Macro Lens -Nikon Mount

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by onomatopoeia, Apr 24, 2008.

  1. onomatopoeia macrumors 6502

    onomatopoeia

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    #1
    I would like to try my hand at macro photography but know little of the lenses required for macro.

    Can anyone suggest a good macro lens for Nikon? I see the Nikon 105mm and Nikon 60mm mentioned quite a bit but I don't know the relative differences between the two. Are there other macro lenses I should add to my search? I'd also like a lens that has some use as a standard lens (non-macro shooting) so how do these fare in regular use?
     
  2. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #2
    What kind of things do you want to shoot with a macro lens? Are you shooting flowers, insects, or other, more random things?
     
  3. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    #3
    Macro lenses work just fine as `regular' lenses. Due to the typical focal lengths, they often double as portrait lenses. Compared to regular lenses, they have smaller apertures, though (which macro lenses don't really need).

    Tokina makes a much acclaimed 100 mm macro lens (and a 35 mm macro lens). Tokina's 100 mm macro lens is much cheaper than Nikon's, but offers similar optical performance. You're missing a faster AF and VR.
    Note that AF speeds are not as important for macro photography, you have to fine-focus by hand anyway.

    In either case, you'd have to know what exactly you want to shoot and tell us your focal length of choice.
     
  4. Phil Lee macrumors 6502

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    #4
    I have the 105mm VR macro lens and have been very pleased with it so far. I don't use the VR function very often. For most macro photos it is easier to mount the camera on a tripod and manually focus. I haven't used the lens for normal photography yet.

    The biggest difference between the 60mm and 105mm lenses is how close you have to be to the subject to get it the size you want. With the 105mm lens you can be nearly twice the distance away and still get the same size subject as the 60mm lens. This could be important if you're shooting insects.
     
  5. RaceTripper macrumors 68030

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    #5
    Tamron has a 90/2.8 macro that is highly regarded. The Sigma 150/2.8 Macro is excellent. I had it and loved using it. Both are in the $450-550 range.

    I'm planning to get a macro lens again this year. I'm leaning towards the new Nikon AF-S 60/2.8 Micro. I would like the 105/2.8 Micro VR but don't want to spend that much. I'll probably watch for the 60/2.8 second hand.
     
  6. rogersmj macrumors 68020

    rogersmj

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    #6
    I kind of want this lens, the Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 macro HSM. It has constant 2.8 aperture throughout the focal length, which means you'll get nice (but not too extreme) bokeh, and the focal range makes it great for indoor shots of people in medium-low light without a flash. Reviews are very positive and it can focus extremely close. It's obviously not as long as many other macros being suggested here but it can be used for other purposes as well.
     
  7. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #7
    Focal length determines working distance in macro. Macro lenses also have different magnification factors. Working distance requirements are often determined by the subject. The longer the lens, the more working distance you get.

    Nikon makes or made a 200mm as well, and the Tamron 90mm macro is very highly regarded. Most of these lenses do well in normal focus mode. Ring flashes, focusing rails and things like that probably make more difference. Nikkor macro lenses are labeled "Micro" if you're searching for them.

    You might want to look at the Kenko extension tubes if you're serious about macro though, as they'll give you more magnification options.
     
  8. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #8
    It would help a LOT to know which DSLR body you have. All the lenses don't work with all the funtions with all the bodies. But in general any Macro lens could work. I use a 1970's vintage 55mm f/3.5 lens with my D50. You can buy these for well under $100 and it is still a very good lens. All of them work for general photography and will focua to infinity.

    How you decide the focal length is based on desired camera to subject distance. The longer lenses alow you to back off farther maybe allowing you a way to get light on the subject. But then the longer lenses will make camera shake a larger issue and you'll need to use a sturdier tripod and be more carfull. With this kind of work little gusts of wind matter. The lowest cost lens will be something like I have but you will be working in full mmanual mode. Not a big deal as that is the best way for many (but not all) subjects.
     
  9. Hmac macrumors 68020

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  10. RaceTripper macrumors 68030

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    #10
    One thing to add about picking a macro lens is that Nikon lenses tend to hold their value much better than 3rd party lenses, so that's something to consider if you think you might later sell it to fund some other lens purchase.
     
  11. Adrien Baker macrumors regular

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    #11
  12. onomatopoeia thread starter macrumors 6502

    onomatopoeia

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    #12
    Thanks for all the advice (and the links). I did a lot of reading and went with the Nikon 105mm VR. I almost pulled the trigger on one of the older 105mm models. I just liked the bokeh this lens produces combined with the reach.

    BTW, I'll be mating it to a D300.
     
  13. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #13
    When I asked you what you are going to shoot, it's because the focal length you want may be affected by what you're shooting. There's a reason why they offer shorter and longer focal length macros. With flowers, you may have been better off with a lens like a Nikon 60 mm f/2.8, or a Sigma 70 mm f/2.8. They'll offer more depth of field when you need it, but will also offer you a really small 1-2 mm depth of field when you want it. With insects, a 105 mm or Sigma 150 mm is good, although something like a Tamron 90 mm, which is supposed to be fantastic, is a good focal length for all types of shooting.

    Anyway, good luck with the 105 mm VR lens, whatever it is you want to shoot. I own the same lens and like it.
     
  14. Techguy172 macrumors 68000

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    #14
    Sorry to steal your thread but could anyone recommend a Macro lens for shooting birds, I will be using a D80 if it matters.
     
  15. rogersmj macrumors 68020

    rogersmj

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    #15
    Maybe I'm misunderstanding something, but...why do you need a macro lens to shoot birds? I doubt the bird's going to let you get within a foot of it.
     
  16. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #16
    Are you sure you know what a macro lens is? You'll need some form of "telephoto lens" that can "see" a far distance to shoot birds. Some of them are "telephoto prime" lenses, and some are "zoom" lenses.
     
  17. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    #17
    What you need to shoot birds in flight (BIF) or birds in trees is a telephoto lens, not a macro lens. Minimum is 300mm, and usually people put a teleconverter on there as well to extend their reach. 500mm and 600mm are the best lenses for wildlife photography. As you can imagine, these longer telephoto lenses are significantly expensive. In addition to the lens, one also has to use a decent tripod and either a good, solid ballhead or a gimbal head. Wildlife photography is an expensive proposition.

    Macro photography is close-up and closer-up (1:1 ratio). As mentioned, Nikon has the 60mm f/2.8 (an earlier version and now the new AF-S one), and they have the excellent 105mm VR and 200mm. There is also the 35-70mm, which offers macro functionality but is really not a dedicated macro lens.
     
  18. onomatopoeia thread starter macrumors 6502

    onomatopoeia

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    #18
    Well, dead birds perhaps. :)
     
  19. Techguy172 macrumors 68000

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    #19
    I see, ok then, Sorry for the confusion.
     
  20. RaceTripper macrumors 68030

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    #20
    I can see where folks would get confused by the "macro" term. Nikkon calls their macro lenses "Micro" which makes it even more confusing.

    But yes, birding is done with telephoto lenses. And they can get wicked expensive.
     
  21. Techguy172 macrumors 68000

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    #21
    Your not Kidding those damn things are 4 grand easy!:eek:
     
  22. RaceTripper macrumors 68030

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    #22
    Those are the cheap ones. Nikon's 600/4 VR is around $10K. And add at least a grand to that for a workable CF tripod with a gimbal head that can support the weight.
     
  23. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #23
    I wish they were that cheap.

    400/2.8 AF-S II
    Gitzo 1548
    Wimberly II
    New tripod foot for 400
    Lowepro lenstrekker 600AW to carry it all

    More money than I want to think of...

    Bald Eagle in flight, captured in good light- priceless!
     
  24. Techguy172 macrumors 68000

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    #24
    Yeah but this is just a hobby for me.
     
  25. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #25
    Long time no see!

    Personally, I much prefer the extra stop of a 400/2.8 to a 500/4, but if you like small, light and cheap, the 500's a better bet :D.

    Add a 1.4x TC to the 400, and you get roughly the same IQ at 560/4. The 600mm's worth it for the reach, but the extra 20-30 minutes shooting at each end of the day when the wildlife is most active makes a 400/2.8 more worthwhile IMO.

    YMMV.
     

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