Anyone have much experience with Canon Macro Lenses?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by niicko, Sep 14, 2003.

  1. niicko

    niicko Guest

    Hi guys,

    I'm about to purchase a Canon 28-135mmf/3.5-5.6 IS USM and I'm wondering how
    this goes with Macro work? I'm not talking about zooming into a grain of
    rice just two specific jobs I'm wanting to be able to do with it.

    1) Photograph textures (so fairly close up but not to the point I can see
    the atoms!)
    2) Food Photography (I think I may need a macro for this?)

    Eventually (next year) I was thinking of getting the Canon MP-E65mmf/2.8
    1-5x Macro! I really want zoom capability on the macro as I want to shoot
    everything from as far back as food photography right up to filling my CCD
    with a grain of rice (which they say it can do @5x). I'm wondering if anyone
    has had any experience with this product before?

    For now I'm hoping that the 28-135 will do both adequately, any comments on
    these products would be most welcome. Thank you all! Cheers.

    niicko, Sep 14, 2003
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  2. niicko

    Todd Walker Guest

    The MP-E 65 is an amazing macro lens. Check out Frank Phillips' bug
    gallery here:

    He uses the MP-E pretty much exclusively (he has a couple of Sigma macro
    lenses but from what I gather he doesn't like them much.) This is one of
    my favorites:

    Todd Walker
    Canon 10D:
    My Digital Photography Weblog:
    Todd Walker, Sep 14, 2003
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  3. niicko

    niicko Guest

    Yeah i already have the 500D lens but i was really wanting something with
    more grunt to it! :p
    niicko, Sep 14, 2003
  4. niicko

    niicko Guest

    WOW!! That is a cool site. Very nice images. Cheers!
    niicko, Sep 14, 2003
  5. Right. The longer the lens, the higher the magnification you get. I've had
    great results with the 250D in 58mm. In 72mm it's getting a tad pricey
    though. (I'd go for the 250D: with the zoom, you can zoom to change the
    magnification, backing out for a wider view.)
    In 72mm, it may be well over $100. Still, it's a lot easier to carry in the
    field than a macro lens.

    Check out the following page:

    David J. Littleboy
    Tokyo, Japan
    David J. Littleboy, Sep 14, 2003
  6. niicko

    Tony Spadaro Guest

    First off - the 65mm 5x macro is not a zoom - it is a 65mm lens. You might
    be referring to the size enlargement you can make with it, and that is 1.5x
    up to 5x. This is not zooming. I'm not sure if there is a one word tag for
    it, but zooming is changing the actual focal length of the lens, while
    changing the enlargement is just a matter of moving the lens further away
    from the sensor.
    For the actual macro need - it would help to know what you are going to
    be shooting. If you are doing plates of food on a table (magazine style food
    shots) you won't need a macro lens. If you want to fill the frame with one
    meat ball - you'll need to go macro.
    With textures it is the same - I used to do a lot of them when I had a
    50mm macro. They tended to be small stuff like window screening and cloth
    etc. For larger textures like brick walls etc I just used my walkabout zoom.
    The simplest way to go macro with a lens as big (72mm) as the 28-135,
    would be with extension tubes. The IS of the lens will be a big help when it
    comes to holding it all steady. Since you will be adding to the length of
    the system the IS might work better than using a tripod. Even a good tripod
    will have a certain amount of "shake" as there is no tripod mount on that
    lens or on any extension tubes to fit it. The system will be front heavy.
    Consequently you'll want to keep the shutter speed high.
    Two element close up lenses are available but the only ones to fit that
    lens are the Canon models and they are expensive. They are also not very
    storng compared to what you can get with a set of extension tubes - but a
    lot depends on how much you actually need.
    The other thing would be to get a dedicated macro lens like the Canon
    100mm f2.8. But I would assume since you are thinking of getting the 65mm
    that you would not want to spend a lot of money on another macro - although
    the ranges don't actually overlap - the 100mm only goes up to 1:1.

    home of The Camera-ist's Manifesto
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    Tony Spadaro, Sep 14, 2003
  7. Thanks for the heads up on Phillips' bug photo gallery.
    Those are the best insect macros that I have ever seen.
    Incredible detail and surprisingly good DOF for such close up shots.
    Bob Williams
    Robert E. Williams, Sep 14, 2003
  8. If you want a really good macro, you don't want a zoom. I know of no
    professional using a zoom for macro work. However must anyone doing macro
    work will suggest a longish focal length lens in the 100-200mm range. Any
    true macro will allow you to photograph something the size of the sensor and
    fill the image. That's called 1:1.

    The longer lens will allow you to still be a respectable distance away
    from the subject and still focus that close. With that 65 mm lens you will
    be about four or five inches away to produce a life size image. With a 200
    mm that will be about 16 inches.

    True macros tend to have flat fields, that is they can focus on
    something totally flat like a newspaper and the edges and the center will
    all be in focus and all the edges will be straight. Most other lenses
    focusing that close would tend to offer you the choice of focusing on the
    center or edges, but not both. True macros also tend to be very sharp
    lenses, and very expensive lenses.

    If you don't need the 1:1 range and can make due with something less, I
    suggest trying some inexpensive close up "filters" for your current lens.
    The good ones (try Nikon) do a good job and many people never need more.
    The cost is far less than a real micro lens.
    Joseph Meehan, Sep 14, 2003
  9. niicko

    JK Guest

    UGH! I would rather use extension tubes. The depth of field is better
    using extension tubes rather than diopters. Even the best two element
    dioters degrade image quality. Of course the best idea is to use a real
    macro lens (which is a prime lens, and not a macro zoom), and extension
    tubes when the need arises.
    JK, Sep 14, 2003
  10. niicko

    JK Guest

    For a given lens and a given magnification, extension tubes will give more
    working distance than diopters. Extension tubes will also give you
    more depth of field for the same marked aperture on the lens
    (the reason for this is that extension tubes cut down on the light,
    making the effective aperture even smaller). A reversed wide angle lens
    will give you more working distance than the same lens on extension
    tubes for the same magnification.
    JK, Sep 14, 2003
  11. niicko

    Tom Monego Guest

    Most macro zooms are only, as you found out, close focusing lenses. The only
    real macro zoom was made in the 70's by Vivitar you could go to half life size
    at 180mm. I have one used mostly for medical photography, a true beast of a
    lens, on my Canon F1 with a motor and a Metz 45CT1 flash I'm looking at 7 lbs.
    Currently Canon makes 3 true macros, a 50mm, 100mm, and 200mm, nothing in zoom
    I'm afraid. All are excellent lenses.

    Tom Monego, Sep 15, 2003
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