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Old Jan 7, 2009, 8:56 AM   #1
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Hi

Following recommendations on the What Camera Should I Buy? forum, I plumped for an A200, a few months ago.

Since then, I've been toying with the idea of getting a macro lens.

I want to use it as a 'portrait' or prime lens, as well as a Macro, if possible.

Macro shots are likely to only be of watches (my main hobby), so AF speed isn't an issue to me, as they haven't run away yet.

I'd been considering a second-hand Minolta 50mm f2.8 Macro, but have returned from Gibralta, where I can pick up a new Sigma 50mm f2.8 Macro for under £170.00 (I know a few 'locals' who think they can drive them down to £150.00 or less).

Is that a good deal, compared to £150.00-odd for a decent second hand Minolta 50mm?

A new Sony 50mm f2.8 is out of my budget at the moment, and I couldn't find any Sony-branded lenses at all on Main Street on Gib.

Also, am I on the right track with a 50mm, or should I look to go for a longer lens, like the 70mm Sigma or 90mm Tamron?

I don't have a ring or macro flash setup (yet), so will be using the on-board flash, or halogen desk lamps. I've read that the longer lenses (especially the 90mm lenses) cast a lens shadow when used with the on-board flash? Do they have a real-world advantage over a 50mm lens that outweighs this disadvantage?


Cheers

Andy
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Old Jan 7, 2009, 1:23 PM   #2
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I'd say that, for something as small as a watch, you'd want a longer lens, probably something like a Sigma 105mm or maybe even longer. The 50mm and even the 70mm might work for pocket watches, but for wrist watches, you'll lprobably have to get so close that even that small lens will block the light from the on-board flash. Have you tried it yet?

I would suggest multipledesk laps and use a custom white balance, in which case the lens blocking the flash won't be an issue.
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Old Jan 8, 2009, 4:16 AM   #3
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Thanks for the advice.

Due to the limitations of my budget at the moment, I need the lens to do dual service as a 'prime' lens for general use.

Will a longer lens noticeably reduce the field of view with a DSLR, given the relatively small sensor size?

I'm undecided at the moment, so your experience is very much appreciated.

Thanks

Andy
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Old Jan 8, 2009, 8:07 AM   #4
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There are different ways to do macro, only one of which is to use a macro lens. If you've got a particularly sharp lens (the kit lens does not fall into this category) extension tubes can give partucularly good results.

An advantage that macro lenses have is that they can focus to infinity soon after focusing on something quite close. If you use an extention tube or two with a non-macro lens, focusing on something further away requires removin the extention tube(s). But it seems what you want to do will be in a controlled environment, so that won't be much of an issue.

Here are some examples of what's possible with a conventional lens and extension tubes (handheld)(please excuse any motion blur):

50mm f/1.7 with a 12mm extension tube:



50mm f/1.7 with a 25mm extension tube:



70-210mm f/4.0 @ 70mm with 12mm extension tube:



70-210mm f/4.0 @ 70mm with 25mm extension tube:



Since what you'll be shooting will be (presumeably) against a backdrop of some sort, the angle of view isn't important for composition, but it will affect how close the camera will need to be, so I figured that a longer focal length will get you further away to allow for more light.

But a 50/1.7 with an extension tube might be able to serve your purpose and cost less than the 50/2.8 you're looking at. But a longer lens might be a better idea anyway. Here's the 70-210/4 at 210mm without an extension tube:



The Beercan is a fine lens for a number of purposes, it includes a useable macro capability, and I beleive its cost is in line with the other options you're considering.
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Old Mar 13, 2009, 11:12 AM   #5
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good morning from kansas, being new to macro please allow for my ingnorance , how do you use these tubes and the lens, how do you setup for a shot like the rulers are thier ant donot brake rules that apply to this method

thank you ymmas
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Old Mar 13, 2009, 12:32 PM   #6
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Extension tubes fit between the camera and the lens. They affect the angle of view as well as the focusing distance. You need a particularly sharp lens for use with extensiontubes because they will, in effect, magnify any flaws in the lens. And because they alter the angle of view, the sensor shift image stabilization will not correctly compensate for camera shake, so you should use a tripod or other similar devide to suppor the camera.

But other than that, they're an inexpensive way to get started in macrophotography.
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Old Mar 13, 2009, 2:20 PM   #7
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would a minolta 50 mm 1:1.7 prime work i have one newin the box ive never usedbe ok to start this

sam
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Old Mar 13, 2009, 4:03 PM   #8
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sbd wrote:
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would a minolta 50 mm 1:1.7 prime work i have one newin the box ive never usedbe ok to start this
Absolutely. The first two "ruler" photos in my earlier post were shot with a 50/1.7 and extension tubes. (Handheld, btw.)
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Old Mar 13, 2009, 7:30 PM   #9
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Id'e say to save up a little money and get the Tamron 90. It's by far the best price to quality true macro made.

You can pick them up for about $350.
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