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Old Nov 9, 2007, 12:49 PM   #11
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NHL wrote:
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harana wrote:
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Awesome pictures! Two drawbacks for Sigma 150mm f/2.8 EX macro are too much money and weight. I am looking for a lighter lens which i can carry and use all day. Sigma 105mm macro has 12.3 in. min focus. That sounds like a good working distance to me. Canon 100mm macro say only 6 in. min focus distance. But I read that Sigma extends near close focus???
Well there are some practical things you may want consider before giving up on a longer macro (and why they cost more):

1. How are you going to light the subject at such a close distance?
-> Adding a macro-flash to the front will negate the weight (and $) advantage of the 100mm especially on the Canon which is only about 200g less... than the Sigma

2. If you have to get that close, such a stand-off distance will scare the critter from running/flying away, so you would get to take the shot in the 1st place.
Very good points indeed. Now would you please help me understand this because i can't find that information even after trying very hard:

1. What is the closest focusing distance measured from the front of the lens for Sigma 150mm, Sigma 105mm and Canon 100mm macro lenses?

2. How do you light the subject at such a close distance?

3. Due you always use tripod for these pictures?
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Old Nov 9, 2007, 1:26 PM   #12
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JohnG wrote:
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Just trying to educate myself.

Why are macro lenses 2.8 - just for increased focus ability? I mean do you ever actually use an aperture of 2.8 for a macro shot (with a true macro lens )?
Good question... never thought about it myself, but I guess you're probably right since one really needs a bright viewfinder in order to fine focus manually. In the older days of SLR a darker viewfinder will mostly blank out 1/2 of the split-screen especially indoor. Considering a 70-200 f/2.8 is 1.38kg, the 105mm f/2.8 macro is quite light in comparison @ 0.895kg
I guess Canon did try to save weight by slowing down the 180mm L 2/3 of a stop to f/3.5 but it's still over a kilo!




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Also, NHL, do you use a macro flash or something else for the bug work (excellent spider shot by the way)? Do you use manual settings or TTL?
IMO flash is essential to macro photography unless you want to use a tripod since one needs to close the lens down quite a lot to maximize the DOF. My camera is usually set to manual but the flash remains on automatic E-TTL so I can control the amount of fill.
To decrease the flash harshness at close quarter I also use the built-in diffuser but this tend to decrease the GN signicantly -> Try to get the most powerful flash that you can as sometime you have to overcome the daylight for your fill

The 100-400L with flash:


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Old Nov 9, 2007, 1:32 PM   #13
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the working distance will be between20cms for 150mm to around 15 for the 100mm

Another point to be noted is the 150mm makes a light weight 300mm with a 2X converter(u will loose af with 2x while it retains AF with a 1.4x) ..thats 300mm F4 lens.

And i am sure NHL used the normal flash in M mode (camera) and mostly auto mode in the flash..this gives a lot of room to control the flash for sure..atleast for macro....

Another way i found to light macro was to use a remote flash...cheap remote transmitters for 15 bucks and i hand hold the flash and point it at the subject or bounce from walls the way i want depending on the subject...i almost always get good results without mounting the flash

The 580ex II can be used as remote flash without any external devices..

unlike Nikon, Canon wanted to use a transmitter for all flashes except the 580 EX II..


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Old Nov 9, 2007, 3:21 PM   #14
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harana wrote:
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1. What is the closest focusing distance measured from the front of the lens for Sigma 150mm, Sigma 105mm and Canon 100mm macro lenses?
nymphetamine is correct: I don't so much think how important the closest focusing distance is (normally defined as the distance to which a 1:1 ratio is obtained) as much as but how far away one can be away from the subject for the same magnification. A 50mm macro will get you the closest to the lens while a 180mm will be the farthest for the same image size. The 100mm and the 150mm fall in betwen...



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2. How do you light the subject at such a close distance?
The photos posted were taken with the Sigma EF-500DG Super mounted on a 10D - This was a long time ago before any 580EX was available...
-> If the lens get any closer it will cast a shadow over the subject hence one may need to get the flash (or flashes) off the camera to get around the side of the lens



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3. Due you always use tripod for these pictures?
All handheld - That's the beauty with flash no tripod (nor IS) is required
The flash pulse is so short (@ thousands of a sec.) it will freeze anything...
-> As a bonus you also get better saturation and contrast even when backlit by a strong sun like the above picture of the dragonfly
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Old Nov 9, 2007, 6:20 PM   #15
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NHL wrote:
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2. How do you light the subject at such a close distance?
The photos posted were taken with the Sigma EF-500DG Super mounted on a 10D - This was a long time ago before any 580EX was available...
-> If the lens get any closer it will cast a shadow over the subject hence one may need to get the flash (or flashes) off the camera to get around the side of the lens
nymphetamineand NHL, Thank you both for good advice and great pictures!

I am still not sure about the lighting part. Off-camera flash will be hard to set up with one hand and taking pictures with other unless it is on a bracket (more weight). If a flower or bug is really small it will be hard to do it with regular flash because you would have to get really close to get a good size picture. Any suggestions?
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Old Nov 9, 2007, 9:24 PM   #16
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u will get used to setting up the flash...in fact the off camera flash is easy to set up..most of the time i keep it in my pocket......

other times on rocks, tree branches, trouser pockets and what not.....the best thing i have found is using the flash remotely....its much easier to light a scene



the one here was taken with the flash outside a banana leaf and sigma 150mm macro....the flash was held in hand while prefocussed camera was just focussed on the leaf..thats the inside of the leaf
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Old Nov 10, 2007, 1:33 AM   #17
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I owned the Canon 100mm USM Macro, the Sigma 105mm Macro, and the Sigma 150mm macro. I also extensively tested out the Tamron 90mm Macro, Tokina 100mm Macro, and the Vivitar/Phoenix 105mm f/3.5 Macro as well. The 50's just were not long enough and whilst I fell in love with the 180mm Sigma macro it was just too much $$$.

But in the end I snagged up the 150mm Sigma and never thought twice about it! The Canon just wasn't worth the extra $$$ over the Sigma 105mm and the 105mm just did not give me the working distance nor focusing speed I desired (AF for other uses then macro) so I ended up with the 150mm Sigma. It honestly is, hands down, the best Macro lens out there when you take all things into consideration!

I do have to add that the Phoenix 105mm Macro lens actually performed most excellent!! I was amazed, shocked is more like the word, on how great the optics are!! BUT, and a big BUT too, the build quality is kind like a toy, sadly. But the lens would hold up fine and be fine for in studio work, but not sure how well it would last in the field.

But anyways, here would be my list from best to last.
1. Sigma 180mm f/3.5 EX DH HSM Macro
2. Sigma 150mm f/2.8 EX DG HSM Macro
3. Tokina 100mm f/2.8 AT-X Macro or Sigma 70mm f/2.8 EX Macro or Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro or Tamron 90mm Macro
4. Vivitar/Phoenix 105mm f/2.5 Macro (but only for studio/product shot usage and very light outdoors use).

The Sigma 150mm also works great with a 1.4x TC or 2X TC stacked for extra mag. and focal range as well as a 1.4x TC + Ext. Tubes for greater then 1:1 ratios.

As for light.. I use reflectors and natural light preferably. If not then I use a Stroboframe Flash bracket with an adjustable flash mount and have it bent forward then curved with the flash mount, and of course diffused. Another choice is a ring light or ring flash unit. Or you could even snag the Bogen / Manfrotto 3278B Macro Flash Bracket for like ~$50us.

As for hand held shooting of macros, it can be done, even with the 150/180mm lenses with proper technique and enough light, but tripod, monopod, shoulder/chest pod is highly recommended.

I also use a macro focusing rail, it makes it easier to set what ratio mag. you want and then use the macro rail to focus instead of your lens. Comes in very handy!



If you really want to get close up and take macro photography seriously, then forget about these kids toy lenses and get a bellows system!!! You can get anywhere from 1x all the way to 16x depending on what bellows you get. I took these two shots using a macro bellows. The first shot is a grain of table salt:


And this one shows you the examples of the amount of mag.

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Old Nov 10, 2007, 6:35 AM   #18
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harana wrote:
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I am still not sure about the lighting part. Off-camera flash will be hard to set up with one hand and taking pictures with other unless it is on a bracket (more weight). If a flower or bug is really small it will be hard to do it with regular flash because you would have to get really close to get a good size picture. Any suggestions?
That's why I suggest to get a longer macro so that you don't have to get that close. For my kind of shots I never have to take the flash off the camera. I only found a 2nd flash to be useful to cancel out the shadow of the 1st unit, which can be done quite easily with the Canon wireless systems: http://forums.steves-digicams.com/fo...amp;forum_id=7

The 1st flash unit on the camera is always the Master, while the the second one (or more slaves) can be placed on it's (their) own foot anywhere close by, the ground for example (since the on camera flash is coming from the top).
-> No connecting cables are required since they all work in automatic E-TTL wirelessly:
http://eosseries.ifrance.com/eosseri...ork_ssfil.html



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Old Nov 11, 2007, 11:44 PM   #19
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digitaldevo, NHL and nymphetamine, Thanks for sharing your knowledge with me. I think i am getting the confidence to make my move...:-)

For the off camera flash do you use the flash cable to connet the flash or you have some kind of bracket? If wireless then how do you trigger it? Canon wireless kit is expensive...

Are there any inexpensive wireless triggers for 30D?
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Old Nov 11, 2007, 11:52 PM   #20
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I use a Stroboframe with adjustable flash socket added and an off shoe cord. When I used it on my 20D, I used Canon's Off Shoe Cord 2.
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