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Old Jan 31, 2006, 5:59 AM   #1
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Hi,

I've just bought a 5D :G, with the two lens kit (aparrently Aussie suppliers aren't selling body alone, only with kit lens or two kit lenses - 18-70 and 75-300). I also ordered the 50mm f1.7 lens, based on advice I've had and also seen here.

But the missing piece for my new kit is a decent lens for macro. I want to take close-up shots of plants, bugs etc, but I'm confused by the options (first timer with SLR, so be gentle).

I've been looking for reviews of the different options, but only found patchy information - any advice would be welcome...


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Old Jan 31, 2006, 9:28 AM   #2
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out of production but available used

maxxum35-70mm f4 macro

'best in class'
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Old Jan 31, 2006, 9:37 AM   #3
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Macro lenses are rated by their magnification.

A 1:1 (a.k.a., Life size or 1x) Macro lens allows you to fill the frame with a subject the size of your film/sensor. This is the most desirable for smaller subjects. A1:2 (Half Size or 0.5x ) rating means that it can fill the frame with a subject twice the size of the sensor. A 1:4 (0.25x) rating means that it can fill the frame with a subject 4 times the size of the film or sensor.

Most of the zoom lenses with "Macro" in their description are in the 1:4 category and are not considered to be "true" macro lenses by some users. For example, I recently acquired an inexpensive Minolta35-70mm f/4 Macro lens with a 1:4 macro rating.

Your 18-70mm "kit lens" also falls into this category (1:4 Macro ability), even though it doesn't have the word "Macro" in it's description.

Consider distance to subject when buying a lens, too.IOW, it may be preferrable to shoot from further away to keep from spooking your smaller subjects (or to make it easier to compose). For example,a 100mm lens is liked better by some compared to a 50mm lens for macros.

Popular choices include the Minolta 50mm f/2.8 Macro and 100mm f/2.8 Macro (both 1:1 Macro Lenses). A rather exotic choice is the Minolta 3x-1X/1.7-2.8 Macro Lens.

See some of the options in the Macro Lens section here. You'll see a separate column for "Max Magnification" for all lenses in the list (macro rating or not):

http://www.mhohner.de/minolta/lenses.php?lang=e#macros

The Tamron 90mm f/2.8 Macro lenses are also popular choices (extremely sharp lenses). Some of the older Tamron Macro lenses require an extension tube to give you 1:1 Macro.

BTW, that's another way to get close (extension tubes). Some users take an ordinary 50mm f/1.7 and use a tube with it for closer focusing.

A budget choice would be something like the Vivitar 100mm f/3.5 Macro. You can find these at bargain prices and I've seen some sharp pics from 'em posted by owners. They are 1:2 Macro without an adapter or 1:1 Macro with an included adapter.


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Old Jan 31, 2006, 9:53 AM   #4
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The 1:1 or 1:4 figure is a function of the lenses closest focus distance at a given focal length, right? I mean the cheap 70-210/4.5-5.6 has macro in its label, but its about 1:4. If it could focus closer, that rating would change?
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Old Jan 31, 2006, 9:55 AM   #5
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Right. The rating is based on how small of a subject you can fill the frame with, at it's closest focus distance. That's also something to "watch out" for (for example, some zoom lenses with "macro" ability only allow a focus distance that gives you 1:4 Macro at their longest focal lengths).







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Old Jan 31, 2006, 11:39 AM   #6
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JimC,

You are correct re: 35-70 f4 1:4

I based the recommendation on it's sharpness (allowing for cropping) and it's price

John

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Old Jan 31, 2006, 11:48 AM   #7
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bernabeu wrote:
Quote:
JimC,

You are correct re: 35-70 f4 1:4

I based the recommendation on it's sharpness (allowing for cropping) and it's price

John
I just got one myself.

I paid a whopping $52.00 for a Maxxum 7000 including a 35-70mm f/4 Macro from KEH.com (and you can find the lens alone for less).

I really don't need yet another Maxxum 7000 body (but I'll sell 'em to reduce my lens costs to virtually nothing). This isn't the first time I've bought camera packages just for the lenses ;-)

I figured the 35-70mm f/4 would make a good "walk around" lens (small, light, and sharper than the kit lens, even though it doesn't have as much focal range). I got it in part based on your recommendation (and others have also praised it). It's a bargain for sure at current prices.


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Old Jan 31, 2006, 3:11 PM   #8
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Interestingly enough, that Minolta 35-70mm F 4.0 has become rather hard to find. So mark that down on the list of disappearing items as well.

MT
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Old Jan 31, 2006, 3:48 PM   #9
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Thanks guys, that's helpful.

I had come across the table at http://www.mhohner.de, but was not sure how to interpret it... up till now I've been using the KM Z6 point and shoot, and shooting 'macro' photos at distances as low as 1 cm, so Jim your comments were particularly helpful

cheers
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Old Jan 31, 2006, 8:32 PM   #10
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We have seen the Minolta 35-70 F 4.0 tagged as an ideal macro lens. Is there any other lens that makes it into that category? Anyone?

MT
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