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Thread: True Macro Require Macro Lens?

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    bisso7's Avatar
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    True Macro Require Macro Lens?

    Hello,

    I am a little confused about the results I get using the macro mode on my Canon T3. I currently do not own a macro lens. I've been experimenting anyway, using the macro mode and my 55mm-250mm telephoto.

    I've seen true macro photography, and I do not get remotely close to the results with a telephoto lens. I even took a couple of exposures in macro mode, and then in auto mode; I can't seem to tell much of a difference.

    My question is, when using the macro mode, do I actually need to be using a macro lens? I'm wondering why the mode is even included on the camera if you can't get telling results with any other lens type while in macro mode. I'm posting one of the exposures just so you can see my results---f/5.6, 1/400, ISO 200, 225mm


    True Macro Require Macro Lens?

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    Re: True Macro Require Macro Lens?

    My advice, Jeff, is to forget the Macro Mode button, along with all the other pre set auto options and start experimenting with the buttons which allow you to be in control.

    See this similar recent question Macro Lens

    Any lens which has a reasonably close focusing distance can be used for macro photography, with varying amounts of success.

    For full flower photos I often find my 24-105 L lens gives best results; but for really close work on insects I use a 'proper' macro lens.

    For those flowers, I would want to shoot in Av mode with a setting of at least F11. Then allow for a suitable shutter speed by adjusting the Iso. If using a tripod, which is recommended, you could probably work with a shutter speed as low as 1/100 if there isn't any wind movement.

    Try to keep the Iso below 800; or lower if possible.

    Adding an extension tube to your lens will get you even closer; but these do incur some additional expense.

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    bisso7's Avatar
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    Re: True Macro Require Macro Lens?

    Thanks for the input, Geoff. Could I get your take on why you advise going with an aperture of at least f/11? With aperture, it's clear to me that with a very low aperture results in wide DOF and a narrow DOF with the very high aperture. It's determining the in-between, though, that I often have a hard time grasping. How do you know when to go with a, say, f/7.1 vs. f/11?

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    Re: True Macro Require Macro Lens?

    Geoff . . . I read your response under the thread "Macro Lens," recently posted, which answered my question on the aperture. On a side note, I think this forum is just absolutely wonderful. I've already learned so much from this site, alone, in addition to others. Thanks CIC!

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    Re: True Macro Require Macro Lens?

    Also, have you read this CinC tutorial about using macro lenses

    http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tut...cro-lenses.htm

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    Re: True Macro Require Macro Lens?

    Jeff,

    My advice, Jeff, is to forget the Macro Mode button, along with all the other pre set auto options and start experimenting with the buttons which allow you to be in control.
    yes, that is where I would have started my answer as well.

    one of the most difficult problems in macro photography is obtaining sufficient depth of field. When you are very close in, the depth of field is extremely narrow. Closing down the aperture increases DOF, but past a certain point, the image will get softer from diffraction. For macro, I try to stick with f/11 or less (more open), but because flowers are soft in appearance, I have found that in a pinch, I can go as small as f/20 and still print fine at 8 x 10. Also, as you close down the lens more, you lose light, which means you may not be able to keep the shutter speed fast enough. Negotiating these tradeoffs is one of the major issues with macro.

    I never use any of the automatic modes, but I think all the "macro" mode is doing is to push the camera toward a narrower aperture and slower shutter speed.

    Dan

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    Re: True Macro Require Macro Lens?

    And to further muddy the waters, some of us use focus stacking:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Focus_stacking

    I've been using the technique for about four years or so, and I believe that Dan (Koretz) is familiar with it too (as are others on this forum.

    The advantage of it are the ability to use larger apertures, and more importantly for me, to isolate the background from the flower. I can get all or most of a flower into sharp focus, while keeping the background soft and fuzzy so it doen't draw attention from the subject flower. Disadvantages: requires multiple image shots (subject can't be moving), requires a tripod (although I know of one user that hand holds - he must be rock steady), and requires another software program (although there is a pretty good piece of freeware).

    However, you will still need a true macro lens, or some extension tubes.

    Glenn

    PS - I almost forgot - the focus stacking technique is also very effective for landscapes (that don't move - water comes to mind).

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    Re: True Macro Require Macro Lens?

    Jeff, a cheap way for you to experiment with might be the use of macro filters.
    You will not get the same results as with a macro lens, but the filter will allow you to focus more more closely than your 55-250mm will normally allow. A good close-up filter (e.g. B+W, Hoya) will set you back 30-50 USD I guess.

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    Re: True Macro Require Macro Lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by bisso7 View Post
    /.../ My question is, when using the macro mode, do I actually need to be using a macro lens? I'm wondering why the mode is even included on the camera if you can't get telling results with any other lens type while in macro mode. I'm posting one of the exposures just so you can see my results---f/5.6, 1/400, ISO 200, 225mm
    I snip one last sentence from the Close-up Mode section at http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/T3/T3MENUS.HTM: "Macro mode on the Canon T3 has no effect on lens focusing range, as that parameter is entirely determined by the lens being used."

    That does not imply that you need a macro lens for macro, only that the lens you need should focus close enough. The setting on the program dial is however rather useless, as you have concluded. It is one of the AUTO settings that does obscure things out of the control of the user with camera settings. So in my opinion, the camera should not have that setting at all.

    Your telezoom is in fact quite useful for macro work, and its best companion in my opinion would be the Canon original 250 mm achromatic closeup attachment lens.

    A true macro lens has stringent specifications, which are not always needed for real photography. When you need rectilinear reproduction and sharpness over the entire image plane for reproducing flat objects, as postage stamps, electronic microcircuits or banknotes, a macro lens is the way to go. However in real life we seldom need rectilinear reproduction and a flat image plane. Most photography is with three-dimensional subjects that will neither benefit from a flat image field nor rectilinear reproduction.

    A closeup attachment lens has optical flaws, but in the region up to +3 diopters strength they are negligible if your lens has a narrow angle of view. The Canon lens I link above is +4 diopters, and to minimise colour aberration, it is achromatic. It is corrected by gluing two lenses of different glass type together. Still it shares other optical flaws with the simple lenses, as coma and curvature of field, but with the narrow angle of a telephoto lens those are unimportant as long as you photograph natural three-dimensional subjects. It is however not to recommend for postage stamps if you need good reproduction with flat field. As long as you take flowers or insects, it is just as crisp as a macro lens.

    A closeup lens on a telephoto zoom has advantages. If your lens has image stabilising (IS), it works just as fine with the attachment. The only difference is that your farthest focusing distance with the lens attached will be about 8" from the lens. AF can fine tune a few inches closer. Field of view is adjusted with the zoom as usual. The only thing to keep in mind is that you cannot back off more than 8" from your subject.
    Last edited by Inkanyezi; 13th June 2012 at 09:51 AM.

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    Re: True Macro Require Macro Lens?

    "True Macro" is a fluctuating term... Originally, it meant an image ration of 1:1 or greater (in which the sensor image is exactly the same size as the subject - or greater).

    However, Most "true macro" lenses will provide an image only up to 1:1 and no greater without the use of accessories such as extension tubes or close-up lenses! This is true with both the 100mm Canon macro lenses and almost every other macro lens with the exception of the Canon MPE-65 macro lens which will only provide imagery of 1:1 to 5:1.

    Many zoom lenses which have "macro" in their title are simply lenses with reasonable close up capability. The rationale of calling this type of lens "macro" is that when the image is enlarged from the sensor size to 4x6 or larger, then the subject/image ratio can be around 1:1 (or greater, depending on the amount of enlargement).

    Here is the input on the "macro mode" of most Canon DSLR cameras. As stated, it has absolutely no impact on the focusing of the lens. Macro is simply one of the Basic (Dummy) Modes of a Canon 1.6x crop DSLR camera (exception being the 7D which has eliminated the Dummy modes from its repertoire.

    http://www.imaging-resource.com/PROD.../E60DMENUS.HTM

    Close-up Mode (Macro Mode): Turning the Mode dial to the macro flower symbol sets the camera for capturing smaller subjects such as flowers, jewelry, and other small details. The autofocus mode is automatically adjusted to One Shot, the drive mode choices are Single Shot or 10-second self timer, and the metering mode is set to Evaluative. ISO and white balance are set to Auto. Close-up mode takes advantage of the current lens' minimum focal distance. However, an EOS-dedicated macro lens and the Macro Ring Lite MR-14EX are recommended for better close-up photography. Note that unlike the macro mode on most consumer digital cameras, Macro mode on the Canon 60D has no effect on lens focusing range, as that parameter is entirely determined by the lens being used.

    I personally would avoid the use of any of the Dummy Modes and learn how to take charge of my camera and set the shooting parameters to the way I like them...

    And in answering your original question... Yes you do need a macro lens for rue macro work without using an accessories like extension rings or close-up filters, or by reversing your lens or shooting with two lenses connected together.

    However, we do not actually need 1:1 imagery very often. A 1:1 image will cover an area of 23.6 x 15.7mm.
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 14th June 2012 at 12:42 AM.

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    Re: True Macro Require Macro Lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by rpcrowe View Post
    "True Macro" is a fluctuating term... Originally, it meant an image ration of 1:1 or greater (in which the sensor image is exactly the same size as the subject - or greater).
    What's in a word?

    Macro, as I conceived it originally, meant the region from infinity down to 1:1 reproduction on the image plane, which could then be anything from large format to the "miniature" format of 24x36 mm, and when surpassing that limit of 1:1 into magnification, we get into the micro range. The first generally avaliable lenses for such closeup work and roll film cameras or miniature (24x36) were the Makro Kilar lenses, that did not get as close as life size on the film. Large formats already had the macro function built-in by extending the bellows, so we did macro with any lens.

    In the sixties, the most widespread macro lens was 55 mm Micro Nikkor, that in spite of the name did not reach into the micro realm. It focused down to 1:1 on the film plane, and it is still a very sought after lens, that is considered to be extremely good.

    But different film sizes, and different sensor sizes mean that the final product, the picture on screen or paper, can be much larger than life size, and when we take this magnification into the equation, a too stringent hookup on a particular definition may become useless. It is more fruitful to look at the actual subject matter; what we really want to photograph. So instead of quarreling about the exact meaning of a term, the size of the actual subject matter is what is important. Hence you would not need life size reproduction of most flowers, while some flowers might benefit from even larger reproduction.

    The macro lenses that focus down to life size will take you there for most flowers, and it is flexible, as you can back off to shoot flowers that are a bit larger. When you don't have one, but a telezoom lens with a "macro filter" (closeup attachment lens), you can achieve much the same thing, although you cannot back off, but must instead zoom out if you want to shoot larger flowers. Then if the flower is still too large, you remove the attachment lens and use the telezoom as designed. So, in general photography, the telezoom, with a closeup lens, will do much the same thing as a macro lens, but with the inconvenience that you will need to adapt it to the situation and it does not cover the entire range without putting the closeup attachment on.

    However, there are caveats. Many people buy a set of "macro filters", with +1, +2, +4 and +10 lenses, that in most cases do not cover what they wish to do. My general advice is that you should not buy any "macro filter" to use on the "normal" short zoom lens of 18+55 mm, as it focuses very close without any attachment at all. The focusing range of those lenses covers down to plus four or five diopters when you compare to "macro filters". And any simple lens of more than +3 diopters will exhibit optical errors that you will notice. Those lenses also have such large field of view, that several optical errors become visible when using a "macro filter". The +10 macro filter is completely useless if you want sharp images, because it is impossible to get a sharp picture at all with that attachment.

    When you have a telezoom, as the 55-250 mm, it is a totally different thing. But you will not need a set of "macro filters", it is sufficient with one, but it should be carefully chosen. The Canon telezoom focuses down to 1,1 m, which corresponds to putting a +1 diopter lens on it. As it is a zoom, you need not really hook into that range directly, but it suffices if you can get substantially closer, and then you zoom out if you need to take something that is too large for the longest focal length. With this Canon lens, it is OK to choose a +3 or +2 diopters lens, which provide a longest working distance of 33 or 50 cm, and AF can fine tune to one diopter more, 25 or 33 cm respectively. Canon manufactures a very fine achromatic 50 cm (+2 diopters) lens that matches this telezoom wonderfully. They also make the 25 cm (+4 diopters) lens I pointed to earlier. You can also get good results with a far cheaper +2 or +3 diopters lens if your budget does not allow for the more expensive achromatic ones. My personal choice with that camera and lens would be either the 250 mm achromatic lens or if on a budget a Hoya HMC +3 simple lens.
    Last edited by Inkanyezi; 16th June 2012 at 11:08 PM.

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    Re: True Macro Require Macro Lens?

    This thread prompted me to start my own "Concern about diffraction may not be applicable".
    If what I wrote there is correct, and I am no optical expert, then I suggest to get those big close-ups you seem to be after you need a 250 or 500mm Close-up lens, that is a a 4 or a 2 dioptre. I am assuming you haave "Canon EF 55-200mm f/4.5-5.6 II USM" lens which has a filter thread of 52mm and a cheap set of four CU lens could cost you about $10 at Amazon. These at that price are unlikely to be good quality photographic quality items but will get you started and enable you to do what I believe you want to do. Then having worked out what power of CU lens suits you, you should get a quality item for best results.

    What I am suggesting is how the bridge camera owner works although they have the advantage of around a x3 shorter lens with greater DoF for big close-ups for an equivalent angle of view compared to you.. But you can close down to f/22 >f/27 and I would not be afraid to use them. The bridge camera probably only has f/11>f/16.

    That is assuming I do not get rubbished on my thread

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    Re: True Macro Require Macro Lens?

    Another inexpensive way of experimenting with Macro and Close Up work is by using Extension Tubes (also known as Extension Rings).

    Close Up Lenses used on a DSLR often fall short of expectation in respect of IMAGE QUALITY, this is especially true of cheap Close Up Lenses, the purchase of which is often later regarded as a waste of money.

    Canon makes various Close Up Lenses and all are very good quality: these are designed to be used with mainly the short to mid Telephoto Lenses and Tele-Zooms.

    Hoya also make quite good quality CU Lenses.

    But for the cost of a Canon (or High Quality Hoya) CU lens . . . there will be not much difference to the cost of a good quality set of three Extension Tubes.


    One main benefit of a set of Extension Tubes, compared to CU Lenses is the flexibility of magnification and working distance tubes will provide with a set of Lenses.

    One main hindrance Tubes bring, is that for very close work the Viewfinder will dim.


    With respect to Canon APS-C Cameras this thread will provide information.


    WW
    Last edited by William W; 16th June 2012 at 10:22 PM.

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    Re: True Macro Require Macro Lens?

    If you do decide to use extension tubes be aware that the 'cheap' way to go may be an expensive way. The cheapest extension tubes are simply that and require that you are able to control the aperture manually. This means that the average modern lens is unsuitable becuase they are designed to be controlled by the camera. If you get the more expensive extension tube with electronic coupling for the lens not only are they pricey but only of limited extension. To get true 'macro' or 1:1 with a 'normal' APS-C lens of around 35mm focal length you need close to 35mm extension, though the ET can be less when the focusing ability of the lens is taken into consideration. The plain tubes can be a workable way if you already have legacy lenses but if you have to buy these you may save on the tubes but spend on getting a suitable lens to use with them.

    Having both cheap and photographic quality close-up lens I am not sure that the warnings about the cheap ones should put the entrant to big close-up photography off becuase they are very cheap and give you experience in what strength you need. Macro is a demanding form of photography and getting a tight framing is just small part of success.

    If you remember that distortion increases with the strength of the Close-up lens and stick to moderate powers such as 1 or 2 dioptre and use the narrow angle of a long focus lens you should not notice much loss of Image Quality. Here we are using the dioptre to overcome the mechanical inability of the longer lens to focus as close as we need.
    Certainly the result will be better than one sees coming from people using just ordinary lenses and not really geting tight framings.
    Though I have extension tube sets and bellows from film days, with digital I have been working with bridge cameras where the CU lens and zoom is the only option and considerably simpler to set-up and use. I bought a DSLR simply to use my gear but rarely use it these days, it is not worth the effort, but I don't see why a DSLR owner shouldn't use the same technique when they have quite small lenses such as the OP's.

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    Re: True Macro Require Macro Lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by William W View Post
    /.../Close Up Lenses used on a DSLR often fall short of expectation in respect of IMAGE QUALITY/.../

    /.../ But for the cost of a Canon (or High Quality Hoya) CU lens . . . there will be not much difference to the cost of a good quality set of three Extension Tubes.


    One main benefit of a set of Extension Tubes, compared to CU Lenses is the flexibility of magnification and working distance tubes will provide with a set of Lenses.

    One main hindrance Tubes bring, is that for very close work the Viewfinder will dim.


    With respect to Canon APS-C Cameras – this thread will provide information.


    WW
    The post seems to imply that extension tubes would imply superior image quality compared to a well chosen closeup attachment lens.

    So often misunderstood is the notion that as extension rings do not have any glass, they would not introduce optical errors, and hence be superior in quality to closeup lenses. However, this is not always true, and particularly so in the case of zoom lenses.

    All lenses are designed to be used at a particular range of focused distances. When getting closer, rays hit its front lens from different angles than devised by the optical engineers, and image quality suffers.

    When attaching a closeup lens, the virtual distance as seen from the original lens will be unaltered, although the lens in front will make objects closer to the lens to be focused. Virtually, an object 25 cm distant from the +4 lens will be at infinity as seen from the telezoom. Therefore also image stabilising will work just as when using the lens at infinity, and the focusing algorithms will coincide with those that are calibrated. It should be understood, that a camera with phase detection AF will not confirm sharpness, but is calibrated to move the lens in a direction and at a distance calculated from the difference of phase in the unsharp image. This strategy still works as expected when you have a closeup lens attached to the telezoom.

    At small angles, as with a telezoom, optical errors of the attached lens may be disregarded; they will not be larger than errors introduced by extension tubes. However, an extension tube will alter the register of the lens, for which the image stabilisation is calculated, and it will also alter factors that influence computing how far to turn focusing with AF, so that AF cannot fine tune focus correctly if it is correctly calibrated with the camera. Hence it will work correctly only with manual focus and disabled stabilisation. Therefore, better image quality should be expected from a telezoom with a closeup lens attached than from the same telezoom mounted on an extension tube, particularly when working hand-held.

    Errors that are introduced by the closeup lens are mainly curvature of field with coma and in the case of an uncorrected lens also chromatic aberration. Errors introduced by an extension tube when used with a zoom lens are mainly curvature of field with coma. They are of about the same order in both cases, and the extension tube introduces two weaknesses that are not shared with the closeup lens, namely loss of image stabilisation and fine tuning of focus with AF.

    Extension tubes also force you to take off the lens and put it in between lens and camera body, which makes handling more complicated and increases the risk of getting dirt into the camera.

    Extensions can be a marvellous way though to get into the micro range with an inverted short zoom lens. But to work conveniently with a short zoom turned end for end, it should have a diaphragm ring and some way to stop it down, and it is not suitable for a DSLR that does not have live view. It works best with the mirror-free alternatives, as 4/3 or NEX. It is particularly tricky on Canon, and works best with older lenses from the film era, due to the stop-down problem. However, the lens needs not be for a Canon, as the reversal ring fits into the filter thread of the lens.

    Extensions also work well with older normal lenses of 50 mm, or to increase the scope of a macro lens. But in all cases, focusing is done manually, and AF will not be of any use.

    So, still, for a 55-250 mm telezoom, there are advantages with closeup lenses compared to alternatives.

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    Re: True Macro Require Macro Lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by Inkanyezi View Post
    The post seems to imply that extension tubes would imply superior image quality compared to a well chosen close up attachment lens.

    So often misunderstood is the notion that as extension rings do not have any glass, they would not introduce optical errors, and hence be superior in quality to close up lenses. However, this is not always true, and particularly so in the case of zoom lenses. . . etc
    There was no implication made.

    Any suggestions as per Post #15 are suggested by that author.

    Certainly High Quality Close Up lenses were mentioned and specifically noted: "these are designed to be used with mainly the short to mid Telephoto Lenses and Tele-Zooms."

    Apart from the mention of a dim viewfinder, no mention was made of the Optical effect of Extension tubes and certainly it was NOT stated, or implied that there was none.

    There is no misunderstanding about the use of extension rings within Post #13.

    Post #13 outlined another option and provided only SOME positives and negatives of each option: nothing more and nothing less.


    WW

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    Re: True Macro Require Macro Lens?

    There is a lens maker not mentioned in this thread which is highly regarded in bridge camera and probably other circles and this is the Raynox which are multi-element lenses rather than single lenses [ the cheap ones ]. They should be suitable for the OP's lens so long as his lens doesn't have a larger entry pupil than 49mm. But the nearest I have got to one was when a DSLR owner considering changing to M4/3 brought his Raynox to try out on my camera. They have a clamp arrangement to fit around the outside of the lens barrel. I suggest it worthwhile visiting the Raynox website.

    EDIT 19 June ... A point ..." some 'macro' lenses cannot shoot true Macro ".... came to me as I read the thread title again
    Last edited by jcuknz; 19th June 2012 at 09:09 AM.

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