Take your photography to the next level and beyond...

  • NEWS

Why not join for free today?

Join for Free

Your total photography experience starts here

Exclusive 25% off Affinity Photo: Professional photo editing with no subscription!

Budget Macro for EOS 450D

27 Jul 2009 8:37PM
Hello my name is Fritz and I'm into photography for almost a month now and Iím totally addicted to it. Iím still an student and the cash are a bit tight, so I would like to know which budget macro are the best for a Canon 450D. I also have a 70-300mm APO DG lens with a Macro feature on it , and I would like to know if I can improve the results of this lens with a telephoto convertor or maybe Extension tubes or should I just save my money and buy a macro.

Help please!!!!

Please check out my photos and comment on them, I need some critique on them so that know where to improve on my photography!



Join ePHOTOzine for free and remove these adverts.

discreetphoton 13 3.5k 20 United Kingdom
27 Jul 2009 10:27PM
Hi Fritz, welcome to the site.
If it's a tight budget, then I'd suggest looking at the Tamron 90mm . Optically, it can't be faulted, and you're unlikely to find better for the money.
If it's a choice of teleconvertors or extension tubes, extension tubes win every time. Because there's no glass in them, they won't soften your lens, but for ease of use and quality of results, there's no question that a macro lens is the way to go.
As it seems that you'll be photographing insects with it, don't get a shorter lens than the 90mm, otherwise the working distance gets to be a real pig.
Best of luck.
alansnap 14 577 26 United Kingdom
27 Jul 2009 10:40PM
Hello Fritz, welcome to the wonderful world of photography.

First of all your "Macro" lens isn't true macro, instead it does relatively close focus that's all. Manufacturers shouldn't use this term for lenses that don't produce at least life size without any extension tubes. However, let's look at how to improve the situation.

Extension tubes are a good way to start. These come in sets of three normally (12mm, 21 mm and 36mm) and you should use the 12mm or 21 mm tubes for best results. The longer the extension the higher the magnification you can achieve.

I would set the lens to about 100 to 135 mm focal length and the aperture to at least f11 for reasonable results. Setting at 100mm focal length will give you a reasonable working distance between the lens and the subject. F16 or f22 will give the best depth of field but with slow shutter speeds as a result. Use ISO 100 or 200 at most.

Put the camera on a tripod, attach the extension tube and then focus manually on your subject, moving the camera if you need to to get the best framing. You have to make a choice here. As you turn the lens barrel to achieve best focus, the amount of magnification will change, so you trade off magnification for focus unless you set the magnification and move the camera, which is not easy unless you buy a specialist rack to allow you to do this. At this stage and without a macro lens you can balance the zoom and the focus to get more or less the right effect. Turn the zoom first and then focus the lens.

If you haven't got a tripod then use a bean bag of even a rolled up sweater to steady the camera. Hand holding at true macro is nearly impossible, unless you have a fast macro lens, and even then it's difficult.

The extension tubes and close focus will cut the light quite dramatically and you will end up with a slow shutter speeds, even in bright light the exposure may be several seconds at ISO 100, so use mirror lock up (custom functions) if you can and fire the shutter with a remote release. This minimises shake which will ruin a shot with the long shutter speeds and close focus.

To see the effect of aperture on your shot, choose a subject with a reasonable depth - a rose flower is good - then focus n the front edge. Set the aperture at it's widest and then shut down by a stop and retake the shot. repeat across the aperture range to show the effect of depth of field. You will find that even at f16 or f22 depth of field will only be a few millimetres. Decide which you like and use that setting to try a few images.

All the best with it,

pixy 10 234 England
27 Jul 2009 11:07PM
If you can't afford a good macro lens such as the canon 100mm f/2.8 you could look into getting an adapter such as the raynox, which is pretty good from what I have heard.

Or there is the 60mm f/2.8 canon lens which isn't as expensive as the 100mm
strawman 14 22.1k 16 United Kingdom
27 Jul 2009 11:14PM
For budget macro think on the macro tubes as a decent option, it will allow your to focus closer, and if you have the 50mm prime makes a good macro set up.

Next up I would advise either the Sigma 105 or Tamron 90mm. Both are optically good and both have lots of happy users. I would avoid the 60mm macro as it is EF-S only so is limited in terms of cameras you can use it on. The sigma 70mm would be a better buy.

after that comes Canons own 100mm macro or the longer focal length Sigma primes.
crookymonsta Plus
10 838 10 England
28 Jul 2009 12:43PM
A warm welcome Fritz, as another fan of macro I can strongly recommend the Sigma 105 having used it for a few months and, unlike most people, do everything hand held. If you can't afford the lens yet using extension tubes will keep your enthusiasm going until you can. Good luck.
smitbar 9 136 England
28 Jul 2009 9:59PM
Welcome Fritz, you have the start of a good portfolio by the look of things.
The 90mm Tamron is a lens I once had in Nikon Man focus & it was a good sharp lens, I would go with what discreetphoton says...
cliffez 9 140
28 Jul 2009 10:30PM
I've been considering Macro for a while, but as its not my passion, £300-£400 seems a lot of cash for just play, I might get hooked? However this thread gives me some hope. Kit is Nikon D80 based, with an 18-200VR lens as my main tool backed up with a Sigma 10-20. I also have an 18-70 old style kit lens, great picture quality. Finally a Sigma 70-300 APO with HSM. This lens has a 2.1 Macro facility, but makes the distance from subject to lens a bit long on occasions, feels a bit unwieldy in Macro mode sometimes (hens, have rarly used it for macro) and it is a cheap lens . . . I have a Manfrotto 55 tripod and a remote cable release.

Can any one tell me if a set of tubes would be an advantage with any of this kit over the 70-300? (I was thinking the 18-70 might be a posibility)? If an advantage, how much magnification each tub gives and how is it calculated?

Thanks, Cliffez
strawman 14 22.1k 16 United Kingdom
28 Jul 2009 11:58PM
UI picked up a 105mm Sigma macro for under £150 2nd hand.

The maths is;
1) M = b/a
2) 1/a + 1/b = 1/f
3) MFD = a + b

M: Magnification
a: lens-to-subject distance
b: lens-to-film/sensor distance
f: focal length

The tubes will allow your 70-300 to focus closer.

Get the ones with electrical contacts so you can keep aperture control.
cliffez 9 140
30 Jul 2009 7:14AM

Quote:UI picked up a 105mm Sigma macro for under £150 2nd hand.

The tubes will allow your 70-300 to focus closer.

Get the ones with electrical contacts so you can keep aperture control.

Looking at the web, fleBay etc., cant find anything at that price, that wont bid up? There is a Tokina 100 that looks nice, but I suspect it will go through the roof, watching??? Keep looking, will get a mag and have a look at listings.

strawman 14 22.1k 16 United Kingdom
30 Jul 2009 11:48AM
I find FleBay too expensive, and often find local camera dealers give better offers, plus you have longer to find out if there is a defect etc and decent backup. I often buy 2nd hand kit from T4. MPBPhotographic are good as are Miffsuds.

Mind you lens prices have gone up a lot in the last year so no doubt 2nd hand kit has risen as well.
cliffez 9 140
30 Jul 2009 4:57PM

Quote:I find FleBay too expensive, and often find local camera dealers give better offers, plus you have longer to find out if there is a defect etc and decent backup. I often buy 2nd hand kit from T4. MPBPhotographic are good as are Miffsuds.

Mind you lens prices have gone up a lot in the last year so no doubt 2nd hand kit has risen as well.

Yes, I agree Strawman, fleBay is definitely buyer beware, but one can be lucky sometimes? set a low'ish limit and stick to it!!! I will keep looking in the mags and on line, I dont have a decent camera shop with in 20 miles, London Camera Exchange in Colchester is my closest, got a very good used deal there on a D40X for my Partner last year, so there is hope and I'm in no desperate hurry . . .

cliffez 9 140
31 Jul 2009 7:27AM
Help again please . . . The brain is not up to the Maths I'm afraid . . . doh' . . . So, having thought about the situation, found a set of Kenco Tubes for less than £85 new inc p&p.

A final bit of advise, the Sigma 70-300 is I believe not as 'good glass' as the Nikon 18-70, having use this for close work on occasions, it looks sharp to me. If I opted to use the 18-70 with a tube, would that be a good idea? and can you give any idea how the image size might be, ie; 1.2, 1.1 with tube (12, 20 or 36mm) would be best to achieve 1.1, or is it really trying to get a silk purse out of a sows ear, are there issues that I am not understanding?

Have found a Tokina 100mm Macro, that is less than £200 but I'm reluctant to go that rout, cost, commitment and usage which 'may not be that much'????

discreetphoton 13 3.5k 20 United Kingdom
31 Jul 2009 11:04AM
With the 18-70, and all three tubes, you'll be pretty close to 1:1. However, you'll lose two stops of light, and you'll have an effective maximum aperture of f/9 or worse. Pretty sluggish, so you'll definitely need a tripod and/ or flash, and then you'll still have to stop it down a bit further to get maximum sharpness. You'll probably be working at this sort of aperture range anyway to get the DOF you'll need, but it's still a pain for general photography.
Remember that the 100mm range of macro lenses is great for portraits too. I guarantee you'll make more use of a macro lens than a combination of tubes and a zoom.
cliffez 9 140
31 Jul 2009 7:21PM
Its getting interesting? . . . digging a little deeper, I found this:


For anyone into (?) thinking about macro. Good or bad??? . . . I'm not sure, but very informative, I think? especially the, continuous shooting and moving in and out of focus . . . and the tip on using lenses with out aperture rings = a cheap set of tubes?

Not sure what you experienced guys make of it?


Sign In

You must be a member to leave a comment.

ePHOTOzine, the web's friendliest photography community.

Join For Free

Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more.