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Does anyone can give a recommendation for a general purpose lens with good macro capabilities / short minimum distance to the object for Canon mount? 3rd party manufacturers are welcome too.

Currently, I am owning a Canon 70D (APS-C), Canon EF-S 18-135, 3.5-5.6, IS STM and Canon EF 100m L f/2.8 IS.

I am happy with the quality of the EF-S kit lens for general purpose travel photography. I am very happy with the 100m L 2.8 for macro and portrait (of course, one of the best for a lot of people). But I am not happy with the macro images of the zoom lens. I just can't go close enough to the objects and it's optical resolution has limits then...

I am going travelling soon in tropical regions and looking forward to take pictures of tiny frogs, strange insects, geckos and so on.

Because I will be travelling by the very ordinary public transport there (taxi brousses) I like to save volume, weight and value of the luggage.

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    It sounds like you want to have one lens that combines the advantages of both of your lenses, am I understanding this correctly? Or are you looking for a more compact macro lens that you can bring along with your EF-S lens? – null Aug 17 '15 at 21:14
  • @null Yes, you are right. I am looking for a lens that combines the advantages of both lenses. It could be an option, to replace the 100m L with a lighter one, probably EF-S. But first option would be prefered. – this.myself Aug 18 '15 at 7:42
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Personally, I think you need to bite the bullet and just carry both lenses. Two lenses is not a huge amount of gear, and the 100L Macro is arguably the best macro lens you can get for the Canon mount. You could rent an EF-S 60mm f/2.8 USM Macro for the trip, which is smaller/lighter than the 100L, but it's not going to replace an 18-135 for walkaround use, and your working distance is going to be smaller, which could be an added problem with frogs and insects.

Zoom lenses tend not to have great macro performance--they're optimized for very different uses. None of the 3rd party zooms that are labelled as "Macro" (e.g., Sigma 70-300 "Macro", 1:4 magnification) are true macro lenses that yield 1:1 magnification.

  • @this.myself -1 for being unclear, please don't distribute different additional little pieces of information across different comments on answers. Please include all information in your question. Otherwise your question isn't really answerable. If you want a discussion, you can have that in a chat thank you – null Aug 18 '15 at 12:06
  • @null you are right and wrong. right is, I distributed information. wrong is, it is not additional info. in fact it has nothing to do with the question asked. So I deleted to comment. – this.myself Aug 19 '15 at 9:16
  • I made the trip with the Canon EF-S 18-135, 3.5-5.6, IS STM and Canon EF 100m L f/2.8 IS on the Canon 70D. It turned out to be a really good combination. Use the 100m as telelense often too, sometimes with Kenko HD 2x Converter, which gives good results if you are careful. Sure, the EF 24-70mm f/4L USM would be better quality than my lense, but it does not cover the wide angle. – this.myself Nov 14 '17 at 16:16
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The Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM Lens is the closest to what you desire. It isn't a true macro 1:1 lens, but it does provide .70x as well as a fairly close miniumum focusing distance of 7.9"(200mm). The image quality will far exceed the current zoom lens you have, and the macro quality is very high for a zoom or non dedicated macro. It's a great lens overall. The one thing you might miss is the 18mm wide angle abilities, and instead the 24mm might be slightly limiting for wide landscapes or interior shots.

  • Yes, I would miss the 18mm definitly. Maybe not in the tropics, but in the desert. It makes a big difference from 18 to 24 on the APS-C. Even if the lens you suggested would be of better quality. When I would own a full frame camera, then the case would be clear and I would carry a 24-70 f/2.8 or f/4... – this.myself Aug 18 '15 at 7:45
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If you don't want to carry two lenses, you might want to add an Extension Tube to use with your 18-135 STM:

http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Canon-EF-S-18-135mm-f-3.5-5.6-IS-STM-Lens-Review.aspx

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