April 17, 2014, 06:46:07 AM

Author Topic: Macro lens or attachments to make my current lenses go macro?  (Read 7515 times)

Chuck Alaimo

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SO, hey hey gearheads, I can't think of a better place to ask this question.  As most of you know, I shoot mostly weddings and portraits.  One of the little things I'd like to improve on are ring shots.  It's not that I don't like the shots that I am getting, but, I'd love to get in a little closer and the only lens I have that allows for really close focusing is the 16-35, which while it can get close, even at 35mm it's not as tight and DOF with that is not to my liking.  I enjoy using the 50, 85 and 70-200 for that, but with the minimum focusing distance it requires a big crop to get the desired shot.

SO that leads to options.  And I am not sure which way to go, and given the very limited use I'm seeking to fill, not sure I want to spend a ton of $$$. 

Lenses:

100 2.8
100L 2.8
180L 3.5

or, I could go with an extension tube ---what are your thoughts on extension tubes?  They are a fairly cheap fix which would get me in a bit closer, and I'd be able to use those on all my longer lenses. 

Another option is the http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/87494-REG/Canon_2822A001_58mm_500D_Close_up_Lens.html

That one in particular is would fit my 85 1.8 --- its the cheapest option by far, but, again I have to wonder if that's enough.  Do I need the versatility of the extension tube?  Or, should I bag all of those ideas and snag one of the above mentioned lenses (I see the 180 macro used all the time on B&H...and I have heard that the 100L is also good for portraits...but, with a 85 1.8 and the 70-200, would I really use a 100 macro for portraits???????)

Again, it's not like I plan on diving into the insect world (yeah, of course once I can I probably will, but thats not the main idea here).  Pretty much just wanting a way to get tighter shots of wedding rings, and looking to do so without  spending an arm and a leg (I'd much rather snag a 135L than a macro lens..)

On the other end of things...I am considering a 2x teleconverter too.  I have heard much more about those though...
Owns 5Dmkiii, 16-35mm, 24-70mm, 70-200mm, 50mm 1.4, 85 mm 1.8, 580 EXII, 2 430 EX's

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rang

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Re: Macro lens or attachments to make my current lenses go macro?
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2013, 10:32:11 AM »
SO, hey hey gearheads, I can't think of a better place to ask this question.  As most of you know, I shoot mostly weddings and portraits.  One of the little things I'd like to improve on are ring shots.  It's not that I don't like the shots that I am getting, but, I'd love to get in a little closer and the only lens I have that allows for really close focusing is the 16-35, which while it can get close, even at 35mm it's not as tight and DOF with that is not to my liking.  I enjoy using the 50, 85 and 70-200 for that, but with the minimum focusing distance it requires a big crop to get the desired shot.

SO that leads to options.  And I am not sure which way to go, and given the very limited use I'm seeking to fill, not sure I want to spend a ton of $$$. 

Lenses:

100 2.8
100L 2.8
180L 3.5

or, I could go with an extension tube ---what are your thoughts on extension tubes?  They are a fairly cheap fix which would get me in a bit closer, and I'd be able to use those on all my longer lenses. 

Another option is the http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/87494-REG/Canon_2822A001_58mm_500D_Close_up_Lens.html

That one in particular is would fit my 85 1.8 --- its the cheapest option by far, but, again I have to wonder if that's enough.  Do I need the versatility of the extension tube?  Or, should I bag all of those ideas and snag one of the above mentioned lenses (I see the 180 macro used all the time on B&H...and I have heard that the 100L is also good for portraits...but, with a 85 1.8 and the 70-200, would I really use a 100 macro for portraits???????)

Again, it's not like I plan on diving into the insect world (yeah, of course once I can I probably will, but thats not the main idea here).  Pretty much just wanting a way to get tighter shots of wedding rings, and looking to do so without  spending an arm and a leg (I'd much rather snag a 135L than a macro lens..)

On the other end of things...I am considering a 2x teleconverter too.  I have heard much more about those though...


I've used the 500D extensively and I've also used extreme setups with multiple tubes sets and TC's on focusing rails etc. etc. with and without the 500D added to the optical train.

If you want to take an initial step into some nice macro work...get it...the 500D. it is color corrected and very sharp and it is much easier to carry around with you with any other glass. So when the opportunity comes up you can get that macro shot. However I would not get the 500D in 58mm size. If your eventual goal is to acquire L glass the majority of the filter sizes would be 77mm. There are a few exceptions but that would be addressed by inexpensive step-up or step-down rings.


Chuck Alaimo

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Re: Macro lens or attachments to make my current lenses go macro?
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2013, 10:44:59 AM »
If your eventual goal is to acquire L glass the majority of the filter sizes would be 77mm. There are a few exceptions but that would be addressed by inexpensive step-up or step-down rings.

Most of my glass is L...only exception is the 2 primes.  I have the 70-200 2.8 (non-IS), 24-70 v1, and 16-35L...

77mm is the filter thread on both the 70-200 and the 24-70, but, I am also considering upgrading 1 or both to the newer versions...which means larger filter thread... (also thinking about the 135, which is 72 mm)

How bad does the vignetting get with step down rings?
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robbymack

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Re: Macro lens or attachments to make my current lenses go macro?
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2013, 11:00:05 AM »
For the price it's tough to beat extension tubes. Kenkos are nice, you get af, and only $200. A little more than the close up filter you're looking at but at least then you can use them on all your lenses vs just the ones with the same filter size. I get very good results with my 70-200 f4 IS and 85 1.8 with extension tubes. I prefer the 85 most of the time.

Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: Macro lens or attachments to make my current lenses go macro?
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2013, 11:26:16 AM »
Buying expensive attachments will result in a frustrating experience if you just want closeup images.  There are a ton of third party Macro lenses, and the Canon 100mm f/2.8 USM is very good as well, all for a affordable price.  You also get autofocus, but its only reliable in the L for extreme closeups.
 
The benefit of the 100L is that you generally don't need a big expensive setup to get reasonably good images.  I'm happy with those I get while out walking around.
 
Here are some images taken with my 100L handheld while I was out walking around.  I took about 3 or 4 shots and all were good.
Aphids on our Honeysuckle vine:

 
 
Robin Nest on some boards leaned up against the kids playhouse.
 

 
A few days later, hatchlings:
 

 

Dave_NYC

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Re: Macro lens or attachments to make my current lenses go macro?
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2013, 11:26:41 AM »
For the price it's tough to beat extension tubes. Kenkos are nice, you get af, and only $200. A little more than the close up filter you're looking at but at least then you can use them on all your lenses vs just the ones with the same filter size. I get very good results with my 70-200 f4 IS and 85 1.8 with extension tubes. I prefer the 85 most of the time.

+1, I have a Kenko I paid right around that much for, and with the ability to control aperture from the camera retained, DOF is totally adjustable to how you want it. You can AF, but I don't for macro (haven't shot moving targets - yet).

I paired it with two dslrkit macro focusing rails from amazon (for front/back and side to side movement) for stabilizing on a tripod, very happy with the setup given I can put RC2 QR plates on it, so I can just drop my camera into it and/or drop the rails into the tripod. Granted, I'm not doing product photography, but it's more than good enough for my needs, and it also might leave your hands free to hold flashes or bounce cards or whatever for lighting the rings.  If you do get the dslr kit rails, clean them thoroughly, and order them well in advance (they ship from China). Solid cheap rails though.

HeavenHell

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Re: Macro lens or attachments to make my current lenses go macro?
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2013, 11:53:16 AM »
Get a macro lens, you won't regret it.  Your biggest decision is whether to go with IS or not.  Canon, Sigma and Tamron all manufacture very good macro lenses.  You can get tack sharp photos from any of them.
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Re: Macro lens or attachments to make my current lenses go macro?
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2013, 11:53:16 AM »

neuroanatomist

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Re: Macro lens or attachments to make my current lenses go macro?
« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2013, 01:12:36 PM »
I've used tubes and close-up lenses, and I have the 100 L Macro.  All have pluses and minuses. 

Tubes: work best with short focal lengths (added mag is focal length / tube length), no optics so no direct effect on IQ, some lost light (autoexposure compensates).  The 40/2.8 with a 25mm tube works quite well.

Close-up lenses: work best with tele lenses (70-100mm is 'break even' between tubes and close-up lenses), no light loss, fixed working distance (front element to subject is 50cm with 500D, 25cm with 250D), slight optical decrement (but it was hard for me to distinguish the 100 L from the 500D on a 70-200 II in terms of IQ)

Macro lens: best IQ, most flexibility, most expensive
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Chuck Alaimo

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Re: Macro lens or attachments to make my current lenses go macro?
« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2013, 01:38:33 PM »
TY for the responses..

attached is one of my ring shots...as you can see, it's not the tight shot that I really want. 

I am someone that is willing to shell out the dough for the needed lens, but this one is hard because it really has such a limited use (one that I can conceivably accomplish with my current setup but I will have to crop).

I was considering that smaller filter one so i can push DOF ---but...if I went with the extension tube I would be able to use that with the 85 and the 70-200?  What happens with the DOF at 2.8 (both for the extension tube and the 500d, either size?)

Edit ---note, I am looking to do handheld, not tripod mounted.  I have a good tripod, but that generally stays in the trunk for weddings.

« Last Edit: April 27, 2013, 01:45:33 PM by Chuck Alaimo »
Owns 5Dmkiii, 16-35mm, 24-70mm, 70-200mm, 50mm 1.4, 85 mm 1.8, 580 EXII, 2 430 EX's

Chuck Alaimo

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Re: Macro lens or attachments to make my current lenses go macro?
« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2013, 01:43:44 PM »
I've used tubes and close-up lenses, and I have the 100 L Macro.  All have pluses and minuses. 

Tubes: work best with short focal lengths (added mag is focal length / tube length), no optics so no direct effect on IQ, some lost light (autoexposure compensates).  The 40/2.8 with a 25mm tube works quite well.

Close-up lenses: work best with tele lenses (70-100mm is 'break even' between tubes and close-up lenses), no light loss, fixed working distance (front element to subject is 50cm with 500D, 25cm with 250D), slight optical decrement (but it was hard for me to distinguish the 100 L from the 500D on a 70-200 II in terms of IQ)

Macro lens: best IQ, most flexibility, most expensive

If I am reading this right then the tube would work nice with my 50 mm 1.4?  If I was thinking I'd get more into intensive macro work I'd shell out the dough for the 100L...but, if I go that route then I say bye bye to the lens I really want, the 135L...and so far in searching I have not seen enough reasons to say the 100L would replace anything I currently have for portraits....(where the 135L has that ohhh baby that's special look)
« Last Edit: April 27, 2013, 01:47:20 PM by Chuck Alaimo »
Owns 5Dmkiii, 16-35mm, 24-70mm, 70-200mm, 50mm 1.4, 85 mm 1.8, 580 EXII, 2 430 EX's

TexasBadger

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Re: Macro lens or attachments to make my current lenses go macro?
« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2013, 01:45:26 PM »
I went the extension tube route.  Works great for the occasional use it gets.  I love the fact that the image is not degraded.
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neuroanatomist

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Re: Macro lens or attachments to make my current lenses go macro?
« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2013, 01:54:16 PM »
If I am reading this right then the tube would work nice with my 50 mm 1.4?

A 25mm tube on the 50/1.4 would give you 0.53x - 0.68x mag at 4.33" - 3.25" working distance.  A 12mm tube on the 50/1.4 would give you 0.24x - 0.39x mag at 8.9" - 5.6" working distance. 
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Chuck Alaimo

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Re: Macro lens or attachments to make my current lenses go macro?
« Reply #12 on: April 27, 2013, 02:01:57 PM »
here's another...again...just looking to get a weee bit closer
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Re: Macro lens or attachments to make my current lenses go macro?
« Reply #12 on: April 27, 2013, 02:01:57 PM »

TexPhoto

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Re: Macro lens or attachments to make my current lenses go macro?
« Reply #13 on: April 27, 2013, 02:10:13 PM »
A real macro lens will give the highest quality results, but the differences can be subtle.  For the difference in money it's probably not worth it for most shooters. 

Dave_NYC

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Re: Macro lens or attachments to make my current lenses go macro?
« Reply #14 on: April 27, 2013, 02:16:15 PM »
If I am reading this right then the tube would work nice with my 50 mm 1.4?  If I was thinking I'd get more into intensive macro work I'd shell out the dough for the 100L...but, if I go that route then I say bye bye to the lens I really want, the 135L...and so far in searching I have not seen enough reasons to say the 100L would replace anything I currently have for portraits....(where the 135L has that ohhh baby that's special look)


If you're saving for another lens there are the standard Canon 100mm macro 2.8 (non L) lenses. I've seen used copies on sale recently at amazon for around $420.

The 36mm and 12mm Kenko extension tube pieces would put you at a ratio of 50mm lens / 48mm extension tube, which is very close to 1:1 if I'm not mistaken.

Here is a picture of a US quarter taken at F22 with a 50mm using the 36mm and 12mm kenko tubes together. The front of the lens is about and inch and a half from the quarter:


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Re: Macro lens or attachments to make my current lenses go macro?
« Reply #14 on: April 27, 2013, 02:16:15 PM »