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Which macro lens


Kate11171 15 36 United Kingdom
20 Jul 2010 8:35AM
Hi
I have a canon eos 450d and I am looking to buy a macro lens. I have read lots of other posts on the forum but can't find just what I want so sorry if it's already been done.
I am looking for a canon or sigma or Tamrom lens as they seem to be the best.
Why would I buy a prime lens rather than a zoom ie Sigma 17-70? I would have thought that the zoom would be an advantage?
Do I need one with IS, OS, VR. All the macro lenses that are highly recommended don't mention it so is it really that much of an advantage. I know it bumps the price up quite a bit. If it is a f2.8 will that not give me a quick enough shutter speed to manage without it?

Thanks for your help
brian1208 18 11.8k 12 United Kingdom
20 Jul 2010 8:46AM
Kate, maybe a good start is to share with us what you want the macro lens for.

The prime purpose of a true macro lens is to allow you to capture images with 1:1 magnification, something zoom lenses such as the sigma 17-70 cannot do. A good macro lens will also make a fine general purpose lens (portraits, landscapes etc) but you will have to use your feet for the "zoom" Smile

The sigma on the other hand is a good "walk-about lens" which is capable of taking images at up to around 0.5 X real life

If you do want the ability to make 1:1 images of bugs, flowers etc then you can pick up the canon 60mm macro used for around 250 and its a very good match to your 450D

You don't really need IS for macro work
Metalhead 14 1.9k 2 England
20 Jul 2010 9:41AM
I've got the older version of the Sigma 17-70 as my "day to day" lens. It does have many advantages as a walkabout lens, and although it doesn't give 1:1 full macro, it is 1:2 and you can focus as close as 20cm from the sensor plane, so you can almost be touching the subject when zoomed in at the 70mm end and still achieve focus.

The resulting image can then be cropped to further enhance the look of being extremely close to an object. The downside to this is you won't get that close to live subjects in most cases! I've got an image of a spider in my portfolio taken in that way. That spider never moved at all though, and the camera was tripod-mounted for extra stability.

I also use the Tamron 90mm macro. Although, as you mention, it is f/2.8 so you can achieve decent shutter speeds, you will have very little depth of field at maximum aperture.

Both are very worthwhile lenses, and the Tamron has that extra reach for bugs and butterflies without the need to get "right in their face" as you would need to with the Sigma 17-70. As Brian mentioned above, a macro lens isn't just limited to macro-style shots. The Tamron is super sharp for the relatively budget price, and I've even had some decent shots of my dog running towards me. Autofocus isn't a strong point of dedicated macros, but it coped reasonably well in sunny conditions.

Good luck with your choice.
javam 17 1.1k 19 United Kingdom
20 Jul 2010 9:55AM
I had the Sigma EX 70mm macro for my Pentax and now have the Sigma EX 105mm for my Canon, both lenses are very good, but the 105 allows you to be a little further from the subject which is useful and is perhaps slightly lighter than the 70mm.

Depending on what other lenses you have and your other photographic interests another option maybe be extension tubes. You can get a set for around 125 and they can be used with any of your existing lenses to effectively enable them to focus closer. Combined with the Canon 50mm F1.8 lens you would be able to get a 1:1 ratio.
cambirder 17 7.2k England
20 Jul 2010 11:21AM

Quote:Do I need one with IS, OS, VR. All the macro lenses that are highly recommended don't mention it so is it really that much of an advantage. I know it bumps the price up quite a bit. If it is a f2.8 will that not give me a quick enough shutter speed to manage without it?


There is only one macro lens with IS and that is the Canon 100mm f2.8 L IS, which is superb but very expensive. IS would be nice but most of us have managed for years without it so its not essential and even so once you start shooting up real close it is not so effective (At the closest focus I reckon its only worth one stop).

The available depth of field at close range is tiny so shooting at f2.8 is not something you will find yourself doing very often more like f8-16 most of the time.

We do need to know a bit more to advise though, so 1st of what sort of subjects will you be shooting? and secondly what is your budget?
pabloisme 11 566 England
20 Jul 2010 11:32AM
How much are you gonna use it? I tried a AF macro had to keep switching OFF the AF and go to manual, as it was focussing all the time! if you are just toe dipping to see if you like it? Macro is mostly with a tripod! and stopped down to get some depth of field, SO try an older macro, you will get a sensible used M42 (lots around!!!!) for around 10-15 or less, plus an adaptor to fit all for less than 20

OH! & be fly and get one with the same filter size as your current stuff, then IF you really feel compelled to spend you will know what to get

Pablo
Kate11171 15 36 United Kingdom
20 Jul 2010 1:40PM
Hi
Just back from work for lunch. This working is getting in the way of my photography Smile
Thanks for your help.
I want the lens for taking photos of flowers mainly and some insects, (not too close though Wink ) so maybe 100mm would be better and my budget is about 400.
I do want a 1:1 though. As you say I am experimenting with macro but would rather spend the money then sell it if I don't like it than buy a cheaper one. I don't want to be limited from the off. I think that lenses seem to hold their price quite well if they are looked after.

So
1:1
100 mm maybe.
400 max
Tamron, Sigma or Canon

Is there anything else that you think I need to take into consideration? I can always google this info but it is better having the input from someone who knows what they are talking about and have the experience.

Thanks for your help.
Metalhead 14 1.9k 2 England
20 Jul 2010 1:49PM
You can have the non-IS version of the Canon 100mm macro for around 430 if you could stretch that far. From my own research earlier in the year, it has slightly better build quality than the third party company's offerings, but image quality there's probably very little in it.

The Tamron 90mm does extend a fair way to achieve focus whereas I think the Canon (old non-IS and new IS) have internal focusing. Not sure about the Sigma 105mm but I don't think it entends.

I paid 280 for the Tamron but it wasn't UK stock. Couldn't stretch my finances any further, but I'm glad I took the gamble.
Kate11171 15 36 United Kingdom
20 Jul 2010 2:02PM
Thanks for that.
At the minute I seem to n=be favouring the Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG. I can't see any reason why it wouldn't be suitable for my needs.
Unless anyone knows different? Grin

Thanks
Kate11171 15 36 United Kingdom
20 Jul 2010 2:06PM
Hi

Did I understand right in that some macro lenses extend and some don't? Some have internal focussing. Is it not a disadvantage to have the lens extend when taking close ups of things like crawlies?

Thanks
javam 17 1.1k 19 United Kingdom
20 Jul 2010 2:16PM

Quote:Not sure about the Sigma 105mm but I don't think it entends.


It does extend, similar amount to the tamron.

This page has a bit of a review of the canon 100 macro, but probably of more interest are the pictures which show the difference in result for different length macro lenses.

There is also a picture that shows what the tamron, sigma and canon look like with hood fitted and fully extended. On the basis of that it would appear that you will be as close to the subject with the end of the hood with all 3 at their 1:1 setting so probably does not represent much of a disadvantage.
brian1208 18 11.8k 12 United Kingdom
20 Jul 2010 2:41PM
you won't go far wrong with any of the major manfr's macro lenses as they all produce excellent images so its down to your preference based on your own criteria.
Metalhead 14 1.9k 2 England
20 Jul 2010 2:47PM
Thanks for the correction, Neil. And good website link too!

As for hoods, I've never attached mine on the Tamron. The objective lens sits into a fairly deep recess at the end of the lens so it doesn't necessarily need the hood for most shots. Makes it a bugger to clean though!

EPZ has done a few articles recently on the Tamron: Here and here.

I know I seem to be plugging the Tamron, but if I could afford it I'd have bought the Canon even if it only means it's more usable with future camera purchases.
ANW 13 29 United Kingdom
20 Jul 2010 8:41PM
Another to consider, Canon EFS 60mm 2.8 current price about 350
brian1208 18 11.8k 12 United Kingdom
20 Jul 2010 9:38PM
or about 250 used from MPB or MIFSUDS Smile

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