Best lens for Photography of flowers, insects, etc.

Discussion in 'Sony/Minolta' started by chris_rowe|1, Aug 9, 2008.

  1. I'm in a situation where I have DT -70mm zoom lens with a max aperture of 3.5. as my smallest lens.
    What is my best option as a wide-angle lens for photography of small objects, mainly small insects and flowers. I
    use a Sony A350... So I Need an A-mount Lens. Thanks, Chris.
  2. Hi Chris, Why do you specify a wide angle lens? Many of the most popular and fast macro lenses are in the 90-105mm range because those will typically provide greater working distance and isolate the subject better from background clutter.
  3. Chris, as Paul says, look for a macro lens. Any of them in the 50-105 range are (relatively) inexpensive and optically excellent. Some, like the 100/3.5 (of various brands) are very cheap, optically great... only let down by build quality (just handle it with care is all you need to do:)

    Best of luck with this one...
  4. Well guys... I was hoping to get a lens for small subjects, and one for getting all of a great landscape in a picture, get both in one package.... haha. Instead of having to buy 2 seperate lenses.. Think that's possible?
  5. Also I'd like to be able to get real close to the small insects.... so I'd like a higher maximum aperture then 3.5. Maybe what I'm looking for can't be found all in one lens... and I'll have to comprimise on something.
  6. No, you can't do everything with one lense, at least do it well. For close up (macro) photography, I'd recommend
    either a used Minolta 100 2.8 macro lens or the Sony 100 2.8 version, which is available new. Minolta made
    several wider macros (50 2.8 and 50 3.5) as does Sony today (50 2.8). But with the wider versions, you have to
    get really close to insects, which can scare them off. Tamron makes a 90 mm Macro, which is well regarded, as well.
  7. Thanks harry. I think I'll just forget the wide angle. and use a normal lens and take 2 pictures and merge them if I need too. I'll check out that Minolta 100 2.8
  8. "get both in one package"

    Sounds like you need a point & shoot camera or a "bridge" camera. There are some decent brigde cameras out there atleast.
  9. hehe.... I have a point and shot camera, that has 10X optical zoom, 5X digital, 10 MP, and manual mode... Excellent point and shoot.
  10. But its c**p at anything above ISO100 :). But if your hiking and doing landscapes, maybe you'll only be using ISO100...? But, if it has no stabalisation, you may struggle with sunrise/sunset scenes. Is that the reason you don't carry it with you instead of the Alpha?
  11. I generally plan out where I'm going at what I'm taking pictures of before I leave... so I through what I need in my backpack... Most of the time I just bring my Alpha 350, but sometimes I throw in my point in shoot... in case it comes in handy.
  12. Chris, what you might try is to buy a Tamron 14mm f/2.8 Rectilinear, or the Sigma version which is discontinued. Being a rectilinear lens, you don't get that fish-eye effect, straight lines stay fairly straight. On an APS-C A-mount camera, it acts like a 21mm on a 35mm film camera. You set the camera at minimum aperture and hyper-focus. Because of the vast DOF, you can get get quite close and the subject will still be in focus. And because of the wide angle, it is great for landscapes. I use a Sigma 14mm f/2.8 rectilinear, and it is one of my favorite lenses.

    Another option is to buy a half close-up filter, which has only half a filter in the ring.
  13. Hi Chris. I second the vote for the Minolta 100 2.8 macro - it is arguably the sharpest Minolta lens ever made and it isn't that expensive. The 50 1.7 might make a nice second lens for your purposes since it is also a great performer and is ridiculously cheap (as well as tiny). I bought mine used for $25 and it is outstanding.
  14. thanks for the options guys.... the Tamron lens Robert suggested seems to be what I want... But I'm wondering how close I'd have to get to the subject with that sized lens... because for butterfly's they scare easily...
  15. Robert I took a look at that lens, and I'm not ready to pay 1k+ for a lens.... So I'm in favor of the Minolta 100mm f/2.8 right now. Anymore suggestions?
  16. 1K+? Where the hell were you looking :S. Tamrons are about $400 second hand. I got my Minolta for $60. They're usually found for around $300~$600 second hand. I'm selling my sig 70/2.8 macro at the moment on ebay if it helps:

    "But I'm wondering how close I'd have to get to the subject with that sized lens... because for butterfly's they scare easily..."

    Well thats where you have to put in a bit of effort it seems. Hunting butterfiles is a hard skill :). But what ever wildlife it is, you need to get close to it to be able to capture it... there are no short cuts sadly.

    There are longer 150~200mm macros out there, but they aren't going to take any better photos than a shorter macro lens.
  17. Vistek is a company in Ontario, Canada.... which is the closest to me... but they're usually expensive... and all first-hand.
  18. I think I'd still prefer the Minolta 100mm f/2.8 over the 14mm tamron, because it would help out with having to get so close.
  19. I went on dyxuum, and I noticed there's 3 Minolta 100mm f/2.8, there's the regular Macro, the Macro D, and the Macro RS. What do you suggest?
  20. Get the original version. Its the cheapest, and they are all optically the same. The RS verison has circular aperture and a rubberised focus ring. The D has circ. aper., a much larger focus ring and ADI distance information incorporated. The D version is the best because of its larger ring, but just find a good sample of the original version and you will have no trouble. It will just become a familiarity is all.

    I've been using mine for 2 years I think. Its an amazing lens.
  21. Thanks again Rich. You've been a big help with all my threads i've posted.
  22. Chris, even with a 100mm macro, you'll have to get fairly close to the subject. The minimum focusing distance is about 18", but that is measured from the focal plane, and not the front of the lens. A lens you might want to check out is the Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 APO Macro Super II (make sure you get the APO version, as Sigma makes several 70-300s). It macro focuses down to about 2:1 (check their website), at 300mm. The lens gives you extra working distance than you would get with a 100mm Macro. I have an old Minolta 75-300mm (Big Beercan), and it is great for 'macro' work, I think you'll see that the Sigma is more of what you're looking for, as the butterfly is less likely to be scared away.
  23. Well Robert how much would one of these cost?

    Also I read in a article on Macro-work that zoom lenses aren't as good for Macro work, and that Fixed focal lengths are much better...
  24. Chris, you originally asked for a wide angle lens that allows you to take pictures of 'small objects', therefore a 100mm f/2.8 macro, or my suggestion of the 70-300mm does not fit your original request. My original suggestion (the 14mm rectilinear) does.

    Your second post said you wanted one lens that allows you to take close-up of 'small objects' and can be used for landscapes. Again my original suggestion meets both requests, while a 100mm macro doesn't.

    Then later, you state taht you want to take pictures of butterflies, and while the 100mm macro will allow you to take pictures of butterflies, I pointed out that you'll have to get quite close to the butterfly. So, I suggested the Sigma 70-300mm APO, which allows you to work sevral feet away from the subjects and still great close-ups. Although, after doing some research, I change my suggestion to the Tamron 70-300mm. The reason for this is due to reports that the Sigma lens suffers from gear stripping when used with the Alpha DSLRs. The Tamron will also allow you to take 1:2 macro shots. Here is the link to the Tamron site-

    Now, you complain that the zoom len isn't 'AS' good for macro work, which is true. I emphasized rhe word 'as', because using a zoom is a compromise, but it seems that you don't want to lug around a bunch of lenses, so you have to make up your mind as to what is important to you. You've gone from a wide angle lens to a telephoto lens.

    You seem to want to be able eat your cake and have it too. So, until you can make up your mind as to what is really important to you, I really have no further advice to give you.

    Good luck, and good shooting.
  25. haha.... Ok well. Sorry for all the confusion. It's just as this went along I just got caught up in the suggestions themselves and not weather they meet what I'm looking for.

    What I already have is a:
    18-70mm DT AF Macro Lens
    and a 55-200mm DT AF Macro Lens. Which are both kit lenses and lack many things.

    and both of these I'd like to replace with buying a shorter focal length lens that is also a great Macro lens, and a longer telephoto for shooting long distances. And eventually just keep adding on. And I've already spotted out the 75-300mm Minolta (big beercan) for that longer telephoto. Now I'm trying to find one for Macro photography.

    Now. Is that a bit better?
  26. The 75-300 is obviously longer than the 55-200, but I haven't read any reviews that convince me that it's otherwise better. (The Tamron 55-200 is supposedly an excellent lens for the money).

    A Tamron 90/2.8 is a nice option if you don't mind carrying the extra lens. Otherwise, I'd plan on getting a good 2-element close up filter or a set of extension tubes to shoot macro with whatever you're carrying. I've owned an older version of the Tamron 90/2.8, Minolta 50/2.8, 100/2.8 and 200/4 macro lenses in the past. But I don't shoot nature subjects any more, sold those lenses a while ago, and if I were to shoot occasional macro, would go with one of those options for either my CZ16-80 or 100-300APO (probably the former as it's the sharper lens). You may be doing more than "occasional" macro work, but if you're trying to cut down on the number of lenses, you're in a similar situation.
  27. Thanks Dennis,
    I was looking at the Minolta 100mm/2.8 what's your opinion on that lens versus the others you owned fro Macro work?

    But I'm having trouble finding one on ebay, because I'm looking for the original. So if I'm not able to get my hands on one. What lens would you suggest?
  28. Great choice with the 100/2.8 Chris. That is an absolutely fantastic lens.

    They aren't exactly rare though, so just be patient and wait for one to appear. There have been a few on dyxum of recent too, try looking there.
  29. Rich, I'm trying to get one from Canada ideally, but I'll prob have to get one from out of the country... which will make the shipping go up unfortunately. If you see one anywhere... let me know thanks.
  30. Will it increase significantly even if you buy from the US? But yep, I will keep my eye out for one.
  31. Checked here?

    $400 with a hood is a good price. An original version went for over $600 here in the UK not so long ago... but prices are going rediculously high on ebay UK of recent.

    Hope that helps.

  32. well... My camera package costed less when I bought it from the U.S. but when it had to cross the border I had to pay like 200 bucks. So yeah it increases a fair bit.
  33. (y) just found a Minolta 100mm f/2.8 on Ebay, almot perfect condition except for minor signs of wear on the barrel. Hopefully I can get it... It doesn't have the "Buy It Now" option so.... I have to bid on it... (n) Wish me luck.

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