Close-up lens, extension tube, macro lens - what are the differences?

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by jespdj, Jul 7, 2003.

  1. Hello everybody,

    There are several options for macro photography:

    1. use a close-up lens like the Canon 250D or 500D
    2. use an extension tube like the Canon EF 12 or EF 25
    3. use a macro lens

    What are the differences between these three options; what can I do
    with one that I can't do with another? I just got my brand new EOS
    30 (Elan 7E) with EF 28-135 IS USM lens today. I'd like to have to
    possibility to make macro photos.

    regards - Jesper
     
  2. There are 5 alternatives:

    1. Close up lens or filter. I have a Canon 100-300 4.5-5.6 USM and I use a Canon 500 screw-on closeup lens/filter. The advantage to that setup is I don't lose any f-stops plus the zoom action makes it easy to frame my subject. The quality may not be as good as a dedicated macro-lens, i.e Canon 100/2.8 macro. I also lose infinity focus when the closeup lens is attached. Plus I can only magnify up to .70X lifesize. The 100/2.8 will focus all the way to 1:1

    2. Dedicated macro-lens such as the Canon 100/2.8 macro. This is your best but most expensive option. Best quality, will focus closeup 1:1 all the way to infinity,

    3. Extension tubes. Better quality than a screw-on macro lens/filter but lower qualtiy than a dedicated macro lens. You do lose f-stops because it moves the lens further from the film plane which cause the light to spread out over a larger area.

    4. Reversing ring. This is an adapter that allows you to attach a lens backwards to your camera. I don't know if there is a reversing ring for Canon EOS.

    5. Attach a reversed lens to an existing lens. Again you need an adapter. I don't know if one exists for Canon EOS.

    For mor info: http://photonotes.org/articles/beginner-faq/lenses.html#closeup

    I also have some butterfly shots in my portfolio taken with a 100-300 4.5-4.5 USM & 500 Closeup filter.
     
  3. (4. Reversing ring. This is an adapter that allows you to attach a lens backwards to your camera. I don't know if there is a reversing ring for Canon EOS. )- Almost certainly there is, if such things as T-mount adaptors, etc, exist. Of course, all automatic functions of the lens are lost.


    (5. Attach a reversed lens to an existing lens. Again you need an adapter. I don't know if one exists for Canon EOS.)- Yes it does, because this is only an adaptor with male filter threads on each end, it wouldn't be specific to Canon.
     
  4. Jesper for an excellent discussion of the pros and cons of all macro techniques look at John Shaws books. He has one dedicated solely to macro photography and also in his latest book on field techniques he has an extensive chapter on macro as well.
     
  5. <p>Thanks for the tips.
    <p>Ofcourse a real macro lens would be the best solution, but I'd just like to be able to make a macro photo occasionally, so I don't want to invest in an expensive macro lens. I have a few questions about the extension tubes: How many stops do you lose with the EF 12 and EF 25? What's the maximum magnification factor you get with these tubes? Will these work with my 28-135 IS USM?
    <p>regards - Jesper
     
  6. I'm in a similar situation, and was wondering what the telephotos with macro switches are like in comparison ? (an option not mentioned above)

    Tamron and Sigma do 70-300mm and when the macro switch is enabled, it lets you focus 0.95cm from the subject and gives you a 1:2 macro ratio.

    Any comments ?
     
  7. Wrt to possible magnificaction, close-up lenses are the worst option. But they have a few advantages, as Jim mentioned. Extension tubes aren't necessarily better in this regard, and keeping the lens further off the film plane than it's designed for decreases image quality, too.
    A macro lens gets you 1:2 or larger magnification, and a "real" one is optimised for the macro range. Using a lens in reversed position gives you extreme magnification and a number of interesting problems. (E.g. DOF of 0.05mm, and how do you light a subject if your lens is 1cm away from it?) Btw there is a reverse adapter for EOS lenses that maintains diaphragm control: this one.
    Richard, wrt to zoom lenses with a macro range: that's just an extended focussing helicoid. As I mentioned above, every lens is designed for an optimal distance; normal lenses for infinity (or 5-50m), macro lenses for close distances. With very few exceptions, zooms belong to the former group, and their image quality in the macro range is downright bad. If chromatic aberration and coma don't kill them, field curvature definitely will.
     
  8. Tamron and Sigma do 70-300mm and when the macro switch is enabled, it lets you focus 0.95cm from the subject and gives you a 1:2 macro ratio.
    Richard, according to the specs in the B&H listings for the lenses you listed, yes, those lenses get you to 1/2 lifesize (when used at 300mm), but they only focus as close as 3.1 ft/ 37.4". If you were 0.95cm (that's less than 1/2 inch) from the subject, your lens would probably be blocking out your light.
    I have owned and used the EF 50mm macro lens, Vivitar 100mm macro lens, EOS extension tubes, Nikon 5T and 6T closeup lenses (62mm, but they don't vignette on the 67mm threads of a 70-200mm f4 L lens), and Novoflex (EOS) automatic bellows, and I only kept the 50mm macro and the closeup lenses. They are much more convenient and versatile for me than the tubes or bellows.
     
  9. Jesper, sorry, my answer really didn't address your needs.<p>With the 28-135mm IS lens you have, I would use extension tubes, and would buy a ProOptic set of three for about $85 at Adorama. Then you have the option of selling one or two that you find you don't really use, and bring down the cost of your closeup investment!<p>But because of light loss using the tubes, plan on using manual focus much of the time.
     
  10. "Wrt to possible magnificaction, close-up lenses are the worst option"

    I would not entirely agree, it depends on what type of closeup lenses you are talking about. There are the set of three lenses labeled +1, +2 etc that go for about $30, these give marginal results. Then there are the lenses like the Canon 250D/500D (but not the Canon 500) or Nikon 5T/6T which are high precision dual element lenses and give excellant results. I own and use both closeup lenses and extension tubes and the 100mm macro (sometimes even all three together!). For the 28-135 I would recommend the Canon 500D as the best start. I am not a fan of extension tubes on zooms because of the light loss and need to refocus if you zoom. And get a copy of John Shaws "Closeups in Nature"
     
  11. Jesper, don't be put off by comments on closeup lens. If you get a high quality one like Canon's or Nikon's you can get excellent results. As John Shaw has pointed out he doesn't leave home without one and has sold many photos taken with a 70-200 + closeup lens.
     
  12. Peter, I'm aware of that. I was just referring to maximum magnification--close-up lenses can't compete with reversing rings and loupe lenses, which lead you into the range of 2:1 and beyond. I have a Canon 500D in my gear bag, and I like it very much.
     

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