Extreme closups on the cheap with Nikon D40x?

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by Phas, Nov 4, 2007.

  1. Phas

    Phas TPF Noob!

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    I have finally decided to try out DSLR. i have had many P&S cameras and my Nikon CP 5400 just crapped out (lens wont open). so instead of fixing it (i may still anyway, it as a great camera!!!) i am wanting to take the next step, DSLR and try my hands on that.

    I do not have a lot of money however, and the kit is eating up most of it :(
    a side question, why is B&H kit like $300 more than others like amazon?

    I want to take 2 types of photos. Extreme closeups. i mainly photograph plants and animals for identification and morphological study, sometimes very small like tiny spiders and ants. but i am very confused about lenses capability. many say they are only good at around 40cm or further.....my 5400 was ok at 1-2 cm...???

    the other thing i want (separate lens) is for far away but closeup pictures. like a bird on a tree across the river.

    closeups are my priority though, and i hope the lens with the kit will give me good enough distance shots. at least while i learn.

    so when i am wanting to get up close and personal with things what should i be looking for? the guy at the store showed me some really amazing lenses and little things that screw on the lenses to make it even bigger...but these things were 1000's $$$...so i cannot.

    my price range for a single lens is not high, like 300 ish. i know that is not much for lenses but i am not a super high quality fanatic. as long as it is fairly high detail and clear but really close up and big! i will be printing pictures as well, larger ones.

    what are your thoughts? and a second side question: the kits here are
    about $740 USD with 2 batteries and a 2 GB card. thats ok? D40x, NOT D40
     
  2. skieur

    skieur TPF Noob!

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    Simple answer is that there is no way that you can do what you want cheaply.

    High quality photos of birds in the distance require a high quality telephoto lens which costs thousands and a good stable tripod which is not cheap either.

    A lot of close up work of insects etc. requires a ring flash (expensive too) to get good depth of field and usually a sharp 100 mm. f2.8 macro lens which is also expensive.

    For what you are trying to do, there are no cheap alternatives, since fuzzy photos with limited contrast and shallow depth of field will not be at all worthwhile.

    skieur
     
  3. Helen B

    Helen B TPF Noob!

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    Well, I've never used my D40x for macro work, so please forgive the lazy Sunday afternoon nature of this picture, taken rather hurriedly to illustrate this post:

    [​IMG]

    It was taken with a D40x and very cheap bellows, and a Rodenstock Rodagon copy lens. It is almost 1:1. The exposure was 2½ seconds, and therefore I used a tripod. It was taken in dull daylight. The effective aperture was about f/32, so there is noticeable softening because of diffraction.

    The bellows are BPM, and they sell for about $40. You could also use Nikon PB-4 bellows with shift and tilt, but I decided to take this with the cheap, versatile BPM bellows. I used a Nikon camera adapter and an M39 lens adapter. You can fit all sorts of adapters to BPM bellows - they are very versatile.

    The lens was an Apo-Rodagon-D 75 mm f/4, optimised for 1:1. You can get these gems for about $130 nowadays. That is an excellent lens at a bargain price - not all that long ago some of us paid a lot more...

    Best,
    Helen
     
  4. TCimages

    TCimages TPF Noob!

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    If your goal is to shoot macro, I suggest a dedicated macro lens for true 1:1. Maybe the 60mm f 2.8. This will give you optimum working distance from the front of the lens and a great 60mm prime for other shots. Even better would be the 105mm.

    You'll probably need external light. I reccommend an external flash with a defuser. It's not necessary to use a ringflash.

    other options:

    1-You could consider purchasing the body only and the macro lens.

    2- Extension tubes. You can add these to the kit lens. They create a very short working distance from the front of the lens. Very tricky for insects.

    3- Use an adapter and turn your kit lens around backwards. This is a tough way to do macro, but some have mastered it.

    good luck
     
  5. JayJay65

    JayJay65 TPF Noob!

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    what does the flash ring do for macro shots??
     
  6. TCimages

    TCimages TPF Noob!

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    Basically provides light all around the subject.
     
  7. Phas

    Phas TPF Noob!

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    excellent thanks guys. i am thinking i may need to spend more money, the more i look the more i realize this fact. so for now i will only be buying a single lens for macros (and a few accessories as needed).

    do i NEED that flash? most of my photos are done indoors under controlled conditions, many of the insects are dead and preserved...i was thinking of setting up a photo shoot area with lights angled various directions, would that be ok? or better to invest in a good flash?

    hellen, great shot. thanks for the help and suggestions! would it be better to get something like f1.4 instead of f2.8? i will be taking lots of pictures of moving animals as well.

    thanks all for your help and input, it is very much appreciated! its nice to make sure one buys the right lens when dishing out this kind of money (for me anyway) :thumbup:
     
  8. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    No you don't. Tripod and dead insects and you need no flash to use higher apertures and get some depth of field.
     

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