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equipment for macro - tips and suggestions (Group forum)

Pete Plus
18 18.8k 97 England
5 Jul 2010 10:44PM
I like to encourage the discussion about equipment for some group areas where I feel it can be of value. Macro is one such are. So in this thread please tell us about kit you use for macro photography.
I'll kick off with by mentioning my most used item...a Pentax 100mm macro lens. Macro lenses are ideal for ultra close up shots and this one is really compact compared with the Nikon 105mm option so It's easy to include in the kit bag just in case. As a result I tend to always have it with me whereas some more bulky options, such as the 500mm are often left at home.

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Paul_Iddon 13 56 England
5 Jul 2010 10:53PM
Nice thread Pete.

I have a Canon 550D and use my trusty old Sigma 105. Yes the lens is quite slow in autofocus, so manual is a better option, but it does give very good quality images.

In addition, not being able to afford Canon's MPE-65 lens, I also use extension tubes (the ones I have are Jessops' own brand, no longer on sale) but Kenko still make them for different camera mounts. These tubes allow much greater magnification than just a single lens, and the beauty of them is, that as a set of three differing lens, they can be varied in use for differing magnifications, and can be used with probably all lenses.

brian1208 16 11.6k 12 United Kingdom
5 Jul 2010 10:57PM
I use the canon 60 f2.8 macro + sigma macro ringflash for my true macro work. The addition of a 12mm extension tube + 1.4XTC behind it gives a bit more distance + greater mag (up to 1.5X from what I can see)

When money permits I would like to get the new 100 L IS macro as I mainly shoot freehand (I can't get used to a tripod for my bug work) but sometimes if I start getting the shakes I will use the monopod for a bit of extra steadying

I used to use the Tamron 90mm but find the internal focusing of the canon lenses a great benefi (and the 60mm lens works better with my 7D).

The closer focusing distance isn't a problem for bugs and butterflies so long as you learn the right fieldcraft. If you approach at the right angle you can almost get nose to nose with a butterfly or hoverfly but get it wrong and they will scarper at 3 feet distance.

Lots of shots in my PF with this combo
NikLG 14 1.7k England
5 Jul 2010 11:05PM
I also use Extension Tubes. I use a set of Auto Kenko tubes with a 50mm 1.8.
I also use a old Nikon SB-21 macro flash ( no ttl or anything fancy on my D200 )
which helps a lot...MF almost all the time unless I am out in very good light.
I did used to use a Sigma 105 which was also very good...

..and I have yet to try sticking a TC behind the tubes, so I might go and do that now Smile

Got a few in my PF, and loads more on my Flickr page...not that I am advocating anyone go
and look at another site of course...
gary_d 12 576 13 Wales
5 Jul 2010 11:05PM
I use a Canon EOS 5D 2 and Canon 100mm 2.8 macro, I am doing a lot of macro at the moment and enjoying it very much.

Regards. - gary
5 Jul 2010 11:34PM
One of my favourites is my Sigma 180 f3.5 EX macro but I find it too large to carry with me on outings (ideal for bugs in the garden though). My other macro lens is the Nikkor 60mm f2.8 which gets used more because of it's portability. Have used both with extension tubes (Ohnar Auto) and have had some good results with my D200 and more recently with my D300s.

Also use Speedlight Kit R1 which is find extremely useful at times.

Regards, Stuart
KarenFB Plus
13 5.3k 174 England
6 Jul 2010 7:25AM
I use a Canon S3 IS (between a compact and a dslr), I think it's called a bridge camera. A lot of my macros are taken using the 'Super Macro' mode, which, according to the blurb, can get as close as 0CM (I've found the camera shadows anything when that close!Wink). Rachel says I've grown out of this camera, but until I feel the cost is justified I shall have to put up with it!

My daydream is to have a top quality camera with the best macro lens................regardless of price!! Smile

Dream on Karen...........
6 Jul 2010 7:40AM
I use a range of kit to produce macro images. The items that I use the most are:

- DSLR (Canon 5D and 400D [because of the reduced sensor size]) with the famous Canon 100mm 2.8 macro prime lens
- 3 extension tubes [usually attached to the 100mm lens but sometimes used experimentally with a zoom lens for close up macros)
- Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 compact camera which has a fantastic macro capability and the lens can be only 1 cm from the subject of the image and fill the frame!
- Canon G9 which is almost as good as the LX3 for macros

I also have a reversing ring which I have never used!

Most of my macros are handheld captures however I do know that when I used my tripod it's been easier to control the capture.

Yesterday I went into Maplins (a UK based electronics and gadget shop) to buy an eBay desktop softbox and lighting kit (for 29.99) to experiment with staged macros.
Lynx08 11 1.2k Scotland
6 Jul 2010 1:21PM
I have a Nikon D5000 and some Kenko tubes and use them with my kit lens and a 70-200 zoom lens. I WANT a macro lens but can't afford several hundreds of pounds that Nikon want so I'm trying to find a good one from Sigma or someone that doesn't cost the earth. Nikon have also started using the phrase "Micro" as well as"Macro" and I haven't yet figured out the difference, if there is any!!
I use my good old Sigma 105mm Macro most of the time. Sometimes when travelling and when weight is an issue, I take photos of flowers using my Sigma 17-70mm Macro ( a fine lens for the price and I can't afford anything else anyway.)

My shots are mostly handheld. I use my monopod which is a walking stick with a Manfrotto head on it). I also use a touch of flash (built-in flash on Nikon D50 or D90 but with power reduced in order to allow just a touch of light). The camera is set on manual.
akh Plus
15 1.2k 5 United Kingdom
6 Jul 2010 3:19PM

Quote:Nikon have also started using the phrase "Micro" as well as"Macro" and I haven't yet figured out the difference, if there is any!!


I believe that Nikon have always called their close-up lenses Micro due to the fact that they were originally developed for producing micro film images and as such were optimised for close-up 1:1 photography. It is also claimed by Nikon, or so I've read, that they trademarked the use of the term "Micro" for their close-up lenses and therefore everyone else must use Macro for theirs.

More information can be found here
soulofharmony 9 22 1 Norfolk Island
6 Jul 2010 3:35PM
The lens i use is canon macro 100 mm F2:8 EF USB.. Also on occasions various kenko extensions tubes, cable release, small tripod but also hand held..depending on subject.!!!

Home made reflector's out of kitchen foil .

canon 50D..!

Need to invest in a macro flash ring

And a wing & a prayer !
akh Plus
15 1.2k 5 United Kingdom
6 Jul 2010 3:55PM
Since buying my first DSLR I have concentrated mainly on macro photography and my first additional lens was the Sigma 105 which I used for a good 90% of my photos. My current kit compromises of a Nikon 60mm AF-S, a Nikon 105 VR and the Sigma 150mm along with some Kenko extension tubes. For camera support I have a Manfrotto 190 tripod and a Manfrotto Neotec monopod. I also use kitchen foil reflectors and backgrounds from 'Fab Foam'. Almost all of my shots a re taken using natural light but am considering some form of macro flash set up.
lawbert 12 1.8k 15 England
6 Jul 2010 3:58PM
I had a Sigma 50mm f2.8 macro lense and whilst the sharpness was very impressive the same cant be said of the working distance or the af.

I then took the plunge and sold all my spare kit and got a Canon 100mm f2.8 L IS which makes you feel like you are cheating compared to the sigma 50mm. The image stabiliser system really does seem to work well and I only ever hand hold it as it is so easy to use.

The thing that I guess I need to consider more in Macro shooting is light so can anyone reccommend some small collapsible reflectors that will fit into a large pocket...Thinking about it a diffuser as well for those bright sunny contrasty days we seem to have had lately?

Oh...and I use a 50d
bobby55 9 42 United Kingdom
6 Jul 2010 5:03PM
I use a Fujifilm s8100fd bridge camera for macro.
It focuses down to 1cm and gives some great results even when hand held.
For lighting I have a 31cm five-in-one collapsable reflector kit
I have the Sony A330 DSLR which is good for close up, but no macro lens as yet.

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