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Thread: Macro Shots

  1. #1
    kaykam's Avatar
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    Macro Shots

    I just recently purchased the Canon 60D, and it came with a 28-135mm lens. I would like something that will be a great macro lens. I was thinking about the 50mm/1.4f would this be a good? Are there any others that may best suit my needs? Thanks for the advice!

  2. #2
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Macro Shots

    Hello and welcome. Is Kay your proper name? We tend to go with real names here on the site.

    Glad you've joined in.

    If it's a macro lens that you want, you'll find they are all designated as such in the name; e.g. Canon EF-S 60mm f2.8 USM Macro Lens.

    The 50mm f1.4 isn't a macro lens. Here is one link (there will be many more) that explains about macro lenses.

    But please do come back on here and ask questions about macro lenses if that is what you really want to go for. There are lots of macro shooters on here who will be only too happy to help you.

    Oh, and ps - Where are you? You didn't give us your location.

  3. #3
    kaykam's Avatar
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    Re: Macro Shots

    Hi Donald,
    I'm sorry, my name is Kelly, and I live in Florida. I'm new with DSLR, so I joined to gain more experience and insight. I want to really become a great photographer. So hopefully, with all the knowledge from the CIC community, I can achieve my goal!

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Macro Shots

    Great, Kelly. Good to know you.

    Like I said above, please do get right into CiC and ask questions and become involved in discussions. It is a great place to learn.

  5. #5

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    Re: Macro Shots

    The main question, Kelly, is what exact do you want to photograph with a macro lens?

    That 28-135 is a useful mid price lens which focuses quite close and I have used it for butterflies and flowers, etc.

    But if you want to get really close to live insects I would recommend something a bit bigger. The 150 mm lenses, from several manufacturers, are popular with entomologists. I normally use a 180 mm macro lens but that is starting to become expensive and a bit specialised.

    So, depending on your intended use; I would be tempted to say first try your current lens with a tripod and see if you need anything extra.

  6. #6
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Macro Shots

    Hi Kelly...

    Your 28-135mm lens will give you a 1:5.2 image ratio. To clarify this, it means that when mounted on your 60D your lens can cover an area 117mm wide and 78mm high. (For us metrically challenged Americans the equates to 4.6" wide by 3.07" high). That is really quite a decent image ratio because you will be enlarging your image to at least 6" wide by 4" high which results in a better than 1:1 final image ratio. If you do an 10x8" size print you will result in a final image that is quite a bit greater than 1:1 or quite a bit larger than your original subject. This capability is pretty decent for shooting flowers and subjects of that approximate size. I agree with Geoff that possibly your best bet would be to experiment shooting close-ups with your 28-135mm lens and then see what, if any, other lens you need.

    A true "macro" lens will allow you to achieve a 1:1 image ratio; that is achieving an image on your sensor exactly the same size as the subject you are shooting. In this case you will be covering a subject area of 22.5mm x 15mm (.89" wide by .59" high). Most macro lenses achieve this image ratio without any accessories but there are two that I can think of (Canon 50mm f/2.5 macro and Phoenix 100mm f/3.5 Macro) that need an adapter in order to get 1:1 imagery.

    Shooting with a true macro lens will expand your capability and allow you to shoot things like insects and portions of flowers. Remember, when you have enlarged your image to a 10x8" or even a 6x4" print, you will have an image several sizes larger than your original subject.

    There are at least two other ways to achieve 1:1 imagery: using a set of extension tubes or using a close-up filter. However, shooting with a true macro lens is easier and more fun than using extension tubes (although they can be combined with macro lenses for image ratios far greater than 1:1) and the image quality of a true macro lens is better than using a close up filter or even using extension tubes on non-macro lenses. Macro lenses are optimized for close-up work while standard lenses are not. Macro lenses can also be used for normal distance shooting.

    There are, IMO, three general focal length groupings for macro lenses:

    50-60mm: These include the excellent Canon 60mm macro, the very fast Tamron 60mm f/2 macro, the Sigma 50mm macro and the Canon 50mm macro (which needs an adapter to achieve 1:1 imagery). These lenses are light in weight and relatively affordable. Their only slight drawback is that they need to get closer to the subject in order to achieve 1:1 imagery and this may frighten insects and/or make lighting difficult.

    150-180mm: These lenses have a great working distance but, are heavier and more expensive than other macros. Normally, these focal lengths are not what the first-time macro shooter selects. Canon, Sigma, Tamron are among the manufacturers who produce lenses of this focal range.

    90-100mm: IMO, this is the best compromise between weight. price and subject distance. Canon has two 100mm f/2.8 macro lenses with one of them having Image Stabilization. IS would be really nice for hand-held macros but, you pay a premium price for this lens and people have been using non-stabilized macro lenses for years and years with no great problems. Tamron produces a 90mm f/2.8 macro which is also a great lens. I use the model prior to the one that Tamron presently offers (Mine is the 90mm f/2.8 AF SP lens. The latest offering adds Di to this alphabet soup designator). I got mine for $100 (USD) on eBay. This is, IMO, probably the best value in macro lenses ( http://cgi.ebay.com/Tamron-90mm-f-2-...item1c19959ed5 ). However, they are hard to find. Phoenix (also sold under several other names) markets a reasonably decent 100mm f/3.5 macro lens which costs about $100 (USD) new. This lens only produces 1:2 imagery and needs an adapter to take it to 1:1.

    BTW: The considerably older version; 90mm f/2.5 Tamron "Adaptall" lens is not as good a choice as the f/2.8 versions and you may or may not have problems adapting it to your 60D.

    BTW #2: Canon produces a 65mm MPE macro lens which is a very specialized lens. It will produce imagery from life size (1:1) to 5:1. However, it cannot shoot at less than 1:1 image ratio so the largest area it will cover using your 60D is 22.5 x 15mm or 89 x .59 inches. Since it is so specialized, it cannot be used as a "normal" lens.

    BTW #3: There are many zoom lenses from many different manufacturers which include the term "macro" in their designations. These are not really true macro lenses but are lenses with close up capability. They may or may not be capable of achieving the type imagery in which you are interested.
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 28th February 2011 at 04:07 PM.

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