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Author Topic: Macro & Portrait Lens  (Read 7880 times)  bookmark this topic!
Roxie2401
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Macro & Portrait Lens
« on: January 05, 2009, 12:38:50 PM »

Bob, just read both your reviews on the Canon EF 100 f2.8 macro and the Canon EF 85 f1.8 portrait lenses.

I already have the little plastic EF 50mm f1.8 gem and the EF 70-300 IS USM.  I will be using the Canon 40D, but am tending to build my lens complement with thoughts of a full frame sometime in the future - the only EF-S is the 17-85 kit lens.

Since I want to do both macro (LP album covers, etc.), (copy stand, probably in the future, too) and grandchild portrait work, I'm tending on getting the EF100 and not the 85.  Am I on the right track here?  I know the 85 is faster, neither are IS, but how would the 85 perform on the macro material?

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

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Bob Atkins
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Re: Macro & Portrait Lens
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2009, 01:14:56 PM »

I've never tested them side by side, so I can't give you a definitive answer.

Certainly the 100/2.8 Macro would perform much better if you were shooting 1:1 macro images at f2.8 then if you used the 85/1.8 on extension tubes to get to 1:1. There's no doubt about that. The Macro would be sharper, especially so at the edges of the image.

However, if you're shooting stopped down to maybe f8 or f11 (as you can be for a static subject) and you're shooting at a magnification of  1/10 life size (0.1x), as you might for album covers, then I suspect that the 85/1.8 would do a good job. Perhaps not quite as good as the 100/2.8 if you pixel peep, but pretty close. The 85/1.8 will give you 0.13x magnification on it's own, 0.27x with a 12mm extension tube and 0.44x with a 25mm extension tube.

Another thing that helps out the 85/1.8 is that fact that you're using a crop sensor camera, so you're only seeing the center portion of the image the lens produces, which minimizes edge and corner softness.

So if I wanted to do tight macros at f2.8, I'd get the EF 100/2.8 Macro USM. I'd also chose the macro lens if macro was my main goal and/or if I need to make poster sized prints.

On the other hand if I wanted the best portrait lens which could double as a decent macro when stopped down and I didn't need to go to high magnification, I'd tend towards the EF 85/1.8 USM . The larger aperture would give a shallow DOF and so blur out the background more, which is often desirable in portrait work. It would also allow faster shutter speeds if you wanted to freeze action (kids can sometimes move fast!).

So in the end it does tend to depend on exactly what type of macro work you want to do, what you do with the images and how much you value the macro vs. portrait utility. Certainly the 100/2.8 macro can be used as a portrait lens and f2.8 isn't too slow to allow a fairly shallow DOF and create a background blur.
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Roxie2401
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Re: Macro & Portrait Lens
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2009, 01:23:25 PM »

Bob,

Thanks for the quick reply!

I'm going with the EF 100 Macro.  I think the little 50mm does a great job for the portrait, although its a little more "in your face" but I can combine it with the 100 for the grandchild and I think the 100 will still be decent on the portraits, too.

That means I will have the 50mm, 100mm macro, 70-300 and the 17-85.  I don't think that is too bad a complement. 

But I did just realize how much my old hands have become dependent on the IS lens.  But that's why they make mono- & tri-pods.

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Roxie2401
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Re: Macro & Portrait Lens
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2009, 05:14:17 PM »

Bob, just a quick follow-up.  In reading the manual for the 100mm macro, there is a section on "Attaching Close-up Lenses;" like the 500D.  In simple terms, can you explain why you would do that and what do the numbers (1.28x - 0.20x) mean?

Does the use of a Close-up attachment take the lens from 1X magnification to "larger than life?"

Thanks
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KeithB
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Re: Macro & Portrait Lens
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2009, 05:17:45 PM »

I am not Bob, but ,yup, a closeup lens or extension tube will provide more than 1:1 magnification.
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Bob Atkins
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Re: Macro & Portrait Lens
« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2009, 05:34:09 PM »

As above, yes, a 500D would give you a range of magnification from 1.28x (slightly larger than life) to 0.20x. The 500D reduces the focus distance. At the closest focus it would be 1.28x and with the lens focused at infinity, you'd get a magnification of 0.2x (and in that case the working distance would actually be somewhere around 20" I think). Without the 500D the magnifcation range is 1x to 0x (1x as the closest focus distance, 0x for an object at infinity!).

A 500D is actually more use on a lens like the 70-300IS, where it allows you to use the lens as a "long distance" macro when you want more working distance.
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