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Archive 2011 · Best lens for flower picture
  
 
Jeff Nolten
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Best lens for flower picture


This is a technique question as much as a gear question. We've had some rain recently here in San Diego and the Paperwhite bulbs are blooming profusely in my back yard. So I was trying to photograph them using an old screw mount 135 lens on my 5D. I found it to be quite a soft lens compared to my Canon lenses but that yielded some interesting effects. I then went back with my 100L which was (surprise) much sharper. I was doing shallow depth of field and trying for interesting bokeh.

So my question is, how would you approach this situation? What lens would you use? Would you use a 35 and get close? Would you use a macro? Would you use the 135 f2 and frame it just right? Would you use something else entirely like say a 300 from a distance. There are a bunch of them and some backgrounds are floral and some are sky. Distance, angle, and elevation are all available.

Here are two variants I took one with the alt lens and one with the macro. I'm not saying these are great but trying to show what I was attempting. What would you do and use?













Dec 09, 2011 at 12:56 AM
RobertLynn
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Best lens for flower picture


I enjoy my 135 for flowers.


Dec 09, 2011 at 01:28 AM
RobertLynn
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Best lens for flower picture


Here's a few examples.




  Canon EOS 5D    EF135mm f/2L USM lens    135mm    f/5.6    1/160s    200 ISO    0.0 EV  






  Canon EOS 5D    EF135mm f/2L USM lens    135mm    f/5.6    1/160s    200 ISO    0.0 EV  






  Canon EOS 5D    EF135mm f/2L USM lens    135mm    f/2.0    1/1250s    200 ISO    0.0 EV  






  Canon EOS-1D Mark III    EF135mm f/2L USM lens    135mm    f/2.0    1/200s    200 ISO    0.0 EV  




Dec 09, 2011 at 01:34 AM
PetKal
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Best lens for flower picture


Instead of a direct reply to your inquiry, let me just say that I have shot flowers with 15mm FE, 800L and most Canon lenses in between. Each lens opens up a rather unique view and perhaps an opportunity for something out of ordinary once in a while.

Edited on Dec 11, 2011 at 08:57 PM · View previous versions



Dec 09, 2011 at 01:49 AM
reno.peterson
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Best lens for flower picture


^^^
Great Hibiscus Peter !!!

I have become very fond of the 100L Macro. It's versatile with any sensor size out there. Though I've used just about every lens I've had or have taking flower pictures...




7D and 100 F/2.8L Macro IS

  Canon EOS 7D    EF100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM lens    100mm    f/8.0    1/125s    400 ISO    0.0 EV  




Dec 09, 2011 at 01:57 AM
Jeff Nolten
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Best lens for flower picture


Yea, I guess there is no best method as that long running flower thread demonstrated. I've even used my 100-400 on occasion for flowers in a pond or up in a tree. Mostly I'm curious how the talented folks here would approach this.

Reno, I like your image with the two in focus flowers echoed by those in the background.



Dec 09, 2011 at 02:08 AM
GeneO
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Best lens for flower picture


I like shooting flowers with a tele myself. My go-to for flowers is the 135L, in particular because it has very good smooth bokeh, though I have shot some with my 500/4












Edited on Dec 09, 2011 at 02:54 AM · View previous versions



Dec 09, 2011 at 02:50 AM
scalesusa
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Best lens for flower picture


I've used my 24-105, my 100mm L, and my 135mm L. All do great. So does a 70-200mm f/4 IS.

However, the 100L is my favorite for just walking around and shooting flowers handheld.




























Dec 09, 2011 at 02:52 AM
J Rabin
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Best lens for flower picture


PetKal wrote:
Instead of a direct reply to your inquiry, let me just say that I have shot flowers with 15mm FE, 800L and most Canon lenses in between. Each lens opens up a rather unique view and perhaps an opportunity for something out of ordinary once in a while.


Bingo. I think our prodigious bird dude is right. Depends on vision and mood. Only thing I add, looking at your trial paperwhite, is get a collapsible translucent diffusion panel to shade the scene. That way white petals can retain all their detail without the wide variation in exposure from background or leaves. Or shade them somehow to reduce exposure difference on the white versus other parts of scene.

I do not keep many photos on line, but these few vary from like 60mm to 420mm, and I have shot flowers down to 13-15mm. All focal lengths good, depending on flower size. Wide angle is excellent for "thing in their environment field close-ups."
http://aesop.rutgers.edu/~rabin/Ag_Research_Extension/Insects_Critters/Pollinators/index.html



Dec 09, 2011 at 03:43 AM
DocsPics
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Best lens for flower picture


I like this rendering from a Contax N 100 Makro







Dec 09, 2011 at 03:58 AM
 

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skibum5
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Best lens for flower picture


hard to say but 100L and 135 are good



Dec 09, 2011 at 04:09 AM
erikburd
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Best lens for flower picture


I get my best flower shots with the 135L.


Dec 09, 2011 at 04:34 AM
Karl Witt
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Best lens for flower picture


Pssst Reno..........not hibiscus but Azalea or Rhodo I believe from Peter and a Spider Flower both nicely done!

It's not the lens, it's truly how you use it

However, having shot lots of florals I tend to enjoy the control over the BG I have at the 180-300mm range. This gives you a working distance from the subject and allows you to work your DOF to your liking easily letting the BG have a wonderful bokeh!

These images I am posting were all shot with a $125 Tamron 70-300 zoom that has a 1:2 Macro at the 180-300mm focal range.

I do believe that the shorter lenses are harder to work with on florals if you want to work out the BG's best you can.

Have fun, lots of opportunities to be creative as you can already see by what is posted!

Karl



Karl Witt 2011

  Canon EOS-1D Mark III    180mm lens    180mm    f/4.0    1/160s    800 ISO    0.0 EV  





Karl Witt 2011

  Canon EOS-1D Mark III    180mm lens    180mm    f/5.6    1/400s    400 ISO    0.0 EV  





Karl Witt 2011

  Canon EOS-1D Mark III    70-300mm lens    180mm    f/9.0    1/200s    400 ISO    0.0 EV  




Dec 09, 2011 at 04:40 AM
Pixel Perfect
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Best lens for flower picture


new 70-200L mk II is superb for flower portraits too
















Also of course macro is nice as is 135L

















Dec 09, 2011 at 04:54 AM
Tom Dix
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Best lens for flower picture


Really nice series of photos from all who have posted. Many lenses are capable of producing great images.

Peter; were either of those flowers in-flight?

I miss my 180 canon micro for flower shots, but am enjoying the cz 100.
The magic drainpipe and 135 have also performed well for flower images.



Dec 09, 2011 at 05:21 AM
Jeff Nolten
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Best lens for flower picture


Nice photos everyone, and I appreciate the suggestions. I know there is no magic bullet (aka lens) so it is interesting to see the variety folks use.

Pixel Perfect wrote:
Also of course macro is nice as is 135L


Pixel, which lens did you use for which of your last three? I'm assuming the 135 for the middle?

Nice Karl. I used to use a 75-300 with the 500D closeup filter. That combo didn't seem to achieve the sharpness of your images.

The skill seems to be getting the DOF just right with whatever focal length one is using.



Dec 09, 2011 at 05:23 AM
15Bit
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Best lens for flower picture


I'm actually still a bit mad at the death of the Flower thread.

I tend to favour a 70-200mm with tubes, and a 50mm with tubes for really close up. I also had some fun with my Samyang 85mm f/1.4 with tubes. Really short DOF on that wide open.

I should really buy a proper macro, but the tubes do a good job for now.

Samyang 85mm@f/1.4 + tubes








Dec 09, 2011 at 06:53 AM
Eyvind Ness
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Best lens for flower picture


I agree with most folks here - almost anything can work, I'm shooting florals with all my lenses, ranging from 14mm to 600mm. My current favourites are the 100L and the new Sigma 150mm OS since those can be used hand-held, with a great keeper rate down to ridiculous shutter speeds. Here are a couple of samples.

150mm






100L






TS-E 90mm






100L






135L






14L mkII






the old 150mm (non-OS) + 1.4x TC






300 f4L + 2x TC






Cheers,
Eyvind




Dec 09, 2011 at 08:05 AM
Geert Koning
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Best lens for flower picture


I use the 100L and the 135L, if want to get close I use the 100L otherwise I prefer the 135L

100L:













135L














Dec 09, 2011 at 09:27 AM
Jeff Nolten
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Best lens for flower picture


Geert, Eyvind, great sequences that really show off the differences between lenses. Eyvind the colors in your second shot are amazing. For the effect I was going for, a longer FL is better than short but each can be used to great effect. The 100 and 135 seem to be the most used FLs.

My favorite flower lens is my 100L as was my 100 USM before it although I also like the perspective and results of the 35f2. Yesterday I was comparing a Pentax 135 f2.5 with 20mm of extension against the 100 macro, so I couldn't help wondering how the 135 f2 L would do in the same circumstances. The subject distance was about 3 feet so I wouldn't have had to use extension on the Canon 135. Thanks all for sharing your 135 shots for comparison.

Here are two more from yesterday's session and a 35f2 at f2.8 shot from the spring to compare. Well, the first shot is of "used to be" flowers, its December after all. Cheers!

















Dec 09, 2011 at 07:03 PM
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