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What lens do you use for close ups when you don't have a macro

Hi folks!

 

I've been playing around with photography for close to a year now, almost all of that has been wildlife so the couple of lenses I have bought have been longer focal length.  Ocassionally though, I see a flower or an insect I love. I haven't had bad results just using whatever lens I have on at the time. Below is a crocus taken with the kit lens (Canon 18-55 mm f5.6 ) and a bumblebee (Canon 100-400 mm also a f5.6 the only good piece of glass I have, my third lens is the Canon 55-250mm my camera is an old Canon Rebel T4i). I don't think I am ready to splurge on a macro lens yet. So, if I want to take a close up should I be using the the widest lens I have, does it matter? 

 

Thanks!

 

crocus3.JPGbee3.JPG 

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Re: What lens do you use for close ups when you don't have a macro

IMHO, none of the lenses you have are worthy for what you are asking them to do.  That's why your photos look the way they do. That is probably the best you can expect with them.

 

You need a true macro lens!

EB
EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!
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Re: What lens do you use for close ups when you don't have a macro


@Wayne3 wrote:

Hi folks!

 

I've been playing around with photography for close to a year now, almost all of that has been wildlife so the couple of lenses I have bought have been longer focal length.  Ocassionally though, I see a flower or an insect I love. I haven't had bad results just using whatever lens I have on at the time. Below is a crocus taken with the kit lens (Canon 18-55 mm f5.6 ) and a bumblebee (Canon 100-400 mm also a f5.6 the only good piece of glass I have, my third lens is the Canon 55-250mm my camera is an old Canon Rebel T4i). I don't think I am ready to splurge on a macro lens yet. So, if I want to take a close up should I be using the the widest lens I have, does it matter? 

 

Thanks!

What camera are you using?

Bob
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA
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Re: What lens do you use for close ups when you don't have a macro

Rebel T4i
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Re: What lens do you use for close ups when you don't have a macro

You should get a set of extension tubes. 

John Hoffman
Conway, NH

1D X Mark III, Many lenses, Pixma PRO-100, MX472, LR Classic
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Re: What lens do you use for close ups when you don't have a macro

[ Edited ]

@Wayne3 wrote:

Hi folks!

 

I've been playing around with photography for close to a year now, almost all of that has been wildlife so the couple of lenses I have bought have been longer focal length.  Ocassionally though, I see a flower or an insect I love. I haven't had bad results just using whatever lens I have on at the time. Below is a crocus taken with the kit lens (Canon 18-55 mm f5.6 ) and a bumblebee (Canon 100-400 mm also a f5.6 the only good piece of glass I have, my third lens is the Canon 55-250mm my camera is an old Canon Rebel T4i). I don't think I am ready to splurge on a macro lens yet. So, if I want to take a close up should I be using the the widest lens I have, does it matter? 

 

Thanks! 


True Macro lenses tend to be on the telephoto side (60mm, 100mm, 160mm), and the longer the telephoto the further you can be from your subject, which helps to avoid shadowing and may make it easier to use available light.  You can get close-up shots with a fair range of focal lengths but these guides may help.

The closer you are the narrower the dept of field (DoF)
The wider the aperture the narrower the DoF
The longer the focal length the narrower the DoF

A lot depends on how close you want to get and the effect you are trying to achieve.  If you want a very narrow DoF and with nice fuzzy surrounds then go close, use a wide aperture and a long focal length.  If you want lots of crisp depth you will need a narrow aperture and perhaps a shorter focal length. 

 

If the object is REALLY small and you want lots of DoF then you may need to set the camera on tripod and using photo stacking - whereby you get the camera to take a series of shots at slightly different focal points on the subject and then use post processing software to incorporate them into one image with the sum of the sharp areas combined.   None of the following images have used this technique.

I have shot reasonably close with several lenses, one of my favourite, cheaper lenses is the 18-135 STM. 

The first two images below were taken with this lens, hand-held (in good sunlight!) at its maximum focal length.

Bee on a flower 03 - Copy.jpg
Canon EOS 80D, EF-S 18-135 IS STM@135mm, f/8, 1/2000sec, ISO-200

I was quite close to the bee and f/8 was not a very small aperture, but I was hand-holding and didn't want any camera movement.  The result is a pretty narrow DoF, but enough to capture the bee's eyes and a good part of its body.

IMG_2225-1-1 copy.jpg
Canon EOS 80D EF-S 18-135 IS STM, 135mm, f/7.1, 1/1600 sec, ISO-320

While this was taken with a wider aperture the subject was much flatter, so I could get a reasonably sharp image and still be hand held

The following image was taken with the EF 70-300 IS USM MkII also hand-held in available light - the subject is perhaps 2cm (3/4") across in reality.
Sample 01.jpg
Canon EOS 80D, EF 70-300 IS USM MkII, 278mm, f/5.6, 1/250 sec, ISO-100

Obviously a fairly wide aperture and I wanted that to lose any chance of seeing a recognizable background.

 

If you want to get in REALLY close then using extension tubes (or rings) will effectively increase the magnification, but will render a darker image and will likely disable autofocus and may inhibit metering.   Another, very cheap solution, is to get a reversing ring for your lens mount.  This will definitely block any automatic features since the lens is reversed on the camera and will give you a norrow DoF, but will really give you a close-up result.

 

The following two links take you to images showing in the current Museum of Natural History Wildlife Photographer of the Year show.  They were both taken with a kit lens (18-55) using a reversing ring.  The results are excellent, but very hard to acheive, so the photographer very much deserves kudos for his skill.

 

Dinner for One and Face of Deception 

 

If you are prepared to invest in a macro lens, Canon Makes excellent 60mm and 100mm f/2.8 (non-L) macro lenses that represent a good balance of optics, focal length and price!   Furthermore, these macro lenses make excellent portrait lenses!

 

The following images were taken with the 100mm lens but very different cameras, both using available light.

Flower 002.jpg

Canon EOS 5DsR, EF 100 f/2.8 macro, f/10, 1/5 sec, ISO-100

 

Tiny worlds-1.jpg

Canon EOS 650D (Rebel T4i), EF 100 f/2.8, f/15, 1/40 sec, ISO-400

Putting the 100mm unit on a crop sensor give it a Field of View equivalent to that of a 160mm lens on a FF body.

cheers Trevor

"All the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy;
"Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase" Percy W. Harris
"A good swordsman is more important than a good sword" Amit Kalantri
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Re: What lens do you use for close ups when you don't have a macro


@Wayne3 wrote
Rebel :T4i

Then I think I'd recommend the EF-S 60mm f/2.8 macro. I've never used it, but my wife has one and likes it a lot. It's her second most used lens (behind the EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8).

Bob
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA
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Re: What lens do you use for close ups when you don't have a macro


@RobertTheFat wrote:

@Wayne3 wrote
Rebel :T4i

Then I think I'd recommend the EF-S 60mm f/2.8 macro. I've never used it, but my wife has one and likes it a lot. It's her second most used lens (behind the EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8).


I would agree - I have the EF-S 60 as well, and it is a great lens for both macro and portrait work.

cheers Trevor

"All the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy;
"Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase" Percy W. Harris
"A good swordsman is more important than a good sword" Amit Kalantri
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Re: What lens do you use for close ups when you don't have a macro

OK, OK enough!

I am afraid I am going to be forced to ban you from showing us average photographers your photos. Man those are good. That last one is outa sight.

EB
EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!
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Re: What lens do you use for close ups when you don't have a macro

[ Edited ]

@ebiggs1 wrote:

OK, OK enough!

I am afraid I am going to be forced to ban you from showing us average photographers your photos. Man those are good. That last one is outa sight.


Ernie, thank you for your kind words.  Smiley Embarassed

I am sincerely not presenting these as great works of photographic art, just to show that one does not have to be limited to expensive specialist macro gear to get a tolerably acceptable image.  If I make a recommendation I like to back it up with an image to prove my point, hence the proliferation of shots.  For example the last one is taken with exactly the same camera as the OP has, something that I hope makes it more relevent.

cheers Trevor

"All the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy;
"Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase" Percy W. Harris
"A good swordsman is more important than a good sword" Amit Kalantri
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