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Posted: 2/20/2006 12:53:27 PM EDT
My wife is currenttly in a photography class and I was planning on getting her a macro lens when she finishes the class. She has been wanting one for a while. She has a Minolta Maxxum 5 and already has a standard lens along with a zoom lens. Both of them combined cover about the 25mm to 300m. Looking at some macro lenses, some have a minimal focusing distance up to 1.5 feet. This seems kind of far to me. Keep in mind Im a complete idiot about lenses. Do you simply stay back a foot or two and then zoom in while keeping "macro" quality. She is wanting to keep all her lenses Minolta lenses. My max is $600-$700, $800 if its an exceptional deal. Is this a good lens,
www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=productlist&A=details&Q=&sku=300784&is=USA&addedTroughType=categoryNavigation
What are your recommondations, and what features should I be looking for? Thanks for your help.
Link Posted: 2/20/2006 1:05:21 PM EDT
What does she intend to take photos of? A 50mm focal length lens is going to require you to be very close to the subject, most of the time a 100mm or similar is more useful as a macro lens. Both of those look to be true macro lenses, what you see as "macro" setting on many inexpensive zoom lenses is a poor substitute. A real macro lens lets you get very close (inches or less).

Also, if she doesn't have a decent tripod, she will probably need one if she wants to do much macro work.
Link Posted: 2/20/2006 1:05:29 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/20/2006 1:07:30 PM EDT by twonami]
Ebay and search Minolta macro lenses. A dedicated macro lens does a much better job than zoom lenses that are macro compatible.
I use a 100mm macro lens with a macro flash for my Canon 35mm camera.
The 1.5 foot means you need to be at least that distance for the object to be focused.
Without a special flash a tripod is a must and if she gets really serious a bellows is fun to use.
Link Posted: 2/20/2006 1:20:37 PM EDT
Sigma makes a 150mm Macro that is very nice, not sure if they make them for Minolta though.
Link Posted: 2/21/2006 3:20:59 AM EDT
You're going to have a hard time getting any new Minolta glass anymore after they said they were closing. Your best chance would to be looking at Sigma, Tamron or Tokina.
Link Posted: 2/21/2006 5:27:46 AM EDT
Mostly she will probably be taking pictures of flowers, leaves, nature type stuff. She already has a pretty good tripod, its just not good for getting right on top of things like Im guessing you would use a macro lens. Reading through one of her books, I get the idea of what a 50mm lens means. Will a 50mm lens be less efective at, say 2 feet, than a 150mm lens? If this gets too complicated for me, I may just get her a gift certifacate for a macro lens and macro flash. Reading through macro flash specs and descriptions, Ive already decided thats something I cant buy for her, she has to chose her own on that. Thanks for the help guys, it is appreciated.
Link Posted: 2/22/2006 8:52:08 PM EDT
If she can get an off-camera flash, that might work well. I just bought the Sigma EM140 ring flash, and it works quite well. But having an adjustable bracket to mount a flash on would also probably work well, and save $100, which you could put towards a lens...but just let her choose on that one...

A 100mm or even 150mm macro would be a better choice than a 50mm in your budget, and the working distance is generally a help, not a hindrance. I have extension tubes now instead of a dedicated macro, and believe me...taking pictures of bees from 4" away vs. 20" would be a handy differential in my book
Link Posted: 3/10/2006 12:41:41 PM EDT
I just found this thread and I need to find a good macro lens or marco solution as well... I am using a Canon Digital Rebel EOS and I have been dealing with the factory lens but it sure doesn't allow me to get real detailed photos of closeup stuff...

I am curious if those that do product phototography can share some of your tips?

I assume what I need to do is create a work space with lots of indirect light plus get the camera mounted on some type of tripod or stand with the right lense... I just have not taken the time to figure it all out...

I also need a portable system as what I am trying to photograph is often stuff that is not mine... photos at AK build parties, bayonet photos, just all kinds of stuff but not always at home....

I am curious if a manual focus Sigma lense might actually be preferable to an auto focus lense for this purpose as obviously with macro work I know I use the auto focus very little...
Link Posted: 3/12/2006 7:55:48 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/12/2006 7:56:44 PM EDT by ProfessorEvil]

Originally Posted By Quarterbore:
I am curious if a manual focus Sigma lense might actually be preferable to an auto focus lense for this purpose as obviously with macro work I know I use the auto focus very little...



Any decent macro lens will get you better close-up shots. Currently I use extension tubes to get the close up shots of stuff. Another option is close-up filters (250d/500d). The other thing you'll want is a good flash....or two...

As for the product stuff, look into making a softbox. If you're in a constrained space or need to travel a good flash and a diffuser for it, plus a piece of backing material to place stuff on. In sunlight, a shade wouldn't hurt, either.

A tripod is a big help, though with enough light and a steady hand (think of rifle shooting) you can do hand-held macro. For example. In general you'll be using manual focus for something that close in any case, but you can always try letting auto-focus work.

Extension tubes can be used with most any lens and run about $150 (get kenko or promaster--there's no glass so don't spend extra for them). Dunno about close-up filters.

If you're looking to go for a low-cost lens, the Sigma 50mm can do life-size and is about the same price as the Canon (which only does 1:2, 50%). The 90-105mm macros start to get really good (tamron, Canon, Sigma). Serious close up folks can go for the 150/180mm lenses or Mp-E 65 and get some hefty-cool bug shots.
Link Posted: 3/13/2006 6:45:05 AM EDT

Originally Posted By ProfessorEvil:

Originally Posted By Quarterbore:
I am curious if a manual focus Sigma lense might actually be preferable to an auto focus lense for this purpose as obviously with macro work I know I use the auto focus very little...



Any decent macro lens will get you better close-up shots. Currently I use extension tubes to get the close up shots of stuff. Another option is close-up filters (250d/500d). The other thing you'll want is a good flash....or two...

As for the product stuff, look into making a softbox. If you're in a constrained space or need to travel a good flash and a diffuser for it, plus a piece of backing material to place stuff on. In sunlight, a shade wouldn't hurt, either.

A tripod is a big help, though with enough light and a steady hand (think of rifle shooting) you can do hand-held macro. For example. In general you'll be using manual focus for something that close in any case, but you can always try letting auto-focus work.

Extension tubes can be used with most any lens and run about $150 (get kenko or promaster--there's no glass so don't spend extra for them). Dunno about close-up filters.

If you're looking to go for a low-cost lens, the Sigma 50mm can do life-size and is about the same price as the Canon (which only does 1:2, 50%). The 90-105mm macros start to get really good (tamron, Canon, Sigma). Serious close up folks can go for the 150/180mm lenses or Mp-E 65 and get some hefty-cool bug shots.



Thanks! I need to go shopping but this gives me a decent start... I didn't post specific examples of what I need but you can see soe of the photos I have on www.m9bayonet.com as an example. I have lots of small projects that my curent lens setups just don't do well unless the light is just right and even then I seem to take a dozen pictures to get one or two good ones...

I guess that is what is so great with a digital camera and a couple 1GB memory card... I can take a couple thousand pictures to get a hundred really good pics when I get back home

I need to look into making a good "SOFT BOX" as well...
Link Posted: 3/14/2006 9:00:46 PM EDT
The Sigma 105 macro is a great lens and is priced very reasonably. I end up using often for everyday shots.
Would highly reccomend it. Take the money that you have left over and invest in a ring (macro) flash
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