April 22, 2018, 11:11:02 AM

Author Topic: Lens decision: Canon 100mm 2.8 L or non L Macro vs Sigma 85mm 1.4 ex  (Read 3482 times)

Steve Dmark2

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Hello Everyone,

me and my wife will have a baby in June and I need a proper lens. I have a canon 7D mark2.
I wanna do normal baby portrait shots and also some detailshots of the hands an so on.

With the 50mm options I am too much into the babys face, I feel that I need a little more distance.
Currently Im leaning towards the 85mm 1.4 EX from Sigma. The only thing thats holding me back is the minimum focus distance of 0.85m. Thats why I amd thinking about the 100mm 2.8 macro options.
The only things that concearns me here is that on my 7Dii those will be  160mm lenses, and I am afraid to be too far away indoors. Also the L version is rocking the budget too much.

What are your experiences with these lenses? Maybe you can help me out here ;)
Thaks a lot.

Cheers

Stefan

7D mark2| 650D| 300mm 4L IS| Converter 1,4x ii|Sigma 17-50 mm F2,8

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pdirestajr

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Re: Lens decision: Canon 100mm 2.8 L or non L Macro vs Sigma 85mm 1.4 ex
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2018, 02:12:03 PM »
My opinion is you will rarely use a 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens indoors on a crop sensor to photograph your baby. You'd shoot the hands and feet and some bubbles on the lips then be done with it. It's just too tight and slow. Focus will hunt indoors too. Once your baby is more mobile, it will struggle to keep up.

I personally love being close to my kids when photographing them, as my style is to be engaged with them playing to capture natural moments. The 35mm f/2 lens on a 7D body is great. Also the Sigma 18-35 1.8 is awesome in covering the "best" focal lengths on a crop body to engage with your kids. They both have really short minimum focusing distances too, so are super versatile for close up shots and full scene shots.

Sigma 18-35:
East Hampton, Aug 2016 by Philip DiResta, on Flickr

East Hampton, Aug 2016 by Philip DiResta, on Flickr

X Marks The Spot by Philip DiResta, on Flickr

Xavier St Patricks Day by Philip DiResta, on Flickr

Snow Baby by Philip DiResta, on Flickr

Sweet Violet by Philip DiResta, on Flickr

Princess Violet by Philip DiResta, on Flickr
« Last Edit: March 22, 2018, 02:39:21 PM by pdirestajr »

pdirestajr

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Re: Lens decision: Canon 100mm 2.8 L or non L Macro vs Sigma 85mm 1.4 ex
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2018, 02:17:00 PM »
Here is the 100mm 2.8L / non-L (on a 7d):
Notice they are all outdoors.
Blue & Gold by Philip DiResta, on Flickr

Sweet Face by Philip DiResta, on Flickr

Snow Bunnies by Philip DiResta, on Flickr

Violet by Philip DiResta, on Flickr

« Last Edit: March 22, 2018, 02:28:41 PM by pdirestajr »

pdirestajr

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Re: Lens decision: Canon 100mm 2.8 L or non L Macro vs Sigma 85mm 1.4 ex
« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2018, 02:21:22 PM »
And the 35mm f/2 IS & the old non-IS! (on a 7D & 7DII):
Violet & Dolly by Philip DiResta, on Flickr

Apple Picking by Philip DiResta, on Flickr

Lex & Vi by Philip DiResta, on Flickr

feet by Philip DiResta, on Flickr

Puj Tub by Philip DiResta, on Flickr

Lex 39 weeks by Philip DiResta, on Flickr

Lex 39 weeks by Philip DiResta, on Flickr

« Last Edit: March 22, 2018, 02:34:35 PM by pdirestajr »

jolyonralph

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Re: Lens decision: Canon 100mm 2.8 L or non L Macro vs Sigma 85mm 1.4 ex
« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2018, 02:22:21 PM »
Don't forget the EF-S 60mm macro as an option too.
Jolyon Ralph

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Steve Dmark2

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Re: Lens decision: Canon 100mm 2.8 L or non L Macro vs Sigma 85mm 1.4 ex
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2018, 03:11:54 PM »
Thank you Philipp for your feedback,

Some great pictures.

I already thought about the 35mm f2 IS. But I already have a 17-50mm 2.8 EX which covers these mentioned focal lengths. I was also looking for a more shallow DOF. (1.4/1.8 ).

So either I buy nothing, because I am already happy with me Sigma lens, but for Detaishots with shallow DOF I would be really close. Mhhh...

Somebody has experience with 85mm ?
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lexaclarke

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Re: Lens decision: Canon 100mm 2.8 L or non L Macro vs Sigma 85mm 1.4 ex
« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2018, 06:26:12 PM »
I think you need to work out what your priorities are. The only lens with a medium-telephoto length, close focusing and an aperture faster than f/2.8 is the Tamron 60mm f/2 Macro, and that lens... kinda sucks. It's pretty soft and at those close focus distances it's got a lot of ghosting until you stop down to f/4, so the faster aperture makes no difference. I used it for a while before I changed to a 100mm lens on a FF camera and I don't think I'd ever go back. I've got the Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4 Macro APS-C zoom as a kind of general-purpose backup for our old 7D (mkI) body and even that is better than the Tamron 60mm...


You might want to look at the Tamron 90mm macro. That's "only" f/2.8 but the longer focal length will give you less depth of field and more background blur compared to your zoom lens with the same framing. It does great macro and it has stabilisation. It will also be slightly easier to frame with on an APS-C body than the 100mm would; every little helps. It won't give you that f/1.4 blur, but if the Sigma 85mm can't even focus right to get the shot in the first place, having a bigger aperture doesn't really help.

Sigma do make an older 70mm f/2.8 macro. That will give you more working distance than the Canon EF-S 60mm, but obviously not be as restricted as the Sigma 85mm or Tamron 90mm. I used it once and the optical quality was really nice, but the focus sucked; slow, didn't seem hugely accurate, and manual focus was awful. Sigma are meant to be remaking it and updating it to be part of their Art line soon, but that will mean it will be much more expensive, too.

Fast 85s are great portrait lenses and on your camera will be like a 135mm, which is also a great portrait length. But if you really want high magnification to get those detail shots, don't buy a lens which can't do them. And if you want a really fast lens... don't buy a macro. Sorry, but that's just how things are. I think you gotta decide which features are the bigger priority for you. It sounds to me like right now you want something like a 75mm f/1.4 Macro, and that kind of one-lens solution just doesn't exist.
FWIW I think you're overestimating just how big a difference apertures faster than f/2.8 will make, especially for tight shots where the depth of field will be so thin you'll probably want to stop down anyway. Even for a regular portrait, f/2.8 on a 85mm+ length can be so slim even on APS-C that you won't get both eyes in focus.

Something to consider would be extension tubes. You could put those on a non-macro lens to get better detail shots when you want, and take them off for a regular portrait. The only problems are that lenses which aren't designed to focus closely like that usually are very soft when you put tubes on them, it take time to remount the lens, and you lose light transmission.

Consider just cropping in, too! When I'm covering an event of any kind there is rarely time to swap lenses a lot or mess around with extension tubes, and macro lenses focus slowly in low light. Instead I just get as close as my regular lens will allow and crop in after. Your camera has 20mp to play with so you can crop in a lot and still have a way bigger file than you need for a large print or displaying on any screen. Being further away also means you're not blocking light or disturbing anything/anyone. I don't think a minimum focus distance of 0.85m is actually that long for a baby. I wouldn't want to get any closer than arm's length for fear of disturbing them or the scene, and for me arm's length means almost exactly 60cm. 85cm away with an 85mm lens on APS-C is a super-tight shot anyway. Add in some cropping and you'll have something nearly-macro. Using https://dofsimulator.net/en/ which is pretty handy for working out depth of field (though the portrait simulation is kinda janky), at f/2.8 that will give you 5mm of sharp focus and a gigantic amount of background blur. Even f/5.6 won't give you a whole centimeter of sharp focus at that distance! So you can imagine how a little cropping could give you a really tight, macro-looking detail shot with plenty of blur, even with the 85mm's unimpressive close focus.

And remember, photographing your baby won't be something you can take ages setting up shots for, so the speed of taking a normal picture and cropping to get those faux-macro shots is probably going to be the most practical solution for you. Babies tend to move around a lot and need you to drop your camera and tend to them at a moment's notice!

FWIW I photographed my sister's kids a lot when they were born and through their first few months and I don't remember using anything other than a 24-70 for either of them. I prefer primes but it's always gotta be a zoom for kids. Super close detail and ''fine art'' background blur is nice in theory but the reality of newborns is there's no time for that. And that was when I was just being Auntie. You're going to be Dad. Either pass the camera duties to someone else or be prepared to not shoot anywhere near as much as you want and get used to shooting quicker. Babies wait for noone.

So... the Tamron 90mm f/2.8 OS macro G2 is, I think, the best-of-all-worlds solution, if you really want to add another lens and don't want to crop or use extension tubes for detail. The Sigma 85mm will probably be more than good enough if you are prepared to crop in for detail. Even then I'd suggest the Canon 85mm f/1.8; same focus distance, better AF than any of the older Sigmas. (I can't judge the optical quality of the Sigma 85, but the old AF of that line of Sigmas has never been anywhere near as good as the Canon 85mm f/1.8, which has really great AF despite how old it is.) The Canon EF-S 60mm macro is definitely a decent choice but if you feel 50mm isn't long enough then 60mm won't be enough for you either.
But either way, you'll probably end up wanting the zoom more than any of those primes... and you'll be tending to the baby more than you'll be shooting. So there's a lot to think about but also not thinking about it and just shooting with what you've already got is totally practical!

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Re: Lens decision: Canon 100mm 2.8 L or non L Macro vs Sigma 85mm 1.4 ex
« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2018, 06:26:12 PM »

Talys

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Re: Lens decision: Canon 100mm 2.8 L or non L Macro vs Sigma 85mm 1.4 ex
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2018, 07:13:02 PM »
In my opinion, for portraiture on a crop, you can't get much better than 50/1.8 on a budget.  It's super cheap, and is an 80mm equivalent.  You already have a zoom that ends in 50mm, so just imagine that shaper and with better isolation.

If your thought is that the baby is a small subject and you want a little more zoom, there's always 85mm.  I am not a huge fan of 100mm on APSC for portraits, even of babies, unless you're going to be a little further away.

The main reasons the 100/2.8 is a wonderful lens is (a) the price is very good, (b) it's very usable for portraits on full frame and (c) it's really second to none for macro.  That's just a lot of combinations of good stuff in one piece of glass.   But it wouldn't be my first choice for baby photos on a crop, because a lot of them will probably involve getting further back from your child than you'll be able to (because you're indoors, and hitting a wall).

jolyonralph

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Re: Lens decision: Canon 100mm 2.8 L or non L Macro vs Sigma 85mm 1.4 ex
« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2018, 07:21:48 PM »
You could consider the Yongnuo 100mm f/2 or the 85mm f/1.8 which are both considerably cheaper than the Canon offerings.  I've got their 35mm f/2 and 50mm f/1.8 lenses and they're really exceptional value for what they offer.

Jolyon Ralph

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PavelR

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Re: Lens decision: Canon 100mm 2.8 L or non L Macro vs Sigma 85mm 1.4 ex
« Reply #9 on: March 22, 2018, 07:24:30 PM »
Hello,
Sigma 85/1.4 ex does have better IQ than 85/1.2 II and Canon 1.8 (I've owned all of them.). But Sigma AF is not as trusty as on Canon lenses. F1.4 is definitely better in poor light, but for running kids I do not think its AF can keep up. 100/2.x for indoor is pretty long on 1.6x camera. There is also 50/2.5 macro the best IQ in 50mm Canon offers, but I do not know how fast is AF on it.

Steve Dmark2

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Re: Lens decision: Canon 100mm 2.8 L or non L Macro vs Sigma 85mm 1.4 ex
« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2018, 07:42:44 AM »
Hello Everyone,

Thank you sooo much for you replies. I love this forum. Great people.
This is what I'll do:

100mm 2.8 are out of the race. --> too long. I think I will get the 85mm sigma ex and bring it to my aunts 60th birthday next weekend to play around a little bit and feel the focus performance. If I am satisfied I keep it.
If not then I sell it and porpably keep what I have so far because I do not like the worse Sharepness of the 85mm 1.8 (at least If I check data on DXO) when compared to the Sigma 1.4.

Thanks again.

Cheers Stefan
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Maximilian

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Re: Lens decision: Canon 100mm 2.8 L or non L Macro vs Sigma 85mm 1.4 ex
« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2018, 08:20:14 AM »
Hello Everyone,

Thank you sooo much for you replies. I love this forum. Great people.
This is what I'll do:

100mm 2.8 are out of the race. --> too long. I think I will get the 85mm sigma ex and bring it to my aunts 60th birthday next weekend to play around a little bit and feel the focus performance. If I am satisfied I keep it.
If not then I sell it and porpably keep what I have so far because I do not like the worse Sharepness of the 85mm 1.8 (at least If I check data on DXO) when compared to the Sigma 1.4.

Thanks again.

Cheers Stefan
Hi Stefan!

First I thought about PMing in German to avoid a German answer here in the forum but I stay in English now.

My advice:
For kids - especially if they start to grow and move more and more - you'll need fast and accurate AF to track them. And even if the Sigma beats the "old" EF 85/1.8 in test charts there is no help if its AF can't follow the child. and the EF 85 is quite cheap to get. It's not my most beloved lens and I would like to get a successor. But I found it reliable. 85 cm MFD might be a deal breaker for close ups though.
But f/1.8 to 2.8 gives you enough BG blur and enough DOF for a moving child.
You might probably also want some distance to take photos of the kid playing and stay unrecognized. For those get at least 50mm, better 85mm.
If you get the Sigma try it out on moving targets, maybe there are also some children on your aunts birthday.
If you are not satisfied with the AF performance on moving children then consider the EF 85/1.8.
You can get it for < 350,-€.
Can you get the Sigma cheap? Because the prices I can see are above the 100L Marco (860 vs. 780 €).
« Last Edit: March 23, 2018, 09:08:04 AM by Maximilian »
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degos

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Re: Lens decision: Canon 100mm 2.8 L or non L Macro vs Sigma 85mm 1.4 ex
« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2018, 08:32:23 AM »
I used the EF 85mm 1.8 for most of the few shots I did of my baby / toddler.  Not a lens I like much but it is bright and fast ( I sold it subsequently )

I tried the Sigma 50mm 1.4 Art and the EF 70-200 f4 IS but both were too unwieldly to swing around in the house.  A 35mm f2 as suggested above might be a practical complement to the 85.

But one caution; when my toddler became old enough to express his feelings he asked me to put the camera down.  Don't spend all your time behind a big camera and lens when you should be bonding.  Don't force your kids to 'perform' for your photographic satisfaction.  I ended-up with only a couple of dozen 'keeper' photos but I had to accept that some things are more fleeting and important that 'the shot'.

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Re: Lens decision: Canon 100mm 2.8 L or non L Macro vs Sigma 85mm 1.4 ex
« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2018, 08:32:23 AM »

chrysoberyl

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Re: Lens decision: Canon 100mm 2.8 L or non L Macro vs Sigma 85mm 1.4 ex
« Reply #13 on: March 23, 2018, 08:44:08 AM »
The AF on my copy of the 85mm 1.4 EX was terrible.  It was one of my first lenses and I kept wondering what I was doing wrong.  Then I got the 100 L macro and realized that the problem was the 85mm 1.4 EX AF.

hne

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Re: Lens decision: Canon 100mm 2.8 L or non L Macro vs Sigma 85mm 1.4 ex
« Reply #14 on: March 23, 2018, 10:07:16 AM »
I tried with a 50/1.8 on my children and the photos are all either tight headshots or have this eerie feeling of being observations by a stranger.

In my opinion, if you want to show where the baby is and what it's doing, you need a lens in the 20-30 mm range for a crop-sensor camera body. The Sigma 18-35/1.8 Art is a nice lens for this purpose. You don't necessarily need that large an aperture tough, since you're up real close - the rate of transition out of focus is about the same with 35mm f/1.8 at 70cm as that of an 85mm f/1.4 at 2m distance. Both would lead to roughly half-body framing, one for a baby (45cm long side) and one for an adult (85cm long side)
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Re: Lens decision: Canon 100mm 2.8 L or non L Macro vs Sigma 85mm 1.4 ex
« Reply #14 on: March 23, 2018, 10:07:16 AM »