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Thread: New Macro Lens?

  1. #1
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    New Macro Lens?

    Hi all,

    I'm looking to get a new Canon macro lens for my 650D. I'm going on annual leave next week and will be going to a flower festival with loads of colourful flowers and orchards etc.

    I've been reading a few articles and people talk about macros being great for flowers and insects and whatnot. Now, my budget isn't huge... Like $400-500 tops. I'd also like to only get Canon instead of say Sigma or Tamron (unless those slay Canon's offerings)

    I've currently got the 18-55 and 55-250 lenses from Canon (that came with the camera) and am looking for a macro so I can kind of "fill out" my kit so to speak.

    If you had that kind of money, what would you purchase, and what do you like about that lens?

    And, as usual, thanks heaps for your help

  2. #2
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    The Canon 100 L Macro runs about $1000, so that's out (although it's very good).
    A lot of people rate the Sigma 105mm macro just as highly, but it's just as expensive.
    The Canon 100 USM (non-L) Macro is about $600, so that's probably out too.
    There is an older Canon 100 non-USM Macro, which i've seen go on fleabay for $300-400. I'm not sure how well it performs, afaik it's not as good as the USM or L.

    Sticking with Canon, there's also the EF-s 60mm Macro, which by most accounts that i've read is very sharp. Of course you don't get IS, but it depends how close you want to get and how much light is around.

    Anyone of those 4 options are good, and are all Dedicated Macro lenses, that will focus anywhere from 1:1 to infinity. There's also the 50mm Macro, that will only go to 1:2, and the 180mm L macro (which is just huge, I wouldn't use it for macro without a tripod, but if you do it's great). The good thing about them is that they also make great portrait lenses.

    Another (slightly more annoying but cheaper) option is to get any prime lens, and a set of Kenko Extension Tubes (B+H has them for $200, I paid closer to $90 in Hong Kong, you can probably find a good deal via fleabay). Then you can choose from the 40mm Pancake ($200), 50/1.8 ($100), 85/1.8 or 100/2.0 ($3-400), or even use your 55-250 (zoom lenses with tubes is a bit weird, but you get used to it). But the annoyance is that to get down to macro distances, you have to pull the lens off, put the tubes on, and put it back on, then you can't focus to infinity without taking the tubes off again. For a 'shoot' where you're always doing the same thing, it's fine, but for walkaround it gets annoying...
    An awful lot of electrons were terribly inconvenienced in the making of this post.
    Gear Photos

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the replies. Tube extenders? I'll have to look into it. Would it still have the same quality though?

    My friend is showing me http://www.georges.com.au/index.php/...s/ef5025m.html but I'm not sure, I was looking at the 60mm although out of my budget.

  4. #4
    Senior Member nvitalephotography's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Squidy;75547]Thanks for the replies. Tube extenders? I'll have to look into it. Would it still have the same quality though?

    extension tubes are basically just spacers for between the lens and body. they have the connections to maintain autofocus and IS but there is little more to them. They are great because they do not change the quality since there is no extra optics involved. Most people buy kenko, because they are cheaper than canon ones and do the exact same thing. The only draw back as mentioned before is that you loose the abiitly to focus to infinity.

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    For a newbie can you please define "focus to infinity"?

  6. #6
    Senior Member Kombi's Avatar
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    The extension tube allows your lens to focus closer than usual. I have the 25mm version and use it as my macro substitute.
    You can use them with your lenses, another helper for macro is a close up lens filter.
    I almost never use the filters but it does add to macro abilities.

    http://www.adorama.com/CAETEF252.html
    http://www.adorama.com/HY58CUS.html

    as a side note- with trip only a week away- macro is much harder than it first looks - will take a day or so to get used to new news and being really close to your subject.

    I find the 55-250 with extension tube gives a reasonable working distance

  7. #7
    Senior Member Kombi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Squidy View Post
    For a newbie can you please define "focus to infinity"?
    the extension tube will force focussing closer- so with the 55-250 and 25mm extension
    max distance is about 5'

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    When you say max distance do you mean max focusing distance? ie I'd need to be closer?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Squidy View Post
    Hi all,

    I'm looking to get a new Canon macro lens for my 650D. I'm going on annual leave next week and will be going to a flower festival with loads of colourful flowers and orchards etc.

    I've been reading a few articles and people talk about macros being great for flowers and insects and whatnot. Now, my budget isn't huge... Like $400-500 tops. I'd also like to only get Canon instead of say Sigma or Tamron (unless those slay Canon's offerings)

    I've currently got the 18-55 and 55-250 lenses from Canon (that came with the camera) and am looking for a macro so I can kind of "fill out" my kit so to speak.

    If you had that kind of money, what would you purchase, and what do you like about that lens?

    And, as usual, thanks heaps for your help
    Hi, to start with you should try to decide what focal length you prefer. There are several great Macro lenses at about 100 mm which may be a bit long for general photography, but works great for many Macro purposes. At a flower festival you may be interested in capturing loads of flowers in a single shot while a 100 mm Macro is best for single flowers or small parts of flowers. For general flower shots you already have the 18-55 that will do fine both for single flower shots and "oceans of flowers".

    I purchased my Macro about a year ago and then I had a shortlist of three (in this order):
    1) Canon 100 L
    2) Canon 100
    3) Tamron 90

    I debated with myself for rather long until i finally decided for my first choice, Canon 100 L. (A campaign that brought its price close to the non-L Macro price made me decide.) If I would have been on a tighter budget, I would likely have chosen the Tamron 90 and I would probably have been very satisfied also with that lens - I've only heard good things about it.

    So, the Tamron 90 mm would be my suggestion for a good Macro lens within a budget of $400-500.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Kombi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Squidy View Post
    When you say max distance do you mean max focusing distance? ie I'd need to be closer?
    yes Maximum focusing distance- you can focus on something about 5-6' away but almost everything beyond the would be out of focus.

    It attaches like a lens, then you attach your lens.

    some quick samples
    With 25mm extension @ 55mm - about 4" away

    @100 - about 12" away

    @250 - about 3'

    @250 - about 6'

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