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Author Topic: Macro lenses  (Read 5037 times)

bradf

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Macro lenses
« on: December 01, 2009, 02:16:15 AM »

Hello again everybody.
I'm interested in understanding a little about macro lenses.
Firstly, what is the disadvantage of a macro lens ? if I compared say 2 similarly priced and well regarded 100mm lenses (eg Canon EF f/2.8 Macro USM and the EF 100mm f2.0 USM ) then why not get the macro even if I hardly ever intend to use it as a macro ? (ie if my main intention was a telephoto).
Secondly,  what is the right size for an occasional shot of a frog, lizard , flower or birthday cake (probably not an insect or a lion :-))?
It seems that 100mm for a full frame and 60mm for an APS-C seems to be the common offerings
Thanks in anticipation again of your comments.
Cheers,
bradf
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pegelli

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Macro lenses
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2009, 04:35:54 AM »

Quote from: bradf
Firstly, what is the disadvantage of a macro lens ?

Secondly,  what is the right size for an occasional shot of a frog, lizard , flower or birthday cake

Usually macro lenses focus slower vs. their non-macro counterparts, which makes them less desired by some. Also they are usually very sharp and have good microcontrast which doesn't make them liked by all people who use the focal length to shoot portraits.

I find 100 mm on APS-C an ideal length to keep some distance from the subject while still handholding is an option.
I also used a 50 mm macro on APS-C and found I scared more small insects away by getting too close, allthough portability is better.
Still lusting for a 180 mm macro, to stay even further away.
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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Macro lenses
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2009, 11:40:26 AM »

Quote from: bradf
... Firstly, what is the disadvantage of a macro lens ? if I compared say 2 similarly priced and well regarded 100mm lenses (eg Canon EF f/2.8 Macro USM and the EF 100mm f2.0 USM ) then why not get the macro ...
Speaking in very general terms, these are possible disadvantages:

- a macro lens would be generally slower compared to its non-macro counterpart (i.e., f/2.8 vs. f/2)... the newest Tamron 60/2 for APS-C sensors would be an exception
- slower autofocus
- heavier and bulkier
- up until recently, would not have image stabilization (though fixed focal length counterparts wouldn't either... but zooms would)
- would be optimized optically for close-up and macro range, as opposed to infinity and mid-distances for non-macro counterparts
- higher cost
- even higher cost if you include divorce (try shooting your wife's portrait with a macro and then forget to soften it in post-processing and you'll see what I mean)  

PeterAit

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« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2009, 07:16:46 PM »

Quote from: bradf
Hello again everybody.
I'm interested in understanding a little about macro lenses.
Firstly, what is the disadvantage of a macro lens ? if I compared say 2 similarly priced and well regarded 100mm lenses (eg Canon EF f/2.8 Macro USM and the EF 100mm f2.0 USM ) then why not get the macro even if I hardly ever intend to use it as a macro ? (ie if my main intention was a telephoto).
Secondly,  what is the right size for an occasional shot of a frog, lizard , flower or birthday cake (probably not an insect or a lion :-))?
It seems that 100mm for a full frame and 60mm for an APS-C seems to be the common offerings
Thanks in anticipation again of your comments.
Cheers,
bradf

Macro optics are optimized for close-ups and don't perform as well at more usual shooting distances. The maximum f stop is usually smaller, too.
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Peter
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bradf

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« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2009, 04:39:06 AM »

Thanks for those replies - I understand the point you are all making.
Sounds like even with the cost of good lenses - it would be cheaper than divorce :-))
bradf
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bjanes

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« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2009, 11:11:36 AM »

Quote from: PeterAit
Macro optics are optimized for close-ups and don't perform as well at more usual shooting distances. The maximum f stop is usually smaller, too.
Macro lenses are optimized for closeups, but the newer models with floating elements also perform well at distance. I find the new Nikkor 60 mm f/2.8 AFS N to be very sharp with landscapes.
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PeterAit

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« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2009, 11:25:05 AM »

Quote from: bjanes
Macro lenses are optimized for closeups, but the newer models with floating elements also perform well at distance. I find the new Nikkor 60 mm f/2.8 AFS N to be very sharp with landscapes.


Interesting - I have found my Nikkor 60mm macro to be noticeably less sharp at middle distances (3-10 feet appx) than my Nikkor 24-70 zoom.
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Peter
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bjanes

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« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2009, 06:29:12 PM »

Quote from: PeterAit
Interesting - I have found my Nikkor 60mm macro to be noticeably less sharp at middle distances (3-10 feet appx) than my Nikkor 24-70 zoom.
Which 60 mm macro do you have? The AF Micro-Nikkor 60 mm f/2.8 (older model) or the new AFS Micro-Nikkor 60 mm f/2.8 ED G N?

See the review by Bjorn for reviews. I don't have the older 60 mm lens, but it reportedly is not as good as the newer one either closeup or at a distance.

Bill
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PeterAit

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« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2009, 08:23:22 AM »

Quote from: bjanes
Which 60 mm macro do you have? The AF Micro-Nikkor 60 mm f/2.8 (older model) or the new AFS Micro-Nikkor 60 mm f/2.8 ED G N?

See the review by Bjorn for reviews. I don't have the older 60 mm lens, but it reportedly is not as good as the newer one either closeup or at a distance.

Bill

I have the latter lens. The review you mention says that the new 60mm macro is better than the old one at distance, but it doesn't say that it is particularly good, which is what I have found. And why should it be - it's a macro lens and excellent for that use!
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bjanes

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« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2009, 09:51:52 AM »

Quote from: PeterAit
I have the latter lens. The review you mention says that the new 60mm macro is better than the old one at distance, but it doesn't say that it is particularly good, which is what I have found. And why should it be - it's a macro lens and excellent for that use!
Your comments notwithstanding, another macro lens that is great for landscapes is the Zeiss 100mm f/2.0 Makro Planar. It is used by BernardLanguillier for some of his dramatic landscapes.

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Slobodan Blagojevic

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« Reply #10 on: December 05, 2009, 01:34:06 PM »

Quote from: bjanes
... another macro lens that is great for landscapes is the Zeiss 100mm f/2.0 Makro Planar...
Definitions are often subject to debate, of course, but the Zeiss is not a true macro lens, i.e., it goes only to 1:2 magnification, or half-size, not 1:1, which makes it easier to optimize it for further distances.
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