Mature Impulse Shopper: All Things Macro

May 04, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

It has been about a year since I purchased a new lens and I started to get the itch for something new and shiny - like a macro lens.  I'm a little bit of an impulse shopper. Well, I am an impulse shopper.  But the difference now is that I'm a maturing impulse shopper which makes a great deal of sense.  Hey, if I'm growing wiser with age, it would be great to demonstrate that from time to time, right?  I didn't splurge on a Zeiss lens at some $1,800, but I did manage to get into a 90mm Tamron macro, which I'm quite happy with.  The reviews are quite good on this lens, and there are only two possible downsides to a purchase I haven't received yet.  At last check it left from Hodgkins, IL this morning, so my new buddy is sitting in the back of a UPS truck someplace in the midwest in route to my house.  It is my hope that my friend is safe, and moderately comfortable, perhaps eyeing a box of plastic flowers dreaming of the day it'll get to look down the barrel of the real mccoy.  I digress.  The two potential downsides are somewhat real concerns, one more so than the other, but I'm comfortable, and that is all that matters.

The first possible "real" concern is the brand.  I only own one third party lens, and that is the Tamron 24-70 f2.8.  She's a real beauty, and I really love using it.  Tamron has had an issue with quality control at times and I've read numerous comments from people that say they can't get a good copy of the lens they bought, and therefore hate Tamron.  I get it, I'd be that guy too, but I got a great copy so I've had no reason to worry about that critique.  Plus, my recollection tells me they've solved that issue.  The other issue, which is no issue at all, is that at 90mm, it isn't considered a "pro" lens because many working pros use longer focal length lenses, usually from 100mm and longer.  At 90mm I'm just 10mm short of what I think is an imaginary "minimum" length, but there still is 11 some inches of minimum focus distance so I can get light to my subject without trouble, and there are nine diaphragm blades so specular highlights and bokeh should be quite nice.  That said, if you're shooting a poisonous spider, more length makes sense, so there is that consideration.  But for the price, I'm all in because, well, I hate spiders, snakes, and all things that crawl.

Let me back up for a moment, last fall I did some commercial work for a restaurant using a rented macro lens which turned out to be a week-long love affair with macro that I haven't been able to shake.  I've included an image from that shoot here, which I wanted to be quite aggressive as the subject was a set of blades used for grinding meat.  Having true 1:1 representation of the subject matter really made these shots worth while and the images I created using a longer focal length, not macro, fell short of my expectations.  They lacked that "ahhh" factor I think only macro can provide.

Having an aperture range from f32-f2.8, I'll get all the depth, or lack of it, that I want.  I chose not to get the vibration compensation (VC) that Tamron offers because I only shoot off a tripod anyway so VC doesn't offer me any advantage.  The sample images I've seen look great and being a prime lens I get the added benefit of additional sharpness, particularly along the edge of the frame.  That said, using Lightroom in post would solve any minor issues that might arise anyway.  I just don't see the downside.  So, I'm pretty geeked about my new lens, and I hope that my Wednesday, the arrival date, will be full of shooting tiny little things in a big way.  Until next time.

MacroMacroMeat Grinder



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