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105 vs 150 for macro?

tepot 13 4.4k United Kingdom
8 Apr 2012 7:13PM
ok here is my quandary, i was going to get the sigma 150 for macro as i read it gives a larger working distance, however when compared to a 105 lens the difference is just 3", i am not going to use flash for macro so i don't need space to fit flash or anything, is 3" that bigger deal?

If i opt for 105 as a ball park figure, i have the option of Canon at $1000 or Tamron 90 at $500 approximately, the Tamron 90 has the front element recessed on the barrel and the Canon version is right at the end, does this mean i will get more distance between the lens and subject with the Canon at 1:1 life size? i am asking co's the 150 is quite a bit heavier than the Tamron 90?

any advice would be welcome.


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User_Removed 8 4.6k 1 Scotland
8 Apr 2012 8:01PM
I'm a bit puzzled by this post.

How close do you think you need to get?

I use a 105mm Nikkor f/2.8 macro and, for example, to get a bumble bee to fill the frame, I need to have the front element of the lens about 9" away from the bee. Plenty of room for a ringflash attached to the lens and a bit of leeway in between.

For a full frame camera, 105mm is a nice compromise for most macro subjects. A bit shorter, perhaps, on a crop-sensor camera.

Go much longer than 105mm and the need to use a tripod and mirror-up becomes even more essential.
LenShepherd 10 3.6k United Kingdom
8 Apr 2012 9:51PM

Quote:is 3" that bigger deal?

It depends
For static subjects like coins or watches - generally no.
For butterflies and dragonflies easily spooked the difference between 9 inches and 12 inches front of lens to subject distance can be important.
mikehit 8 8.0k 13 United Kingdom
8 Apr 2012 9:57PM

Quote:i was going to get the sigma 150 for macro as i read it gives a larger working distance, however when compared to a 105 lens the difference is just 3",

On minimum focus distance, yes. But if you get a frame filling photo with the 105mm at 12", then with the 150mm you can get the same frame filling photo at 18". So the longer focal length does have its advantages, and some people like this additional distance to make it less likely you will spook little critters.
Have you seen this website?

It shows minimum focus distance for all models you mention. Minimum focus distance is from the sensor to the subject, and this is complicated by the fact that the Tamron extends as it focuses, but the Canon is internal focussin which means that it doesn't.
thewilliam 9 6.1k
9 Apr 2012 6:07PM
Much depends on the optical design and whether the focal length changes as it focusses closer. In some cases, the focal length is halved for life-size pix and so the working distance for lighting etc will also be reduced. You need to play with the contenders.

You'll probably find the 100mm will also serve as a portrait lens, especially when it has a sensible maximum aperture like f2. If it gets a lot of use, the high price is justified.

I use a 100mm Zeiss for most of my studio work and there are many days when it doesn't come off the camera. The Zeiss lens is done in Canon fitting but is much more expensive than the Canon equivalent
Paulie_W 6 2
20 Apr 2012 6:14PM
I had the Nikon 105, and now use a Sigma 150 (half the alphabet) ... I much prefer the Sigma, even though the majority of my macro stuff is hand held. It might be heavier than the 105, but I find it balances well on my D300.
LenShepherd 10 3.6k United Kingdom
21 Apr 2012 9:37AM
In an ideal world you should try both lenses side by side.
As lens flare increases the closer you focus the distance from the front of the lens hood to the subject can be more important than front element to subject distance.
I have not used either lens but in several macro designs the position of the front element within the lens changes significantly between infinity and minimum focus.
At the common macro aperture of f11 there is unlikely to be significant resolution or sharpness differences.
darranl 8 318 England
21 Apr 2012 9:59AM
I have the Sigma 150 OS for a Nikon, really love the lens but it is a heavy lens - the focusing is internal so no need to worry about the front of the lens coming out and scaring off what you are trying to focus on Wink

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