Help! I'm a beginner and would like advice on lenses..

Nov 19, 2019
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Well, one obvious lens for your collection is a macro for the shots of the flowers. I'd consider one of the following - I think they are all available in a Canon EF mount (sorry, I'm a Nikon shooter): Tamron 90mm f/2.8; Tokina 100mm f/2.8; Sigma 105mm f/2.8.
 
Dec 12, 2019
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DaveFaulkner is correct .... a macro lens would be ideal. You are not clear how much of the image you display that you want in focus? Normally most of us seek to get the subject in focus and the background out of focus. This is the rub . A large aperture is best at blurring background but has a shallow depth of field (sharp region) while a small aperture allows a deeper sharp region but allows the background to be more obtrusive. The usual situation and one that suits the subject you display is to use a small aperture and 'stack the image'. This is a technique where you focus on the nearest part you want sharp then take further shots each focussed carefully deeper into the subject until you last shot has the deepest part of your subject sharp. This is best done from a tripod with a 'tethered' camera to a computer but can also be carried out manually with care. Various software can then 'stack' your image using the sharp slices to build a final single image that is sharp front to back where you want it to be but still blurs the background.

A macro lens of about 100mm is better than a shorter focal length since it allows for a greater working distance and also permits easier artificial lighting.
 
Nov 18, 2019
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consider getting a ring flash. it's a specialized flash where the actual light is positioned around your lens. they're actually 2 separate lights so you have have more light on one side than the other to give you some depth.
 
Nov 19, 2019
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Thanks for the suggestion of a macro lens Dave. However I'm not sure that a macro lens would give enough depth of field.

To give everyone an idea of what I'm trying to get better at capturing the following picture will give some idea.

View attachment 83
I hear what you're saying, but the focal length (if around the 90-105mm) would be right and so would the magnification. You could overcome the depth of field issue that you understandably raise either by shooting on a tripod with a smaller aperture but a longer shutter speed or by focus stacking. I don't think you'll get the size of image you're after with a non-macro lens. (Well, you might with a large telephoto, but that would create other problems.)
 
Nov 18, 2019
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I like the idea of lighting though, would a ring flash work on anything other than a macro lens. Or would an image stabilised macro lens work?
that would depend on the ring flash that you choose. the canon one really only works with macro lenses and lenses about the same diameter. sigma's might fit on a larger diameter lens. take a look around and see what fits your needs.
 
Dec 24, 2019
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Canon has a fantastic 100mm macro lens f/2,8 L, and if you pair it with a good 70-200 f/2,8 and a set of automatic extension tubes (a set will cost you nearly nothing online) you should be fine. But, a good flash is something you should think about. You can get special flashes for macro, and some of the Chinese offers are extremely good, and they are much, much cheaper as well.
I would, however, recommend a monopod. Easy and quick to use, cheap, and it will help you a lot to stabilize your camere "on the fly" :)
Good Luck!
 

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