Canon 500D close-up lens

Discussion in 'Nature' started by dave_dube, Apr 2, 2006.

  1. I have 2 lenses I'm wondering about the efficacy of using the 500D.
    The lenses are the Nikkor 70-200 f/2.8 and the Nikkor 24-120 3.5-5.6
    for flowers, insects etc. My camera is a Nikon D200 and Nikon N90s.

    Thanks for any thoughts, tips or suggestions. This is a new area for
    me so it may be a poor move. Thanks, Dave
  2. The 500D is a double achromat of very high quality.

    It is 77mm and can be used on larger and smaller diameter
    lenses by means of step-up or step-down rings - an inexpensive
    adjunct. I use mine to good effect on my 75-300, 80-200 and
    300mm lenses. I'm sure it would work well on your 70-200.

    I have happened in the past to have used it also with the
    24-120 and have gotten very good results but I usually
    keep this to myself because this is a lens many do not
    regard highly and I'm always "justifying" my continued use
    of it.

    It's a good piece of kit and yeilds good results. Understand
    though that it is quite a heavy chunk of glass and prepare for it's
    tripod/balance accordingly.

    Focusing to infinity is out, I'm afraid.
  3. As Yoni says, the 500D is a very high quality close-up lens. I have one and use it fairly
    frequently on a Canon 100-400. It comes in 77mm (which is the main reason to get it
    instead of the Nikon 5t or 6t for your 70-200/2.8) and also a few smaller sizes.
    Essentially, it sets the maximum focus distance to 500 mm (1/2 meter); you can use the
    lens focus control to get a little closer that that. I'm guessing that with the 70-200, you
    will get to roughly 1/3 life size (1:3 reproduction ratio), or maybe a bit more. I'm not sure
    how useful it would be with the 24-120.

    The 500D is an excellent close-up lens, but it will not yield quality quite as good as you'd
    get with a genuine macro lens (pretty much all of those, either made by camera
    manufacturers or by a 3rd party like Tamron or Sigma, are optically superb). And the
    reprodution ratio with the 70-200 + 500D may be a bit low for most insects (except big
    ones) and for small flowers, depending on your intended use. You can combine it with a
    1.4X or even 2X converter to achieve higher reproduction ratios. You can also combine it
    with extension tubes.
  4. Yoni - I also don't talk much about my 24-120; not as sharp as I would like.

    Mark - I'm now thinking extension tube or dedicated micro.

    I guess if I look for a cheap fix, I'll get cheap results.

    Thanks, Dave
  5. I have the 500D and use it some on my Nikon 80-200mm f2.8 and 80-400mm VR. It works pretty well. I use it on the shorter lens mainly to cut minimum focus distance, and on the longer lens for the magnification. It's easier for me than packing a separate macro lens for those kinds of subjects. The quality is good.

    Kent in SD
  6. Mark - I'm now thinking extension tube or dedicated micro.
    The latter will be much better optically and easier to use. If you re thinking about using extension tubes on a zoom lens, keep two or three things in mind:
    1. The lens will NOT stay in focus when you zoom.
    2. Since magnification is roughly focal length/extension, you will get a much bigger magnification at the short end of the zoom range than at the long end. This is exactly opposite of what happens when you use a 500D or the like.
    3. Despite those issues, extension tubes are often very useful. THey can increase the magnification of a dedicated macro lens. They will help most lenses focus closer (they sometimes don't work at all with extreme wideangles) -- I always have a couple of extension tubes handy when shooting small animals with a 500mm lens.
  7. Just returned from a 2 month trip. Needless to say I wanted to keep my gear to a minimum
    so I packed the 5t and 6t nikon close-up filters. I used the 5t mostly on a 70-200 vr and
    found the use and results to be convenient and excellent. On the D200 you can use a step
    up ring without vigneting, and it also helps with edge fall off which doesn't pertain to flowers
    and insects anyway as the depth of field usually won't allow for the entire frame to be in
    focus and the shallow depth adds to the composition. If you need near perfect edge to edge
    sharpness than go for a good macro lense. I have not tried the Canon 500D but it sounds
    like it will perform like the 5t or 6t without the use of the step-up ring.
  8. I own this closeup lens and I use it with my Nikon 80-400mm. VR zoom when I don't want to take a complete outfit into the field, including macro lenses. Other posters have described its limitations, particularly the fact that you will have a limited range of focus. But in my experience the results are quite impressive: sharp, clear, and with crisp, gorgeous color. I've gotten some terrific butterfly and spider photos that I otherwise would have missed.
    I think that it's a terrific photo accessory. It won't, of course, replace a macro lens for many circumstances.
  9. Normally, I'd agree with Jim, and say make yourself a little kit, 5T, 6T, and 77-62mm step down ring. That ends up cheaper, lighter, and more versatile than the 500D, giving you three different magnifications instead of just one.

    But you're going to have some shopping to do to round it up, the 5T is our of stock almost everywhere, and the 6T is listed as "discontinued" at B&H.
  10. Thanks Joe and that's when I started looking at the Canon versions but some spendier I'd say. I'm looking at over $250 for coverage on the 2 lenses.
  11. The Canon 500d is a superb optic. For maximum quality with this or any close-up lens, you MUST stop down beyond f/11 and even f/16 to f/22. These are not accessories that you want to use with a "wide open" primary lens, unless you are going for a soft depth of field (bokeh) effect of some sort. Stopping down to such an extent requires a tripod or flash illumination, preferably off camera... which is not too difficult these days with TTL metering on DSLRs. In fact, even the cheapest single element (non-achromatic), single-coated close up lenses from 30 years ago (which can be had for a song on eBay) provide stunning results when the primary lens is stopped down adequately. This is the secret of obtaining excellent results with close up lenses. Newcomers to photography in this digital age would do well to study some of the excellent older photography books, especially about close-up photography. Just ignore the parts about film. All the rest of the information, from equipment to techniques, are still valid. Your questions will be answered as you bring new ideas to the art.

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