Bitten By The Lens Bug

This past month I have been going crazy with lenses for my Digital Rebel. Let us go through them one by one.

28mm f/2.8 Reverse Macro

Sigma 28mm f/2.8 Reverse Macro

This is more of a fun little toy than a serious lens. It is a Sigma 28mm f/2.8 that mounts backwards so the part that would normally be pointing out and away from your camera is pointing right into the sensor. This causes a large magnification effect in the area of 1.25x actual size. With this lens I will be able to take larger than life macro shots which is trickier than it appears.

In order to focus the front of the lens (really the back because it is reversed) needs to be one or two inches away from the subject. You can scratch bug photography with this lens off of my subject list. In addition to a close proximity to the subject, a lot of strong light needs to be available. I was using an old 200 watt A/C plug in to the wall light that I had laying around and it seemed to do a pretty good job.

The first instinct of a photographer is to seek out lenses with a large aperture (smaller number, f/2.8 is bigger than f/22). But with a reverse macro there is no real benefit to an f/2.8 aperture due to the paper thin depth of field. When taking some test macro shots I found using the largest aperture yielded the best results. The Sigma 28mm lens has an old Canon FD mount which means it has a physical aperture built right in. This gives me a good idea of what the depth of field will look like before I take the shot.

Here is a macro shot of the back of a dime.

Reverse Macro of Back of Dime

Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8

Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8

This is my new walk around lens for general photography. Before this I was using the Canon 50mm f/1.8, mainly for its large aperture. I feel limited by a prime because I am stuck with a single focal length which dictates my composition choices. I tend to like to zoom in close to things in my images and the Tamron gives me a wide range of options. The large aperture is another favorable aspect which will come in handy for dimly lit scenes. If I am shooting indoors and it is really dim I may just revert back to the 50mm f/1.8 for the extra f/stop of light.

Most people in Internet forums seem to be uneasy about going with off brand lenses, but what really pushed me over the edge for this one is the ranting and raving about the sharpness. Every review I read clamored on about how sharp this lens was and how it went beyond their wildest expectations. And because it is not a Canon brand name lens it is significantly lower in price. How is that for a good deal?

Construnction Equipment

As an added bonus, the Tamron 28-75mm lens lets me get real close physically to my subjects (though not as close as the reverse macro lens) so I can do some outdoor macro shots. Large aperture, extreme sharpness, and macro capabilities: I think this lens is a keeper.

Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8

Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8

Now we are on to the big one. This 70-200mm f/2.8 is meant for action photography. The large aperture allows for really high shutter speeds on bright sunny days so I can capture the clumps of grass that fly up from a football game or a chilling glance from a hawk just before swooping down on it’s next meal. What you can’t tell from the photo is this thing is big with a 77mm filter thread (circumference) and weighing in at 2.8 pounds. After a couple of hours with this thing on the front of my camera my arm begins to get sore. But it is all worth it to capture some great shots. This new telephoto is replacing my beginner telephoto lens, a Sigma 70-300mm f/4-f/5.6 (talk about slow).

Dom throwing football

As a bonus, the seller who sold the Sigma 70-200mm threw in a Sigma 28-70mm f/2.8 for free. The catch is it doesn’t work; when I attach the lens my camera won’t even power up. It just sits there like there is no battery even after checking the battery and checking other lenses. Weird.

Sigma 28-70mm f/2.8

I need to talk to Sigma to see about the possibility of getting it re-chipped to work with my Digital Rebel. Besides, I really like my Tamron version and see myself sticking with it. The Sigma 28-70mm will probably end up back on eBay in due time.

I now feel as though I have a complete lens collection. Sure there may be other great deals that tempt me but I think I have the resistance to turn them down. eBay can be a great place for deals, and all of these lens came from the online auction house for a lot less than it would cost to buy them new. My next step is to take some pictures that I can sell to counteract my case of lens fever.

3 Responses to “ Bitten By The Lens Bug ”

  1. Ah, so you did buy that combo package on ebay with the 2 lenses. How you liking your collection? I need to replace my mid-range lens soon. My 28-105 is hit or miss after dropping it, the lens sometimes pops out of alignment and half my shot ends up blurred, not good when you are expecting good shots for print eh?

    I love my Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L, the IS is great… I’m glad I spent the extra $300 on the IS version. Overall I don’t feel robbed, or have any buyer’s remorse after paying $1600 on a lens, unlike I assumed I would.

    I need to replace my Canon 50mm f/1.8 mk II, it was a casualty to a big fall too with that 28-105. It works but grinds when it focuses, and I wonder how long it will be before it just stops. However, I think if I replace it, I will replace with the f/1.4. I’d rather have a lens with a good body and also gain a little more DOF loss ๐Ÿ˜€ Where as the 50mm is not a great walking around lens, it can really help you learn to set up shots well, its a very straight lens, no barrel distortion at all. But the big loss on it, is that on the rebel, and 10-40D series its an 80mm lens. I was thinking about getting a 35mm lens to regain the ’50mm’ I bought that lens for. But if I upgrade to an FF camera, no need.

    I also just got a Tokina 12-24mm lens. Excellent lens. It is a lot sharper than the Tamron 19-35mm i had before, and it has a constant f/4 aperature which is a small plus. Super wide, and its not an EF-S type lens like the Canon 10-22mm. Although I’d imagine the barrell distortion, chromatic aboration, and vignetting on a FF camera would make you not want to use this lens. Of course you don’t get that with the crop factor cameras.

    But the Tokina lenses consistently rank over both Tamron and Sigma, which surprised me. I never heard much coming from Tokina – and when I was looking for an ultra wide lens I was comparing this one, the Canon 10-22mm, Sigma 10-20mm, and Sigma 12-24mm. Overall even with having more Chromatic aboration (easily fixable with raw files), the Tokina seemed to get better reviews.

    Next I’m looking at either the Canon 24-70mm or the Canon 17-40mm of course the 24-70 is ideal, as it would nicely fill the gap between my 12-24 and 70-200mm, but its also $1300 ๐Ÿ˜€
    Ive recently been bitten by the Lighting Bug, after finally buying a good flash, the Canon Speedlite 430ex, I’ve been wanting to get some umbrellas, light stand or 2, I also bought a wireless flash trigger, and of course want more flashes ๐Ÿ˜€ I want to get about 3 or 4 in the near future and start doing some Real Estate photography.

    So much to buy, so little money!


  2. You should really do some freelance photography.


  3. […] Student Association, and the Korean Student Association at the University of Maryland. My Sigma 70-200mm came in handy as their was very little light (even though there was a bright spot light on the […]

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