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VIP
Posts: 11,116
Registered: ‎08-13-2015

Re: Macro lens for the SL1

[ Edited ]

"OK lets see if it is.  I say the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM Lens is the way to go." 

 

The EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM is another good choice.  In fact, it is widely regarded as being a better macro lens than the EF-S 60mm macro lens.  Of course, the 100mm costs a bit more than the 60mm.  It is not too heavy for the SL-! body, either. And, the 100mm is an EF lens, not and EF-S lens, which means it can be used on any Canon DSLR, not just primarily Rebel series of cameras.  The EF-S 60mm was designed specifically for Rebel series, and APS-C sensor body, cameras.

 

Either the 60mm or 100mm lens would work well with the SL-1.  In fact, the "L" series macro lenses would work, too.  Just be aware that the "L" macros would work best with the SL-1 when mounted on a tripod.  There are tripod mounts available for the lenses.  A user would need to be cognizant of the potential for undue stress on the camera's lens mount if one of these heavier "L" macro lenses were used with the SL-1 in a handheld fashion.

 

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Tripods are almost always used for any serious macro photography work, even including hobbyists.

 

Most of the time when you use a tripod, the camera mounts onto the the tripod head, via a standard 1/4-20 threaded hole on the bottom of the camera.  Larger, heavier lenses mounted on the camera would present a severely off-balance load if the camera were mounted to a tripod with such a lens attached to it.  So, larger lenses have a "tripod foot" so that the lens can be mounted onto a tripod, and the camera is then attached to the lens, which presents a much more balanced load.

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"Doctor told me to get out and walk, so I bought a Canon."
Honored Contributor
Posts: 5,558
Registered: ‎06-25-2014

Re: Macro lens for the SL1


@ebiggs1 wrote:

"It sounds to me like the 60mm is the way to go ..."

OK lets see if it is.  I say the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM Lens is the way to go.

Why?  First it is a vastly better lens. That alone is reason enough but.  Second it allows an increased working distance from your subject.  If you are doing insects this can be critical. It does have a tripod mount available.  And if you ever decide to go with a more advanced full frame camera the 100 will go right along.  But the 60mm won't.  You will have to buy the EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM Lens anyway!

Now which sounds like "the way to go"?

 

Other choices:

Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro Lens for Canon

Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro Autofocus Lens for Canon

Tokina 100mm f/2.8 AT-X M100 AF Pro D Macro Autofocus Lens for Canon

 

As listed would be my opinion.   Check them out before you buy anything.


The 60mm macro was one of the first lenses I bought for my wife after we went with DSLRs. She loves it and has gotten some great pictures with it (with three successive cameras) over the years

Bob
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA
VIP
Posts: 13,541
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: Macro lens for the SL1

" She loves it and has gotten some great pictures ..."

 

I have no doubt she has but still doesn't make it the best "go" for Miss Liz.  IMHO, of course, as always.

EB
EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!
Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 3,853
Registered: ‎06-11-2013

Re: Macro lens for the SL1

Every lens has a "minimum focus distance".  

 

In a typical lens, it's possible to want to get closer to a subject then the lens is able to clearly focus.  A true "macro" lens allows for focus at "1:1" scale... meaning the size of the image projected onto the camera's internal image sensor is just as large as the subject is in real life.

 

On your SL1, you've got a sensor which (using rounded values) measures roughly 15mm x 22mm.  If you were to imagine photographing a US penny, the coin measures about 19mm in diameter.  So to get a full "1:1" scale image of that penny means that the penny would appear so large on the image sensor that in "width" it will just barely fit on the sensor (19mm diameter penny will fit in the 23mm wide sensor -- you'd be able to leave about 2mm of clearance on each side) but in the vertical direction the penny doesn't even fit... the 19mm diameter coin is larger than the 15mm height of your sensor.  

 

That's pretty close, that's what it means to have "1:1" scale.

 

Many lenses can get pretty close... just not that close.  So whereas you might have an image of a "flower" (a whole flower in the frame), the macro lens at 1:1 scale might barely be able to fit hte very center of the flower.  This is possibly closer than you actually want.  The lens can focus all the way out to infinity just like any other lens... it just allows focusing to get particularly close.

 

Canon makes a specialty lens that can get even closer (5:1 scale -- the image on the sensor is actually as much as 5x larger than the object is in real life.)  If we go back to that penny analogy... Abraham Lincoln's eye would probably occupy most of the  image.

 

If you are photographing anything shy (insects that might fly away) then being able to get some distance between you and your subject is handy.  Canon makes a 180mm macro lens -- but it's not cheap.

 

I used to own the EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM and vouch for it being a very high quality lens.  I had no complaints about it.  I got rid of it when I switched from a crop-frame body to a full-frame body ... full-frame bodies cannot use "EF-S" lenses.  I now use the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS Macro USM.

 

As other have pointed out... when you get REALY CLOSE to a subject, the "depth of field" starts to become very narrow -- almost "paper thin" (especially if you use a low focal ratio).  

 

Here's an image taken with a 100mm macro lens at f/2.8, but at very close focusing distance.  You can see that my "depth of field" (the range of distances at which things appear to be in acceptable focus) is just a few millimeters wide.  You would probably not be happy with an image of a flower taken at this focal ratio because very little would be focused.

 

IMG_2014.jpg

 

Here's the same subject, same camera, same lens, same position, but this time I'm using f/32.  You can see that nearly everything is acceptably focused.

 

IMG_2015.jpg

 

There is an issue of what to do if you want more to be in focus than is possible at these very very close focusing distance.

 

It turns out you can take several images, each focused to a different distance, and then "merge" the images together (sometimes referred to as "focus stacking").  This is done using software (Photoshop, for example, can do it as one of it's "photomerge..." capabilities but there are even dedicated programs written for this purpose.)

 

You can use a device called a "focusing rail" (John Hoffman posted an image of a 2-axis rail) and these allow you to set the camera focus via the lens, and then just nudge the camera forward a few millimeters at a time to get each frame (this is safer than adjusting the focus ring on the camera because when you change focus you actually change the focal length EVEN on a lens that has a fixed focal length.  The problem is called "focus breathing".  Taking every image at the same focal length (without touching focus) is safer -- and just nudge the camera along the rail.)

 

These stacking techniques assume you can get the same subject in the same position in every frame and only the camera distance changes.  If you're photographing outdoor flowers and the wind is blowing... that may be a problem.  If you're photographing live insects at work pollinated flowers... that also probably wont work because the insect wont wait for you to get all your shots.

 

Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da
Super Contributor
Posts: 220
Registered: ‎03-11-2016

Re: Macro lens for the SL1

thanks for all that information.  Now to process it all,  I could spend  >1k for the 100mm & focusing rail and still have the same issue of a narrow field of focus.  I guess it boils down to higher fstop, like I was guessing, OR processing on the other end, focus stacking,  And finally, a good macro lens.

I REALLY appreciate your definition of "focus breathing".  I think I've watched 6 videos on that very topic, and still didn't get it.  The bell rang when I read that. Thank U....  I went out again today, got a bee and ladybug(boring) but the wind kicked up (just like you said) and those bees just refused to hold still!  I guess that is one reason why this topic is difficult while out in "the field"  I sometimes think that the challenge is part of the fun, if you can avoid getting frustrated when it doesn't turn out right.

 

At this point  I just bought this camera, and wasn't planning on getting a full size sensor body. (I was glad to hear that the sl1 body isn't just plastic)  I am just learning all over again and Not ready to advance. (yet) Let me figure this one out first, then  we shall see.  I think this sensor size difference might be part of my learning curve problem in figuring out the focal length vs. size ratio.  Your explanation on that was crystal as well, Well done! and thanks, I THINK I get it.

It's good to know  that there are a few out there that started with the 60mm lens and liked it.  Understandable the hesitation due to the inability to transfer to a full size camera.  However, it's smaller, which is an advantage to me, I am small and I already have 4 lenses to cart around. (Probably sounds like nuthin to you guys, lol) but weight is an important consideration for me.

 

I certainly got educated by all of you who contributed, and I cannot thank you enough for all of this valuable information.  I will have to consider all pros and cons  60mm vs 100mm.  If ANY of you had it to do over, would you have bothered w/ the 60 mm lens in the begining?

thanks again

cordially,

Liz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frequent Contributor
Posts: 35
Registered: ‎11-30-2015

Re: Macro lens for the SL1

Thank you, Waddizzle (and everyone who has contributed!)

 

It's good to know that a lens can be used on other DSLRs (since it is possible at some point I may upgrade).

I appreciate all the help!

Annie

Honored Contributor
Posts: 5,558
Registered: ‎06-25-2014

Re: Macro lens for the SL1


@fatcat wrote:

 

I certainly got educated by all of you who contributed, and I cannot thank you enough for all of this valuable information.  I will have to consider all pros and cons  60mm vs 100mm.  If ANY of you had it to do over, would you have bothered w/ the 60 mm lens in the begining?

thanks again

cordially,

Liz

 


For someone in your situation, the most compelling argument against the 60mm macro is that you'll have to replace it if you go to full-frame (and if you also unload all of your crop-frame cameras). If I were a betting man, I'd bet that if and when you have made that transition, you will have spent so much on camera equipment that the price of the 60mm will be at the level of roundoff error. Keep in mind that whatever the advantages and disadvantages of full-frame vs crop frame (and there are arguments on both sides), full-frame equipment is much more expensive.

Bob
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA
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Posts: 13,541
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: Macro lens for the SL1

" If ANY of you had it to do over, would you have bothered w/ the 60 mm lens in the begining?"

 

Absolutely, no.  Actually I never did !  I went with the ef 100mm right from the start.  I can't stress all the major disadvantages enough with the 60 vs the 100.  But I guess the best way, I guess, is for you to experience it first hand.

 

My big mistake in delving into the world of macro was buying the ef 100mm first and not the ef 180mm.  It wasn't too long before I realized my mistake.  It cost me two lenses!  If macro is your gig, and you buy the 60mm, it will cost you two lenses also.  Just my 2 cents and worth every penny.  Smiley Happy

EB
EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!
Super Contributor
Posts: 220
Registered: ‎03-11-2016

Re: Macro lens for the SL1

Biggs, I thought your wife had the 60mm and loves it! Did I read that wrong? Obviously the 100mm is the better lens, it's also $800+, (more than the entire camera!) The 180 I haven't even looked at! You are a professional and get paid for your pics, and in your case price is justifiable. I am only in this for a hobby, do not plan on being a pro. or getting paid for my photos, still think the price point is worth it? for a hobby?
Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 4,395
Registered: ‎02-17-2016

Re: Macro lens for the SL1

The only reason not to get the EF-S 60 is that the 3" from the front of the lens to the subject at 1X magnification is too close for you. Other than that, get it and enjoy it.

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