TPF Noob!
Feb 9, 2009
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Hi everyone. I have a nikon d40. I was wondering if someone could point me in the right direction as far as a couple lenses? I'm looking for a decent macro lens. This is just a hobby for me. So nothing overkill , plus it would just confuse me, lol. Also, are all nikon lenses created equal? Meaning will the same lenses fit on a d90? Or d80?

Thanks ahead of time

I have a D40 and the only limitation on lenses are with the D40 we are limited to the AF-S lenses. We can use the other lenses but we have to manual focus. I do believe they will still mount on the other Nikon cameras.
As for macro advice I have this to say;
If your looking to photograph insects then you want at least 90mm worth of focal length or more in a macro lens to get a good working distance (distance from camera sensor to subject) - going shorter makes things harder since you are closer to the insect and thus have a greater chance of spooking it.

After that one has to decide if your going to shoot handheld or from a tripod, tripod macro shooting is best for static and slow subjects where you have time to get into position, for insects early in the morning or late evening are decent times, though during the middle of the day most are too active for tripod shooting. One can use a lure to attract some bugs (like honey on a tree or rotting fruit) and then shoot from a tripod.
Handheld shooting definatly needs a flash nearly all the time (certainly for full magnification) and for moving insects one often has to keep a fast shutter speed, so even on a tripod flash is important - though one can take measure to reduce the glare from a flash.

For Nikon the macro lens options are:
Nikon 60mm macro - good solid lens its short focal length is really its only downside (it might also be crop sensor only but I am not sure)
Nikon 100mm VR macro - very popular choice and a solid performer - its also the only macro lens with VR (virbration reduction) which whilst not as effective at macro work it is really a great boon to have for other subjects and uses.
Sigma 70mm macro - good solid choice from sigma and one of their sharpest lenses
Sigma 105mm macro - again a good solid choice of lens
Sigma 150mm macro - this and the 180mm macro are sigmas top range macro lenses, both are better builds than the other sigma options; offer HSM focusing motors; teleconverter compatability and are solid performers. The 150mm is light enough to handhold for macro work, whilst the 180mm is generally considered a bit heavy for prolonged macro work
Sigma 180mm macro - often chosen instead of the canon 180mm macro as its optical quality is the same, but its price is much more affordable
Tamron 90mm macro - shortest recomended macro lens for insect shooting. A cheaper but good option

Generally I avoid the 50mm macro options as they are weaker builds than the others - also the canon is not a true 1:1 macro lens unless you combine it with the canon 500D macro filter (its a filter not a camera)

In general all the macro lenses listed are sharp and well built and one would be hardpressed to impossible to tell which was used for a macro shot. Generally macro lenses are poorer AF than nonmacro lenses because of the fact that AF is not used in macro photography (one will set the AF to manual, set the focus to the desired level - often full magnification or 1:2 for larger insects like butterflies - and then focus by moving the camera and lens closer and further away from the subject.

For lighting idealy a ringflash is used, but one can also use speedlites to good effect - even a popup flash on a rebel camera can give usable lighting. For the flash light though I do recomend diffusing the light, I use a 580M2 flash with a lumiquest softbox and I find the softbox to be fantastic at softening the light from the flash. One can also use folds of toiletpaper (white) held infront of the flash (elastic band) as a makeshift diffuser. As your starting out I would say go for a speedlite (430 or 580) since it will be usable in all walks of photography, whilst ringflashes are much more specific to macro only (they don't have the power of a speedlite - though ringflashes can make for good portrate flashes).
What's your budget for lenses, and what sort of macro do you want to do? The Nikkor 60mm Micro is an excellent lens, and can be had used for $300ish, but has a short focusing distance and is less than ideal for insects.

All Nikon lenses made since the late 50s will fit on any Nikon digital body, but may not have full functionality. For instance, the D40, 40x, 50 and 60 don't have an internal focusing motor, so lenses that are not equipped with their own focusing motor (Designated AF-S) won't auto focus on those bodies. Older lenses, such as the AI will work, but won't provide automatic metering...
You guys are awesome. I didn't expect advice so soon, thank you.
The type of macro I like is still life, type things. I will post some of my photos. A little different is what I like? I don't know how to put it. But I really also love nature, so flowers .Not so much bugs, ewww, but maybe a butterfly or two :)

Also, this is a ways off thank goodness. My son is getting married in about two years. I would like to take some great photos of his wedding. So something as far as a decent portrait lens , too. For now , though, I'd love to play with macro.

I can spend 450- 500 on a lens. Is that unrealistic.?

Thank you everyone!!!

So I guess I best learn this manual thing, eh? LOL
It scares me!

well butterflies - if your going for a full body and wing shot - don't need as much magnification as things like flies - so you can work from further back for them - so a 60mm lens could be an option - that would do your closeup static work well.

as for manual all my macro work is done with manual focus - auto focus just can't get it right most of the time - though for butter flies you can get away with AF (though macro lenses one the whole don't have the best AF systems - mostly as pure macro work is done manually)
I've learned a lot from everyone's post. I've been going dizzy trying to figure out this stuff for a week. Ugh. I think I'm over my head with this camera. I should have gotten a nice p&s. Some of those, are awesome. But I really want to learn the manual, too. At least it's not expensive like the film anymore. I have a nikon n80 that I've not used in years.

Okay....so where's the best place to purchase a new lens?
Well...I'm not sure I share your taste in wine...:greenpbl:

Beyond that, I think I would have put the rose into focus, rather than the bottles (or else put everything in focus). But this is definitely a good beginning shot.
LOL, I don't drink. So the wine I just picked up because it was cheap! Yeah, focus. Must practice. Sigh.

LOL, I don't drink. So the wine I just picked up because it was cheap!

That it is, that it is. :lol:

By the way, I really liked the snow picture -- if anything it might have been a touch over-exposed in the trees and sky, but it really captured the feeling of a snowy pond in winter. Just my opinion, but I thought it was a great capture.
Yes, I figured out what over exposure was after I shot this. Probably would have been much better just before dawn? Not so mid day?
Anyway, I have lots to learn. But I think the camera my sweatheart got me is WAY over my head. I probably should have started out with a good point and shoot. But, I have it. I'll learn. I think. LOL


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