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Canon EOS Crop Sensor for HD
APS-C sensor cameras including the 80D, 70D, 7D Mk. II, 7D, EOS M and Rebel models for HD video recording.


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Old May 26th, 2010, 12:04 PM   #1
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Macro Lens Help

Hi all,

I'm considering the below lenses and wanted your feedback and experience. Looks like I'll be filming a lot of nature shots in the next year for a program from flying eagles down to tiny ants. I have the zoom lenses covered, but do not have any macro lenses--or any experience WORKING with them for that matter. So perhaps I could use some pointers as well.

Things we would be filming would be ants hard at work, butterflies on flowers, blades of grass coming up through the dirt, the small veins of leaves, waterbugs, pinecones, snake scales, close details of rocks, cactus thorns and flowers, etc.... basically a broad range of close up nature shots. This is going to be an ongoing project lasting at least a year, so I want to make sure It's an all-purpose type lens and can take some abuse since it will see a lot of use.

I'd prefer it to be a Canon lens with IS, but I suppose I'm open to other suggestions.

These are lenses I'm considering:

Canon EF 180mm f/3.5 L USM
Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM
Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM
Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 L IS USM

The 100mm L at the end is what I was most favorable to for the weather protection. Do you have any other thoughts?
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Old May 26th, 2010, 12:33 PM   #2
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It will almost all come down to how much working distance you want/need. Obviously the longer the lens the further away you can be while getting the same size image. AFAIK most if not all of those lenses will give full 1:1 life size.
In terms of image quality you tend to find that virtually all macro lenses perform amazingly well, certainly from Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Leica etc., and even those like Tamron and Tokina and the Sigmas tend to have excellent performance.
Steve
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Old May 26th, 2010, 01:16 PM   #3
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I use a EF300/4LIS which can focus down to 1.5M or 1/2 life size. For video, that's pretty good for most of the things you've mentioned.
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Old May 27th, 2010, 10:45 AM   #4
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Thanks guys. Boy, I thought I would have a lot more responses. Must not be a lot of macro guys on here, huh?

Those of you that are, with the things I'm filming (ants, spiders, etc.), would you go with the

Canon EF 180mm f/3.5 L USM or
Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 L IS USM

We have at least narrowed down our selection and feel better with an L lens. These are the two we're probably going to decide between.

Some pros and cons I was thinking about for each.

The 180mm would get us some distance between us and the subjects. Kind'a handy with rattlesnakes and the like. But the price is more and it is a fairly limiting lens with mostly macro shooting only. Plus it's slower at f/3.5. But it is supposedly the mac-daddy of macro lenses.

The 100mm is nice, but needs to get closer to subject. Price is better, and can be used as a nice potrait lens also. Plus it's 2.8, so a bit faster. But I don't know if it would allow us to get close enough to some smaller bugs.

Am I missing anything obvious? Anything subtle?
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Old May 27th, 2010, 11:03 AM   #5
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Can't help you specifically as I don't have a Canon macro lens yet but I'm considering the 100mm F2.8 IS myself - next time I get a big pay cheque anyway!

This is NOT my film and is not the IS version of the lens (and personally I would not buy any Canon lenses over 50mm area without IS as it's so effective for handholding stills and video in the type of shooting I do) but there are some excellent shots in it of what this type of lens can do with it's "effective" 160mm focal length on the 7D. Maybe it'll give you an idea if a 100mm is the right range for your needs. Hope this helps.

100Macro - Canon EOS 7D on Vimeo
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Old May 27th, 2010, 11:05 AM   #6
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I wouldn't worry about it being slower, you'll always want to stop down with macro anyway or there'll be tiny depth of field.
Steve
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Old May 27th, 2010, 11:20 AM   #7
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For what it's worth, everyone, I think we are going to go with the 100mm because of the IS and it's newer technology. Hope we're making the right choice. If the 180mm had IS, we'd be going with that.
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Old May 27th, 2010, 11:45 AM   #8
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I use the non IS 100mm and it's a dream, it was the only version when I bought it. The focus ring is large and buttery, really easy if to use if you do not have a follow focus. Bokeh is awesome, sharpness is unreal. It rocks.

I am sure the L series is better in many ways as well. If you need more reach you can always buy an extension tube.
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Old May 28th, 2010, 08:10 PM   #9
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Have you considered using a Canon closeup lens instead? You can add one to your existing lens for a hundred dollars or so. All those lenses you mention are outstanding for still photography but massive overkill for video, especially on a 7D. Just a thought.
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