Looking for Macro photography capabilities without spending a large sum of money? There are several ways to accomplish this, but Extensions tubes are one of the least expensive methods. The Canon 500D Close-up Lens is another.
The 500D is a small double-element lens that threads onto the filter threads on a standard (non-macro) lens. It allows that lens to be focused at a much closer distance- resulting in a higher magnification of the subject. The 500D is intended to be used on lenses with a focal length of 70mm-300mm.
Close-up lenses such as the 500D result in higher magnification when used with longer telephoto lens but shorter focal length lenses result in higher magnification when used with Extension Tubes.
At the time, I had a decision to make. Use the 500D on my Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS USM Lens or purchase a Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro Lens for my macro photography.
I gave the 500D a try first. The quality of the 500D is very good. I found the 500D to be reasonably sharp in the center - but less sharp toward the edges.
However, I personally found the narrow focus distance range to be limiting. In addition, the quality of the pictures taken with the Canon 100mm Macro Lens were better. And I could take a wider variety of pictures with the 100mm than with the Canon 500D Close-up Lens attached to another lens.
So why would you buy the 500D?
If you are carrying a non-macro lens regardless and you want macro capabilities without the added weight and size of a macro lens, the 500D is perfect for you.
If you have a lens in the 70-300mm range and do not have the budget for a prime (fixed focal length) macro lens, the 500D is a prospect for you.
If you only want to shoot at macro distances infrequently, the Canon 500D Close-up Lens might be what you want.
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