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Old May 12, 2011, 6:49 PM   #1
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Default Help..which to choose...close up diopters or extension tubes or Raynox or others


I am new to macro photography and I have a read dozens of threads and articles about it.

I came upon this:

I have a 550D body and an 18-135 IS kit lens. I can not buy a dedicated macro lens right now so I want to maximize the use of my 18-135 IS kit lens.

Which is the best option:
1--use macro close up lenses/diopters?
which ones? what brand? what "+"?

2--use extension tubes? like this: http://cgi.ebay.com/...acro-Canon-ex...-/170476832818

3--use reversing ring?

4--use Raynox?

I would first start doing inanimate objects e.g. coins, jewels, bolts etc. then flowers, then eventually move on to caterpillars, spiders maybe and of course those flying insects e.g. flies, dragonflies, bugs, bees.

Again I would like to maximize the use of my 18-135 kit lens.

Should I also use a ring flash?
or just an ordinary hot shoe flash?

Any advise?

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Old May 13, 2011, 7:18 AM   #2
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G'day AFL

Of your choices [above] extension tubes will give you the most options ... although the tubes you link to with eBay are old film camera tubes which will not work with your electronic digital camera - unless you want to work in 100% manual mode

A "half-decent" set of fully compatible ext'n tubes will set you back about $250

For the moment - cost wise I suggest you consider
a) buying a good-quality {hoya, cokin etc} "+3 dioptre close-up lens" for about $40-50 to screw onto the front of the main lens. This close-up lens will force the focus to 1/3 metre or 13inches, and you will still have all the zoom lens operations

b) for a bit more money, consider one of the Raynox lenses - they are 2-element lenses, therefore have better edge sharpness & less colour aberrations

c) the extension tubes work by moving the whole lens further away from the focal plane, thus causing the lens-focus distance to become closer & closer. The problem with extension tubes AND a zoom lens, is that as soon as you zoom, the percentage of extension mm's vs the mm's of the lens alters, and so does the focus ... so you need lots of practice to get it right

A single close-up lens at this stage seems like your best-bet ... and I really do suggest you spend a few extra $$ to get a well-known brand rather than a cheap one via eBay [no offence to the eBay people]. I have tried the 'cheapies' and they're fuzzy and the colours go funny too

Hope this helps
Regards, Phil
Has Lumix mirrorless & superzoom cameras and loves their amazing capabilities
Spends 8-9 months each year travelling Australia
Recent images at http://www.flickr.com/photos/ozzie_traveller/sets/
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Old May 22, 2011, 8:38 PM   #3
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AFL - I am also new to macro photography, but I picked up an immaculate Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM for $300 on Craigslist. I routinely see them for $400. It would seem to me that you would almost be spending that much on attachments/adapters that you mention by the time you get what you need. While I am a complete novice right now, I can already tell that the lens is excellent and was a very good choice for me as an intro into macro photography. Plus, many also use this lens as a portrait lens as well, something you could use for years to come without regrets.
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