Upgrading My Photography Gear


Much of last year, I’ve been involved in taking close-up pictures, specially of flowers.  The more close-up pictures I shot, the more the passion grew.  I knew that sooner or later, I would have to plunge into macro territory.  That meant buying a true 1:1 magnification macro lens.  The problem was that these lenses are not cheap.

Then, by chance, I happened into an E-Bay web page announcing special deals of used photography gear.  The sellers were making statements that their merchandise was nearly new and in excellent conditions—almost new.

One of them offered a macro lens saying that, This item is unused. The packaging has been opened but it is unused.”  The price was $350.00 for the lens compared with Canon’s new lens which can be had at Amazon for $649.00.  The deal was so tempting that I took it immediately before somebody else took advantage of the opportunity.

The macro lens is the Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM – Ultrasonic

I.  DESCRIPTION

This respectable macro lens is a thoroughly modern design that’s optimized for select Canon EOS digital DSLR cameras.  Inner focusing driven by a silent powerful ring-type USM, meaning that the lens’ overall length never changes while focusing.

This is a wonderful multipurpose lens that’s equally at home shooting macro shots, portraits or available-light photos.  Exactly what I need.  All of them are open options for my generalistic photography.

This lens enables photography down to a magnification of 1:1, which means that you can fill the final RAW or JPEG with a subject the same size as the APS-C sensor, inside a Canon Digital Rebel.  I own a Canon DSLR Rebel EOS T2i camera.

The ring-type ultrasonic motor (USM) allows full-time manual focus, even when the camera/lens are set to autofocus (AF).  The lens is constructed of 12 elements in 8 groups.  A floating element ensures high optical quality at all distances from 1:1 to infinity.  For lovers of soft bokeh (blurred areas in foreground and background), this lens is equipped with a circular aperture.  The lens requires a Canon ET-67B hood.

Main Specifications:

  • Closest focus distance:  7.9 inches
  • Filter diameter:  52mm
  • Price:  $649.00 (New at Amazon), $350.00 (Used at E-Bay)
  • Easier handheld, small and light
  • Versatile focal length for general use
  • Fill the frame with a subject the size of a penny
  • Canon’s shortest focal length macro lens ever with fully internal focusing

To protect the lens, I also purchased a Tiffen filter, UV protector for $7.99.  Transportation charges from Miami to Panama, including import duties were $107.03, which I thought was pretty expensive.

II. PHOTOGRAPHY GEAR

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All of the above, are pictures of the box which contained the macro lens.  As you can see, it was in a pretty good shape.  Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

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True to the seller’s word, the lens was completely new.  Everything was brand new, including the box and packaging.  Indeed it was a bargain buying this lens.  Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.
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In this picture you can see the 52mm UV protective filter alread screwed to the macro lens.  It fitted like a glove.  Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.
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In this picture you can see the focus range window of the macro lens.  Notice you can adjust the focusing range all the way to infinity.  I liked that.  Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.
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Notice the Automatic Focus/Manual Focus button.  Unfortunately the lens does not include the Image Stabilization (IS) feature to avoid camera shake.  This means that a tripod is a necessary tool to take sharp macro shots.  Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

III. SAMPLE SHOTS

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Photograph of a lovely Bougainvillaea plant at the entrance of El Bosque, the neighborhood where we live in Panama City, Panama.  The colors are gorgeous.  Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

 

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Notice the shapness of the picture.  It almost looks tri-dimensional.  These were my first two shots with the new lens without even reading the first page of the Owner’s Manual.  Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

So far so good.  Obviously, the next step is to test the macro features to see if the lens is worth its salt.  Shortly I’ll be posting my first macro photographs.  Fingers crossed.

Good Day!

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4 thoughts on “Upgrading My Photography Gear”

  1. Hi Barbara:

    I’m very excited at this moment. As they say, “I’ feel so happy I’m jumping out of my skin.” Soon I’ll be getting my feet wet with real macro photographs, 1:1 magnification. Wish me luck! 🙂

    Bye,

    Omar.-

  2. All the best and enjoy the lens. I am waiting to get mine too at some point.

    My advice is watch the UV lens as it might not really do much for you. It will not protect your lens if you dropped it. Your lens cap will do a better job and UV filters rarely add anything but glass to your lens reducing the performance of your lens. Rather, invest in a polarising filter as it adds something more than a UV filter does esp in colour rendering of the blues and greens. If a small piece of glass can protect a lens then a polarising filter should be your calling card as it adds a lot more. UV filters are sold by salespeople for gimmick purposes to sell extras.

    I hope to see the macro work you shoot with your new lens. All the best.

    1. I hope your also get your macro lens soon. It’s quite an experience for exploring lilliputian worlds out there, too small to see with the naked eye.

      The reason why I use UV filters is to protect the glass of my lenses. On two occasion I broke UV filters by stricking my DSLR camera against hidden nails while taking a close-shot. I was so concentrated on the subject, that I did not see the hidden nail on the board. Of course, the filter was shattered, but my camera lens was intect. Since then, all my lenses are prectected with UV filter; plus they are very cheap.

      I also use polarizing filters to reduce sun glare or when shooting a stream or river under hard light. The difference is staggering. I agree with you that everybody should have a polarizing filter. The one that I have is Hoya Circular PL 52mm Pro 1 Digital Polarizing Filter. I’ve had it for over three years. It has served me well.

      A few days ago I took several macro pictures of a miniscule white flower growing on our backyard. Plan to post those shots day after tomorrow. Stay tuned to see the macro work with my new lens.

      Last but certainly not least, thank you so much for your encouraging comment. Makes me feel great.

      Best Regards,

      Omar.-

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