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Thread: Canon fit macro lens - help buying

  1. #1

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    Canon fit macro lens - help buying

    Been looking at reviews on the internet and it's starting to hurt my head

    Being newish to all this I have never owned a macro lens. It would be nice if I could start taking pictures of small insects with a lens that gives good detail.

    I have a Canon 550D and 350 (about $550 according to Google) to spend on a lens. What would you recommend?

  2. #2

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    Re: Canon fit macro lens - help buying

    I use this lense :-

    http://www.the-digital-picture.com/R...ns-Review.aspx

    and find it great for Macro work, its reliable and does the job really well, but i'm sure others have different preferences

  3. #3

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    Re: Canon fit macro lens - help buying

    Thanks Trev. This is the kind of thing I'm after so I can make a short list.

  4. #4
    ktuli's Avatar
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    Re: Canon fit macro lens - help buying

    I've never used Tamron's 90mm macro, but I do own the Tamron 180mm macro and used it for several years before finally making the switch to the Canon 100mm. The biggest thing missing from both of the Tamrons is Image Stabilization. It really does help if you're shooting handheld. If you're using a tripod with the 180mm, make sure it is a sturdy one - it is a heavy lens.

    I just started looking to make a list for you, but really the main question is what are you planning on shooting with the macro? Do you need more or less working distance? Are you planning on shooting butterflies and other skittish insects, or are you planning on still-life macros? That makes a huge difference in what focal length macro you go for. If you're going for the skittish things, you may want to lean towards the 150-180 end of the range. Still life stuff, you can save a bit of money by buying a 50-60mm macro lens.

    Just more stuff to think about...

    - Bill

  5. #5

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    Re: Canon fit macro lens - help buying

    Thank you Bill. It will be for butterflies, wasps, bees, insect etc.

  6. #6

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    Re: Canon fit macro lens - help buying

    I'm afraid that list still covers too wide a range, Dave. In some respects we need to talk about which species (for relevant sizes) and how will you be displaying your efforts; A4 prints or on the internet? There is a massive difference in the number of pixels required at the point of shooting between those display methods.

    And I repeat once again, the critical element here will be the fly/run away distance between you and your subject. As Bill remarked, small skittish insects require a larger lens. With many insects, you will be lucky to get within 12 ins of them.

    Many of my insect photos are shot at 2 ft or more, for the first shot. Then I try to edge closer while taking more shots until I get too close and scare them away.

    So if you want to photograph a nervous 10 mm long insect (or smaller) we are talking about a 150 mm lens, or bigger, like Bill advised. And we are definitely talking about a decent tripod as well.

    The problem, unfortunately, with bigger lenses is the price; unless you can find a good one secondhand.

    The Sigma 150 mm is a good popular all round lens. I use the Sigma 180 mm macro and often add a 1.4x converter to it; then still complain that I need more magnification.

    But, too some extent, it depends on the purpose of your shot. I need clear sharp images of specific parts of every insect for identification purposes. Most people however don't need to count the toes on a 10 mm insect and would be happy with a general overall photo which just looked attractive and are willing to have the majority of subjects fly away before they get one keeper.

    Another thing to consider is what other lenses do you have? Some people find that simply adding an extension tube to an existing relatively close focusing largish zoom is sufficient. And at a little over 100 there is a significant saving.

    I have successfully used my Canon 70-300 lens with a 25 mm tube and my 70-200L lens also works if I don't have a 'proper' macro lens with me.
    Last edited by Geoff F; 14th November 2011 at 05:39 PM. Reason: spelling

  7. #7
    Glenn NK's Avatar
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    Re: Canon fit macro lens - help buying

    Quote Originally Posted by Skyline View Post
    Thank you Bill. It will be for butterflies, wasps, bees, insect etc.
    I use my 100 mm macro lens extensively (my most used lens of four). I shoot mainly still objects (flowers and leaves) and use a tripod essentially all the time because maintaining focus distance (with its very shallow depth of field) is difficult when hand holding. I also do a bit of focus stacking which requires all images to be framed the same (difficult to do hand holding, but there is one shooter that's been on this forum that does).

    I've tried insects (that never seem to sit still), but a tripod is not much use unless an insect happens to land where the camera is set up.

    This seems to lead to indicate the usefulness of an image stabilized lens (IS is Canon, VR is Nikon) and a good auto-focus system in the lens, but the IS feature will likely drive the price beyond your budget.

    If price was not a concern, I'd suggest either the Canon 100 f/2.8 L IS lens or the Canon 180 mm f/3.5 (although 180 mm is not IS).

    Canon also makes an EFS 60 mm f/2.8 macro, but I would not go any shorter than the 100 mm with the 550D body because it would put the lens far too close for an insect - it would fly. I find my 100mm is OK for my 30D body, but too short for the 5DII.

    Glenn

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    Re: Canon fit macro lens - help buying

    Thank you very much Geoff and Glenn for taking the time to reply. Really is helpful to me.

    The lenses I have are...

    Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS Telephoto Zoom AF Lens

    Canon EF 50 mm f/1.8 II Lens

    Canon 18-55 Kit lens

  9. #9

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    Re: Canon fit macro lens - help buying

    Here, Dave, is an example of where I need to count the toes of a live 10 mm insect in order to achieve a positive identification. The only difference between this and several similar species is the shape of the foot segments.

    Canon fit macro lens - help buying

    Glenn, with practice you will be able to steadily move a tripod forward until you do get close enough to a small insect. I try to set up the tripod at a slight distance then hide behind the camera as I sneak forward.

    Then a quick adjustment of the manual focus (yes manual does work best in most circumstances) and click the shutter; all without showing my full face to the insect.

    But I do find that my easy adjust ball head quick grip trigger handle tripod head really helps and saves a lot of time compared with fiddling around with two adjustment handles.

  10. #10

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    Re: Canon fit macro lens - help buying

    Thanks Geoff. I don't think I'll be needing to know how many toes something has but I want something that I'm please with when I take a picture of a ladybird or bee etc. Like some of the insects on the insect thread (obviously not as good as the guys with the best lenses, but something still good)

  11. #11

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    Re: Canon fit macro lens - help buying

    Well the 55-250 should focus at around 40 ins and a 25 mm extension tube would probably reduce that to around 30 ins (just guessing) so that would put you roughly in the same position as a 100 mm lens at 12 ins.

    So this would work for larger insects and be a bit cheaper.

    Although, if you intend to get serious about macro photography, and are willing to lug around another heavy lens, I would say that a 'proper' 150 mm macro lens would probably be the best long term investment.

    I suspect that buying anything less may prove costly if you then find it isn't sufficient and end up getting something bigger anyway.

    And as it is now winter in the UK you have a bit of time to look for something secondhand or save a little more for a new lens.

    But remember that a macro lens isn't just for close up work; it also makes an excellent general purpose medium length telefocus lens, albeit without a zoom function.

  12. #12

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    Re: Canon fit macro lens - help buying

    Dave, this was handheld with the Tamron from a reasonable distance and then slightly cropped, should give you an idea of what you can achieve at the amateur end of Macro photography without IS.

    Canon fit macro lens - help buying

  13. #13

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    Re: Canon fit macro lens - help buying

    Geoff. If I was to go for a 'proper' 150 mm macro lens wont that happen when I win the lottery

    Trev... To me, that's great and would be very happy to get something like that.

  14. #14

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    Re: Canon fit macro lens - help buying

    I have made one call so far to Tamron. I just wanted info about a company called simply electronics. I got told don't touch them with a barge pole. 100 cheaper then everywhere else but it will be a grey import and if anything went wrong I would have to send it back there.

    So I would get a lens 100 cheaper... http://www.simplyelectronics.net/mai...etcurrency=gbp

    Big question is is it worth it? How reliable are Tamron lenes

  15. #15

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    Re: Canon fit macro lens - help buying

    I have bought 2 x Canon 550D cameras from simply electronics and they delivered promptly and I haven't had any issues to date, however I have heard of some of the horror stories from people complaining about deliveries not being sent out within the time scales and also problems with refunds if they then try to cancel. I used a credit card when I purchased it rather than a debit card so as I had the card issuers extra protection and assumed that any problems I may have encountered with them (thank god i didn't) would have been covered under the usual protection that covers consumers. As far as i can tell the horror stories are mainly along the lines of simply take the money and then if they can't supply its bloody hard (but not impossible) to get the money back. Basically its a judgement call on your part, if you want to take the risk to save some cash then its up to you but I wouldn't tell you "yes go ahead and use them" based on the fact that everyones experience is different.

  16. #16

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    Re: Canon fit macro lens - help buying

    Thanks Trev. I don't think I would have a problem using them, it's how good they are should something go wrong.

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