Hurray for the Canon EF-S 60mm Macro

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by colorspace, Sep 24, 2007.

  1. colorspace macrumors 6502

    Jul 5, 2005
    Five reason to love this great lens:

    We often get requests for macro lens recommendations on the forum -- here's 5 reason why I chose to buy and use this great lens. All photos take with one of two EF-S 60mm lenses, many more can be found in:

    My PBase Macro Galleries

    1. It's sharp, very sharp (this is true for almost all macros, but it still should be said):


    or see the 100% crop insert (lower right) showing a tiny mite on a daddy-longlegs' leg:


    2. You can use the onboard flash even at 1:1 WITHOUT casting a shadow on your subject - not many macro lenses can be used this way. Macro specialists seem to frown on shooting this way, but there's many a photo I would have never taken if I had to be carrying lots of extra gear and weight -- the surest way to screw up a photo is to never take it.

    I think the built in flash can do very well used in conjunction with this lens-- you be the judge.


    3. Some prefer longer (heavier and bigger) macro lenses, but I find this to be a very nice length on my 1.6X body. An added benefit is that on a crop body this makes for a very nice portrait lens without having to be 20 yards from your subject:


    4. The lens is very sharp even wide open (obviously within the very shallow depth of field) and has great bokeh. This is not true of many macro lenses:


    5. Focus is quick, quiet, internal and can be manually over-ridden, all which allows you to get in close to some subjects that would be spooked by other lenses "buzzy" sounding focus systems or extending front elements:


    The list could easily be longer, but 5 is a nice number.

  2. epicwelshman macrumors 6502a


    Apr 6, 2006
    Nassau, Bahamas
    Lovely photos... incredibly sharp. It sure does sound like a nice lens!
  3. seenew macrumors 68000


    Dec 1, 2005
    I wonder how the EF 100 compares... I'm going will all fullframe lenses from now on. Great shots!
  4. colorspace thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 5, 2005
    I've shot quite a bit with the 100mm -- optically they are very similar, both have fast/silent/internal focus, but I think the 60mm has some big advantages for those of us using shooting crop bodies:

    shorter/can use built in flash at 1:1
    better portrait lenght (96mm equivalent in old-school 35mm)
    nice bokeh as well (the smoothness of out of focus areas)

    Of course if you're lucky enough to have a full sensor body (but 95% aren't)... the 100mm is a great choice.
  5. Mr. B macrumors regular

    Dec 25, 2005

    those are absolutely fantastic pictures.

    I'm actually currently on the lookout for a good deal on this lens as all of my research has just confirmed that it is indeed a great deal.

    Can you tell me what body you used for these pictures?

    I currently have a rebel xt and was wondering if I'll get a similiar quality to what you posted...

    Also, how much post editing did you have to do? Just a few tweaks? Or did any have major overhauls?

  6. colorspace thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 5, 2005
    mr b

    Mileage from the lens -- as with any equipment depends more as much on the photographer as the HW. You might be a better photographer and can squeeze a lot more out of the lens, think of my photos as a median or lowest common denominator.

    There is no significant difference between the Rebels vs the 20D and 30D (what my shots were taken with) that can effect what you can get from the lens.

    In all of the photos posted there has been pretty mimor PS work done, maybe a touch of levels and a small sharpening after re-sizing for the web (which you always have to do when changing the size).

    Best of luck.

    PS -- my 11 year old shot this on her first try with the lens:
  7. JBat macrumors regular


    Apr 6, 2007
    Terrific images. That lens is the definition of tack sharp. I may have to pick one up for my 20D.
  8. oblomow macrumors 68030


    Apr 14, 2005
    I hate you. This weekend I will accompany my brother to the candyshop (read: brick&mortar photoshop). I wasn't planning on buying anything for myself, just help him select a body (Canon 400D/Xti) and lenses (probably 17-85 and 50mm).

    Mental note: must leave my money at home.

    Great pictures.
  9. Father Jack macrumors 68020

    Father Jack

    Jan 1, 2007
  10. Mr.Noisy macrumors 65816


    May 5, 2007
    fantastic images, 1st and 3rd are my favourites, ;)
  11. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    Wow, fantastic photos!

    I'm very jealous of your ability to get everything so sharp, even at 1:1 (or close to it). I tend to find myself at a disadvantage because all the bugs around here fly, and there aren't really any butterflies, grasshoppers, or anything else of the sort (although I can find a spider if I really really try). Taking photos of bees and flying insects is too difficult for me. I always aim to get a great shot while they're flying. I have several times, but not often enough. :eek:

    Any tips? I'm always happy to hear some. ;)

    PS: I use a Nikon 105 mm VR macro, and a monopod to prevent myself from moving forwards and backwards.
  12. colorspace thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 5, 2005

    I'll let you in on a few little secrets.

    1. I almost never use AF or and only use the manual focus ring 50% of the time (what you did he say?!!)

    2. I never use a monopod or tripod --one of the advantages of the 60mm (blasphemy). In my experience I find that most bugs don't want to sit still while you set up a studio next to them.

    3. Most of the time I pre-select a focus distance and the get my body in a steady position -- elbows against my body, and good footing or better yet kneeling. The actual focusing is DONE by slightly moving your body back and forth (very, very gently)

    4. Calm your breathing before taking the photo -- this also keeps the bugs from being scared.

    I know it sounds crazy but it works for me -- all the macros above were shot this way.


    So where the hell do you live that there are so few bugs around? Antarctica? If not, there are probably more bugs all around that you might guess.

    Good luck, and BTW the 105mm VR is a HELL of a sharp lens, just a big longer than I like.
  13. Mantat macrumors 6502a

    Sep 19, 2003
    Montréal (Canada)
    You can do that if you use a flash or shallow DoF, but if you want to work in ambiant light or shoot at F8+, the tripod is a must...

  14. Over Achiever macrumors 68000

    Over Achiever

    Jul 22, 2002
    Toledo, OH, formerly Twin Cities, MN
  15. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    Nikon makes a 60 mm.

    Sigma makes a 70 mm macro, if you're interested in a bit more reach. Tamron's 90 mm macro is incredibly popular, and is actually considered quite a famous macro lens, although the most famous one isn't the latest version, but a version they stopped selling. Doesn't matter though, because I'm sure it's still good.

    @colorspace: It's great that you were able to take those handheld. I have steady hands as well, but if I could make a suggestion to YOU, it would be to consider getting a monopod. You can move back and forth like you do handheld, except with a bit less control and a lot more stability (assuming you take photos for 60 or 90 minutes at a time). You don't need to worry about vertical, back-and-forth movements as much, and it's easy to control how much you lean forwards or backwards when you need to focus.

    Right now, I live in Australia. There are lots of bugs, but......well, not really. There are spiders though, but they're not as interesting as some of the stuff I'd see in Canada, Japan, or other places. We get bees and some dragonflies. I'd love to do some dragonflies, but they're hard to "get" and I haven't had much luck (except one decent photo). I usually stick with bees, and usually like to shoot them when they're flying rather than when they're on a flower.

    I guess I can try harder at taking photos of spiders, but many of them are poisonous, and I HATE(!!) spiders unless they're Daddy Long Legs, since they're nothing. ;)
  16. colorspace thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 5, 2005
    As far as comparable lenses:

    I briefly switched to Nikon about a year ago and to be honest I ended up going back to Canon in large part because there is NOTHING really out there with the same characteristics as the Canon 60mm Macro.

    The ones mentioned above are all fine lenses optically, but as far as I know:

    All of the lenses mentioned above extend significantly when focusing (I'm not a 100% sure about the Sigma 70mm), casting a shadow on the subject with the onboard flash. They also don't have quiet or fast focus systems like Canon's USM, Sigma's HSM or Nikon's (blahh di blah -- can't remember).

    Nikon makes and excellent 105mm VR lens and Sigma has a fantastic 150mm both of which have internal focusing systems and remain at a fixed length, however these cost 3X and 2X of what the Canon 60mm costs and weigh SIGNIFICANTLY more.

    Again the other lenses are all very good, I just think that when you consider the the price, weight, size, and focus system there is nothing in the same ballpark as the Canon 60mm.

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