Macro Lens

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Duncan
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Hi all:wave:
Please can I ask for some help as I am confused :thinking:
I would like to get some good close up shots of insects and bugs etc, I would call it Macro:thinking:
What would be the type of lens to buy for this on a tight budget? I have a Canon 450d and may switch to the 70d soon, so a canon fit.
I was thinking of the 24-105 f/4 LIS USM

Cam anyone tell me would this is the correct type lens to go for to use for Macro photography? Or could any of you knowledgable people point me in the direction of a good Macro Lens.

Thank you:clap:
 
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Simon
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The 24-105 is not a dedicated macro lens and whilst it is capable of producing close-ups of insects, you would probably be better off going for a macro lens.
I currently use a Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 lens, which is on Amazon for £200 less than a Canon 24-105mm, so should be within your budget.
You will probably also want to consider an external flash - take a look at this thread for some ideas of what other people are using.
Hope this helps.

Simon
 
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Duncan16
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Duncan
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Hi Simon,

Thank you for your reply. (y) I will look into the 100mm lens. Would you suggest using a flash when working with insects:thinking:

I'm unsure if it would cause them to move/ fly away. I have not had any experience with this area and would like to try and get some good shots.

Thank you for your reply:clap:
 
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Hi I agree with Simon about the lens would be a good choice
Most insects aren't bothered by a flash
Its not essential to use flash but most people do use it for macro and get great results
I'm in a minority though I prefer the look of natural light shot's without using flash
 
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Simon
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I use a flash with mine and the insects don't seem too bothered by it. Usually, they'll move/fly away when you're approaching them so patience is the key.
If you go down the flash route, then either buy or make a diffuser to soften the light a bit. This will make a difference, especially if the insect is somewhat shiny. I've taken photos that have been let down by the harsh reflections so it's something worth doing.

Simon
 
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Simon
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Another thought - If you didn't want to splash out on a dedicated macro lens, you could always try a Raynox DCR-250, which clips onto the front of your lens. A lot cheaper than a lens too.

Simon
 
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Stuart or just Stoo!
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A Canon 50 f2.5 macro like this http://www.digitalrev.com/product/c...1&country=GB&gclid=CL6rxP6MvroCFVMftAodyXEA6g or a 100 f2.8 http://www.digitalrev.com/product/c...1&country=GB&gclid=CKCf95qNvroCFWTHtAodmk8Axw would be the best way to get macro shots as a dedicated lens will, IMO, give you the best quality photos.

There are other 3rd party macro lenses available, such as a Tamron 90mm or a Sigma 105mm are also excellent choices as they will give you a 1:1 ratio and great IQ.

Probably the cheapest/easiest way to start would be a set of extension tubes on something like a 50 f1.8. Or you could get a reversing ring for a few pounds but I've never used one so I can't tell you how easy they are to use or how good the IQ is.
 
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Robin
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I love photographing insects etc and especially Dragonflies.

As I have spent the last couple of months researching which gear to get, I have now decided on the Canon 70D and 100mm f2.8 Macro L IS.

The articulated Live View screen will be particularly invaluable as well as other features which the 70D offers.

I run a Dragonflies Group on facebook and there are loads of pics there using this Canon 100mm Macro lens - Handheld and without the need for ringflash or tubes. Also, 100mm is quite good for human portrait shots.

As the 70D is a crop-sensor body, the 100mm focal length will actually be more and so give you slightly more telephoto reach - Those bugs can be flighty!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/561222590593478/

Hope this helps (y)
 
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Robin
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I should add....

Unless you have a tight budget, buy the IS (Image Stabilisation) version of the Canon 100mm f2.8 L Macro lens. Bugs don't tend to like being approached with tripods.

If you have the funds available and know what you want to achieve, there's no point starting off cheap as that money spent will be wasted when you upgrade.
 
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Robin
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Duncan, some posted replies have been lost in the migration to the forum's new software but I remember you posting you were considering a 24-105 zoom for Macro.

If you want to do macro, don't use a zoom lens for it. Well, you can of course, but a fixed focal length lens will deliver far better quality results, especially if it's a designed-for-purpose macro lens.
 
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Graeme
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Have a look at a used Tamron 180mm f/3.5 (£300 - £400 on ebay) Better working distance and less likely to scare critters away than a 105....
 
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Robin
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Have a look at a used Tamron 180mm f/3.5 (£300 - £400 on ebay) Better working distance and less likely to scare critters away than a 105....
....But the OP needs to make sure that this Tamron lens will fully exploit what the Canon 70D body has to offer. I have read cases of some Tamron lenses not doing so.

I would also say, from direct experience of photographing live insects outdoors, that 180mm is too much reach and may introduce focus hunting difficulties.

For macro photography in the field, 100mm fixed lenses (not zoom) are proven to offer the optimum results. Also, you need image stabilisation unless you are happy to be constantly tethered to a tripod.
 
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....But the OP needs to make sure that this Tamron lens will fully exploit what the Canon 70D body has to offer. I have read cases of some Tamron lenses not doing so.

I would also say, from direct experience of photographing live insects outdoors, that 180mm is too much reach and may introduce focus hunting difficulties.

For macro photography in the field, 100mm fixed lenses (not zoom) are proven to offer the optimum results. Also, you need image stabilisation unless you are happy to be constantly tethered to a tripod.
If he's on a budget that kinda rules out the 100mm L doesn't it?

The Tamron is tempting as it's got the reach but I seem to recall the reviews mentioning it's not great for focusing etc and if you're spending that much money you can also consider a second hand Canon 100mm L or Sigma 150mm.
 
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Robin
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If he's on a budget that kinda rules out the 100mm L doesn't it?

The Tamron is tempting as it's got the reach but I seem to recall the reviews mentioning it's not great for focusing etc and if you're spending that much money you can also consider a second hand Canon 100mm L or Sigma 150mm.
....Ooops! Yes he did write the words "tight budget" but I'm very good at spending money and that includes other people's!

Yes, Tamron's focussing when coupled with the 70D was what I think I read too. As the Canon 100mm L is such a highly regarded lens, looking for one second hand is a very good idea.
 
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Duncan16
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Duncan
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Hey guy's,

A big thank you for the advice. I guess it's off to rob a bank!!! Or save for the Canon 100 f2.8L? I just hope I can get some good photos with it???
Nice to see that yet again the photography community have been superb. When I am out and about and see a photographer there's always a conversational point and some advice.

Thank you once again, just hope I can repay with help for someone along the way.;-)
 
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Robin
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Duncan, I'm sure I speak for all of us when I say we always feel good if we have been able to help someone.

If I was in your current circumstances, I would hang on to the Canon 450D for now at least (surely it's good enough) and leave the possible purchase of a 70D until later - Also their prices will reduce. And I would buy the Canon 100mm Macro f2.8 L IS USM. If for some unforeseen reason you found it unsuitable or no longer wanted to shoot small wildlife, I doubt if it would be difficult to sell the Canon 100mm Macro - It really is acknowledged as an excellent lens.

The body of course plays an important part, but the lens is the key component.

After months of research I am about to buy a 70D plus the Canon 100mm Macro L.
 
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Simon
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My tuppence worth again...
I do not have the L version of the Canon 100mm macro and don't believe it is strictly necessary to have image stabilisation. I can happily take macro photos without a tripod and no IS. However, I do use a flash and a shutter speed of 1/180s (fastest speed that will sync with the flash), which negates the problem of camera shake really. Horses for courses I suppose, but if budget is the limiting factor, I'd rather have the non-IS version and a flash than the IS version and no flash.

Simon
 
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Robin
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My tuppence worth again...
I do not have the L version of the Canon 100mm macro and don't believe it is strictly necessary to have image stabilisation. I can happily take macro photos without a tripod and no IS. However, I do use a flash and a shutter speed of 1/180s (fastest speed that will sync with the flash), which negates the problem of camera shake really. Horses for courses I suppose, but if budget is the limiting factor, I'd rather have the non-IS version and a flash than the IS version and no flash.

Simon
....Both options are of course very valid and it's better to capture a photo than have no photo. So it's IS vs flash and consequently depends on which photo style you prefer. But isn't a ring-flash needed? And that's a relatively expensive option.
 
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Very good advice on this thread
Most people do use flash for macro but there's no right or wrong way
I've been photographing insects for a few years now and have tried both and prefer the look of natural light
 
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Robin
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I prefer natural light too but flash is a useful option. It can depend on the subject and setting - The more options, the better.
 

Nod

Krispy and Kremey
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Nod (NOT Ethel!!!)
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FWIW...

I use a 105mm Macro and when doing so in Macro mode, I switch VR off (yup, VR - I shoot Nikon but the system doesn't matter since the principle's the same!), although I keep it on most of the time when using it as a short telephoto/portrait lens. The manufacturers' own brand macro/micro lenses aren't cheap, even 2nd hand but there are a few good (excellent) options available, with the Tamron 90mm and Sigma 105mm (both f/2.8) being the best of the bunch. These 2 are (or at least were, last group test I saw) up to the IQ of the OEM lenses but significantly cheaper.

IMO a monopod is a good compromise between handholding and tripod mounting - it allows a certain amount of freedom to move back and forth if necessary as well as plenty of support to help avoid camera shake.
 
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Simon
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....Both options are of course very valid and it's better to capture a photo than have no photo. So it's IS vs flash and consequently depends on which photo style you prefer. But isn't a ring-flash needed? And that's a relatively expensive option.
You don't necessarily need a ring flash. In the thread I linked to earlier, there are plenty of people who use an external flash on the hotshoe but with an extender/diffuser.
Hopefully, all of this has given you options and things to think about Duncan. Whichever way you decide to go, put in a bit of practise and I'm sure you'll get good results.

Simon
 

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Pete
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Take a look at the Tamron 90mm f2.8 macro...I had the Nikon version and it's very sharp and is an excellent true macro lens for around £250...also a decent lens for portraits.
(y) ive got one and its great - mpb have them for £195 second hand - you can also use it with a 2xtc for those shots that need more reach
 
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Graeme
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....But the OP needs to make sure that this Tamron lens will fully exploit what the Canon 70D body has to offer. I have read cases of some Tamron lenses not doing so.

I would also say, from direct experience of photographing live insects outdoors, that 180mm is too much reach and may introduce focus hunting difficulties.

For macro photography in the field, 100mm fixed lenses (not zoom) are proven to offer the optimum results. Also, you need image stabilisation unless you are happy to be constantly tethered to a tripod.
My Tamron 180mm was good enough for the 24MP Nikon D7100 and the 36MP Nikon D800, so it's well up to exploiting everything the 70D sensor has to offer.

You can never have too much macro reach in my experience. The more focal length you have, the better working distance you have. Focus hunting was never an issue for me either. The Tamron has a clutch to rapidly switch between AF and MF. Rough focus in MF and then switching to AF worked well for me. Macro lenses don't focus quickly - they're geared slow for accuracy rather than fast for speed.

I'm not sure where you heard that 100mm is optimum for macro. Nikon's top macro lens is the 200mm f/4, Sigma's is 150mm and Tamron's is 180mm.......

The Tamron 180mm doesn't have VR/IS, despite this I hardly ever used a tripod. Fast shutter speed using available light or a bit of flash was all I ever used. Relative to macro subjects, even hard, bare flash is a large light source, so diffusion isn't always necessary.

The biggest difficulty with macro in my experience isn't movement that VR/IS can sort, but fore/aft movement that renders focusing difficult due to the miniscule DOF. Good technique wins over VR/IS any day.....
 
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Robin
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The biggest difficulty with macro in my experience isn't movement that VR/IS can sort, but fore/aft movement that renders focusing difficult due to the miniscule DOF. Good technique wins over VR/IS any day.....
....I just think that every advantage we can get helps and that Image Stabilisation can also help our sight when focussing. I agree, just as in the words of Ansell Adams in my signature, it's the photographer and his/her technique and 'eye' which makes the photo. I think we each find our own techniques which suit us best individually.

Basically, we do our very best with whatever camera tools we have, no matter how limited.

(y)
 
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My Tamron 180mm was good enough for the 24MP Nikon D7100 and the 36MP Nikon D800, so it's well up to exploiting everything the 70D sensor has to offer.

You can never have too much macro reach in my experience. The more focal length you have, the better working distance you have. Focus hunting was never an issue for me either. The Tamron has a clutch to rapidly switch between AF and MF. Rough focus in MF and then switching to AF worked well for me. Macro lenses don't focus quickly - they're geared slow for accuracy rather than fast for speed.

I'm not sure where you heard that 100mm is optimum for macro. Nikon's top macro lens is the 200mm f/4, Sigma's is 150mm and Tamron's is 180mm.......

The Tamron 180mm doesn't have VR/IS, despite this I hardly ever used a tripod. Fast shutter speed using available light or a bit of flash was all I ever used. Relative to macro subjects, even hard, bare flash is a large light source, so diffusion isn't always necessary.

The biggest difficulty with macro in my experience isn't movement that VR/IS can sort, but fore/aft movement that renders focusing difficult due to the miniscule DOF. Good technique wins over VR/IS any day.....
yes agree that the more focal length you have, the better but its harder to hand hold the longer focal lentghs
I started off with the Sigma 105mm then bought the Sigma 150mm excellent lens but I struggled to get sharp shots handholding I was fine with a tripod
Its probably just that my hands arnt as steady as they could be
I now use the Canon 100L macro in my experiece the IS does help a bit
I photograph small insects like damselflies and butterflies often at 1:1 and the canon IS still helps at macro distances
 
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Robin
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I'm not sure where you heard that 100mm is optimum for macro. Nikon's top macro lens is the 200mm f/4, Sigma's is 150mm and Tamron's is 180mm.......
....I heard on an internet forum - So it must be true! ;) :D Just as it is if you had read it in The Sun newspaper (or any other newspaper for that matter!).

No, whether true or not, the reasoning was that less than 100mm using a dedicated macro lens didn't allow you to get close enough (generally in a lot of cases) and that the longer the physical size of the lens the more that relatively cumbersome any flash gear used would need to be to avoid overshadowing the subject - Adjustable strength ringflash often being a preferred ideal.

In the context of which camera brand you use (Canon in my case), the 100mm f2.8 L IS Macro is considered to be the top dog (or dog's danglies) and Duncan, the OP, uses Canon.

On the Canon 70D in particular, the Sigma/Tamron lenses are very good indeed according to user reports and examples, but are they really going to match up to Canon's design and technology as a package? I think that many folks are swayed by cost. Most of us need to budget but whether a professional or an enthusiast, our 'budgeting' depends on how serious we are as individuals in what we aspire to.

I think though that the bottom line is how individual technique comes into play. I met up with someone on Somerset Levels in September to photograph Dragonflies etc and he had a full-on Nikon+Telephoto+Tripod setup and he was totally blown away by my ability to approach and get very close with just a pocket-size compact FinePix F500EXR (example pic below).

When does a close-up shot become a macro shot?

 
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Duncan16
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Duncan
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Hi all,

Well thanks again for the many replays and opinions. I have seen Pete has said that MPB have some second hand. What's the feel of bUying second hand equipment? I'm not sure what to look out for on the" is this lens working etc"

Also where or what is MPB?

Many thanks again team.
 

Nod

Krispy and Kremey
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Nod (NOT Ethel!!!)
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In the context of which camera brand you use (Canon in my case), the 100mm f2.8 L IS Macro is considered to be the top dog (or dog's danglies) and Duncan, the OP, uses Canon.
Surely the MPE-65 is the ultimate mutt's nut as far as Canon Macros go? Not that common (or cheap) on the 2nd hand market though.
 
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Nod said:
Surely the MPE-65 is the ultimate mutt's nut as far as Canon Macros go? Not that common (or cheap) on the 2nd hand market though.
Yes the MPE 65 is an amazing lens but is a specialist tool for extreme close ups it goes from 1:1 to 5:1 and can only focus at close distances
It's also tricky to use
 
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Robin
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Yes the MPE 65 is an amazing lens but is a specialist tool for extreme close ups it goes from 1:1 to 5:1 and can only focus at close distances
It's also tricky to use
....Yes, thanks for that info (y) - It's why I didn't mention it in the context of the original post by Duncan in this thread.
 

Nod

Krispy and Kremey
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Sorry, I meant to put a ;) at the end of my post. The MP-E is rather specialist (but is one of very few things that might make me take a trip into the world of artillery!)
 
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Sorry, I meant to put a ;) at the end of my post. The MP-E is rather specialist (but is one of very few things that might make me take a trip into the world of artillery!)
No worries just mentioned it because I borrowed one for a try and its very tricky to use i struggled to be honest but apparently once youve got the hang of it its fantastic
 
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Robin
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I can also recommend this lens, the results are 'top notch'. It also scores highly in comparison reviews, even better than Canon's 100mm version.

I have used it with a 7D, and now a 5D Mklll.
....Clearly the Sigma 105mm f2.8 DG EX Macro and the Canon 100mm f2.8 L IS USM are direct rivals but I have read some reviews which slightly favour the Sigma and others which slightly favour the Canon. I conclude that both are good but someone who has owned and used both should comment.

The Canon is lighter in weight and weather sealed but is more expensive - You pays yer money and takes yer pick.
 
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RE sigma 105 vs Canon 100L
I've got both my sigma is the older nonIS version and to be honest looking at pictures of insects taken with either I can't see any difference
Both are excellent
I went for the Canon for the IS and faster focus
 
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