I would like to try some macro photography. I've seen some amazing pictures of stamps with like microscope clarity. I'm not a stamp collector, I just used that as an example because they can be pretty detailed. Any suggestions on lenses. My camera came with the standard 18-55mm lens.
Whatever camera you use, the manufacturer's macro lens is your best choice for obtaining sharp detailed images. Second choice would be a macro from one of the after market manufacturer's like Sigma or Tamron.
Buying second hand lenses can reduce the cost and also offers a wider choice. A macro lens will be very superior for flat subjects like stamps because, unlike most modern zooms, the lens has a flat field. This means that the edges and centre will be in focus at the same time!
If you want to save some money you could always get a set of tubes or a close-up lens. I've seen some exceptional results from both at a fraction of the price of a macro lens.
Your telling me I can use a zoom for macro shots? Here are the three lenses I own. The Pentax 18-55mm which came with my camera, a Sigma 28-80mm f3.5-5.6 II Aspherical Mini Zoom Macro lens and a Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Macro Super II. I just thought zoom lenses were for distance shots. In your opionion which would you use. I feel stupid now.
There is macro... And there is macro.
Just because a manufacturer puts "macro" on a lens doesn't make that lens a true macro lens. Two things are required for a true macro lens: at least 1:2 magnification; and a very flat image plane.
Canon, Sigma, and Tamron all have some excellent macro lenses, from about 50mm to about 180mm. The longer focal lengths let you get 1:1 manification at a greater distance from the subject.
For the serious macro photographer, the Canon MP-E 65mm f/2.8 Macro lens has up to 5:1 magnification.
For more general work, Canon, Sigma, and Tamron have excellent 180mm macro lenses with exceptionally flat fields. The 180mm focal length allows 1:1 magnification at 18-19", which also serves to minimize distortion.
Hope this helps.
Here's a link with some shots and the 500D close-up. Lenses used were 28-70, 70-200, and a 100-400.
Just adding to the current thread, I use a Tamron 90mm as a dedicated macro lense, but have fiddled with everything in-between. The above post regarding close-up lenses is not misleading at all. Here's where honesty gets a few raised eyebrows. I use my 70mm-300mm zoom w/ a close-up lense taped on with electrical tape because of the size and I'm to cheap to buy the adapter. (Yes, I'm out of duct tape)
In the middle, 180mm-ish, you'll start to notice distortion and the DOF is extremely thin. Raise the f/ stop to lengthen the depth a bit.
Anyway, where there's a will, there's a way and trust me, I've got enough lenses taken apart and built on to prove it.
If you really want something new to do, just take the 18-55mm and flip it backwards then hold it up to your 28-80mm zoomed @ 80mm. Be very careful with the match-up and if you're a little nervious about scratches, stop right there and rethink the whole angle. There's a safe way to do anything. Anyway, you'll get really close, and with an external flash and lots of light, you can take some really amazing shots.
To long of a lense setup for the flash to clear the end of your lense causing a shadow? I lined a Kraft Dinner box w/aluminium foil and angled the flap (also lined) at a 45 degree slant. Another free product!
A somewhat safer (and much more stable) approach to reversing one lens and stacking it on another would be to use an adapter ring designed for this purpose.
Another macro approach is to take an ordinary lens in the 50-85mm range and use a bellows (more control, but expensive) or extension rings (more convenient and cheaper, but less flexible) to move the lens farther from the film plane. This will increase the magnification significantly at a sacrifice of far-focusing (will no longer focus to infinity.
Above all, have fun!
Above all, have fun!
After all, that's the most important part.
I completely agree with the adapter ring 20Dnewbie.
I'm just so used to making things work, that I forget that most items actually exist.
Pentax also make a really nice 100mm Macro when the macro addiction really takes hold.