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View Full Version : Tripod and macro lens advice needed.



Just asking
12-05-11, 11:54 AM
Hi, Folks.

I really need some advice on what type of tripod and macro lens I need to buy and your excellent forums seemed the place to ask.

You see, my sister is a professional amateur shutter-bug who's favourite thing in the world is snapping insects, spiders and all manner of crawling, wriggling varmits and still life, and as she is always cursing the equipment she has, I want to gift her with a better tripod and macro lens.

She currently has a Canon 400D (which she is happy with), a noisy Sigma 50mm 1:2.8 DG Macro lens (which she regularly waves her fist at in states of frustration) and some jelly legged piece of rubbish tripod.

Now I know she wants a better and much quieter macro lens (so as not to disturb the bugs), and a recent episode that saw her cursing the tripod and casting it aside for its inadequacies, prompts me to ask for your recommendations for a tripod, as well. The tripod needs to allow the centre column to be mounted horizontally as well, so she can take pics straight down without the legs interfering in any way with picture or object. Something like the Slik or Uni-lok systems.

I am working on something of a budget here, so let's not go wild, but I appreciate any advice or recommendations you can make.

Many, Many thanks.

JA

canismajor
12-05-11, 06:57 PM
Hi, Folks.

I really need some advice on what type of tripod and macro lens I need to buy and your excellent forums seemed the place to ask.

You see, my sister is a professional amateur shutter-bug who's favourite thing in the world is snapping insects, spiders and all manner of crawling, wriggling varmits and still life, and as she is always cursing the equipment she has, I want to gift her with a better tripod and macro lens.

She currently has a Canon 400D (which she is happy with), a noisy Sigma 50mm 1:2.8 DG Macro lens (which she regularly waves her fist at in states of frustration) and some jelly legged piece of rubbish tripod.

Now I know she wants a better and much quieter macro lens (so as not to disturb the bugs), and a recent episode that saw her cursing the tripod and casting it aside for its inadequacies, prompts me to ask for your recommendations for a tripod, as well. The tripod needs to allow the centre column to be mounted horizontally as well, so she can take pics straight down without the legs interfering in any way with picture or object. Something like the Slik or Uni-lok systems.

I am working on something of a budget here, so let's not go wild, but I appreciate any advice or recommendations you can make.

Many, Many thanks.

JA
Hi, without knowing your budget it's difficult what to recommend. One of the Manfrotto tripods has a centre column that can be used horizontally as well as vertically, and costs about £160. It's the 055X PROB. As for macro lenses, they aint cheap for sure. I use a Sigma 70mm f2.8 on my Nikon D300, which costs about £510, but I would recommend the larger focal length, the 105mm which costs about the same but will allow the user to stay further away from the subject and not scare it off. Many prefer to buy used lenses in the original boxes for a lot less, so it's a personal thing I guess. I wish you all the best, Mike.

graham_c
12-05-11, 07:54 PM
Hi Agree with Mike you wont't go wrong with a manfrotto. As for a lens bet the biggest one you can afford good luck... graham

Just asking
12-05-11, 08:57 PM
Thanks for the responses guys.

The Manfrotto range does seem to offer some good versatile products, so I will pay more attention there.

As for the lens options. Are all sigma lenses noisy when they action? Also, she told me that the Canon macro lenses have their focusing mechanism on the inside so the lens always remains the same size when trying to focus. With the Sigma she has at the moment, the front of the lens juts in and out as it's working and it bothers the bugs, so I guess it would be better if this never happened.

I don't have much of a clue with cameras, really, so your comments are very welcome.

I really appreciate it.

JA

daft_biker
12-05-11, 09:13 PM
I use a Manfrotto tripod too but prefer a geared head over over the more standard pan/tilt or ball heads. I also like using a focus rail for macro.

Noisy lens? The autofocus I'm guessing? I usually set the focus distance manually and move back and forth to focus. My favourite budget concious macro lens is the Tamron 90mm.

I doubt the beasties mind the noise though - they're more likely to be spooked by what they can see than tiny air currents. Longer lenses tend to make it easier by making you shoot from further away and that gives us the standard advice of buy the longest macro lens you can afford.

daft_biker
12-05-11, 09:18 PM
With the Sigma she has at the moment, the front of the lens juts in and out as it's working and it bothers the bugs, so I guess it would be better if this never happened.


Indeed it would. I went for an internal focus Canon lens but it's more money than the 3rd party options with external focus.

aidys1
13-05-11, 08:25 AM
Hi there as one of my passions is macro photography this is how I see it.

For flowers etc; focal lengths 30mm, 50mm up to 100mm dedicated macro lenses and even your standard zoom with a 200 or 300mm limit. As you donít need to worry about working close and spooking what you are trying to photograph.

For insects the minimum you want is 70mm, but 90mm up works best as the larger the focal length the further you can be away from your subject.

What I use is the Tamron 90mm macro lens which I handhold most of the time, I also have the Benbo Trekker tripod that has a rotating centre column ideal for macro, She will also find that her depth of field will be very limited so you may need a Ringflash or some form of lighting. I use the Sigma EM-140 DG Macro Ring Flash but there are cheaper brand about.

So depending on budget the list below I would recommend.

Lens
1) Tamron 90mm macro lens at around £349

http://www.jessops.com/online.store/products/29447/show.html

2) And if your budget can afford them either the Tamron 180mm or sigma 150mm macro lenses although both of these are over the £600 mark.

Tripod
1) Benbo trekker mine I got second-hand on eBay for £45 and was like new, but they arenít expensive new.

http://www.warehouseexpress.com/buy-benbo-trekker-mk-3-kit/p1023101

Flash
1) Any Ringflash or twin flash set up there are several and eBay is a good place to find them at competitive prices.

Below are some images taken using the above set up.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/aidys1/4854703599/in/set-72157622850973915

http://www.flickr.com/photos/aidys1/4175100944/in/set-72157622850973915

http://www.flickr.com/photos/aidys1/4819582016/in/set-72157622850973915

http://www.flickr.com/photos/aidys1/4512108035/in/set-72157622850973915


I hope this helps and if you require more info please PM me.

Happy snapping Aidy

Just asking
13-05-11, 12:31 PM
Exactly the info I needed, Aidy, and even though I've decided on a Canon lens because everything is internal, the Trekker tripods are very versatile and cheap on Ebay.

Many thanks to all you folks, this has been very helpful.

JA

canismajor
13-05-11, 04:24 PM
Hi Aidy, Just had a look at some of your images on Flickr, and you sure have an eye for detail and the right moment for capture. When I read of guys like yourself and CS3 and Raw and how you work with these tools leaves me awestruck. All I use is the free download Picasa and that's it!. I've never even shot in Raw would you believe, which makes me think am I missing something here?. Maybe that's where my pics could be improved on, but one thing still bothers me in all this, as an OAP would I be clever enough to grasp all this new fangled technology, because reading some of the comments in the WDC mag of folk who work with it, I'm sure I would fail. All I do is shoot in JPEG, download into Picasa, and then print. Am I missing something?. Love your pics. Mike.

graham_c
13-05-11, 05:30 PM
Hi. Mike. The best way to start on cs5 in to first get in photoshop elements. It is a smaller version but still with a lot of powerful tools. I gave my old cs3 to a friend and he found it very daunting. I then gave him photoshop elements 5 a program shipped free with a wacom tablet s and he found it a lot easier, he is now i enjoying photoshop cs3 hope this helps ...graham

aidys1
13-05-11, 10:23 PM
Exactly the info I needed, Aidy, and even though I've decided on a Canon lens because everything is internal, the Trekker tripods are very versatile and cheap on Ebay.

Many thanks to all you folks, this has been very helpful.

JA

Glad i was able to help happy snapping Aidy

aidys1
13-05-11, 10:30 PM
Hi Aidy, Just had a look at some of your images on Flickr, and you sure have an eye for detail and the right moment for capture. When I read of guys like yourself and CS3 and Raw and how you work with these tools leaves me awestruck. All I use is the free download Picasa and that's it!. I've never even shot in Raw would you believe, which makes me think am I missing something here?. Maybe that's where my pics could be improved on, but one thing still bothers me in all this, as an OAP would I be clever enough to grasp all this new fangled technology, because reading some of the comments in the WDC mag of folk who work with it, I'm sure I would fail. All I do is shoot in JPEG, download into Picasa, and then print. Am I missing something?. Love your pics. Mike.



Thank you for your complements on my images, alas I too am still learning and would class myself as a beginner. As for editing I only know the basics and tend to edit in Jpeg rather than raw, I did try raw and you will get a better result but it does take longer and I only go there if I have something special and want to print it, I would follow Grahams advice and get Photoshop elements, it will be a learning curb but well worth it and believe me if my mum can operate CS5 like a pro after some practice you too will be in twelve months. You won’t regret going down that road.

PS just had a look through your gallery and must say they are very good captures skilfully taken.

Happy snapping Aidy

canismajor
14-05-11, 10:40 AM
Hi. Mike. The best way to start on cs5 in to first get in photoshop elements. It is a smaller version but still with a lot of powerful tools. I gave my old cs3 to a friend and he found it very daunting. I then gave him photoshop elements 5 a program shipped free with a wacom tablet s and he found it a lot easier, he is now i enjoying photoshop cs3 hope this helps ...graham
Hi Graham, sounds brilliant to me, and I've sent you a message concerning this, cheers, Mike.

canismajor
14-05-11, 10:46 AM
Thank you for your complements on my images, alas I too am still learning and would class myself as a beginner. As for editing I only know the basics and tend to edit in Jpeg rather than raw, I did try raw and you will get a better result but it does take longer and I only go there if I have something special and want to print it, I would follow Grahams advice and get Photoshop elements, it will be a learning curb but well worth it and believe me if my mum can operate CS5 like a pro after some practice you too will be in twelve months. You won’t regret going down that road.

PS just had a look through your gallery and must say they are very good captures skilfully taken.

Happy snapping Aidy
Hi Aidy. I'm grateful for your comments and also your compliments on my images, I do intend the follow the advice given by your good self, and also my friend Graham. I do feel however that many of your images are outstanding, and as you say you're a beginner, well I hope one day I can reach your standard in macro photography. I don't have the equipment that you have for this, so perhaps that's a thought for the future, anyway, many thanks for your input. All the best, Mike.

aidys1
14-05-11, 03:36 PM
Hi Aidy. I'm grateful for your comments and also your compliments on my images, I do intend the follow the advice given by your good self, and also my friend Graham. I do feel however that many of your images are outstanding, and as you say you're a beginner, well I hope one day I can reach your standard in macro photography. I don't have the equipment that you have for this, so perhaps that's a thought for the future, anyway, many thanks for your input. All the best, Mike.


Stop it you will make my head swell and Iíll never get out my front door, thank you for your compliments.

Happy snapping Aidy