A Site for Photographers by Photographers

Community > Forums > Canon EOS > canon 50mm macro vs 100mm...

canon 50mm macro vs 100mm macro

matt houston , Mar 15, 2007; 11:11 a.m.

After a weekend shoot I realizede that I needed a new lens. I already own the 16-35 mm, 70-200mm, 85 mm and 1.4 converter. All lenses are 2.8 except the 85mm which is a 1.8. During the shoot ( 3 month old baby )in which I brought a backdrop and lights I realized that with my 70-200mm I had to back up way to far and with my 16-35mm I was eggheading the poor kiddo. My 85mm was the same situation with having to back up too far.

So I am thinking I need a new lens. I was a professional journalist for 10 years and never needed any other lenses as I was shooitng news all the time and only needed my 16-35 or my 70-200. I have burned out and I am now starting a portrait biz. The lighting, backdrop and portrait biz is new to me and I am slowly working my way in.

So the question is...Should I buy the 100mm macro or the 50mm macro. I will be doing maternity and baby shots.

I figure that this lens would fall between the 16-35mm and the 70mm and the 85mm, covering the gap in distance. It seems to me that if I buy the 100mm I would already have that covered with the 70mm-200mm although this lens isn't a macro or considered a " portrait lens ".

I am worried that with the 100mm I would not be ablt to get hubby, baby and wifey all in the same shot. But maybe the 50mm would be too close.

Macros will also be nice to get those detail shots as well. ( hands feet and eyelashes etc. )

Any of you experienced portrait guys have any advice.

Remember that right now I am working in peoples and I have no studio yet.



    1   |   2   |   3     Next    Last

Jon Austin , Mar 15, 2007; 11:32 a.m.

If the 85's too long, the 100 macro certainly will be, as well.

I bought the 100 macro 4 years ago as a dual purpose macro / portrait lens, and found it too long for portrait (on my then 10D), and returned it to buy the 50mm compact macro.

The 50 is my only non-USM lens, and as such it's a little buzzy when it focuses, but I still love it. It's marginally faster than the 100 (f/2.5 vs. f/2.8), but not so much that you'd really notice the difference in most situations.

Anyway, it's sharp and clear and contrasty and fast and small and light and cheap. I'm really happy with this purchase.

On the other hand, have you considered the 24-70? It's big and heavy and expensive, but it's f/2.8, and would give you more flexibility while your "studio" is still your clients' homes.

matt houston , Mar 15, 2007; 11:40 a.m.

Awesome answer. The 50mm is defiintely cheaper. I am glad to hear that it is tack sharp. i also appreciate the info about using it aas a portrait lens as it is too long. Is there any noticeable distortion in the photos such as in the corners of the pics?

matt houston , Mar 15, 2007; 11:42 a.m.

Thanks in response Response to canon 50mm macro vs 100mm macro

Awesome answer. The 50mm is defiintely cheaper. I am glad to hear that it is tack sharp. i also appreciate the info about using it aas a portrait lens as it is too long. Is there any noticeable distortion in the photos such as in the corners of the pics?

Jon Austin , Mar 15, 2007; 12:03 p.m.

Matt: you don't specify whether your body is 1.6x, 1.3x or full frame.

I'm still shooting 1.6x (20D), but on it the 50/2.5 macro is very low distortion. Based only on what I've read, that's still the case even on full frame.

Perhaps others here with both the 50mm macro and a FF body (like the Pupster) could chime in.

matt houston , Mar 15, 2007; 12:10 p.m.

Old Eos 1d with 1.3x. I also need to know what kind of backdrop I need, I am looking at black ones. Righ now I am using a black king size sheet but I am getting wrinkles and drop lines. Can you help? I need something inexpensive. Hence the king size sheet. It doesn't get any cheaper than that.


Ronald Moravec , Mar 15, 2007; 12:18 p.m.

I am less and less happy with digi as I investigate more to answer questions like this. Glad I have not invested past a point and shoot.

The classic way to resolve getting closer is extension tubes and closeup lenses or bellows.

Bellows seem not to be listed. 12 and 25mm extension tubes are cataloged, EF12 and EF 25. They increase the spacing between the lens and camera allowing closer focus. No details are given so you are left to figure what your needs on your own. Manual focus is recommended.

Key being 42mm total extension from infinity focus will get you 1:2 or half life size, 85 mm will get you life size or 1:1 using your 85mm lens. Subtract the built in extension of the lens from the above numbers, 42 or 85, and calculate how much more you need. How you figure the built in extension on an autofocus lens I do not know.

Close up diopters are also listed. 250D in 52 and 58mm screw in size and optimised for 50/135 lenses. No data given and I have no Idea how to calculate anything as the diopter strength is not listed.

Also 500 and 500D for 70/300 mm lenses.

Manual focus recommended for closeup lenses too.

A standard 50 1.4 will focus to 18 inches which will cover 7x10 inch subject. EF 25 tube will get it to 3x5 guessing.

Macro lenses have flatter fields which will not be important in portrait work. Edge sharpness and contrast at the edges are far better than standard lenses. Probably not important for you.

Since you have an 85, use it for headshots and 3/4 portraits.

You need a fifty ish for small groups.

50 1.4 described above. 50 2.5 compact macro focus to .8 foot. 60 2.8 macro focus to .65 foot.

I would get a fifty 1.4. Maybe a EF12 to match. Small babies don`t hold very still anyway and closeup work is harder than you think. Cropping is always an option and you will not sell a 16x20 of a baby hand.

If I wanted a macro, I would get the 60 as I use mine in the Leica system a lot. The 100 will get the same area as a 50 at a greater lens to subject distance. It will also work well for 3/4 portraits to headshots.

I also recommend natural color mode and low contrast settings. This will resemble porofesional portrait film.

You should try Mpix color lab. Quality and service and turnaround are excellent and they will print on profesional paper so the contrast does not go out of sight like all consumer labs give you. The crops you send will come back the way you want.

I would never use zooms for portrait work. My ideal selection would be the 24, 35, 50 1.4, 100 2.0. Substitute the macros for the 50 and 100 if you want.

Zooms are nice for news and travel.

If you still like zooms, the 24/70 2.8 is very good and close focus is a bit over 12 inches. This lens has very little distortion.

matt houston , Mar 15, 2007; 12:21 p.m.

Also is there a way to keep my black back drop from going to Grey? I am trying to get a nice deep back in the background and I find myself having to burn the black severely to get a true black. I am shooting at 250, the max allowed and it still willnot go black.

matt houston , Mar 15, 2007; 12:27 p.m.

That's avery involved and informed answer. Thanks so much! Forgive my short answers. Mytyping is not so good and it takes me forever to type. BTW I just bought the 50mm online given all the suggestions. I am sure I will be happy with it. It is also great advice about the baby hand not being made as a 16X20. You seem to know your photography and lenses. A lot of the stuff you mentioned above went over my head, but I get the point...showoff :)

Jon Austin , Mar 15, 2007; 02:03 p.m.

Matt: your "showoff" comment to Ronald was obviously in jest, but ask for more information about anything you didn't understand and want to learn more about.

    1   |   2   |   3     Next    Last

Back to top

Notify me of Responses