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nkeevers
November 19th, 2007, 01:32 PM
I have a Canon Rebel XT SLR and thinking of getting a macro lens. I see the lenses. I'm not sure what would be the best for all around close ups...like flowers, animals, detail I wouldn't see with my regular lens. There are 4 but I'm not sure which would do all that I want.
EF-S 60mm (f/2.8 macro USM)
MP-E 65mm (f/2.8 1-5X) macro photo (this is just manual focus?)
EF 100mm (f/2.8) macro USM (this auto and manual focus I think)
SF180mm (f/3.5L) macro US

bayhli
November 19th, 2007, 01:38 PM
Hi Norma,

I have the Canon Macro lens, EF 100mm (f/2.8) and I absolutely love it; I wouldn't part with it.

Images are very sharp and yes, it does focus both manual and auto.

Chuck S.
November 19th, 2007, 01:49 PM
I have the same one as Pat. I like it a lot, but I find it to be just a bit heavy to handhold without vibration; mine came with a built-in tripod mount, although it doesn't appear that it's still packaged that way

There's also a 50 mm f/2.5 compact macro by Canon which might warrant consideration. Compared to the 100 mm, it's half the weight (0.6 lb vs. 1.3 lb) and about half the price ($230 vs. $435).

lexcell
November 19th, 2007, 10:06 PM
The big differences between the macro lenses are...minimum focus distance, angle of view, price and weight.

All but the MP-E 65mm give you 1:1 reproduction (greater on digital cameras that have a smaller than "full frame" sensor) which means if you photographed a penny at minimum distance, it would be life size on the sensor.

The MP-E is a specialized lens that has extreme magnification.

The 60mm focuses the closest and has the widest angle of view (AOV)
The 100mm focus a bit farther away and has a narrower AOV
The 180mm has the greatest distance to subject and the narrowest AOV.

If you like to photograph insects/butterflies, etc a greater minimum distance is good so that you don't scare away your subject.

A narrower AOV allows you to control your background better.

I, too, own the 100mm micro lens (Nikon) and love it! It also works as a great portrait lens and mid tele landscape lens.

Chuck S.
November 20th, 2007, 01:42 AM
I just might add that the Canon 50 mm f/2.5 is only 1:2, so one review said that it's not a 'true' macro. FWIW.

Bayla
November 20th, 2007, 03:08 AM
I have the Canon 50mm f2.5 but with a life size converter attached.

Bayla

Chuck S.
November 20th, 2007, 07:31 AM
I have the Canon 50mm f2.5 but with a life size converter attached.

Bayla

which, according to the review I read, does indeed turn it into a 'true macro'. How do you like the lens, Bayla?

nkeevers
November 20th, 2007, 07:50 AM
Hi Norma,

I have the Canon Macro lens, EF 100mm (f/2.8) and I absolutely love it; I wouldn't part with it.

Images are very sharp and yes, it does focus both manual and auto.

Do you always use a tripod when using the macro lens? Chuck said it's heavy and might be a little vibration when taking photos. If there was something at ground level I wanted to take a picture of, what would that do to shake.

Bayla
November 20th, 2007, 07:59 AM
Chuck,

I like it. I was attracted by the price, which was affordable and the fact that it is light.

Bayla

msbrad
November 20th, 2007, 08:12 AM
Good luck Norma!
off to read more later myself on lenses:eek:
m

nkeevers
November 20th, 2007, 08:18 AM
Chuck,

I like it. I was attracted by the price, which was affordable and the fact that it is light.

Bayla

Any differences in the closeup images between that and the 100?

bayhli
November 20th, 2007, 10:13 AM
Do you always use a tripod when using the macro lens?

No, I don't always use a tripod; in fact I prefer not to. As long as you have enough light to keep your shutter speeds up and can position yourself firmly with your camera, it is not a problem. When the opposite is true, I pull out the tripod. With small subjects and being so close, you do need good light.

For those low to the ground subjects, you are going to kneel or lay down on your belly! :D The tripod I have also can be positioned right down at the ground.

Whatever macro lens you decide is for you, you will have fun with it. My favourite type of photography.

Chuck S.
November 20th, 2007, 10:47 AM
No, I don't always use a tripod; in fact I prefer not to. As long as you have enough light to keep your shutter speeds up and can position yourself firmly with your camera, it is not a problem. When the opposite is true, I pull out the tripod. With small subjects and being so close, you do need good light.

For those low to the ground subjects, you are going to kneel or lay down on your belly! :D The tripod I have also can be positioned right down at the ground.

Whatever macro lens you decide is for you, you will have fun with it. My favourite type of photography.

Pat must be a lot stronger than I.. :)

My issue around keeping shutter speeds high is depth of field. For a given exposure, the higher the shutter speed, the lower the f/stop and therefore the smaller the depth of field. If I really want much of what I'm shooting at close range to be in focus, I have to stop down the lens and go with slower shutter speeds. Trading off against this is the reality that some of the objects I like to shoot, particularly flowers, tend to sway a little, which pushes me back to high shutter speeds. Macro is fun, but it sure can be tricky....

bayhli
November 20th, 2007, 11:08 AM
Pat must be a lot stronger than I..

Not stronger for sure... more stubborn perhaps! :rolleyes:

You're right Chuck, macro most certainly can be tricky for all the reasons you mention. More than once I've put some distance between myself and my subject to get it all in focus and then cropped it later, out of frustration.

I find insects smaller than bees really difficult, with and without a converter. Lucky for me, I'm not really too interested in that subject.

I did try focusing manually and "rocking" with the lens this summer for flowers etc - it does help for DOF.

Macro is where I thought the DOF Master we discussed in the Reading thread, would come in handy. I get funny readings on the Palm version at 100mm though but haven't followed up with that yet. I'm thinking it is because of it being a macro-type lens rather than a wide-angle which the DOF/M is meant for?

Grant
November 20th, 2007, 11:20 AM
I have a Nikkor 105 mm macro and it is a grand lens. For me this lens much more useful with film than it is with digital. Mind you it will also give exceptional quality images with digital but you do have to move back a bit. Some times, as I try to shoot, this can push me back into another flower. For a portrait lens I find this one a little long, even for film let alone digital, as it tends to flatten the face and make an unrealistic relationship between the nose and the ears.


Unless you have specific needs and you were only buying for digital I would go with something in the 60 mm range it is equivalent to a 90 mm in full frame which gives excellent working distance for macro and portraits alike. The other advantages is you will save a good deal of money.

--

lruther1
November 20th, 2007, 11:33 AM
I also shoot canon xt and have been happy with the 100mm for flowers/portraits. I am however saving up for the 180 for those skittish insects. Sharp macros with controlled depth of field pretty much require a few extras such as, a tripod that goes flat to ground, cable release, reflectors or fill flash(I prefer natural lighting) and a willingness to get up early to beat the wind and or wind blocking material and garden stakes. For sturdier stemmed flowers a neat little gadget called a plamp to anchor the stem to your tripod is helpful. That's how I got this rose on a very windy morning. Even so had shoot between gusts.

Chuck S.
November 20th, 2007, 11:37 AM
Pat, this article may help:

Canon 100 mm macro (http://www.markusehrenfried.de/photography/canonef100mmf2.8.html)

bayhli
November 20th, 2007, 11:44 AM
Good article Chuck - thanks!

Norma, you might want to read this as well to help with selection.

nkeevers
November 20th, 2007, 06:39 PM
Chuck, great article! Thanks for the link! I think I've made up my mind now!

mlspmk
November 20th, 2007, 09:24 PM
check out the POTN website - they have a wealth of user reviews and photos taken with a variety of lenses. I have two macro lenses Tamron 70-200 & Sigma 17-70 and extension tubes but am now drooling over the Canon MP-E65

NMarti
November 20th, 2007, 09:39 PM
Norma
I have the f2.8 100mm lens and it is fantastic. Grant advised me on it and he definitely did not steer me wrong. I have no complaints other than the weight but for most macro I use a tripod anyway.

lexcell
November 20th, 2007, 09:54 PM
One of the things that affect DOF is distance to subject. The closer you are to the subject, the less DOF you have, even at small apertures. If it's windy, that can pose a problem.

Linda had some good suggestions...using flash, reflectors, diffusers and wind blockers.

Another option is this really cool software that I use called Helicon Focus. http://www.heliconsoft.com/heliconfocus.html

It is a Photoshop plug-in (not sure if it works with elements). I set my camera up on a tripod and compose the image. Then, I open my aperture wide open (helps me to have a faster shutter speed if it;s a bit windy) and focus on the closest part of the image. I click, then adjust the focus a bit farther into the subject (we're talking fractions of a turn of the focus ring) and keep repeating this until I have taken numerous images all focusing on different points within the frame from near focus to far.
Then, I simply have Helicon Focus work it's magic and combine all the images together to create one tack sharp image...sometimes totally defying DOF! It's wicked cool!

lruther1
November 21st, 2007, 11:57 AM
Laurie,
Helicon is on my wish list for things that hold still like fungi and rocks. Noticed when visited the site can lease the program for 1yr at a low price. It is a stand alone program so should work for elements users as well. How do you find it does in terms of lining up something that may be moving; like flowers? I was worried that might lead to "ghosting" like with the HDR programs.

lexcell
November 21st, 2007, 01:34 PM
Linda,
You are correct, it is a stand alone program. I forgot. So, you can use it first and then open your image in Elements.

I did a flower photo with it and there was a slight breeze. I didn't think Helicon would work but, it sure did. There were about 2-3 images that were not exactly aligned with the rest and Helicon took care of them.
IT ROCKS!!!

I am traveling right now but, if I find the image on one of my harddrives, I'll post it.

BillBarber
November 21st, 2007, 06:24 PM
Norma, looks like I'm a little late for this party but it looks like you have gotten some superb advice. Just to add my 2 cents - the 100 is in my bag and don't worry about the tripod so much. You will know when you will need it and you'll be suprised what you can get away with:)

nkeevers
November 22nd, 2007, 06:29 AM
Thanks Bill! Glad to hear someone else has the 100 and doesn't always have to use a tripod.:D

Chuck S.
November 22nd, 2007, 07:07 AM
Guess I just need to do some weightlifting to improve my hand and arm strength....:o

My regular walkaround lens is the 28-135 mm IS, which weighs 540 grams. The 100 mm macro weighs 600 grams, only about 10% more, so it's not like it's a brick. It's just trying to hold it still when getting in some awkward position to capture a flower or bee (or both) that makes me wish it were just a little lighter. On the other hand, it's built extremely well and has 12 lens elements, so it really would compromise its quality to weigh less.

Enjoy the lens, Norma - macrophotography will always be my favorite!

Codebreaker
November 22nd, 2007, 07:37 AM
Chuck....

I have the 100mm on my xmas wish list - although I'm not sure I've been good enough. :(

Have you tried it as a Portrait lens?

Colin

Chuck S.
November 22nd, 2007, 07:48 AM
Chuck....


Have you tried it as a Portrait lens?

Colin

Colin, I haven't tried it, but I should - it gets good mention in that capacity. I guess I've not thought about using it for portraits due to the 1.6 factor. In my film days, my favorite portrait lens was an 85 mm; the 100 on a DSLR would require a lot longer camera-to-subject distance. But I'm going to give it a go!

nkeevers
November 22nd, 2007, 08:07 AM
Chuck, I'd be interested in seeing the picture if you give it a try!

Grant
November 22nd, 2007, 08:29 AM
Any lens can take a portrait but ... An ideal portrait lens will do three things, well four if we include create a good portrait! :twisted:

A portrait lens will set you a slight bit back form the sitter so you are not right up in their face. The lens should give a bit of separation between the sitter and the background. The lens should render the subjects facial proportions in a pleasant manner.

Traditionally a lens for between 1.5 and 2x the focal length of a normal lens has been used. For a 35mm camera this is a lens between 75 mm and 100 mm. for a dSLR this is between 50 mm and 70 mm. There are knowledgeable photographers that will extend this a bit further.

If you use a wide angle lens to take a portrait then you will be too close to the subject. Everything will be in focus, including that distracting background. The subjects nose will be proportionally closer to the camera than the ears this will create a nosecone effect.

If you use a lens that is too long you may have to build on an addition onto your studio to get back far enough to squeeze the subject into the frame. You will have good separation, in fact you may separate the nose form the ears having a nose in focus and ears fuzzy. Finally a long lens will make the face look flatter than it is perceived to be.

While a 100mm lens can double as a portrait lens it is not an ideal one.

--

Codebreaker
November 22nd, 2007, 08:44 AM
Thanks Grant....

I'd read somewhere that it would make a good Portait lens - I guess from what you are saying that would probably be right on a Full Frame Sensor digicam.

Colin

Chuck S.
November 22nd, 2007, 08:46 AM
Grant, is there an ideal camera-to-subject distance to render a face most pleasingly (i.e., no exaggerated features but not too flat)? If that distance could be determined, it would seem like you could select your lens or zoom position based on that. Just a thought...

Chuck S.
November 22nd, 2007, 08:53 AM
Here's a link to an article on portrait photography:

Better Portraits (http://www.anandtech.com/digitalcameras/showdoc.aspx?sitesize=yes&i=2323&cp=2)

Grant
November 22nd, 2007, 09:45 AM
Grant, is there an ideal camera-to-subject distance to render a face most pleasingly


Ah what is a portrait?

The idea distance will give an images that will mimic what we see at comfortable conversations distance. Because a photograph renders brutally and the eye is tempered by the brain these distances are not always the same. The photographic distance to do this is between three and seven feet. With a 50 mm lens on a dSLR this will give you full frame portrait at one end and a 3/4 length portrait at the other


So back to what is a Portrait? Go to this link and check out Masterworks (http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/karsh/index-e.html) to see the variety of great portraits by one man.

--

ChristineV
November 22nd, 2007, 12:54 PM
Chuck, great article! Thanks for the link! I think I've made up my mind now!

So Norma ... what did you decide? I, too, have been researching macro lenses too and I keep coming back to the 100 mm. I have put it on my Christmas wish list. ;)

Chuck S.
November 22nd, 2007, 01:04 PM
Christine, you're on the right track - go for it!!:)

bayhli
November 22nd, 2007, 01:41 PM
Hey Chuck,

Don't think I don't throw away a lot of images due to camera-shake - it can even depend on how much coffee I've had. I just like the freedom of no tripod with macro so I keep trying; that's where the stubborn sometimes works for me. I very often pull out the tripod, especially if the subject is important to me.

Can't have you getting a complex over this and attending weight-training every morning for nothing. :D

Great thread, thanks for sharing all of this information everyone!

lexcell
November 22nd, 2007, 08:26 PM
When photographing any subject there are some guidelines for selecting an appropriate lens just as Grant suggested the range for portraits.

For serious wildlife you should have something between 400mm-600mm and landscapes in the fairly wide range.

But, there is also your own personal style to take into consideration.

I, personally, like the compressed look of telephotos for portraits...standing way back and working on candids...that is just my style.

My friend, Joe McNally, typically uses wider lenses to capture portraits...he likes to include some environment in his.

These are not the norm but, they work for OUR style of photography. If you really want to find the best lens for your own style, stop into a camera store and ask to look at several lenses and aim them at people moving in or backing up to get the feel of the lens.

As Grant mentioned, you want to be at a comfortable distance from your subject so that you capture them relaxed and looking comfortable not, deer in the headlights kind of look.

BillBarber
November 23rd, 2007, 07:52 PM
As Grant mentioned, you want to be at a comfortable distance from your subject so that you capture them relaxed and looking comfortable not, deer in the headlights kind of look.

Yea, but you can get some really cool montages with that look! :twisted:

LeeOtsubo
November 26th, 2007, 11:35 AM
Canon 20D, 100/2.8 macro at 2.8, 1/160, ~4 inches. Av mode on tripod.

Click here (http://www.photoshopuser.com/members/portfolios/view/image/106359)

bayhli
November 26th, 2007, 11:59 AM
Hey Lee... welcome back!

We've missed you popping in...

nkeevers
November 26th, 2007, 12:34 PM
So Norma ... what did you decide? I, too, have been researching macro lenses too and I keep coming back to the 100 mm. I have put it on my Christmas wish list. ;)

I'm going for the 100!

Codebreaker
November 27th, 2007, 02:38 AM
I hope my wife is going for the 100mm - it's on my xmas list I gave her - in bold and underlined; no subtlety here :D

Colin