What Effect does MACRO Have On A Lens

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by bruce282, Aug 30, 2010.

  1. bruce282

    bruce282 TPF Noob!

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    I searched, but most of what I got back was the pros and cons of difference macro lens.

    I'm looking for an Nikon 80-200/2.8 to use with my D90. My interest right now is sports/action type shots. Given 2 lens both 80-200/2.8 one a macro lens and one not, what impact does the macro ability have on non macro shots?

    I know other things come into play and I may be comparing apples and oranges but...

    Thanks,

    Bruce
     
  2. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    When you are talking about zoom lenses like the ones you are comparing the macro feature is a move by the marketing department to make the lens seem like its giving you more. In effect it means that the zoom lens has a closer focusing setup than many and can achieve a magnification of around 1:2 at best (some though only get to 1:3). That is fine for a flower or larger subject, but not much use for flies or other smaller subjects that a 1:1 true macro lens (almost all are prime/single focal length lenses).
     
  3. PhotoSteve

    PhotoSteve TPF Noob!

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    Hi Bruce,

    This one's a bit tricky. If you can find a Nikon 80-200 2.8 that is has "macro" in the name, it is used. It is probably the AF-S version that is no longer manufactured. Having said that, they are out there and, used, will sell for $700-900.

    The current version is the Nikon 80-200 2.8 ED. The 80-200 2.8 is a professional level lens that is seen as a real workhorse. It is clear, bright and has amazing quality. It is one of the definitive all-around zoom lenses in the photography world.

    As for your question, I would not purchase the "macro" model of this particular lens for that purpose. It is NOT a true macro lens, no matter what; the minimum focus distance is just over 4 feet.

    If it's very important for you to have a macro lens, then purchase that. Try for a Nikon 60mm "micro" lens which will provide breathtaking quality in true macro applications.

    The one that you're interested in - the 80-200 ED is a beautiful lens for around $1100-1250. It is heavy-ish and a bit sluggish on the zoom and focusing, but will give you tremendous picture quality; bonus is that with the 2.8 wide aperture, you can shoot with lower ISOs for less noise.

    Now, all of that said, there's one little glitch. This lens does not have the VR (vibration reduction) feature that Nikon offers on some of their zoom and telephoto lenses. The VR thing is a whole other area of debate, but there is some sense in having that feature when you have a heavy cam and lens combination and have to shoot zoomed-in without a tripod. I use VR lenses and they really do make a huge difference when hand-held.

    IF you want the VR, you have to move to Nikon's 70-200 and you have a choice of VR or VR II ($1900 vs $2400 list); they both have the same ED glass and the same wide 2.8 aperture as the 80-200, but you're paying a lot more for the VR.

    Anyway, the bottom line is that the old "macro" named 80-200 is not real macro - if that's your priority, buy a real macro lens. But I wouldn't give-up on the 80-200 2.8 because it covers so much ground and is so versatile that it (or it's more expensive older brother 70-200 2.8 VR) will quickly become one of your best friends!

    Hope this helps!
     
  4. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    That's right. In many cases, the 'macro' is just a marketing catch word.

    The key thing that makes a lens 'macro', is how close it can focus. The closer it can focus, the larger you subject will be in the photo. A true 'Macro' lens will get close enough to give you 1:1 magnification...meaning that the size of the object on the film (or digital sensor) is true life size.

    But whether or not a lens has the ability to focus that close, probably won't affect it's quality or capability for other types of photography. For example, you can still use that lens for sports or portraits or landscapes etc.
     
  5. Infidel

    Infidel TPF Noob!

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    My understanding is that with a macro lens, once you are beyond the macro focusing distance, the focus can become very twitchy, such that missed focus becomes a more frequent occurrence. I assume this depends on the particular lens.

    That said, the Tamron 90mm macro is often marketed as the "portrait macro" lens, suggesting that it's good for both macro and portrait work, as you have suggested. Makes sense given the focal length.
     
  6. bruce282

    bruce282 TPF Noob!

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    That was pretty much what I thought. Should I ever get the macro itch I'll get a true macro lens.


    Bruce
     
  7. TiCoyote

    TiCoyote TPF Noob!

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    You can also get extension tubes to make a lens behave like (or more like) a macro lens. These increase the distance between the film/sensor and the rear element. Thus, you can focus on objects at a closer distance. You'll lose a stop or more, and the extenders do not allow you to focus at infinity distance when they are in place. A true macro lens is better for macro work, but the tubes are good for occasional usage.
     
  8. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I don't think so.

    One issue with shooting macro, is that when you are very close to your subject, your Depth of Field (DOF) is very thin...thus is can be hard to focus accurately. That's why they have things like a macro focusing rail.
    This this is mainly a product of the distance, not the lens. If you move to shooting at 'normal' distances, like 6-10 feet, then your DOF will be much greater than when shooting at 6-10 inches, so focusing won't be 'twitchy'.

    Of course, another factor in DOF is the aperture of the lens....so if you are shooting with something like an 85mm F1.2 lens, then the DOF may be very thin at 6-10 feet as well (when shooting wide open). But most macro lenses don't have very large apertures like that.
     
  9. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Bruce,
    If you want to do sports/action work with a D90, I'd suggest looking into buying the Nikon 70-200 VR lens, the first version; the AF-S focusing speed of that lens is significantly faster than in the 80-200 AF-D two-ring or single-ring lenses...the AF-S focusing system really is better for FAST focusing, and the 70-200 VR has been supplanted by a new version, so there are quite a few Version 1 70-200 Nikkors on the used and consignment market these days.
     
  10. MrLogic

    MrLogic TPF Noob!

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    There is no 80-200 f/2.8 that has "macro" in its name, or was advertised as having "macro" capabilities. Neither the AF-S or the AF-D version.
     
  11. Helen B

    Helen B TPF Noob!

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    That is true for some macro lenses. The focusing helicoid has to be very steep to accommodate the long throw (ie the lens has to travel a long way to focus so close, so the focus ring has to be relatively 'high geared'). This means that focusing at normal distances can be 'twitchy' as you describe it. A tiny movement of the focus ring results in a larger shift in focus than you would like.

    There's also an issue about optimization: many true macro lenses will have their optical formula optimized for close work, and they do not perform as well at longer distances (and vice-versa). This is becoming less of a problem now that more and more lenses are using floating elements to improve their correction over a wider range of focus distances.

    By the way, extension tubes don't really 'lose' any more light than a macro lens does when it is extended on its focusing helicoid (though some macro lenses do use floating elements to shorten their focal length as they focus close, which affects the change in effective f-stop).

    Best,
    Helen
     
  12. Infidel

    Infidel TPF Noob!

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    Thank you for elaborating on that...my statement was based on a post I read in another thread, and it resonated with me because I am considering the purchase of a macro lens that is also reasonable for other uses (portraiture, etc.).

    Here is the post I am referring to: http://www.thephotoforum.com/forum/...ion-about-85mm-f1-4-portaits.html#post1947382


     

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