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Old Sep 28, 2003, 7:38 AM   #1
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Default Macros with 300D? Help needed

Hello!

I am an artist who is ready to take the plunge into a DSLR. I need macro capabilities, and I was reviewing the Canon literature.

The Rebel manual states that an EOS dedicated macro lens and macro ring light are recommended.

So, with a little research, I found the EF 50 m f/2.5 macro lens for $250 and the EF 100 mm f/28 MAcro USM for $470. Also, the MR-14ex ring lite for $449, while the twin set-up is $649.

Well, for a poor artist, thats lots of bucks! Am I better off with a different camera/setup? If I have the $ to buy only one macro lens, which one can you advise? Is the twin ring lite worth the extra cost? By the way, do I REALLY need it, what's wrong with the regular flash?

Final question: If I spend so much $$ on lenses and lights, shouldn't I save up and buy a better Canon DSLR body?

Thanks for your advice!

Mike M
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Old Sep 28, 2003, 8:02 AM   #2
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Well being a poor artist and needing good production tools often leads to creative experiments to find an alternative less expensive ways....;-)

First let me point to the fact teh EF 50 macro is 0.5 x enlargement, you might want 1x or better and more costly.

As budget saver I tried macro filters & home made lense set-up; In both cases the DOF becomes really critical narrow and edges fuzzy. With a bit of right framing you can survive this problem.

Macrorings are also known to be an aternative for the expensive macro lense, no experience with such here.

The ring light flash makes me wonder what kind of person would need such... Yes it is very good and handy to light up a closeby subject evenly with out dark cast of lense. Artistic this is the most boring light situation to come up with....You can do better.

There exists a Canon 28-135mm IS lenses with macro end, doesn't give super macro but it allows to get close.
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Old Sep 28, 2003, 8:10 AM   #3
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The lighting is independent from the camera! Depending on how creative you can be (or not), it'll be the same with any camera... Actually the above suggestion is quite good, it reminds me of the macro with the D7i/Hi where you can get macro @ both the wide angle or the tele, but in the tele position you'll get more flexibility in the lighting since the lens does not have to be as close as to cast a shadow above the subject!
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Old Sep 28, 2003, 9:40 AM   #4
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Another thing to consider are extention tubes. They reduce the close focusing distance of a lens. Not the same as a real macro, they can still help take that 28-135 (or whatever lens) and allow it to get quite close for something similar to a macro. I know they are on my list of future purchases.

And they are really cheap (compared to real lenses.)

Eric
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Old Sep 28, 2003, 11:17 AM   #5
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Thanks Eric. Can you help me a bit further, I'm a bit confused. Are extension tubes the same as macro rings (placed on the mount side of lense)?

Would these 'things' allow a 1cm wide scene if original lense can create a 20 cm wide scene?
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Old Sep 28, 2003, 2:55 PM   #6
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If you are doing macro photography of things that don't move, you can, in theory, get by without a flash. I don't want to invest $500 in a macro flash, so I've been experimenting with other light sources. Most of the macro photography I've done so far is documenting seeds to use as reference for identification. I find that I want a combination of good uniform lighting plus a directional source to bring out the 3-dimentional qualities of the subject. For a uniform light source, I recently bought a 5 inch lighted magnifier at Office Depot and removed the lens. I use a small spot light for a directoinal source. Here is a picture of the set up.

I had to swing the camera out at an odd angle to get it to clear the rim of the light. A different tripod head might work better.
The main problem with the setup is that the uniform light source is a very cool fluorescent light and the spot light is a warm halogen light, so I get warm highlights and cool shadows. Here is an example of a picture taken with it.

Seed of Iris collettii with a mm scale. Cannon D60, Promaster 100mm macro lens, F22, 1/13 sec, ISO 400, manual white balance, 100% crop.
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Old Sep 28, 2003, 3:15 PM   #7
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An extention tube is hollow tube added between the lens and the camera body. It shortens the closest focusing distance of a lens, but it prevents focusing at the longer end (infinity.) They are a very cheap way of allowing a lens to focus very close. If you have a telephoto, when you then bring in the close focusing distance you can get full sensor pictures of things with a lens which would normally not allow that.

How far do they bring things in? Can they substitute for a macro lens? I don't know, and probably not. If you really want true macro.... picture of an ant, or a really small spider... no, I doubt it would work. But if you were taking the picture of a coin or a small antique toy.... I bet that would work.

Eric
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Old Sep 28, 2003, 4:07 PM   #8
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Quote:
Well, for a poor artist, thats lots of bucks! Am I better off with a different camera/setup? If I have the $ to buy only one macro lens, which one can you advise? Is the twin ring lite worth the extra cost? By the way, do I REALLY need it, what's wrong with the regular flash?
A couple observations: You need the ring flash or ring light simply because at super close macro distances the "snout" of the lens will obscure the flash and you end up with strong shadows which will wreck the shot.

My suggestion would be the 100mm F2.8 Canon macro. It's an excellent all around macro lens which will let you get very close if you need to and will give excellent results. A more expensive or better camera body will not make getting your macro shots any easier. Whether or not to go for a different camera body is another issue altogether from the macro lens and flash question.

Here is a shot I took with my 10D and 100mm macro lens in natural sunlight. To get the same quality without the ideal lighting would have required a ring flash or ring light or a couple widely spaced strobes on stalks. Below the image is a link to the full sized shot if you have the bandwidth to look.

Lin



http://www.lin-evans.com/photos/bigmoney.jpg
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Old Sep 28, 2003, 9:15 PM   #9
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Thanks to all, you have helped-a lot!

However, can someone advise me re the setup of 1 ringlite or the twin? Is it worth the extra $200?

Mike M
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Old Sep 29, 2003, 11:32 PM   #10
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Hi mike
I'm a beginner and just bought a digital rebel. its my first reflex camera ever so don't take my opinion too seriously! I think that if you don't need really close macro shots, you can just stick with the 18-55mm lens. I used it to take these shots. the spyder was maybe 1,5 cm long, and the flower maybe 5. I'm no specialist but i think they are not too bad.. so if you don't need really close macros, it should do the job..

Y. Benjamin

sorry for my english, i'm a french canadian!

http://homepage.mac.com/yvonbenjamin/PhotoAlbum2.html
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