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Topic # 107690 17-Aug-2012 09:07 Send private message

Hi all,

I'm looking for macro options for a DSLR camera.

First up, how do those 'switchable' macro lenses work?
I've seen a few that are say 35-135mm but have a macro switch or something on the side? That seems like the best of both worlds, 1 lens for multiple tasks.  Those numbers are normally associated with a versatile small telephoto type lens, so how do they become macro lenses as well, and are they any good?

The other options seem to be macro extension tubes.  They seemed well priced and would allow me to use my existing 18 - 50mm standard manual focus lens.
Is this is good option to get my feet wet?

Any experiences much appreciated.

Example of photography I'm looking to achieve:
(Please note this is not mine at all, it's flogged from google images...)




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  Reply # 673609 17-Aug-2012 09:58 Send private message

I've heard you can take just a standard 50mm lens and put it on the camera backwards for a cheap and cheerful macro lens. You can even get adapters that screw into where the lens filter would normally go so you can just attach it like a normal lens.

This page has a more complete description and some sample photos
http://www.dpchallenge.com/tutorial.php?TUTORIAL_ID=40

There is a more detailed discussion here
http://www.photographyboard.net/using-a-50mm-lens-in-reverse-as-a-macro-6507613.html


Edit: Sorry, I can't seem to get the text above to work as a hyperlink, you will need to copy to your browser to access  Cry

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  Reply # 673627 17-Aug-2012 10:41 Send private message

Consider purchasing a cheaper extender ring.

These sit between the camera body and the existing lens.




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  Reply # 673664 17-Aug-2012 12:39 Send private message





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  Reply # 673671 17-Aug-2012 12:52 Send private message

Yeah extension tubes are a good start. If you're doing still stuff like that ring then you can go fully manual for focus and exposure real cheap.

Macro zooms are rarely (if ever?) true macro. They can just focus quite close. But it may be good enough for your needs, I don't know.

Macro primes are the best quality, therefore expensive.

As above you buy reversing rings that let you attached your lens backwards, say your 50mm, and get really close that way. I've never tried it.

Of course the closer you get to your subject with the camera the more difficult it may be to light it well, as you're getting in the way!

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  Reply # 673677 17-Aug-2012 13:16 Send private message

Umm the Canon line of macro lenses do actually give you 'macro' shots 1:1. 

The 'macro' switch on the side that the OP talks about is just for the autofocus.  When you turn that on, it tells the camera to try and find focus  within macro ranges instead of trying to find anything 20m away...although you shouldn't really be using autofocus anyway.

Macro lenses can also be used as general lenses.



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  Reply # 673706 17-Aug-2012 14:34 Send private message

Thanks guys, appreciate all the comments.

I'll try the extension tubes then to start with. Looks like for a smaller lens like the 18 - 55mm that I might not need too big an extension tube anyway, so might get away with just one tube, which would be easy to work with for these one off type shots.

Cheers.

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  Reply # 673890 18-Aug-2012 00:13 Send private message

There are probably people that know more than me so please correct me if I am wrong.

Typically a macro lens does not have a switch to turn it into a macro lens, it is normally deemed a macro lens if the minimum focal distance is below a certain length I think this is about 1m. I.e you can still focus on your subject when you are a meter away. often they have a switch to restict the focal range though. I'm not saying that there are not any, just that i have not come across a lense with a switch to turn it into macro mode.

I would also not buy a zoom lens if my purpose was to use it for macro, they don't really let you do proper macro photography just let you get a little closer than some non macro.

A lens built specifically for macro will have a minimum focal distance even less than that e.g. My favorite macro lens will focus at 38cm. The focal length is important as combined with its focal reach decides how big the subject is on the sensor. Typically a good macro lens will deliver 1:1 which is better than it sounds as its 1:1 on the sensor so when you see it on screen or in print it looks huge there are lenses that will do a lot better than 1:1 e.g. The canon mp-e65 this will do 5:1 but it is actually quite a hard lens to use right.

All the specific macro lenses are quite expensive but as others have pointed out, there are alternatives e.g. Extension tubes, magnifying lenses that you place in front of you usual lense and reverse coupling brackets that let you put one lens backwards in front of another. The extension tube simply just push the lens further away from the sensor so an image that would be in focus behind the sensor is now on the sensor hence you can get closer. The reverse lens is harder to explain but in real simple terms the front (backwards) lens kind of makes the image seem bigger to the lens closest to the sensor so it can focus.

These are all good ( and relatively cheap) if you are having a 'play' with macro photography, I have had particular success with reverse coupling a 50mm prime in front of a zoom lens which allows you to get super close up but for all the successes I have had using these I have had far more using a proper macro lens at least sharper anyway.

Also the closer in you get to something the shallower the depth of field and the more light you need to get a good image.

Like any branch of photography it can certainly start getting expensive the more you start to get into it, lenses, tripods, brackets, flashes...

Anyway try the extension tubes, see what you think and let us know, if it doesn't work out for you there are plenty of other ways.

And enjoy it , I've had so much fun already down this branch of photography and am still getting started really

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  Reply # 673891 18-Aug-2012 00:31 Send private message

Also have a look through the 'what I shot today' thread raIkyn has got some amazing macro shots on thare



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  Reply # 673959 18-Aug-2012 11:40 Send private message

Thanks nzjwnz, all good contributions. Cheers!

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  Reply # 674428 20-Aug-2012 08:34 Send private message

What nzjwnz said. I used to have a Canon 100mm macro, which was great, but when I switched to Nikon I got extension tubes because of price. I use macro so rarely, just for ring shots, it's not worth buying another $1000+ lens and carting it about. Tubes are ok, a bit fiddly. I only use the middle sized tube, with a 24-70 lens.

Macro lenses are all sharp and you use it in manual focus at macro distances anyway, so get the cheapest one, Sigma etc probably fine - though I personally only use OEM lenses these days. They're usually decent portrait lenses too.




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  Reply # 674564 20-Aug-2012 13:49 Send private message

timmmay: What nzjwnz said. I used to have a Canon 100mm macro, which was great, but when I switched to Nikon I got extension tubes because of price. I use macro so rarely, just for ring shots, it's not worth buying another $1000+ lens and carting it about. Tubes are ok, a bit fiddly. I only use the middle sized tube, with a 24-70 lens.


Thanks Timmmay.



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  Reply # 674565 20-Aug-2012 13:51 Send private message

Off topic, but please feel free to head over to this geekzone thread for a spot of voting please Wink

Cheers,
Jaxson


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  Reply # 674861 20-Aug-2012 23:20 Send private message

I've used close up filters, bellows, tubes, macro lenses and reversed (non macro) lenses.

The filters distort the image so badly you need to crop the edges. You also lose clarity (important in macro) and add some vignetting depending on the quality of the glass.

I found bellows to be the best if you have an indoor setup that isn't likely to move much, and if you don't mind a generally tedious setup phase which makes them useless for candid macro.

Tubes are great because you can make any lens have a closer focussing distance but that also means you can make any lens useless if you don't know what you're doing. By using tubes that are too long you can make the focus point actually move inside the lens itself. So all you get is blur. It's just a case of knowing which tube (or combination) work best with each lens you are going to use them on. They also can be a little dangerous by increasing the torque on the camera lens mount by moving the heavy lens further away. Be careful with that...

Macro specific lenses are obviously the best option, others have described their intricacies. They can be combined with any of the above for an even more impressive macro range and don't just work for macro, but also landscape and portrait work, whatever.

Reversed lenses are neat to play with, but are realistically a poor-mans alternative, and that's only if you have a lense lying around you aren't using. I won't ever bother with it again. You lose all metering ability (without specialist adaptors) and the chances of something going wrong increase.

Hopefully that blurb might mesh with something you're thinking.



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  Reply # 674909 21-Aug-2012 06:33 Send private message

Disrespective: 

Hopefully that blurb might mesh with something you're thinking.



That's great, much thanks for taking the time to post your experiences here.  Thanks!

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  Reply # 674927 21-Aug-2012 08:08 Send private message

Also keep in mind that using anything but a specific macro lens will likely mean you have to think about creative lighting solutions. As in, off camera, master/slave type stuff. This is because the lens combination and/or extenders etc will shield the item from the flash light. It depends on your camera as to how easy this is to do, but it's not the end of the world.

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