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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
PetKal
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · 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
Jeff Nolten
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · 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 #5 · p.1 #5 · 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

http://hawkman.smugmug.com/Flowers/Flowers/963T9577/570069950_SxzJk-XL-1.jpg
http://hawkman.smugmug.com/Flowers/Flowers/963T9572/745978760_PaE7C-XL.jpg

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 #6 · p.1 #6 · 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.

http://www.mount-spokane-photography.com/Photography/100mm-L/100-400mm-5D-MK-II20100519/872393803_Dfj2J-XL.jpg

http://www.mount-spokane-photography.com/Photography/100mm-L/i-dzhX5Sd/0/XL/IMG0899-XL.jpg

http://www.mount-spokane-photography.com/Photography/100mm-L/i-6LNdbsx/0/XL/bumble-bee-spring-2011-2-XL.jpg

http://www.mount-spokane-photography.com/Photography/100mm-L/i-J8fCwz5/0/XL/20100525-IMG9617-XL.jpg




Dec 09, 2011 at 02:52 AM
J Rabin
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · 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
skibum5
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · 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 #9 · p.1 #9 · Best lens for flower picture


I get my best flower shots with the 135L.


Dec 09, 2011 at 04:34 AM
Pixel Perfect
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Best lens for flower picture


new 70-200L mk II is superb for flower portraits too
http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6031/6308818122_ebcdfea5b8_b.jpg
http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6238/6308297353_f8f3b6fa48_b.jpg
http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6056/6308817984_36e4510685_b.jpg

Also of course macro is nice as is 135L
http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6106/6308244939_426e33e02d_b.jpg
http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6102/6308297621_00ce027c40_b.jpg
http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6106/6308295767_93f779459d_b.jpg



Dec 09, 2011 at 04:54 AM
 

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Tom Dix
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · 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 #12 · p.1 #12 · 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 #13 · p.1 #13 · 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 [email protected]/1.4 + tubes

http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2236/5794061299_3bd45139d1_b.jpg



Dec 09, 2011 at 06:53 AM
Eyvind Ness
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · 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
http://eyvindness.zenfolio.com/img/s11/v33/p201719118-5.jpg

100L
http://eyvindness.zenfolio.com/img/s3/v25/p178438665-5.jpg

TS-E 90mm
http://eyvindness.zenfolio.com/img/s8/v12/p248051774-5.jpg

100L
http://eyvindness.zenfolio.com/img/s9/v15/p980619688-5.jpg

135L
http://eyvindness.zenfolio.com/img/s10/v17/p228931606-5.jpg

14L mkII
http://eyvindness.zenfolio.com/img/s10/v18/p78047085-5.jpg

the old 150mm (non-OS) + 1.4x TC
http://eyvindness.zenfolio.com/img/s6/v6/p716681002-5.jpg

300 f4L + 2x TC
http://eyvindness.zenfolio.com/img/s11/v32/p194455619-5.jpg

Cheers,
Eyvind




Dec 09, 2011 at 08:05 AM
Geert Koning
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · 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:

http://www.geertkoning.nl/Coppermine/albums/userpics/_MG_1219.JPG

http://www.geertkoning.nl/Coppermine/albums/userpics/_MG_6491.jpg

135L

http://www.geertkoning.nl/Coppermine/albums/userpics/_MG_6342.JPG

http://www.geertkoning.nl/Coppermine/albums/userpics/_MG_6510.JPG



Dec 09, 2011 at 09:27 AM
Eyvind Ness
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Best lens for flower picture


Jeff, I like your moody December florals, reminds me of a couple of similar shots from this time of the year, all with the previous Sigma 150mm f2.8 macro (non-OS):

http://eyvindness.zenfolio.com/img/s6/v6/p207038173-5.jpg

http://eyvindness.zenfolio.com/img/s5/v4/p197001836-5.jpg@

http://eyvindness.zenfolio.com/img/s5/v4/p1031510735-5.jpg

So, I guess I really enjoy the 150mm focal length for florals, of any type :-)

Cheers,
Eyvind



Dec 09, 2011 at 08:24 PM
Jeff Nolten
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Best lens for flower picture


Nice. Are those frost crystals? I got to visit the snow once.


Dec 09, 2011 at 09:14 PM
Geert Koning
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Best lens for flower picture


An example where I needed the 135L at f2 to get a completely blurred background

http://www.geertkoning.nl/Coppermine/albums/userpics/_MG_6080_2.jpg



we could start a new flower thread



Dec 09, 2011 at 09:15 PM
Jeff Nolten
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Best lens for flower picture


Geert Koning wrote:
we could start a new flower thread


Sounds good to me but we could make it a blurry background thread or a dead (winter) flower thread just to change it up a bit. I enjoy seeing what equipment people use to photograph these frequent subjects.



Dec 09, 2011 at 10:34 PM
martines34
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Best lens for flower picture


Just wonderful examples of good floral photography.

Thanks all for sharing.



Dec 09, 2011 at 10:46 PM
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