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Category: All About Photography : Photographic Field Techniques

Photography Question 
Pamela Njemanze
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/3/2005
newcreationpictures.com
 

Macro Equipment


What is better: a macro lens or diopter close-up attachment? I would like to get into macro photography more.


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12/21/2009 5:31:30 AM

 
Jeffrey R. Whitmoyer   I would choose a true macro lens over diopters. The diopters will work for you, but I don't feel they do as good a job. You could also look into close-up/extension rings to use with your existing lenses.


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12/21/2009 2:39:24 PM

 
kerby lee pfrangle
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/19/2005
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  I've shot flowers with my macro lens. The lens brings great details into what you shooting. I have a Sony Alpha 700 with a 2.8/100 Sony macro lens - my favorite lens.


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12/21/2009 3:07:37 PM

 
Carlton Ward
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/13/2005
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  Hi Pam,
Macro lenses are specialized in their design and performance. While diopters like the Canon 500D and extension tubes help a normal lens with closer focusing ability, it is not the same as a true 1:1 macro lens.


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12/21/2009 6:36:15 PM

 
Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/17/2003
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  I agree with all of the previous comments. Diopter filters are much more limiting and the optical integrity of an otherwise great lens can be compromised.
Another option you may want to consider is a reversing ring. When mounted backwards, a standard non-macro lens can focus much closer.


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12/22/2009 2:56:55 AM

 
Peter K. Burian
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  Pamela: Yeah, if you tried a true macro lens, you would be amazed at the superior quality you would get. The accessories do work, but a true 100mm (or similar) macro lens is a great investment for nature photography.
Sony makes a 100mm Macro lens ($679); Sigma also makes a 105mm macro that is fully Sony compatible ($479).


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12/22/2009 9:36:21 AM

 
Randy A. Myers
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/20/2002
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  I agree with Peter and the others. You can't beat a true macro lens. Like Carlton said, the Canon 500D close up lens (filter) is very good. I use the Nikon 5T and 6T close-up filters on my macro to get even closer than normal. The good close-up filters are pretty expensive. The cheaper versions by other companies are not worth the effort. I tried some years ago and they just will not give you the quality you need. You can't go wrong with a macro lens. In addition to the ones Peter mentioned, you may want to check on the Tamron 90mm macro. It gets very good reviews. Good luck with your choice.


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12/22/2009 11:38:41 AM

 
Pamela Njemanze
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/3/2005
newcreationpictures.com
  Thank you everyone ... and Kerby, great pics. I will go with the macro lens!


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12/22/2009 4:40:52 PM

 
Lynn R. Powers
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  Well, Pam, you have made the proper decision as far as I am concerned. You will be better off getting into macro photography with a lens between 90-105mm. It gives you more working room and you won't have the bugs jumping on you. LOL All of the major players that make macro lenses do an excellent job and these lenses are probably the best lens that they make. Many macro photos are taken with the camera mounted on a tripod. Make sure that it is VERY solid.
I owned a Canon 100mm f2.8 macro USM and used it on both the 20D and 5D with excellent results. You may still find it available, and I recommend it over the newer IS version because the IS is not needed since you are using a tripod and they are $$$ less expensive.
These lenses are also great to use as moderate telephotos but you do not want to use them for close-up portrait because it will show all of the pores in the skin. But if you have a person whose face tells a story with the wrinkles, then use it, but not for a teenage girl or a model.
Do not rely on the autofocus. Make sure that you check to insure that what you want is in focus and manually refocus.
After you get use to taking close-ups and 1:1 macro photos, you can add extension tubes to get an even larger image on your sensor.
I have also heard good words about the Sigma 105mm but the focus is slower than the Canons. Be sure to take the course offered by BP. It will make learning a lot faster and reduce experimentation, and you will have the instructor to answer specific questions.


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12/25/2009 12:50:03 PM

 
kerby lee pfrangle
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/19/2005
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  Thank you Pamela.

I love shooting flowers the colors, shapes and designs are all different and with the macro lens you can really make the designs come to life.

I just put all the flowers at the front of my port and it takes up the first four pages and there more on the 5th page.

You made a good choice to go with the macro lens. I suggest putting the camera on a tripod it really helps keep everything still and in focus.


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12/25/2009 1:43:04 PM

 
kerby lee pfrangle
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  Pamela the other thing I want to suggest is to shoot on a none windy day if you shooting outside. Even a breeze can move things. I find early in the morning is an excellent time.


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12/25/2009 1:47:33 PM

 
Pamela Njemanze
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/3/2005
newcreationpictures.com
  ok, another question. I tried out a macro lens tamron 90mm for my canon rebel xt1i but I had so much trouble getting sharp pictures. I used the auto focus it didn't appear to have a manual focus option. Very little was in sharp focus. I did use it w/o tripod (b/c they were not allowed where I was) and increased my iso to get me a faster shutter speed. what am I doing wrong? am I forced to use a tripod or would it help to get the 1,049 canon high quality 100mm macro lens w/ IS so I can handhold when needed? thanks again in advance for any advice you can give :)


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12/26/2009 8:41:24 PM

 
Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/17/2003
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  According to specs, the Tamron Telephoto SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro does have manual-focusing capabilities. Also, according to reviews, the auto-focus can be slow and in-accurate in low light.

In macro, critical focus on a key element is best achieved manually.
With practice, it's possible (though not recommended) to hand-hold a 90 mm at its closest focusing distance in decent light.
Since DOF is very limited, a small aperture (f-16 or f-22)is required to get most of the frame in apparent focus. Unfortunately, the smaller aperture setting will decrease your allowable shutter speed, making it more difficult to shoot hand-held.
(Maybe flash will help.)


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12/26/2009 11:45:25 PM

 
kerby lee pfrangle
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/19/2005
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  The macro lens is the lens that was the hardest for me to learn to use.

My lens is not auto focus.

This may sound crazy but if I am going to a local garden to do flowers images I take a small step stool with me so I can get over the top of the flower if the flower is a larger flower.

The lens bring the flowers up really close and I want to try and get the whole flower. You can always crop later if you need too.

Make sure before you take the image that what you see if totally clear and infocus.


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12/27/2009 6:11:16 AM

 
Sam Britt
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/11/2006
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  I've been using a Canon 60mm macro lens since 2006, though it has an Auto Focus setting. I almost never use it, I prefer manually focusing. It gives you more control of the part of the photo you want in focus, such as a the tip of a single flower petal or a single waterdrop. I experiment with various aperture settings to get the depth of field that I'm looking for. Using a tripod & a cable release is also extremely helpful.

I also agree with Kerby's comment, it's best not to shoot on a windy day.


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12/29/2009 7:38:30 AM

 
Randy A. Myers
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/20/2002
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  The Tamron does have manual focusing. It has a unique push-pull focus ring lock. You go from Auto Focus to Manual Focus by pulling or pushing the focus ring back or forward. Check out Tamrons web site for details.

Macro with a lot of DOF will require a tripod. You will need to stop the lens down to obtain a lot of depth. This requires a lot of light or a slow shutter speed which requires a tripod if you are only using natural light.


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12/29/2009 7:53:34 AM

 
Barb  Rathbun
barbrathbun.com
  I just bought a Canon Extender EF 2X ll to use on My Canon 5D with my 70-300 lens but (oops) my lens is a Tamron and the extender won't fit the lens. Is there an adapter that I could buy? Help!

thanks
Barb


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2/4/2010 5:58:28 AM

 
Peter K. Burian
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  Barb: You would need to buy a Tamron brand converter. ut are you sure you want to use a teleconverter with a lens of this type?

Canon specifically makes their consumer-grade lenses so they will not accept a teleconverter.

Because Canon is convinced that an inexpensive lens -- with small maximum apertures -- should not be used with a teleconverter. (Tamron should do the same.)

See my comments about teleconverters. Scroll down to Question 2 at

http://www.photolife.com/article.php?idArticle=58

Cheers! Peter


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2/4/2010 6:28:57 AM

 
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