Best lens for Macro work on Nikon

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by vicious1, May 1, 2009.

  1. vicious1 macrumors newbie

    Aug 22, 2004
    Hello everyone. I am looking for the best lens for macro photography for my Nikon D90. I don't really care what brand but I don't want to spend thousands of (insert currency here) either.
    I saw a EOS 350D take macro shots with a 50mm lens (I think) on a 50 Euro bill and you could clearly read the text that was not really visible to the naked eye.

    So anyone with suggestions for Nikon Macro lenses please let me know. Web reviews are appreciated but personal experience is also good. The 60mm Micro from Nikon isn't considered the greatest apparently.


  2. Black Belt macrumors 6502a

    Black Belt

    Jun 15, 2007
    Some web critics like to criticize just to feel superior when really they are full of crap. There is nothing wrong with the Nikon 60 micro at all, in fact it's quite good. I have one and use it. If you want a cheaper way out, use a 50mm and get some extension tubes. I have a D200 and that works nearly as well. If you want more, spend the dough and get a good tripod and hookup. Worry more about taking great pictures and you can do it with a cardboard box if you have to.
  3. compuwar macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2006
    Northern/Central VA

    By whom? The 60mm Micro gets rave reviews, as do the 105mm and 200mm Micros. Personally, I'd look at the Tamron 90mm SP Di too, but focal length gives working distance, so there's not necessarily a "best" solution because it depends on what you shoot and how much working distance you need. A 60mm lens gives you ~2" of working distance, so lighting is a challenge.

    The 60mm is regarded as one of the sharpest macros, about the only place it doesn't get rave reviews is in non-macro shooting where you may see CA and softness at longer distances in older versions. The newest nano-coated version is supposed to have gotten rid of the CA, though Photozone says it's still there- though it's not a big deal for macro work. The biggest complaint for macro is that the lens hood is longer than the closest point of focus.

    Bjorn Rorslett gives the newest version a 5 for both FX and DX bodies, Nikon has produced a version of the 60mm Micro for 20 years- it's a stellar lens, and at its price it's a bargain, but working distance for any 60mm macro is too short for most people.
  4. vicious1 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 22, 2004

    Hi I should have been more specific about the reviews and what points are critized on the 60mm lens.
    Quote from Ken Rockwell: "Nikon specifies 3.56" (90.4mm). This is how close the front of the lens is to the subject at the closest focusing distance, and why I don't suggest 60mm micro lenses. "

    Granted I am not really into the whole Insect macro work but light could be a problem.
    Will a 50mm with extension tubes work? I have a 50mm AF "D" (since I have the "motor in the camera") I wonder if I could pick up a cheap 60mm "D version" or a 105mm "D" even though the 105mm is priced horribly high.....
    If extension tubes for a 50mm will provide good macro results however, that would be my first stop probably. Anyone care to comment on that?


  5. Over Achiever macrumors 68000

    Over Achiever

    Jul 22, 2002
    Toledo, OH, formerly Twin Cities, MN
    Well, one thing to keep in mind is that the closer you get to the object, yes the image will be magnified, but the lighting can get tricky with the lens nearly on top of the object you're taking a picture of. 3" is not that unreasonable of a distance to shoot macro.
  6. feuerschlange macrumors regular

    Oct 13, 2008
    Although I would prefer a 105mm minimum working length, a used 60mm AF-D 2.8 micro is a very reasonable buy at around 250 - 350 USD.

    I really bite my a**, as I skipped two perfect used samples for 225 EUR each, when the new AF-S version hit the stores.

    Now the used AF-Ds are harder to find for this price, as people recognised them as reasonable and perfectly sharp lenses.
  7. Rotary8 macrumors regular

    Oct 24, 2006
    I personally use a nikkor 105mm 2.8 VR micro. Bought it for $600 off craigslist (bargain) and absolutely love it. Waiting for those bugs to come out but so far, managed to shoot pics of dew on plants.
  8. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Apr 14, 2001
    Sendai, Japan
    If you're interested in 60 mm macros, Tamron has just released a new one.
  9. feuerschlange macrumors regular

    Oct 13, 2008
    Great shot!
  10. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    The short answer is that every Niokn macro lens is very good. Likely better then a digital sensor can record.

    When the Nikon Micro-nikor 55mm f/3.5 lens was introduced is was the sharpest lens in the world. This was in the early 1960s. I have one of these and it is still as good as anything made today. You can buy these now for under $100 and they work fine on current DSLRs. No AF or Metering but you don't use that for those very close 1:1 shots . The Nikon 60mm is the current version of this lens

    But if yu need more camera to subject distance you need a loner lenses. They get more expensive as they get longer. My 55mm works fine for shots set up on a tripod

    One thing to note is if you need/want a "flat field" You need this to shoot flat subjects. I think the 60mm is. Most lense have curved "planes" of focus. (Think about shooting a wall, the wall seen in the edge of the frame is farther from the camera.) but most macro subjects are 3D objects. Flat field is required for copy work.
  11. Phrasikleia macrumors 601


    Feb 24, 2008
    Over there------->
    Nice bokeh!! That is the one lens that Nikon has that I wish Canon made. Canon makes no primes under 200mm with stabilization. If I were a Nikon shooter, the 105mm macro would be a no-brainer. Great lens!
  12. Rotary8 macrumors regular

    Oct 24, 2006
    VR doesn't work too well under extreme close focus. It's meant to work best a few ft away. Though under daylight or flash 1/250th and faster shouldn't be a problem when hand held. That particular shot was taken under cloudy conditions and high iso with my d700.

    I'd like to add that I have a buddy with a tamron which he swears by. I've seen some of his bug pics and they're nice and sharp. Though me personally I like to have all of my lenses/gear be nikon. It's just the way I am. =)
  13. obeygiant macrumors 68040


    Jan 14, 2002
    totally cool
    I've got the 105mm macro. I'm selling off most of my nikon equipment and that particular lens I'm keeping. That may tell you something.
  14. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

    Oct 9, 2005
    8 miles from the Apple Store at Tysons (VA)
    Recently I did an analysis of which lenses I have used since January 1, 2009 for my 365 Days project. The most-frequently used lens? The Nikon 60mm Micro-Nikkor AF-S. To date I also have used the 105 VR, the 70-180, the 200 f/4 and a couple of non-Nikon macro lenses (the wonderful Tokina 90mm f/2.5 and the equally wonderful Lester Dine/Kiron 105mm f/2.8). Um, yes, I rather DO like shooting macros! Of course the 60mm shines at doing tabletop and close up work indoors, which is something for which I used it extensively during the cold winter months. Now that spring is here I've been doing more with my other macro lenses as well.

    Basically, the 60mm AF-S is wonderful for getting really close to the subject and there is little space between you and it. If shooting flowers which are being dive-bombed by flying bees or other insects, it's advisable to have more room, more focusing distance, and that's when the longer 105 or 200mm lenses come in very handy!

    As someone else has mentioned, the Tamron 90mm has an outstanding reputation and it costs a little less to purchase than the Nikon 105mm VR.

    True macro means that the lens is capable of producing a 1:1 ratio. One can also achieve good results -- close up -- with using extension tubes or special diopter filters on a standard lens. What's really cool is to stick an extension tube on a dedicated macro lens. Talk about very minimal DOF.....whoo!

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