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Old May 19, 2010, 12:59 AM   #1
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Default Macro lenses for Sony A300?

Hi,

I own a Sony A300 with 18-70mm and 55-200mm lenses. I consider my skill level to be between an amateur and average. I take close up shots with my telephoto lens but of course it can't take extreme close ups. So I'm at a point where I want to explore macro photography. I mostly will be taking close up shots of inanimate objects like flowers, etc and sometimes insects. I don't want to invest a lot of money on a lens before knowing what I really want. To help me with this, I need help with a few questions. And here are a few lenses I looked at:

1) Opteka 67mm 10x HD² Professional Macro Lens and Opteka 55mm 10x HD² Professional Macro Lens

a) I see that both lenses say 10x HD2 and can get as close to 4 inches to the subject. So what does the 67mm and 55mm mean to me?
b) Why are they much cheaper than standard macro lenses? That is, what can they not do when compared to standard ones?
c) Do they reduce the image quality?
d) Do they work with auto focus?
e) Will they work with the lenses I currently have?

2) Sakar 52mm Close-Up Filter Set (+1 +2 +4 Diopters)Magnification Kit

a) These are the cheapest I've seen. How are they better or worse than option 1?
b) Same questions as asked in option 1

3) Sony SAL30M28 30mm f/2.8 Lens

a) Has 1:1 magnification ratio with 2cm minimum focusing distance. It seems like a good buy. What are your thoughts?

4) Sigma 28-80mm F3.5-5.6 Aspherical-Macro Lens
a) This is way cheaper than option 3. Review says that the AF is slow. Also the Minimum focal length is slightly larger than option 3 at 28 mm. I think this is a better bang for the buck. What do you think?

5) Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG APO Macro Telephoto Zoom
a) Although this is the most expensive, the lens has telephoto zoom (good increment to my 200mm lens) as well as the capability to take macro photos (maximum magnification 1:2 at the focal length of 300 millimeters). So what am I losing by getting a lens with tele-macro functionality rather than a dedicated macro lens?

6) Extension Tubes
a) How do these compare? They seem to be pretty pricey.

Thanks for your help,
Nevine

Last edited by nevjac; May 19, 2010 at 1:08 AM.
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Old May 19, 2010, 1:10 AM   #2
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I think you will want a true 1:1 macro, 1:2 will not give you the large magnification for true macro photography. I would look at the sigma 105 macro or the tamron 90, as they will give you good working space.

I have used 50mm macros and you can end up shadowing your own shot. And you will need to add light with macro rings or flash. A 90 or 105 will give you more flexibility then a 30mm.

If the 90 or 105 is out of your budget i would look at the sigma 50mm 2.8. It will give you better working distance then the 30mm.

If you get the 1:2 macro zoom lenses you may want to consider extension tubes to give you 1:1 macro.
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Last edited by shoturtle; May 19, 2010 at 1:13 AM.
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Old May 19, 2010, 1:18 AM   #3
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If you want marco like this, you will want a true 1:1 lens

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/cl...most-open.html

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/ol...5mm-3-5-a.html
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Old May 19, 2010, 1:32 AM   #4
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If you go with a zoom lens, these extension tube will give you 1:1 or better if you stack them.

http://www.amazon.com/Kenko-Auto-Tub...7&sr=8-1-fkmr2
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Old May 19, 2010, 7:11 AM   #5
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There are three ways to do macrophotography:
  • Close-up lenses - (Your #1 & #2.) These attach to the filter mounting threads on the end of a lens you already have. They decrease the minimum focusing distance of a lens, but also greatly decrease the maximum focusing distance, so if you want to switch from macro to conventional, you need to remove the close-up lens(es), but that's not tough. They magnify the subject, but also magnify any flaws in the lens, plus they introduce some of their own. This method will give you the least good results, but are the least expensive.
  • Extension tubes - (Your #6.)These attach between the camera body and a lens you already have. They greatly decrease the minimum focusing distance of a lens, but also greatly decrease the maximum focusing distance, so if you want to switch from macro to conventional, you need to remove the tube(s) which is cumbersome. They magnify the subject, but also magnify any flaws in the lens, but since they don't contain any optics, they don't introduce their own flaws. These produce excellent results if you use them with a good lens; your 18-70 doesn't qualify, but your 55-200 should be ok.
  • Macro lens - (Your #3, and your #4 & #5, sort of.) A macro lens replaces the lens(es) you have on your camera body, and has very short minimum focusing distance though it can still focus to infinity, so can also work for conventional photography. Macro lenses like the Sony 30mm f/2.8 are very sharp and will produce excellent images, but you need to select a lens appropriate for your subject. 30mm is short. That makes it good for inanimate subjects in conteolled lighting, but you'll get so close you'll probably frighten animate subjects, and you'll probably block your oen light much of the time.
    The other lenses you mentioned are "Macro" lenses, in that they can focus closer than conventional lenses, but they aren't capable of getting really close. Plus their image quality isn't great.
In your situation, I'd try extension tubes on the 55-200. Used extension tubes can be found at reasonable prices. I got 12.5mm and a 25mm extension tubes at very reasonable prices on eBay, and KEH.com currently has a 25mm tube for $35 and a set of three for $99.

As for lenses, I think the Sony 30/2.8 is too short to do what you want, and I'd skip the other lenses you mentioned and look at the Tamron 70-300 Di LD. The Sigma 28-80 isn't very good, and the Sigma 70-300 APO has a history of failed AF gears when the lens is mounted on a Sony body.
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Old May 19, 2010, 12:13 PM   #6
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If you want metering and full aperture control. You will need to find one like the kenko that has the contacts for the lens. The tube without the contact are not easy to work with as the sony lens do not have a aperture ring.
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Old May 19, 2010, 2:10 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shoturtle View Post
If you want metering and full aperture control. You will need to find one like the kenko that has the contacts for the lens. The tube without the contact are not easy to work with as the sony lens do not have a aperture ring.
Yes. Those extension tube sets sell for about $10, and htey're junk. Asside from the fact that they don't support AF, AE, or the EXIF data, so you must shoot in M (Manual) Mode, they also frequently have light leaks. The Kenko ones are good; they look just like the Kenko teleconverters, except they don't have any optics. And like the teleconverters, they are also sold under a variety of brand names.
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Old May 19, 2010, 2:33 PM   #8
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TCav,

No the kenko are good tubes with AF ability and everything, They sell for 170 dollars, Thing you are confusing them with the pro optic.

http://www.amazon.com/Kenko-Auto-Tub.../dp/B000KZ7A6W
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Old May 19, 2010, 5:06 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shoturtle View Post
TCav,

No the kenko are good tubes with AF ability and everything, They sell for 170 dollars, Thing you are confusing them with the pro optic.

http://www.amazon.com/Kenko-Auto-Tub.../dp/B000KZ7A6W
Read what I wrote again.
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Old May 19, 2010, 5:09 PM   #10
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I know, but it read funny, as it really had nothing to do with my post that clearly stated kenko. quoting me made it sound like there where low end kenko form the way I read it. That is all.
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