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telephoto or macro?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by yamark, Jun 9, 2012.

  1. yamark

    yamark Mu-43 Regular

    113
    May 23, 2012
    Kentucky
    I want both in one lens. haha. I have my eye on the 100-300 lens. Can I achieve macro-like shots with this lens. I realize the focus distance on the lens is something like 6 feet. But, will the 300mm get me close?
     
  2. foxtail1

    foxtail1 Science geek & photo nut

    Dec 30, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Kristi
    Yes. I had the same decision to make earlier this year, and went with the 100-300 mm first. I got some really great macros with it. (Check my Flickr stream from between March and May 18th — all the macros were taken with the 100-300, as were all the bird shots.)

    But, if macro is your main focus, check my shots after May 18th. That's when I bought the Pan Leica 45. It's a lovely lens, well worth the high (to me) cost.

    But, you can do decent macro with the zoom.
     
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  3. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    There's 2 ways of looking at the question you raise.

    The specs for the PL 45mm macro look like it can produce a life size image on the sensor at a distance of 6". The closest focussing distance for the 100-300 is 4'9". At 4'9" something the 45mm could capture at life size would appear as .157 times life size.

    At 4'9" an object captured at 300mm focal length will have an image size on the sensor 6.666 times as large as you would get with the 45 mm so from that we can work out that if you photograph the same fly at life size at a distance of 6" with the 45mm macro lens, you could also photograph it at 4'9" with the 300mm lens and get an image 1.052 times life size. The 100-300mm lens can give you a slightly bigger image of a small object than you can get with the 45mm macro lens. Let's just say you can achieve identical images using both at their respective minimum focussing distances.

    So that's the first way of looking at it—image size. The second way is to look at the other things you need to consider.


    The macro lens is F/2.8 while the 100-300 is F/5.6 at 300mm. The macro lens is 2 stops faster which makes a big difference in exposure times. Not an issue if you've got enough light but sooner or later you will run into problems with light with both lenses. They'll be easier to solve with the macro.

    Next, let's say you want to photograph something on top of a table and you can't move the subject. You have to shoot from directly above. It's easy to do so if you only have to be 6" away. Most table tops are a bit over 2'9" from the floor so with the macro lens you can just bend over the table while standing. You have to add that table height to the 4'9" minimum focus distance if you're going to use the 100-300 and your camera is now over 7' above the floor and a lot of rooms have an 8' ceiling. We've got to fit the subject in there as well which raises the camera a bit more. There will be times when you won't be able to use the 100-300 simply because you won't be able to get far enough away. That will never be a problem with the macro lens. Even if you can get far enough away with the 100-300, there's always the chance that there will be obstacles that get in the way of the shot when you're that far away. There are some things which you will be able to photograph from 6" that you won't be able to photograph from 4'9" for some reason.

    I've used the PL 45mm as an example for a macro lens. The comparison of image sizes will be different if you use a different macro lens producing either a different image size and/or with a different minimum focus distance. Some macro lenses will do better than the 100-300 when it comes to image size, some worse. Don't assume that comparison will be valid for all macro lenses. There's one available which produces 5x magnification at a close focus distance and the 100-300 definitely won't match that. On the other hand, the Oly 12-50 claims to have a macro function but it doesn't produce a life size image on the sensor at it's macro focussing distance and the 100-300 will probably give you a noticeably larger image than you can get from the 12-50. Lens speed will also vary from one macro lens to another.

    Minimum focussing distance will also vary, but not by much. All macro lenses will focus at a distance of inches and that will a lot of things a lot easier than it would be with the 100-300. Besides the distance problems I mentioned, it may also be possible to find your subject a lot more easily at a distance of inches when using the macro lens than it will be at a distance of 4'9" with the 100-300. If you want to do a close up of a particular flower in a bunch, it may well be easier to find that flower from 6" away than it is to pick it out with the tele from 4'9" away, even if image size is identical.

    There are reasons why most people don't use long telephoto lenses for macro work. A lot is going to depend on what you want to photograph and where you want to photograph it, and you told us nothing about those things.
     
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  4. Sammyboy

    Sammyboy m43 Pro

    Oct 26, 2010
    Steeler Country
    I don't have a 100-300 lens, but you may want to ask MANY people that do own one and find out at what focal length the "sweet spot" is (you may get a lot of different answers).
    You can use a Marumi DHG achromat close-up lens, they have two powers available. The 330 is a +3 diopter and the 200 is a +5 diopter. I don't know how sharp this lens will be when used in macro work, but by all means you want to use an achromat lens.
    To give you an idea of the image size, +1 diopter = 1 meter = 39.37 inches
    So a +3 diopter = 39.37 inches/3 = 13.12 inches
    A +5 diopter = 39.37 inches/5 = 7.87 inches
    13.12 inches and 7.87 inches are the distances from the subject to the front of the lens when the lens is focused at infinity. The closest focus distance of the 100-300 is 4'-9" = 57" with a magnification of .21, the following math will give you a close approximation of the magnification you can expect with the lens set @ 300mm using a +3 diopter with a working distance of about 13".
    57/13.12 = 4.34 x .21 = .91 magnification (not quite life size)

    Here's using the +5 diopter
    57/7.87 = 7.24 x .21 = 1.52 magnification (greater than life size), needless to say, this would be very hard to hand hold.
     
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  5. Dave in Wales

    Dave in Wales Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 5, 2011
    West Wales
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  6. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Get a Four-Thirds mount adapter (Panasonic DMW-MA1, Olympus MMF-1, MMF-2, or MMF-3, or Viltrox) and a Zuiko 70-300mm f/4-5.6. Great telephoto, CDAF optimized, and 1:2 macro at 300mm with 3' working distance.

    Even if/when you buy a dedicated macro lens down the road, you will still find the tele-macro capabilities of the 70-300mm to be very useful, allowing you a good healthy working distance to shoot critters and such with normal lighting. Or, you may be hard pressed to find a good 300mm that isn't overly large. So this lens has a tendency to remain a useful part of your kit.

    If you say "telephoto and macro in one", the first thing that should pop into your head is the Zuiko 70-300mm.
     
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  7. yamark

    yamark Mu-43 Regular

    113
    May 23, 2012
    Kentucky
    Thanks folks. I am a physics and astronomy buff so all these numbers you all threw at me was really cool. Really, I am finding I like to work in extremes. 7-20mm and large telephoto. I want the 100-300 for wildlife and some minor astrophotography. This is the reason I want the 100-300. But I got to thinking that I'd really like to capture some bugs and such and that's where I got to thinking about macro.

    I'm also a huge fan of doing still life in my light tent. This is really where a macro could come in handy. But I think I could pull it off with the 100-300.
     
  8. yamark

    yamark Mu-43 Regular

    113
    May 23, 2012
    Kentucky
    Also, interesting read on the 45-200. It just made my decision harder b/c now I have to figure out how much I'll be missing in the 200-300 range if I choose the 45-200 over the 100-300. Right now I mostly use the panny 14mm and the olympus 14-45 kit. So, the 45-200 would give me the 45-100 range I'd be missing if I got the 100-300. But, I'd be missing out on 200-300 with could prove to be very useful with lunar, solar, and other astro shots.

    Also have to figure out which would be more comfy on my EPM1

    Doing macro is secondary to having a good tele lens. But, it would be a big bonus if I could get some decent macro shots.



    ACK!
     
  9. Spuff

    Spuff Mu-43 Top Veteran

    652
    Dec 5, 2010
    Berkshire, UK.
    This is the 100-300. Not near getting the details of insect eyes which is my benchmark for macro, but it can do something:
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/safetytrousers/7316043368/" title="dragon wing by Safetytrousers, on Flickr"> 7316043368_edbf316996_z. "640" height="510" alt="dragon wing"></a>
     
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  10. yamark

    yamark Mu-43 Regular

    113
    May 23, 2012
    Kentucky
    That looks good enough for me, for now. How likely is it that one of those buggers is going to stick around when you are 6 inches away?
     
  11. Spuff

    Spuff Mu-43 Top Veteran

    652
    Dec 5, 2010
    Berkshire, UK.
    One of the great things about dragon/damselflies is that they keep returning to the same perch. So they are easier to snap then a lot of insects (though wobbly leaf was a challenge here).
    And with the 100-300 you have to be quite a lot further back than 6 inches - disturbing the insect is not going to be an issue with the lens.
    If you are trying to get a insect that is only there for a moment it may well have gone by the time you've found it through the camera, but then you have various issues with any macro endeavour for insects.

    I would very much like a dedicated macro setup - but for me the long reach was the much bigger priority, and as you can see you have the chance of a bit of macro with the 100-300 whereas you won't have a long reach with an actual macro.
     
  12. yamark

    yamark Mu-43 Regular

    113
    May 23, 2012
    Kentucky
    Thats what I meant with the 6 inches comment. I imagine a macro may make it difficult.
     
  13. foxtail1

    foxtail1 Science geek & photo nut

    Dec 30, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Kristi
    Shot with the macro @ <12". :smile: (I have another that I shot as it perched on my left hand.)

    7311961932_b744b7ff4d_c.
    damselfly by foxtail_1, on Flickr
     
  14. yamark

    yamark Mu-43 Regular

    113
    May 23, 2012
    Kentucky
    I really really needed a tele lens today. 100-300 here I come.
     
  15. ckrueger

    ckrueger Mu-43 Veteran

    304
    Jul 16, 2011
    I say get the tele and if you need to get closer get a real macro lens later. There's a huge difference between a telezoom getting a nice insect portrait and what you can do with a 1:1 macro lens, but whether you need the extra magnification is more up to your photo style than anything. A lot of 1:1 shots can turn into abstracts. Fun to shoot, but they all look the same after a while.

    If you need a tele, get the tele. You can fudge macro, but you can't fudge focal length!
     
  16. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    If your budget is tight, I would second the Marumi recommendation. I have been using the 330 with my Oly 40-150 for close-up work, and have been reasonably happy with some of my shots. My keeper rate was not that far off my Nikon D300/105VR kit for handheld shots. And, the Marumi is quite compact for travel. If you do not need a true macro, the 330 is a nice addition for close-up work. And it is very affordable. They are sold on Amazon in the US, but you should be able to find a source in the UK if you are interested.

    Good luck,

    --Ken