Macro Photography/Lenses

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Devster
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Macro Photography/Lenses

So now I've got my birding photography down pat (lol)

I would like to venture into the world of Marco photography.

I know absolutely nothing about it and would like to look at getting a Macro Lens.

Now I know we all have our preferred brands, as I have a Canon 70D I would look at either a Canon or Tamron Macro lens (unless you have any other suggestions)

I don't want a starter lens or the top of the line lens (unless its reasonably priced) but something that give you good bang for your buck

Any particular models I should have a look at?

Also what are extension tubes and what do they do?

Thanks in advance for your help

Devster

Reflex
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Devster,

Google this lens, "MP-E65mm Macro lens". It might not be a lens to start off with but I've seen some stunning photographs taken with this lens and it's only a matter of time before I buy one.

I bought a Tamron SPAF 90mm H/2.8 Macro of eBay and am starting to take some photographs with it. Depth of field and focus take on a whole new meaning with Macro photography, the slightest breath of wind means the difference between in focus and out of focus. Canon make a popular 100mm Macro lens which has some great reviews. 

A couple from the week-end....no idea what the orange insect is but you will recognise the Horsefly.

Samford Valley Qld.

Rick N
Rick N's picture

Certainly a specialist lens with a whole different world of preparation, flash options for example.

I have a Nikon 105mm and have used a 60mm. 105 let you get a little further away from the subject.

To be honest some of my best results have been from my stock 300/f4 with off camera lighting wether that be flash or lead acid powered leds on home made tripods.

Great fun though when the birds are a little slow, hours in the back yard with bee smiley

Reflex
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Rick N wrote:

Certainly a specialist lens with a whole different world of preparation, flash options for example.

I have a Nikon 105mm and have used a 60mm. 105 let you get a little further away from the subject.

To be honest some of my best results have been from my stock 300/f4 with off camera lighting wether that be flash or lead acid powered leds on home made tripods.

Great fun though when the birds are a little slow, hours in the back yard with bee smiley

I agree. Makes spiders webs and even bees into interesting subjects........check out this caterpillar from the week-end?

Samford Valley Qld.

Canonguy
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For Canon, forget the MP65 lens. It is ONLY manual focus, and not much good in the field. A lot of people use it in a studio-like set-up.

I would suggest the older EF 100mm f/2.8 USM (no image stabilization) macro or the Sigma 150mm f/2.8 macro. Both focus down to life size magnification (1:1 that is) at the minimum focus distance. Ebay is a good way to buy used gear, well for me anyway. Never had a problem yet.

Since most macro photography is either done with a tripod and remote release due to using lower ISOs and slower shutter speeds with maximum amount of depth of field, or flashes; having IS in the lens is not much use in my opinion unless you want to shoot some higher ISO portrait type shots handheld in lower light.

Extension tubes sit between the lens and the camera and let you focus closer, that is: give you more magnification, but will not let you focus out to infinity. It is all a trade-off at the end of the day.  

As with any type of wildlife photography, you're best off getting in as close to the subject as possible and try not to crop excessively from the original images, as then you will have really poor image quality that will be noticeable in the way of noise and lack of details with many unpleasant artefacts.

Maybe later I'll send you a link to my Flickr page, as I cannot access from work. Try searching for A MATTER OF LIGHT.

I have stacks of birds and macro images. The longer macro lenses let you stay further back from the subjects to achieve the same magnification as a shorter lens.

Annie W
Annie W's picture

Oooh, we could start a Macro thread Devster wink  I'm no use in suggesting a lens being a Nikon girl, I have the 105 G same as Rick, but I can say that my macro is my equal favourite with my wildlife lens (of course I only have two to begin with so..lol).  I take both out with me now and either have long lens in hand and macro & body in a backpack, or macro strapped to hand with long lens slung around my back.  Took a bit of getting used to & I might look a bit silly, but always have the two now.  No birdies....out comes the macro, there is always something interesting to find from bugs to raindrops, ice crystals....  You'll love it I am guessing.  One thing I wouldn't be without now, is  my twin flash setup for macro (can actually go to three but I can never be bothered) - I'm still learning, but good flash system with macro can make a world of difference sometimes.

NW Tasmania

Canonguy
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I am like you Annie! I always take all my gear actually. 500/4L, 100/2.8 macro, 70-200/2.8L IS, 24-85 wide angle zoom. Two cameras, two flashes. 

The only thing I want is the MT24-EX which from Canon is the same as Nikon's R1C1 twin light macro flash. 

For Devster, see below link and decide for yourself about the performance of my 100/2.8 USM (no IS) macro I bought 12 years ago for nearly a grand US! They are much cheaper used now and you don't need IS. It's a BS feature in my opinion. I RARELY crop images regardless of the amount of megapixels I have available. If I crop, I usually keep at least 75% of the original frame. Otherwise it's a waste and I just don't do it. 

https://www.flickr.com/photos/105582591@N02/

Annie W
Annie W's picture

You'll need a Yak for your gear in a few years Ákos, hehehe. laugh  For sure, love my R1C1.  I was lucky enough to pick up one at a decent price last year, so many accessories I have yet to play with, diffusers are one I have been using recently which are cool.  Even though my D7100 has a built-in commander, glad in the end I bought the macro flash kit with the Wireless Commander as I actually prefer using that - very handy having a second body too so I don't need to swap any lenses etc over.  Now all I need is an External Flash setup and Better Beamer for my long lens (just as I think I'm about to get one, some unexpected bill or another comes up, lol), and I'll be a happy camper....for a little while at least laugh.

NW Tasmania

Rick N
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Dragonfly 300f4,1.4 tc, I thought not a bad result.

Reflex
Reflex's picture

You really nailed that shot! I must admit I didn't know that the legs tucked up so nicely when they were in flight.

Samford Valley Qld.

Canonguy
Canonguy's picture

No way Annie. I am a well-built specimen.

A 300mm lens is fantastic for butterflies and dragonflies.

Willskrills
Willskrills's picture

You can even take macro without a lensesmiley taken with Sony Cybershot.

William.S

timrob
timrob's picture

I have done a few macro shots with lens reversing gear like this

 http://www.aliexpress.com/item/Voking-Auto-Focus-AF-macro-Extension-Tube...

I'm sure there are similar bits for nikon and others.  disadvantages?  you need a tripod and cable trigger, very narrow DoF, tricky focus. Advantages?  Relatively cheap, no extra glass added to your lens, no purchase of a new lens, all lens functions still work.

well worth doing some research before you buy but it has suited me. No pics because I've only taken half a dozen or so and am still learning (when I've got time to).  All of mine have been focus stacked flowers up to this point.

 Tim

Chris 333
Chris 333's picture

Macro can be a pretty confusing subject.  As Reflex says, depth of field is a really big deal with macro.

I knew a guy who did those amazing close ups of small insects. The ones that show extraordinary levels of detail. And one of his most important tools was a jig that allowed him to move the camera towards the subject in tiny but tightly controlled increments.  Each shot would have a different section of the subject in focus.  He would then stitch together up to 30 or more images, using special software, to get the cumulative depth of field that you simply couldn’t get with a single shot. 

At the other end of the deal, macro lenses are popularly used for some portrait work.  So I guess that there’s a lot of possibilities in between!

One of the best bee shots I’ve got was taken hand held with a humble Canon 600D with a basic cheap kit lens that came with the camera . And this is a crop which is only 1/8th - or 12.5% -of the size of the original picture. And it's been reduced to around a 180k file size. So getting steady and lucky seems to be an important aspect too.  I certainly can't reproduce that sort of photo with any reliability.

What sort of macro shots do you have in mind Devster?

Canonguy
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Chris 333 wrote:

one of his most important tools was a jig that allowed him to move the camera towards the subject in tiny but tightly controlled increments. 

It's called a focusing rail.

Devster
Devster's picture

Just small macro like you bee, maybe a bit closer.

Like to start taking photos of bugs etc when birds get a bit slow.

richman

Extension rings work a treat with most lenses under 200mm

SX2002
SX2002's picture

If I shoot macro, it's pretty much always "true" macro...1:1....

I won a Sigma 150mm macro lens in a national photo comp a few years ago and can thoroughly recommend it...

The reflection you can see in the Hover Fly's back is me...LOL

Devster
Devster's picture

So I bought a second hand Canon 100mm macro L series lens as well as some Kenko extension tubes. Here are some of the results thus far. Let me know what you think.

Jumping Spider

Cuckoo Wasp

Spider

Horse Fly

Rick N
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WoW!! Great shots. Much better than I have been able to get with my macro fumblings.

Love the first, really nailed the focus and beautiful background colour.

Maria
Maria's picture

WOW.... exquisite... well done!

Noosa Hinterland, SE Queensland

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