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Macro Lenses - 30mm, 60mm, 90mm, 180mm - which is best? what has been your experience?
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Apr 13, 2019 17:28:22   #
Chris T (a regular here)
 
nimbushopper wrote:
Macro is identified as a photo taken at a magnification of 1:1 or greater. I don't believe Nikon ever made a true macro zoom(even if they call it a macro). For example, I have a nikon 28-105 macro zoom, but it's only capable of about 1:3 magnification at its closest focusing distance. I would call it a close focusing zoom.


I don't think anyone makes a True Macro Zoom, Nimbus … but a couple come pretty close.

This Sigma 70-300 Macro I have here - does 1:16.5 at 90mm and 1:8.9 at around 210mm.

At its farthest extension - 300mm - it drops down to 1:4.1, though …

My other goodie is the Sigma 18-250 OS HSM Macro - which achieves 1:2.9 at 250mm ....

At its shortest macro length (28mm) it achieves 1:9.5 ….

The difference between the two - is - the latter is constantly variable - essentially - Macro at all lengths.

Whereas the Sigma 70-300 APO Macro - locks into the zoom range, from 200mm to 300mm ….

And, of course - the DC lens is stabilized, whilst the DG lens isn't ….

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Apr 13, 2019 17:49:50   #
Grahame
 
Chris T wrote:
Is it really necessary for us to buy one in each range?


It depends upon how committed YOU are at achieving the standards in macro photography that YOU want.

If YOU are not able to achieve the results and IQ YOU want with the subjects YOU want to shoot at a certain focal length only YOU can decide.


Chris T wrote:
Or, are just one or two suitable for most things?


I would suggest one or two are, but my definition of 'most things' will not be the same as anyone else's.

Chris T wrote:
If you use them - please advise as to which length is better suited for YOUR purposes
,

I only use a 105 mm (mainly on a FF) for shooting live bugs and critters. In many years of macro shooting, generally at 1:1 or greater with tubes I have never found the need for a different FL. On the very rare occasion that I need a longer FL due to access I'll use a 1.4TC with it.

Chris T wrote:
and why you chose it.


Because it is mentioned everywhere that it is the most versatile and useful FL.

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Apr 13, 2019 17:57:50   #
Chris T (a regular here)
 
Grahame wrote:
Because it is mentioned everywhere that it is the most versatile and useful FL.


Regardless of what's written, Grahame - I suspect you'd be better off using the one which seems to be the most versatile for your purposes. For close-up work, I prefer the Tokina 35 Pro DX. For LD work, invariably, I'll pick the 105. But, my most used Macro - is the 60 f2. Reason? … It's a good all-purpose lens, and - it's pretty fast, too …

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Apr 13, 2019 18:19:22   #
Grahame
 
Chris T wrote:
Regardless of what's written, Grahame - I suspect you'd be better off using the one which seems to be the most versatile for your purposes.


Your question was ..............

Chris T wrote:
and why you chose it.


and my answer gave the exact reasoning behind my purchase of a 105mm which was 'reccomendation'.

I would suspect that most people when first getting into macro work have little idea of which FL is going to be best for them and besides that subject interests change over time.

Chris T wrote:
For close-up work, I prefer the Tokina 35 Pro DX. For LD work, invariably, I'll pick the 105. But, my most used Macro - is the 60 f2. Reason? … It's a good all-purpose lens, and - it's pretty fast, too …


As I mentioned previously I have never yet found anything I wanted to shoot at macro magnifications that I could achieve 'better' with a different FL.

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Apr 13, 2019 18:42:04   #
Chris T (a regular here)
 
Grahame wrote:
As I mentioned previously I have never yet found anything I wanted to shoot at macro magnifications that I could achieve 'better' with a different FL.


Oh, okay, Grahame … thanks for your input! …

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Apr 13, 2019 20:37:20   #
amfoto1 (a regular here)
 
For most people and general purpose, outdoor macro photography, a lens in the 90/100/105mm range is the best compromise.

Shorter focal lengths can put you too close to many subjects... scaring away little critters or casting a shadow over things... or getting bit or stung! Shorter focal lengths can be compact, though... so a 60mm or 70mm has it's uses. Someone who mostly shoots flowers, for example, might not often need full 1:1 and shoot from greater distances anyway. Shorter focal lengths also can be the best choice for tabletop studio work, copying, etc.

Longer focal lengths are tougher to hold steady AND are often stopped down more in search of even a little depth of field.... meaning they are more likely to require a tripod or at least a monopod. But they can be useful too, allowing you to keep some distance from nasty critters that bite, sting, etc.

Personally I've got 60mm, 90mm, 100mm and 180mm macro lenses, as well as a 65mm ultra high magnification macro lens. I also sometimes use 45mm and 300mm lenses for close-up work (among other focal lengths I use a lot less frequently).

But my most used macro lens is my 100mm.

I use a twin light flash for macro up to 1:1 or a little higher magnification. I have a ring light flash, too... but really only use it at really high magnifications on the 65mm lens mentioned above. I don't care for the rather flat light or "clinical" look ring lights give at lower magnifications... but they can be great at high magnifications.

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Apr 13, 2019 21:11:53   #
John Gerlach
 
The Canon 65 macro is terrific for magnifications greater than life-size, the 100mm macro is fine for studio close-ups and when using it with a crop factor camera, and for outdoors the Canon 180mm macro is far superior to shorter macros. Long macros, like the Canon 180mm or the Nikon 200, both offer a tripod collar on the lens, much greater working distance, and a much smaller angle of view to make more pleasing backgrounds.

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Apr 13, 2019 22:42:24   #
Chris T (a regular here)
 
John Gerlach wrote:
The Canon 65 macro is terrific for magnifications greater than life-size, the 100mm macro is fine for studio close-ups and when using it with a crop factor camera, and for outdoors the Canon 180mm macro is far superior to shorter macros. Long macros, like the Canon 180mm or the Nikon 200, both offer a tripod collar on the lens, much greater working distance, and a much smaller angle of view to make more pleasing backgrounds.


How much greater than life-size can you get with the Canon 65mm Macro, John?

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Apr 13, 2019 22:45:37   #
Chris T (a regular here)
 
amfoto1 wrote:
For most people and general purpose, outdoor macro photography, a lens in the 90/100/105mm range is the best compromise.

Shorter focal lengths can put you too close to many subjects... scaring away little critters or casting a shadow over things... or getting bit or stung! Shorter focal lengths can be compact, though... so a 60mm or 70mm has it's uses. Someone who mostly shoots flowers, for example, might not often need full 1:1 and shoot from greater distances anyway. Shorter focal lengths also can be the best choice for tabletop studio work, copying, etc.

Longer focal lengths are tougher to hold steady AND are often stopped down more in search of even a little depth of field.... meaning they are more likely to require a tripod or at least a monopod. But they can be useful too, allowing you to keep some distance from nasty critters that bite, sting, etc.

Personally I've got 60mm, 90mm, 100mm and 180mm macro lenses, as well as a 65mm ultra high magnification macro lens. I also sometimes use 45mm and 300mm lenses for close-up work (among other focal lengths I use a lot less frequently).

But my most used macro lens is my 100mm.

I use a twin light flash for macro up to 1:1 or a little higher magnification. I have a ring light flash, too... but really only use it at really high magnifications on the 65mm lens mentioned above. I don't care for the rather flat light or "clinical" look ring lights give at lower magnifications... but they can be great at high magnifications.
For most people and general purpose, outdoor macro... (show quote)


I see you use the non-L Canon 100, Alan. How does it compare with the L version - do you know?

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Apr 13, 2019 22:59:46   #
RichardTaylor (a regular here)
 
Chris T wrote:
How much greater than life-size can you get with the Canon 65mm Macro, John?


From a previous thread of yours (it's 5:1).
https://www.uglyhedgehog.com/t-485707-1.html

See this.

https://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Canon-MP-E-65mm-1-5x-Macro-Lens-Review.aspx

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Apr 13, 2019 23:08:34   #
kskarma
 
jeweler53 wrote:
70-180mm f/4.5-5.6 AF-D Micro-NIKKOR

1:1.32 at 180mm (Use a 6T close-up lens for 1:1)

Sounds like a nifty addition to my bag!


Thanks jeweler...you...and others are correct, it does not get to 1:1. And the 6T is very pricey, however it's still a very versatile lens. When I have used it, the lack of a true 1:1 has never been an issue, and the ability to change focal length...and field of view...without changing position, has made this lens a pleasure to work with. But....if not having an absolute 1:1 is a show stopper for anyone, that's your call. Personally, I think it's a good trade off.

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Apr 14, 2019 06:58:06   #
Brucej67
 
I have the Nikon 60 and 105 macro also the Sigma 150 and 180 plus the Tamron 180. The Nikon 105 and the Sigma 150 get used a lot for insects, the 60 for flowers, the Tamron 180 I use sometimes and the Sigma 180 (which is heavy) I seldom use.

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Apr 14, 2019 07:32:13   #
mborn
 
I use the 105 & 180 macro depends on the working distance

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Apr 14, 2019 07:54:50   #
camerapapi (a regular here)
 
First, it is not necessary to buy each focal length of macro lens made. I first bought a 50mm macro when I was inexperienced in the use of macro lenses. Soon I learned that 50mm had a very short working distance which stopped me from shooting some of my subjects.
Then I went to the 105mm focal length and it has worked beautifully giving me plenty of room to work with.
I would say that the 105mm focal length for macros is a very useful focal length when it comes to working with different subjects.

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Apr 14, 2019 08:44:15   #
Tomfl101
 
jeweler53 wrote:
Depth of field is not dependent on focal length. It is dependent on magnification A photo at the same magnification with the 60 and the 105 will have exactly the same DOF, but will have a different perspective.


Correct me if I'm wrong here but I believe this is true only as long as the actual aperture size is the same on both lenses. F-8 on a 60mm is smaller than f-8 on a 105mm. To get the same depth of field on the 105 you would need to stop down to around f-13.

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