They are both about the same price at a place like B&H in
    New York.)

    Sigma also have a 105mm f/2.8 macro, but I've never heard anything good
    (or particularly bad) about it. It comes in at respectable 4.1/5.0 at
    photodo, but that is sub-par regarding 100mm macros. I would pick the
    Tamron or Canon over this lens.

    There are longer macros such as the Sigma 180 f/3.5 which gives you more
    room to get light in on the subject, but this might be a bit extreme for
    your use and will result in less DOF (and a 1/2 stop less light).

    Alan Browne, Mar 2, 2005
  4. Lostin1999

    Doug Payne Guest

    One nice thing about the Tamron is that it also makes an excellent
    portrait lens, although not so nice in the APS-sized digital world as in
    the film world because of the narrower FoV. There's also a longer (and
    newer) Tamron 180 f/3.5 which gives a bit more working room for touchy
    subjects like live insects.
    Doug Payne, Mar 2, 2005
  5. Lostin1999

    Alan Browne Guest

    I've always wondered if the strong "portrait" attribute of the Tamron
    90mm macro applies to the the f/2.5 version, and not at all to the f/2.8
    version. The old f/2.5 is a smidgen less sharp (overall per photodo)
    but it did have a great portrait rep.



    in the f/8 graphs, you can see that the tangential and sagital lines are
    paralell and close in the f/2.5 lens and divergent in the f/2.8 lens.]

    Close sagital and tangential lines is an indication of good out-of-focus
    properties (smooth bokeh) in a lens.

    In the wide open case, it is opposite... and the f/2.8 lens appears to
    have better oof characteristics.

    Anyone have experience with both variants?

    Alan Browne, Mar 2, 2005
  6. Lostin1999

    Doug Payne Guest

    Pas moi, but I own and have used for several years the 2.8 version for
    both macro and portrait photography, and I think it's great. Some of my
    shoot-in entries (no portraits) were shot with that lens:
    Doug Payne, Mar 2, 2005
  7. Lostin1999

    Alan Browne Guest

    No doubt that its a great lens (in both variants), I was just wondering
    about the 'portrait' legend applying to both or only one...

    Alan Browne, Mar 2, 2005
  8. Lostin1999

    Bubbabob Guest

    I've been using the cheapo Phoenix 100 mm macro for several months. The
    build is awful and I cringe whenever I focus or zoom but the optics are
    REMARKABLE for a lens in the $100 range. Not much different from the
    results I get with a Nikon 105 macro between f/5.6 and f/16. I don't worry
    a whole lot about dropping it in the field, either.
    Bubbabob, Mar 2, 2005
  9. Lostin1999

    Lostin1999 Guest

    Thank you all

    you have given me plenty to think about!! (camera's due on 22nd March

    is it a good idea to buy first batch? or should i wait and see if there are
    "issues" (most of which i probably wouldnt realise because some of the stuff
    you have said went right over my head!!

    Lostin1999, Mar 3, 2005
  10. Lostin1999

    Clyde Guest

    I just saw in some magazine (I think) that Canon has announced a 60mm
    macro lens. It is EF-S, but that should be fine for your Rebel. Sure
    enough, check it out:

    This lens should be smaller and lighter than those for full sized
    sensors. It should cost less too, but I don't know.

    Hey, if you are REALLY into macro, buy this lens:

    For better or worse, it will ONLY do macro. Then again, it will do it in
    closeup ranges you'll only dream of with other lenses. Hey, it ain't
    cheap, but...

    Clyde, Mar 4, 2005
  11. Lostin1999

    Tumbleweed Guest

    This site will give you lots of good info:

    If you intend to use the macro as a multi-purpose lens then the Sigma EX 50
    DG is a superb all-rounder. On the 350D it will be a good portrait lens as
    well as one of the best macros around. But you'll be a bit limited when you
    need wide shots!
    If you intend to do a lot of macro work then you might be advised to go
    longer to avoid lighting problems. The canon 100 performs well. But with an
    equivalent FOV of a 160mm lens on 35mm film you'll be limited for every day
    use. But it's ideal for insects and invertebrates (my speciality also). Also
    highly rated by those in the know is the Tamron 90 SP macro, being preferred
    to the canon for its natural colour rendition.
    As a starting point I'd consider using the Canon 28 2.8 as a "standard" lens
    with the Sigma 50DG or Canon 100 macro for bugs.
    (Or the 18-55 kit lens with the 100 macro.)
    To get the depth of field you need with insects you're going to need to
    invest in either a twin flash or ring flash - although if you are working
    with captive subjects you can easily create a good set using an off-camera
    flash and plenty of bounce surfaces to light yur set. (Normal flash is no
    use whatsoever since insects have surprisingly reflective surfaces. And hard
    shadows just look wrong.)
    Tumbleweed, Mar 4, 2005
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