Need help finding good macro lens

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by Noah212, Nov 22, 2009.

  1. Noah212

    Noah212 TPF Noob!

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    Hello,

    I am currently on the look out for a Nikon macro lens. I am 14 and have been very into photography for about 6+ months now. Also, I mainly photograph insects. I want to buy a good quality macro lens, yet I don't want to pay too much. Can anyone suggest any good lenses for me? Thanks so much in advance.
     
  2. joemc

    joemc TPF Noob!

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    My two top suggestions are the Nikkor 60mm f/2.8 (500.00) or the Nikkor 105 f/2.8 (around 900.00)

    They are both fantastic lenses.

    Cheers, joe
     
  3. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    How much is not too much?
    Also what gear do you currently have?

    There are some cheaper workarounds for getting macro work which don't involve shelling out on a dedicated lens should your budget be smaller, but we need an idea of where abouts you stand in things
     
  4. icassell

    icassell TPF Noob!

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    If you don't want to spend a fortune on macro lenses, consider the purchase of extension tubes instead.

    THK Photo Products, Inc.
     
  5. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    For insect photography, a longer length macro lens is handy; if you want something inexpensive, I don't think the $900 105mm VR Nikkor is a viable option for a 14 year old. I think your best bet would be the Phoenix 100mm f/3.5 AF macro lens in NIkon F mount. Read about it here:

    Phoenix AF 100mm f/3.4 Macro Lens - A Nikonians Product Review

    Both Phoenix and Vivitar brand 100mm macro lenses were available for several years,and they are available used. You might have to look around to find one of these lenses, and pay only $100-$125 for the lens. The performance of these lenses was actually pretty good, but they seem to be very hard to find from major retailers--which are trying to sell the "new" low-priced macro leader, Tokina's 100mm f/2.8 ATX Macro for $399 new.
     
  6. chip

    chip TPF Noob!

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    If you want a "good quality" macro lens you will have to pay "good quality" money for one. How about a used Nikon macro lens from like Ebay?
     
  7. Noah212

    Noah212 TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the suggestions, but I do not currently have that much money.


    I would like to stay within the $100 - $300 range, if possible. I currently have a Nikon D60 with a DX(not sure of the specific type) lens, a tripod, and photoshop.


    I would rather just get a macro lens, but thanks for your suggestion.


    Thanks so much for pointing out the Phoenix 100mm f/3.5 AF macro lens in Nikon F mount. Would this lens be compatible with my Nikon D60?

    Also, would the quality of the Phoenix lens be better than this?

    (NOTE: THIS IS NOT MY PHOTO)
    [​IMG]
    (NOTE: THIS IS NOT MY PHOTO)

    In terms of quality, some of my photos are around that of the above photo. Keep in mind, I am using the lens that came with the D60. Does this mean that I should just stick with my current lens, or will the Phoenix get much better quality? Also, about how many times better is the quality of the Phoenix than the lens from a new Nikon D60. Thanks so much.

    Well, first I just want figure out which lens I should get.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2009
  8. PatrickHMS

    PatrickHMS TPF Noob!

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    Noah,

    Do you understand that most of these lenses are manual focus only on your D60?

    And that the only lenses that will autofocus on your camera are the AF-S lenses, which are generally more expensive?
     
  9. Noah212

    Noah212 TPF Noob!

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    I didn't know that. Thanks.

    Is this a good buy? And is it an auto focusing lens?

    Nikon AF-S DX Zoom - Nikkor 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED

    How about this?

    Nikon Quantaray 28-90mm f3.5-5.6 Lens AF-D macro mint - eBay (item 200403130673 end time Dec-06-09 17:58:30 PST)

    I am just trying to find the cheapest (yet still good quality) macro lens that can auto focus and is compatible with a Nikon D60.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2009
  10. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Yes, the Phoenix or the Vivitar version of the 100mm f/3.5 lens would easily match the dragonfly shot you show. Slightly contrary to common opinion, a 100mm f/3.5 macro lens is quite easy to manufacture,and even old, cheap tele-macro lenses will produce excellent quality images on an APS-C Nikon. As was pointed out, your D60 will only autofocus with AF-S lenses, or comparable lenses from Sigma or Tamron; your D60 needs a lens with a built-in focus motor in the lens in order to autofocus. However, your D60 is one of the five "baby Nikons" (D40-D40x-D60-D3000-D5000) which will allow basically ANY Nikon-made macro lens to mount to the body, and to focus manually, and to shoot pictures.

    Thus means you could buy an old "classic" macro like a 90mm Tamron macro, or a used Nikon 105mm f/4 Micro-Nikkor, or the classic Tokina 90mm, or any number of old Vivitar macro lenses made in the 1970s or 1980s,and the D60 will allow the lens to fit on and shoot. YOU will have to manually focus the lens. But there are zillions of F-mount macro lenses your D60 will accept. And don't be fooled by era or price--some of the old Vivitar macros of the late 1970's are great lenses. The D60 is a great camera for "alt. glass", and something like the Nikon M2 extension tube will give you about the right length of extension tube for a cost of around $10 or so used.

    MOST macro work is done in manual focusing mode; a manual focusing macro lens is not really a negative thing. Manual focus macro lenses have long, smooth, wide-arc manual focusing action,and are actually easier to focus accurately than many autofocus macro designs. So, don't think you need to spend a fortune to get a good macro lens for a D60. Look into Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/4 lenses with the PN-1 extension tube for under $200 on eBay for example of a good macro that is affordable.
     
  11. PatrickHMS

    PatrickHMS TPF Noob!

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    Noah,

    I don't know if you have tried it or not, but I have seen some really nice macro shots taken with the Nikon 18-55mm "kit" lens. They might be in that thread of all D40 shots, not sure, but there are here on TPF somewhere.

    Go by what YOU know about that lens, not what others say or write about it. Do YOU believe it to be soft, or is it what you hear others say?

    The 18-55mm lens will do much better Macro shots than most people think, especially when stopped down one or two stops. Willing to bet that most people haven't even tried it.

    It is cheaply made, but it is surprisingly nice glass and IQ for that kind of money.
     
  12. Noah212

    Noah212 TPF Noob!

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    Thanks so much for all the information. After researching something of the lenses you mentioned, I found this:

    Nikon | 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED AF-S VR DX Autofocus Lens | 2166

    Does this seem like a good deal? It is auto focusing, and is for a Nikon. It's also a Telephoto lens, which I remember has something to do with macro lenses but I am probably wrong.

    Also, will any of the lenses that have been discussed in this thread take shots that have quality as good as these shots? (click link below)

    (NOTE: THESE ARE NOT MY PICTURES)
    http://www.thephotoforum.com/forum/nature-wildlife/149261-macro-testing-my-new-lens.html

    Once again, thanks so much for taking the time to explain all of this to me.



    What are you talking about when you say, "stopped down one or two stops." Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2009

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