macro suggestions


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Aug 2, 2010
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Kingston, Ontario
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I am looking at getting a macro lens for my D7100. I know Nikon has a 40mm that is very inexpensive, a couple versions of a 60mm, and of course the 105mm VR. I don't know if I want to get the 105 as it is at the high end of my budget. Does anyone have any recommendations for a macro lens? I am shooting DX right now but may go to full frame at some point, so something that would do full frame would be good. I am open to Sigma or other brands as well. Thanks in advance for your input.
Nikkor 60mm f/2.8 Micro
Nikkor 85mm f/3.5 Micro
Tamron 90mm f/2.8 Macro
Tokina 100mm f/2.8 Macro
Sigma 105mm f/2.8 Macro
I used to own the Nikon 60mm 2.8G, its an outstanding lens, super sharp.
Nothing bad to add to it, I guess the only bad thing you could say bout it is that it aint the 105mm 2.8 :)
The 'D' versions of both the 60 and 105 are both optically excellent; perhaps not quite so good as the newer 'G' versions, but very, very close, and for a substantially lower cost bought used. I would skip the 40mm; while its price is attractive, the working distance is going to be very close in many cases, and if you're shooting "wildlife" that can be detrimental.
I have the 60mm and it's super sharp but.... It is short and you got to get close which cuts off light. It works fine for copy work but I can't see it working well for bugs and such because you would spook them or off light getting close. For bugs and stuff, I wouldn't go shorter than 105mm. I used the 60mm f/2.8D for a recent copy job of an estate stamp and butterfly collection. I mounted it on a makeshift copy stand, used a couple lights on the side and it did a fine job. Other than that, I wouldn't waste my time.

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Longer focal lengths give more working distance, which is a real benefit in macro. The shorter lenses see more effect when you add an extension behind them - making high magnifications more manageable, so they have their uses.
I have 4 macro lenses ranging from 28mm to 100mm, but it's the 100mm that lives in my bag (along with a stacking ring & some tubes).
If the 105 VR is a bit too much for your budget you could always try a legacy macro lens. Pretty much all the macro primes are good optically, and usable examples can be quite cheap.
If $$$ is an issue(when isn't it?), take a turn down the manual focus macro aisle. Lots of choice in the 90-105mm section. The Nikon 105/4 Micro Nikkor is superb. Tamron 90mm macros are worth a look, too.
I wouldn't get anything shorter than a 100mm. They can be a nuisance, even if you're not shooting anything alive that's likely to move, because being closer to the subject can also create shadows and can be physically challenging in terms of setting up a tripod.
I hired a Sigma 105mm f/2.8 Macro and the Nikon version.

The Nikon version was a lot more expensive and I honestly couldn't tell any difference between the two.

So I bought the Sigma 105 and it's fantastic, very happy with it.

Used to use it on a D7100 but now use it on a D600, fantastic lens.

And just to let you know, it's the only Sigma lens that I have. The rest of mine are Nikon and Tamron.

But this Siggy really stood out to me :)
I don't do a lot of macro ( read - hardly any), so I got the nikkor 85 f3.5 as a compromise. I'm more than happy with it.
I don't do a lot of macro ( read - hardly any), so I got the nikkor 85 f3.5 as a compromise. I'm more than happy with it.
Yeap good lens but its a DX lens so if anyone plans on moving to FX then this will not be a good investment.
I have the Sigma 105mm f/2.8 Macro, that is a hell of a good lens. Well built, sharp as hell, even at small apertures. One of my top best lenses, for sure.

Here my samples with it: Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro 1:1



Thank you all for your responses. I was worried about the shorter focal lengths, so I really appreciate the comments about that. I'm not sure exactly what I'll end up shooting with it, but I don't want to end up too close to things that can sting/bite. It looks like the 105mm focal length will by the one. I was thinking about either the Nikon or the Sigma, but wasn't sure about the sigma lens. Now that I've had some positive comments about it, that's the way I'm leaning.

So what's your budget?

The budget could be as high as 1000 but obviously lower is better. I have a couple Sigma lenses and some Nikon lenses so I'm not completely stuck on the Nikon brand, but not having played with either macro lens, I wasn't sure.

I'm going to go to my local camera store and see what they have in stock tomorrow. Hopefully I can get my hands on both to see how they feel and try them on my camera.

Thanks again for all your responses.
Well, I pulled the trigger on a Nikon 105 f2.8. I looked at the other options and the Sigma was a close runner up, but when I realized I kept looking back to the Nikon I knew I might as well just get it. Now comes the really important part... SHOOTING WITH IT!!!

Thanks again for the feedback.

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