28mm macro???

Discussion in 'Macro Photography' started by edcculus, Feb 8, 2013.

  1. edcculus

    edcculus Member

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    I got a ton of FD lenses from my grandfather. Strange thing is, they are pretty much all macro. The one that confuses me the most is a Sigma 28mm macro lens. What specific use would someone get from a 28mm macro? I expect you would have to be really close to the subject. I think he liked to shoot flowers, so maybe it gave him the ability to focus closely on details of the flowers while being able to get more of them in the shot?

    I'm using it as a regular 28mm prime lens right now. It focuses fine to infinity and is actually a lot of fun to use.
     
  2. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    I have a sigma 28mm 2.8 mini-wide that is also labeled macro. they use the term loosely to indicate that the lens has a closer focusing distance. I have it in OM mount and its a good lens though I dont use it much more as I tend to use the OM 28 f2 instead.
     
  3. benveniste

    benveniste Subscriber

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    Sigma labels its current 28mm f/1.8 lens as a macro lens as well, but it only focuses down to a 1:2.9 magnification ratio. By way of comparison, Nikon's current 28mm f/1.8 reaches 1:4.5 and Canon's only 1:5.2. I've found mine is useful when photographing necklaces and beadwork on a copystand, but I feel calling the Sigma a "macro" lens has more to do with marketing than capabilities.
     
  4. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    Sigma is optimistic with the term, but close focusing on a wideangle is a very useful property. The best use IMHO of a wide is to get a dramatic perspective, which means a big magnification difference between two things, which means you gotta be real close. The wider, the closer.
     
  5. bvy

    bvy Subscriber

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    The Olympus XA4 has a fixed 28mm lens, and it was marketed as a "Macro" camera. It has focusing down to 12 inches. I find it great for, so called, street macros -- something I do a lot of. There's even a macro flash adapter for the A11 flash, though I find it to be hit or miss.
     
  6. Allan Swindles

    Allan Swindles Member

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    Isn't true Macro 1/1 and greater and isn't anything else just close-up? Describing a lens as 'macro' which is really not, is an advertising ploy and should have been picked up by trading standards authorities, years ago.
     
  7. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    While I agree that many are sloppy with macro and other related terms, I'm not sure there is enough standardisation to permit getting the trading standards authorities involved.

    Otherwise, lenses like the Mamiya RB67 140mm macro lens (which requires extension tubes to achieve more than 1/2 life size) would have to be renamed, despite its excellent flat field performance and ability to be used with extension tubes for greatere magnification.
     
  8. edcculus

    edcculus Member

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    Thanks guys, that makes a good bit of sense. I'll have to look to see what it can focus to. The focus ring does turn a LOT more than any of my other lenses though. Either way, whether a true macro or not, I do like the lens, and can see where being able to focus in closer and have the wide perspective of a 28mm might come in handy.
     
  9. Robert Liebermann

    Robert Liebermann Member

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    I had a sigma 28mm macro (place in quotes if you want) that I used with my Canon A's in the early 1990s - used it for about 90% of what I shot: plants and flowers and the like (I'm a botanist), landscapes, architecture, 'street' scenes, and groups of people (much of this in the exciting USSR and early post-soviet states). (my other lenses were a 50/1.8 and a 70-210 FD.) I had a lot of fun and good luck with that lens! RE macro, or close focus, it was especially nice for the plant stuff, since the wide perspective 'moved' competing elements of the scene further from the subject. It was good for everything else too. I was pretty poor, and think I paid about $30 for it used from a NY place by mail in decent shape. Those were the days.
     
  10. edcculus

    edcculus Member

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    My grandfather was in Forestry, and was a Dean of Forestry at a university for a while too. He probably used it very much the same as you did.
     
  11. Clay2

    Clay2 Member

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    I have a Tokina 28-105mm f4-5.3 macro, but it only twists to macro at 105mm mark on the zoom.

    Best regards,

    /Clay
     
  12. fotch

    fotch Member

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    I purchased a Sigma 24mm F:2.8 SuperWide II Macro in a Nikon mount some years ago, however, never used it much. I should take it out and try it again, maybe the absence will make the eye grow finer?
     
  13. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    Perhaps. But it won't increase the working distance.

    The worst thing about short macro lenses for 35 mm SLRs (and now the digital equivalent) is lack of working distance.
     
  14. Allan Swindles

    Allan Swindles Member

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    Re. my recent post, I have an Olympus Zuiko 50mm.'Macro' which is only close focus to 1:2. Nice lens and very useful but does not compare to my true 80mm. Zuiko Macro or my 135mm. and as Dan says :-
    The worst thing about short macro lenses for 35 mm SLRs (and now the digital equivalent) is lack of working distance.
     
  15. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Letting aside the issue of defining macro, as hinted at above, the shorter the focal length, yet gaining the same scale as a with longer focal lenght, the greater the ability to do handheld photography.
    With the trade-off of shorter object distance.
     
  16. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    Why do you believe that? Are you writing from theory or from experience? If experience, please tell us more.

    I ask because in my experience (55/3.5 and 55/2.8 MicroNikkors, 105/4 and 105/2.8 MicroNikkors, 135/2.8 MakroTeleQuinon, and 200/4 MicroNikkor AIS) ror handheld closeup work with flash around 105 mm is the best compromise, taking into account ease of handling, working distance, live subjects' minimum approach distance, and so on.

    I've watched one person try to use my portable photographic aquarium with a 24 mm "macro" lens on a 35 mm SLR. Having had the joy of watching it done, I'd never ever use such a rig for closeup work.

    Ive tried to shoot a 25/3.5 Luminar on a Minolta Compact Bellows on a Nikon. Short version, handheld much above 1:1 is a waste of effort.
     
  17. AgX

    AgX Member

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    I was refering to image distortion due to camera shake. It's a simple matter of geometry. And I spoke about "greater ability". Every movement of the camera will sooner or later influence the image. Furthermore it is a matter of kind of camera movement direction-wise.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 10, 2013
  18. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    Thanks for the reply. You seem to speak from theory, not from measurement. Bad theory, at that.

    Shake doesn't cause distortion, it causes blur.

    The effects of movement (subject and camera movement are equivalent) depend on magnification, not on focal length. I don't know how old you are or how bad your tremor is. Mine is under good control, but I wouldn't shoot closeup handheld when using available darkness for illumination. When working closeup, shoot from tripod or or use flash or get motion blur. That's the law.
     
  19. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Sorry for mixing up distortion and blur.

    But you seem not to see the geometrical issue and the implication of the focal lenght.
     
  20. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    Thanks for the reply. Your insistence convinced me to build the little geometrical model and check its implications.

    Two kinds of motion are possible. Translation and rotation, and the center of rotation's location isn't clear.

    With translation, the analysis is simple: at magnification = m, translating the camera/lens assembly distance d moves the image at the film plane by d. Translating the subject distance d moves the image at the film plate by md. Either way, focal length doesn't enter.

    With rotation (assume for simplicity that the center of rotation is the lens' rear node), rotating the camera/lens assembly by a small angle theta moves the image at the film plane by (rear node to film plane distance)*tan(theta/2). Rear node to film plane distance given focal length f and magnification m is f*(1 + m) so rotating the camera/lens assembly by theta moves the image at the film plane by f*(1 + m)*tan(theta/2). In this case focal length does matter.

    Whether focal length matters in practice depends on how camera shake is divided between translation and rotation. In my experience, shake is all translation, no rotation.

    Note, however, that I shoot closeup handheld with a Nikon and flash illumination. This approach eliminates motion blur and, until KM went away, allowed full control over aperture. Measurement trumps theory.

    What is your experience? If you shoot closeup at all, how do you light your shots?
     
  21. AgX

    AgX Member

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    I have not said that handheld is not possible. The original question was about the implication of a relative short focal lenght and I brought up this issue.
    Maybe though I should have been more clearly that I was refering to angular movement, I thought it obvious in context of focal lenght.

    Anybody can do the proof himself with the camera and lens he uses and his camera-holding technique. And see which kind of movement is the critical for him.
     
  22. edcculus

    edcculus Member

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    Wow guys, no need for a di*k measuring contest...

    [​IMG]
     

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  23. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Yes, I saw that caricature before and somehow felt it applicable on me...

    I lost it in my files. Thank you for bringing it up.