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I do have the Tamron 70- 300mm lens with macro setting but I still can't get close enough for lots of detail. Cost is obviously a consideration however I am open to all recommendations and suggestions.
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A Sigma 150mm macro lens would probably suit but if that's over your budget you could look at the 105mm version, which is a good big cheaper.
Would that get me close enough to see the detail on insects, like those photos people take of spiders faces and flies eyes etc rather than the general whole body shot?
There is no AF macro lens that gets you closer than a 1.5 inch wide subject on 24x36 format, or 1 inch wide on Nikon DX format.
Advanced manual focus techniques and perhaps bellows are needed to get close up's of flies eyes.
Any 1:1 macro lens is, in theory capable of things like that, but you'll find that a 105 or 90mm lens is ideal for use with extension tubes, which will get you close enough to see individual lenses within a compound eye. Extension tubes become impractical for longer lenses, because they rob you of light and need longer shutter speeds.
The Tamron 90mm is a beauty of a lens, under £300, and works well with tubes. I used that combination for this shot. You could get one of these and a set of automatic extension tubes for less than the cost of a canon or nikon macro lens.
Pardon my ignorance but my Tamron lens says 1:2 - does that mean that 1:1 is closer still?
yes. Twice as big. 1:1 is life size, 1:2 is half life size (and that's the size it's reproduced on the sensor; in reality the prints can be many times larger indeed)
Okay - thankyou. Gosh better get saving up again. I think I may have to sell some lenses to fund this...lol, or I will need a mule to carry my kit.
For insects a 60mm lens is not ideal, as you are a bit too close, which scares them, and shades light. A ~100mm lens is better. The Tamron 90mm macro lens is nice, and well priced. It'll take you to 1:1, and you could stick on a TC14A to go beyond. Mine worked surprisingly well with a TC14A, and it preserves infinity focus. Or stick on a decent quality diopter. But your technique will have to be very good at 1:1 and beyond!!!!!!
I'd better add that you can also use tubes to go beyond 1:1, since someone will pick me up on that.
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