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Macro


AndyD999 3 43 6 England
16 Jan 2012 10:17AM
I currently have a Canon EOS 400D and when i take macro shots i use the standard kit lens that came with the camera. The lens is an older one so doesnt have IS built in. Is there a cheap way of getting a better result from my camera to get closer to the subject for better macro shots? Or do i need to invest in a good macro lens and if so which would you recommend?

Thanks Andy

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mikehit e2
5 7.1k 11 United Kingdom
16 Jan 2012 10:26AM
You can buy a set of 3 extension tubes for anything from 20 to 120 - these move the lens further away from the sensor and so magnify the image. The more expensive ones maintain the autofocus and metering functions of the lens which can be very useful. The tubes do not give a loss of quality because there is no glass in them, but the greater distance to the sensor means you do lose light and so need longer shutter speeds.

I presume you have the 18-55 lens which is decent enough but you can get the 50mm f1.8 for under 100 and combining that with the extension tubes will easily give you 1:1 images of a very good quality.
As for specialist macro lenses there are the Canon EF-S 60mm macro (about 350) which I believe goes up to 5-times life size. Or the 100mm f2.8 macro (without IS) which is an absolutely stunning lens but cost goes up to 450.
AndyD999 3 43 6 England
16 Jan 2012 10:47AM
Hi Mike

Many thanks for that.

I do have a Canon EF 50mm lens which i got for christmas but found that i couldn't get in close enough to use it as a macro but with the extension tubes this may be possible.

Many thanks
mikehit e2
5 7.1k 11 United Kingdom
16 Jan 2012 11:11AM
If I remember correctly, a 50mm lens with 50mm extension will give you 1:1 images - but the working distance is only a few cm between the front of the lens and the object. This is where the longer focal lengths have their advantages for things like insects.
At these focus distances the depth of field can get very thin and one way round that is focus stacking plus a free download such as CombineZM/Combine ZP (just google those terms for lots of useful info on this site)


I made an error in my post: the 60mm macro will give 1:1, it is the 65mm MP E that gives up to 5x life size (and costs 700!).
thewilliam 6 4.8k
16 Jan 2012 11:19AM
Extension tubes don't always work well with zoom lenses. Borrow some tubes and do a test before you part with your hard-earned money.

Longer focal-length lenses gives a more comfortable working distance.
adrian_w e2
7 3.4k 4 Scotland
16 Jan 2012 11:25AM
An alternative is to get close-up filters that screw onto the front of the std lens. These act like magnifying glasses & come in a range of different strengths, or dioptres. Although there is a very slight possibility of image degradation inherent with all filters, their big advantage is that they don't affect the exposure so aperture & shutterspeeds don't need altering.
darrensmithgbr 10 238 1 England
16 Jan 2012 11:36AM
i agree with Adrian, get some close up filters, they are pretty handy to have at times and what I started with. You can pick up some non-AF extension tubes without any electrical contacts on ebay for 10 or so if you are happy to manually focus your camera.

I have some AF extension tubes which as pretty handy but I would only recommend those if you are serious enough and not serious enough to buy a dedicated macro lens
mikehit e2
5 7.1k 11 United Kingdom
16 Jan 2012 12:27PM

Quote:An alternative is to get close-up filters that screw onto the front of the std lens. These act like magnifying glasses & come in a range of different strengths, or dioptres. Although there is a very slight possibility of image degradation inherent with all filters, their big advantage is that they don't affect the exposure so aperture & shutterspeeds don't need altering.


I forgot about close-up filters even though I have one (d'oh!) I slip it into my pocket when I do not know what I am going to photograph. Adrian is right in that they do not affect exposure settings, but the big disadvantage (to me) is that they can only be used on lenses of one filter diameter and I may be carrying any of a variety of lenses when walking around. The cheaper lenses do cause significant degradation at the edges but given the shallow depth of field, if you image is central in the picture it may not be an issue to you. However, given that the better close-up lenses are in excess of 100 (such as Canon's 250D or 500D) they are a good cheap way to see how serious you are about macro.
thewilliam 6 4.8k
16 Jan 2012 2:23PM
If your lens has a 67mm front thread, I have a +2D close-up lens on the flogboard. This will focus at infinity when the subject is 500mm from the lens.

Correction, it isn't on the flog-board because all my credit is used up!
Jestertheclown 6 6.6k 242 England
16 Jan 2012 2:42PM
I've got a set of those filters and they do work, albeit nowhere as well as I imagine a dedicated lens would.
They're OK if you want to try some close up stuff on the cheap though.
I find that it's necessary to get really close to the subject though to get it in focus and at such close proximity, the Dof is incredibly thin but if you can keep the camera still enough and use a wireless release, you can get some pretty good results.
Paul Morgan e2
13 16.1k 6 England
16 Jan 2012 2:56PM
I do a little from time to time.

With my lensbaby`s a close up filter does the job.

But I recently converted a x2 converter to an extension tube simply by removing the glass elements giving it a new ease of life Smile
thewilliam 6 4.8k
16 Jan 2012 4:36PM
I bought a close-up filter because it weighs and cost practically nothing.

Then I purchased a couple of proper macro lenses, 55mm and 100mm so the filter doesn't get any use. For me, the 100mm macro is the more useful of the two.
Ade_Osman e2
11 4.5k 36 England
16 Jan 2012 4:48PM
Close up filters work well as do extension tubes, you could even go for a lens reversal ring, providing your happy using full manual control. But none of these options work as well as a dedicated macro lens, they usually start at around the 300 mark for something like a Tamron 90mm Sp Di Macro or a Sigma 105mm. IS whilst handy isn't really necessary, especially if your used to using a tripod.....

Ade
tomcat e2
9 6.2k 15 United Kingdom
22 Jan 2012 7:09PM
I can't disagree with Mr Osman, because some/most of his macro stuff is excellentTongue (Brown nosing at it's best)

However, I took the plunge last year and purchased the Canon 100mm I.S - never looked back.
My butterfly chasing became fun - no worries about setting a tripod up and by which time the subject had flown.
Even a monopod can be irksome at times, plus the fact, I can never really get on with oneSmile

Low light - no worries - make the IS work for it's living - if the SS goes above 1/100 I keep upping the f number
Ade_Osman e2
11 4.5k 36 England
22 Jan 2012 7:20PM

Quote:Some!


Just you wait matey Smile I've just invested in a Canon MP-E 65mm, as well as some other trinkets to go with it. If I ever get my head around it and it's steep learning curve, I intend kicking some arse this year, me competitive......Never Tongue

Ade

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