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Shooting macro... special lens or extension tubes?

Macro Extension Tubes Product Photography

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#1 Sean Emer

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 03:44 PM

I'm in a toss up right now deciding whether macro lenses or extension tubes are the better bet. I don't plan on doing any racks from macro distance to non-macro distance, so I'm not sure renting macro lenses is worth the cost vs using an extension tube. I haven't shot in this scenario though for close to a couple years. Anyone have any ideas or tips for getting sharp, crisp macro work? How much does an extension tube limit your focal range? I vaguely remember getting a couple feet of room when I last put one on a prime lens, but I'd rather defer to you guys.
 
Camera will be Dragon, probably shooting either Angenieux zooms at best or a small prime set (no idea which yet).

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#2 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 03:54 PM

What are you shooting? If you're just grabbing some inserts, I'd probably go with the extension tubes and primes. If you're doing product shots, I would definitely get a dedicated macro lens or two.

Putting extension tubes on an Angenieux zoom seems kinda iffy to me, depending on the particular lens in question. Some of them have small image circles and exposure ramping on the long end, which means you might get dark or soft corners. Not the best combination with a Dragon if you're shooting 6K, since you'll already have coverage issues to begin with.
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#3 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 03:58 PM

Your other option is diopters, though for the best quality you'll want the more expensive ones with multiple elements like the Master Diopters. The simple single element diopters can introduce a lot of softness and chromatic aberration.
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#4 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 04:12 PM

Honestly when this comes up I almost always go Macro-Lens. It just makes things soo much easier.


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#5 Sean Emer

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 04:22 PM

Thanks for the hasty replies guys. I generally stay away from diopters as I've lots of aberration issues with them in the past. I've not used the Master Diopters so will have to look into that, thanks for the tip.

 

The shots will be product shots, but we're also looking to do docu-esque b-roll of the environment. That's why I thought extensions might be best, so I could just pop them off and go back to using my nice lenses. It seems like this will come down to the ratio of shooting and my lens budget...


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#6 Sean Emer

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 07:23 PM

What macro lenses are available that would match well with an optimo zoom? I'm looking around the rental houses and pretty much only finding the canon 100mm, which I don't think would work well with the angenieux.


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#7 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 05:06 AM

Traditionally something like an Arri Macro would often have been used with high-end zooms like Optimos, more recently maybe Master Macros.

 

Is the issue with the Canon macro having to swap between PL and EF mounts?


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#8 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 01:36 PM

Do the product shots really have to match the b-roll, or does it just have to look good? If the latter, I would just go with the 100mm Master Macro.

The new IBE Macro lenses also are excellent: http://www.ibe-optic...o-macro-lenses/
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#9 Sam Javor

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Posted 18 March 2017 - 05:25 AM

Am I the only one that uses a bellows? :/


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#10 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 18 March 2017 - 09:59 PM

Am I the only one that uses a bellows? :/


For motion pictures, they're not used very often. Kinda hard to pull focus on, unless you use a specialty system like the Clairmont/Century Optics Swing-Shift System. I guess the cheap version would be a Lensbaby, though there's not nearly the same degree of control.
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#11 Sabyasachi Patra

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 04:54 AM

Since you are shooting with Dragon, you can always change over to the EF mount and use the Canon 100mm f2.8 L IS Macro lens. It is a pretty sharp lens. If you want further closeup, get a 25mm or 50mm extension tubes and place those between the lens and the camera mount. 


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