Why buy macro lenses?

Discussion in 'Art, Media & Photography' started by Rook, Oct 21, 2013.

  1. Rook

    Rook Electrifying

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    Is there some blatant disadvantage to extension tubes in increasing the maximum magnification of an existing lens over a 'macro' lens? I realise some macros have image stabilisers and the like but a short lens like a 35 or 50 wouldn't really need that anyway, particularly the faster species that are commonplace these days.

    I'm just wondering really, I like taking pictures of flowers but don't need a 100mm, too narrow a depth of field even at 2.8 anyway, and the compression doesn't suit the aesthetic I want and it seems a little redundant buying say a Macro 50mm when I already have that length covered and I could just stick a tube on my 50 and seemingly get the magnification I want.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. ThePhilosopher

    ThePhilosopher Reason User Contributor

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    Most true macro lenses are going to give you a larger range of DOF (all the macros I've used go up to at least f/45 if not more) and true focusing instead of moving the camera back and forth (the method used with extension tubes as they will render your focusing ring useless for the most part).

    With longer macro lenses you get the ability to shoot 1:1 and still have a good working distance from your subject, which can be good for shooting bugs.

    To get 1:1 with your 50mm you'd need 50mm of extension and you'd have to be around 1.5-2.5" away from your subject which can be tricky if your lighting is less than ideal or you're outdoors dealing with anything above very soft wind.

    Macro is easily one of the more frustrating fields to shoot as the equipment costs can get expensive quickly-especially if you're looking at tripods that are stable enough to hold focusing rails, camera, lens + on lens lighting in addition to the camera/lens setup-and still miss a ton of shots.
     
  3. Rook

    Rook Electrifying

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    Myeah see I think you've answered my question by saying I need a proper Macro lens if I want to do something other than what I'm actually planning to do. In actual fact I just want to get flowers a little bigger in the frame, I'll still be shooting sub f/5.6 I'd imagine as I won't be close enough to need smaller than that, I don't want to photograph bugs or anything, in actual fact the .25x maximum magnification of my 135mm was nearly enough, just want to get a little tiny bit tighter. Canon's extension tubes also have full metering and AF control, so the 25 II's looking like a winner!

    Thanks :)
     
  4. ThePhilosopher

    ThePhilosopher Reason User Contributor

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    As you get closer the DOF falls off more quickly just keep that mind as you think about extension tubes.
     
  5. Rook

    Rook Electrifying

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    Well, indeed. So if I lose some DoF it doesn't matter, I can't see wanting to be close enough to need more than f16 on a 50+25mm in any case that'll be a wider depth than a 100mm macro anyway.

    Awesome.
     
  6. Hollowway

    Hollowway Extended Ranger

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    Yeah, it sounds like in your particular use you don't need a dedicated macro. But most people who buy macros are probably going to use it for a variety of things. It sounded like in your original post you were wondering why anyone would buy a macro, rather than if you should buy one for shooting flowers with a narrow DOF. So in your use it doesn't make much sense to invest good money in a rather expensive lens.
     
  7. Rook

    Rook Electrifying

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    I see what you mean haha, I wrote about it elsewhere on the forum, just occurred to me I didn't mention it here :lol:

    It was kind of a general question anyway which has been answered either way.
     
  8. Kwirk

    Kwirk The Wrong Advices

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    Well there's this:
    [​IMG]

    Goes up to 5:1 magnification. 100% manual focusing. That is, moving closer/farther from your subject.
     
  9. Rook

    Rook Electrifying

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    Yeah my dad has that, I find non-IS 1x+ Magnification nigh on unusable, I have a seemingly subtle but pretty irritating tremor. Awesome on a tripod though, quite stunning in fact.
     

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