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Which macro lens for Canon 400d

wattley 8 11 United Kingdom
25 Oct 2010 3:31PM
I got my first dslr back in May.I`m really keen on macro photography,and want to work on this to get better pics.I already have the Sigma 105 macro lens,but I find I can`t get close enough to really small bugs.
Can anyone advise me on which lens would allow me to get closer.I have a Canon 400d camera.
It could also be my technique.Sad

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Overread 9 4.1k 19 England
25 Oct 2010 3:51PM
All macro lenses (barring one which I will mention in a moment) get to the same level of magnification at the closest focusing point. This is because true macro lenses all achieve the 1:1 ratio where the size of the subject reflected on the sensor by the lens is the same size as it is in real life.

Now if you are already working at the closest focusing point of your lens and want to get more magnification you've a few options to consider - from the expensive to the not so expensive:

1) Close up lenses - Raynox make a good series of these which range from the affordable to more expensive options (depending on the power - generally the higher the cost the greater the power) the DCR250 is often a popular affordable choice. Canon also make a 500D close up lens as well.

2) Extension tubes - kenko AF tubes are the most cost effective choice whilst canon are overpriced for what you get and the ultra cheap ebay 5 sort are best avoided (they lack contacts inside and so you lose aperture control over your lens). These work the same way as the close up lenses above - they remove infinity focus and reduce your minimum focusing distance - you get closer and so get a more magnified image

Extension tubes however (for a fixed length of tube) give more magnification on shorter focal length lenses whilst the close up lenses give more magnification (for a fixed diopter power rating) on longer focal length lenses. Generally with 100mm I think you are about in the midpoint where both will serve you well.

3) Teleconverters - a teleconverter increases the magnification of the lens by the same factor as the teleconverter - so a 1.4 TC gives you 1.4:1 and a 2*TC gives you 2:1 (on a lens already starting at 1:1 of course).
The bonus is that you also keep your infinity focus and also your minimum focusing distance. Sadly both canon and sigma teleconverters won't fit to the sigma 105mm so you will have to consider the kenko pro range of teleconverters (though even then I am unsure if they will fit so best to check this out first).

4) Reverse mounting - a bit more tricky in that you need another lens (a 28mm is a popular choice, but you can use others) where you reverse mount one lens onto another - held by a reversing ring which screws into each of the filter threads on the lenses (sold on ebay). In this the magnification you get is based up on the rough math of focal length of lens attached to the camera divided by the focal length of the lens reverse mounted onto it.
So a 100mm lens on the body with a50mm lens reversed on it would give 2:1 magnification.

I can't mention good names of lenses to choose on this as its not a method I have much experience with.

4) Attaching microscope lenses to the camera - I'll leave this as a suggestion but won't give specific details because its something I've never done. It can give some very impressive results and I've seen fantastic work done with these setups - but the price for a good microscope optic can get a little high for the best results.

5) The Canon MPE 65mm f2.8 macro - the only macro lens on the market that "zooms" from 1:1 through to 5:1 magnification. It has no infinity focus and its focusing range starts at 1:1 so its a very specialist lens to consider. It is also one of the hardest lenses to learn to use because high magnification work is challenging and my advice is that you try one or a combination of the cheaper options mentioned above before investing in the MPE - get you feet wet in higher magnifications before you decide if its really for you.

I should note that as far as I know not a single method above gives a depth of field advantage over the others - essentially which ever method you use you will get a similar depth of field at any given magnification - any advantages that might be present are (in my experience) so small as to be unnoticeable in general shooting
wattley 8 11 United Kingdom
25 Oct 2010 8:16PM
Many thanks for all the suggestions Alex.ThinkI`ll try the Raynox close up lenses first..Would love to save up ,and learn how to use the Canon MPE 65mm f2.8 macro.Tongue...Ah well...I can dream Grin
I`ve really enjoyed looking at your images..particularly the ones using the `dream`lens Smile

Overread 9 4.1k 19 England
25 Oct 2010 8:52PM
My thanks Kath Smile

If you like that kind of photography you might want to have a look at Johnhallmen's works - His work

He does a little more work with highmagnification and dead insects (but plenty of outstanding live work as well) but also uses a lot of custom setups rather than the MPE - further he gives detailed descriptions on most of his setups and shots so its a great learning point.

And just because he uses a lot of focus stacking I'll offset it with Dalentech who uses single shots for his macro work only, rather than deep focus stacks His work
Just to show that its not all about focus stacking to get great results.
WilliamRoar 10 188 United Kingdom
25 Oct 2010 10:05PM
Canon EF-S 60mm?
I use the EF 50mm F2.5 though.

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