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Thread: Macro Zoom Lens

  1. #1

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    Macro Zoom Lens

    I am thinking of a new lens. This is the one I have in mind.
    Tamron 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di LD 1:2 Auto Focus Macro Zoom Lens
    My question is, first what is the opinion of ones that have used macro zoom lens? And I was of the belief that a macro was a macro and a long or zoom was just that, now I see they are one. How do people feel about this? Maybe I just don't understand the exactly what a macro lens is.

    I am looking for a lens to get in close, a macro lens. I would also like the option of shooting a photo that I cannot get close to, a long or zoom lens. Would this lens work for both?

  2. #2
    ktuli's Avatar
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    Re: Macro Zoom Lens

    Tom,

    I own this lens and it served me ok for a little while. If this is all your budget can afford, then by all means it is an acceptable lens, but if you can afford something nicer, I'd keep looking. Here are my thoughts on the lens...

    Pros:
    - Inexpensive
    - Decent range (you probably won't find another 300mm lens for this price)
    - Semi-macro (more on this soon)
    - Virtually no lens creep. YMMV, but on mine, I've never experienced any lens creep - the zoom ring is almost perfectly dampened to eliminate it.

    Cons:
    - No Image Stabilization. At 300mm f/5.6, you better believe that you're going to need a tripod without IS. This is probably the biggest reason why this lens stays home most days for me now.
    - Fairly slow AF.
    - Semi-Macro. I'm kind of a stickler for the macro designation, and in my opinion macro is 1:1 magnification. However, 1:2 magnification is probably the best you'll see in a zoom lens. The lens has a minimum focusing distance of just over 3 feet when in the macro mode, which is what gives it the 1:2 magnification. The macro mode is available from 180mm-300mm and is accessible by a switch on the lens that then lets the lens access a larger focusing range to allow for the 1:2 macro focus and shorter focusing distance.

    Which style of shooting will you be doing more? If you plan on focusing on macro more, then I would look for a true 1:1 macro lens. If you want to do the long telephoto work, expect to need to use a tripod with this lens at 300mm.

    What other lenses do you have?

    The bottom line is that to be able to do both macro and long telephoto, compromises have to be made. So the lens is "ok" at a couple different things, but it is not "excellent" at any of them. If you're ok with that, then the lens is a nice cheap addition to your bag. If not, save up for something more specific to handle each of those tasks.

    Hope this helps.

    - Bill

  3. #3

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    Re: Macro Zoom Lens

    Bill -

    Thanks for the comments. You mentioned a few of my concerns. The main one being 1:2 ratio. I think for what I am looking for it might be better to go with straight macro lens. And later on when I find some more money get some type of a long lens. Also 300mm maybe a little more then what I need. Maybe not more then 200 or less.

    Thanks for your comments. They sort of reaffirmed what I was thinking.
    Tom

  4. #4
    ktuli's Avatar
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    Re: Macro Zoom Lens

    Tom,

    I currently shoot with 3 different 1:1 macro lenses. I have a Tamron 180mm, Canon 100mm, and Tokina 35mm. For a beginner macro, I'd steer clear of the 35mm. There is also the EF-S 60mm.

    But really it depends on what you're looking to shoot with the macro lens that would decide what lens you'd want to get.

    - Bill

  5. #5

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    Re: Macro Zoom Lens

    Bill,

    At this point I am looking to photographs my backyard gardens (my other hobby) and am thinking after checking reviews from the internet, that 50/60 - 90 mm would serve my needs very well.

    I saw the price of the lens I mentioned in the first message and thought for the price maybe I could get 2 lens for the price of one, but the more I read the more I see that I should focus on the macro and come back at a later time and think about the long/zoom lens.

    Tom

  6. #6
    ktuli's Avatar
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    Re: Macro Zoom Lens

    Yeah - if you are serious about the macro, I think that lens would disappoint. Get a dedicated macro lens and I think you'll be much happier.

    If you're shooting flowers and other things that won't be moving, the 50 or 60mm would be fine. If you're going after bugs, then definitely bump up to the 90 or 100 or 105 or even 180mm size for further working distance from your subject.

    My current favorite is my 100mm f/2.8L IS USM, and it hits a nice balance in between. The IS is helpful as neither my 180mm nor my 35mm have it and as such, the 100mm gets the most use. Though I should probably spread it around a bit.

    Happy shopping. Feel free to post any additional questions.

    - Bill

  7. #7

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    Re: Macro Zoom Lens

    Bill,

    Thanks for your comments. This is the first time posting on any forums and am very happy with what I have seen here.

    Thank you

  8. #8
    ktuli's Avatar
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    Re: Macro Zoom Lens

    Welcome to CiC then. I've only been here a short while myself, but so far I haven't had a single question go unanswered (and always answered very thoroughly), and I've received great critiques on my work. Everyone here is incredibly helpful and friendly. The talent and knowledge here are second to none if you ask me.

    - Bill

  9. #9
    Jim B.'s Avatar
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    Re: Macro Zoom Lens

    Hi Tom,

    Bill has given some great advice here.If you are going to be doing most of your work with flowers I'll add a plug for the Tamron SP AF 90 2.8 Di.It gets great reviews and will do flowers and insects that aren't too skittish very nicely.
    Whatever you decide on buying ,if you go with a true 1:1 macro lens, the IQ will amaze you.The macro lenses are sharp!

  10. #10

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    Re: Macro Zoom Lens

    Tom, if you post a copy of your current bank account statement we will willingly spend your money.

    As others have mentioned, if you are serious about macro then get a 'proper' macro lens. Something around 100 mm or a little less is fine for flowers but I would suggest 150 mm for insects, etc.

    I use a Sigma 180 mm but that is a bit heavy, cumbersome and expensive. Although I mostly photograph hoverflies, small bees, etc so I often add a 1.4x converter to that lens.

    At one time I added a 25 mm extension tube to my Canon 70-300 lens which worked reasonably well, but obviously a dedicated macro lens is a little easier to use.

    If you always use a tripod, which I would recommend, you don't need a stabilised macro lens. Except that it may also be useful as a general purpose lens, in which case IS, or whatever it may be called in third party lenses, might be worth having.

    For macro use, I would normally advise a setting around F14; but for general use, getting something reasonably fast may also be helpful.

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