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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I love photography, and have a good eye for it. The problem is, I have never taken any classes on it.

My question is: I have a Canon Rebel XT, and it has the "macro" function on it. I have taken several pictures with it, and it is ok, but I have seen (on other forums) pictures of new hatched Betta fry (if you have never seen them, they are TINY!!! My camera, even in macro function, will not focus on them. I am looking into getting the "close up" filters that I have seen mentioned on here. I figured that with that function built in on my camera, the filters would be the cheaper way to go.

Any thoughts from the professionals/simi professionals?

I have an 18-55 zoom, and a 75-300 zoom...which is better for taking macro? (I have been using the 18-55), and if I get the "close up" filters, which lens works best with them?

Thanks in advance!
 

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Go to your local camera store and buy the macro filters, they will be like $50. They are basically like contact lenses that you attached to the end of your lens. They will turn your 18-55 into a macro lens, but the quality will not be the same as if you had a real macro lens. I am currently doing the same thing with the macro filters on a 70-200 and I do not like the quality at all.

Your best bet if you want to take pictures of small creatures and still have great quality is to get the macro lens. I am looking into getting the 100mm 2.8f macro lens made by canon. The cheapest I have seen it is for $425 but the quality is supposed to be amazing. AQUASAUR a.k.a. Kristo Kristov actually uses the older 50mm macro by canon. Check out his recent posts in the photo album section and see the wonderful shots he has taken with it, they are stunning.

Good luck.

-Ryan
 

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Technically that function isn't on your camera it's on your lens but all it means is that it can focus on things slightly closer than a standard lens would. The reason that they aren't in focus is because you are too close to your subject. The lens can only focus on objects to a certain distance. Like my Cannon Rebel K2 (35mm) has a 28-90mm lens on it with a macro setting but the closest I can get is 0.3 meters from my subject with the macro setting on. This gives me, from my observation not actual fact, a 4x +/- actual size (if you go off of 50-55mm as the rough equivalent to the human eye). I don't know anything bout those macro filters so I'm not sure what to tell you about them, but for a better magnification you'll want to go with the 75-300mm but your depth of field is gonna be smaller and you'll require more light to take the same picture. Now I'm not a macro photographer so maybe someone will correct me on what I said but the best way to figure out what works best in photography is to try many different things and look at your results.

Edit: I got ninja-ed
 

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The best filter for this type of stuff is the Canon 500D. It effectively cuts down the minimum focusing distance, allowing you to get closer to the object.

That still does not beat the quality coming off a macro lens. If budget is an issue, take a look at the Tamron 90mm f/2.8 Di macro lens.
 

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Haven't gotten my camera yet but trying to learn what I can for when I do get it but would the macro filter on a macro lens work?
 

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It'll work, but it will degrade the quality (sharpness and contrast) of the overall picture. If you want to get closer, then consider bellows and/or extension tubes. There are no glass elements in those so the image quality is retained. You will need to have more light to work with though.

Otherwise, if you want an all in one solution, then take a look at the MP-65E lens from Canon (Nikon shooters are left with bellows). That will allow you to get from 1x-5x magnification rates. The DOF is extremely shallow on that lens so take that into account. Also, at anything more than 2x, you will need a steady tripod (preferably with rails also) since the DOF is razor thin.
 

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^Like he said ;)
Or, if you want something else to consider, look for a set of extension tubes.

You can go for a set from Kenko or get the real Canon ones like the EF 12 or EF 25.

No accessory/add-on is going to beat a real macro lens, but they can do a lot.

A decent bit of info about extension tubes is here (and there are many more).

Now, lets discuss that "macro" (close-up) mode on the dial.
What happens when you do set it there...
The autofocus mode is automatically adjusted to One Shot, the drive mode is set to Single Shot, and the metering mode is set to Evaluative. ISO is set to Auto. Not sure what aperature/shutter combo it sets up.

Hmmm, not great for doing real macro work with any lens.
Ideally, read up on, if you don't already fully understand all those items, that it sets up.

A lot of fish/aquarium photography shots you see and say "wow" to are done in "M" mode, at ISO 100 if you can, 200-400 if lighting can't work out for some reason.

The last thing is flash. Your tank lights are no where near enough light if you want really good results.
Get a 580EX and an ST-E2 (so you can work without it on the camera wirelessly) and place the flash over the top of the tank.
 

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i just got my macro lense in the mail today. paid 200 for it and its a canon ef 50mm compact marco. i love it already. its takes some amazing pictures. however i need to go clean all my glass now as it focused on more algae then fish. haha. one of the biggest things with macros that helps is the low F-stop. this allows more light to pass through the lense to the camera. so you can use a lower ISO and higher shutter speed. the down side is it will redue you depth of field, or background. i dont find this to be a problem though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Like I posted, I have had no classes on cameras...everything I have done is like 2nd nature...I understand what the F-stop is (and apature..sp?), and what it is used for, but I don't know how to use it...I always use Auto. I have "played" with an older Minolta 35mm (totally manual),and have great pictures, but have yet to duplicate them. Can a macro be used on "auto", or do you have to use the f-stop and apature?
 

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F-stop is just a number that describes the aperture. Using a combination of f-stop and shutter speed will determine how much light reaches the photo sensor. The bigger the f-stop number the longer the shutter needs to be open to achieve the same exposure from a smaller f-stop number. A larger f-stop number will increase your depth of field. When I shoot I generally use the highest f-stop my lighting will allow, about f22. I do more clinical photography than aquarium photography so Ibn and jhoetzl can probably give you more pointers. I'd also check out Aquatic Photography Forum - Powered by vBulletin it's a great community.

Brian
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks...looks to be a busy day here at work...I will have to look later!
 

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Great info everyone!

Right now most of this doesn't make sense to me but I think it will come easier when I get the camera so I can do some "hands on".
 

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get a macro len which is around $500..

or get a cheaper substitute but not as cool, a diopter... It's basically a magnifying len that fits over your other lense.. it's $50.

or zoom all the way in with your regular lens.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
macro lens, 120g aquarium, macro lens, 120g aquarium....tough decision! Which should I go for?


120g aquarium of course!
LOL!
 
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