Macro Question

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by whiplash23, Jul 13, 2009.

  1. whiplash23

    whiplash23 TPF Noob!

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    Hi. I am looking at getting a "macro" set-up for my Nikon D40. I have looked at the 60mm f2.8 micro lens, but I have the 60mm covered with my 55-200VR and the 60mm won't auto focus on my D40.

    I have found good things written about the Canon 500D "close-up" lens but I can't find any actual data. Anyone know how close to 1:1 this would be with the 55-200VR lens? Anyone know what the min-focus distance will be (compared to the 3.6' it is now)?

    Thanks!

    For anyone's interest, here is a link to the few "close-up" shots I have tried with just the 55-200VR. Nothing special but figured I'd throw them out there.
    http://www.pbase.com/whiplash23/macro

    UPDATE
    Ok, y'all were too slow to talk me out of it. I am still interested in hearing others opinions on the 500D lens. I'll post my thoughts after it comes in and I have a chance to play with it.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2009
  2. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Hey hey give us some time to respond ;)

    Looking at your shots you seem to already be getting some good results:
    For_Pbase-1-1.jpg photo - whiplash23 photos at pbase.com

    So methodology aside a few pointers.

    A dedicated macro lenses are nearly always going to beat a macro attachment on a regular lens for a few reasons:

    a) A macro lens has a much finer focusing control at the closer distances which makes fine tuning the focus a lot easier - regular lenses are slightly harder to use for this since they don't have such fine controls

    b) Without stating the obvoius a dedicated macro lens is optimised for closup work so it will deliver a higher quality image result.

    c) If getting much higher magnifications is your aim again the macro lens starts off with a bit advantage - and if you wish you can even use attachments like the 500D on the macro lens as wel to give even more magnification

    As for focal ranges don't worry about your macro lens convering the same focal length as you zoom - consider that the prime lens with only one focal range will give you a far superior image quality at that range and that its dedicated macro features will give you a lot more for your macro work.

    A 60mm macro is a good lens and ideal for flowers and such - but if you have any interest in insects then I strongly recomend getting a macro lens of at least 90mm or longer - otherwise your working distance (distance from camera to insect) is very short - and the closer you are the more chance you have of spooking the insect and having them fly/crawl away. The Tamron 90mm macro is often a good budget choice (optically its very strong) and the Nikon 105mm macro VR is a great lens to get if you can afford it
     
  3. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Well, he did give us a whole 2 hours before starting to complain! :lol:

    All things aside, if you are serious about your macro photography:

    - stay away from attachments, they will never touch the quality of a true macro lens.

    - In relation to a 60mm 1:1 macro, you want as long a focal point as possible (within reason). The longer, the further away you will be from the subject to get a 1:1 image. This is important as a 60mm will scare away a butterfly and bee because you are so close to them (around 4-5 inches). At 105mm you are about 12 inches away at a 1:1 macro.

    - 105mm macro lenses are about the longest macro lenses you can use hand held and still get clear macro shots. If all your macro shots are on a tripod, get the longest 1:1 macro lens you can find/afford. A 180mm or longer 1:1 macro lens is great.

    - Make sure you have a quality macro lens... that it does F/2.8. Because of the nature of basic lens design, in general, a lens that does F/2.8 is better than a lens that does F/4 or smaller. Though at macro distances, you will rarely use F/2.8 becuase of the extremely shallow depth of field.

    - A 105mm F/2.8 1:1 macro lens like the Sigma 105mm F/2.8 macro makes an incredible protrait lens. It is a fast and incredibly sharp lens that does *great* macros. Shorter focal length lenses are *not* as good a portrait lens and longer ones are more difficult as the room needed is much greater. The 105mm is the perfect length, IMHO.
     
  4. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I agree a filter on a regular lens is nothing like a true macro lens - but still filters on a macro lens are darn fun and can still give optically good results
    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3393/3616925325_329f05c2da_o.jpg

    You forget the sigma 150mm - still a very handhold able macro lens. Tripod are a good setup but they are slower by far so you need sleepy bugs (early mornings, cold days) or a lure like a plant or honey so that the insects come to you.
    I do know some how handhold the 180mm lenses - though generally they are best suited to a tripod based setup

    Agreed you do need the widest you can get - though the 180mm options are something like half a stop down. The key part is that you need the wide aperture for light when focusing rather than taking shots (f8-13 are more commonly used shooting apertures). Its further important because as you get closer to 1:1 or ever go beyond the image you get through the lens gets darker
     
  5. benhasajeep

    benhasajeep TPF Noob!

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    Another advantage to longer macro lenses is when you want to possibly go larger than 1:1 in size. Attachments like extension tubes and bellows attachments allow the lens to focus closer to achieve larger reproduction ratios. With the shorter lenses and the attachments you are very close to the subjects. The longer lenses give you a little more breathing room when adding attachments.

    We have a Nikon 105mm and for flowers my wife like to add all three extension tubes to get right down into them. Every now and then I keep considering buying a longer macro, even though we are extremely happy with the 105. But more room is always appreciated. Especially when your trying to get a pic of a small flower on the ground that your not supposed to pick.
     
  6. Moglex

    Moglex TPF Noob!

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    I would also point out that if you are worried about hand holding a long lens a ringflash or Canon macro flash makes that problem go away.
     
  7. Dwig

    Dwig TPF Noob!

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    1: The newer AF-s version of the Micro-Nikkor 60mm f/2.8 will autofocus on a D40.

    2. While I can't tell you what reproduction ratio you will achieve, the minimum focusing distance, measured from the close up attachment to the subject, with your 55-200 will be roughly 13-16 inches. That estimate is based on the diopter strength of the 500D attachment (+2d), the 55-200mm's 3.6 ft minimum focusing distance (measured from subject to image plane and not front of lens), and the approximate length of the lens (filter ring to image plane)
     
  8. whiplash23

    whiplash23 TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for all of the input and thanks to Dwig for the math.

    Sorry I didn't give y'all a lot of time to respond ;-)

    I had pretty much made up my mind before I posted the question. I found a Nikon refurb 60mm f/2.8 for $299 (Adorama) but then found this for 1/4 of the price. I know the 299 as a good price on the 60mm, but I figured the filter would be a good way to get into the macro stuff without a lot of money. If I turn out to like it, then I could get a dedicated lens later on (if my kids ever get out of daycare and I ever have any money again).

    I should receive the package this week so hopefully I'll get to play with it this weekend and I'll let y'all know what I think.
     

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