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best 28 - 210 ish macro zoom for nikon?

Discussion in 'Help Team' started by swaami, Oct 22, 2009.

  1. swaami

    swaami Member

    Hi - great forum, I'm new here and to DSLR.
    I use my camera for work and website so it's very important for my portfolio entries of gardens and plants.

    I currently use an old minolta 35mm with a 28 - 210 macro zoom and need the wide angle and macro functions - preferrably in one lense. Similar zoom range is great too for depth of field to in garden shots. when I buy my DSLR - at the moment I'm thinking of a nikon D60 - I really need to be sure that there is a lense to match that will have these capabilities.

    Can anyone recommend a lense - not top professional quality but mid range I guess, or a better camera body for similar money?

    Many thanks in advance - I would really appreciate some advice from experienced DSLR er's!

  2. Fen

    Fen Well-Known Member

    If it's quality you want then I would suggest you buy separate lenses for each specific requirement, especially if it's for a portfolio.

    Also, with any DSLR that isn't full frame you're not going to get a true wide angle due to the magnification factor of the sensor. The best you could do would be something like the Sigma 12-24 (which becomes an 18-36) for the wide angle lens (no 'e' on the end of lens)

    For macro I would get a dedicate macro lens, but you don't mention what your budget is.
  3. AlexMonro

    AlexMonro Old Grand Part Deux

    Hi Swaami, welcome!

    As Fen says, due to the crop factor of most DSLRs having a sensor smaller than a 35mm film frame, to get the same field of view as your 28-210, you're actually going to need an 18-135mm lens to get a similar zoom range to what you're used to. Nikon do make such a beast, but IMHO it's not one of their best efforts. A better choice, if you don't mind losing a bit of reach at the long end, might be the 18-105/3.5-5.6 AF-S VR, which has vibration reduction, but misses out on a focus distance scale.

    One thing to bear in mind about the D60 is that it doesn't have a focussing motor built in to the body, relying on AF-S lenses with silent wave motors, and therefore manual focus only with older AF-D type lenses.

    You don't say which model of Minolta you have, but I believe the auto focus Dynax series use the same lens mount as Sony have adopted for their Alpha range of DSLRs, so a Sony might enable you to use your old lenses - although with the field of view of 1.5 times longer focal length, due to the crop factor. You might want to invest in a new wide angle - in addition to the Sigma 12-24 that Fen mentioned, the Sigma 10-20/4-5.6 is also quite well thought of - I have the Pentax version.

    Sigma also make several true macro prime (single focal length) lenses, giving up to 1:1 reproduction, as well as macro zooms, giving reproduction ratios up to 1:2. The Tamron 90/2.8 macro is also quite a good performer.
  4. swaami

    swaami Member

    Hey thanks so much for the helpful replies - so quickly too!
    I think I'll go for the 18-105/3.5-5.6 AF-S VR as I dont want to mess about changing lenses. Didn't know about the smaller sensor and not so wide angle - thx for the heads up.

    The D60's price reflects my budget - mid to low kinda entry level stuff I'm afraid.

    My minolta dynax (your right Alex) and a cheap scanner has given me just below good enough images, so the quality of the 18 -105 should do fine. Will it take close ups -anything like a macro? The macro facility is very important and I would consider having one seperate lense for this, although with a 10mpixel res on the image I could zoom and crop in photoshop for the web - which is only 72dpi anyway....I think thats all correct?

    Thanks again
  5. AlexMonro

    AlexMonro Old Grand Part Deux

    Nikkor 18-105 AF-S VR review here. Looks like it only focusses down to 0.45m, giving a repro ratio of 1:5 - not really macro. I guess you could look at the Sigma 17-70 f/2.8-4.5 (review here), which gives 1:2.3 at 0.20m, but you lose the VR as well as some long end reach (make sure you get the HSM version for AF on the D60).

    Another option might be the Sigma 18-125 f/3.5-5.6 DC OS HSM, which gives 1:3.8 at 0.35m, nearly the equivalent reach of your 28-200, and OS (Sigma's Optical Stabilisation - equivalent to VR), but I can't find any reviews of it yet. However, if you're only wanting shots for posting on the web, rather than large prints, severe cropping is feasible.
  6. swaami

    swaami Member

    Hi Alex,
    Thanks again for your in depth reply.
    I hope you don't mind if ask you a few questions about some of the specs you mentioned....
    'focusses down to 0.45m'I take this is 45cm - just checking as there are so many new terms on here.
    'repro ratio of 1:5' and '1:3.8 at 0.35m' - what does this mean? - I understand that they are ratios - but does it mean that the image is recorded larger than ?real life? by that ratio?
    Whats HSM?
    It sounds like the Sigma 17-70 f/2.8-4.5 from what you, and the reviews say, would be the best option as my priorities are
    1. wide angle (28mm equivalent)
    2. Macro
    3 Zoom range
    The reviews were re assuring and I feel like I'm zooming (hehe forgive the pun) in on my body/lens combo.
    I didn't realise that my 35mm lens would be such a hard act to beat in terms of versatility for dslr - it really has been a great tool for my business. I did used to have several different lenses/converters/filters/tripod when I started out (after getting photography as one of my few o'levels - oops showing my age!)But cant imagine clanking around the place with that much kit ever again.
    Is there a lens at any price that can cover the same range of functions?
    Thanks again
  7. swaami

    swaami Member

    wow tried posting this at about 7.30 but looked like the site had some probs saying 'bad request' when I hit the continue after writing this long reply. A bit frustrating - does this happen often with this site?
  8. Fen

    Fen Well-Known Member

    Most people, wanting quality of photos, would go for separate lenses for each of the requirements.

    It may cost more... but you get the quality you need. And if it's for 'business' then that is really what you should be aiming for.
  9. swaami

    swaami Member

    Hey thanks Fen,
    I do appreciate the gist of your reply, as you said in your first reply to me.
    however......If its for business one should make a decision based on what your present cash flow can afford - in balance with other expenditure like a current website developement and ad words campaign - and also be pragmatic about the balance between practicality and quality. At the moment most clients are knocked out with the quality of shots in my portfolio. Also as I said in a previous post the most use my images get is on the web where they get shown at 72dpi.
    I'm very lucky in that my work gets published alot and so I have my work photographed by some of the top professional photographers in the UK. So the quality end is covered there and I'm sure just moving up to a nikon D60 and Sigma 17-70 f/2.8-4.5 is going to make a huge difference in the quality of my own shots from that of my old minolta dynax and sigma 28 -210 via cheap scanner? do you agree?
    I'd love to immerse myself in a sudy of dslr and go all the way into pro gear. Photography was the first artistic mediums that I really got into (hence O'level) - unfortunately designing gardens, carpentry, graphic design, music, horticulture and architectural design kinda jumped the queue at some point tho!

    Its the functionality of the camera/lens that is most important here. As a busy garden designer/landscape contractor I dont have alot of time to spend taking photos - the time that I do have is much better spent on composition, waiting for and understanding the implications of light conditions and communicating the quality and process of design through images.

    Thanks again for your input - I hope you will reply.
  10. swaami

    swaami Member

    If you are interested in looking at some of my shots they are in the portfolio section of my site www.therealgarden.co.uk.

    When I say the my work has been phoographed by some of the top professional photographers in the UK I did mean commercial garden photographers!Thier work is credited.

    Moderators - I think it is ok to put this url in here?
    please excuse if I made a msitake..
  11. swaami

    swaami Member

    my flickr id is brahea22.
    I was amazed that one of my shots got selected for the flickr University of British Columbia photo of the day...after only a month of being on flickr!
    I had some really good feedback - and from just scanned 35mm shots!
  12. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    Well no, it's not.
  13. swaami

    swaami Member

    care to elaborate benchista?
  14. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    I would've thought that link went into enough detail! If you've missed the link, click on the last word of my last post, but basically 72dpi is a fiction for image display; it only applies to text displayed on Apples, is never correct for PCs and has no meaning for the display of images - all that matters is the reolution in pixels.
  15. swaami

    swaami Member

    Ahh Nick, sorry - just finshed reading your page...sorry you did not repeat enough..!!! Ok so if I want to dispaly the best quality images on my site without risking the viewer falling asleep before it downloads what resolution should I upload. Doesn't high res mean slow download?
  16. swaami

    swaami Member

    Hey Alex, sorry I just realised that my current lens is a 28 - 80mm on a dynax 500si!!! doh! the 28-210 was on an old pentax I used to have.
    So the Sigma 17-70 f/2.8-4.5 will def be ok with an equivalent range of 26-105mm (full format), thats better than my current lens so long as the macro is as good.
  17. swaami

    swaami Member

  18. MickLL

    MickLL Well-Known Member

    Don't you think that you are doing what we often do to folk who request help - overcomplicating things and becoming a little 'nerdy'.

    Your link may well be correct but it's really irrelevant to the OP. The point that he's making (apart from an economic one) is that his display requirements are for the web and therefore spending shedloads on the best lens may not be for him - and he's right.

  19. swaami

    swaami Member

    Thanks Mick for syaing I was right! Something I like to hear hehe. I was intersted in the resolution debate as getting high quality images onto my site is really important.
    I'd like learn to do this better to and although Nick's post didn't teach me how to do this it did explain a fundamental misconception I had about the whole issue. Is there a thread better suited to this debate?...I'll have a look myself but I always like a recommendation - especially from a grandee!
  20. Fen

    Fen Well-Known Member


    The method of getting good quality images for the website that I use is working with 300dpi files. Edited etc., to what you require and then crop and resize (leaving at 300dpi) to what you require.

    Then convert the image to sRGB (in Photoshop or other programme) and save for the web. You don't need HUGE files, in fact you can get excellent quality at quite low file sizes. A lot of photos in this set (Flower Portraits) on my Flicker are under 150k so they don't take an age to download and send the viewer to sleep.

    I'm an avid gardener myself, not to your levels though. And I do a lot of garden photography for clients in this area.

    ps - Just added you as a contact on Flickr

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