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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I’ve been taking photos of my watches with my phone up until now and I feel like they may be lacking a bit. Any suggestions for a decent macro lens to use with my Canon 6D?
Also anything else I need that you think is absolutely necessary for watch close ups?

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I've been looking for a macro lens for a while, and the Tamron 90mm F2.8 VC USD gets excellent reviews. Some reviews say it's actually better quality than the Canon L lens equivalent. For me it's still a lot of money, so I still have to convince myself that I can justify buying it. :)
 

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Essential for proper watch close ups is a tripod. A good sturdy one, will last decades and is worth the extra money. I don't know Canon well, but I would get their super 6:1 macro if I had a Canon body. though it certainly isn't cheap.

If you had a Nikon their 40mm dx macro at under 300 is a good lens for watch photos.

Another useful item is a diffuser tent. These can easily be made at home. Some people get great results setting the watch up in an opaque or white plastic office garbage bin. I made a tent wire tunnel frame and covered it with a light white fabric, as my portable watch studio.
 
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I'm a part time photojournalist. Professional diver full time. I priced macro lenses for my Nikon rig, and just couldn't justify the expense of a 60mm for what little I needed it. I bought a set of 3 macro extension tubes for $40 of Amazon. They work like a charm. I just needed them to take some pics of a watch to sell.
 

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I have the Canon 100mm 2.8 macro. It works quite well on close up stuff. I'm not sure what you consider affordable, but.....
If you get the non IS one it is not too bad. I found mine used on Fred Miranda for $400. It makes shots like this possible
 

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I've been looking for a macro lens for a while, and the Tamron 90mm F2.8 VC USD gets excellent reviews. Some reviews say it's actually better quality than the Canon L lens equivalent. For me it's still a lot of money, so I still have to convince myself that I can justify buying it. :)
I don't do much macro (mostly landscape), but am a Cannon shooter and real glass IQ geek. Not a pro, but I have sold my work. I'd second the vote for Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Di VC USD Macro. If are on a tight budget, you might consider the Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro, which has been around a while so you could get a good deal on a used lens. Check out KEH Photo. I have 4 Sigma primes (50 and 85mm EX, and 24 and 35mm Art) and they are fantastic once you dial in AF.

Here is a good article for you. The best macro lenses for Canon and Nikon DSLRs in 2017: Best macro lens for Canon DSLRs | TechRadar
 

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For the money you can't beat the EF 55mm macro lens. I'm on my second one when I realized I missed it.


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For the money you can't beat the EF 55mm macro lens. I'm on my second one when I realized I missed it.
Although attractively priced and attractively compact in size, the EF 55mm f/2.5 isn't really a true macro lens. It only focus down to 0.5x size and requires a "Life Size Converter" to focus down to 1:1 magnification. By definition, macro photograph involves shooting at a magnification ration of at least 1:1, or greater. Moreover, 55mm results in a rather close working distance, which can make dealing with your own shadow annoying and photographing moving things (thing bugs) impossible.

I also think that the 90mm Tamron and 105mm Sigma double as useful portrait lenses. Sure, an 85mm f/1.4 would be better (at least in my mind), but at f/2.8 and 105mm you can get amazing subject isolation and flattening with slightly more margin of error in focusing. You can pick up the Sigma used on ebay for $300 which makes it a no-brainer if your budget constrained.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
That canon 65mm 5:1 is tempting but its kinda pricey. Also, I don’t think I’d want to take photos of watches quite that close (could use it for other stuff though, maybe watch closeups would still turn out ok), just wanting something with a closer minimum focus distance. I think if I was going to invest in another lens I’d want it to be somewhat versatile, meaning macros, closeups, maybe even normal shooting (macro lens for normal shooting - how is it?) I currently have 50, 85, 70-300, 14. Lots of redundancy I know. Any thoughts on a macro lens that could fill in a gap, or should I just not worry about redundancy in this case? Thanks for everyone’s replies so far.


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The 65mm MP-E, although an absolutely amazing lens, is totally overkill for you. It's very much a true specialist lens. It would be like trying to learn landscape photography using a tilt-shift lens. I fret it would turn you off from macro entirely.

You certainly have your focal lengths covered. But you don't specify your exact lenses, so it's hard to know which of those primes are quality vs entry-level. It looks like you tend to prefer longer focal lengths -- that and your budget make a pre-owned 105mm Sigma the logical choice. You might find you can even trade-in your 85mm prime for it, as you might not need both. The IQ on the Sigma EX will outperform the EF 85 f/1.8, which is a fairly mediocre lens, for example. If you have an 85mm EX, Art, or L, that's a different story, and I'd keep it. Trading the 85mm for the Tamron 90mm if you prefer peace of mind of new would also be a good option. You'd get weather sealing and a warranty with that route, and shed some redundancy in your kit. The lenses perform fairly similarly with respect to IQ, autofocus, etc (with the newer Tamron having a slight edge), so the real deciding factor is probably your budget.

I think the 55mm is your worst option, as you'd presumably trade away your current nifty-fifty for it, and be left with neither a true macro lens, and a slowish 50mm prime.

And last bit of unsolicited advice, given your current kit, I think you could probably get rid of the 50mm for a 35mm prime, the Sigma 35mm Art would be my choice. That lens is stunning. Then you'd have 35 (group shots, street, natural focal length), 90mm (macro, and portriats), 14mm (presumable interior/architectural, that really too wide for most landscape), and your 70-300 for sports/wildlife/etc. I think that's a much more useful setup.
 

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If you have Nikon, the 105mm f/2.8 D is razor sharp. Got mine for about $350. Here’s some very recent examples taken with a D700.
 

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