I finally got a macro lens a couple of months ago and I’m starting to really like it. Not so much the lens but taking macro shots. Why? Well, it requires not really going anywhere far. All I have to do is find a flower or plant (which they’re plenty of in Atlanta) and start shooting.
I usually just stroll out a hour or two before sunset and find a flower and start shooting. I haven’t yet had the patience to wait for insects and then hope for a good pose but I have some decent flower shots. Nothing groundbreaking but hey, they didn’t require that much effort.
The reason why I really like it, is that doesn’t really require planning and long car rides and such. So when I’m feeling lazy but bored, it fills a nice gap. Plus, it allows me to take more photographs and learn a couple of things, like you can’t focus stack a flower with any hint of a wind.
So what lens have I been using? The continually back-ordered Tokina 100mm f/2.8. It seems pretty sharp to me, though I’m looking at 26 megapixel files, so don’t take my word if you’re using a 50 megapixel Canon behemoth. The Tokina is pretty nicely made, considering the price and I’m glad I didn’t buy the Nikon 105mm f/2.8. Is it also 1:1 magnification (1 inch in real life will be inch on the sensor), which is what swayed me over the older Nikon macro lens.
There are three cheap ways of getting into macro photography:
- Buy the Tokina 100mm f/2.8: Nikon Mount - Canon Mount
- Or buy the Tamron 90mm f/2.8: Nikon Mount - Canon Mount
- And/Or buy some extension tubes: Dumb Nikon - Dumb Canon - Smart Nikon - Smart Canon
I won’t go into which marco lens is the best or best value, but the two above are cheap, good, are 1:1 magnification and have a good working distance, so you don’t have to get super close to your subject and block out all the light.
With the extension tubes you can either go smart (with auto-focus) or dumb (without). I did the “and/or” for the them because there’s nothing stopping you from using them on macro lens! Instead of the 1:1 magnification, you could get 2:1, so 1 inch in real life would be 2 inches on the sensor - welcome to the world of abstract macro photography. Of course you can use the extension tubes on a non-macro lens to get a higher magnification than your normal lens - even if it’s not 1:1, it’s a start and it’s cheap.
I’m having fun shooting macro and if you haven't started, hopefully I’ve shown you that it doesn't have to be expensive to get going.