Help me make a difficult macro choice.

Joined
Oct 11, 2008
Messages
129
Location
MA & ME
Hello,

I've searched this site and others, but it has just made it all the more confusing in helping me decide between three different lenses for macro digital photography. Great photos to be sure from each lens, but now I need to make a choice.

Ignoring the price difference - I need to choose between these three macro lenses. Please don't suggest any other choices as I have narrowed it down to these three after much time and search.

(1) Nikon AF 200mm macro, (2) Nikon 70-180mm macro, and (3) the Sigma 150mm macro.

I have a D300 :Love:.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions you may care to offer.

Two Flints
 
Joined
Sep 6, 2005
Messages
234
Location
Edmonton
I have fixed focal length macros and when shooting with a tripod on manual focus it is tricky to get good focus on a stationary subject. I have never tried a zoom macro, but perhaps the zoom would help achieve precise focus in those situations when autofocus doesn't work.
 
Joined
May 7, 2005
Messages
931
Location
Home: Columbia, MD, USA; Present: Bogota, Colombia
The Macro 70-180 is a great lens. It can be hard to find. The one thing it lacks is the fast f2.8. So if you will shoot in great light or with studio light it is great. I use mine mainly for chasing bugs and the zoom is very handy for that. I prefer my Tamron 90 f2.8 for flowers and such.
 
Joined
May 1, 2006
Messages
314
Location
NoVa/NEPA
I really like the 200/4, though I intend to do a side-by-side with the Siggy before I go for one. The extra working distance is appealing though.

Paul
 

Growltiger

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Joined
Apr 26, 2008
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Up in the hills, Gloucestershire, UK
Sigma 150 has very fast focussing. The others don't.

Fast focussing is essential for things that move, like hoverflies in flight.
It also helps if I'm moving myself. I can freeze the image with a fast shutter speed or flash, but it is no good if it is out of focus.

I'm pleased with it.
 
Joined
Mar 30, 2006
Messages
3,629
Location
Springfield, VA & Cape Charles, VA
The bottom line here is IQ. So let's put ergonomics and autofocusing aside for a minute. The Nikkor 200/4 is a very fine macro lens that I'd rate as nearly on par with the Sigma 150/2.8. Bench numbers I've seen indicate that that the resolution on the 150 is better. Images from each on my monitors show them to be closer than the numbers might indicate. Prints could be a different matter as I have not made large prints from a Nikkor 200/4. What separates them IMO is that the Sigma 150 is a superb mid-range telephoto. The 200/4 is not in the same league in this regard. The Sigma also takes a 1.4 TC and still produces outstanding results. I'd rate the close up performance of the 150 with a 1.4 TC (210mm) as equal or better than the 200/4. Still, if close up and macro imaging is the goal, either will serve you very satisfying results.

I have no experience with the 70-180 macro zoom but its reputation as a high performer is well known. Frankly, I'd be surprised if it's better than any of the better macros currently on the market. What separates it from the pack is the zoom feature that is so handy for composition.

In short - For close up or macro there is no wrong choice here but I prefer the Sigma 150. For general purpose imaging, the Sigma 150 is the clear choice, again IMO. It made a shelf queen of my AF Nikkor 180/2.8.
 
Joined
May 11, 2006
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CHARLOTTE
Real Name
Randy
i like the 150 but suspect the other 2 are better (IQ wise) but I doubt we would notice the diff

I would like some more reach though so 180 or 200 would be nice...
you do not need a zoom for macros though
 
Joined
Nov 2, 2008
Messages
50
Location
Sacramento
I have both the 60mm af-d and the 105mm af-s, both exceptional lens. I would recommend either one, but I tend to gravitate towards the 60mm.
 
Joined
Sep 21, 2007
Messages
3,717
Location
Vienna, Virginia (Washington DC Suburbs), USA
I've owned all of the lenses you mention. I know I am in the minority, but I could never get used to having a zoom macro lens (note that I typically shoot zoom for non-macro!). Currently I only have the Sig 150 of those three - it is a great value, superb performer, takes TCs well, and the most modern design. In my collection, it is likely holding a place for the hopefully-soon-to-be-released Nikon 200/4 N AFS VR Micro.
 
Joined
Feb 21, 2006
Messages
976
Location
chicago
You wouldn't go wrong with either the Sigma 150mm or the Nikon 200mm.

The price difference is substantial, though.
 
Joined
Nov 14, 2006
Messages
5,456
Location
Winnipeg, Canada
I use the 200 and really like it.

The 70-180 is versatile but it is only available used, is expensive, doesn't go 1:1 by itself, and from the review at Photozone.de appears to have a couple of issues such as short working distance (only 11 cm at greatest reproduction ratio), higher CA's than the 200 and a weak tripod mount. It appears to test lower resolution at longer focal lengths than the 200 and is only f4.5 -5.6.

Larry
 

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