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Old 05-11-2012, 08:54 PM   #1
AquaStudent
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Nikon Macro Lens


Hello guys.

I'm looking into getting some new glass for my camera. I'd like quality but I'm on a budget. Can you point me in the right direction?
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Old 05-11-2012, 08:58 PM   #2
ShortFin
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Tamron 90mm f/2.8 for budget minded. Otherwise Nikkor 105mm VR.
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Old 05-11-2012, 10:13 PM   #3
Mr. Appleton
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For extremely budget-minded, pick up an extension ring if it'll work with your current lens selection.
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Old 05-11-2012, 10:19 PM   #4
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I have an 85mm nikor, love it!
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Old 05-11-2012, 10:59 PM   #5
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I think any lens 90 or above will give you magnification . What you get for all that money is more light on the focal plane ( is that the right term ? ) the ability to have the background blurred as the focus is concentrated shall I say in the area just in front of and behind the subject and the ability to get 12" appx from the subject . Good closeups can be taken with many , many lens's and some photographers will always make their's look better wether the same lens is used or not . My suggestion they would be to improve the lighting and work with the lens you have . It is quite simple to blow a picture up with digital and with high megapixels you are still going to have great detail . No not as much as you can get with a macro lens but skill of the art still plays a huge part . And you can't buy skill ( I know I have tried )
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Old 05-12-2012, 12:36 AM   #6
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No one remembers real budget lenses it seems. This is what you want:

http://www.keh.com/camera/Nikon-Manu...09012740N?r=FE

Depending on body it may not meter but after you few macro shots you'll have a good idea where your settings need to be. You can't auto focus macro shots anyway so these old lenses are great.

Used the exact same lens to take this shot just a couple days ago, sharpest lense I've ever used


Neolamprologus caudopunctatus Dwarf Shell Dweller by Okkoto86, on Flickr
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Old 05-12-2012, 02:17 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FinalJenemba View Post
No one remembers real budget lenses it seems. This is what you want:

http://www.keh.com/camera/Nikon-Manu...09012740N?r=FE

Depending on body it may not meter but after you few macro shots you'll have a good idea where your settings need to be. You can't auto focus macro shots anyway so these old lenses are great.

Used the exact same lens to take this shot just a couple days ago, sharpest lense I've ever used


Neolamprologus caudopunctatus Dwarf Shell Dweller by Okkoto86, on Flickr
Wow, that is sharp. I see from Flickr you have a D200. Do you use extension tubes?
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Old 05-12-2012, 02:29 AM   #8
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This thread there has alot of good info on macro lens: http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/ph...acro-lens.html
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Old 05-12-2012, 03:28 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AquaStudent View Post
I'm looking into getting some new glass for my camera. I'd like quality but I'm on a budget. Can you point me in the right direction?
Whatever lens you have in mind, look up the associated photozone review. You will find various charts revealing different aspects of the lens' optical quality. With that, you should be able to pick up a real bargain. Newer lenses are not always better than the older ones in optical quality.

As to the non-optical aspect, I suggest you get a Nikon lens with AF-S. AF-S is a very significant improvement on the mechanics of Nikon lens. It allows the camera to have very fast and yet spot-on autofocus when shooting macros. Computer is much better than human on speed and precision. When using an AF-S lens to shoot macro, I use the camera's autofocus.
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Old 05-12-2012, 03:45 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zdnet View Post
As to the non-optical aspect, I suggest you get a Nikon lens with AF-S. AF-S is a very significant improvement on the mechanics of Nikon lens. It allows the camera to have very fast and yet spot-on autofocus when shooting macros. Computer is much better than human on speed and precision. When using an AF-S lens to shoot macro, I use the camera's autofocus.
Personally, I find shooting macro shoots especially that manual focus far exceeds the ability of the camera to find focus on the subject I want.

I'll definitely second the fact that older lenses may have some bargain gems.

Also, I'd suggest Bjorn's site for lens reviews: http://www.naturfotograf.com/index2.html

Pertinent to this thread, he has a section devoted towards "Special Purpose" lenses where he reviews a lot of the micro lenses that you'll encounter.

His Nikkor lens reviews was what I based almost all of my lens purchases on and I have yet to be disappointed by any of the 5-star lenses that he mentioned... and I own a fair number of them by now
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Old 05-12-2012, 04:08 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Mr. Appleton View Post
Personally, I find shooting macro shoots especially that manual focus far exceeds the ability of the camera to find focus on the subject I want.
Just curious... in what way? Were you using an AF-S macro lens? On what body? BTW, what do you mean by "find focus"?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Appleton View Post
Also, I'd suggest Bjorn's site for lens reviews: http://www.naturfotograf.com/index2.html
Instead of relying on someone else's subjective judgment, I prefer to make my own. Thus, I value objective measurements. Other than photozone, I have yet to come across another site providing objective lens measurement data.
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Old 05-12-2012, 04:45 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by zdnet View Post
Just curious... in what way? Were you using an AF-S macro lens? On what body? BTW, what do you mean by "find focus"?

Instead of relying on someone else's subjective judgment, I prefer to make my own. Thus, I value objective measurements. Other than photozone, I have yet to come across another site providing objective lens measurement data.
I've used most of the range of Nikon cameras from the D40 up to the D700, which is currently my go-to camera and both AF-D/AF-S and manual focus versions of macro lenses.

For macro, I've found that it's often difficult for the camera to intuit what subject that I'm interested on snapping of picture i.e. is it the shrimp, the leaf behind the shrimp, the rock the shrimp is on? What it comes down to is not a matter of how fast it finds focus, but how fast it finds the focus on the right object, which is complicated even more by the narrow depth of field of macro photography.

It takes a bit of practice, but it's well worth the investment. Especially given the fact that AF-S lenses are often 5-10x the cost of their manual focus counterparts and way bulkier to boot. The purchase price of my entire manual focus lens kit combined is less than the cost of a single one of my AF-S lenses.

As for your second point, I've found photography in and of itself a subjective experience and there are aspects of lenses (aside from sharpness) that can't be really objectively measured. As a result, I've never been too caught up in the reviews that take pictures of brick walls and measure MTF curves.

The 58mm f1.2 Noct-Nikkor may not have the most stellar MTF curves or be the absolute sharpest lens but it's bokeh and image rendition is beyond any other lens that I've ever encountered. It truly is one of a kind.

I offered Bjorn's website not as an objective reference but as a valuable resource whose opinion is appreciated by myself and much of the Nikon community. The bottom line is nothing beats buying the lens and shooting the pictures and seeing for yourself.
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Old 05-12-2012, 03:06 PM   #13
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Thank you all for your inputs. I'll be checking out the sites and threads and start reading up this evening. I'd love to have an automatic focus but I'm highly doubtful I'll be able to afford a $900 lens :/

The fixed lenses are an interesting option but I also am not sure i want to have a briefcase full of lenses. I may just find one that provides me with the best addition to my standard lens (does something much different and much better than it) and go from there.
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Old 05-12-2012, 11:24 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Appleton View Post
I've used most of the range of Nikon cameras from the D40 up to the D700, which is currently my go-to camera and both AF-D/AF-S and manual focus versions of macro lenses.

For macro, I've found that it's often difficult for the camera to intuit what subject that I'm interested on snapping of picture i.e. is it the shrimp, the leaf behind the shrimp, the rock the shrimp is on? What it comes down to is not a matter of how fast it finds focus, but how fast it finds the focus on the right object, which is complicated even more by the narrow depth of field of macro photography.
Expecting a camera to find the "right" object among a group of objects is like asking it to read our mind. Of course, that will fail most of the time.

But it is very easy and simple to deal with your issue. Just set your camera's AF-area mode to "single-point AF". That means you will select a focus point manually and your camera will do autofocus on the subject in the selected focus point.

On a D90 with only 11 focus points, I have no problem focusing on a shrimp surrounded by java moss. Your D700 has 51 focus points - five times that of D90. Therefore, setting the proper focus point on your camera is like a piece of cake. May I suggest that you learn to use your camera's autofocus system. That will help you to appreciate AF-S. It is like some people who insisted on shooting manual exposure with their modern day Nikon until they learned of the CLS in their camera.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Appleton View Post
It takes a bit of practice, but it's well worth the investment. Especially given the fact that AF-S lenses are often 5-10x the cost of their manual focus counterparts and way bulkier to boot.
In autofocus mode, your camera uses the many tiny pixels inside the chosen focus point to do focus. There is just no way you can get a more precise focus with your eye through the view finder.

Also, when shooting in autofocus mode your camera has a safeguard to ensure that the area that you focus on is indeed in sharp focus. It won't release the shutter when the focus is even a tiny bit off (of course there is a way to override that safeguard).

But when shooting in manual focus mode, there is no such safeguard. Therefore, within the view finder's low magnification, you think you are in sharp focus but in fact you are not. You won't find that out until afterward. But by then the shrimp that you were focusing on probably had moved and you had just wasted a precious opportunity.

As to being more bulky, if you have to hold the camera steady for some time in order to get the focus right, yes being bulky hurts. But when the focus is instant and spot-on, bulky or not matters much less.

In fact, when shooting macro with an AF-S lens, I seldom used a tripod. And it is not unusual for me to have just one hand holding the camera and lens. Yet I kept getting sharp focus with magnification approaching 1:1 and beyond.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Appleton View Post
The purchase price of my entire manual focus lens kit combined is less than the cost of a single one of my AF-S lenses.
Isn't that astounding that an AF-S lens can command such a price premium? But there is a very good reason - the lens' precise speedy focus.

The world does not stop and wait until we get a sharp focus.
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Old 05-13-2012, 12:21 AM   #15
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Haha. I'm well aware of the capabilities of my D700 and the Nikon CLS system (which is a godsend). Yet for macro-photography, I still find it easier to focus by eye without having to a) select one of the 51 focus points or b) re-compose my shot every single time to the same of the 51 focus points. To each their own.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zdnet View Post
Isn't that astounding that an AF-S lens can command such a price premium? But there is a very good reason - the lens' precise speedy focus.

The world does not stop and wait until we get a sharp focus.
AF-S lenses command their price premium because they're new and fast, but they're incredibly bulky as a result. When I go traveling I prefer to have my kit fit into a small satchel rather than being burdened by a large backpack. Plus, the price:quality ratio that you can find with old manual lenses is unheard of for the newer AF-S lenses. I may've paid less than a single AF-S for my entire manual-focus kit, but the value of my Noct makes most AF-s lenses look cheap by comparison

To bring the thread back on topic, I think it's a matter of preference and personal comfort. AF-S lenses are irreplaceable for certain types of applications and I don't doubt their utility when it comes to catching the fleeting moment. I am just making a case for some older, less-remembered lenses that will give you the same image quality of the modern lenses for a fraction of the price... if you think the added hassle of learning to manual focus and expose (depending on your camera model) to be worth it... which I think it is.

On that note, I'd recommend either the 55mm f2.8 micro that FinalJenemba mentioned or the 105mm f4 micro. The 55mm can be had for easily less than $100 and the 105mm for less than $200. Even less than that if you're patient and wait for the deals. Compare this to the $500+ that you would spend for the 60mm or the $900+ for the 105mm AF-S macro lenses. These old lenses are cheaper, smaller, and, arguably, more solidly built with little to no compromise in terms of image quality.

I apologize for de-railing the topic. Nikon lenses have been my passion for the past few years. I was a victim of multiple lens disease well before I fell to multiple tank syndrome

Last edited by Mr. Appleton; 05-14-2012 at 12:10 AM..
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