What are you using for macro photography?

Started Jun 12, 2013 | Discussions thread
Catallaxy Veteran Member • Posts: 3,724
All sorts of stuff

My most used lens is my Sigma 150 f/2.8 macro (the older non-OS version). This lens is good for bugs as well as flowers. Medium contrast, melted colors, smooth bokeh, and precise AF.

My second most used setup is a Nikon 55-200 VR paired with a Canon 500d closeup lens. This gets near 1:1. This rig is often used because the closeup filter is so small that I can carry it around with just about anything. Similarly the 55-200 VR is a nice tele that is small and lightweight.

I will also pair that Canon 500d with the Nikon 70-300 VR and many other lenses. That Canon 500d is always in the bag and I usually have the filter wallet with the step up rings in it for 67, and 72mm threads.

My favorite manual focus macro is my Vivitar Series 1 90 f/2.5 (with supplied tube for 1:1 macro). This is the twin to the famous Bokina (Tokina 90 f/2.5), but more prone to flair. Very smooth bokeh paired with melted colors and excellent subject isolation is the main attraction of this lens.

I also like my Nikon 55 f/3.5 AI with or without tube. This lens is the same series used by AnotherMike and was produced around 1966 or 1967 and was AI'ed by John White about two or three years ago.

My 1983 version of the Tamron 90 f/2.5 SP Adaptall is also terrific (with or without tube). This lens was heavily used before I got the Vivitar Series 1 90 f/2.5.

My Voigtlander 90 f/3.5 and Voigtlander 40 f/2. with supplied close up lenses do close ups very well. I have some wonderful shots from these lenses. The 40 f/2 in particular has a very intersting look (WA macro).

My Vivitar Series 1 135 f/2.3 (AI'ed) has close focus abilty and is used from time to time. However flair is as big problem and the lens is a beast in size and bulk, but I will use it when I am on a portrait shoot to do some closeups.

Similarly my Vivitar 70-150 f/3.8 has close focus ability and is taken out when I want a short tele for full frame and do not want to burgen the bag with a larger lens. The cats-eye OOF highlights of this lens are something to see.

I also use my tubes and teleconverters on various lenses to include my 600 VR. However others that I have used tubes on are the Nikon 55 f/1.2 (AI'ed), Nikon 105 f/2.5 etc.

I generally do not reverse mount a lens, but I have the adapter so that I can if I want. Similarly, I do not reverse mount a lens on another lens for greater than 1:1, but I can if I want. I do not have a bellows or rails, but I have been looking getting both for a while (on my shopping list about half way down....).

Every lens and combination has a character. For instance, the Nikon 105 f/2.5 AI is a wonderful portrait lens, but I have never loved it as a macro with tubes or with a close up lens attached. But the lowly 55-200 VR paired produces a nice look that I like.

Good luck.

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