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Author Topic: Best Macro Lens for Canon 5D  (Read 20584 times)
JPlayer
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« on: February 02, 2006, 05:57:27 PM »
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Looking for the best Macro lens for 5D.
I have read good reviews about the EF-s 60mm f/2.8Macro, however I am not sure whether it works with 5D.
Does the focal length matter?
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boku
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« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2006, 07:06:37 PM »
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Looking for the best Macro lens for 5D.
I have read good reviews about the EF-s 60mm f/2.8Macro, however I am not sure whether it works with 5D.
Does the focal length matter?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=57337\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

The 60 macro does not mount to the 5D.

The 180 macro is the one - incredible image quality and working distance. Downside: major cost & weight. Bonuses: it work with the Canon teleconverters and it is L. Vitamin L is good for you.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2006, 07:07:15 PM by boku » Logged

Bob Kulon

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Owen
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« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2006, 07:03:39 AM »
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Hi Jplayer,
I recently purchased the 180 / 3.5 for my 5D.
This system supplanted a Nikon F5 with a 200/4 Micro lens.
I have owned a 60 and 105 MM Micro before and when I bought the 200; I knew I'd wasted a lot of time & money buying the other two.
Now that I have jumped ship and purchased Canon for the first time in my life ( I shot Nikon for almost 40 years ) I can say that I am absolutely delighted with my investment. The 180 on the 5D is magnificent. I have specialized in floral photography for about 10 years and with this new shooting combination, I am very happy with the colour; resolution; sharpness etc.
The reason for jumping to Canon? Full frame! Nikon doesn't have it and said they won't. I need it and that's the breaks! Looking through a 200 Micro with a conversion ratio of 1.5(6) made for a 300 mm. viewpoint and frankly the D2X and D2H that I tried my 200 Micro lens with did not reproduce colour with the accuracy I have grown to expect from film. On the other hand, the 5D / 180 combination does!
Hope this is useful to you.
Owen
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Yakim Peled
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« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2006, 10:00:15 AM »
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If I were in the market for a dedicated macro lens, I'd get the Tamron 180/3.5 for it's build and optical quality, for its reasonably fast AF, for it's long working distance (the longest of all lenses), for it's reasonable price (only 200$ more than the Canon 100/2.8 macro USM), for it's IF and for Tamron's excellent compatibility reputation.

http://www.orchideen-kartierung.de/Macro100E.html
http://www.photozone.de/8Reviews/lenses/ca...80_35/index.htm
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Happy shooting,
Yakim.
Richard Dawson
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« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2006, 12:36:22 PM »
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I agree with everything boku and Owen have to say.  Most owners of the Canon 180mm consider it to be among their best lenses by every measurable standard.  If my unauthoritative opinion means anything, it beats everything I own, including my 70~200mm F/2.8L IS.

There is, of course, the issue of cost.  The Canon lens is about $550 more if purchase from B&H.  I don't know what the respective resale values are, but if you used either lens for 10 years and gave it away, the Canon lens would have cost about $1.05 more per week to own.  If they both resell for 50% of original cost -- a very conservative estimate -- the difference is about 50 cents a week.  Plug in your own assumptions and you may find the cost difference to be even less.

I believe that cost issues are often inflated and that quality of service should be of primary concern.

It seems that a lot of pros are using the Canon lens.  Have any dumped it in favor of anything else?

Go for the big one, you won't regret it.

BTW, a Canon 100mm macro, fitted with a lens hood and tripod ring will cost about $50 less than the Tamron 180.
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Gary Ferguson
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« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2006, 12:47:45 PM »
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I'm another very satisfied Canon 180mm macro user, it really does serve up that photographic "wow" factor.

But it's quite an old design, and a recent Geoffrey Crawley review in a UK magazine compared the Canon 180mm macro with a much newer independent design (unfortunately I can't remember if it was a Tamron or a Sigma), and concluded that excellent as the Canon was it didn't offer any material benefits over the newer, and cheaper, independent lens.
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JPlayer
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« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2006, 01:57:47 PM »
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Thanks for all your comments.
I have read the same review of the lenses that Gary refers to.
Canon, Sigma and Tamron, all 180 f/3.5 were compared. Scorring 90%, 90% and 91% percent respectively. Tamron scoring better on performance, having the edge in definitiion, better suited to digital cameras with its more contrasty mid-frequency detail. The only negative being its louder AF.

So, now the agonising dilemma is whether to stick to Canon, being a 10year old design and most expensive, or go for Tamron.
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boku
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« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2006, 05:03:29 PM »
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Like I said...
Quote
Vitamin L is good for you.
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Bob Kulon

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Play it Straight and Play it True, my Brother.
macgyver
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« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2006, 06:10:28 PM »
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And yet, not always.
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Ray
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« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2006, 06:17:34 PM »
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It's curious that this lens, the Canon 180/3.5, does not get a particularly high Photodo score. It's good at 3.9, but not spectacular. The 50/1.8 scores 4.2 for example. Now I notice in Canon's Lens Work books that the theoretical MTF charts for this lens, that unfortunately go only as high as 30 lp/mm, are the best in the entire book; unbelievably flat and high up the vertical axis.

Could the reason be that Photodo tests are at infinity and that the 180/3.5 is not that hot at infinity? Just wondered.
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Ray
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« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2006, 06:20:15 PM »
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Like I said...
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=57422\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Bob,
It might be good for you, but is it one of those essential vitamins   ?
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boku
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« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2006, 08:11:26 PM »
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Bob,
It might be good for you, but is it one of those essential vitamins   ?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=57429\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Not essential, but definately addictive.  
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Bob Kulon

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Play it Straight and Play it True, my Brother.
Gary Ferguson
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« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2006, 03:40:26 AM »
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The proof of the pudding's in the eating.

I use the Canon 180 Macro almost exclusively for tightly cropped portraits. I tend to use the 90mm T&S for table top/product shots, and true macro is something I rarely do so can't really comment.

As a rule of thumb for portraiture I favour a sharp lens with soft lighting, and a soft lens with hard lighting. The Canon 180mm is outstanding when lit with a big soft box or octo-dome. The success relates to today's LL article regarding subject matter/print sizes, when you print a face at approximately life size the 180mm delivers unbelievable impact, chiefly by defining the structure of the eye in forensic detail. PS means you can manage skin texture however you wish, but you need a lens that will deliver the detail to guarantee riveting eye contact, the formula used on so many magazine covers.

I'm not really concerned about Photodo scores, all I know is that the Canon 180mm delivers in trumps for this application. However, if I was buying again I'd be tempted by the Geoffrey Crawley reviews to save the money and go for an independent 180mm macro alternative.
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Slough
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« Reply #13 on: February 05, 2006, 12:04:44 PM »
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It's curious that this lens, the Canon 180/3.5, does not get a particularly high Photodo score. It's good at 3.9, but not spectacular. The 50/1.8 scores 4.2 for example. Now I notice in Canon's Lens Work books that the theoretical MTF charts for this lens, that unfortunately go only as high as 30 lp/mm, are the best in the entire book; unbelievably flat and high up the vertical axis.

Could the reason be that Photodo tests are at infinity and that the 180/3.5 is not that hot at infinity? Just wondered.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=57428\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

At what distance was the Canon 180 tested? Chances are they test lenses at a standard focus distance of 100m or something like that. The problem here is that macro lenses are optimised for close up rather than infinity (not surprising really) and often only perform decently - as opposed to stellar - at infinity focus.

That's one of many reasons why MTF tests are to be taken only as a rough guide. Another is that they often only include plots for 2 F stops e.g. wide open and F8. Some lenses might drop away at F11 whilst others maintain good imaging, but the MTF chart will not reveal that fact.

Leif
« Last Edit: March 03, 2006, 12:55:02 PM by Slough » Logged
roli_bark
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« Reply #14 on: February 05, 2006, 12:51:55 PM »
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...As a rule of thumb for portraiture I favour a sharp lens with soft lighting, and a soft lens with hard lighting. The Canon 180mm is outstanding when lit with a big soft box or octo-dome. ....

That is VERY interesting input Gary.
As an EF 180 f/3.5 L Macro owner, I sometimes find that this lens outputs [at non-macro distances] somewhat non-contrasty results and tad soft (again, sometimes).

Is it because of lighting ?
« Last Edit: February 05, 2006, 12:53:09 PM by roli_bark » Logged
Gary Ferguson
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« Reply #15 on: February 05, 2006, 01:13:43 PM »
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Is it because of lighting ?

I don't know Roli, it could be a few things, two possible explanations spring to mind,

1. The 180mm Macro isn't an easy lens to hand-hold. Some bigger lenses seem to sit comfortably in the hand...and some waggle about like a balloon on a stick. And the 180mm is a waggler!

2. Even with dynamic auto focus I expect to lose maybe 10-20% of portrait shots due to focus errors, more if the pace steps up beyond "calm and sedate".

I'll try and post some examples of 180mm portraits over the next day or so, but I'd appreciate any advice on how image posting works on this new site?
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Gary Ferguson
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« Reply #16 on: February 05, 2006, 04:09:30 PM »
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Here's an example using the 180mm, one near enough full frame and a 100% crop. Assuming of course I've worked out how to load an image...[attachment=217:attachment][attachment=218:attachment]
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Ray
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« Reply #17 on: February 05, 2006, 07:44:46 PM »
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I'm not really concerned about Photodo scores, all I know is that the Canon 180mm delivers in trumps for this application. [a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=57445\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

You should be because there's more to know than that. I've just checked out the Photodo procedures and, as I suspected, they test lenses only at infinity. Now you might criticise them for this but the fact is, for each prime they will take at least 96 measurements. (0, 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, & 21mm from the centre, all at 10 lp/mm, 20 lp/mm and 40 lp/mm and all at the 2 f/stops of f8 and maximum aperture.

For zoom lenses it's more because they test at a number of different focal lengths. For their test of the Canon 100-400L IS zoom I calculate they would have taken 384 measurements.

Now I know that a seasoned professional who has worked with a lens for a while will have a pretty good idea as to its performance under a variety of conditions and will discover attributes that are not even addressed in Photodo MTF charts. However, it's interesting that in this thread no-one has mentioned that the 180/3.5L does not have the same stellar performance at infinity that it has at close focussing distances.

The only clues that this might be the case are the Photodo tests. Now this might not be of concern to those who bought this lens specifically for portraiture or macro work, but that's not its only use. Because of its extremely flat MTF response right out to the edges, some might think this lens could be an ideal choice for panoramic image stitching. A group of 16 stitched images with this lens could make an equivalent 4x5" format shot look like a 3MP P&S blow-up, by comparison.

Checking the Photodo MTF charts again, it seems that the 180/3.5 macro at f8 has an almost identical performance to the 100-400 IS zoom at 180mm and f8 (at infinity of course). Now this is worth knowing, isn't it? How long would it take a seasoned professional with a bunch of lenses to discover this fact?
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Ray
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« Reply #18 on: February 05, 2006, 07:55:39 PM »
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Here's an example using the 180mm, one near enough full frame and a 100% crop. Assuming of course I've worked out how to load an image
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=57491\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

You've loaded the images okay but we really need to see some comparison shots with another similar but cheaper lens so we can appreciate the resolution difference   .
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roli_bark
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« Reply #19 on: February 06, 2006, 03:44:43 AM »
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Here's an example using the 180mm, one near enough full frame and a 100% crop. Assuming of course I've worked out how to load an image...[attachment=217:attachment][attachment=218:attachment]
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=57491\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Thanks Gary.

My first impression is [and my PC Screen is calibrated] is that:
a. The resolution in the cropped image is amazing, but
b. Both aren't contrasty enough...pretty similar to the results I get from non-macro distances.

At what distance from object the picture was taken ?
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