Are you a Canon shooter who loves macro photography and wants to either get into it, or shoot more of it? Perfect, because today we have several recommendations for Canon photographers in need of some increased magnification. From enthusiasts to dabblers, here are our picks for the top macro photography lenses.
Tamron knocked the ball out of the park with their 85mm f1.4 Di VC USD lens–and so updating the 90mm f2.8 Di VC USD, one of their more popular options just made sense. This lens is very much a jack of many trades. It’s designed to shoot macro images, have image stabilization, great image quality, and also has weather sealing. For many years it was in the hands of enthusiasts and hobbyists, but the 90mm is worthy of being in the hands of many professionals.
This one, like many of the company’s new lenses, offer a metal exterior, weather sealing, 9 aperture blades, 14 elements in 11 groups and 4.5 stops of vibration compensation. For the $649 price point you’re getting quite a bargain..
All images by Benjamin Weir. Used with permission.
“I took it on my phone :)” says Instagrammer Benjamin Weir when we asked about how his iPhone photos have such great, organic bokeh. “I took apart an old digital camera I had and used one of the lenses to get macro shots with a small focal point.”
Ben first got the idea by looking at magnifying glass refracting his garden against a wall. This made him want to play with lenses more. “I had a pretty good understanding of how all the lenses within a lens worked but I thought if I could just find a lense similar to the magnifying glass but much smaller and stronger I could maybe get great closeups with my phone.” he states.
Photojojo has been known for making some really cool and fun stuff for photographers. They had iPhone lenses before, but they weren’t that high quality. Photojojo wasn’t alone on this though–everyone and their mother tried to create some sort of plastic fantastic lenses for the iPhone. Moment, on the other hand, created some fantastic lenses using glass–and the new Photojojo Iris lenses also utilize glass.
Using a lanyard and mount system, the Iris lenses are a trio including a macro, fisheye and wide angle lens. Made of metal and glass, they’re also pretty large for something that is supposed to mount onto such a small camera and sensor.
When shooting macro images, the most accepted way to get the best photos involved using a macro ring flash. Today, that still holds true==but there are many alternatives that you can do to get similar or exactly the same effect at a much more affordable price point. Sounds too good to be true, right? Not really, the only trade off that you’re doing is using manual flash output instead of TTL. But otherwise, you’ll be saving money.
If you’re a macro shooter, here are those three setups.
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One of the best ways to get even illumination in a macro photo is to use a flash. But you don’t need to use a giant ring flash. At the same time, ring flash attachments for hot shoe flashes tend to cut down on the amount of light that comes out–which forces the flash to work harder than it really has to.
Instead, just simply set the zoom head of the flash to the longest focal length, set the lens to the macro focusing range, and shoot. In the case that you’ve got a TTL flash, this is very straight forward if you also have radio triggers. Otherwise, you’ll need to set the flash manually–which really isn’t such a big deal and allows you to have even more control in an even more straightforward way.
This method can make the output from an older lens like the Tokina 100mm f2.8 Macro lens look really great. And as far as flashes go, there are loads of affordable flashes and triggers from Yongnuo, but in the image above I’m using the Phottix Laso with a Canon 580 EX II. Sample photo is after the jump.
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Lens hoods are generally a great idea. In fact, I’d say that you should always have one on the front of your lens to protect the front from damage of most sorts. But if you’re shooting with a macro lens in the macro ranges (super duper close up focusing), then having the lens hood on isn’t such a great idea.
Sounds like photography 101, right? Unfortunately, for many folks it isn’t.
When you’re focusing on a subject within the macro ranges, you’ll need all the light you can possibly get. At a certain focusing distance from the subject, a lens hood will just get in the way of allowing more light into the scene or even to allow light in the scene at all. You’d be surprised at how that can happen even if you’re using a flash or strobe lighting.
To get the absolute sharpest macro images, it makes sense to do this with a traditional and proper studio setup involving a tripod, strobes, reflectors, etc. That way you can control the light to function exactly how you want it to with your camera set to a low ISO reading. Oh right, and be sure to remove the lens hood.
If you’re really concerned about the front element of your lens, then a UV filter is an affordable solution.
Looking for your own macro lens? Here are some you’ll really enjoy.
The folks over at Triggertrap put together a new video teaching people how to create better macro images. And to do this, they used the very famous Danbo–who gained internet fame from darn near everyone on Flickr. They talk about ensuring that specific and key elements are properly in line in the fame since macro photography has such narrow depths of fields due to the lens focusing so closely to the subject.
They also talk about lighting and how important it is in the photos. Lighting from something like an off-camera flash works best, but they show a setup involving a window and an overhead light in a kitchen that works well enough. If you’re using available light, then you’ll need to raise your ISO setting up to a high level and stop down the aperture quite a bit before you get something in focus. Also ensure that you’ve got the reciprocal rule of shutter speeds covered.
If you’re using a flash, then you can lower the ISO and get more details in your images.
The video is a bit long, but worth it if you’re genuinely interested in learning more about macro photography. Hit the jump for more.