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Author Topic: Which lenses to pick up next?  (Read 7229 times)

n0iZe

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Which lenses to pick up next?
« on: July 05, 2012, 05:14:32 AM »
Dear all,

I looked through the topics, however I wasn't able to find the same topic within 5 minutes, so I decided to just go for it and ask you guys.

My equipment is a 16-35mm, a 50mm and a 70-200mm.
Now however, I'm in need of a macro lens and I can't quite decide which one to pick: whether I should get myself the 100mm f/2.8 Macro with IS or pick up the 180mm f/3.5L.

Since I use a FF camera and am waiting for the 1D X, I thought probably those extra 80mm would be a nice thing for me. However I heard AF is pretty slow. Is it really that bad? I hope it's not like my old Sigma 70-300 which I've sold?! That one was ridiculously slow. All in all that was really what made me not buy the lens yet - it's still a lot of money.
The 100mm has plus regarding IS, f/2.8 and I could also use it as a portrait lens - with the 50mm I need to go too close to the subject for most shots IMO. If I'd get the 180mm I'd probably need the 85mm as well.

Any ideas what to pick?

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Which lenses to pick up next?
« on: July 05, 2012, 05:14:32 AM »

IIIHobbs

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Re: Which lenses to pick up next?
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2012, 08:00:25 AM »
Is your macro work primarily indoor? or outdoor?

Are your subjects primarily static (products)? or likely to move (insects)?

The answers should help you decide. From the DigitalPicture.com:

For most people the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 L IS USM Macro Lens will be the ideal macro lens. It offers a reasonable working distance from the subject and excellent image quality with the added versatility/usefulness of Hybrid Image Stabilization. It has quiet, fast Ring USM AF and makes a nice portrait lens as well.

For those wanting to take their macro photography to the next level or need more working distance, the Canon EF 180mm f/3.5 L USM Macro Lens is the answer. It is well built, extremely sharp and has excellent image quality. The 180mm focal length yields are noticeably more diffuse background blur than the shorter focal length macro lenses.
 
Both of these lenses offer a 1:1 magnification ratio (life-size). [I/]
« Last Edit: July 05, 2012, 10:06:56 AM by IIIHobbs »

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Re: Which lenses to pick up next?
« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2012, 08:40:27 AM »
The 100L is more versatile than the 180L.  I use the 100L for macro and portraiture, esp. in situations where I don't want to bring the 70-200L.  The 180L would  give you more working distance but is a more specialized lens.  I would suggest the 100L over the 180L because it seems to fit your needs better:  it can be used effectively for portraiture and gives you macro capability on the side, and the IS is great for handhold macro work.  I have a 100L and used it both on a crop and FF bodies.  The working distance is a little bit less with a FF, but it is fine.  If you get more serious about macro work, it would require a bit more equipment, with lights, rails and the possibly MPE 1-5x.

Sigma came out with a 180 f/2.8 macro.  Canon's is getting longer in the tooth.

neuroanatomist

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Re: Which lenses to pick up next?
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2012, 09:23:31 AM »
Tough choice!  Considering only macro use, the 180L is probably a better choice due to the longer working distance (you get an extra 3.5" from the front element vs. the 100L), and more OOF blur at 1:1.  The slow AF of the 180L (and it is slow!) doesn't usually matter for macro.

For a dual-purpose macro and portrait lens, the 100L is hard to beat. 

If your 70-200 is already f/2.8, that's a great portrait lens and I'd get the 180L. Else, I'd say the 100L is the better choice.

From the DigitalPicture.com:
For those wanting to take their macro photography to the next level, the 180L....

I don't completely agree with that statement.  I think the difference between the 100L and the 180L is more nuanced.  IMO, the next level is the MP-E 65mm... and after that, you need a microscope!
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unfocused

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Re: Which lenses to pick up next?
« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2012, 10:27:03 AM »
Quote
The 180mm focal length yields are noticeably more diffuse background blur than the shorter focal length macro lenses.

This leaves me scratching my head. What the heck are they talking about? With macro shooting the biggest problem can be getting sufficient depth of field to capture the entire object in focus. That's why so much of the really impressive macro work you see is done through focus stacking. Admittedly, I only own the 100 L Macro lens, but I've never found insufficient background blur to be an issue. I'm much more likely to want more, not less, depth of field.
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Re: Which lenses to pick up next?
« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2012, 10:49:56 AM »
Quote
The 180mm focal length yields are noticeably more diffuse background blur than the shorter focal length macro lenses.

This leaves me scratching my head. What the heck are they talking about? With macro shooting the biggest problem can be getting sufficient depth of field to capture the entire object in focus. That's why so much of the really impressive macro work you see is done through focus stacking. Admittedly, I only own the 100 L Macro lens, but I've never found insufficient background blur to be an issue. I'm much more likely to want more, not less, depth of field.

Longer focal lengths compress the image more and result in a blurrier background.  Like take a 70-200 and take a picture at 70mm and then take the same picture at 200mm with the same settings will result in a much blurrier background. 

But I still don't think that's a good reason to get the 180L,  and yore right the 100L blurs the background just fine and is an awesome lens.
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Re: Which lenses to pick up next?
« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2012, 11:18:45 AM »
Longer focal lengths compress the image more and result in a blurrier background.  Like take a 70-200 and take a picture at 70mm and then take the same picture at 200mm with the same settings will result in a much blurrier background. 

Why do people always write that longer focal lengths compress the image, when they actually expand the background?

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Re: Which lenses to pick up next?
« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2012, 11:18:45 AM »

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Re: Which lenses to pick up next?
« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2012, 11:31:24 AM »
Longer focal lengths compress the image more and result in a blurrier background.  Like take a 70-200 and take a picture at 70mm and then take the same picture at 200mm with the same settings will result in a much blurrier background. 

Why do people always write that longer focal lengths compress the image, when they actually expand the background?

Compression will give a sense that objects are smushed against a flatter plane of view, like against a piece of paper. Its flattering for portraits and macro.

Expansion will make objects seem farther from each other than they really are. Ultra-wide for example make rooms seem larger than what they really are. Great for real estate and unique compositions when getting close.

I love 50mm's as they do neither, But back on the OP, Id get the 100mmL. Its got hybrid IS which is awesome.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2012, 11:32:55 AM by RLPhoto »

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Re: Which lenses to pick up next?
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2012, 12:12:50 PM »
Dear all,

I looked through the topics, however I wasn't able to find the same topic within 5 minutes, so I decided to just go for it and ask you guys.

My equipment is a 16-35mm, a 50mm and a 70-200mm.
Now however, I'm in need of a macro lens and I can't quite decide which one to pick: whether I should get myself the 100mm f/2.8 Macro with IS or pick up the 180mm f/3.5L.

Since I use a FF camera and am waiting for the 1D X, I thought probably those extra 80mm would be a nice thing for me. However I heard AF is pretty slow. Is it really that bad? I hope it's not like my old Sigma 70-300 which I've sold?! That one was ridiculously slow. All in all that was really what made me not buy the lens yet - it's still a lot of money.
The 100mm has plus regarding IS, f/2.8 and I could also use it as a portrait lens - with the 50mm I need to go too close to the subject for most shots IMO. If I'd get the 180mm I'd probably need the 85mm as well.

Any ideas what to pick?

One of the main reasons for using a longer focal length macro lens is to get more working distance.  if its a situation where longer working distance is absolutely required, go for a 180L.
 
Focus speed is not a issue with macro, you should be using manual focus or a focus rail.
 
The 100L does have the advantage of being hand holdable for close focus shots, but for exquisite closeups, its tripod and manual focus.  I prefer it because of this.
 
There are a ton of topics about the 100L on the forum, do a search for more as well as many sample images.  The 180L is expensive, and not nearly as popular, even though it is a very fine lens.

briansquibb

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Re: Which lenses to pick up next?
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2012, 12:37:15 PM »
Focus speed is not a issue with macro, you should be using manual focus or a focus rail.

In the UK the insects have the habit of moving therefore quick AF is needed  ;D ;D ;D

I have a 180 and AF works very well.

The extra focal length works well - and it takes an extender nicely.




n0iZe

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Re: Which lenses to pick up next?
« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2012, 12:44:35 PM »
Dear all,

Thank you very much for all the posts, I'm very happy about that!

To answer some of the questions:
I'd mainly use the macro lens outside, and I'm not really a tripod fan to be honest. (Maybe it's because I do not really own a good one - probably should pick one up one day...)

Obviously working distance is not an issue when shooting flowers - I get that.
However, I do really want to get some nice butterfly photos. I tried that a year or so ago with a 450D and the Sigma 70-300mm - overall it was a pain.
But here's my problem: Either I go for the 100mm which is faster and has IS (I like both things there!) or I go for the 180mm granting me more working distance, however I'd have to deal with slower AF.
Perhaps the 100mm and a 1.4x or even 2x extender would fulfill my needs?
Good thing would be that I could also use that extender on the 70-200mm (which is f/2.8L IS II, to answer another question) which would at least bridge and let me find out if I'm really into bird photography or if I just want to do it because I can not do it at this point.  ;) And if I'm really into it, I'll have to save for a 400mm I guess.

So what's your thought on the extender thing? I know image quality would suffer a bit, but in the end I prefer a picture that suffered a bit to a picture that's not there at all.  ;)

And background blur is not the most important thing to me. Since higher background blur does also mean I have to set a higher aperture (number that is, of course the aperture itself has to be decreased) in order to get everything as sharp as I want, it's probably not the best idea. Especially not when the one with the higher background blur has no IS.  :-\

Let's see what you guys think about it, I really appreciate every single feedback you guys can give me.

Thanks a lot in advance.

n0iZe

briansquibb

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Re: Which lenses to pick up next?
« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2012, 12:48:51 PM »
Dear all,

Thank you very much for all the posts, I'm very happy about that!

To answer some of the questions:
I'd mainly use the macro lens outside, and I'm not really a tripod fan to be honest. (Maybe it's because I do not really own a good one - probably should pick one up one day...)

Obviously working distance is not an issue when shooting flowers - I get that.
However, I do really want to get some nice butterfly photos. I tried that a year or so ago with a 450D and the Sigma 70-300mm - overall it was a pain.
But here's my problem: Either I go for the 100mm which is faster and has IS (I like both things there!) or I go for the 180mm granting me more working distance, however I'd have to deal with slower AF.
Perhaps the 100mm and a 1.4x or even 2x extender would fulfill my needs?
Good thing would be that I could also use that extender on the 70-200mm (which is f/2.8L IS II, to answer another question) which would at least bridge and let me find out if I'm really into bird photography or if I just want to do it because I can not do it at this point.  ;) And if I'm really into it, I'll have to save for a 400mm I guess.

So what's your thought on the extender thing? I know image quality would suffer a bit, but in the end I prefer a picture that suffered a bit to a picture that's not there at all.  ;)

And background blur is not the most important thing to me. Since higher background blur does also mean I have to set a higher aperture (number that is, of course the aperture itself has to be decreased) in order to get everything as sharp as I want, it's probably not the best idea. Especially not when the one with the higher background blur has no IS.  :-\

Let's see what you guys think about it, I really appreciate every single feedback you guys can give me.

Thanks a lot in advance.

n0iZe

I am not sure why you think the AF is not fast enough. When chasing moving insects keep it on Servo so it is only doing tracking adjustments - you will not see the difference between the 180 and the 180.

For moving insects your shutter speed will need to be faster than 1/500 so IS will be not needed.

n0iZe

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Re: Which lenses to pick up next?
« Reply #12 on: July 05, 2012, 01:11:14 PM »
Dear all,

Thank you very much for all the posts, I'm very happy about that!

To answer some of the questions:
I'd mainly use the macro lens outside, and I'm not really a tripod fan to be honest. (Maybe it's because I do not really own a good one - probably should pick one up one day...)

Obviously working distance is not an issue when shooting flowers - I get that.
However, I do really want to get some nice butterfly photos. I tried that a year or so ago with a 450D and the Sigma 70-300mm - overall it was a pain.
But here's my problem: Either I go for the 100mm which is faster and has IS (I like both things there!) or I go for the 180mm granting me more working distance, however I'd have to deal with slower AF.
Perhaps the 100mm and a 1.4x or even 2x extender would fulfill my needs?
Good thing would be that I could also use that extender on the 70-200mm (which is f/2.8L IS II, to answer another question) which would at least bridge and let me find out if I'm really into bird photography or if I just want to do it because I can not do it at this point.  ;) And if I'm really into it, I'll have to save for a 400mm I guess.

So what's your thought on the extender thing? I know image quality would suffer a bit, but in the end I prefer a picture that suffered a bit to a picture that's not there at all.  ;)

And background blur is not the most important thing to me. Since higher background blur does also mean I have to set a higher aperture (number that is, of course the aperture itself has to be decreased) in order to get everything as sharp as I want, it's probably not the best idea. Especially not when the one with the higher background blur has no IS.  :-\

Let's see what you guys think about it, I really appreciate every single feedback you guys can give me.

Thanks a lot in advance.

n0iZe

I am not sure why you think the AF is not fast enough. When chasing moving insects keep it on Servo so it is only doing tracking adjustments - you will not see the difference between the 180 and the 180.

For moving insects your shutter speed will need to be faster than 1/500 so IS will be not needed.

Wow, I've worked too much today. I don't even think about the most simple things. Damnit.

Of course you're right, thank you very much.

Damn, I already thought I'd be close to a decision - I was wrong.  :D

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Re: Which lenses to pick up next?
« Reply #12 on: July 05, 2012, 01:11:14 PM »

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Re: Which lenses to pick up next?
« Reply #13 on: July 05, 2012, 01:57:39 PM »
Have you thought about the MP-E 65mm 1-5x Macro ?
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neuroanatomist

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Re: Which lenses to pick up next?
« Reply #14 on: July 05, 2012, 02:09:33 PM »
Obviously working distance is not an issue when shooting flowers - I get that.
However, I do really want to get some nice butterfly photos.

Hate to make your choices more difficult, but a macro lens isn't usually needed for butterfly pics, and not for most flowers, either.  Usually, a 0.25x or so magnification is sufficient for butterflies - what you really need is working distance, and the 9.5" with the 180L often isn't enough.  At 4-5 feet distance, you'll get higher mag with the 300/4L IS (0.24x maximum magnification, great for flowers and butterflies).
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Re: Which lenses to pick up next?
« Reply #14 on: July 05, 2012, 02:09:33 PM »