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Thread: Alternative to macro lens?

  1. #1

    Default Alternative to macro lens?

    I own a Canon 400D with a 28-200mm f3.5/5.6 USM lens. This is the only lens i have - I like the range and it's not too heavy. I want to explore some macro photography like flowers and insects like butterflies. What is the best way to do it without buying another lens?

    I took some pictures of butterflies using the 28-200mm a few weeks ago. A couple of them were the size of a thumbnail and despite being real close and zooming to the max, it didn't turn out very clear. Some larger butterflies turned out better (not shown). Appreciate some advice. I was thinking of either extension tubes or closeup filters. Are there any other alternatives? Also, how do I put the pix onto the thread itself rather than linking them to another website? Thanks much.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/pixtales/2630711685/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/pixtales/2631532438/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/pixtales/2630713749/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/pixtales/2630712671/

  2. #2
    Senior Member Leong23's Avatar
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    Default Re: Alternative to macro lens?

    You can try using Raynox DCR-250, for the result, do check out the macro section, they are few people using this close-up filter.
    But personally i only recommend macro lens.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Alternative to macro lens?

    there is a reason why macro lens are made.. they are a special niche in themselves.. and generally all macro lens will give the best results, because they are manufactured to do specifically that thing. macro add-ons tend to degrade image quality. you can get good results, no doubt, but in terms of ease and use.. probably nothing beats a macro lens.

    that said, i remember someone using a 70-300 coupled with teleconvertor/extension tubes before to shoot butterflies and achieving pretty nice results. you can try that, but i suspect you will not achieve the kind of sharpness that is almost necessary for a good macro shot, especially when it comes to butterflies. i am not sure what sort of magnification ratio you current get with the 28-200 but you can work around that. butterflies just need around 2:1 can already, because they are relatively large insects.

    300mm is a good working distance when it comes to those beautiful creatures though..

  4. #4

    Default Re: Alternative to macro lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by night86mare View Post
    300mm is a good working distance when it comes to those beautiful creatures though..
    Second that.

    Strange enough, I find that I have better success rate capturing butterflies using my AFS 300mm f/4 or the 70-300mm lens compare to my delicate Tamron 90mm macro lens .
    At 300mm, 1.5metre minimum focusing distance, I can get a complete frame of the big butterfly without any cropping.

  5. #5
    Member MarkTan89's Avatar
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    Default Re: Alternative to macro lens?

    Close-up filters are your best bet. Do note that they degrade image quality a little.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Alternative to macro lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by BUZ_BUZ View Post
    Second that.

    Strange enough, I find that I have better success rate capturing butterflies using my AFS 300mm f/4 or the 70-300mm lens compare to my delicate Tamron 90mm macro lens .
    At 300mm, 1.5metre minimum focusing distance, I can get a complete frame of the big butterfly without any cropping.
    they are much more touchy than many other insects.. and of course more mobile too. most of the other common flying subjects, like dragonflies tend to return to the same perch, and ignore you. moths are generally comatose.

    now, if only they would make the 70-300mm sharper at the longest end.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Alternative to macro lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by night86mare View Post
    "i am not sure what sort of magnification ratio you current get with the 28-200 but you can work around that. butterflies just need around 2:1 can already, because they are relatively large insects."
    Firstly, thanks for all the tips. I read in the Canon book that the magnification for 28-200mm is 0.36x though I am not sure what that means in plain English. Kind of new to all this.

    I recently rented a 100mm macro and tried to take some pictures. Unfortunately, I couldn't get close enough to the insects. A 300mm macro would definitely have been better. I used my 28-200mm again for the smaller butterflies and this time, I managed to get some decent shots. They're not sharp but they're acceptable. I discovered that a tripod is almost a must with macro photography because the hands are just not steady enough sometimes.

    Can anyone tell me how to post pix on this forum? So far I've posted via another website and the pix are rather small. Thanks.

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