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Macro lens For Nikon D3100... Help!!

Discussion in 'Nikon Chat' started by kilso2000, Mar 18, 2017.

  1. kilso2000

    kilso2000 New Member

    Hi there, I am new to this forum and looking for some info about purchasing a macro lens for work. I work as a dentist and am looking for a lens to take close up shots of people's teeth. Not that exciting but someone's got to do it.

    I have been looking online for a macro lens and have read lots of different reviews regarding different lenses. I have an entry level Nikon D3100 with 18-55 VR lens and Nikkor 55-200 VR lens.

    The lenses I have been looking at are:
    Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro
    Nikon AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G ED VR Lens
    Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Di VC USD macro
    Tokina AT-X M100 Pro D AF 100mm f/2.8 Lens

    I have read that some lenses will not autofocus with the D3100 body as there is no in built motor so am looking for a lens with an in built motor (I think). My budget is up to £300 but would rather it was closer to £200 as need to purchase a ring flash as well.

    Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated and open to any other suggestions of appropriate available lenses.


  2. nimbus

    nimbus Well-Known Member

    The first three all certainly have built-in focus motors, but I am unsure about the Tokina. All four will be good performers, the Tamron macro lenses being renowned as excellent value giving high image quality. To cut the cost buy second hand from a reputable dealer, but make sure that you are buying a lens with a focus motor. When buying ring flash be aware that some of them are not flash at all but a circle of LEDs.
  3. Learning

    Learning Ethelred the Ill-Named

    From the order in which you state the altenatives I guess that you prefer the 105 focal length. I would suggest the current 105mm Nikkor f2.8 macro.I own one and I am very satisfied.
    I expect lighting to be a problem. You need a ringlight (flash or LED) of some type.Nikon are no longer helpful. Their macro lights are too far off axis.
    Years ago Nikon produced a perfect lens and light for your purpose; sadly they have never updated it for modern cameras. The ring light was built into the front of the lens. The medical Nikkor is still sold pre-used but cannot be reccomended for real use due to the age and the fact that the electroncs and light source will now be way past their best.
  4. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Why do you (think you) need autofocus?


  5. kilso2000

    kilso2000 New Member

    Thanks for all the info.

    I have no particular preference in lens to be honest just something that will do the job.

    I expected I would need an autofocus to help with the shots. Both my other lenses are autofocus and just assumed I should get an autofocus macro lens. I was hoping it would Make life a bit easier.
  6. MJB

    MJB Well-Known Member

    Sometimes with macro lenses it's a lot easier to turn off the AF and move the camera to obtain focus, especially if your trying to hand hold, as the slightest movement can set the AF off hunting focus.
  7. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    When the lens is used as a normal telephoto then stabilisation is useful.
  8. kilso2000

    kilso2000 New Member

    Would the earlier versions of either the sigma or the tamron lens do the job then do you reckon?

    Tamron SP AF 90mm F/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 Lens or
    Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro

    Can pick them both up much cheaper second hand.
  9. nimbus

    nimbus Well-Known Member

    They will, so long as you are prepared to forego autofocus. At least if you have a lens with autofocus you can turn it off though!

    If handholding the focus is likely to drop anyway as the dof is very slender at these distances, so without use of a tripod, which may not be practicable you could still end up with some unsharp shots whether auto or manually focused.
  10. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    I meant autofocus - for non-macro work - sorry for confusion
  11. ChrisNewman

    ChrisNewman Well-Known Member

    When I bought my initial digital outfit, based on the APS-C Nikon D90, I got the Nikon AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G ED VR.

    Subsequently I upgraded to the full frame D800, and then bought the 105mm Nikkor f2.8 macro, which I think is marginally sharper than the 85mm, in addition to using the whole of the D800’s sensor. But I often carry the DX 85mm in my camera bag “in case” rather than the 105mm, because it’s only half the weight. I think the Sigma, Tamron and Tokina are also much heavier than the DX 85mm. Would weight matter much for you? Also, the smaller DX lens might seem less intimidating to your patients! Alternatively, if you are ever likely to upgrade to a full frame Nikon body, you would then be grateful if you had bought a macro that matched its format.

    I wouldn’t buy the Tokina for my own use, as I don’t think it has image stabilization, but if you always expect to use flash for your work, that won’t matter much. The same applies to older designs of macro lens; I think the Tamron SP AF 90mm F/2.8 Di Macro is lighter than most.
    Personally, I wouldn’t want to rely solely on manual focus since moving on from my manual focus film SLR which had the contemporary focussing aids in the focussing screen. But for macro work, those central aids tended to discourage focussing elsewhere in the frame, as it’s difficult to keep the same camera-subject distance if re-orienting the camera after focussing on a macro subject. Normally AF macro lenses for interchangeable-lens cameras are well designed for manual focussing when you want that option.

  12. nimbus

    nimbus Well-Known Member

    On an APS-C body do you actually need a lens of 85-105mm focal length for what you intend doing? It will give you a greater camera to subject distance, which may be an advantage, but if you do not need this distance a macro lens of 40-55mm would cost less and also might give you better perspective, as well as making better use of the output of the ring flash. Just a thought.
  13. kilso2000

    kilso2000 New Member

    Thanks everyone for all the help.

    I don't think I will be changing the body any time soon so really looking for a lens that would work best with my current D3100 body.

    Any research I have done on lenses for dental photography have all mentioned a macro lens between 85 and 105mm so thought it best to go with one of these.

    Outside of taking photographs for work, which lens (85, 90 or 105mm) would be more useful for everyday use?
  14. nimbus

    nimbus Well-Known Member

    The research you did may have been for full frame (FX) rather than DX. A 50mm lens on a DX body, such as you own actually has the same effect as a 75mm lens on a full frame body, due to the crop factor. For other everyday use it really depends on what subjects you are shooting.
  15. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    I don't think it exists anymore but Olympus used to have a whole medical imaging division. Maybe the specifications for their dental systems if they can be found may offer some guidance. Choice all hinges on working distance and magnification you want. I'd imagine a system that relies on putting a ring flash 3 inches from someone's face would be rather intimidating.
  16. nimbus

    nimbus Well-Known Member

    I can't imagine that would bother Dougie Wallace!:)
  17. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    I don't think he uses macro.
  18. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    I think he'll know more about endoscopy - once he annoys somebody enough. :confused:
  19. El_Sid

    El_Sid Well-Known Member

    Back in the days of manual focus Nikon made two lenses designed for medical photography, one was 120mm the other 200mm. Both I believe were popular with dentists which suggests that a longer focal length is preferable as it gives a larger working distance (from the front of the lens to the subject) meaning you are rather less in-your-face when getting your picture which may reassure the patient. I have a 60mm macro for my Canon and I do find the working distance a bit short compared to an older 90mm I also have.
  20. nimbus

    nimbus Well-Known Member

    He gets close enough to do so!:D

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