Forget the macro lens, get a serious compact instead!

Pelao

All-Pro
Jul 11, 2010
123
Ontario, Canada
Stephen
there are definitely two opinions of macro. True macro being a 1:1 representation to real life on the sensor. Anything less is close-up photography (and the reason I sold the Fuji 60mm "macro" lens.....shame on you Fuji) and not true macro. If your friend just wants to do the occasionally flower close-up or larger insects.....any of the compacts will be good. But still I think better yet would be using some cheapo extension tubes for the Canon....at that point any lens can become a macro lens.

Here's a great resource for photomacrographers ........ www.photomacrography.net...Front Page
That's a good example. The Fuji is fine for my macro; even their 35 is reasonably good. The 60 gives me reasonable macro and a superb tele in one. But that is what I call mainstream macro, and not the 'real' thing.

I'm not really sure it's shame on Fuji though. Serious macro photographers will check the specs before purchase, and will know (and often prefer) a manual focus lens for this work.
 

Boid

All-Pro
Dec 15, 2011
123
Bangalore, India
Rajiv

Isoterica

Hall of Famer
Dec 6, 2011
123
Reverse lens macro is fun.. but not something you can do on a walk whereas I have carried the 50mm macro like a traditional nifty 50 but had the capability to do macro on the fly.. or even my 100mm has gone for walks with me. Reverse via adapter is fully manual shooting though there is a rather expensive adapter one can buy made by Novoflex [might as well get a lens instead] to couple the reversed lens with the camera. Manual is fine for many people though and reverse is a good way to see how close you want to get, but it also depends on what lenses you have to begin with as to what your results will be.

I think back to the OP's original post.. it sounds like the friend wanted advice on a lens for the camera she already owns.. not an entirely different camera. It's important to tailor a response to the buyers needs. I think I would have been very angry if someone steered me towards a compact to fulfil my macro needs, it would have been like using my 55-250 with tubes all over again. Best to ask her what she wants to accomplish, tell her to look up images taken with various lenses she's considering and she will likely come to a conclusion based on her findings :) Canon, Zeiss [manual only], Sigma and Tamron all make lenses for Canon giving a buyer a good price field. Secondary options are a reverse adapter, close-up lenses [Canon makes the best there], extension tubes and tele-converters. I know a guy that uses bellows and focusing rail too. Also, one can do really dreamy close-ups with Canon's 28mm 1.8 [I have] and I hear Sigma's 30mm 1.4 .
 

Luckypenguin

Hall of Famer
Dec 24, 2010
124
Brisbane, Australia
Nic
I don't know if this idea is all that far removed from suggesting a compact zoom camera as an alternative to any new lens for an ILC. I figure that she chose to use a larger sensor SLR camera for good reasons and may not wish to compromise from that. If it is an APS-C Canon it is possible to buy a used EFS 60mm f2.8 Macro for ~$300 or perhaps even slightly less which is a very good lens: sharp, compact, does not extend during focusing, and has ring-type USM focusing with full-time manual override. A compact camera with good close-up focusing is obviously far more flexible than a dedicated macro lens, but would only be the better choice it she found value in having a second, smaller camera. Of course a macro lens is also useful for more than just macro photography.

I think that a compact camera is a perfectly reasonable alternative but not quite a no-brainer decision.
 

TraamisVOS

Hall of Famer
Nov 29, 2010
124
Melbourne, Australia
Wow this has evolved into an interesting discussion on macro photography and related equipment.

I wasn't asking for the friend of mine, she's only just got into photography and went straight for the DSLR by default, with which she can take great photos of her young daughter while she's still a little toddler. She is finding how much she loves photography and she was casually asking about macros without any clear idea of what kind of photography she wants to do.

I was actually asking about macros and compacts for myself. I thought the discussion would go into the various compacts with most of you dissing the S110 as being left behind in the compact race. I've always had a thing for the very pocketable size and the minimalist look of the S95.

What I didn't factor into the equation was how close to the subject you'd need to be with a small sensor compact macro. For me, I was thinking more about still life, I hadn't thought about insects.

I have a huge macro lens with my Canon 7D, it's this huge thing that is actually a slow f/4-5.6 big zoom lens which has a macro switch. If I wanted a dedicated macro lens that can go faster than f/4, I'd probably have to put in some big bucks I'd imagine. In which case for me personally I'd much rather get a serious compact for all the reasons I mentioned in my original post.
 

Luckypenguin

Hall of Famer
Dec 24, 2010
124
Brisbane, Australia
Nic
Not prohibitively expensive. For a 7D, $300 will get you a 60mm, and even the non-IS EF 100mm macro can be had for close to that price but is about twice the length. Both are proper macro lenses.

EFS 60mm on a 50D

 

TraamisVOS

Hall of Famer
Nov 29, 2010
124
Melbourne, Australia
My own personal preference with this is - if I can get away with not having to carry another lens, much less one dedicated for macro (of which I don't do much of anyway), then I would.

I'm kinda lazy to change lenses just to snap a rare macro shot, so that's another reason why I'd much rather have a compact, and a compact can do a hell of a lot more than a dedicated macro lens too for the same money or less.

Plus, my main camera is a Leica RF which doesn't do macros anyway (although that is going to change with the new Leica M240) so that was another reason I was looking at a convenient compact that I can slip onto the photography bag.
 

TraamisVOS

Hall of Famer
Nov 29, 2010
124
Melbourne, Australia
Not prohibitively expensive. For a 7D, $300 will get you a 60mm, and even the non-IS EF 100mm macro can be had for close to that price but is about twice the length. Both are proper macro lenses.

EFS 60mm on a 50D
Well see for only a tiny bit more than the $300 100mm macro, I could get on to an S100 or S110, or an LX7 now. That's a pretty attractive deal for someone like me.
 

Luke

Super Moderator
Nov 11, 2011
214
Milwaukee, WI USA
Luke
I think the bottom line here James, is that one can use almost any camera to do some form of close-up photography as evidenced by all these cool shots. I think your idea of getting a serious compact to add to your arsenal INSTEAD of a dedicated macro lens sounds like the right fit for you.
 

Isoterica

Hall of Famer
Dec 6, 2011
123
Wow this has evolved into an interesting discussion on macro photography and related equipment.


I was actually asking about macros and compacts for myself.
Knowing it is about you, that definitely changes my response though I would still tell you to check the results of various cameras/lenses to make sure they can do what you want them to. You sound very enthusiastic about taking close-ups with a compact and burdened by the idea of having to carry a dslr, so a compact is probably an excellent choice for you. If you want to get closer you can always use your 7D then.. but for most purposes a compact should do the trick. I'll also add that while I love macro photography and generally use macro lenses, I have, often enough, stuffed the lens of my compact down the cup of a tulip or other flower doing fantastic shots of the pistil/stamen or the petal texture. Think of the lens enveloped in flower petals and you get the picture, and I got pictures. Not macros of a bugs eye in detail, but really lovely floral abstracts. Good luck with whatever you choose!
 

Hikari

Veteran
Jan 5, 2013
68
Maine, USA
I think we need to hear from the person wanting the lens. I can always chose a lens for myself, but that does not work for some one else.

The other problem is what do you mean by "macro." Just because a manufacturer stamps that word on a lens, it does not mean it is macro. And some people think close focus is macro and that is fine with them.
 

TraamisVOS

Hall of Famer
Nov 29, 2010
124
Melbourne, Australia
Actually, looking through my Flickr, it looks like I have taken a few not-still-life macros with my LX5:

A spider above my front door with the moon in the background:


A spider in the house:


A fly on the wall:


Corydora catfish eggs with a female betta in the background:


Peppered corydora cafish:


A female betta having some breakfast:


Alpha female betta:


I like this crop of the photo above:


Male bristlenose catfish:
 

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