I need help with a camera lens!

Legs

ADC
Book Reviewer
#1
Not quite sure which forum this should be in, but it is a bit arty so...


I have recently retaken up photography, and have a Canon EOS 400D which is a pretty decent camera. I have 18-55mm and 55-200mm lenses. What I want to do though it try a bit of close up photography. I can get fairly close up with the 18-55mm but I want closer...

Are there any experienced photographers who can advise me on the best lens to get that won't need a mortgage to buy?
 
#2
any lens with MACRO
 
#3
Old SLR 35mm you could buy cheap additional lenses that fitted between the "real" lens and the body of the camera - lots of extra performance (either telephoto or close) at the cost of poorish light transmission. Don't know if available today/digital.
 
#4
They're referred to as macro extension tubes and, yes, they are still available although I believe they work better with a fixed focal length lens.

Canon extension tube on Amazon
 
#6
legs, google 'eos macro lenses', theres a ton of stuff and info out there.
 
#7
Canon 17-85mm at under £300 is a fantastic lens. Great versatility and pretty sharp at the low end, minimum barrel distortion. Make sure you put skylight filters on all your lenses for protection, didn't with my 70-200mm.... :x
 

Legs

ADC
Book Reviewer
#8
Thanks. I've Googled, but rather that a shop telling me that the lens they have in stock is best, I want someone who has used one and isn't selling me one to tell me the real truth.

Jungelism - Thanks, I'll look at that one. And I have skylight filters on both lenses permanently.
 
B

Biscuits_AB

Guest
#10
Legs said:
Not quite sure which forum this should be in, but it is a bit arty so...


I have recently retaken up photography, and have a Canon EOS 400D which is a pretty decent camera. I have 18-55mm and 55-200mm lenses. What I want to do though it try a bit of close up photography. I can get fairly close up with the 18-55mm but I want closer...

Are there any experienced photographers who can advise me on the best lens to get that won't need a mortgage to buy?
How close? Canon do a nice 60mm. Purpose built for the job. I've got one, it's the dogs. You can get cheaper, but if you want your lens' to have the same quality as you camera, stick with Canon. I've got a 5D and a 350D (the predecessor to yours). Both are great as far as I'm concerned. I suggest that you shop around some of the outlets on the internet (not just Jessops) as you might get yourself a bit a bit off. The problem with lens' is that they don't upgrade as fast as bodies so tend to keep their price. I can't remmeber what I apid for my 60mm but I bought it along with a few other items on the net and got a reasonable discount. Most of these places do tax free as well. The two lens' you've mentioned are quality (are they stabilized).

For a cheap option have a look at Sigma. They're not too bad.
 
#11
To repeat a question, "How close?"

As you get closer to the subject, so you start to block the available light. In the old days of 35mm, the solution was to fit a ring flash to the lens. This illuminated the subject from all directions.

Presumably there's a similar light source that can be fitted to digital camera lenses.


Of course, you could go one step further. Instead of just getting close-up photos, you could use an endoscope and get photos INSIDE whatever it is that your photographing..... Ahem!
 

Legs

ADC
Book Reviewer
#12
I want to be able to photograph insects on plants - that type of close.

I was looking at a Canon 60mm, and also a Ring Flash. not cheap, but it does look good...
 
#13
I swear by the Sigma 105mm Macro lens. I used to work in a camera shop so had a good chance to play with all the kit from the £90 up to the £XXXX lenses!

It will cost a few hundred but if you are serious about shooting macro have a good look at it. Best thing to do is pop to a local photographic shop and have a play with them, take a few test shots on each and see which you feel best.
 
#14
Worked in the industry till about 8 years ago.

Sigma or Tamron are excellent if your not a cannon snob.

For ring flash info see here http://ringflash.co.uk/

I would not buy the cannon one as its expensive and is probably not made by them! Its also an expensive piece of kit that you wont use that ofton!
 
#15
Got a couple of EOS 500 N 's in the wardrobe that I don't use, I'll have a look and see what I can find lens wise from what I can remember I had 6-7 lenses for each, but can't remember what they were.......
 
B

Biscuits_AB

Guest
#16
Legs said:
I want to be able to photograph insects on plants - that type of close.

I was looking at a Canon 60mm, and also a Ring Flash. not cheap, but it does look good...
If you are going to go down the road of arty farty close up photogaphy, save up your money and buy a good macro flash, where you can play around with the illumination. 'Ring' flashes are pretty much fixed and as your skill progresses you will want to do more with your illumination and will want to upgrade to better and fancier kit. Everybody who gets the photography bug does it. You will end up spending more money through buying cheap kit first and then eventually buying what it was that you should have bought to begin with. Macro flashes are pricey.

You can still get decent enough close up images without them through remoting or slaving your flash from the camera. Do you have a flash (a speedgun not the integral one on your camera)? If so, does it have a slave capability? If so, you'll be able to sync it remotely with your integral flash (works better when you have two proper flashes but works nevertheless). Good for when you start studio work and can't afford a studio kit. What you will need for close up is a decent tripod. Manfrotto are good and do a nice one for just over £100(ish) - 390RC2. I've got one of these and it does pretty much everything i want it to. I've had it for 3 years and I use it when I'm outside. Just keepit clean and they'll last a long time. Don't buy a cheap tripod. They wear out too quickly and in a worst case scenario will collapse on you and you really don't want your 400D on top of it when it does. Also, you will need a remote shutter release to prevent camera shake when you are using slower shutter speeds, but you'll have to get one which is made for you camera (Jessops). Before you go down the road of buying lenses, make sure that you buy some UV filters to protect the lens. They are reasonably priced, but you need to protect your lens from scratches etc and better to smash a thirty quid UV filter than a £300 lens.

You may want to consider buying a Lowepro rucksack for carrying all that stuff as well. As you get farther in to photography, you will spend a f*cking fortune.....if you haven't done so already. Then, there's the new laptop, Photoshop, etc, etc. And it doesn't keep you out of the bar either, that's just bollox.

And you'll know just how boring you really are when you start buying the magazines. Which you will. Everybody does.

Do not buy lenses from eBay. Some proper outlets on the internet do second hand and refurbished kit and they've the reputation to support the sale. Leave ebay the f*ck alone even if the offer is tempting.
 
#17
I don't know if anyone still makes them, but a good cheap option for macro work is a lens reverser. This allows you to mount the lens to the body backwards, via the filter thread. This tends to be 45 to 58mm, maybe with stepping rings, so it favours smaller lenses. The result is a very powerful macro lens with good depth of field. You will lose certain functions like AF, but you can go manual or revert to straight TTL or hand held metering. Works best with lenses in the standard range. Your 18-55 might cover it, but for best results use something like a fixed 50mm f1.4
 
#18
roadster280 said:
However, for closeup work on my wife's lady bits, I have a macro filter kit, as referenced above. It has 3 filters, x1, x2, and x4.
Post the results then. For reference obviously!
 

Legs

ADC
Book Reviewer
#19
Biscuits_AB said:
Legs said:
I want to be able to photograph insects on plants - that type of close.

I was looking at a Canon 60mm, and also a Ring Flash. not cheap, but it does look good...
If you are going to go down the road of arty farty close up photogaphy, save up your money and buy a good macro flash, where you can play around with the illumination. 'Ring' flashes are pretty much fixed and as your skill progresses you will want to do more with your illumination and will want to upgrade to better and fancier kit. Everybody who gets the photography bug does it. You will end up spending more money through buying cheap kit first and then eventually buying what it was that you should have bought to begin with. Macro flashes are pricey.

You can still get decent enough close up images without them through remoting or slaving your flash from the camera. Do you have a flash (a speedgun not the integral one on your camera)? If so, does it have a slave capability? If so, you'll be able to sync it remotely with your integral flash (works better when you have two proper flashes but works nevertheless). Good for when you start studio work and can't afford a studio kit. What you will need for close up is a decent tripod. Manfrotto are good and do a nice one for just over £100(ish) - 390RC2. I've got one of these and it does pretty much everything i want it to. I've had it for 3 years and I use it when I'm outside. Just keepit clean and they'll last a long time. Don't buy a cheap tripod. They wear out too quickly and in a worst case scenario will collapse on you and you really don't want your 400D on top of it when it does. Also, you will need a remote shutter release to prevent camera shake when you are using slower shutter speeds, but you'll have to get one which is made for you camera (Jessops). Before you go down the road of buying lenses, make sure that you buy some UV filters to protect the lens. They are reasonably priced, but you need to protect your lens from scratches etc and better to smash a thirty quid UV filter than a £300 lens.

You may want to consider buying a Lowepro rucksack for carrying all that stuff as well. As you get farther in to photography, you will spend a f*cking fortune.....if you haven't done so already. Then, there's the new laptop, Photoshop, etc, etc. And it doesn't keep you out of the bar either, that's just bollox.

And you'll know just how boring you really are when you start buying the magazines. Which you will. Everybody does.

Do not buy lenses from eBay. Some proper outlets on the internet do second hand and refurbished kit and they've the reputation to support the sale. Leave ebay the f*ck alone even if the offer is tempting.
Thanks Biccies, some good stuff there.

I use a Miranda Titan tripod, and also a Gorillapod SLR flex tripod (which really is excellent!) for when the big tripod is just too big to lug about. I have a remote shutter release and usually use that if I'm using the tripod for any shot except 'action' type shots where I need to keep an eye to the viewfinder.

I use a Lowepro Single Strap rucksack which holds the body with lens, plus space for a 55-200mm lens and one other (Macro...), also flash, cleaning kit and extra filters (polarising etc), and external straps for my Gorillapod. I also have another one (also Lowepro) which holds my laptop and all the camera kit for when I am away from home for longer periods. Both my lenses have UV/Daylight filters permanently attached for protection.

I have no intention of doing Studio work. I find it too false (at the moment) and prefer the spontaneity of real life. I don't take photos for money, only my own pleasure. At the moment I am in a Landscapes phase, and have started playing around with Photoshop trying to see what I can do with Digital Manipulation.

Oh yes, cash has been haemorrhaging from my bank account paying for the gizmos...
 
B

Biscuits_AB

Guest
#20
Apologies if I appeared to be teaching you to suck eggs, I wasn't too sure how much experience you had. Nevertheless, back to your original question, I would recommend that you buy the Canon 60mm if you have your heart set on macro work and you own a Canon camera. You'll only end up buying one in the end as you get farther into the subject. Canon are expensive, but you get what you pay for. Don't waste good money on the 'it'll do me for now' kit, save up for a bit longer and treat yourself.

I've got a reasonable amount of experience in photography as I used to teach it and it played a large part of my former employment, but personally I find that if you want good advice on photography, particularly on how to look after your gear, get hold of one of the RLC Phot blokes. They are exceptionally knowledgeable. Bear in mind that they lug their gear into areas where cameras shouldn't go, so they have all the tips on how to protect your stuff in environments which would ordinarily be hostile to cameras. It's all knowledge which you can transfer to 'civvy' use and as far as kit is concerned, well it's their bread and butter isn't it? I've always found them extremely helpful and willing to share knowledge and experience with us amateurs. Just have alook at some of the images they enter for the Army Phot Competitions. Appreciate you can do a lot with an editting suite, but some of them are exceptional.

Your 'studio' is essentially where you make it. You will find your self working indoors with macro stuff as your skills develop and ideas pop into your head. It's easier to stage a good close up photograph than to hang around waiting for the moment to present itself, especially when you want to start printing on canvasses which you intend on framing. You will also enhance your understanding of light with indoor work.
 

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