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advice for maximizing lens usage (wide angle/macro/extensions)


I'm an artist, building a new kit for photographing medium and large format paintings for print reproduction. I also use the camera for artistic shots and references from nature. I basically need a to expand my spectrum, or learn how to do it without tons of equipment. So far, I have the EFS 18-55mm 3.5/5.6 IS STM, and a EF 50mm f1.8.

I'm looking for tips and tools for the following scenarios:

1) wider angle for archiving large artwork in a short room (looking at EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM)

2) macro lens, maybe the 24mm paired with an extension tube? what size extension? I need details of artwork, and also like to get scientifically small for references and inspiration outside the studio.

3) a good telephoto, preferably more distance than the 70-300mm I was using in the past for the birds of prey in my neighborhood.

Thank you!



What Camera?

Do you have a budget?

I have paired one of the Tamron 150-600's to get me extra reach. The Sigma is just as good.

Perfect, the Tamron 150-600 looks perfect for catching this bald eagle that hangs out near the federal penitentiary. I found them used for around $550. Thank you!


We need to know what camera to know what "wide" means.

oops, thank you. body is the EOS 90D


I would be concerned with the distortion of wide angle lenses. How far back can you be from the paintings? A standard to short telephoto may be better.

I supose a tilt-shift may be better in tight quarters and allow you to capture a panorama (but that could get costly and time-consuming).

Also, be aware of the lighting. That can lead to extra specular highlights. You can try using polarized lights to help cut down reflections. Or a polarizing filter if existing light is enough.


EOS 5D IV, EF 50mm f/1.2L, EF 135mm f/2L, 600EX-RT (x6), ST-E3-RT
EOS C70, RF 24-70 f/2.8L IS, EF-EOS R 0.71x

Thank you, in the current space I have about 10 ft max, which I have to back up to the wall to fit a 4x4ft into the 50mm frame. We've got plans to expand, so I was hoping for a lens that will work here for any artwork over 4ft in the meantime, but also double for creative macro exploring and detail shots. I bought a 28mm EF-M with a built in ring light, not knowing the "M" wasn't compatible with the 90D. So I guess I was just looking in that same focal length.

That would be enough space to capture panoramas. Though you'll want a very good tripod with leveling base (and possibly a nodal slide; not sure if that would be 100% necessary due to the close distance of the subject).

I've captured nine-image panoramas with my EF 135mm f/2 lens at minimum focusing distance of around 3 feet. Ended up with 114 megapixel images. Enough resolution for a 39 x 31 inch print (300 dpi).

However, it can get tricky if depth of field is shallow. For the central image in the 3 x 3 capture, the camera's sensor was exactly parallel to the subject. However, for the side and corner images, I moved the lens about 2.5º horizontally and/or vertically. So for those images, the subject was no longer parallel to the camera's sensor. If you have deep enough depth of field, that should no longer be an issue.

This is where tilt-shift lenses are really cool with panoramas like this. Since the camera's sensor will always be parallel.


EOS 5D IV, EF 50mm f/1.2L, EF 135mm f/2L, 600EX-RT (x6), ST-E3-RT
EOS C70, RF 24-70 f/2.8L IS, EF-EOS R 0.71x


This is a rather challenging task. Forget about capturing an entire piece of “large format” artwork in a single shot. You will need to capture multi-level panorama images and combine in an advanced image editor like Photoshop

You will want minimum scan resolution of 300 dpi, preferably 600 dpi or more. Now compare those numbers to the resolution of your image sensor. Let’s use 24MP, 6000 x 4000 pixels, because those are easy numbers to work with in your head.

Your sampled images will be able to capture a maximum of 10” x 6.5”. Because you will need to allow for some overland between images, the effective working maximum will be closer to 6” x 4”.

The best lens to use will be defined by your distance to your subject and what gear you use to support and move the camera.

"The right mouse button is your friend."


As for extension tubes, they can be bought in sets of 3. Each tube will have a different “mm” distance. You can use them one at a time or stack them for effectively longer tubes. You typically want the length of your extensions to fall somewhere between 25% to 40% of the focal length in use.

Also, extension tubes can add instability and alignment issues to the lens mount, especially when you begin to stack them up. The lens rig may sag slightly when the camera is held horizontally. So, I recommend only shooting straight downward when using extension tubes, especially with longer lens bodies.

"The right mouse button is your friend."

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