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EF Lenses 101 :: Applications :: Close Up


Close Up

Here's an area where most any lens will allow you to start creating outstanding images. Most Canon EF zoom lenses, including standard zooms like the 28-80mm or 28-105mm lenses, will fill the frame with a subject about the size of a postcard at their closest focusing distance (when set for their longest telephoto zoom setting). One very affordable way of getting closer, without losing any light-gathering capability, is to combine your lens with a Canon Close-up Lens 250D (which works best with lenses from 50mm through 135mm), or for longer 70mm through 300mm lenses, the Close-up Lens 500D. Both screw into the front filter threads of your lens, and provide powerful close-up capability. With a 28-80mm standard lens, for instance, the 250D will give you magnifications up to 1/2 life-size -- you can fill the frame with a subject smaller than a business card. And since both the 250D and 500D Close-up Lenses use double-element optical construction, you get very good image quality across the entire frame. Sometimes, though, you want to get even closer and be assured of professional sharpness from corner to corner. Here, there's no substitute for a true macro lens. And no other camera company gives you the range of choices that Canon does. The EF 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro lens, as the name suggests, is a lightweight lens that focuses from infinity down to 1/2 life-size (the accessory life-size converter permits true life-size magnifications), and is ideal for tack-sharp results when copying artwork or documents.

Perhaps even more versatile is the EF 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro lens, which focuses down to full life-size magnification (fill the frame with a subject 1.5 x 1 inches / 36 x 24mm in size!) and still allows you added "working distance" -- you're about six inches (150mm) away from the subject at the closest focusing distance, so you're less likely to disturb insects and similar subjects. It also focuses to infinity, making it a superior-performance medium telephoto lens and a great choice for portraits. Significantly, it's the world's first 100mm true macro lens to offer internal focusing, so the lens doesn't "grow" as you focus closer. And since it uses Canon's ring-type USM for focusing, it not only autofocuses silently and quickly, but you can instantly override AF at any time by just turning the wide manual focusing ring.

Two outstanding professional choices round out Canon's Macro lens line-up: the EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro lens, and the unique MP-E 65mm f/2.8 1x~5x Macro Photo lens. The 180mm f/3.5L Macro offers two significant advantages: greater working distance from the lens to the subject (even at its closest focusing distance, which provides life-size 1:1 magnification, you're about 10 inches/0.25m away), and its L-series optical construction with Ultra-low Dispersion UD glass means tremendous sharpness and contrast. Like the 100mm f/2.8 Macro, the 180mm focuses over the full range of infinity to life-size, so it doubles as a terrific 180mm telephoto lens for general purpose shooting. On top of that, it's the only EF Macro lens that's compatible with Canon's EF 1.4x II and 2x II Tele Extenders.

Is a life-size, 1:1 image still not close enough? Canon's got the industry's first 1x~5x Macro lens, that effectively eliminates the need for a bellows and other awkward accessories. The MP-E 65mm f/2.8 lens is optically optimized exclusively for close-up imaging, and steplessly allows you to focus down to 1.6 inches (41mm) from the front of the lens to your subject. Unlike the other EF Macro lenses, it won't focus to infinity, so it's not a general-purpose lens. But as a specialized lens for close-up shooting, it has no equal. At its maximum 5x magnification, you can fill the frame with a subject about the size of a grain of rice!

One of the biggest challenges in shooting close-ups is getting enough light onto your subjects. Sometimes direct sunlight is sufficient, but often it isn't enough. For many amateur and professional photographers, the answer is flash. Canon's unique Wireless E-TTL flash system, using 420EX and/or 550EX Speedlites off-camera, is one method of lighting your subjects. Canon also has two dedicated flash units, with full E-TTL flash control, for Macro shooting: the world's most sophisticated ring light, the MR-14EX Macro Ring Lite, and the new MT-24EX Macro Twin Lite which permits an amazing amount of control over the placement and direction of your lighting all with fully automatic flash control. Furthermore, for digital SLR users, Canon is the only system (as of September 2001) that has any dedicated Macro flash units that operate with reliable automatic exposure control when used with a digital SLR.

EF 28-80mm f/3.5-5.6 II

EF 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 II USM

Extender EF 1.4x II

Extender EF 2x II

EF 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro

EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM

MP-E 65mm f/2.8 1-5x Macro Photo

EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM

EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro USM

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