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I would like to photograph small and scared critters, including their eyes and body-parts too.

I am considering a Sigma 150mm f2.8 OS macro lens. I have read about working distance and minimum focusing distance, but I still wonder if a 105mm (better resolution) really could be enough for my needs.

Articles that I read noted that with a 150mm focal length you could be at 50cm from your subject (which is enough not to scare animals), while other articles say that the distance from your subject is somewhat 30cm with this kind of lens.

My questions are:

  1. Which article is correct?
  2. How do I select the best lens to photograph critters, insects and so on?
  3. Is it worth it to work with a 1.4x teleconverter and/or extension tubes and/or Raynox lenses combined with the macro lens?
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    I would suggest removing the piece about using teleconverters, extension tubes, and roynox lenses and ask that as a separate question. You are already asking about minimum focusing distance for a standalone macro lens and also the hugely generic and wide open question of "how do i select the best lens to photograph insects"; (which is already covered on this site multiple times). We try to keep duplicate questions to a minimum and also ask one question per question so we can answer appropriately. – dpollitt Jun 17 '16 at 13:03
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I've used these setups on both DX and FX bodies

I used to shoot a Sigma 180mm Macro for insect and flower photography. It is an amazing lens but it was pretty much dedicated to tight closeups or long telephoto so in the end it is really jut wastes space in my camera bag.

Now I used my Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 with a 2x Teleconverter and a a set of extension tubes. for slightly more weight than the 180mm I get 70-200mm f/2.8, 140-400mm f/5.6. with the 400mm lens and a 36mm extension I can photograph bees at 1:1 from around 18 to 24 inches away. Example Album.

  • The 180 is encumbering, has less resolution but of course has more "reach" than the 150. I'm not sure whether the 180 has OS... Last but not the least, its price is 2x 150's. So I'm ruling out that option. The 70-200 f.2.8 is exactly what I'm usign today (with extention tubes), so that's not an option either. 2x Teleconverters are REALLY bad in terms of losing resolution, so that's something else that I want to rule out. At this point I might as well buy a 150-600 and use it with tubes – Noldor130884 Jun 18 '16 at 14:08
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I use a 180mm macro myself for insects, but a 90mm macro for anything else.

150mm is better than a 105mm as far as working distance goes, if the 105mm is better er not is questionable, since all macro (1:1) glasses I have ever uses where top notch.

I'll would go for the 150mm but 180mm is even better for insects that is.

  • the 180mm has poorer resolution and costs a lot more than the 150... So I guess I'll have to select the 150 – Noldor130884 Jun 18 '16 at 14:11
  • Sounds like the better choice then. – Goat Jun 18 '16 at 14:26
  • Do you have any experience using the 180 (150 in my case) with Raynox lenses, Teleconverters or macro-rings? Are those things worth using? – Noldor130884 Jun 19 '16 at 7:30
  • I have tried a sigma 1.4 teleconverter (reduced the IQ), so I stick to extension tubes from Kenko. Now in maco beyond 1:1 AF is not very useful however I'll still recommend getting the tubes with contacts for AF. Good closes up lenses can be use to increase magnification further still, but at a cost in IQ. My Tamron 180mm works perfectly with both Teleconverter and extension tubes but I'll only recommend extension tubes. – Goat Jun 19 '16 at 19:22

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