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Need help with macro lenses

Discussion in 'Beginner's Corner' started by AkselVerg, Jul 13, 2017.

  1. AkselVerg

    AkselVerg Member

    I have the following question, wrote about it in this thread http://www.amateurphotographer.co.uk/forums/threads/macro-flash-and-step-up-rings.133964/, but there nobody could help me, so I decided to create a new topic in the hope that someone will know smth about it. The bottom line is that I just started taking pictures and I need a lens to my Nikon D3300 for macro photography. Please advise good or just tell me what to look for when choosing.
    Thank you in advance!
  2. MJB

    MJB Well-Known Member

    I'm not a Nikon user, so Nikon's own range of lenses confuses the hell out of me. You dont say what your budget is, or what exactly you want to take macro photos of, but I can highly recommend Sigma's 105mm f2.8 DG EX OS HSM. I actually own 2 in Canon fit (My wife borrowed the 1st and wouldn't give it back!), but the Nikon mount version is compatible with the d3300. Optically very sharp, a very good image stabilisation system and decent autofocus should you need it.
  3. AkselVerg

    AkselVerg Member

    In fact, the budget is not particularly important, of course, I do not want to spend too much money on a temporary hobby, but I think - about 600 pounds would be ok. Regarding the subject of photography - parents have a huge garden and a small apiary, so I plan to photograph mostly insects in their natural habitat.
  4. El_Sid

    El_Sid Well-Known Member

    Nikon do several macro lenses. Cheapest is the 40mm Micro-Nikkor but this has the downside of having a very short working distance at maximum magnification which might be an issue with insects and can cause shadowing issues though the macro flash you mention elsewhere will help with that. Personally I'd look more towards either the 85mm or 105mm Micro Nikkors, more expensive but you don't have to get so close. I'd not worry about the 200mm nor the either of the PC Micro Nikkors as they are rather expensive and quite specialist - though the 200mm is very useful with nervy subjects as the lens to subject distance is quite long.

    Non Nikon alternatives include the Sigma as mentioned by Martin and offerings from Tamron (60 & 90mm) or Tokina (100mm). The Tamron 90mm is something of a legend in terms of image quality and the Tokina is no slouch either.

    Overall I'd go for something in the 80-100mm range as the working distance is more comfortable both for you and nervous subjects. The Sigma, Tamron, Tokina and Nikon 100mm-ish lenses are all full frame so if you ever intend to go full frame they will be fine for that as well. The Sigma 105 and Nikon 85mm & 105mm lenses have vibration reduction (VR or OS) built in. There's some debate as to how effective this is at macro distances but it is useful at more normal distances.

    As far as image quality goes you'd really have to pixel peep to discern any differences between them - indeed there probably as much difference in IQ between two lenses from the same stable as between lenses from different makers.

    Your constraining factor now is really budget...
  5. AkselVerg

    AkselVerg Member

    Thank you very much for such a detailed answer, I'll still look at the other manufacturers you mentioned, but I'll probably choose the Nikon 105mm with VR. (like that (link to Amazon))
  6. daft_biker

    daft_biker Action Man!

    Any reason to look beyond a 60mm macro?
  7. AkselVerg

    AkselVerg Member

    And what is their advantage? As far as I understand from El Sid's explanations, 80-100mm - are optimal for photos of insects, since I will not be too close to them. As far as I understand, with 60mm it will be necessary to be closer, I'm not afraid of being stung because bees will never attack first, but besides bees in the garden there are more timid butterflies and dragonfly, which I would also like to try to photograph.
  8. Dorset_Mike

    Dorset_Mike Grumpy Old Fart

  9. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    You need to decide if you want to do macro photography, which here would be understood as reproducing on a 1:1 scale, or failrly close up nature photography. For true macro you need a lens designed to focus very close in order to get 1:1. For insects in flight you may not actually need this and be as well off with a close focussing telephoto with extension tube if necessary. There are some splendid butterfly shots in the Appraisal lounge, shot with either a macro lens (think it was a 105 mm sigma - I'm not sure) or a 100-400 zoom having a 1m near focus distance (which is very close for such a lens). I seem to remember articles by Heather Angel using 200 or 300 mm telephotos in the field. I doubt a 60 mm lens macro or not is the best choice for such subjects equally if the idea is to really up close the opposite applies. I should say that my success rate at photographing insects is practically nil and limited to my first day out with a 100 mm macro bought 2012 I think. I don't bend enough anymore to be able to get a camera remotely close and steady.
  10. Jimbo57

    Jimbo57 Well-Known Member

    I would recommend the Nikkor 105mm Micro as the best compromise and balance between focal length and macro performance. I believe the Sigma equivalent is also excellent and may offer better v.f.m.
  11. timbo2410

    timbo2410 Member

    I have the Nikon 105mm and it is the bees knees .. you will not regret owning it at all ...
  12. Snorri

    Snorri Well-Known Member

    For working distance, that said a 60mm on a APS-C is fantastic for portraits. I personally have a 60mm f2.8 that I use for both portraits and macro, it is not bad but yes the 100mm would be better for the more paranoid bugs.
  13. timbo2410

    timbo2410 Member

    and better still, for dragonflies that will not let me get close .. the latest nikon 1.7 and 2.0 teles work with it as well .. :)
  14. Petrochemist

    Petrochemist Well-Known Member

    I don't shoot Nikon but I believe any of the Micro Nikkors will work fine for you. ('Micro Nikkors' being Nikon's name for a normal macro lens, 'Macro Nikkors' are exclusively for magnifications greater than 1)
    In addition to a macro lens there are other options such as supplementary lenses & extension tubes that will enable your existing lenses to shoot macro.
    For a fairly complete run through of the many alternatives you can't do much better than www.extreme-macro.co.uk. I think it covers every option I'd heard of before and adds quite a few others!
  15. Tinki

    Tinki Member

    Also you can try Macro Rings. They are available in online stores that fit in the front of your kit lens. These rings provide you almost macro capabilities with no loss of auto focus. However, it's a bit tricky to focus the camera with the macro rings and the image quality depends on the quality of the macro rings.
    If you want to by these rings just check the filter size of the lens as these rings are available according to the lens filter size.
  16. jpgreenwood

    jpgreenwood Well-Known Member

    I took this with D3200 and an old manual 50mm f.18 Nikon lens. Its old, but trusty. Fitted a couple of macro tubes and I'm more than happy with the results.
    [​IMG]DSC_0006 by jason greenwood, on Flickr
  17. Learning

    Learning Ethelred the Ill-Named

    I am not suggesting that you start off with a 1.7 teleconverter on the 105mm macro Nikkor, but yes it works. It might be better to crop. The lower pictures are enlarged from the upper two. I would use a much higher iso than I did in 2013 so that I could improve depth of focus by using a smaller stop.

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