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

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37 184986 Apr 8, 2013
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97% of reviewers $936.64
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.77
8.10
9.8
mp_e65_28_1_

Specifications:
A unique manual-focus lens designed exclusively for macro shooting, between life-size (1x) and 5x life-size – at its maximum magnification, you can fill a 35mm frame with a grain of rice. Compatible with the Macro Ring Lites and new Macro Twin Lite, it eliminates the need for awkward bellows accessories for many macro shooters. The optical system uses a floating system to preserve optical quality at different focusing distances, and features a UD-glass element.


 


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barmaley
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Registered: Oct 23, 2009
Location: Russia
Posts: 0
Review Date: Apr 8, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Great opportunities, excellent image quality and built
Cons:
not very easy to use

Canon MP-E65mm f/2.8 1-5X Macro is an amazing lens. It gives you opportunities that no other lens can. It is absolutely unique, as it gives you ability to look at a common things in a very different and sometimes surprising way.
You can read about my experience and see some samples here:

http://alexsukonkin.com/reviews/Canon-MP-E65-f28-1-5x-macro_en.shtml


Apr 8, 2013
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willis
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Registered: Jul 23, 2005
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 477
Review Date: Aug 30, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, solidly built, unique functionality, perfectly suited to the MT24-EX. Great fun.
Cons:
Nothing that isn't inherent in the concept. Demands specialist lighting to get the most from it. Tiny dof and a virtually black VF image at 5x. At 5x theres a constant trade-off between dof and diffraction softening. Hand holding beyond 3x is a serious challenge that I'm not really up to.

It's very difficult to use, quite expensive, MF only and completely wonderful. Really needs a focus rail and tripod mounting at 5X lifesize. Brings new meaning to the term 'learning curve' even if you're accustomed to normal macro lenses.

Aug 30, 2010
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panoramarts
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Registered: Jun 6, 2010
Location: Angola
Posts: 15
Review Date: Jun 30, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: The Big thing is Magnification
Cons:
none

If you're into Macro photography then go for this lens. This was my first lens into macro photography and I am very happy of my purchase. It was a steal because I bought MP-E 65mm and MT-24EX for 875$ from ebay.
The lens offers really high magnification (1x - 5x), opens up a new world. The lens is not difficult to use. It is a matter of getting used to it.Since it offers high magnification the lens is sensitive to motion. There is shaking observed at high magnification especially above 3x when looking at the subject with camera being hand held. This is intuitive because same applies for lens that are telescopic, you need a tripod to avoid shaking. For some people tripod would be necessary for others it might not be the case. It depends how steady your hands are. But for high magnification you need a tripod, or some method to rest camera firmly.
It has very thin Depth of Field (Field that is in focus). So when photographing tiny subjects, back and forth movement can also causes subject to be out of focus (OOF).
Flash is also very helpful. Whenever in low light, doing high magnifications or you have shaky hands then flash is going to be very helpful.
I hope the review is helpful. Thanks.

Panoramarts


Jun 30, 2010
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systemlayers
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Registered: Dec 10, 2009
Location: Canada
Posts: 496
Review Date: Jun 16, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,000.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Fantastic "zoom" range. Brings you into a whole other world. Built extremely well. One of a kind - huge improvement in terms of versatility over other high mag options.
Cons:
Poor bokeh compared to other bellows system lenses Heavy and hard to hold - would have liked a little less metal.

Chances are you're looking at this lens out of curiosity - you might assume this lens is like a fisheye or exotic lens with no useful purpose. If you assume the preceding then you are wrong. This lens is an entry into another world - the only lens in it's high magnification class to be easy enough to handhold.

It's similar and is likely very inspired by the Olympus macro system. Who had an autotube system and 38 2.8 bellows lens (3-6x magnification). I only have the 20 f/2 and bellows unit (3-15x magnification) and while much better wide open and performance in general it's very hard to use requiring tubes or bellows attachments.

With some practice and technique (such as the left hand technique - hold flower with left hand and balance camera on hand or leg), the mp-e can be tamed and really shine for insect shooting. Photographing bugs takes a lot of patience and learned instinct in how to approach them.
High magnification flowers and rusted metal or soap bubbles or... any object you can think of that has a complex macro structure - are extremely rewarding to find and compose.

It's my most 'fun' lens. Looking through the viewfinder and seeing a macro "landscape" in front of your eyes that you would never ever have imagined before being there - is philosophically rewarding.
Perhaps this is canon's most philosophical lens.
Because after you use it you'll learn to love the small world beneath your feet you never paid attention to before.
You might even watch out for ants instead of trying to destroy them with your superiority.

If photography is about seeing the world in a 'different' way (time itself - shutter speed, the physics of light, the big and the small), then surely this is one of canon's most important lenses to seeing the world in a different way.


Jun 16, 2010
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n0b0
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Registered: Sep 22, 2008
Location: Australia
Posts: 5654
Review Date: Oct 18, 2009 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

 
Pros: Excellent sharpness and other image qualities, relatively compact considering the alternatives like bellow or stacks of extension tubes, great build quality.
Cons:
Doesn't go below lifesize, no focus confirmation so the accuracy of the focus depends on the sharpness of your eyesight.

It's been slightly more than a year since I got this lens and I'm as amazed by it now, if not more than I was back then.

Now, people will probably get this lens mostly to shoot bugs since there aren't many other subjects at this size that are interesting enough to shoot. Unless they are dead, you will need to be fairly mobile and since you focus this lens by moving closer or further away from the subject, I really can't recommend a tripod+focusing rail. They're just too slow to set up and use. Your subject could raise a family and grow old before you finish setting up. :D

Many MP-E shooters including myself have found no problems with shooting this lens handheld. What you need to shoot this lens handheld is simply a flash bracket, a flashgun (430EX or 580EXII) and a diffuser. I use a Lumiquest softbox though many use their own DIY solution.

This is the kind of result you can expect to get with this lens once you get used to it.

@5x magnification,
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3413/3257671055_719e019dd6_o.jpg
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3434/3965460497_6d27a3cd8d_o.jpg

@3x magnification,
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3469/3936418555_747c40c2c1_o.jpg

Persevere and you'll get the result you want.


Oct 18, 2009
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retrofocus
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Registered: Apr 19, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 4029
Review Date: Aug 8, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $899.95 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Razor-sharp images, convenient magnifications up to 5x, no diffractions at smaller lens apertures, excellent built quality, lens comes with tripod collar
Cons:
price

After a while I finally decided to purchase this lens. Before (and still parallel to the new MP-E 65 lens) I used a Canon macro auto bellow with FD mount, adapter, and 50 mm f3.5 FD macro lens. This bellow setup is only good for static subjects and fairly inconvenient to use outdoors. Using the bellow was an excellent training to figure out lighting techniques at higher magnifications.

I am very amazed and surprised by the quality of photos made with the MP-E 65 lens. Since I was used to do macro shots at magnifications up to 5x, I also easily got used to this lens. But I certainly would not recommend it to somebody just starting with closeup/macro work - in this case it is much more suitable and cheaper to use a regular 1:2 or 1:1 macro lens.

The MP-E 65 starts where all the other macro lenses stop without using extension tubes or teleconverters. This lens is only recommended for people who want to go far beyond the magic 1:1 magnification barrier.

There are a couple of things to keep in mind when working with this lens:

1. You need good flashlight, especially beyond 2x. A regular ringflash works only up to 2.5x magnification with this lens, at higher magnifications I use both of my speedlights in ETTL master/slave mode and one connected to the camera with an off-camera cord.

2. Even a tiny wind breeze or some shakening will have a huge effect at such magnifications. Tripod or any sort of support is a must at > 2x.

3. LiveView is highly recommended to use. I found it the best way to focus sharp on the subject, especially on insects. Also to have an IR remote controller or cable release for the shutter is a good idea.

I use this lens with my 5D MkII camera and the photo quality could not be any better. In opposite to my experiences when using my bellow setup, I did not observe diffractions at smaller apertures with the MP-E 65 lens. I consider this a main advantage of this lens. Even flash coming from the side of the front lens does not lead to flares or unwanted reflections either.

Built-style of the lens is great. It is a bit more heavy, but I personally prefer to have a metal lens body, too.

I still think Canon overprices this lens, but I am not aware that there is another Canon-fitting lens on the market for such purpose and quality.

Overall, I can highly recommend this lens for "extreme" macro work!


Aug 8, 2009
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baumgarten0712
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Registered: Oct 12, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 743
Review Date: Dec 30, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $775.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Beyond lifesize (5x), Sharp, Well-Built, Great Contrast
Cons:
Cannot use beyond 1:1

I bought this lens about 4 months ago and have been amazed at what it can do. It is very sharp wide open (don't shoot a lot wide open) and gets better stopped down. The build quality is exceptional and the full-time manual focus is fun. I like having to move the lens for focus rather than zooming. You do have to remember to focus on small things because this lens is not capable of anything beyond macro. That is my major adjustment. No large bugs or flowers for this lens.......but from 1x-5x, the images are unreal!

This lens should definitely be used with a flash beyond 3x life-size. I use the twin-lite flash from Canon with puffers on the flash units.

Check out the close shots of the bugs with this lens.
http://www.karlvon.com/bugs.html

If you want to get close, this is the only way to go! You will not regret it!


Dec 30, 2008
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Roberto Cruz
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Registered: Jun 7, 2007
Location: Mexico
Posts: 0
Review Date: Dec 21, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $829.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Color, contrast. Build quality. Includes tripod mount ring.
Cons:
Depth of field is miniscule.

After looking at hundreds of sample images from this lens and reading other photographers opinions I finally bought one.
It is quite expensive so I was slightly anxious about my purchase.
After a few weeks of refining my technique and getting to know this lens I am getting results that I did not think a macro lens could produce. Very good color and contrast along with sharpness that betters most of my lens collection.
Inanimate objects are fun but when your first insect photo rolls out of your printer one cannot help but be amazed at what this lens can produce.
The build quality is "L" class.
This lens can be hand held even at 5X but it is nice to have a macro rail and a very sturdy tripod for super critical macro work as the depth of field is very small. I also use the MT-24EX macro twin lite for the majority of my macro photography.
If you seek the ultimate macro lens this is it.


Dec 21, 2008
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n0b0
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Registered: Sep 22, 2008
Location: Australia
Posts: 5654
Review Date: Oct 11, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: It lets you go above lifesize up to 5x magnification to fill the frame with those extra tiny subjects, convenient, sharp images, comes with a tripod collar and it looks cool.
Cons:
Can't capture all of the subject in the frame at 1:1 if it's bigger than your sensor size. No focus confirmation.

If you shoot macro a lot and if you've ever wished you can go above 1:1 when encountering a tiny subject, this is the lens for you. On the other hand, if the subject is bigger or longer than your sensor, you won't be able to fit it in the frame at 1:1 with this lens.

It's capable of producing some very sharp images though at the high end of the magnification, you will have to choose between DOF and diffraction. Eg. At 5x magnification, f/2.8 will have much less diffraction but the DOF is only 0.048mm whereas f/16 will give you 0.269mm DOF but the diffraction is much more noticeable. If you don't want to compromise the IQ, you will have to do focus stacking.

Here's a couple of examples to illustrate DOF vs diffraction @ 5x.
@ f/4 & f/5.6
http://www.flickr.com/photos/7873166@N02/2933537189/
@ f/8 & f/11
http://www.flickr.com/photos/7873166@N02/2933537189/

It's not an easy lens to use since there's no focus confirmation or even manual focusing in the usual sense. You simply choose the magnification, get the subject in focus and shoot. The accuracy of the focus depends on how sharp your eyes are. Dedicated macro flash like the MT-24EX or MR-14EX will help immensely when shooting handheld. With a tripod, you will need a macro focusing rail.

This is not exactly a cheap lens and being a specialty lens and the only one of its kind, it's kinda hard to say if it's a good deal or not. Personally, I've never regretted getting it.

Last of all, this lens when equipped with a macro flash looks like a gadget out of some sci-fi show, specially when fully extended. It will attract attention, specially kids so keep it out of their reach.


Oct 11, 2008
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4hero
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Registered: Aug 29, 2008
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 6
Review Date: Sep 8, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: excellent build quality and out of this world results!
Cons:
None.

I tried various routes into macro, from x4 filter on my kit lens, 100mm f2.8, extension tubes, reversing ring and was still not 100% happy with the results. This lens along with the MT-24EX flash & 40D is one stunning set up!

You can see some of my results on my flickr account.

http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=mp-e65&w=76443263%40N00&s=int

I love this lens!



Sep 8, 2008
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odoland
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Registered: Jan 30, 2008
Location: Denmark
Posts: 2
Review Date: May 11, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Macro between 1:1 and 5:1
Cons:
Pumps air, not sure if it's a real problem in normal use. A specialist lens, not for beginners to macro.

Bought this lens used august 2007, it had two previous owners. Condition was like a new one. I guess it's hardly been used. It's in good hands now, will never be sold.

I do dragonflies, and use 50, 150 and 180 mm's, so adding this lens I did not expect to use it much. But on my first day out with it, I did some fantastic photos of a damselfly, while using Sigma 140 ring flash and monopod.

Thought I would not use it much in 2008, but wow I just have used it for my first macro days this year on a tripod, no flash and early in the morning, when dragonflies are covered with water drops. Shutter speeds of two seconds.

I've used in with no flash at 4x magnification with lens supported on the ground. With flash I use this lens on monopod.

I had no difficulties adopting to this lens, but if you are not used to photomacrography, do not buy this lens.

And, it does not focus to infinity. Only between 1:1 and 5:1 macro.


May 11, 2008
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lowthian
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Registered: Aug 8, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: May 3, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: If you're into true macro photography, then this is the lens that will do it. Great build, tripod collar
Cons:
It will take you a while and a lot of practice to learn to use it well. It requires a lot of light at higher magnifications.

As long as you realize that this is a dedicated macro lens and that's what you want it for, I predict you will love it. You must realize that will not happen the day you take it out of the box. It requires the patience and practice to learn how to use it properly. You will find that focusing and lighting will initially be difficult until you get the hang of it. It requires a great deal of light at higher magnifications so if you're using 5x and f/16 to try to increase your DOF, you'll need a lot of light just to see the item in the viewfinder and get your focus right.

When doing tripod work, a macro focusing rail comes in very handy. Since this lens is manual focus it requires that you move the lens to achieve focus. Without a focusing rail, it becomes more difficult moving the tripod and keeping your subject in the frame.

All this being said, once you take the time to learn to use it, you will be amazed by the image quality you can achieve!


May 3, 2008
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lextalionis
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Registered: Jul 28, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 1076
Review Date: Apr 16, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,000.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Execelent results for the pro. 1-5X Mag!
Cons:
Difficult for beginer

Brian Valentine "LordV" and Dalantech and were kind enough to show some of their work using this lens. See their comments about this lens these fabulous sample high-resolution shots here:

Canon MP-E 65mm f/2.8 1-5X Macro Sample Photos

-Roy


Apr 16, 2008
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simonella_viru
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Registered: Nov 19, 2005
Location: Canada
Posts: 644
Review Date: Apr 12, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,200.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: - huge magnification (1:1 -> 5:1 and all points in between) - great focal length (doesn't require huge shutter speed to handhold) - great build - beautiful, sharp images produced
Cons:
- short working distance - cannot use this lens for anything but macro (it's got a 6 or so inch max focus distance) - max aperture changes as you increase magnification (i.e. f/2.8 is only available at 1:1) - no auto-focus

yes, i gave the lens a 10/10, even though i gave it negatives. the thing is: i knew about those negatives before i bought the lens. i duly recognize the -'s as engineering trade-offs in order to get the +'s. they're a packaged deal.

with that said, this lens produces immaculate images. especially when used with the ring lite (14EX). truly spectacular! i can handhold this lens up to about 4:1 magnification, but the DOF becomes insanely thin, even when stopped down to f/13. it's a very challenging lens to use, but REALLY rewarding.

other lenses i've used:
- 60mm f/ 2.8 EF-s macro
- 180mm f/3.5 EF L macro

i didn't really like either of those two lenses. both lenses max out at 1:1 and the 180 is too bulky.

personally, i think that this is the best macro lens ever made. i wholeheartedly recommend getting one, because if you have the patience to learn how to use it, a whole other world opens up for you.


Apr 12, 2008
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noricom
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Registered: Mar 25, 2004
Location: Germany
Posts: 44
Review Date: Mar 11, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Everthing
Cons:
None

I love it!



http://www.noricom-db.de/HP/aktuelles/aktuelles3.php


Sorry, German language page ;-)


Mar 11, 2008
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Georg Dittié
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Registered: Dec 14, 2003
Location: Germany
Posts: 37
Review Date: Feb 17, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,200.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: build quality, IQ, range, ring flash easy to mount
Cons:
you have to know what you are buying, a little bit heavy

This lens is my portable microscope and it is in my bag on any hike into nature. The lens ist only one of four neccessary parts to make successful macro images, a macro rail, a tripod and a ring flash are indispensable too.

Depth of field is incredible shallow like any microscope, correct focusing by hand is nearly impossible. With a tripod and a macro rail it's no matter of concern. The bulky barrel casts often shadows on the object, using a ring flash is a good idea !

Dont expect something like autofocus, chose the magnification and then move the whole lens with attached body an ring flash by the macro rail. That's the trick for wonderful results.

Image quality is superb, no color, no distortion or anything else.



Feb 17, 2008
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Canon MP-E 65mm f/2.8 1-5x Macro Photo

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
37 184986 Apr 8, 2013
Recommended By Average Price
97% of reviewers $936.64
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.77
8.10
9.8
mp_e65_28_1_


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