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Canon T4i with EF-S 18-135mm IS STM for macro?


I am considering the Canon T4i with EF-S 18-135mm IS STM lens for an "all around" travel companion.  How is this lens for macro?



Just ok.  The MFD (minimum focus distance) is 1.5 feet, and it allows for a maximum maginification of 1:5 (0.2X) , which isn't very much.  It's a nice all around lens, but like most all around lenses, they're middle of the road on many aspects, but don't really shine any any.  Although they use the word Macro on the lens this is marketing fluff, it's not a macro lens.  Sadly, many modern point and shoots can do better macro then this lens (the smaller sensors allow a wider DoF and the lenses on P&S allow getting really close).


The 18-135 willl get you started, and if you find you like macro work then I suggest a dedicated lens.  The 100mm (non-L) macro lens was my first lens that made me say 'Wow'.  You don't know what you're missing with cheaper lenses until you see what can be done.

Thanks very much.  Just the sort of advice I was looking for.


That 100mm macro is a bit pricey.  What about the EF-S 60mm f/2.8 USM Macro?  It's smaller, too.



Sure, and it's a great lens. You can't go wrong with either.  Both give you a full 1X for Macro.  The 60 is known to also have spectacular image quality for a non-L lens.  There's pros and cons to both:


For macro I prefer the extra reach of the 100mm.  Keep in mind they're both 1X, so they can both magnify the subject to the same amount even though they're different focal lenghts.  But the 100mm allows you to be almost twice as far from the subject.  For small subjects keep in mind we're talking inches here.  The MFD for the 60mm is like 3 inches.  It makes it tough to get light inbetween your lens and your subject.  It also scares subjects away more.


For non-macro work I find the 60mm to be a better focal length.  Better for portraits, and general photography (unless you're trying to isolate the subject).


Keep in mind the 60mm is an EF-S, so it'll only work on crop sensors.  But if you have no intention in going full frame in the near future I wouldn't worry about it.


The 100mm costs a bit more, but it looks like they have it in stock for a refurbished lens.  $400:


Looks like they're out of the 60mm at the moment.


I'm in the middle of checking out extension tubes for macro shots using the kit lenses that came with my T4i.  I won't claim they're perfect because I've only tried a few shots but definitely better than the kit lens alone.  It's worth checking out as it's not that expensive and works with different lenses including the 2 kit zoom lens that came with the camera.


Is it comparable to something like a Tamron 60mm macro lens? - likely not, but then again the extension tube I got was a little over 1/20th the price of the lens.


My 2 cents.

Extension tubes will help you get closer, but you still don't get the detail of a good macro prime.  Don't get me wrong, for the price it's a cheap and easy way to get a bit closer with the kit lenses, but they're kinda clumsy (the cheap manual ones) to work with.  But if you can deal wtih the hassle, you might check out a $5 reversing ring.  It can turn a couple of cheap primes into a microscope:



You may want to look at B&H Photo and Video in NYC.  They often have things in stock that Canon is sold out of.  For Macro lenses you may want to look at ebay for a good lens, or even Amazon.  For macro, it is best to use a prime lens.  Remember, look at a lenes minimum focus distance if your going to use it for macro.  Even a EF 50mm 1.8 can be used for macro, with a extension tube.  That lens is usually included in a "kit" or can be had for less than $100.00.  Good luck, my .02 cents.