I presume as a hobbyist your not looking to spend a fortune, So a used Sigma 105mm or Tamron 90mm Macro should fit the bill, you may need a tripod , but experiment first see if you can manage hand held, a few years back when I used a Nikon d300 I had a Sigma 105mm and it was ok in the field hand held and also doubled up as a great portrait lens, but my nikkor 200mm f4 was useless without a tripod and ring flash, both Sigma 105mm and Tamron 90mm are both excellent Macro and portrait lenses, they can be had for cheap used, good luckIm looking for any recommendations on a nice, low(it) priced macro lens with a Nikon mount.
I will use it as a hobbyist. Just want to get some nice, clean close-up photos.
If you are shooting from a tripod and the subject is not moving then you can us a manual focus lens. This is what I use. You can buy a very high quality but older macro lens for as low as $60. With your D5200 you'd be in full manual mode but the image quality would be as good as any other lens, better then many new lenses.Thanks for the tips everyone. I am going to do some hunting and see if i can score a deal on one. I already have a tripod, so I should be good there. I also have a remote (sort of - i have the wifi adapter, which I can trigger with my iPhone).
I like the idea of the versatile lens that can be used for portraits as well. I have been using the kit lens mostly for portraits, along with my 50mm 1.8G prime (my favorite lens, by far).
This depends on what Nikon SLR body you are using. Some of the cheaper and newer ones don't work in the automatic modes with manual lenses. But any digital SLR is also a very sophisticated light meter. Shoot an image of the ground, or the back of your hand out of focus and you can see the RGB histogram display that will tell you how many stops under or over you are. Just to that and until the light changes you are good.....but they'll meter fine. Really old manual lenses will work but you'll have to guess exposure.
It does, but we know he has a D5200 hence I made my answer simple.This depends on what Nikon SLR body you are using.
You're right, but I used to use manual AI and AIs lenses back in when I had my (then current) Nikon D70, which wouldn't meter with them. It's not hard to nail the exposure, but it might make you miss a key moment, particularly if you are fairly new to photography and moving from subject to subject. I remember I was very keen to upgrade to a camera which would meter with my old lenses. Given that AF lenses have been around for decades at this point I'd go for one that meters. You still have the histogram, should you need it.But any digital SLR is also a very sophisticated light meter. ...
Many people who grew up to automatic-everything cameras do't know how easy it is to turn dials by hand.
Again, the histogram display is a very good light meter.
It is very hard to shoot macro hand held. Moving the camera even 1/8th inch will put the subject out of focus. Even with a tripod in is hard, you end up repositioning the tripod 1/4 pinchbeck and forth.Right, sorry about the lack of info.
I have a D5200, so it would need to be a DX mount.
Also, I'd like to shoot everything from insects, to flowers, to products, to close ups of my kids eyes, etc.
Kind of a universal macro if something like that exists. Also, something that would work well in handheld.
This is true. Older used lenses are all going to be FX and they work well.Hi Charlie
You will find nearly all macro lenses are excellent
it doesn't have to be DX either DX or FX lenses will work OK
FWIW, I have the R1C1, used it a lot but now I have an SB 700,
hardly use it, except for the really close stuff...
I'm an old pro. Photographed works of art and still life with this Nikkor Micro 55mm for years. About 15 years ago I bought the updated version. I think it's a 58mm. Not really much difference. These are sturdy lenses. The glass is small, everything else is the nested focusing tubes. So if it works, focuses, and check the aperture--then it's good. Square up on a detailed subject-sandpaper with side light is good. If you are lined up correctly and the focus is edge to edge, the lens, even used is good-buy it. All of these lenses go to 1:1 reproduction, with megapixel sensors that's almost like having a microscope. Extension tubes are OK, but they really limit your range of focus. A lens multiplier is more useful. Also when you are at high magnifications, it's better to adjust the camera (back and fore) than to refocus the lens. Also with a good basic set up, this can work like a scanner, but faster.macro
Don't forget you'll need a good, steady tripod and a cable release. Macro cannot be done hand held. I tend to prefer Nikon brand lenses and I'd look at some online reviews and ask what your budget can handle. For many years I used and still have a 1975 vintage 55 mm MicroNikkor f/3.5 as my "normal" lens on a film Nikon F2. It worked well then and still holds its own in sharpness on my D800E. There are lots of used micro nikkors of varying focal lengths available on Ebay or if you're luck enough to have a good local store, check with them. Craig's list can be a good resource as well, though you probably know that. My current macro work is done with an 85mm f/2.8 PC-E tilt-shift lens but it's ridiculously expensive and not practical unless you have other uses for it. It is my current favorite lens for the D800E though. Have fun.