40-150 as a macro?

Started Feb 17, 2013 | Discussions thread
pschatz100 Contributing Member • Posts: 577
Re: 40-150 as a macro?

I take pictures of food and table settings.  When I began, I used a Canon 500D two-element close up lens with the 40-150mm zoom.  For the working distance I wanted, I tended to use the zoom in the 50-80mm range.  Picture quality was outstanding but focusing on exactly the right spot with the best depth of field was always a bit tricky and took a lot of time.

Eventually, I picked up a 55mm micro Nikkor, and fitted it with an adapter.  Working in aperture priority mode and with manual focus, I have found it easier and quicker to get the composition and focus that I want.

So what did I learn?

1) When just starting out, a close up adapter is useful and can yield good pictures.  Plus, they are relatively inexpensive.  But get a good one.  Putting any kind of a junk adapter on the front of your lens will impair quality.

2) If you do a lot of precise macro, then you will eventually want to upgrade to a macro lens.  A dedicated macro lens will make the work flow simpler and faster.

What about m4/3 macro lens versus adapting a legacy macro lens?

Most macro shooters will tell you that they prefer manual focus because it is important to control the zone of focus.  Personally, I find legacy macro lenses with manual focusing more pleasant to work with than native m4/3 lenses with focus-by-wire mechanisms.  However, I also work with a tripod and my subjects don't move around, so auto-exposure and image stabilization are not things I worry about.  YMMV.

Another thought: If you want to try a legacy macro lens, start with one of the smaller ones - my personal favorites are Nikkors in the 50-55mm range, but there are other good choices as well.  They are pleasant to handle on m4/3 bodies and will produce great images.  If you want more working distance, you will have to go with a longer focal length - but then the size and weight of the lens gets to be an issue.

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