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Canon 100m macro lens or something else?

Adderwatcher 8 60 19 United Kingdom
12 Mar 2011 3:28PM
I know there are already threads similer to this but...

After some good advice from another post i have decided to continue my focus on lenses. I'm hoping to get one more lens by the end of the year (depending on cashflow ofcourse Wink ) and could do with more info. The Canon 100mm is an expensive lens but all the reveiws and such praise it highly but i could do with some "in the field" experiance.

The lens would be used to take shots of Adder, common Lizards, Toads etc. aswell as butterfly and other mini beasts. The first thing i would like to have confirmed is how close you need to be to get 1:1 or at least prety close to it? Though Adders are calm they are able to strike two foot if warmed up and annoyed also they tend to bolt if you get too close, so extra info on that front would be especially helpful. I'm used to being around Adders but when i'm behind the lens....

If i do go for this lens it will likely become my most used lens so durability particually when traveling is also important. So if anyone uses this lens any extra info would be a help. I'm also open to an alternative lens if anyone think another is more suited.
Thanks in advance!

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f8 14 9.2k 22 England
12 Mar 2011 3:44PM
I have the said 100mm lens,not the latest IS one, but a very good lens and I too use it for the the same quarry as you. My intention is to change it for the Canon 180mm when I can as it allows me to get the same 1-1 image but from a greater distance thus not disturbing the quarry.
So my advice is to get if possible the 180mm Canon or the 180mm Sigma which I have seen some excellent results from, hope this helps to make your mind up.
Adderwatcher 8 60 19 United Kingdom
12 Mar 2011 3:56PM
Thanks! Not really thought about a 180mm, would give me that bit extra distance. Another one to consider, especially in the long run. Anyone on here use a sigma or canon 180? to give some extra info
f8 14 9.2k 22 England
12 Mar 2011 4:02PM
Overread 9 4.1k 19 England
12 Mar 2011 4:26PM
I'd second looking at a longer focal length macro lens over the 100mm when wanting to work with something like snakes. The sigma 180mm was one of the top choices and just as good (optically) as the canon 180mm, whilst being a lot cheaper. The sigma 180mm is however now out of production, some places might still have some stock and there is always the second hand market.

Sigma 180mm macro review
Canon 180mm review

You can also consider the sigma 150mm, a little shorter in focal length, but in all other respects almost the same as the 180mm version. Note that this is also getting an upgrade (release is by the end of March, however Sigma lenses are produced in Japan and recent events out there might cause supply problems - I've no fact on this just the possibility) which has OS (sigma talk for IS) which might prove to be a bonus if your working more regular distances for snakes and close up work.

Note that there are no reviews out yet on the 150mm OS macro (least I've not seen any).
Adderwatcher 8 60 19 United Kingdom
12 Mar 2011 7:51PM
Many thanks guys, sounds like the Sigma 180 is the lens to go for, i'll start saving more pennies and keep an eye out for one! Depending on what reveiws and such say may hold out for the updated version.

Thanks again Grin

p.s. Thanks for the links, especially Juza nature looks a really good site!
pulsar69 14 1.6k 6 United Kingdom
13 Mar 2011 6:04PM

Quote: Though Adders are calm they are able to strike two foot if warmed up and annoyed also they tend to bolt if you get too close, so extra info on that front would be especially helpful. I'm used to being around Adders but when i'm behind the lens....

Having owned the 100mm macro for a few years its deffo too close at 1:1 for that sort of work ! , it is however pretty bullet proof .. depends on the body youre shooting with too what length your going to be shooting at ..
tomcat 12 6.4k 15 United Kingdom
13 Mar 2011 6:58PM
I use the Sigma 150mm Macro, but quite often use it with the 1.4x converter attached.
Any fault in the final image, is down to me & not the kitGrin

Must add, that the combo is used with a tripod wherever possible.
The monopod is OK, but the end result is not as good as it could be.

Nigel Kitely uses the Canon 100mm & his results are outstanding (Butterflies etcWink
17 Mar 2011 8:16PM
I have the canon 100mm lens, NOT THE IS VERSION, paid £400, and its money well spent , use it on most of my snake shot,s ( check portfolio) and usually shoot from at least 3 feet away, its very sharp and the depth of field can be as small as 1mm. so bare that in mind when shooting specially handheld. its often worth using a higher iso to shoot faster shutter speed and risk some grain when handheld, otherwise use a tripod and a 2sec delay on the shutter, its a great lens well worth the money, it also makes a good portrait lens as well. hope this helps, John.
PeterBoyd 12 3 United Kingdom
25 Mar 2011 2:13PM
To achieve 1:1 reproduction the distance from the optical cenre of the lens to the subject must be twice the focal length of the lens, therefore the longer the focal length the better for the type of subject you are photographing. Obviously the lens has to be capable of true macro photography, and the longer focal length ones tend to be more expensive.
MeanGreeny 12 3.7k England
25 Mar 2011 5:09PM
If you have a long lens there is also the alternative method of using a one [e.g. 70-200 or a 400mm] with extension tubes to reduce the minimum focusing distance ........... probably useful for the adders :o)

Not sure what the image ratio would be but for the Canon 400mm f5.6:

EF12 [12mm extension tube]
Focusing Distance Ranges 2.89 to 13.45 metres
Working Distance 2.58 to 13.14 metres

EF25 [25mm extension tube]
Focusing Distance Ranges 2.46 to 6.61 metres
Working distance 2.13 to 6.28 metres

Focusing to infinity is lost and the working distance is “the distance from the subject to the tip of the lens”

Don't kid yourself - the working distance of a 150mm or 180mm over the 60/90/100mm macro lenses isn't that huge. Enough for skittish bugs [sometimes] but not enough to prevent disturbing a snake or a lizard if its feeling nervous
nicktg 10 24 1 United Kingdom
7 Apr 2011 11:59AM
I'll second the Sigma 180mm Macro - good for butterflies and dragonflies as well as you don't have to get too close to them and can avoid casting shadows and you don't stress the subject out - don't forget Adders will strike if you hack them off enough and whilst it may not be fatal it will still bloody hurt Grin
cambirder 14 7.2k England
7 Apr 2011 5:03PM

Quote:Having owned the 100mm macro for a few years its deffo too close at 1:1

An adder is a pretty large subject why would you need to get that close? On a cropper I don't find 100mm too short for bug shots either and its a lot lighter to carry around.
ShaunsPics 7 86 United Kingdom
7 Apr 2011 6:22PM
even a 70-300mm can keep you about 6ft away and still get in their.
cambirder 14 7.2k England
8 Apr 2011 10:55AM

Quote:and still get in their

Get in their what?

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