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Which macro for a canon 400D ?

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JanieB43
JanieB43  647 forum posts England6 Constructive Critique Points
18 Apr 2009 - 8:02 PM

Help - I'm looking to buy a macro lens for my canon 400D and would like some advice as to which one to buy - money is an object so it has to be reasonably priced....thanks in advance guys......Jane Smile

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JennB
JennB  760 forum posts United Kingdom1 Constructive Critique Points
18 Apr 2009 - 8:11 PM

I have use of a Canon 60mm 2.8 macro lens at work. It is a little pricey at around 350 at the moment but it really is a fantastic lens, it also doubles as a fantastic portrait lens. I have a canon 24-70L lens (costs around 1000 at the mo) which I use for mostly portrait work and to be honest the macro one is so good there isn't much difference as it really is that good. Canon also do a 50mm macro which is approx 230. Otherwise you are looking at 2nd party lenses eg. Sigma.

Hope that helps.

Jenn x

User_Removed
18 Apr 2009 - 8:38 PM

The Canon 100mm Macro f2.8 is a superb lens at something over 400.

Sigma 105mm and 180mm are also highly regarded, although I have no experience of those.

The extra distance is useful if you are aiming for insects that might be disturbed by getting too close.

Brett

Overread
Overread  63746 forum posts England18 Constructive Critique Points
18 Apr 2009 - 8:47 PM

If your looking to photograph insects then you want at least 90mm worth of focal length or more in a macro lens to get a good working distance (distance from camera sensor to subject) - going shorter makes things harder since you are closer to the insect and thus have a greater chance of spooking it. If your just interested in non-insecty stuff that is static then you can use the cheaper shorter lenses without worries - though note that the longer lenses do give a more pleasing background blur effect than the shorter ones do.

After that one has to decide if your going to shoot handheld or from a tripod, tripod macro shooting is best for static and slow subjects where you have time to get into position, for insects early in the morning or late evening are decent times, though during the middle of the day most are too active for tripod shooting. One can use a lure to attract some bugs (like honey on a tree or rotting fruit) and then shoot from a tripod.
Handheld shooting definatly needs a flash nearly all the time (certainly for full magnification) and for moving insects one often has to keep a fast shutter speed, so even on a tripod flash is important - though one can take measure to reduce the glare from a flash.

For canon the macro lens options are:
Canon EFS 60mm macro - good solid lens, its down side is that its only EFS compatable (crop sensor cameras only) and its short focal length.
Canon 100mm macro - very popular choice and a solid performer, it is sold without hood or tripod collar, both of which are important additions. The collar is very important for stable tripod shooting, whilst the hood is - well its a lens hood you should never be without one - though I have read that the hood is not usable when working in macro
Sigma 70mm macro - good solid choice from sigma and one of their sharpest lenses. Further even though its not a listed feature, this lens will work with both sigma 1.4 and 2* teleconverters - and it works well!
Sigma 105mm macro - again a good solid choice of lens
Sigma 150mm macro - this and the 180mm macro are sigmas top range macro lenses, both are better builds than the other sigma options; offer HSM focusing motors; teleconverter compatability and are solid performers. The 150mm is light enough to handhold for macro work, whilst the 180mm is generally considered a bit heavy for prolonged macro work
Sigma 180mm macro - often chosen instead of the canon 180mm macro as its optical quality is the same, but its price is much more affordable
Tamron 90mm macro - shortest recomended macro lens for insect shooting. A cheaper but good option

Generally I avoid the 50mm macro options as they are weaker builds than the others - also the canon is not a true 1:1 macro lens unless you combine it with a separate addon which when added to the cost of the 50mm macro is more than the cost of other cheaper lens options - so its really not worth it in my view.
Also note that Tamron are releasing a new 60mm macro lens which is looking to be a very good release and better than the canon 60mm macro in most areas - though as far as I know this lens is not out yet and I don't know the release date of it ,

In general all the macro lenses listed are sharp and well built and one would be hardpressed to impossible to tell which was used for a macro shot. Generally macro lenses are poorer AF than nonmacro lenses because of the fact that AF is not used in macro photography (one will set the AF to manual, set the focus to the desired level - often full magnification or 1:2 for larger insects like butterflies - and then focus by moving the camera and lens closer and further away from the subject.

For lighting idealy a ringflash is used, but one can also use speedlites to good effect - even a popup flash on a rebel camera can give usable lighting***. For the flash light though I do recomend diffusing the light, I use a 580M2 flash with a lumiquest softbox and I find the softbox to be fantastic at softening the light from the flash. One can also use folds of toiletpaper (white) held infront of the flash (elastic band) as a makeshift diffuser.

If you are starting out I would say go for a speedlite (430 or 580) since it will be usable in all walks of photography, whilst ringflashes are much more specific to macro only (they don't have the power of a speedlite - though ringflashes can make for good portrate flashes)

*** you will need to make one of these though:
custom macro flash snoot
scroll down a little way for construction - its well worth doing if you can't afford a decent lighting setup at this stage.

Last Modified By Overread at 18 Apr 2009 - 8:49 PM Helpful Post! This post was flagged as helpful
mohikan22
mohikan22  102187 forum posts United Kingdom1 Constructive Critique Points
18 Apr 2009 - 9:26 PM

i have the Canon EF-S 60mm f2.8 and i just ordered the canon 100mm USM macro too.
both great lenses.

cambirder
cambirder  107202 forum posts England
18 Apr 2009 - 9:45 PM

Hi Jane, It would help if you could give us some info on what you intend to use it for.


Quote: hood is - well its a lens hood you should never be without one

I very rarely use a lens hood on either of my Canon 100mm or Sigma 150mm macro lenses, they just scare off insects. Provided you don't stick a UV filter on the front flare is very rearly an issue with these lenses.



Quote: For lighting idealy a ringflash is used, but one can also use speedlites to good effect - even a popup flash on a rebel camera can give usable lighting***. For the flash light though I do recomend diffusing the light,

Depends on your subject, for wildlife nothing beats natural light. I do have a ring flash, but mainly use it for fill in if at all.

Last Modified By cambirder at 18 Apr 2009 - 9:46 PM
cameracat
cameracat  108578 forum posts Norfolk Island61 Constructive Critique Points
18 Apr 2009 - 9:47 PM

Tamron 90mm macro, If your budget has limits, This is a good lens for its fairly modest price.

Then as mentioned already the Sigma 105mm.....!

If you can stretch to the Canon 100mm, Its a gem of a lens and better than any third party offerings.....!

JanieB43
JanieB43  647 forum posts England6 Constructive Critique Points
20 Apr 2009 - 10:41 AM

[quote(]Hi Jane, It would help if you could give us some info on what you intend to use it for.)

Quote:hood is - well its a lens hood you should never be without oneI very rarely use a lens hood on either of my Canon 100mm or Sigma 150mm macro lenses, they just scare off insects. Provided you don't stick a UV filter on the front flare is very rearly an issue with these lenses.


Quote:For lighting idealy a ringflash is used, but one can also use speedlites to good effect - even a popup flash on a rebel camera can give usable lighting***. For the flash light though I do recomend diffusing the light,Depends on your subject, for wildlife nothing beats natural light. I do have a ring flash, but mainly use it for fill in if at all.
[/quote]


I intend to do mostly flowers though may be tempted towards insects but only occasionally !!

Overread
Overread  63746 forum posts England18 Constructive Critique Points
20 Apr 2009 - 10:51 AM


Quote:
If you can stretch to the Canon 100mm, Its a gem of a lens and better than any third party offerings.....!

How so?
The Canon 100mm macro does not even come with lens hood or tripod collar - both important parts of the setup (collar really helps with weight balance when using a tripod setup).
Even the Canon 180mm L lens is not ahead (image quality wise) of the Sigma 180mm and probably the Tamron 180mm as well (the Tamron appears to be an unpopular lens choice at this focal length and I have yet to find out why - even if there is a specific why).


Quote: I intend to do mostly flowers though may be tempted towards insects but only occasionally !!

Look to the Tamron 90mm or longer lens options then Smile
Note also that even though you don't need the working distance for flower photography a longer lens will give increased background blur. Its not critical but its something to bare in mind when choosing

cambirder
cambirder  107202 forum posts England
20 Apr 2009 - 11:43 AM


Quote: How so?
The Canon 100mm macro does not even come with lens hood or tripod collar - both important parts of the setup (collar really helps with weight balance when using a tripod setup).

No macro lens with that focal length comes with a tripod collar, and the lack of a lens hood is not as important as you make out, provided you don't stick a UV filter on the end flair is very well controlled. I do have a lens hood for mine but rarely find I need to use it.

Although I tend to use MF for macro work I still wish my Sigma 150mm had half as good an AF system as the Canon has.

For flowers and the occasional insect, I would look at the Tamron 90mm, Sigma 105mm or Canon 100mm. If your budget will run to it I would go for the Canon for its better build quality and superior AF, but optically there is not a lot in it.

Helpful Post! This post was flagged as helpful
JanieB43
JanieB43  647 forum posts England6 Constructive Critique Points
20 Apr 2009 - 12:00 PM

Thanks a lot guys you've all been most helpful. Am off now to trawl t'internet for lenses !!!!! Smile

Jane

Overread
Overread  63746 forum posts England18 Constructive Critique Points
20 Apr 2009 - 12:21 PM

The canon 100mm does have a seperate tripod collar component, but its not supplied with the lens as standard. As for the hood I guess it depends how you use the lens, though I do hear that you can't use the 100mm with the hood for macro work it is something to consider if the lens will get uses outside of macro work - which often happens. As for hoods in general I do respect the fact that they can be an additional problem for spooking bugs, but I also like the fact that it protects against possible materials/objects comming into contact with the front element of the lens - in woods or close spaces or even just pushing the lens into some sticks there are many things that can cause a problem.
Interesting to hear that the AF of the 100mm is much improved over the 150mm to a noticable level - rather a surprise considering that the 150mm is HSM focus.

lobsterboy
lobsterboy Site Moderator 1014058 forum postslobsterboy vcard United Kingdom13 Constructive Critique Points
20 Apr 2009 - 12:26 PM


Quote: The canon 100mm does have a seperate tripod collar component, but its not supplied with the lens as standard

Be warned though - not many places actually supply it and the price is ridiculous - over 140 last time I asked.

ripleysalien
20 Apr 2009 - 12:50 PM

I have just been in the same situation, and decided on the 60mm macro offering from canon, i got it for 293 at Comet of all places.

cambirder
cambirder  107202 forum posts England
20 Apr 2009 - 1:16 PM


Quote: As for hoods in general I do respect the fact that they can be an additional problem for spooking bugs, but I also like the fact that it protects against possible materials/objects comming into contact with the front element of the lens - in woods or close spaces or even just pushing the lens into some sticks there are many things that can cause a problem.

In general I agree I tend not to use UV filters at all so a hood is my main form of lens protection, but that has to be abandoned for easily spooked insects.


Quote: Interesting to hear that the AF of the 100mm is much improved over the 150mm to a noticable level - rather a surprise considering that the 150mm is HSM focus.

They are not in the same league, the Canon's USM is much faster and far less prone to hunt. I'm not rubbishing the Sigma, it is my main bug hunting lens, but AF is not one of its strong points.

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