Can the D90 kit lense shoot "macro"?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by hayduke, Jan 18, 2009.

  1. hayduke macrumors 65816

    hayduke

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    #1
    I know the D90 is more camera than I need, but I'm considering it as a potentially more future proof camera than the D80. I'm open to other suggestions though...

    Most of what I need it for is typical indoor shooting of people, but also for close-ups of small samples that I work with. The samples are typically ~1cm x 1cm and I need to resolve them pretty close-up, but not at true macro levels (i.e. 1:1 with the image sensor).

    With the kit lense (18-105mm) can I zoom in and focus so that the full image covers ~195mm x 130mm? ~92mm x 65mm? Smaller?

    I'm trying to avoid buying a macro lens initially...
     
  2. iBookG4user macrumors 604

    iBookG4user

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    #2
    The D90 kit lens shoots 1:5 ratio for macro, which isn't too good and will probably leave you wanting it to focus closer. Have you considered getting a cheaper macro like the Sigma 50mm f/2.8 Macro? It costs about $230 and the reviews are quite positive.
     
  3. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

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    #3
    Short answer: "No."

    You need a macro lens to shoot true macro shots with, and that means, most likely, either the AF-D or AF-S versions of the 60mm 2.8 or 105mm lenses.
     
  4. CarlsonCustoms macrumors 6502

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    #4
    No it won't focus close. You can try an extension tube or reversing ring. K have a set of eBay tubes coming so I'll let you know when they come.

    Zack
     
  5. leighonigar macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    That lens is quite excellent for that kind of thing. I've never had a problem with it, and it's a nice lens for general photography too, if you can live at that length.
     
  6. Cliff3 macrumors 65816

    Cliff3

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    #6
    Another option would be to use a close up filter such as these from Canon: link. You would need a step up ring for those since they don't offer a 67mm size to match your lens. You would have to go with 72mm or 77mm and get the appropriate step up ring. Nikon apparently discontinued their close-up filters, but Canon's are quite good.
     
  7. hayduke thread starter macrumors 65816

    hayduke

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    #7
    Thanks for all the help. I think I'll start with the just the kit lens. I appreciate the pointer to the macro lens.

    This will be my first slr...I'll be back with more questions!
     
  8. JDDavis macrumors 65816

    JDDavis

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    #8
    I recently upgraded to the D90 with an 18-200 and the 50mm 1.8 lense. Neither really come close to macro ability. Both lenses are outstanding, I really love the 50mm 1.8 (especially for the price). I was going for a wider lense next but I think the 18-200 is going to be just fine. Point being, my next purchase will probably be the 60mm 2.8 micro from Nikon because I miss having the true macro capability that I had on my Minolta. (Don't miss the Minolta though) I've read lots of good things about that lense and the price is reasonable.
     
  9. leighonigar macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    There are some lenses which are all-round and have some close-up capability. I've always been happy with the Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5. I use it in preference to the nikon 18-70, mainly because of the macroism.
     
  10. jaseone macrumors 65816

    jaseone

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    #10
    Do you need to zoom in so the sample really fills the sensor? Can you not just crop until you can get a true macro lens?
     
  11. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #11
    The sensor size is roughly 24x16mm so if the lens will do even a 4:1 rato you will be OK. But if you need to get closer you can always buy a set of screw-on diopters. These work kind of like reading glasses and allow the lens to get closer.

    In the worst case you can spend about $100 on a used macro lens and get all the way to 1:1 with good quality. Even the 1960's vintage Nikon macro lenses are very, very good and work with the modern DSLR, Well except for auto focus and metering
     
  12. hayduke thread starter macrumors 65816

    hayduke

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    #12
    Yes, I can crop. For what I do I would like to resolve the samples at better than 50µm. Ideally, closer to 5 or 10µm. I know this is not how photographers typically think, but I'm a scientist...not a photographer!

    The samples are typically 1cm x 1cm, so I would like about 200 pixels x 200 pixels in that field of view. Hence, the need for a field-of-view of about 190mm x 130mm at 12MP.
     
  13. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #13
    Digital cameras aren't all that future-proof. Spending more on a body is less economical than spending more on a lens, as the lens will last at least three and often more bodies.

    The kit lens won't be good indoors in ultra-low light without a flash, but you can get good shots zoomed out.

    Adorama sells the D90 kit for $1200...

    They sell the D80 body-only for $539 - leaving you with ~$670 for lenses.The 18-105 (if you're set on it) is $325 for a Nikon USA version, leaving $450 for the macro lens of your choice. Adorama has a refurbed 60mm micro (one razor-sharp macro lens) for $350, or a USA new one for $400- leaving you $50 for a nice Bald Eagle picture! :D

    Both lenses will work on your next camera body, and the D90 isn't likely to last much longer than the D80 since they're both new in box a the same day. The D90 will leave you still macro-less, and the 60mm holds its value pretty well.
     
  14. hayduke thread starter macrumors 65816

    hayduke

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    #14
    Thanks for the very thoughtful reply. I'll go look at the D80 and the D90 again this week. I completely understand what you're getting at. I only wish the D80 had been updated a bit as it is now a couple of years old design-wise.

    Thanks for the tips about glass too.
     
  15. Cliff3 macrumors 65816

    Cliff3

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    #15
    The D80 has been updated and the update is called the D90. The consensus among reviewers seems to be that the D90 is a big improvement over the D80.

    I wouldn't be too quick to consider bodies as disposable. If anything, they play a greater role now that we've gone digital. In film days, your sensor (film) was essentially homogenous - you could use it in any body. The body might make certain things easier, but the bottom line was that it was a lightproof box with a shutter and a lens mount. Things aren't quite that simple any more.
     
  16. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #16
    But the question isn't "Is the D90 better than the D80?" It's "Will the D80 get the shots the OP wants?" Because if it will, then spending all their money on a D90 without a macro lens won't get them at least part of what they want to shoot. Add enough for a macro lens and suddenly they can afford to add say a Sigma 30mm f/1.4 to the D80... Therefore, you need to ask "Is the D90 better enough that if I stock up on good lenses I'll see enough of a difference that when I go to replace the D90, I'll still be happy with whatever I bought lens-wise?"

    My well-used 300mm EDIF has outlasted an 8008s, two S2s and it'll likely outlast the D2x as well. In fact, most of the way through my third digital body, I have yet to have a lens failure, and I think my Sigma 10-20mm is the only lens I shoot with that I bought new.

    Therefore, it's still my point that given the choice between spending money on glass and money on a better body if either will get the shot- the body needs to be significantly cheaper- as the lens will be around a lot longer so long as you don't drop it.

    Finally, the D3x is way better than my D2x, but that doesn't stop my D2x from making good salable images- while I would like a D3x to extend into some areas my D2x isn't good at, if it were a choice between the 400/2.8 on a D2x and a D3x with an 80-400VR, the prime lens would win _every_single_time_ and I'd bet money that the lens would outlast the D3x.
     
  17. Cliff3 macrumors 65816

    Cliff3

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    #17
    And only the OP can answer that question. I have no personal experience with the D80 or D90 so I can't comment on those bodies directly, but the D90 seems to bring a lot to the table, most notably strong high ISO performance on a par with the D300, and generally improved image quality over the D80. The cost difference between the two bodies isn't going to buy much in the way of really good glass, while the performance differential between the two sensors could make a huge difference in the camera's fundamental utility.

    FWIW, I have a feeling that we're seeing levels of performance from bodies now that will cause their lifespans to lengthen. I suspect this churning we've been seeing for the last 5-6 years may finally be slowing down.

    You're preaching to the choir with respect to buying quality lenses. I have not regretted any of the lens purchases I've made so far. Hell, I bought my 50 f1.8 AI in 1981 and it still works fine (well, not so fine on my D100, but the D2X plays nicely with it). However, there is also this notion of balance. It's not called a system for nothing, and each component of that system brings something valuable to the whole.

    (edit: and FWIW, a brown truck is coming with a D700 tomorrow - my lenses aren't limiting my creativity at the moment)
     
  18. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #18
    Indeed- but to do so, they need to be able to evaluate their choices, and there's a proclivity here to turn to the body as the answer to the wrong question...

    Actually, I think I've adequately demonstrated that the cost difference is a 60mm Micro using pricing from a single vendor and USA equipment. I don't currently own a 60mm Micro, but the sample images I've seen put it in the "really good glass" category for me. Once again, I submit that if the OP wants macro, a macro lens _will_ make a huge difference in the camera's fundamental utility.

    From my direct experience and the experiences of folks I know, camera performance has very little to do with the lifespan of a digital body. In fact, about the only place where a performance increase seems to be tied directly into a lifespan increase is in batteries.

    Electronics failures is generally the culprit. I can see where the "body uber alles" folks think that obsolescence happens whenever a new body/sensor comes out, but again I'm of the opinion that my old body still takes the same quality pictures it always did and when I went digital it was because the quality was sufficient for my needs. That's not to say that needs don't change, but they change more slowly than the incremental increase in sensor performance for most folks and two generations tend to be a better overall point of change than one.

    There are times when you have niche needs that make obsolescence a part of the game- for instance shooting sports in HS gyms and high-ISO bodies, but for most people the incremental changes of a version to the very next version is a very small step in the overall results they're likely to get. In fact, I'd posit that most folks aren't even exposing correctly enough to take full advantage of their current body's ISO performance.
     
  19. Cliff3 macrumors 65816

    Cliff3

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    #19
    Perhaps. I was reacting to what I perceived as a message that the body is homogenous and essentially a commodity, and I disagree with that. That statement is much less true with digital bodies than it was with film cameras. I happily used my FE for more than 20 years until the shutter finally died. Digital cameras are still evolving, and some of the new technologies are compelling. I progressed from a D100 to a D2X and now a D700 for very specific reasons.

    $360 is the price delta between the two bodies (B&H) and you can definitely find a used 60mm AF-D for that. I have one and it's a nice lens.

    Rereading the OP's original question, I'm not sure macro ability is the deal breaker here. More like a desirable feature, but not mandatory. The OP indicates that taking indoor photos of people is the main intended use for the camera, and being able to take advantage of available light (via strong high ISO performance) will definitely enhance that use.

    I'm not following some of that argument. Batteries? Electronic failure?

    I replaced my D100 because its raw file handling was crap, and the jpeg output was poor at best. I replaced that camera with a D2X because Nikon was taking forever to release the D200 and I wasn't willing to keep waiting. I am buying a D700 now largely because the D2X is a boat anchor. I am moving to a D700 rather than a D300 because I think its sensor's format and characteristics will add value to what I use a camera for, and heavy discounting has brought the price down to where I think this camera is a strong value buy. It helps that I no longer own any DX format lenses.

    Now, did my D2X stop being a useful camera when the D3/D300 came out? Of course not. I will probably keep it as a companion to my new body for situations where it is strongly suited - situations where its crop sensor or high frame rate bring value and maybe make the difference in making the shot.

    FWIW and FTR, I am an amateur photographer, like most people here.
     
  20. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #20
    Batteries are the single place where an increase in performance also indicates an increase in lifespan. That is, a newer battery will outlast an older battery by a significant margin prior to component failure.

    In my direct experience, DSLR life is ended because of component failure more often than not, and newer cameras don't appear to be changing the component failure rates in any meaningful way.

    That is, you said
    I'm disagreeing and saying that performance has little to no impact on lifespan other than in terms of batteries where the increased performance is also bringing an increased lifespan. In other words, you're basically appearing to say "There's a newer model out that performs better, so it'll have a longer lifespan." I'm saying "A particular body's lifespan has nothing to do with its models performance and everything to do with its components- and components aren't getting noticeably better."

    To put it another way, if you purchase a new D2xs and a new D3x on the same day, I've seen nothing that indicates that the D3x will fail any later than the D2xs does. In other words, your dollar of performance doesn't change based on a newer model, and still needs to be cheaper to make sense over getting better performance by buying better glass by a multiplication factor of somewhere in the region of 3:1 or you're throwing out more money than you have to so you can get the results you want.

    Let's pull some fictional prices up to illustrate the point and give the pro-level bodies a 4 year lifespan but give the prosumer and pro lenses equivalent lifespans and depreciation rates (20%):

    Year 0: D3x $7500 D2x $3500
    80-400VR $1500 200-400VR $5500
    Total $8500 $9000

    Year 4: D5x $4500 $4500

    Total: $13,000 $13,500
    Equipment Value: $5700 $9000

    Even in this case, where we give a $500 price advantage to the "better" body- when we get to year 5, the D2x choice is going to leave us with more equipment value because we've basically spent the most money on the shortest-lived component. In fact, if we even go to say "Hey, the D3x is better than a stop over the D2x, you'd have to get the 2.8 to get everything the same!" you're still not going to cover the residual value spread with the ~$8000 lens! Even more- if you take the ~$8k lens at that point and sell it for a 200-400VR at year 4, you'll actually pay for the D5x by going with the cheaper body up front.
     
  21. Cliff3 macrumors 65816

    Cliff3

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    #21
    No, what I am saying is that recent camera designs have worked out most of the kinks and that they'll have longer useful lives. I've had the D2X nearly 4 years, and it continues to be a useful camera (but it's still a boat anchor best shot at ISO 100). I expect to have the D700 for a similar period of time and have similar expectations for its usefulness. That was not true of the D100, and we won't talk about that old Kodak DC50...

    For the hobbyist, the financial arguments are pointless. They're just not relevant. I don't _need_ any of this stuff. If you're a pro, then you should be able to quantify the revenue stream that an investment will create, and justify the purchase on those grounds.
     
  22. CarlsonCustoms macrumors 6502

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    #22
    Back on topic.. I've done a few shots to show you how close you can get with stock 18-105 kit lens.

    tight shots are close as I could get with autofocus.. then the crop is same pic just cropped

    hope it helps

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    These are all taken at 105mm @ISO 320 and are lit with a macro ring light flash
     
  23. Cliff3 macrumors 65816

    Cliff3

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    #23
    Indeed. For the sake of comparison, here are similar photos shot with a D2X and a 60mm AF-D micro. Lighting is from a pair of 250w flash bulbs, the camera was on a tripod and positioned as closely as I could focus - a bit over 6", and a remote release was used. These have been resized, but that's it. No cropping, no sharpening. EXIF information is in the image. The images are thumbnailed and link to a larger image.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    (apologies to all for being a pest lately - I've been unemployed ("retired") since November, but I am hoping to change that in the next couple of weeks)
     
  24. CarlsonCustoms macrumors 6502

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    #24
    Well for being unemployed you still have a twenty in your pocket. .i'm gainfully employed and all I managed was a $10..

    I do have a reversing ring for a 50mm if you really wanna see how close you can get with that.. the problem is the macro ring flash doenst mount on a reverse mount lens.. I'm still waiting on my extention tubes so after I get those I can mount the flash right

    Zack
     
  25. Cliff3 macrumors 65816

    Cliff3

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    #25
    You probably get out for lunch more than I do. This $20 is almost old enough to vote ;)
     

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