Need advice on new lens

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Patriks7, Mar 15, 2010.

  1. Patriks7 macrumors 65816

    Patriks7

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2008
    #1
    Hello fellow photographers. I have been having a bit of trouble the last couple days trying to decide which lens I will buy next (well, actually my parents are paying a large part of it - graduation present). My choices are the Canon 100 macro and the Sigma 30 1.4 (or Canon 28 1.8 if I can't find a good Sigma).

    I want to get the macro, because simply macro photography has been something that has interested me for quite some time. On the other hand, I want the Sigma 30 1.4 mainly for the speed (and it's a focal length I quite enjoy). My current zoom lens is I believe f/4 at that length, which doesn't cut it for me at all. If I would get the 100 macro, I would most likely add a flash to it (430EX II), since from what I've seen, it kind of is a "must" in quite a few situations. This would also somehow help me with the problem of lack of speed; however, I don't really want to walk around cities with a flash on my camera, I've got a lot of work to do to just look out for my camera.

    The issue I have with choosing, is that I'm not sure whether macro would be something I would do for an extended time. The Sigma I guess would be a lens which will see a lot of use (especially during the summer when I travel quite a bit and of course party quite a bit). But macro is something I have dreamed of and was one of the main things I wanted to do when I bought my 40D.

    Unfortunately, as much as I would want to, getting both at this time would not really work. I might try to convince my parents a bit whether they would be willing to add a bit more money, but I'm not sure it would work.
    Just a small breakdown of the prices:
    Canon 100 macro + 430EX II = 410 + 190 = 600€
    Sigma 30 1.4 = 480€

    So, which lens should I go for? The Canon 100 macro, which I'm sure will be a lot of fun and a lens I will really love, but might see limited use in the long term. Or the Sigma 30 1.4, which would see a lot of use (most likely make my kit lens obsolete unless I need wider than 30mm), but will not provide as much satisfaction as the macro.
     
  2. flosseR macrumors 6502a

    flosseR

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2009
    Location:
    the cold dark north
    #2
    Well I have to say, a Macro lens is not just a macro lens. They also are excellent portrait lenses. On your 40D it will be a little bit on the long end so you get a medium telephoto as well with an f2.8 and tack sharp!

    The thing is, if you don't like Macro you can always sell it and get the 30mm but I am arguing that you already cover the 30mm focal length and f1.4 is nice and wide open but VERY shallow.

    Dont know, up to you but out of the 2, the Macro is the more versatile lens IMHO.

    //F
     
  3. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #3
    A lot depends on how you "see" things. I tend to shoot predominately telephoto, only in the last couple of years have I been shooting anything wide, and even then I tend to start in the middle of my lens range and stitch panoramas. I like images that isolate a subject, so for me, I'd definitely go for the 100mm- you have to decide what drives you the most- three stops is a lot of difference in light- if you can't go up three stops in ISO then that makes a huge difference. For me, macro is handy- but I use my macro lenses as normal lenses most of the time. You already know what 35mm is like, so bump your ISO up three stops and imagine it at base- I don't know if you can talk your parents into a rental- or if you can cover one, but I think both of those lenses can be had for less than $25 a week each if you wanted to compare time.

    Paul
     
  4. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #4
    I think you are wrong about the flash and macro. It will be very have to use a hot shoe mounted flash for macro work. the angle is wrong an the lens casts a shadow. Macros require off camera flash. Also, macros really do require a tripod. You'd be surprize how well improvided lighting works. If outdoor a reflector made with aluminum foild and cardboard or even a high power reading lamp if indoors or even a standard 100W light bulb. You don't need much power becasue the light source can be very close to the subject, inches away if you want.

    I have a 50mm f/1.4 lens that I like but I'd prefer the 35mm. I bought the 50mm 15 years ago back when I was shooting film but for the crop body DSLRs 35mm is beter. I'd say this is a must have lens.

    You can do the macro stuff on the cheap using screw-on diopters and agressive cropping using the existing lens. So get the 35mm and do macros on the cheap while saving for a real macro lens.

    While I do have a real macro lens (it's a Nikon from the 1970's) I've shot some really small items using the kit lens and shooting through a loupe (the kind use to check focus on negatives. Many tricks you canuse if you don't have a macro lens
     
  5. neutrino23 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2003
    Location:
    SF Bay area
    #5
    It is a tough call. I think you can use your current lenses to help. Set them to either 30mm or 100mm and walk around and see how it looks. You won't get the aperture effect but you will get the framing to help you judge the utility of each lens.

    100mm on a 40D seems rather long. I also have a Canon 40D, for a prime I got a Sigma 70mm f/2.8 lens. It is incredibly sharp even at f/2.8. I like the f/2.8 for being able to soft focus the background. If I back up a bit this does nice portraits. 100mm would push you back even further. On the other hand, I can do really nice macro work with this lens.

    You can look at slrgear.com for technical details about lens sharpness and such.
     
  6. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #6
    For macro work, the extra working distance of the 100mm would be an advantage over a 70mm lens.

    Paul
     
  7. AlaskaMoose macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2008
    Location:
    Alaska
    #7
    The 100mm f/2.8 Macro may be a more versatile lens than the 30mm f/1.4 depending on what type of photos you plan to take. If you plant to use the lens for portraiture, then the 30mm one may be a better choice indoors, but outside during the day you can just move away from the subject and still use the 100mm Macro.

    If the choice were mine, I would buy the 100 Macro, simply because while I don't always use it for macro photography, I already know that it's just about perfect for such if that's what I wanted do do:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  8. dllavaneras macrumors 68000

    dllavaneras

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2005
    Location:
    Caracas, Venezuela
    #8
    I beg to differ. None of my macros are shot with a tripod. I do use a ring flash (and occasionally I supplement it with an external slave), but never a tripod.

    It's not an absolute must to have an off camera flash, either. I've used the built-in flash while taking 1:1 pics and I've gotten pretty nice results. Here are a couple of examples:

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I took these shots in the wild (no butterfly farms or anything like that), and using only my XTi, 100mm macro and built-in flash. Of course, the light is harsh (see a 100% crop here), and it's not going to be as pleasing as, say, a MT-24 EX using custom diffusers. But it works in a pinch, and it's much, much better to get a good shot with a little harsh light than to either get it blurry or not get it at all.

    More samples here, here, here and here. All these shots were taken under several lighting conditions (sunny, overcast, dark, etc.).

    I also replied in length about the use of flash vs ambient light for macros here. My post explains the pros and cons of using both kinds of light for macros. The original poster of that thread was wondering if he could take macros without a flash, and that was my reply.

    You can also get very sharp portraits from this lens, even wide open. Some examples:

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    And here's another example, using the built-in flash as fill light:
    [​IMG]

    So, in short, yes, you can get good shots with a macro lens, no tripod and no external flash. Of course, having an external flash (be it a ring flash or a speedlite with macro mods) will help a lot, and the quality of your light will improve, but they are by no means indispensable.
     
  9. blockburner28 macrumors 6502

    blockburner28

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2009
    Location:
    New Orleans
    #9
    100mm macro lens. I will be trying to get one next week.
     
  10. Patriks7 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Patriks7

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2008
    #10


    Well so far after having my camera for a bit over 7 months, my usage has been pretty equal between telephoto and wide. I guess that is the main reason I'm undecided between these two. The thing with ISO, the last time I tried to shoot in the conditions I plan on using the Sigma 30, I had my ISO on the highest setting and the shutter speed was too low. The three stops would have definitely helped me. I was thinking about a rental, but the service here isn't really too reliable and I decided to put my camera away until I'm done with exams, so I can have time to study and not be outside taking pictures all the time :p

    Thanks, good to know about those tricks. I Kind of have to disagree with your second sentence, as I have seen MANY setups where people use a hot shoe mounted flash and get stunning results.

    Thanks, I have already tried couple times to set my current lenses at 30mm and 100mm, yet I'm still undecided, because I see so many different applications for both. Unfortunately, the Sigma 70 you talk about is not sold here.
    And I have read so many reviews and things like that on both of these lenses, that I'm even more undecided... :confused:

    Yes, that was one of the first things I learned and due to this I'm wanting the Canon 100 macro over the Canon 60 macro.

    Good point on the portraiture. I doubt I will really be doing any portraits inside, mostly outside (especially during the summer). But the main reason I'm wanting the wider lens is when I travel during the summer and end up inside many different buildings and restaurants and such. For that, I think the 100 macro would be quite useless.

    Yeah, many macro photographers I talked to told me they aren't really using their tripod too much and they get stunning results. I was also thinking of somehow getting a ring flash, but I would get much more use out of a hot shoe flash. I guess the ring flash would come later, once I have other accessories and lenses I need. And also, very nice pictures you got there :D
     
  11. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #11
    Obviously you should make this choice based on what direction you want to take as a photographer.

    I have bought a 30 mm f/1.4 Sigma myself last December and I must say, I have thoroughly underestimated how much I enjoy this lens. Right now, it's my most-used lens, hands down. It's light, it's quick -- and as you have noted, the focal length is great for general photography. I very much like the bokeh as well. If you use a flash with it, you have a lot more creative freedom to balance ambient light with flash light.

    The macro, on the other hand, is a specialized lens. While it is true that you can use it for portraits, I think it's already a bit long. I don't own a 100 mm macro, but an 80-200 mm f/2.8 zoom and 80 mm is quite long on my crop camera -- especially indoors.

    In terms of usage, the 30 mm Sigma will probably spend more time being mounted to your camera than a macro.
     
  12. Gold89 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #12
    If money is tighter have you considered the Sigma 105mm Macro as an alternative?
     
  13. harcosparky macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2008
    #13
    I had at one time the need to do a lot of Macro work. I was doing some work for another individual who wanted to sell fine jewelry online. I set out to find a decent Macro lens and was looking hard at the Canon 100mm Macro lens. It was good, but I wanted a stronger lens. I ended up with a Tamron SP AF180mm Macro and saved quite a bit of money. The results from the lens were excellent, and though I do not use it as much as I did, I still have it and from time to time pull it out.

    Tripod? Never used one with the Macro outside. I have used stands when shooting some jewelry and other small fine inanimate objects. Outside I use it when I see something interesting or unusual in the way of insects.

    I do think at one point I'll be adding the Canon 100mm Macro to the lineup, but not so much for Macro work.
     
  14. jdavtz macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2005
    Location:
    Kenya
    #14
    My gut feeling would be to go with the 30mm, in contrast to what most of the other posters are saying.

    To be honest, I doubt you'd be disappointed with either choice.

    Can you get either or both of them second hand? You might find you can afford both (if you forget the flash gun for the moment).
     
  15. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #15
    Agreed, I've bought all of my lenses used and I couldn't be happier.
     
  16. Patriks7 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Patriks7

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2008
    #16
    Very good point, I guess I'm also underestimating the lens. Maybe I'll go for the Sigma after all, and look to add the macro later.

    I have looked at that, and it will not help me as here it costs 530€ and I can buy the Canon for 410€, so I really won't be saving any money at all :D

    If you didn't use a tripod, did you use a flash? Or was it all with available light?

    I have the same feeling as well! But I'm somehow lusting after the macro. Guess it might be the best choice to get the Sigma 30 1.4 and look to get extension tubes as well?
    And I'm not really wanting to buy second hand, at least not in my country. The second hand market isn't really developed here and when I asked the two camera shops here, all they had second hand was some really old lenses.
     
  17. AlaskaMoose macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2008
    Location:
    Alaska
    #17
    As several of us have pointed out, all depends on what type of photos you are planning to take. If you want a little wider than 50mm, the the 30mm Sigma will be fine. But for indoors use alone, a 30mm lens is not necessarily wide on your 40D. For taking structural photos indoors a zoom lens around 12-24mm would be a lot better than a 30mm lens, at least most of the time. How about a zoom from 17-50mm? Now, if you have a 5D, then a 30mm lens would be wide.

    See if you can borrow a lens such as the EF-S 10-20mm, and give it a try indoors (or just look at the photos taken with a 10-20mm lens in this forum).
     
  18. Patriks7 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Patriks7

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2008
    #18
    Thanks for the advice, but that is too wide and also too slow for what I need.
     

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