Macro lenses - to buy or not?


red_ryder

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#1
Hi all. I’m quite keen on macro photography, and bought a Raynox lens to play around with. Fixed it onto my 50mm prime, and had fun in the gardens.

My question is, what are the reasons to get a true macro lens over such a setup? Also, how do I decide which macro lens focal length to buy? Do macro lens have zoom? What I’ve found using the raynox is that I need to move my tripod backwards and forwards in order to adjust what I want the lens to focus on (e.g. part of a flower petal, or the stamen,etc) . Would that be the case with true macro lenses too?
 

#2
Macro lens is definately much easier to handle than Raynox. Flowers are reletively easy targets, but insects can be quite challenging using Raynox. If you're serious about macro, a macro lens will definately be a good investment.

Macro lenses usually are primes means there is no zoom. However, they come in various focal length 30mm, 50mm 90mm, 100mm, 150mm, 180mm etc. Price also varies accordingly.

With regard to focusing, controlling the focus ring will do. No need to move the camera back and forth to focus on the subject.
 

madmartian

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#3
Hi all. I’m quite keen on macro photography, and bought a Raynox lens to play around with. Fixed it onto my 50mm prime, and had fun in the gardens.

My question is, what are the reasons to get a true macro lens over such a setup? Also, how do I decide which macro lens focal length to buy? Do macro lens have zoom? What I’ve found using the raynox is that I need to move my tripod backwards and forwards in order to adjust what I want the lens to focus on (e.g. part of a flower petal, or the stamen,etc) . Would that be the case with true macro lenses too?
A dedicated or true macro lens like you would call, is more expensive than a close up filter, but it doubles up as a normal shooting lens when its not in the macro mode. So you get 2 for the price of one.
There are short & long dedicated macro lens. It depends on what kind of macro photography you at into. For stills & non insects, a short one like a 60mm is fine. But for insects, you can go for the 90mm, 100mm 105mm 150,, 200mm (the focal length mentioned here are from differnt brands). Which, you still can attach the raynox to it for a greater magnification.
Yes, in macro shooting, most of the shooters shoot by using manual focus with or without tripod & moving in & out to get the correct focus is the way to do it.
Also the DOF plays an important part here, so different subject calls for different DOF & as well as how you want to translate that shot.
 

red_ryder

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#4
With regard to focusing, controlling the focus ring will do. No need to move the camera back and forth to focus on the subject.
That’s weird. My experience has been different. Say I want to focus on the stamen of a flower that is 6 cm away from the lens. No matter how I turn the focus ring, only the spot 3cm away goes in or out of focus. The stamen still remains blur. I have to move the tripod to get the lens 3cm away from the stamen in order to focus on it.

I’m just choosing numbers arbitrarily to illustrate my point, these are not the true distances of course.
 

red_ryder

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#5
Wow, I’m amazed that people can do handheld macro. I use a tripod, and the slightest shake (e.g. pressing the shutter button) can result in a slightly blurred image. Or when the wind blows, the image gets a bit blurred. I often get frustrated shooting outdoor macro on flowers due to wind. Is that because my DOF is too shallow?
 

jsprtan

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#6
True macro lens will allow u to focus at different distance, but to keep the magnification of 1:1 u will have to find correct the focus length by shifting back and forward.

For macro of small insect it will be very difficult to deploy tripod so for me handheld is the way to go.
 

jsprtan

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#7
if u are getting a macro lens do note that there are different magnification ratio that u can find. 1:1 is the typical ones but there are also ones that do only 1:0.5 and u need an extra half macro converter to get 1:1. There is also one which allows from 1:1 to 1:5.
 

#8
That’s weird. My experience has been different. Say I want to focus on the stamen of a flower that is 6 cm away from the lens. No matter how I turn the focus ring, only the spot 3cm away goes in or out of focus. The stamen still remains blur. I have to move the tripod to get the lens 3cm away from the stamen in order to focus on it.

I’m just choosing numbers arbitrarily to illustrate my point, these are not the true distances of course.
My statement is meant for macro lens. Sorry for the confusion.

Your problem mentioned is the main reason why I do not bother with close up filters and tripods. Too stressful for me.
 

Numnumball

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Mar 6, 2009
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#9
1. My question is, what are the reasons to get a true macro lens over such a setup?
2. Also, how do I decide which macro lens focal length to buy?
3. Do macro lens have zoom?
4. What I’ve found using the raynox is that I need to move my tripod backwards and forwards in order to adjust what I want the lens to focus on (e.g. part of a flower petal, or the stamen,etc) . Would that be the case with true macro lenses too?
Hihi,

u sure have lots of questions and i try to answer them the best i could.

I had rearranged ur orginal posts and will nw address ur doubts one at a time

1. It render 1:1 reproduction ratio. And constrcution of lens with key elements will give high constrasty and vibrant images and they are known to be sharper.

2. Depends on what u are after. Flora, bugs, abstracts.
Longer focal length is much desired as it enhanced ur working distance and its great in isolating ur subjects. Unless u are those kind who are most comfortable handheld, will suggest u go for 105mm. 60mm too short for outfield work, as it will get in the way of ur lighting. 150mm and above, u wil need the aid of a tripod.

3. Yes.. Check this out

http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/70180.htm

4. Do u know why u need to move front and back for raynox?
Tats becasue raynox is a high diopters strength close up filter. coupled it with 50mm will give magnification of close to 2X.. Naturally ur dof will be thin as u magnifies..

the true will only applies when the same is attached to the dedicated macro lens. (i.e close up filters, reverse lens)

HTH :)
 

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android17

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Part of the reason why macro lens is easier to use is because it allows focus to infinity whereas the raynox has a fixed focusing distance.

With infinity focus, u can adjust ur distance to subject, and even stay further away (but rendering smaller magnification) if u need be. focusing for macro lens can be achieved by turning the focus ring, instead of moving ur body (raynox).
 

pinholecam

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#12
A macro lens will give you versatility.
You can shoot anywhere from min focus distance to infinity.
In other words, you can very your distance to the size of your subject as well as compose the picture better.

As you'd have noticed with the Raynox, you can only focus within distance, thereby limiting your composition.
 

Numnumball

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#13
The magnification is only 1:1.33 which is around 0.75. The true blue macro lens usually is 1:1 or higher like MP-E 65.
Which is quite close..

Thats the True macro lenses (for nikon) until 1:1 lenses comes along and push this one out of contention.

Anyway TS is asking whether there's any zoom macro lens (nv mention 1:1)
 

justin79

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Dec 30, 2008
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#14
Hi TS, my word of advise. Believe half of what you hear here and find out the other half for yourself. In photography, listening is only a small part of it, the rest is all trial and error til you get the desired setup and results.

If you have budget then you go for better lens, if not you can make do with the tamron 90mm macro or the Nikon 105mm macro non-vr. Please take note that the word here is "Budget". All these lens goes at less than $1000 2nd hand. Both are able to give you 1:1 magnification base on its specifications.

To buy or not?
Now, TS it all voice down to you just how big a macro fan you are.
If you are a die hard macro fan, then why not? If you half hearted about macro, I suggest you stick to Raynox or extension tubes to use on tele lens.

One good question: How do you know you are half hearted?
Simple: One will continuosly be seeking multi-purpose lens. i.e. macro + tele
End of the day, most likely you still wont get a dedicated macro lens. (I'm pointing to myself. lolx)

Well all these words are said with no harm and offence in mind. Just something that I have gone through and therefore hope to share. Cheers :)
 

Jacobs

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Sep 7, 2005
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#15
Hi TS, my word of advise. Believe half of what you hear here and find out the other half for yourself. In photography, listening is only a small part of it, the rest is all trial and error til you get the desired setup and results.

If you have budget then you go for better lens, if not you can make do with the tamron 90mm macro or the Nikon 105mm macro non-vr. Please take note that the word here is "Budget". All these lens goes at less than $1000 2nd hand. Both are able to give you 1:1 magnification base on its specifications.

To buy or not?
Now, TS it all voice down to you just how big a macro fan you are.
If you are a die hard macro fan, then why not? If you half hearted about macro, I suggest you stick to Raynox or extension tubes to use on tele lens.

One good question: How do you know you are half hearted?
Simple: One will continuosly be seeking multi-purpose lens. i.e. macro + tele
End of the day, most likely you still wont get a dedicated macro lens. (I'm pointing to myself. lolx)

Well all these words are said with no harm and offence in mind. Just something that I have gone through and therefore hope to share. Cheers :)
Good point..:thumbsup:
Agreed with you..:)
 

pokiemon

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Mar 5, 2005
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#16
Hi all. I’m quite keen on macro photography, and bought a Raynox lens to play around with. Fixed it onto my 50mm prime, and had fun in the gardens.

My question is, what are the reasons to get a true macro lens over such a setup? Also, how do I decide which macro lens focal length to buy? Do macro lens have zoom? What I’ve found using the raynox is that I need to move my tripod backwards and forwards in order to adjust what I want the lens to focus on (e.g. part of a flower petal, or the stamen,etc) . Would that be the case with true macro lenses too?
what focal length to buy will depend on what you wanna shoot and how close you want to be with your subject e.g. insects, still objects, abstract?
 

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