Nikon Macro Lens recommendation

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by CharlieBrandt09, Nov 28, 2014.

  1. CharlieBrandt09 macrumors 6502

    CharlieBrandt09

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2012
    Location:
    Southern NJ
    #1
    Im 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.

    Thanks! ;)
     
  2. doc4x5 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2008
    Location:
    the great Pacific northwest
    #2
    Nikon Macro

    Which lens to choose will depend on which camera you have. For the DX (APS-C) cameras there are one group of lenses, for FX (full frame), there are another. A lot also depends on what you intend to photograph and at what distance. Many people like to be able to work at some distance, helpful for venomous insects. Lighting is easier at distance as well. Autofocus probably matters less for macro as depth of field is minuscule at the short distances one uses in macro work. Here's a link to all the Nikon mount lenses at B&H, a major New York retailer and mail order seller. No, I do nor work for them but have purchased from them for over twenty years. http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?atclk=Brand_Nikon&ci=274&N=4288584247+4108103566+4109120021

    We can give you more information if you give us more information. Good luck.
     
  3. CharlieBrandt09 thread starter macrumors 6502

    CharlieBrandt09

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2012
    Location:
    Southern NJ
    #3
    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.
     
  4. doc4x5 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2008
    Location:
    the great Pacific northwest
    #4
    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.
     
  5. JPM macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2008
    Location:
    Ottawa, Canada
    #5
    As doc4x5 says, macro can (should?) not be done handheld. The magnifications are such that the tiniest movement will blur the photo to one degree or another. While a remote release is the best idea, using the delay timer on the camera is also an option (but for the $20 or so a remote costs, I'd get the remote).

    I have the Nikkor 105mm macro on an FX camera and it works well for still life, and would probably okay for kids too. For insects I would want the longer 200mm macro to get some distance from them.

    A couple of other options which may be more inexpensive to get you started:
    - extension tubes and one of your existing lenses
    - a reversing ring to mount a 50mm f1.8 to one of your existing lenses (this can give crazy reproduction ratios so it may be too much magnification for what you want).

    One last thing to think about is where the lens fits in your kit in terms of focal length. Most macro lenses are good general purpose lenses as well (mine, for example, makes nice portrait lens).

    Hope this helps.
     
  6. Meister Suspended

    Meister

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    #6
    Tamron 70 -200 2.8 macro

    It's fast, versatile and a real bang for the buck.
     
  7. phrehdd, Nov 29, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2014

    phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #7
    There are a few things you may want to consider or for that matter anyone doing the type of macro work you intend to do -

    Distance from subject - you need to realize that the shorter the focal length, the more likely you will have to be closer than a longer focal length lens. Thus the distance to subject for a 105mm is further away than a 60mm or 55mm. This can be an advantage or in some cases a disadvantage.

    A good macro will be a flat field lens and corrected as such. This provides for often sharper images up close and also less issues of light defraction (sp) when stopping down the lens for greater depth of field.

    As pointed out, a close up filter is not a bad way to start with a good sharp prime lens or possibly an extension tube. Some folks get far more magnification reversing the lens which nowadays is not that practical.

    Also as pointed out learn about the peripheral equipment you may want to get that includes a good tripod with a tripod head that suits the way you shoot. Consider rail heads for the tripod that allow you to focus with your camera and fine tune the focus via fractions of moving the entire camera and lens forward and backwards on the tripod.

    Last - I admit I find that for good macro work, I do far better off manually focusing rather than depending on auto focus. The only exception is when using auto focus to quickly arrive at the approximate focus point and then a macro rail on a tripod to insure a final "ideal" focus. Since you have a crop sensor Nikon, the 60/55mm macro is not a bad way to go but truthfully I think the 90-105 range is more often than not a better fit for the distance that allows you to spend more time controlling the light around the subject and the space to do it (reflectors, clearing branches or leaves, flash units etc.).
     
  8. Cheese&Apple macrumors 68000

    Cheese&Apple

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2012
    Location:
    Toronto
    #8
    Don't forget that for really good macro work you'll need to think about lighting such as a good quality ring flash. On camera flash rarely works well for macro.

    I have the Nikon 105mm micro on ff. it's a great set-up but I feel I can't do what I want to do with until I address the lighting issue.

    ~ Peter
     
  9. Mr.Noisy macrumors 65816

    Mr.Noisy

    Joined:
    May 5, 2007
    Location:
    UK™
    #9
    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 luck ;)
     
  10. Apple fanboy macrumors Penryn

    Apple fanboy

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    Behind the Lens, UK
    #10
    I have the Nikon R1C1 macro flash set. Can't recommend it enough. Gives me a lot more options with my 60 mm 2.8 Nikon. It's a nice little lens, but I could use a little more reach at times.
     
  11. Apple fanboy macrumors Penryn

    Apple fanboy

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    Behind the Lens, UK
    #11
    Can be used off camera as well with little stands.
     

    Attached Files:

  12. CharlieBrandt09 thread starter macrumors 6502

    CharlieBrandt09

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2012
    Location:
    Southern NJ
    #12
    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).
     
  13. monokakata macrumors 68000

    monokakata

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Location:
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    #13
    Since we're all spending your money, consider a focusing rack/rail, which allows you to set up your tripod in a convenient place (re. the subject) and then rack back and forth either to compose your picture or, if you've set the lens for a specific reproduction ratio, to get the subject in focus at that ratio.

    A rack is really, really handy. But, sad to say, not cheap. Here's the one I use:

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1055225-REG/kirk_fr_2_focusing_rail.html

    but there are others. I might even have an ancient (60s) Novoflex in a box somewhere. If it turns up, I'll gladly send it to you, because it would be better than nothing.

    Also, for doc4x5 (which is an amusing name, because here in Hilo I have a friend who is a medical doctor and shoots 4x5) -- I too have one of the old 55 mm micro-Nikkors but I've been reluctant to mount it on my D810, for fear of damaging all those connection points. You haven't experienced any issues?
     
  14. apphotography macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2014
    #14
    I have the Nikon AF-S VR 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED and it is a stellar performer.
     
  15. Chuck Rodent macrumors regular

    Chuck Rodent

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2014
    #15
    If you are missing your remote shutter, taking pictures using mirror up and timer delay gives the same result. There are times that I prefer to do this especially when outside.
     
  16. leighonigar, Nov 30, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2014

    leighonigar macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 5, 2007
    #16
    I've not read all of the responses above, but here are my thoughts:

    1. There is no such thing as a bad macro lens. All the fixed focal length macros I have ever seen have taken good shots.
    2. Everyone always says longer is better for insects and so forth. I kind of agree, but with a crop sensor camera even a 50mm Macro can be very useful.
    3. You can take great macro shots handheld. You just have to work carefully. You also probably won't be able to use very small apertures for decent depth of field. I take a lot of 1:1 insect and plant shots handheld and I'm generally happy because I like to look for things in the field. Setting up lights and a tripod wouldn't work.
    4. Autofocus is pretty unimportant for my close ups, I tend to lock focus and move the camera. But it's useful when I'm using the lens more generally.

    I've used a cheap Sigma 50mm DG macro for years and it does a great job. If I was buying another lens I'd look at the focal lengths I have already and work around those. Any of the lenses from Sigma, Tokina, Tamron and Nikon are fine. Bear in mind that the older (and therefore cheaper used) lenses are likely not to have an internal AF motor, so will me manual only, but they'll meter fine. Really old manual lenses will work but you'll have to guess exposure.
     
  17. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #17
    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.

    You will find the even with an auto focus macro lens you will need to manually focus it to control what part of the image is in and out of focus.

    One other thing. You said above you needed a DX mount. WRONG. You need an F-Mount lens. The term DX refers to the size of the sensor, not the lens mount. A DX lens is designed to "cover" only the smaller sensor. An FX lens can cover the larger FX size sensor (and of course the smaller DX sensor as well.) You can use almost ANY macro lens that Nikon ever made except for some very old 60's vintage lenses that were "non-AI"

    I have a Micro-Nikkor 55mm f/3.5 AI. It is still one of Nikon's sharpest lens.

    ----------

    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.

    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.
     
  18. leighonigar macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 5, 2007
    #18
    It does, but we know he has a D5200 hence I made my answer simple.

    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.

    I'm not sure if anyone has mentioned it, but there are some very cheap off-brand extension tubes that will let you get very close with your 50mm. Not as versatile as a real macro lens but cheap and effective for close ups. Get ones with electrical contacts.
     
  19. jsagurton macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2014
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    #19
    HUGE fan of the Tamron 90mm macro, especially the VC version. I did shoot handheld with it a few times, and the VC definitely helps, but that was only for experimentation. I wouldn't recommend trying to handhold any macro lens, like most of the people before me have said.

    Also, I'm assuming you want a "true" macro, IE 1:1 magnification. If that's the case, don't bother looking at any zooms that bill themselves as macro lenses.

    I attached a shot from the Tamron 90 VC on a D800, handheld.
     

    Attached Files:

  20. MiniD3 macrumors 6502a

    MiniD3

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2013
    Location:
    Australia
    #20
    Hi Charlie

    Some good news,
    You will find nearly all macro lenses are excellent
    it doesn't have to be DX either DX or FX lenses will work OK:p

    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

    On a budget, any of the after market macro's will be excellent

    For example, I've seen outstanding macro's from a D800E and a Tokina 100mm macro, that proves the Tokina is a great choice
    .........Gary
     
  21. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #21
    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.

    But "close up" you can hand hold, that means (given your DX sensor size) taking a photo of something about 2 inches or larger

    For years I used my very old Nikon 55mm f/3.5 I used it with a Nikon F2 and then with autofocus film body then with my digital SLRs. With non-pro Nikon bodies you have to take a test shot to get the exposure then look at the histogram display. The lens is short at 55mm for an FX body but long enough for a DX size frame. At one time this lens was the sharpest lens in the world and is still better then most new ones. It is also the lowest priced used lens sells for under $100. But as of late I have a 60mm f/2.8 AFd that is easier to use.

    People are saying to buy a longer 105mm or even 200mm macro lens and for good reason. It allows greater camera to subject distance and room to rig some lighting. They are right BUT if yo want to hand held the camera the longer lens forces you to a faster shutter speed or to using flash. Camera shake is a bigger issue with a longer lens. This is not a problem on a tripod.

    The older 60mm lens are now available used and on the DX body are "long enough
    --- Post Merged, Apr 10, 2016 ---
    This is true. Older used lenses are all going to be FX and they work well.

    About lighting. I used to use those big flashes back in the film days whenI was shooting ISO 100 or so. But now with digital cameras I'm using an LED ring light. I prefer the constant light as it is more "what you see in the viewfinder is what you get" and the bright light helps to focus. (Macros loose a few stops of light when you focus closely, so the light helps.) The LED lights cost a LOT less than flash.
     
  22. WillNN macrumors member

    WillNN

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2016
    #22
    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.
     
  23. Apple fanboy macrumors Penryn

    Apple fanboy

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    Behind the Lens, UK
    #23
    This thread is a couple of years old. Since then I've updated my 60mm macro to a 105mm macro (both Nikon).
    Makes insects easier than the 60mm. Used to have to be right on top of them. Gives you more options. Just wish I had PS to focus stack.
     
  24. WillNN macrumors member

    WillNN

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2016
    #24
    Thanks. Most of the time my input is just me fiddling and humming. Right it is a 60mm--thanks for the correction. I didn't bother going in the next room to check. I've also got the 105mm, but haven't found it as useful. However, based on your success with insects, I'll give that a try. (Macro to micro is all puzzling out the technical--it can get really frustrating, but eventually it all sorts out and then it's just another skill.)
    Photoshop.... I get an academic discount as a teacher, and have used it since version 2 25 years (many of the same annoyances never get fixed). I'd say shoot your multiples for focus stacking. It's digital so it's just hard drive space. Sooner than you think they'll be a freebie app that handle this. I shot a lot of panoramas before I had the software or the computer to handle the file sizes--many are still on film waiting to be scanned.
     
  25. Ray2 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2014
    #25
    One of the AiS micro Nikkors. 55 3.5 or 2.8, gives you circa 85 on a DX body. You don't need AF for macro. They're razor sharp, very well made. $250 or less will get you there.
     

Share This Page