The tutorials featured in the last post show how to take excellent fly photographs with point and shoot cameras and entry level Digital SLRs with the lens that come with the kit.
A few months ago, I started getting into photography more, and received some good advice to upgrade my “glass”. (”glass” is fancy-pants photography talk for lens) After shopping around and doing research, I picked up Canon’s 50mm f1.4 lens. This is known as a prime lens, since its a single focal length (not a zoom). Because its a fixed focal length, the designers have fewer variables and can better optimize the image quality for a given price point.
Here is the 50mm f1.4 and a typical kit lens, the 28-80mm, f4.5-5.6. Besides the metal construction, notice how much more glass is present in the 50mm lens. I’ve been very happy with the quality of the shots using this lens. This also started my journey for acquiring more glass.
The 50mm doesn’t get close enough to fill the frame with a fly, but the image captured is very clear. A couple of options are available to get the 50mm closer, one in front of the lens (close up filters) and one between the camera and lens (extension tube); stay tuned for more info in upcoming posts. Here is a size 14 fly taken at the closest focus distance for the 50mm:
The next upgrade was a dedicated macro lens, the Canon 100mm f2.8. This has 2 benefits, more magnification to get closer and its designed to allow closer focusing. At the closest focusing distance, the 100mm f2.8 gives a 1:1 ratio. This means that the fly image on the camera’s sensor is actual size.
Here is the same fly taken with the 100mm f2.8 macro lens, which fills the entire frame. (this was taken with a Canon 50d, which is a 1.6 “crop factor” camera, which helps fill the frame)