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Author Topic: Best Macro Lens for Canon 5D  (Read 20198 times)
Gary Ferguson
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« Reply #20 on: February 06, 2006, 09:03:49 AM »
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At what distance from object the picture was taken ?

Roli, about 2 metres. Human beings weren't designed to be seen at a closer range than this, in fact I'm surprised kissing has taken off in such a big way!
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jani
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« Reply #21 on: February 06, 2006, 09:56:56 AM »
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Roli, about 2 metres. Human beings weren't designed to be seen at a closer range than this, in fact I'm surprised kissing has taken off in such a big way!
Gary, that's because we do it with our eyes closed.
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Jan
AdrianW
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« Reply #22 on: February 08, 2006, 10:03:31 AM »
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The best macro lens depends on your shooting style, and subject matter.

I tend to shoot plants, so moderate working distance suits me best - hence the 100mm Macro is my preference.

I used to use the FD 50 Macro and FD 200 Macro but didn't like the working distance on full-frame.

My current macro lens - the Canon EF 100mm USM Macro is excellent in general (it's sharper than the two other L lenses that I own, particularly wide open), my only issue is that it seems to suffer from diffraction more than I'd expect when stopped down. It was fine on film, but on my 10D it's not ideal @ f22

If you're shooting skittish subjects, then go for a longer lens. 180-200 or longer.

If you need to get in close, the 50 or MP-E65 would be better.
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lester_wareham
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« Reply #23 on: March 03, 2006, 09:56:53 AM »
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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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I had noticed that photodo score. MAcro lenses tend to be very sharp in the centre and sometimes tail off at the edge when used at normal distances. Probably because at high magnification you are not using all the image circle, thought that may not apply with internal focus.

Anyway look at the photodo plots, they seem sharp in the centre.
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Ray
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« Reply #24 on: March 03, 2006, 10:02:07 AM »
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Anyway look at the photodo plots, they seem sharp in the centre.
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The Photodo plots for this lens are hardly better than the 100-400 IS zoom at 180mm. That's worth knowing   .
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benInMA
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« Reply #25 on: March 03, 2006, 10:56:26 AM »
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The Photodo plots for this lens are hardly better than the 100-400 IS zoom at 180mm. That's worth knowing   .
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Another thing worth noting:

180mm Macro min focusing distance: 1.5ft
100-400mm min focusing distance: 5.9ft

Max magnification:

100-400mm: 0.2x @ 400mm
180mm macro: 1.0x

Probably more important then Photodo scores if you want a macro lens.
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Ray
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« Reply #26 on: March 03, 2006, 05:40:36 PM »
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Probably more important then Photodo scores if you want a macro lens.
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Of course. It's always better to have the right tool for the job. If it's a macro shot you want or any shot that's significantly closer than infinity where you can adjust your shooting distance, I'm sure the 180/3.5 will deliver better results than the 100-400 at 180mm. But you would expect that, wouldn't you. Would anyone have any reason to doubt that?

What's surprising, and therefore as I said, worth knowing is that this superior performance of a fairly expensive prime does not extend all the way to infinity where performance seems to be no better that that of a 'medium to good' quality zoom, at least at f8.

It's not a given that all macro lenses have significantly worse performance at infinity. Consider the Canon 50/2.8 macro, for example. That's the point I was making, Ben   .
« Last Edit: March 03, 2006, 05:45:22 PM by Ray » Logged
BJL
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« Reply #27 on: March 03, 2006, 07:44:02 PM »
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Hi Jplayer,
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.
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I am puzzled: if you prefer the FOV of the 180 in 35mm to the 200mm in DX format, why not try something like the Nikon 105mm micro?

With the closer pixel spacing of Nikon options like the D200 and D2X compared to any of the Canon 35mm format DSLR's, the same maximum macro magnification (say 1:1) gives a more detailed image of a smaller field of view. For example, where a 1:1 macro gives a 10MP image of a certain subject with the D200, the 5D gives only about 6MP on the same portion of the subject.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2006, 06:02:04 PM by BJL » Logged
benInMA
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« Reply #28 on: March 04, 2006, 11:16:12 AM »
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Of course. It's always better to have the right tool for the job. If it's a macro shot you want or any shot that's significantly closer than infinity where you can adjust your shooting distance, I'm sure the 180/3.5 will deliver better results than the 100-400 at 180mm. But you would expect that, wouldn't you. Would anyone have any reason to doubt that?

What's surprising, and therefore as I said, worth knowing is that this superior performance of a fairly expensive prime does not extend all the way to infinity where performance seems to be no better that that of a 'medium to good' quality zoom, at least at f8.

It's not a given that all macro lenses have significantly worse performance at infinity. Consider the Canon 50/2.8 macro, for example. That's the point I was making, Ben   .
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The 50/2.8 macro doesn't do 1.0x maginification either.   That's probably why it can perform OK at non macro tasks.

Consider the MP-E 65mm... doesn't focus out to infinity at all AFAIK, and couldn't be tested at all with Photodo's methodology, but it is quite useful for the right kind of macro photography.

It's all about tradeoffs IMO.   If you aren't interested in macro there is probably little point in buying a macro lens, but if you are buying something for Macro work, there is probably little point in caring about lens tests carried out at anything but macro working distances.  If you don't want macro the 200/2.8L would be an even better choice then a 100-400, better optically and 1/2 the price of either the macro or the zoom.
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RobertJ
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« Reply #29 on: March 04, 2006, 03:52:49 PM »
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I still haven't tried the Canon 100 macro.  

Does anyone know how it performs in sharpness compared to the 180L?  The thing is, I wouldn't even use it for macros most of the time.  More like a portrait lens in the studio with big light sources, shooting at f/8.  

The samples that Gary posted shows very similar sharpness that my 135L gives.  How does the 100 macro compare, considering it's not an L?
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Ray
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« Reply #30 on: March 04, 2006, 11:19:42 PM »
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The 50/2.8 macro doesn't do 1.0x maginification either.   That's probably why it can perform OK at non macro tasks.


I don't see the evidence for this. You've caught me out in the sense this was not a good example I mentioned of a macro lens doing well at infinity because the Canon 50/2.8 only does up to 0.5x life size as you say. However, there are a number of other brands of 35mm macro lenses that do 1:1 life size and that have even better Photodo ratings than the Canon 50/2.8, such as the Minolta 50/2.8 and 100/2.8, both with a rating of 4.5, and the Pentax SMC-F 50/2.8 with a rating of 4.6. Even the el cheapo Tamron AF SP 90/2.8 does 1:1 macro and has a photodo rating of 4.3.

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Consider the MP-E 65mm... doesn't focus out to infinity at all AFAIK, and couldn't be tested at all with Photodo's methodology, but it is quite useful for the right kind of macro photography.


That's a true, dedicated macro lens that enlarges to 5x life size without extension tubes. It's not designed to focus at infinity as all true macro lenses are not. One could argue that the term 'macro' lens for lenses that behave normally is a misnomer. Perhaps they should be described as 'close focus' lenses.

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It's all about tradeoffs IMO.   If you aren't interested in macro there is probably little point in buying a macro lens


I think you'll find there are a lot of folks who have bought the Tamron 90/2.8 macro because it's a sharp, good value lens, with or without macro. For many, the macro facility is just a bonus. But you have raised a point that hasn't been resolved in this thread yet.

I've made an assumption that the superb plots for the EF 180/3.5 macro in Canon's Lens Work books are an indication that at some close focussing distance this lens really is superb. But this is no more than a reasonable assumption. I have no evidence that it might be true, other than Canon's own theoretical MTF charts, the fact that the lens is a fairly expensive prime and a few subjective comments to the effect that it is a sharp lens.

As much as I am loathe to criticise anyone who is friendly enough to post an image demonstrating the quality of a lens, I have to be blunt and say that it's impossible for me to assess the quality of the lens that was used for the shots in this thread. For all I know, this lens could have a 3.9 rating all the way from infinity to its minimum focussing distance of 480mm. On the other hand, it might be even worse than 3.9 at closest focussing distance.

Without proper tests and comparisons I'm afraid it's all airy fairy and subjective.
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AdrianW
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« Reply #31 on: March 04, 2006, 11:29:08 PM »
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How does the 100 macro compare, considering it's not an L?
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Well, I have the 24-105 f4/L, 17-40 f4/L and the 200 f2.8 L/II. I'd say it's sharper than all of them particularly wide open.

It would make a good portrait lens, since the bokeh is nice and smooth too - the only thing I'd be worried about there is that it might be a little too sharp... It's not flattering when something shows every single pore ;)
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lester_wareham
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« Reply #32 on: March 05, 2006, 07:56:27 AM »
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I still haven't tried the Canon 100 macro.

Does anyone know how it performs in sharpness compared to the 180L? The thing is, I wouldn't even use it for macros most of the time. More like a portrait lens in the studio with big light sources, shooting at f/8.

The samples that Gary posted shows very similar sharpness that my 135L gives. How does the 100 macro compare, considering it's not an L?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=59537\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I have the 100 and use it for general photography as well as macro. I find it very sharp, probably as sharp or sharper than my 200/2.8L. I don't know about the 180 directly as I don't have it (wouldn't mind though).
« Last Edit: March 05, 2006, 07:57:44 AM by lester_wareham » Logged
Owen
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« Reply #33 on: March 05, 2006, 11:43:13 AM »
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I am puzzled: if you prefer the FOV of the 180 in 35mm to the 200mm in DX format, why not try something like the Nikon 105mm micro?

[ Hi BJL; It's all about working distance; I owned a Nikon 105 prior to the 200 and was constantly disappointed by the 12 inch working distance versus the 19 and a half inch WD of the 200. Secondly, the bokeh of the 105 is so sharp that it was distracting when backgrounds came up 'too' sharp. The 200 always had a wonderful background bokeh! ]

With the closer pixel spacing of Nikon options like the D200 and D2X compared to any of the Canon 35mm format DSLR's, the same maximum macro magnification (say 1:1) gives a more detailed image of a smaller field of view. For example, where a 1:1 macro gives a 10MP image of a certain subject with the D200, the 5D gives only about 6MP on the same portion of the subject.


[ It's not about pixels! It's about what I see when I am shooting! I want to see things in a fashion that I have become accustomed to. I don't want to crop from a frame shot via compromises. I owned the 200 for about 5 years and shot approximately 15,000 frames. I used tubes; TC's; 5T & 6T and that jewel the PN-11. All of these were my tools to get beyond 1:1. I was never disappointed. All I wanted was a digital camera which allowed me to see the same way and download the images instead of scanning 'chromes. When I tested all of the Nikon bodies with my 200, I was disappointed with the FOV and especially with the colour output from their software. I wanted to "see" in full frame.
I am well versed in Photoshop, but I don't want to spend forever on colour correction. The 180 on the 5D shooting RAW and taken into PS via tweaked Camera Raw settings is as good or better that my old 200 shots after scanning and tweaking the images. I can still use my excellent 5T & 6T with the 180 on a conversion ring. I had to buy tubes for the 180. All in all; I am better off with what is comfortable to the way I shoot.
I threw the baby out with the bathwater only after every attempt to keep the Nikkor glass. I have no post cognitive dissonance about my purchase. I bought tools to suit 'my' way of shooting rather than compromises which would have changed 'my' formula for shooting flowers.
I hope this is clear and I thankyou for your question. ]
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bob mccarthy
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« Reply #34 on: March 05, 2006, 12:20:55 PM »
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Your comparison of a 200/105mm on the F5 and then making conclusions regarding Dx chipped camera is not appropriate. One must adapt their thinking to the format in use, even if the bodies appear near identical. The FF film with the 200 has a subject to camera difference of X. To get the same framing of the subject with a Dx chipped camera, one must move back significantly, changing perspective. A shorter FL macro substitutes perfectly.

With the D200, the perfect comparison lens doesn't exactly exist in the macro line. We would be using a 135mm macro lens. But, there is no need for exactness. Who says 200 is perfect. You just want the subject distance to be in a zone you concider appropriate.

The new 105 VR Macro is a fair substitute, with nearly the same subject distance (a little less) as the 200mm on a film camera, with the added advantages of more dof and Vibration Reduction to aid in handholding.

You don't need FF do do macro and you didn't get BJL point about the density of the chip being advantageous in close up work.

I don't think you tried your 200 or 105 on a DX camera as your discussion on subject difference was apparently only based on film experience. Digital is a new world.

Bob
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Owen
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« Reply #35 on: March 07, 2006, 07:29:00 AM »
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Your comparison of a 200/105mm on the F5 and then making conclusions regarding Dx chipped camera is not appropriate. One must adapt their thinking to the format in use, even if the bodies appear near identical. The FF film with the 200 has a subject to camera difference of X. To get the same framing of the subject with a Dx chipped camera, one must move back significantly, changing perspective. A shorter FL macro substitutes perfectly.

( I don't wish to "adapt". That was my premise. Your moving back "adaptation" is and was unacceptable, to me.)

With the D200, the perfect comparison lens doesn't exactly exist in the macro line. We would be using a 135mm macro lens. But, there is no need for exactness. Who says 200 is perfect. You just want the subject distance to be in a zone you concider appropriate.

( Your opinion, once again. I felt that the best working distance for 'me' was 200 mm. )

The new 105 VR Macro is a fair substitute, with nearly the same subject distance (a little less) as the 200mm on a film camera, with the added advantages of more dof and Vibration Reduction to aid in handholding.

( This is of no use to me as it isn't something I do. Macro is on a tripod for 'me'. And once again a compromise, in 'my' opininion. )

You don't need FF do do macro and you didn't get BJL point about the density of the chip being advantageous in close up work.

( You make a lot of assumptions!  'I' need full frame to shoot macro in 'my' way! BJL's point was understood and similarly inefficient to 'my' requirement. )

I don't think you tried your 200 or 105 on a DX camera as your discussion on subject difference was apparently only based on film experience. Digital is a new world.

( You have stepped over the line herein! Obviously, YOU DON"T THINK! Aside from the umbrage I take from your insult, you act like a Nikon bigot who can't accept the simplicity of my situation because of your overzealousness towards Nikon products?
The tests of "my" 200 mm. Micro lens were on the D2X and performed in front of staff at Henry's Camera in Ottawa, Ontario. Mr. Peter Waiser, of Henry's, can verify this since I borrowed his camera to shoot my tests. I did not test a 105 because I had sold it years ago when I found it unacceptable for my work.
As for your 'new world'; stay in it, because your opinions about photography and 'my' requirements couldn't be further from my reality. )


Bob
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jani
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« Reply #36 on: March 07, 2006, 10:41:46 AM »
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Owen, calm down.

This is not a war.

This is a discussion forum.

These people are trying to help, by sharing their opinions with you and the original poster.

Your hostility is so strong that I suspect you may not get help the next time you ask for it.
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Jan
bob mccarthy
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« Reply #37 on: March 07, 2006, 12:28:05 PM »
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Quote: ( You have stepped over the line herein! Obviously, YOU DON"T THINK! Aside from the umbrage I take from your insult, you act like a Nikon bigot who can't accept the simplicity of my situation because of your overzealousness towards Nikon products?

It's not about Nikon, it is about APS-C and Dx based camera's. But if you're happy with your setup, so be it. If you're happy, then I am too.

I'm sure you're aware that typing in Caps or Bold is yelling and an aggressive posture. Maybe not.

Bob
« Last Edit: March 07, 2006, 01:21:15 PM by bob mccarthy » Logged
JPlayer
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« Reply #38 on: March 07, 2006, 02:23:05 PM »
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thanks for all the replies and the passionate debates this topic has sparked.
My initial question however was about the best macro lens for the 5D. Money not being an object, is the 180 mm 3.5 Canon the ultimate winner? Quality is what I am after. Bear in mind I would like to get as macro as possible. And it is for macro shooting only rather than using it for other situations.
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JPlayer
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« Reply #39 on: March 07, 2006, 04:17:09 PM »
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Cost is an issue however, esp with the more expensive lenses. Any recommendation on cheaper sites/countries (compared to London, UK) would be greatly appreciated.
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