Budget Macro Lens Recommendation


zeraphis

New Member
Jan 10, 2017
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SG
#1
Hi All! First post here, so pardon me if I make any mistake or sound stupid. Anyway, after a quick search on this forum (didn't see much related information), here is the problem. I been wanting to get a budget macro lens for quite some time already, did some research of my own but got even more confused than before I started. So if anyone is nice enough to drop some recommendations (<$300) for my Canon 550D, that would be very good. Thanks in advance!
 

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Octarine

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 3, 2008
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Pasir Ris
#2
Welcome to ClubSNAP.
There are many different options for budget macro setups, also depending on your actual conditions and requirements. We have a dedicated section for Marco and Close Up photography here, maybe you want to read through the sticky threads to get more ideas about what is possible.
Here the link: http://www.clubsnap.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=12
 

Last edited:
Mar 10, 2007
303
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#3
Hi All! First post here, so pardon me if I make any mistake or sound stupid. Anyway, after a quick search on this forum (didn't see much related information), here is the problem. I been wanting to get a budget macro lens for quite some time already, did some research of my own but got even more confused than before I started. So if anyone is nice enough to drop some recommendations (<$300) for my Canon 550D, that would be very good. Thanks in advance!
Yes, a dedicated macro lens may be out of your budget - even a second hand one. The good news is that if you are new to close-up and wants to see what are the possibilities of creating interesting images in this genre, there are at least 2 lower cost options.

1. Close up lens.
When I wanted to experiment with close-up but did not have a budget for it, I bought close-up filters (sometimes called macro filters) instead. They are relatively cheap and the camera retains the auto-exposure and auto focus. Of course, with the filter on, the lens will not focus to infinity. You can build up a collection of these filters and stack them up to increase the magnification. The downside is (other than not able to do infinity focus) is that the image quality will suffer a bit, especially on the edges. The other disadvantage is that it has a fixed filter diameter you you need a step down/up filter ring if you want to use this on other lenses which have a different lens diameter. I don't think that these negatives should stop you from considering this option.

2. Extension tubes
Extension tubes is an alternative to the filters and they can be used on all lenses. They usually comes in a set so you can select the magnification range by using them individually or stacking them. I have used bellows before (something like extension tubes) and the magnification you can get is quite large - bigger than 1:1. However, my setup does disconnect the data connection between the lens from the camera so I need to switch to full manual. I think there are extension tubes which preserve the connection and I would strongly advise that you so look for these.

Below is a short video that gives a short clip on these options. Not the best but it will give you a visual idea.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKDcyR6jz_4
 

zeraphis

New Member
Jan 10, 2017
22
0
0
SG
#4
Welcome to ClubSNAP.
There are many different options for budget macro setups, also depending on your actual conditions and requirements. We have a dedicated section for Marco and Close Up photography here, maybe you want to read through the sticky threads to get more ideas about what is possible.
Hi, thanks for the welcome! I have already look through the link before posting here, but to be honest, I didnt find much help there. I am actually looking for dedicated macro lenses.

Yes, a dedicated macro lens may be out of your budget - even a second hand one. The good news is that if you are new to close-up and wants to see what are the possibilities of creating interesting images in this genre, there are at least 2 lower cost options.

1. Close up lens.
When I wanted to experiment with close-up but did not have a budget for it, I bought close-up filters (sometimes called macro filters) instead. They are relatively cheap and the camera retains the auto-exposure and auto focus. Of course, with the filter on, the lens will not focus to infinity. You can build up a collection of these filters and stack them up to increase the magnification. The downside is (other than not able to do infinity focus) is that the image quality will suffer a bit, especially on the edges. The other disadvantage is that it has a fixed filter diameter you you need a step down/up filter ring if you want to use this on other lenses which have a different lens diameter. I don't think that these negatives should stop you from considering this option.

2. Extension tubes
Extension tubes is an alternative to the filters and they can be used on all lenses. They usually comes in a set so you can select the magnification range by using them individually or stacking them. I have used bellows before (something like extension tubes) and the magnification you can get is quite large - bigger than 1:1. However, my setup does disconnect the data connection between the lens from the camera so I need to switch to full manual. I think there are extension tubes which preserve the connection and I would strongly advise that you so look for these.

Below is a short video that gives a short clip on these options. Not the best but it will give you a visual idea.
Hi! Wow, thats really detailed! Thanks for the help! I will be sure to do more research and weight the pros/cons. In your opinion, how much should I be looking at for an entry level macro lens?
 

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Apr 18, 2012
381
1
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#5
Can i suggest reverse adapter as the other option. It is very cheap. The way to use is to mount ur lens the other way but the focus maybe hard to get.

This is the first option i did before getting a cheap second hand marco lens. But this also need to know how know what is the focal length u need

Sent from my LG-H961N using Tapatalk
 

zeraphis

New Member
Jan 10, 2017
22
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SG
#7
Hi guys, say if i have a choice of choosing between a Kenko Extension Tube Set ($100) and a Tamron 90mm Macro ($260), assuming both in mint condition, which would be a better choice?

Can i suggest reverse adapter as the other option. It is very cheap. The way to use is to mount ur lens the other way but the focus maybe hard to get.

This is the first option i did before getting a cheap second hand marco lens. But this also need to know how know what is the focal length u need

Sent from my LG-H961N using Tapatalk
Hi! Thanks for the suggestion, I did consider this option before, but there is quite a number of stuff to be careful of.

Many options for you to try your hand on macro cheaply:
Thats alot of information to digest, I will pour in more time to look at all of them, Thanks for your suggestion!
 

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zeraphis

New Member
Jan 10, 2017
22
0
0
SG
#9
Hi guys, say if i have a choice of choosing between a Kenko Extension Tube Set ($100) and a Tamron 90mm Macro ($260), assuming both in mint condition, which would be a better choice?
shierwin, Thanks for the share once again! and anyway, what are your views on the quoted?
 

shierwin

Senior Member
Dec 29, 2008
3,504
10
38
East Coast
#10
shierwin, Thanks for the share once again! and anyway, what are your views on the quoted?
Take the Tamron 90mm anytime... giving a 1:1 images.
But if want to try doing "supermacro" then the recommended alternates are the way to go :)
 

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zeraphis

New Member
Jan 10, 2017
22
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0
SG
#11
Take the Tamron 90mm anytime... giving a 1:1 images.
But if want to try doing "supermacro" then the recommended alternates are the way to go :)
Hmms, I am really tempted to try out all the alternates like the extension tube set, adapter ring and filter lens. After all, its all about having fun aint it. Thanks for all your kind input!
 

Apr 18, 2012
381
1
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#12
Hi guys, say if i have a choice of choosing between a Kenko Extension Tube Set ($100) and a Tamron 90mm Macro ($260), assuming both in mint condition, which would be a better choice?
My choice is the lens if budget allow due to it 1:1. Aw if u r starting and dont know which to get, best is to borrow the lens and try. This way u will know which suit u better.

Sent from my LG-H961N using Tapatalk
 

zeraphis

New Member
Jan 10, 2017
22
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SG
#13
My choice is the lens if budget allow due to it 1:1. Aw if u r starting and dont know which to get, best is to borrow the lens and try. This way u will know which suit u better.

Sent from my LG-H961N using Tapatalk
I factored in alot of reasonings, but ultimately couldnt get myself to buy a preloved lens, way too many things could go wrong.

Setting that aside (and budget...maybe < $600), what lens should I be looking at? Or is that still consider too little for a decent lens?
 

SkyStrike

Moderator
Staff member
Nov 29, 2010
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Somewhere
#14
If you have the option of a macro lens, I'll probably say go for it, but good ones don't came too cheap...

There's actually nothing too wrong about getting 2nd hand lens.. Since there might be many of these lens that are quite new because of low usage and letting it go.
 

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joh

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Jul 5, 2003
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#15
Tamron is a reputable lens. It's already right there within your budget. If you know your stuff, second hand gear is an option. You may also get those generic extension tubes which is like SGD15 to 30 to get more magnification. You lose auto exposure but shooting macro takes care and precision to come out really good. So manual exposure is actually a preference. Go man. Go have fun at it. Read some about lighting techniques. It will be useful. Have a nice day [emoji4].

Sent from my Redmi Note 4 using Tapatalk
 

zeraphis

New Member
Jan 10, 2017
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SG
#16
Tamron is a reputable lens. It's already right there within your budget. If you know your stuff, second hand gear is an option. You may also get those generic extension tubes which is like SGD15 to 30 to get more magnification. You lose auto exposure but shooting macro takes care and precision to come out really good. So manual exposure is actually a preference. Go man. Go have fun at it. Read some about lighting techniques. It will be useful. Have a nice day [emoji4].

Sent from my Redmi Note 4 using Tapatalk
Hi, thanks for the input! While I know Tamron is a reputable brand, I dont feel comfortable as of now for a preloved purchase. Besides, the alternate methods sound alot more fun, I am bound to learn alot of new things that way.
 

joh

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Jul 5, 2003
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#17
Very well then. Whatever works for you man. Fun is the keyword. Also you know that 90mm also works great for portraits. Borrowing or renting is another option like an earlier suggestion by our friend earlier. Anyways, cheers.

Sent from my Redmi Note 4 using Tapatalk
 

zeraphis

New Member
Jan 10, 2017
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SG
#18
Very well then. Whatever works for you man. Fun is the keyword. Also you know that 90mm also works great for portraits. Borrowing or renting is another option like an earlier suggestion by our friend earlier. Anyways, cheers.

Sent from my Redmi Note 4 using Tapatalk
I will definitely consider renting before my next lens purchase!
 

Apr 18, 2012
381
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18
#19
I factored in alot of reasonings, but ultimately couldnt get myself to buy a preloved lens, way too many things could go wrong.

Setting that aside (and budget...maybe < $600), what lens should I be looking at? Or is that still consider too little for a decent lens?
You are right that buying a lens, there is alot of factors to consider. Basic factor like the weight, focal distance and the magnification ratio. Not mentioning other like the number of stop and number of elements in it etc.

so my point is renting it, is the best. No peer pressure. We only mention which is more better and in wat wat. We dont say you must get this lens or doing that way.

For me i starting with the reverse adapter. I find that i like the macro feel. (shooting in marco and normal shooting style is different.) so in the end i get a true 1:1 macro lens. But again i find the ratio is too small for me then i get the extension tube as the next lens will cost me close to a k. This is through the hard way learning.

To prevent you from going the long path, i can say if you are really into marco then go for it by trying out the lens others just get the cheaper option for fun.

Remember shooting is to have fun iut of it.

Sent from my LG-H961N using Tapatalk
 

Feb 23, 2012
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#20
I use the Tamron 90mm on my A7 with an adapter and love the lens... Tack sharp images..
 

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