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Old Friday 12th May 2017, 20:34   #1
Jhanlon
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Going macro - options???

I've been photographing plenty of insects over the years and have always found the macro facility on various compact cameras pretty good. My iPhone also goes in very close (a clip-on I haven't tried much yet takes it even closer) but the phone has a rather small sensor. Now I'd like to improve the quality of these shots.

So I've been considering a macro lens. I'm not sure I want to shell out a few hundred quid for one when there seems to be some cheap alternatives to use in conjunction with my existing equipment (Canon 7D Mki with 100-400mm zoom & also 40mm pancake lens that I've started using for digiscoping.). The zoom lens BTW has a close focus of 1.8m.

I've heard of macro filters & extension tubes but know little about them. Are they any good (which ones?) and would they work OK with my gear? Any other cheap accessories worth considering with my current set up?

Thanks for any help you can give
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Old Sunday 14th May 2017, 09:35   #2
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Surprised no reply on this, just giving it a bump.
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Old Monday 15th May 2017, 07:21   #3
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Close-up filters are relatively inexpensive (though I would have my doubts about the quality of the really cheap sets) and easy to use. They come in different strengths each offering a different focussing range. All the normal camera functions are maintained.
Extension tubes don’t add a bit of cheap glass to the optical path but reduce the amount of light reaching the sensor thereby reducing the effective aperture. If you wish to retain the auto features of your lens you will need more expensive tubes.
Whichever you use you will not be able to focus at the infinity end of the scale when they are attached.
I don’t know anything about your 100-400 lens, so perhaps a user can say whether the IQ will still be acceptable with either solution.
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Old Monday 15th May 2017, 07:34   #4
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The issue with the 100-400 (I have the same lens) is that the minimum focusing distance is just too great for macro. I'm pretty sure extension tubes will bring it down, but it's just too big and heavy for good stability.

I've also been researching a lens for macro, and from reviews I've read, the Tokina 100mm f/2.8 at-x has a good reputation, and isn't that expensive.
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Old Monday 15th May 2017, 07:55   #5
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Tamron 90mm f2.8,or the sigma 105mm f2.8 are good lenses.

Cheers.

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Old Monday 15th May 2017, 11:34   #6
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Thanks for these replies. I'm not keen enough yet to shell out for any of those lenses as they seem to be around £300-500 when I think there are cheaper accessories that might work with one of the lenses I have (of course I may graduate to these in the future, but want to try other options first).

So the options for me are still filter/ tubes or what about something like a 1.4x tc on the 40mm? Keen to hear from anyone who has tried these accessories/ combinations.
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Old Monday 15th May 2017, 17:30   #7
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You could have a look for a secondhand older none VC Tamron 90mm 2.8 , may be able to get one for about £150 or so.
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Old Monday 15th May 2017, 19:58   #8
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You could have a look for a secondhand older none VC Tamron 90mm 2.8 , may be able to get one for about £150 or so.
I'd sell you mine for that. Or go on Ebay. It's a good budget option. I rarely use mine since I splashed out on a Sigma 150 OS macro.
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Old Tuesday 16th May 2017, 11:56   #9
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OK cheers, will have a think about it. Doesn't seem to be much support for the cheaper add-ons like the filters, then.

I've always been reluctant since I borrowed one from a BF member to photograph a baby newt and realised the pics were not much better than my own (taken with a basic compact). 'Who needs macro?' he laughed when we compared the shots!
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Old Wednesday 17th May 2017, 19:55   #10
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OK cheers, will have a think about it. Doesn't seem to be much support for the cheaper add-ons like the filters, then.

I've always been reluctant since I borrowed one from a BF member to photograph a baby newt and realised the pics were not much better than my own (taken with a basic compact). 'Who needs macro?' he laughed when we compared the shots!
Personally James, I'd definitely skip the filters. Splash the cash on the mark ii Canon and you hardly need a macro lens! Only the cost of a few of island twitches. ;-)

For cheaper options many superzooms, such as the HS50, make excellent macro cameras, and are great for when you can't be bothered to lug the the SLR about. So, although a few hundred quid, they would have a birding use too. Otherwise the Tamron is a great budget buy second hand. You're welcome to have a go with mine if you fancy a trip across the county border.

I've just splashed out £250 on a macro flash so I'll be out taking macro shots this weekend, rare birds allowing.
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Old Monday 22nd May 2017, 16:23   #11
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Personally James, I'd definitely skip the filters. Splash the cash on the mark ii Canon and you hardly need a macro lens! Only the cost of a few of island twitches. ;-)

For cheaper options many superzooms, such as the HS50, make excellent macro cameras, and are great for when you can't be bothered to lug the the SLR about. So, although a few hundred quid, they would have a birding use too. Otherwise the Tamron is a great budget buy second hand. You're welcome to have a go with mine if you fancy a trip across the county border.

I've just splashed out £250 on a macro flash so I'll be out taking macro shots this weekend, rare birds allowing.


Thanks Steve, will have a think about that. Superzoom may be the way to go as I don't want to lug about extra kit. I have an old SX50 which surprisingly I haven't tried for anything close-up. I guess I should fully test what I have first!

Perhaps one day there will be a good all-in-one camera, a superzoom with 8x mag, small enough to fit in a coat pocket that offers image quality approaching that of a DSLR and a good macro facility to boot. We can dream...
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Old Tuesday 23rd May 2017, 18:23   #12
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Thanks Steve, will have a think about that. Superzoom may be the way to go as I don't want to lug about extra kit. I have an old SX50 which surprisingly I haven't tried for anything close-up. I guess I should fully test what I have first!

Perhaps one day there will be a good all-in-one camera, a superzoom with 8x mag, small enough to fit in a coat pocket that offers image quality approaching that of a DSLR and a good macro facility to boot. We can dream...
Definitely try it for close ups. When set to macro it can focus extremely close, when zoomed out, and it has some advantages over a 7D in that the screen can be flipped out which avoids the contortions sometimes necessary for macro shots. In good light it is very nearly as good as an SLR. The internal flash works as a reasonable macro flash in poorer light.
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Old Wednesday 24th May 2017, 01:58   #13
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Another option is the Oly TG-4 (or the new TG-5) with 'in camera' focus stacking and a 1 cm closest focussing distance. Options of led light guide ring illumination or flash light guide ring illumination using simple adaptors. (Early reviewers only had the LED unit.)

This review carries on down the page a long way and links into three further parts: a two part field test and a conclusion.

http://www.imaging-resource.com/PROD...mpus-tg-4A.HTM

I can do much the same thing with my E-M1 and 60mm macro lens, however with the TG-5 on the way, the TG-4 is available for less than the 60mm lens on its own.

It won't suit everyone, but it is certainly an option.

The fixed screen is not ideal, but the other attributes make up for it. Using the light guides is easy as long as you locate all the menu items required to make them work.

Like all Olympus cameras you can configure it to swing upside down from its perch, hanging by one claw while whistling Dixie, but this flexibility comes at a price, fortunately not monetary in this case.

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