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Which Canon Macro Lens?


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#1 aussie

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Posted 21 September 2008 - 02:37 AM

Hi all,

I'm looking at setting up my 40D for a planned trip to Bali later in the year, and unsure which I'd be better off with, the 60mm or 100mm? I know the difference between the two, I guess what I'm after is some advice on which will be more useful for Bali?

While I'm at it, which (Aquatica) macro port would be the better choice, the auto focus one, or the manual focus one?

Many thanks for your help (I know how fun it is spending other ppls money),

Ryan.
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#2 toby77

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Posted 21 September 2008 - 12:29 PM

Hi all,

I'm looking at setting up my 40D for a planned trip to Bali later in the year, and unsure which I'd be better off with, the 60mm or 100mm? I know the difference between the two, I guess what I'm after is some advice on which will be more useful for Bali?

While I'm at it, which (Aquatica) macro port would be the better choice, the auto focus one, or the manual focus one?

Many thanks for your help (I know how fun it is spending other ppls money),

Ryan.


Hi,

I would say that it would depend on the type of location for the pictures you take. I have both lenses and the 100mm gives you the same image as the 60mm, but at a grater distance to the subject. Here in norway we are not always blessed with great visibility and then 60mm is great, but you need to get closer to the subject to get full magnification. Heres where the 100mm is great as you will get the same image but you do not need to get as close and this makes it easier to set up your strobes to avoid backscatter and you also are not scaring the wildlife as easy.

I use focus rings to acheve manual focus, but the lens is always set to auto focus - i use the manual focus to assist the camera finding the focus point.

Toby
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#3 bversteegh

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Posted 21 September 2008 - 08:47 PM

Hi,

I would say that it would depend on the type of location for the pictures you take. I have both lenses and the 100mm gives you the same image as the 60mm, but at a grater distance to the subject. Here in norway we are not always blessed with great visibility and then 60mm is great, but you need to get closer to the subject to get full magnification. Heres where the 100mm is great as you will get the same image but you do not need to get as close and this makes it easier to set up your strobes to avoid backscatter and you also are not scaring the wildlife as easy.

I use focus rings to acheve manual focus, but the lens is always set to auto focus - i use the manual focus to assist the camera finding the focus point.

Toby


Do you have both lens, and just trying to decide on what port to use? I have both lenses, and use them with the same port on my Sea and Sea housing (just haven't bought a shorter port for the 60 yet - already had the 100mm port). No vignette problem for the 60 using the longer port (although it puts the port almost on top of the subject at 1:1). The one advantage of the 100mm is using it with a Woody's diopter (nexus wet lens) - still have a little standoff distance, even at greater than 1:1. My preferred setup for shooting pygmy seahorses and the really small shrimps/crabs you'll find over there.

If you haven't bought the lens yet - get the 60mm first. Autofocus is much better than the 100, and the wider angle of coverage gives you a lot more versatility as you discover different stuff - trying to get a 20cm frogfish full profile with the 100mm lens requires you to be way back from the subject - more difficult to light and loss of sharpness. I've never been to Bali, but I've been to Lembeh/Bunaken 5 times, and I think the variety of critters is similar. you can check out my Flickr site in my signature, it has pictures from a 40D with both the 60 and 100 mm from Lembeh this Spring.
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#4 stever

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Posted 22 September 2008 - 08:24 PM

i find that the distance from the port to close focus is extremely short with the 60mm and i just can't sneak up on small fish. i tried the 60 to get better autofocus than the 100 - it's better but not outstandingly. hope to solve focus issues with a focus light

#5 ReefRoamer

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Posted 26 September 2008 - 05:35 AM

I have both lenses and usually go for the 100mm macro. It's much preferred, by me, to get the really small stuff ... especially skittish creatures. I just returned from Bali (Tulamben and Menjangan) and used the 100mm for all macro stuff. No complaints.
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#6 herbko

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Posted 26 September 2008 - 09:02 AM

Have the best of both. Get the 60mm and a 1.4x teleconverter.

I have a 5D and shoot most of my macros with the 100mm and add the 1.4x and/or a +2 diopter some of the times.
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#7 Gudge

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Posted 26 September 2008 - 02:43 PM

Have the best of both. Get the 60mm and a 1.4x teleconverter.

Being an EF-S lens the 60 macro will not work with teleconverters, only EF lenses can be used with teleconverters.

Edited by Gudge, 26 September 2008 - 02:44 PM.

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#8 MikeO

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Posted 26 September 2008 - 06:40 PM

I shoot the 100mm with my 40d and use an external diopter sometimes as well. I find that it focuses pretty well, especially with a spotting lamp. If you have enough strobe power, the 100mm works well for small critters. The 60 does give you a better lens for larger stuff, but rather than get the 60mm, I opted for the Sigma 17-70mm zoom. More versatile (I can put it behind a flat port or a dome) and it will do decent macro . . .

Mike

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#9 aussie

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Posted 26 September 2008 - 08:10 PM

Thanks for the advice everyone. The trip has been pushed back until March, so I have a little bit more time to load up on gear.

Mike (and anyone else), I'm curious as to how the 17-70 goes behind a flat port. I'm guessing behind an 8" dome it's not so great for macro at the 70mm end? I'll have mine behind a dome, but if it works similar to the 60mm behind a flat port, maybe I'll go down this route as well?

Cheers,
Ryan.
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#10 MikeO

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Posted 27 September 2008 - 06:54 AM

Thanks for the advice everyone. The trip has been pushed back until March, so I have a little bit more time to load up on gear.

Mike (and anyone else), I'm curious as to how the 17-70 goes behind a flat port. I'm guessing behind an 8" dome it's not so great for macro at the 70mm end? I'll have mine behind a dome, but if it works similar to the 60mm behind a flat port, maybe I'll go down this route as well?

Cheers,
Ryan.


Seatool makes a wide flat port and that's what I have. I plan to give the lens more of a test when I go to Bonaire in November. If you do a forum search on the 17-70 you'll see that it has been discussed at length. For example:

http://wetpixel.com/...;hl=sigma 17-70

will show you the infamous "thumb" photo that shows how close the 17-70 can focus behind a dome :P. The 17-70 is rated at 1:2.3 while the 60mm goes to 1:1 so it will not give you the same angle of view. However, for 1:1, I like the 100mm for the standoff distance. Depends on what you want to do with the lens . . .

Mike

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#11 vkalia

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Posted 27 September 2008 - 09:03 AM

I love the 100mm macro for wideangle work and the flexibility of a 50mm macro - so it always boiled down to a tradeoff for me: working distance of the 100mm or flexibility/fish portrait ability of the 50mm.

Then I got a Macromate 2x and the 50mm has stayed on my body for most of my macro dives. I'll still take the 100mm when I plan to shoot just little critters, but for general macro work, I get the best of both worlds with this combo.

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#12 stever

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Posted 27 September 2008 - 07:15 PM

i tried a flat port with my Canon 17-85 and found that less than about 28mm there are serious nasties on the sides

the macromate sounds interesting, but it's not cheap - what is the image quality? and working distance (my main objection to the Canon 60 S Macro)

#13 aussie

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Posted 27 September 2008 - 08:48 PM

The Macromate works the same as Woodie's Diopter, right? Or does it have more magnification?

Leaning towards the 100 from the advice I'm getting (again, thanks all). I've got the 17-70 to be a bit more flexible.

Can anyone reccomend a not too pricey focusing light?

Ry.

Edited by aussie, 27 September 2008 - 08:54 PM.

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#14 james

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Posted 28 September 2008 - 04:23 AM

The macromate is much stronger and works a bit differently. It has multiple elements .

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#15 vkalia

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Posted 28 September 2008 - 04:48 AM

Macromate is 2x. I havent done exact measurements, but it significantly increases the working distance of a 50mm lens, to the point where extreme closeups of little critters becomes very practical.

Image quality - I have excellent 10x15" wall prints made with this lens that are tack sharp up close, so I reckon I could do a fair bit bigger quite easily. Just sold about 12 images to a wildlife magazine for next month's issue and a shot taken with this is making the cover while another has made a 2-page spread. That's good enough for me - I dont care to pixel peep and do A/B comparisons after this.

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#16 MikeO

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Posted 28 September 2008 - 05:54 AM

Macromate is 2x. I havent done exact measurements, but it significantly increases the working distance of a 50mm lens, to the point where extreme closeups of little critters becomes very practical.


Interesting, I always thought diopters works by decreasing the minimum focus distance, therefore getting you closer to the critter. It must work differently if it lets you get farther away. Maybe it's just a matter of terminology.

Mike

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#17 bmyates

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Posted 28 September 2008 - 06:21 AM

Like others, I'd recommend the 100mm for macro in clear water like Bali. I'd definitely get the MF port, though, so you can fine tune the focus, especially in low light and at night (assuming you can assign focus to the "*" button as on other Canon models).

As for a focus light, I recommend the Fisheye Fix 48-LED light. Not as bright as their HG light, but way cheaper, uses AAs, and is PLENTY bright for anything you'll need in Bali, including acting as your primary dive light for night dives. I have both lights, and - like others - have had trouble with the battery on the HG (making it practically worthless for travel, where you want to be SURE stuff is going to work).

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#18 craig

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Posted 28 September 2008 - 07:02 AM

Interesting, I always thought diopters works by decreasing the minimum focus distance, therefore getting you closer to the critter. It must work differently if it lets you get farther away. Maybe it's just a matter of terminology.

Mike

The 2x designation is nothing other than marketing. It is happily regurgitated by those who won't make the effort to measure and denigrate others who do by calling them pixel peepers and measurebators. Thankfully, engineers who develop these products are willing to measure.

The Macromate claims that it can achieve 2:1 macro in combination with a 100mm lens, thus the 2x label. My own testing with the original version showed this to be highly optimistic with my port and lens. With a 50mm lens, there's no way it is anywhere close to 2x.

In the simplest terms, diopters work by modifying focusing distance, but there's more to it. As the diopter is moved further from the lens, magnification increases. A lot of the benefit of a Macromate, or other wet diopter, comes from being fairly far from the end of the lens. You can play with one and see the effect. It's basically an expensive magnifying glass.

Since modern macro lenses vary their focal length to focus, changing the focusing range can make the lens effectively longer. That's another way effective working distance can increase.

I think a Macromate, or similar, is great to have for when you need it but it is not a substitute for taking right lens on the dive. I feel the same way about teleconverters.
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#19 vkalia

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Posted 29 September 2008 - 11:50 AM

The 2x designation is nothing other than marketing. It is happily regurgitated by those who won't make the effort to measure and denigrate others who do by calling them pixel peepers and measurebators. Thankfully, engineers who develop these products are willing to measure.


I assume that was directed at me. First off, I meant no offense in my comment re. pixel peeping, and if my comments came across that way, I apologize. My reference to pixel peeping pertained to the optical quality aspect, and I put it there to make it clear where my particular preferences lie - so that people can put my stated opinion in its proper context and take it for what it is worth.

As an engineer myself, I agree with you regarding the value of proper, scientific testing. But my engineer brain also tells me to test in a manner that is appropriate to the required performance. My required performance is "sharp large prints" - the first thing I did when I got this adapter is take a few shots and make some prints. Loved the results.

I dont make the effort to measure specs that dont make a difference to my shooting. IQ with and without the Macromate is irrelevant to me - I will never be doing A/B comparisons of prints. So I am sorry if my opinion doesn't meet *your* specific standards of scientific rigorousness - but since no one is paying me to do any tests for them, I'll stick to measuring the performance that is relevant to *me*.

And FWIW, I think a lot of people spend far too much time obsessing about minute optical differences that are only relevant under testing conditions or at 100%, and I'll stand by that. I have yet to have *anyone* look at a good image I have taken with a $200 lens and go "that is lacking in critical sharpness" - nor has anyone taken a look at a lousy image I have taken with a $6000 lens and gone "that is a lovely, sharp image." Comparing performance with and without TCs and diopters makes no sense to me - that is my opinion, and I state it not to provoke but to make my own biases clear. Those who disagree with it can then ignore the rest of my opinions.

The Macromate claims that it can achieve 2:1 macro in combination with a 100mm lens, thus the 2x label. My own testing with the original version showed this to be highly optimistic with my port and lens. With a 50mm lens, there's no way it is anywhere close to 2x.


This is good to know. I'll refrain from calling it a 2x from now on.

In the simplest terms, diopters work by modifying focusing distance, but there's more to it. As the diopter is moved further from the lens, magnification increases. A lot of the benefit of a Macromate, or other wet diopter, comes from being fairly far from the end of the lens. You can play with one and see the effect. It's basically an expensive magnifying glass.


And this is exactly how I find it to be most useful. You can shoot at 0.5x - 0.75x at much greater working distances, thanks to the greater magnification of the lens.

I think a Macromate, or similar, is great to have for when you need it but it is not a substitute for taking right lens on the dive. I feel the same way about teleconverters.


That's generally my approach when I am shooting at home - I can afford to go after 1 specific subject a day, and so take the 100mm macro when that is needed.

But when traveling, where one doesnt always have the luxury of going after 1 subject per dive, it adds flexibility. For example, in Lembeh, it was invaluable, as it let me shoot everything from reef octopus to tiny nudis with the same lens. And I have been getting good enough results *for me* (again, without any scientific testing, so feel free to ignore my opinion) with the 2x that more and more, even at home, I find myself taking the 50mm + Macromate instead of the 100mm (unless I specifically have small critters and nothing else on the agenda).

Good grief, I sound like a shill for Macromate here. It is positively embarrassing, so I'll just shut up now. I am just really thrilled with this accessory, that's all. It has been a HUGE help for me, given the way I photograph. YMMV.

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#20 craig

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Posted 29 September 2008 - 02:10 PM

This is good to know. I'll refrain from calling it a 2x from now on.

I wouldn't have known this without testing it. :P

That's generally my approach when I am shooting at home - I can afford to go after 1 specific subject a day, and so take the 100mm macro when that is needed.

But when traveling, where one doesnt always have the luxury of going after 1 subject per dive, it adds flexibility.

No doubt a MacroMate adds flexibility. It does that even if you travel with a 50mm and a 100mm. I'm all about flexibility on the dive, that's why I use a zoom macro lens. I wonder why someone would pack an entire DSLR setup for a trip yet only bring a 50mm with him.

People obsess over which lens offers best performance based on brand, reputation, and published reviews, then they slap on extra stuff like teleconverters and wet diopters with no idea what that does to their image quality because they refuse to test. Testing requires little effort and can be highly educational.

From what I've been told from the full frame guys, Macromates add some degradation to image quality and can't be used with a 50/60 at all. It's definitely good to know for sure. I don't use one myself though I've owned one in the past. I use Inon ones because they are a lot easier to handle underwater. I don't know how the two compare in IQ because I've never had both at the same time. I do test my Inons though. I believe the MacroMate is stronger but I use the weaker of the two Inon products anyway.

I don't feel it's reasonable to say that a 50mm with a MacroMate allows you to shoot everything you would with a 100mm and then there's the matter of being able to use your 100mm with the same MacroMate. It all depends on what you want to shoot. I basically never travel with a 50mm at all though my zoom is 70mm on the short end.
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