Help choosing Canon 60mm or 100mm macro

Started Mar 27, 2010 | Discussions thread
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biggles267
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Help choosing Canon 60mm or 100mm macro
Mar 27, 2010

Hello, I would like to expand beyond my current set of 18-55 kit, 55-250 and 50mm 1.8 lenses. I like to take mostly nature photography and also shots of the family. I like macro and recently got a set of close-up lenses/attachments (not Canon brand), which was interesting to play with, but I did notice some loss of IQ. I keep hearing that lenses are more important than the body for sharpness and image quality, and I would like to put some nice lens on my 500D/T1i body, but unfortunately budget is tight.

So I have been considering getting the Canon 60mm macro, since it seems to fit the criteria of higher quality glass, specialist lens for nature macro, but also useful for portraits and keeping on the camera a lot of the time. Do you think this is a good way to go?

I've also read about the Canon close up lenses, and extension tubes. With the close up lens/attachment I used, the DOF was very short, even at f22 ec. When I see shots taken with the specialist Canon macro lenses, the DOF seems to be longer. Is it true that a specialist macro lens will have more DOF at the same settings as a non-macro lens which has a close-up attached, or will they have the same DOF? What diopter should I put on my 50mm to simulate as close as possible to the magnification and DOF I would get with the Canon 60mm? Re extension tubes, I think if I spend a couple of hundred dollars I might as well spend double that and get a specialist macro lens instead. Is that fair enough or is there some good reason why I should reconsider the extension tubes?

Finally, it seems that the Canon 60mm and 100mm are both highly rated. Perhaps the 100mm is just slightly better optically? Lots of award-winning photos use that lens. However I don't like to have to use a tripod all the time for macro, I do like to hand-hold. The 60mm would be better at this, and I think a better portrait length as well, plus not so heavy to carry around.

Is it reasonable to expect to be able to hand hold the 60mm macro for macro shots? Can the 100mm be hand-held? Is the only disadvantage of the 60mm over the 100mm the fact that you have to get closer which might scare away insects or cause a shadow problem? I'm not too worried about those issues, since the weight/handhold issue is probably more important to me. I think you probably miss as many insects by having to set up the tripod as you would by scaring them away being too close.

Advice from experienced macro shooters is appreciated!

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