Nikon lens for extreme close-up work?

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by johnmh, Oct 14, 2007.

  1. johnmh

    johnmh TPF Noob!

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    Most of my focus so far has been on landscapes/wildlife (outdoorsy vacations are our norm), some typical kids/family stuff and occasional sports. But, I'm thinking it's time to "cross-over" to one of my other hobbies - model building.

    I primarily build 1/48 scale models - so a typical single engine plane model would be on a 12" x 12" base....... accompanying figures are about 1 1/2" tall. I'd be taking overall shots with close-ups on details.

    I suppose a parallel might be photographing insects or flowers, without the concerns of any movement.

    I'm looking for a lens that allows good close-ups. Current inventory is a 70/200 VR sports and all around (a bit heavy for carrying around on hikes though), 18-200 VR all around, 70-300 VR wildlife, 18-55 (kit lens replaced by 18-200), 50 f/1.8

    I've gotten varied results with the 18-200 and 70-300 - but these are defininte "compromises" for such work. I am taking the shots from a distance for these lenses to work.

    The general buzz seems to recommend the 105 f/2.8 VR if $ isn't an issue, Nikon lists the 60 f/2.8 as appropriate for close-ups at about half the price but with less flexibility.

    Anyone with experience with these lenses, recommendations?
     
  2. soylentgreen

    soylentgreen TPF Noob!

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    Though I shoot with Canon gear I can equate to your dilemna as I was in a similar state while researching my choices. I debated between the EF-S 60 f/2.8 and EF 100 f/2.8 and settled on the wider lens mostly for the optical quality. I have 1/48 models and 30mm Gamesworkshop miniatures that I use to paint. Since working distance is really no issue in miniature shooting, I was more concerned about IQ. Try out both lenses if you can and see which one works more comfortable for you. On a 1.6 crop the 60 rounds out to 96mm anyway. The wider lens might offer you closer working distance while still capturing the whole piece. Might have to stand back a bit more with the 105. Also check lighitng and a steady tripod.
     
  3. el_shorty

    el_shorty TPF Noob!

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    For shooting the scale models, the 60 f2.8 will do, but it doesn't work really well for insects, the closest focusing distance for the 105mm is 12.2 inches, and for the 60mm is 8-3/4 inches, which is too close for most insects.
    My recommendation would be to get the Nikkor 105 f2.8 VR, if you can afford it, but if you can't, take a look at the Sigma 105 f2.8 and the Tamron 90 f2.8, both are great lenses.
     
  4. johnmh

    johnmh TPF Noob!

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    the 60 and 105........ Enough places, I figure someone will let me try them out.
     
  5. itoncool

    itoncool TPF Noob!

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    I would say you should go with 105VR macro, you'll get what you paid. It's great for any type of macro. Excellent macro lens.
     
  6. johnmh

    johnmh TPF Noob!

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    Got the 105 - still trying it out. I do have to say that the auto-focus does seem to "wander" and take its time (a complaint noted on KenRockwell) but it seems like I end up using manual focus for the models to focus on exactly what I want anyway. Haven't tried it outside yet.
     
  7. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    If you can't afford the Micro Nikkor AF-S VR N 105mm f/2.8, then why not grab it's predecessor second hand. I got mine for $500AU (the new one is $1800AU). The seller even complains to me everytime we go out photographing that he liked the images from the old lenses better than the new one. And since you're photographing stationary objects, throw it on a tripod and you will need neither the AF-S motor or the VR the new lens offers.

    For the record the predecessor is: Micro-Nikkor AF D 105mm f/2.8 and was discontinued earlier this year so there should still be plenty around.
     
  8. Use a tri-pod, that way you can manual focus, and use a smaller aperture. That will ensure a wider depth of field, and make everything in focus if you choose.

    Sounds like fun!
     
  9. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The difference between the longer and shorter lens will be working distance, not so much optical quality or close focusing capability. At a given reproduction ratio, your longer lens well be a little further away from the subject than the shorter lens. Than can affect things like lighting the subject in some situations.

    A 12" X 12" model should render just fine with most any lens you have. I don't think you need a macro lens to get something that size to fill the frame.
     
  10. sabbath999

    sabbath999 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    As an owner of the 105 2.8 VR Macro, I agree with this 100 percent... the older lens is a better buy, since you really won't be using VR (or even autofocus) on Macro anyway.
     
  11. Bevel Heaven

    Bevel Heaven TPF Noob!

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    nikkor 60mm 2.8 macro lens, tripod, natural light, camera set to iso 800 aperture priority mode set it at 2.8 - you can't lose. A workhorse lens been around a LONG time, why change what works says Nikon?

    I agree
     
  12. airgunr

    airgunr TPF Noob!

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    If you can find one Nikon made a 70-180 AF Micro Nikkor. Excellent lens and very versitile.

    I've got all of the Nikkon Micro lenses and I would suggest the 105 AF VR for you or you could probably get a good deal on the previous version the 105mm AF with out the VR. Still a great lens, I kept mine when I got the VR Version as it will work on my older MF Nikons cameras.
     

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