Camera Assistance - Canon Macro Lens?


Jun 6, 2011
Hi people, I have just decided to get a Canon Macro Lens, and would like to know what is a good option for cheap?

Well, doesn't need to be cheap, but need not be brand spanking new either.

I'm hoping to check some hobby forums for second hand lenses (any heads up if I do this?)

Why I'm asking here is because I want to keep it simple. Knowing myself if I enter forums to do self research, I'll end up with a lens kit bag.

All I want is a Macro lens.

Oh, and a flash too.


Jul 22, 2011
I'd opt for the 100mm f/2.8 or if you want to splurge a little more and get better quality - go for the same lens in the L Series range.
I'm a pro. photographer but only work in natural light, I use a variety of cameras - mainly Canon and Hasselblads - I have a speedlight 580EX II which I rarely use, when I do I find it so-so. What level of photography are you at? I'm guessing a 480 EX II would probably be a good choice for you.


Apr 30, 2005
Here is Canon's current line up of macro lenses:
Apparently the 50 mm is not a true macro lens if it needs a converter to get to 1:1. :knockout:

Beware of buying a lens you will out grow tomorrow, in order to save some money today.
It will cost you more in the long run, and don't ask me how I know this. :oops:
I'd definitely get a used lens if you can trust the seller and ensure the lens is okay.

IMHO USED macro lenses are particularly smart purchases becuase for good macro work you should be on a tripod and focusing manually.
This means you don't need two prominent high tech features of expensive NEW lenses, automatic focus and image stabilization.

They are more expensive but get the longest focal length you can.
IOW, a 180mm is more desirable than a 100mm, which is more desirable than a 60mm.
At closest focus (maximum enlargement) a longer macro lens will allow more distance between the diamond and the lens.
This lets you get light into the table (and if you do nature photography is less likely to scare away bugs)
Those 60mm macro lenses are practically kissing the diamond.
Since a longer lens is further from the diamond the diamond will pick up and reflect less ugly black of the camera and tripod.

Check for used lens compatibility with your camera body model - (both mechanical bayonet mount AND aperture communication).
With Nikon the least expensive new bodies are the least compatible with old Nikkor lenses.
IMHO it's no biggie if an old macro lens cannot tell the camera body what f-stop it's at.
With digital cameras just take on shot and instantly check the exposure and compensate.
Macro work is not like sports photography where the moment is gone forever if you mess up.

Please please please get extension rings.
True macro is only 1:1.
That's not good enough for diamonds unless your diamond is 14mm in diameter. :-o :-o :-o
A 5mm diamond will only take up 5mm of your camera's sensor which is probably at least 22.3mm x 14.3mm.
For eye-popping 3D-like sharpness you want to get MAXIMUM enlargement BEFORE the image enters your camera, NOT later with cropping.
You want your diamond to use as many of your camera's sensor's pixels as possible.

Extension rings move the lens away from the body; they contain no glass so they are not expensive.
Fine Macro lenses are engineered so adding extension rings does not degrade the image.
Any gizmo you use containing glass, even from Canon, like tele-converters and screw-on magnification lenses WILL degrade the fine sharpness you paid for with your macro lens.

Even better than extension rings are bellows extensions.
The extension is continuously adjustable and up to around 10 inches - they are also a dream to focus.
I have a Nikon Bellows I bought 30 years ago but I don't know if Canon makes them, or if Nikon still does.

If you plan to use flash for diamond macro photography you have my prayers.
It's not impossible but getting nice results will be much more complex and I think you'll want multiple flash units with slaves.
I've never taken macro diamond pics with flash.
I use long exposures, sometimes as long as a minute.

Sorry to ramble.
I can't help it.
It's a disease.



Jun 6, 2011
Thanks guys. I think it is a good start that I know what Coltee is saying (I bought an L lens and threw back my kit lens for a discount on the EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM.

As for Kenny, it is one of the best diseases to have on a forum.

I am FIRMLY in the "newbie trying to learn by myself off and on without much interest in getting much better because nobody hot and or interesting is on hand to teach me" camp.

I didn't make that up. I'm sure there are many people in that camp.

My canon is a 500D, so basic DSLR body. I need to learn more photography skills bigtime.


Apr 23, 2008
TristanC|1312360317|2982947 said:
I am FIRMLY in the "newbie trying to learn by myself off and on without much interest in getting much better because nobody hot and or interesting is on hand to teach me" camp.

I learned from two VERY hot men, and let me tell you, it's an incentive to make you work harder. Hah.

But Kenny knows a lot of technical aspects of the lenses and such, so he's the right person to ask.
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