I'm about to purchase: Canon T2i with included EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens Canon Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Camera Lens

This is for photography 2D artwork of different media and I've made this decision based on feedback from here Is Canon T2i and kit lens good for shooting (2D) artwork? and here macro lens for artwork with the T2i

My only concern is that Canon doesn't call the EF 50MM a "macro", but it is isn't it? It's also $300 cheaper than their EF-S 60mm f/2.8 macro which has been recommended.

I just got to confirm the lens and I'm set. What do you think? Or any other comments before I purchase?

UPDATE. I went ahead and made the purchase but without the Macro Lens. It looks like the Compact Macro may be the one for me, though I want to fully understand all the answers and feedback before I decide. But so far I understand that this lens does give true 1/1 but is not necessarily great for 'macro', which should be fine for me.

There is so much information and so much to learn about photography that I notice more than one entire 3rd party book devoted to the T2i alone. In this situation I do not have the adequate time to fully master everything I'd like too before I start photographing the work. I'll need to set up lighting and the entire studio, and I'll only have a couple days to experiment before I get to work. I appreciate the head start I've been given here. No doubt I'll be learning as I go. Thanks for everyone's help.

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    The costly about a printer is not its initial price but the colour and paper. The "we reduce this price grrrrrreatly"-scheme is just a nice scam.
    – Leonidas
    Feb 1 '11 at 1:07
  • Hi @Kelly! I went ahead and removed the 'rebate' section of your post as posting on rebates goes against the community guidelines (see discussion on Meta here): meta.photo.stackexchange.com/questions/503/… Feb 1 '11 at 2:02
  • Just wanna point out that you don't really need the kit lens. The quality isn't great, and it's useless for macro. It'll be much more economical if you were to just get the body only. Feb 1 '11 at 3:00
  • the EF-S 18-55 IS is actually a decent lens, all things consider.
    – Alan
    Feb 1 '11 at 3:03
  • Leonidas, the printer is highly rated and they all charge for ink so I may as well get it cheap. Along with that jon2512, the kit lens was only $70 more and as I didn't get the macro lens yet at least I'll have something to play with. Unless things change, when this project is done I plan to sell it all; camera, lenses, printer, lighting, etc... It'll be well taken care of and a great deal for someone. Right now I can only justify it just for this one large project. Alan, thanks, as I just made the purchase already! And Jay, my apologies to the community for the misstep; thanks for fixing.
    – kelly
    Feb 1 '11 at 22:26

For your purpose, you do not actually want a macro for its macro capabilities, but because it has very minimal distortion and a very flat field of focus. The 60mm macro qualifies, as does the 50mm f/2.5 "Compact Macro", but not necessarily the 50mm f/1.8. The 50 2.5 CM's lack of true-macro 1:1 magnification is not relevant in your case but its good flat-field and distortion features are.

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    +1, agreed, key factors are flat field and minimum distortion (and high resolution)
    – labnut
    Feb 1 '11 at 11:49
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    Agreed. And the actual best lenses to use for something like this would be reprographic lenses on a view camera (if the artwork is actually flat) or (would that it were still available) something like the old Rokkor 24mm f/2.8 VFC (variable field curvature) which would allow you to precisely match the lens field curvature to sunken or bulged work. (Minolta really had some awesome special-purpose lenses back in the day. They -- well, Sony now -- still have a couple of really unique and useful designs, like the 135mm/2.8 STF.)
    – user2719
    Feb 1 '11 at 12:11
  • I'm going with the T2i because the one I heard that is best is the super expensive 22mp Canon (forget the models). Actually for the sophistication all these cameras seem really well priced, but my budget is stretched with the T2i. I can see in some cases where the work is on a curving board that a option like the Rokkor would be the trick. Most all the work though is very 'flat'. And Staale, thanks for the further explanation.
    – kelly
    Feb 1 '11 at 21:58
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    Ah, yes, the 5D mark II or the 1Ds mark III. "Best", for certain values of best, and when size, cost and weight is not an issue at all. I have a 1Ds mark II myself, and the hernia to prove it. You will be very satisfied with the T2i I think, the important electronic bits inside the camera are of a very high standard even if they have cheapened out a bit on the extrior and mechanics compared to the top of the line stuff!
    – Staale S
    Feb 1 '11 at 22:56

The Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II lens is NOT a macro lens.

  • I don't understand the difference? Seems everyone loves it even for close-ups. I'm still unsure which to get? I don't need USM and I don't want to spend $400. But I do need a good macro lens. Artwork size ranges from from 9"x12" to 30"x40" maximum
    – kelly
    Jan 31 '11 at 23:29
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    Macro lenses are typically defined as a lens that can record an image at 1:1 onto the sensor or film - the image projected by the lens is the same size (or bigger) than the actual object being photographed. See this recent question for more info: photo.stackexchange.com/questions/7974/…
    – ahockley
    Jan 31 '11 at 23:42

It's not macro because the best magnification is 1:2. So items that are 1 inch in size, take up 1/2 an inch on the file (sensor).

By definition, macro starts at 1:1 magnification.

Most people get confused because many point and shoots have a "macro" feature, which actually only allows a closer focusing, but not actual true macro magnification.

THe EF-S 60mm f2.8 is a "true" macro lens, with a 1:1 magnification ratio. It is roughly the equivalent of the EF 100 F2.8 macro lens, but for APC-S cameras.

  • I undeleted this because it is actually a good answer. If you still want it deleted, go ahead and nuke it. ;P
    – jrista
    Feb 1 '11 at 2:14
  • Ah, I deleted it because I misread the op, who mentioned 50F1.8, and assumed them meant, the 50 2.5
    – Alan
    Feb 1 '11 at 3:01
  • I'm confuse by the delete and undelete but the explanation, along with the other answers, makes sense now. I think others tried to explain it before but I just wasn't getting it.
    – kelly
    Feb 1 '11 at 21:59

The Canon 50mm Macro is the EF 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro, which only does true 1:1 macro with an extension tube. I think that people were agreeing that it would be good to photograph artwork, but not for use as a macro lens...

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    Actually, I'd missed this lens out when considering a recommendation in the previous question. The 50mm/2.5 would probably be a better choice than the 60mm both from a price perspective and given possible space constraints, especially given that 1:1 reproduction at the sensor isn't necessary for the anticipated application.
    – user2719
    Feb 1 '11 at 21:22
  • Thanks Pear and thanks again Stan. Fortunately I do have probably 10' if needed between camera and artwork, and maximum piece is only 30x40. Could I then use a 100mm macro lens and is there any advantage?
    – kelly
    Feb 8 '11 at 4:41

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