Flash and Macro lens

Started 4 months ago | Questions
exb
exb New Member • Posts: 18
Flash and Macro lens

Hello guys,

I would like to try macro photography but I completely newbie in this field.

I would like to know about your personal experience and thoughts.

First I am looking for a lens for Sony a7III.

I'm considering:

Sony 90 2.8 Macro

all looks cool but I worrying about not circular bokeh that someone reported and something that bothers me

Sigma 70 Art

looks cool too but focus distance is significantly smaller, and noisy AF that may spook wild insects.

Canon 100 2.8L

I already have an MC11.

Really good price especially I can buy used.

But I am worrying about AF performance since it is not a native lens.

Batis 40 CF

Not a true macro and also not circular bokeh.

Probably I should not consider it at all:) but personally, I do really like a color rendering from the Batis.

Also, I have a question about light.

I have a Godox AD200 flash,

should I consider to buy a flash ring or ad 200 could be enough?

or maybe there is some extension for the macro photography that would be good to buy.

Any thoughts, suggestions are welcome.

-- hide signature --

Thank you.

 exb's gear list:exb's gear list
Sony a7 III Sony FE 24-70mm F4 OSS Sigma 150-600mm F5-6.3 | C Sony FE 90mm F2.8 macro Zeiss Batis 85mm F1.8 +2 more
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Purpledog Junior Member • Posts: 47
Re: Flash and Macro lens
3

I would say don't worry about AF performance in macro photography, you'll be better off manually focusing anyway for most subjects. Dof will be miniscule and precise focus essential, and with most subjects being static, manual focus is the best option.

A ringflash is a thousand times more usable than a hotshoe flash for macro. The onlt 'normal' flash option that would do the work would be multiple flashes - one either side perhaps - essentially mimicking a ringflash!

Ringflash gives even illumination, so if you want more biased lighting then one or more flashes you can position would be better, but most macro subjects benefit from even lighting, and ringflash also avoids the very real problem of the lens getting in the way of external flash and creating ugly shadows.

Not all subjects benefit from ringflash though - highly reflective surfaces will show the distinctive ring reflection for instance, but generally, it's a hugely advantageous approach.

 Purpledog's gear list:Purpledog's gear list
Olympus Tough TG-4 Sony Alpha DSLR-A700 Sony SLT-A77 Sony a7 III
ZodiacPhoto
ZodiacPhoto Senior Member • Posts: 2,559
A sheet of paper...
2

exb wrote:

Hello guys,

I would like to try macro photography but I completely newbie in this field.

I would like to know about your personal experience and thoughts.

First I am looking for a lens for Sony a7III.

I'm considering:

Sony 90 2.8 Macro

all looks cool but I worrying about not circular bokeh that someone reported and something that bothers me

Sigma 70 Art

looks cool too but focus distance is significantly smaller, and noisy AF that may spook wild insects.

Canon 100 2.8L

I already have an MC11.

Really good price especially I can buy used.

But I am worrying about AF performance since it is not a native lens.

Batis 40 CF

Not a true macro and also not circular bokeh.

Probably I should not consider it at all:) but personally, I do really like a color rendering from the Batis.

Also, I have a question about light.

I have a Godox AD200 flash,

should I consider to buy a flash ring or ad 200 could be enough?

or maybe there is some extension for the macro photography that would be good to buy.

Any thoughts, suggestions are welcome.

A sheet of paper with a rubber band, attached to a normal flash gun, will provide excellent lighting for macro - I do it for years. Most ring flashes provide too even light - you can place pieces of electrical tape on parts of the ring to avoid it.

I never noticed any deficiency with Sony 90mm Macro bokeh.

-- hide signature --
 ZodiacPhoto's gear list:ZodiacPhoto's gear list
Sony RX100 III Sony RX100 VI Olympus OM-D E-M10 Sony a7R II
gardenersassistant Veteran Member • Posts: 6,127
Re: Flash and Macro lens
1

You may get additional useful information by also asking this question in the Macro and Still Life Photography forum and/or the Sony Alpha Full Frame E-mount Talk forum.

There are many and varied options. For example, for insects etc I find hot shoe mounted flash fine and I don't use a macro lens but for flowers etc I use natural light and I do use a macro lens, and although I have a full frame camera I don't use it for insects or flowers. I'm not suggesting that any of these options would be appropriate for you, just that there are a lot of options that you may want to find out about before deciding what to purchase next. To some extent for example it depends on what sort of subject matter and what sort of magnification you have in mind.

As to flash arrangements, you might want to skim through this thread or this much larger thread and/or similar ones for useful ideas.

Fresch Senior Member • Posts: 1,821
Re: A sheet of paper...

ZodiacPhoto wrote:

exb wrote:

Hello guys,

I would like to try macro photography but I completely newbie in this field.

I would like to know about your personal experience and thoughts.

First I am looking for a lens for Sony a7III.

I'm considering:

Sony 90 2.8 Macro

all looks cool but I worrying about not circular bokeh that someone reported and something that bothers me

Sigma 70 Art

looks cool too but focus distance is significantly smaller, and noisy AF that may spook wild insects.

Canon 100 2.8L

I already have an MC11.

Really good price especially I can buy used.

But I am worrying about AF performance since it is not a native lens.

Batis 40 CF

Not a true macro and also not circular bokeh.

Probably I should not consider it at all:) but personally, I do really like a color rendering from the Batis.

Also, I have a question about light.

I have a Godox AD200 flash,

should I consider to buy a flash ring or ad 200 could be enough?

or maybe there is some extension for the macro photography that would be good to buy.

Any thoughts, suggestions are welcome.

A sheet of paper with a rubber band, attached to a normal flash gun, will provide excellent lighting for macro - I do it for years. Most ring flashes provide too even light - you can place pieces of electrical tape on parts of the ring to avoid it.

I never noticed any deficiency with Sony 90mm Macro bokeh.

Are you selling the watch?

Pixel Pooper Veteran Member • Posts: 3,119
Re: Flash and Macro lens
1

If you don't mind the price, the FE 90mm is the best choice. It's a wonderful lens and is useful for much more than just macro. Otherwise the Sigma or Canon will give you very similar results. Don't worry too much about autofocus. Bugs aren't scared by noise, and you will mostly use manual focus anyway.

Don't be tricked by the product photos of the Sigma 70mm, they usually show the DSLR version. The E mount version has a built in adapter and is actually bigger than the FE 90mm.

Stay away from ring flashes, they don't produce nice light and make ugly reflections in spider's eyes. The AD200 looks nice, but expensive. I use a much cheaper Yongnuo YN560III on an L bracket with a home made diffuser.

Here are some shots with the FE 90mm:

Eniigma_21
Eniigma_21 Senior Member • Posts: 1,045
Re: Flash and Macro lens

gardenersassistant wrote:

You may get additional useful information by also asking this question in the Macro and Still Life Photography forum and/or the Sony Alpha Full Frame E-mount Talk forum.

+1

As to flash arrangements, you might want to skim through this thread or this much larger thread and/or similar ones for useful ideas.

To see more setups go to these thread or check here

I also agree with the others about AF. I use an old fully manual macro lens and a hot-shoe flash, which i can fire wireless using the Built-in flash.

 Eniigma_21's gear list:Eniigma_21's gear list
Sony a6000 Tamron SP 70-300mm F4-5.6 Di VC USD Sony E 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 OSS Sony E 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 PZ OSS Samyang 12mm F2.0 NCS CS
D Cox Forum Pro • Posts: 23,714
Re: Flash and Macro lens
1

Purpledog wrote:

I would say don't worry about AF performance in macro photography, you'll be better off manually focusing anyway for most subjects. Dof will be miniscule and precise focus essential, and with most subjects being static, manual focus is the best option.

A ringflash is a thousand times more usable than a hotshoe flash for macro. The onlt 'normal' flash option that would do the work would be multiple flashes - one either side perhaps - essentially mimicking a ringflash!

Ringflash gives even illumination, so if you want more biased lighting then one or more flashes you can position would be better, but most macro subjects benefit from even lighting, and ringflash also avoids the very real problem of the lens getting in the way of external flash and creating ugly shadows.

Not all subjects benefit from ringflash though - highly reflective surfaces will show the distinctive ring reflection for instance, but generally, it's a hugely advantageous approach.

I don't like the kind of lighting that you get from ring flash, at least for most subjects. It seems to work well for dentistry, where you are shooting into a hole.

Any flash with tilt-and-swivel, usually combined with a home made diffuser, will do fine. TTL is not needed -- just do a test shot and adjust the power of the flash accordingly.

I agree that AF is not essential, certainly not for still subjects. However, manual focus is best done with Live View or a mirrorless camera. I do find AF useful for insects.

As for the choice of lens, the Sony 90mm is certainly good. I don't own one, but I've seen many excellent shots taken with it.

For still subjects, consider a good enlarger lens such as an EL-Nikkor, mounted on a bellows. Or a classic manual macro lens by Nikon or Olympus.

Gerry Winterbourne Forum Pro • Posts: 15,917
Re: Flash and Macro lens
2

exb wrote:

Hello guys,

I would like to try macro photography but I completely newbie in this field.

I would like to know about your personal experience and thoughts.

First I am looking for a lens for Sony a7III.

It's hard to find a macro lens that isn't good. I think the most important consideration is focal length: a longer focal length usually gives you more working distance. Working distance is the distance from the front of the lens to the subject, it is not the same as the focus distance that is measured from the sensor to the subject. To find the working distance you'll need to get the length of the lens + the distance from sensor to mount and then subtract that from the minimum focus distance.

On the other hand, a shorter focal length puts you closer to the subject so perspective is exaggerated. This can be an advantage if you want to concentrate on, say, the large eyes of an insect; but it can be a disadvantage if you don't like distorted perspective.

You have to make your own decision there but if you are buying only one macro lens I suggest going long; but there's no practical, difference between 90, 100 and 105mm, which are all common FLs for macro lenses.

For macro itself auto focus isn't necessarily a big deal, although it sometimes helps if you can use highly magnified live view to choose an exact spot to focus on. But macro lenses often double as portrait or short tele lenses so I prefer AF lenses. Macro lenses have much longer travel to focus very close so they never focus as quickly as ordinary lenses.

I'm considering:

Sony 90 2.8 Macro

all looks cool but I worrying about not circular bokeh that someone reported and something that bothers me

Circular bokeh is what you get from distant (usually bright) objects. That's common in ordinary scenes but unusual in macro work; I wouldn't bother about it here.

Sigma 70 Art

looks cool too but focus distance is significantly smaller, and noisy AF that may spook wild insects.

Canon 100 2.8L

I already have an MC11.

Really good price especially I can buy used.

But I am worrying about AF performance since it is not a native lens.

Batis 40 CF

Not a true macro and also not circular bokeh.

Too short for a basic macro lends.

Probably I should not consider it at all:) but personally, I do really like a color rendering from the Batis.

There are excellent macro lenses around 100mm from Sigma, Tokina and Tamron (and others). All are worth considering and may be cheaper than those you mention.

Also, I have a question about light.

I have a Godox AD200 flash,

should I consider to buy a flash ring or ad 200 could be enough?

I find ring flash lighting to be too flat. Natural light almost always has some directionality to it, which models the subject and gives more depth. I use these home made diffusers (one for every lens I own) cut from translucent plastic containers - not white plastic with a filler dye.

As you see, it works with the onboard flash or hotshoe flash. By being right at the front of the hood it avoids shadows and puts the light very close to the subject (which makes its effect more diffuse). Some light hits lower side of the diffuser so it gives the effect of a ring light with some segments switched off. You can rotate it about 45 degrees left or right to control the directionality.

All absolutely free. All it needs is some empty containers and careful cutting for a snug fit.

or maybe there is some extension for the macro photography that would be good to buy.

If you mean extension tubes then, yes, they can be cheaper than dedicated macro lenses and can get more than 1:1 magnification on conventional lenses. But there are caveats: you must ensure that the rings have all the contacts for transmitting data between camera and lens (unless you have an old lens with aperture ring) because without it you can't set aperture; and you lose infinity focus, which often doesn't matter for macro work. And because yo get so close to your subject the sensitivity of focus, especially in manual, can be tricky.

Any thoughts, suggestions are welcome.

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Gerry
___________________________________________
First camera 1953, first Pentax 1985, first DSLR 2006
http://www.pbase.com/gerrywinterbourne
gerry.winterbourne@ntlworld.com

exb
OP exb New Member • Posts: 18
Re: Flash and Macro lens

Thank you guys for your responses.

They all very useful.

Yesterday I got a Sony 90mm from the local sony center.

I am happy so far but boke balls as I expected a bit disappointing (octogonal or even enneagonal) for so much amount of blades.

This gives some limitation for backgrounds.

But anyway it is a really good lens.

I noticed that is the light is really crucial for macro photography wondering how guys you can use ambient light only, because with f2.8 DOF is so narrow.

Most of the time I need to increase ISO up to 1600 to get f8 with around 1/100 SS

But this one I will learn with practice.

Now I am thinking how to adapt Gododx AD200 since I already have it.

 exb's gear list:exb's gear list
Sony a7 III Sony FE 24-70mm F4 OSS Sigma 150-600mm F5-6.3 | C Sony FE 90mm F2.8 macro Zeiss Batis 85mm F1.8 +2 more
Gandalf2401 New Member • Posts: 8
Re: Flash and Macro lens
1

As a diffusor I can recommend

DYNASUN Falt Diffusor Blitz Softbox RE2011 30cm Faltreflektor für Kamerablitz https://www.amazon.de/dp/B0020HN3LY/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_DXdTCb62E6QNY

I fix it between my sony 90mm 2,8 macro and the lens hood. It's a exact fit. For forward tilt I use a chopstick, one side at the front of the hot shoe flash, the other side at the top of the diffusor. No need for glue, tension keeps it in place.

LenRivers Senior Member • Posts: 1,005
Re: Flash and Macro lens

exb wrote:

Hello guys,

I would like to try macro photography but I completely newbie in this field.

I would like to know about your personal experience and thoughts.

First I am looking for a lens for Sony a7III.

I'm considering:

Sony 90 2.8 Macro

all looks cool but I worrying about not circular bokeh that someone reported and something that bothers me

Sigma 70 Art

looks cool too but focus distance is significantly smaller, and noisy AF that may spook wild insects.

Canon 100 2.8L

I already have an MC11.

Really good price especially I can buy used.

But I am worrying about AF performance since it is not a native lens.

Batis 40 CF

Not a true macro and also not circular bokeh.

Probably I should not consider it at all:) but personally, I do really like a color rendering from the Batis.

Also, I have a question about light.

I have a Godox AD200 flash,

should I consider to buy a flash ring or ad 200 could be enough?

or maybe there is some extension for the macro photography that would be good to buy.

Any thoughts, suggestions are welcome.

just for housekeeping.  Every lens has a macro capability the close focus. When I first started my 70-300 zoom lens was my macro lens.  I had to stand farther away but I did not have the funds for one.  If you want a 1:1 reproduction yes that is a specific designated macro lens

If you are shooting 2D subject matter like print from a book or really anything you can use close up filters. However this is optimal for 2d subject matter or flat surface stuff.  You can use it for anything just speaking optimal use.  These filters usually come in a set of 3. If you find it used buy it!

You can also buy used and rent gear first.  While you lose that money when we talk rental I would not buy something until you were sure or if money is not an issue.

For flash and lighting that is a whole other beast.  You have macro ring lights that can be a flash or LED

You have to consider subject matter.  Is this a insect or shiny jewelry.  You may also want to invest in a shooting table or tent you can light if the object is small and inanimate or just dead.... unless you like torture then nail the thing down,,, lol ...

Anyway,

I suggest google searching macro photography and check out Creative Live TV.com for classes.

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