Old 16-09-2010, 10:26 PM
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koputai (Jason)
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Which Canon macro lens?

Hi Folks,

It's about time I got a decent macro lens, so I need your opinions.
I know the Sigma's are good, but I would rather stay with Canon lenses.
So, to choose from there are:

EF 50mm f/2.5 Macro (actually half-a-macro, but superb optics)
EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro
EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM
EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM
EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro

Now I think the 50mm and 60mm are probably a bit too short, requiring me to get closer to some critters than I (or they) would be comfortable with.

The 100mm (Classic) seems to be the standard.

The new 100mm L-Series, well, it's got the new fancy Hybrid IS.

The 180mm is L-Series, and you get to stay a long way away from your subject, which I suspect is nice.

So, 100mm or 180mm? If 100, the old or the new? What are your thoughts.


P.S. If you must throw the Sigma 105 or 150 in to the mix, feel free, I could be swayed......
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Old 16-09-2010, 11:22 PM
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Octane (Humayun)
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I can't add much as this isn't my forté, but, I owned the 50mm f/2.5 USM macro. I never used it for macros, but, it was a fantastic portrait lens.

You'd probably want to start with the 100mm variants because they double up as superb portrait lenses, too.

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Old 16-09-2010, 11:44 PM
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acropolite (Phil)
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100mm F2.8 L macro if you can afford it. The IS is a definite bonus even for macro use and it will double as a fine portrait lens.
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Old 17-09-2010, 04:23 AM
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troypiggo (Troy)
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Around the 100mm is by far the most commonly recommended focal length to start out macro with. It is an unbeatable balance in terms of working distance, usability, and cost. Working distance (WD) is important if you're aiming to shoot bugs, less chance of scaring them off.

But going too long with FL to get more WD brings in some complexities. Talking about the 150-180mm FL now. It's heavier and harder to hand-hold, you get the subject jumping around more in the frame, even little things like the flash might be further away so slightly harsher light.

Don't get caught up on brands. True macro lenses are all primes and are all some of the sharpest lenses you will ever own. Canon, Sigma, Tamron, Tokina - they all make top notch macro lenses and you shouldn't have regrets no matter which one you choose.

Also, don't get caught up on comments about slow auto-focus. Unless you're using the thing to double as a portrait lens or something, AF does not matter as you'll be shooting macro in manual focus anyway. If you are using it as a portrait lens as well, although some may comment that this macro lens has faster AF than that macro lens, they are all extremly slow to AF compared to normal lenses intended to shoot portraits.

I haven't used the EF-S 60, but know it does produce fine results in the right hands. Just not enough WD for my liking. The kind of scenario I've come across where I would consider recommending it over the 100mm range was if you're using it to shoot subjects where you can't back up enough and need to be in closer - this dentist was wanting to use one to shoot people's teeth in a tight room space.

So I recommend the Tamron 90, Sigma 105 or Canon 100. I have no experience with the new Canon 100L IS, but if you have the dough the IS may be beneficial. Personally I'd rather keep the dough and spend it on lighting because you'll want flash and diffusers eventually, maybe extension tubes too.

I've used or owned all of the other macro lenses mentioned (complicated but uninteresting story) - Canon 100, Sigma 105, Tamron 90, Sigma 150, Canon 180L, Canon MP-E65. If I had my time again, I'd get the Tamron 90 to start with and it would always be in my bag no matter what other macro lenses I got to complement it.
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Old 17-09-2010, 11:38 AM
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Agreed Phil, top lens, but not that cheap, but then you get what you pay for.

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Old 19-09-2010, 05:32 PM
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hotspur (Chris)
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re macro's

How did you go Jason? did you end up buying one of the macro's you mentioned you had listed.

Thanks Troy for your write up!,very interesting as I would like to get another macro in the future-most likely get the Canon 100 mm F 2.8 EF-S.

But from what I have read else where,and your wisdom back this up,is that no manufacturer can make a bad macro-the recipe must be so,that they always come of the production line, sharp,regardless of brand.

I was most interested to read your comments on the Tamron 90 mm,I will certainly be checking this one out a bit more-I am sure it would be cheaper than the Canon EF-S 100 mm,and come with a hood in the box!

Anyhow a most interesting thread.

regards Chris
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