To many choices...which lens?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by tcoleyrn, Jan 17, 2009.

  1. tcoleyrn

    tcoleyrn TPF Noob!

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    :banghead: Ok guys....I know this question has been posed at least 1 million times here and all of you experienced people are probably annoyed at a newby like me asking but here goes: We just bought out VERY FIRST SLR camera-a Nikon D60. It came with the kit lens 18-55mm VR. We are interested in buying 2 lens BUT not breaking the bank. Want 1 for GOOD macro-insects, flowers, etc. Also we want a good general lens that is an upgrade from the one that came with the camera. We do have a nice tripod but don't want to have to haul it around everytime we shoot. Thanks in advance for advice.
     
  2. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    For macro work consider:
    Tamron 90mm macro - shortest recomended lens for macro insect work - a good solid performer - if possibly not as popular as some other options

    Nikon 105mm micro (note that nikon call macro micro - there is also a shorter focal length option from them similar to the canon 60mm lens). This lens is the only macro with VR (anti shake) however its effect at macro distances is almost nothing, but for when the lens is used at normal subjects its a boon to have the VR. This lens also offers compatabilty with nikon teleconverters as well.

    Sigma 70mm macro - good solid macro lens- and reportedly one of sigma's sharpest lenses in production

    Sigma 105mm macro - good solid choice of macro lens

    Sigma 150mm macro - this and the 180mm macro from sigma are their top class macro lenses - both have the high quality sigma build (EX); inner focusing (the lens does not extend as you alter the focus - it happens internally); teleconverter compatability; HSM focusing motors (better AF and quieter). The 150mm is about hte longest lens which is considered handhold able for macro work.

    Sigma 180mm macro - a very good lens and often chosen instead of the canon 180mm L macro because it gives the same optical quality for half the price - its a longer focal length, but its a bit heavy for prolonged hand held macro work - a lens more suited to tripod work

    Notes -
    of the lenses above there is no one that is a consitantly better performer than the others - they are pretty much sharp and well built lenses - which ever you choose will give good solid results and performance

    AF on macro lenses tends to be slower than on normal lenses - this is not a limitation for macro work as its done almost totally in manual mode

    sigma lenses compatable with teleconverters are compatable with sigma teleconverters only - some other 3rd party options might be possible, but its best to stick with sigma

    focal length - for bugs you idealy want 90mm or more since the longer the focal length the greater the distance from camera to bug at full magnification. That means there is less chance of spooking the bug when you get closer.

    I also encorage the use of a 1.4 teleconverter with macro work since it not only increases focal length but also increases magnification a bit whilst still being usable. That is great for getting a bit closer to smaller bugs - note that image quality is lessened only by a faction (harly noticable)

    My choice - I went with the sigma 150mm and have not regreted it one bit - one thing that I did like about the lens, aside from its longer focal length - is that its good for grabshots of other wildlife as well (being a 150mm lens).
     
  3. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I am just getting into macro and was delivered the Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 VR last week. That isn't a cheap lens. Overread is pretty clued in on macro stuff, so he has some good advice. Another member, doenoe, does some wonderful work..... in fact there are several members that do. The longer you hang around, you will find out who to listen to. If you read any of my posts.... make sure your BS meter is close at hand. :lmao:
     
  4. Katier

    Katier TPF Noob!

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    I use a 70-300 Tamron Zoom which includes Macro.

    [​IMG]

    Is an image I took using this lens on my Pentax K110D. No post processing apart from cropping.
     
  5. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I like that butterfly shot :)

    however for a 70-300mm macro its not "real" macro since it cannot get the same magnification that a true macro lens is able to achive - what you are seeing in that shot is about as close (a bit closer might be possible) as you can get to a bug - perfectl fine for a big one like a dragonfly or butterfly - but many bugs are much smaller still and for that you need the macro lens - it also lets you get closer to the face of the butterfly!
     
  6. djacobox372

    djacobox372 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    A 50mm f1.8 would be a great "all around" lens, as long as you can live without the zoom.

    For macro, add an extension tube to the 50mm and you're set.

    Not sure if the d60 requires afs or not... most extention tubes don't keep autofocus, but that doesn't really matter as macro work is best done manually.
     
  7. R9R Photography

    R9R Photography TPF Noob!

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    I've just recently really wanted to explore macro...but saving for a D300 and a good macro lens didn't seem that feasible...you just made my day with that suggestion. Now I just have to find a good one and read up on them, since I really don't know much of anything about tubes :p
     
  8. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    You could also try a reversing ring adapter for less than a tenner. It let's you reverse mount your lens. While this isn't marcro per se, it does yield some interesting close up shots. I'll try to post some examples tomorrow.
     
  9. El2

    El2 TPF Noob!

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    I have the canon 100 mm F2.8 lens and I love it. Very sharp and crisp. And I agree with the 50mm being the all around lens.
     
  10. Katier

    Katier TPF Noob!

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    I was pretty sure there was a fair bit of zoom left, I'd zoomed out a bit with that shot in order to capture it as they were moving around a lot. So I had to preset focus, aperture ( wide as I could get it at ISO 200/1/1000'th) and wait for a butterfly to settle in the shot.

    Anyway I did a test and while I accept that it can't go REALLY macro it's actually not bad.

    [​IMG]

    Is a test I did ( it's also a test using an offcam flash ) and is about 2cm by 3cm in size.

    ISO200, 0.3s, F32 - total darkness apart from the flash which was manually triggered.
     

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