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New Lens? Which one?


17 Oct 2008 8:29PM
Hi,

I've got a Canon EOS 400 D, currently with a Sigma DC 18-200 MM lens, they called it a 'combo' in the shop where I bought it.

I'm having a few issues with taking flower macros which I'm really begining to enjoy.

Can anyone recommend a new lens for my camera specifially for taking Macros....I'm more the 'artistic' type and therefore find reading all the specifications on lenses a bit bewildering...all I want to know is 'will it take pretty pictures, close up, and in detail?'. Smile

Jonathan

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steve_p e2
9 1.1k England
17 Oct 2008 8:47PM
We need to know how much you are willing to spend.
I have a Tamrom 90mm macro, which is superb if a bit plasticky build wise.I am not sure but I think you will have to pay around the 300 mark.
Canon do an excellent EFS 60mm which is more suitable for flower shots than insects. This is because you need to get quite close to the subject.
conrad e2
10 10.9k 116
17 Oct 2008 8:48PM

Quote:ill it take pretty pictures, close up, and in detail?


Your current lens won't, no - that is to say, not that close, because it's not a 'dedicated' macro lens. What I understand from your words, is that you'll want a lens that gives you a 1:1 ratio (life-size pictures of small objects and details) and lets you focus really close.

Which means that you'll need one of the following lenses: Canon EF-S 60mm macro, Canon EF 100mm macro, Canon EF 180mm macro, Sigma 105mm macro, Sigma 180mm macro, Tamron 90mm macro, Tokina 100mm macro, etc. There are some more, but these are the ones that come recommended in reviews that I've read - and I've used the Sigma 105mm macro myself, and can highly recommend it.
Overread e2
6 3.9k 18 England
17 Oct 2008 8:52PM
well there is a host of very good macro lenses
Firstly there is the canon 100mm macro - a good strong lens and the workhorse of many a macro photographer. Its only downside is that it ships without lens hood or tripod collar - two things that really are essentail purchases. Canon also produce a 60mm EFS macro lens (the EFS meaning it will only work on a crop sensor camera like the 400D)
Then there is the sigma range of macro prime lenses - 70mm, 105mm, 150mm and 180mm - all of which are very good and sharp macro lenes (the 180mm is often used by many instead of the canon 180mm because the sigma meets the canon in quality of image, but is a faction of the cost).
There is also a Tamron 90mm macro,

I have avoided the 50mm macros since they tend to be the budget end of the market - ergo slightly weaker builds. For flower photogaphy any of the macros I have listed will do the job well. However I would encourage you to look to a macro with a focal length of at least 100mm since that is the start of the best lengths for doing any insect work - since the longer the focal length the greater the distance between the camera and the subject - important for insects and not distracting them.
A further consideration is that of using teleconverter to get even longer macro focal lengths - which also imrpoves the quality of background blurring in a shot - note that whilst some (such as the canon range lenses, the sigma 70 and 105mm) don't work with their own brand teleconverters, they will work with some other 3rd company ones.

This looks like a sea of choice and to some extent it is - but rest assured these are all tried and tested lenses and they all perform well.
A note - ifyou intend to do handheld macro work then all the lenses, barring the 180mm are going to be fine - the 180mm is heavier and for prolonged handheld use its just too heavy for good results.
Also look to getting a good (100ish) tripod, head (most recomend a geared or ball head - ball heads are good generalist heads, whilst geared are very good macro heads) and a focusing rail (lets you slide the camera back and forth on the tripod to get focus without having to move the tripod - good for those fine adjustments). A cheap remote release (cable) also helps - with this kit yo uare really looking to minimise any shake on the part of the camera - good for flower photos since they don't move

edit - my own personal choice was the sigma 150mm macro - which I got for its long focal length for insect work and also for its compatability with sigma teleconverters - letting me get a longer focal length for more blur - though for insects I rarely use the 2* unless I find a very sleepy bug
17 Oct 2008 8:53PM
Thanks, that was really helpful.....I'm willing to spend up to 400...I've not done badly so far, check out my profile, but want to be able to get some really super shots. - Jonathan.





Quote:Quote:ill it take pretty pictures, close up, and in detail?Your current lens won't, no - that is to say, not that close, because it's not a 'dedicated' macro lens. What I understand from your words, is that you'll want a lens that gives you a 1:1 ratio (life-size pictures of small objects and details) and lets you focus really close.

Which means that you'll need one of the following lenses: Canon EF-S 60mm macro, Canon EF 100mm macro, Canon EF 180mm macro, Sigma 105mm macro, Sigma 180mm macro, Tamron 90mm macro, Tokina 100mm macro, etc. There are some more, but these are the ones that come recommended in reviews that I've read - and I've used the Sigma 105mm macro myself, and can highly recommend it.

17 Oct 2008 8:53PM
Thanks guys, thanks for being so generous with your time and typing...really appreciated. - Jonathan
conrad e2
10 10.9k 116
17 Oct 2008 8:55PM

Quote:I've not done badly so far


Indeed - I had a quick look. But when you're able to focus really close, a whole new world of detail opens up to you, it really is wonderful. You'll enjoy it tremendously!
webjam e2
10 292 11 Netherlands
17 Oct 2008 9:08PM
I work with the Sigma 105 macro lens - and it is superb! My latest mushroom shot has been made with that lens, so has most of the flower shots. See page 2 of my gallery for mono shots, more colourful flowershots are on page 4.

Don't forget that if you like sharpness from front to back, you will have to get a good tripod as well because of the long shutter times. I bought a tripod with the 'Manfrotto 322RC2 Hd Gr Ballhead' which enables me to move the camera anyway I want easy and quickly.
My tripod also have a center column which can be moved horizontally. Which is very handy when you want to go close to the ground (like photographing mushrooms).

Jacqueline
18 Oct 2008 2:52PM

Quote:I work with the Sigma 105 macro lens - and it is superb! My latest mushroom shot has been made with that lens, so has most of the flower shots. See page 2 of my gallery for mono shots, more colourful flowershots are on page 4.

Don't forget that if you like sharpness from front to back, you will have to get a good tripod as well because of the long shutter times. I bought a tripod with the 'Manfrotto 322RC2 Hd Gr Ballhead' which enables me to move the camera anyway I want easy and quickly.
My tripod also have a center column which can be moved horizontally. Which is very handy when you want to go close to the ground (like photographing mushrooms).

Jacqueline



I second that, the only addition I would make would be to get a right angle finder for those low fungi shots - saves cricking one's neck, particularly us oldies! Canon can supply one at around 150 but the Seagull one is available from Digitalrev here link at around 45 including postage and taxes, etc. It is very good so long as you don't need the 2x magnification.

John
SteveHunter e2
6 386 1 England
18 Oct 2008 3:03PM
That angle finder looks good to me, maybe an investment there soon, It is only 30.00 and says it does 2X magnification. Bargain Smile
18 Oct 2008 4:33PM

Quote:It is only 30.00 and says it does 2X magnification. Bargain Smile


Don't forget to add about 12 for airmail and import duties from Hong Kong - usually arrives in about 48-72 hours. Still a bargain. Optically it is OK on 1x but I can't make it work on 2x - maybe it's me!

John
Overread e2
6 3.9k 18 England
18 Oct 2008 5:37PM
hmm if its anything like the canon then at 2* it should only show the middle of the frame and not the whole frame - that lets you focus for sharpness as opposed to composition
19 Oct 2008 1:44PM

Quote:Hmm if its anything like the canon then at 2* it should only show the middle of the frame and not the whole frame - that lets you focus for sharpness as opposed to composition


Having checked it again, you are right. It does only show the centre portion of the frame - it was me expecting to see the whole frame. I was also having difficulty setting the dioptre correction (which is different from when used at 1X) but have now resolved that.

john

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