I need a really sharp macro lens....

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by TOLady, Sep 21, 2005.

  1. The real estate gods have smiled greatly on Sandi (sold eight properties this past week, working on two more as we speak - this is why I've been MIA). Time to treat myself.... I want a really sharp macro lens, not too short so I don't scare insects, maybe 105mm or more.... After being spoiled by the 70-200VR and the 17-55, I want something that's tack sharp. REALLY sharp and fast focusing.... at least 2.8.... any recommendations? samples would be appreciated too...
     
  2. I have the 105mm f2.8 micro lens and like it. I have never had to question the sharpness of this lens. Some say the 60mm is slightly sharper but you trade off working distance if you go that route. I don't think you would be sorry with the 105mm.

    Here is one of the first images I took with the 105mm lens. It was handheld.

    26178560.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 21, 2005
  3. I just bought the Nikkor 105 2.8 Micro. I made this decisiion by reading posts in this forum. It's the first Micro/Macro I have owned. Below are some of the first photos taken with this lens. The first is table salt on blue paper, the second is table salt with peppercorn on top.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I think it's a pretty sharp lens, I think you'll like it. Of course to get this close you must use a tripod.
    Greg
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 21, 2005
  4. patrickh

    patrickh

    666
    May 4, 2005
    Thousand Oaks
    TOLady, I am sure someone will suggest the 200 micro. I have an old AIS version that is almost as sharp as the 60AF which I also have. Lots of good reports on the 90 Tamron as well. With micro, I am not sure what the advantage is of a big aperture - you'll normally be looking to use the smaller aps for the DOF. You have chosen a field with many plums in it - best of luck in choosing, but you can hardly go wrong with any of the nominations you will get.
     
  5. PJohnP

    PJohnP

    Feb 5, 2005
    Sandi :

    Heh. Well, if you're so well established financially now, it's time to get that Sherpa to carry all the gear - pick one one that you can use for model photography, too...

    :Angel: :Devil: :Angel: :Crunk:

    On the macro side of things, consider if you really want to be in the 105mm range ofr shooting insects instead of further away. I have a 105mm, and while it's better than the 60mm for distance, it's still not terribly far away.

    The 70-180mm Micro-Zoom, OTOH, gives you a heck of a lot of flexibility. Thom Hogan gives it a high rating (see : http://www.bythom.com/70180Macrolens.htm ). He pretty clearly discusses the downsides of the lens as well. I've shot a few times with a friend's 70-180mm, and it's a neat lens.

    Good luck on this, and let us know how the great Sherpa hunt goes. I'd offer to audition when I'm in T.O. in October, but I could only qualify on the carrying side of the equation... :eek:


    John P.
     
  6. MontyDog

    MontyDog

    Jan 30, 2005
    #1064 - You have an error in your SQL syntax;
     
  7. These are terrific answers. Patrick I never even thought about the fact that I won't be using the lens wide open as in macro that wouldn't give me enough depth (DUH!!!)

    Gordon and Greg, those pics look mighty sharp. I've heard that's a good lens.

    John and Paul, wouldn't that be more like a duplication of my 70-200VR lens, except the ability to do macro? Teach me, I'm all ears.... Just starting my research so I need to learn all there is about it. I do like the versatility in a zoom and will check on Thom's site for his opinion, thanks for the link.
    Sherpa hunt is still on!! *LOL*
     
  8. I use the 60 and 105 micros, and the 55 AIS macro. I have also tried several lenses reversed.

    I think the 60 is the sharpest. But recently I tried the 105 on an extension tube and it actually held up quite well. An example down to the pollen level:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I like the idea of the 70-180 as it does infinity well. Paul, your images could sell me a lens or two. :biggrin:

    But, I will probably end up with the 200 f4. Lots of people like the Tamron 90 as well. So many good choices.
     
  9. Sandi
    Working distance and tack sharp are the features I demand most from my macro. I loved my 105 but found it lacking in the working distance. I now have the 200mm F4 micro and it is just an outstanding tool. And since you said money is no object.................

    [​IMG]
     
  10. You folks certainly have some beautiful macro shots!!! I'm impressed, and amazed. Looks like I've got my research ahead of me. I like the idea of a zoom with the 70-180, but almost mirrors my existing VR lens. I like the working distance the 200 would offer. Oh what to do, what to do??? I got this shot with my 70-200VR with the 500D, not bad considering there was quite a breeze that day.

    I'm wondering if I should stick with the 500D and get a totally different lens. Can't go with a 500mm as it would sink the kayak so don't even go there!! :biggrin:
    original.
     
  11. I am so happy I don't "suffer" from long lens LLD. So expensive! :biggrin:
     
  12. PJohnP

    PJohnP

    Feb 5, 2005
    Sandi :

    Well, that's true and not true. There are times when you'll want a shallow DOF. As well, many lenses aren't quite as crisp when shot wide-open, so one usually stops down a bit. If you start with faster glass, you'll be stopped down in the f/4.5 - f/5.6 range, where you'll start there with some of the other lenses.

    So your instincts aren't terribly bad, I'd say.

    The benefit of the 70-180mm Micro is, in my opinion, the flexibility allowed by the lens, not so much a duplication of the 70-200mm AFS/VR (especially in the area of focus speed, to be sure). I have a 105mm, have had the 60mm, carry a Canon 500D for the 70-200mm when I can't bring a macro lens, and I've shot with both the 70-180mm and the 200mm, so I'm basing this on my experience with these lenses (as well as my 52mm f/1.2 CRT and my Luminars, but those're an entirely different set of beasts).

    Now, if you decide to do a very specialised type of macro work, perhaps with some crossovers like Frank's examples, you should pick a "macro prime" with that in mind. I've kept my 105mm with exactly that logic, making an allowance for working distance while also trying to keep my big camera bag under 20 kg !

    If I were you (noting that the gender change would be a bit problematic), I'd get some of the lenses mentioned in the thread and play with them, probably for a couple of hours each. Once you've shot a few hundred photos with each one, the choice will be clear and simple.

    And the sherpa thing ? What's the weight classification of all that stuff in your tagline ? Do I need to up my bench lifts another 100 lbs or something ? :rolleyes:


    John P.
     
  13. Hi Sandi,

    My son is back in school (3rd grade) and I am under the weather, but I thought I would share a few images for comparison with you. Anyway, I have to agree with Paul and John about the 70-180mm. It is one of my favorite lenses and offers the flexibility of zoom and longer working distances. I also have the 60mm which offers speed and extreme DOF, but is lightweight and easy to transport. Since some of my favorite floral exhibits or butterflies tend to be out of reach, :mad: I usually replace my 60mm with the 70-180mm. As for the 200mm, believe me, I am definitely going to acquire that lens. There have been so many instances when I could have used that length. Frank (Flew) performed many experiments with the 70-200+500D as well as the Tamron 180 (which I sold him a few months ago). You could probably do a search in the Macro forum for plenty of opinions on those lenses.

    Either way, you can't go wrong. I also considered the 105 too, but in the end, I chose the 60mm. It is a super sharp lens and handy if you want to get really close. Finally, I also have the 70-200VR+500D. It is a great combination, but I personally would prefer a true macro lens, i.e., the 200mm f/4. I inserted a sample of my infamous yellow jacket images captured with the 70-200+500D combo at the end of this post for comparison with the rest of the macro images. Hope this helps. :biggrin:

    70-180 on monopod
    [​IMG]

    70-180 on monopod
    [​IMG]

    70-180 on monopod
    [​IMG]

    70-180 on monopod
    [​IMG]

    70-180 on a monopod
    [​IMG]

    60mm handheld
    [​IMG]

    60mm handheld
    [​IMG]

    60mm handheld wide open
    [​IMG]

    Tamron 180 macro
    [​IMG]

    70-200mm VR + 500D
    [​IMG]
     
  14. I have the 55mm F3.5 AI micro, the 105mm AF-D and the 200mm Microf AF. All are really good lenses but the 200mm also does well as a small tele, and does very well at that as well.

    Either the 105 or the 200 would be a recommendation from me (Ron Reznick likes the 200mm)
    Here is one shot and a 100% crop from it taken with the D2X and the 105mm AF-D
    original.

    100% crop
    original.
     
  15. Sandi, the 60mm micro works perfectly well for bugs.

    You just need to find BIG bugs.

    49628617.

    View attachment 15790

    It works really well for headshots, too... particularly if your subject has a little head.

    View attachment 15791
     
  16. Sandi, the lens i used, PC85f2.8 micro-nikkor and 200f4 micro-nikkor, both are very sharp but the f2.8 has a great advantage when you want to focus in low light, it's a lot easier. For the sharpness both are very sharp, but I like a lot the 85 it has a lot simpler lens configuration than the 200 and the color seem to be brighter out of it than the 200. You can see examples of pictures taken with the 85 in Macro (Pictures along the trail (3). Next time I go in Mauricie National Park i will use the 85 to take the same pictures I took with the 200 and the VR70-200.
     
  17. patrickh

    patrickh

    666
    May 4, 2005
    Thousand Oaks
    TO Lady

    You have a lovely problem, knowing whatever you choose, it will be a great lens. That's the difficulty in the macro arena - so many good choices. Sounds to me that - given the money, given your love of carrying large bags/objects and given the anticipation of a sherpa you should take serious consideration of the 200/4. LOL :biggrin:
     
  18. Thanks Crystall for all the lovely pics of the various setups (sorry to hear you're under the weather, hoping you're up and shooting soon). For me, choosing two starter lenses was so easy: the 17-55 had such a great reputation as being very sharp, I liked the very wide 17mm end.... and the 70-200VR was a no-brainer in shooting birds etc. After seeing Alex Bernasconi's pics of Africa, I'm now wondering if I should hold onto my money and put it towards the 200-400VR. With a TC124E-II, that takes me to 560mm. If I can just flog this one last remaining commercial property, I can think about both lenses. I think I like the reach of 200mm on a macro, as some spiders get mighty twitchy when too close (don't want them jumping onto me!!! LOL) .

    Thanks JohnP for that reminder that some lenses are a little wide open, so guess my instincts were doing my thinking for me! LOL Being totally new to DSLR this year, some things get overlooked in the thinking/planning process. With the cost of these lenses, I don't want to make a mistake as I'll be buying a Nikon USA lens and bringing it up here - a lot of bother for something I might end up not liking!!

    Andreas, VERY nice shots, and yes if Ron Rez recommends the 200, you can be sure it's a great lens!

    Thanks Frank but that's a tad too close to critters for me. I'm fairly brave, don't mind bugs, etc but just like to know exactly where they are. Shooting spiders at the cottage taught me that they scamper quickly when disturbed. I don't think I'd like your spider scampering anywhere near me when my eyes can't move that fast!! LMAO

    Thanks Gilles, I appreciate your input and help on this troubling :wink: matter. Decisions, decisions, decisions.....

    Yes Patrick, I know it's a tough problem. I've learned to now get bags with handles and wheels!! *LOL* Just don't wanna sink the kayak with too much gear!
     
  19. PJohnP

    PJohnP

    Feb 5, 2005
    Sandi :

    Well. The 200-400mm AFS/VR is as good as chocolate, as smoth as Auchentoshan, better than s... Perhaps I should stop there ! :Whistle: :Smoking: :Whistle:

    If you want an incredible lens with a lot of flexibility, look no further than that lens. And given that you seem to shoot a lot of wildlife, that's where you should go.

    I shot these

    https://www.nikoncafe.com/vforums/showthread.php?t=52831
    https://www.nikoncafe.com/vforums/showthread.php?t=53262
    https://www.nikoncafe.com/vforums/showthread.php?t=53301

    with the 200-400mm, often with a TC. It's an awesome lens. Now, some folks will point you to the somewhat faster 300mm prime, but the ability to reframe with the zoom can't be overestimated.

    If I can manage it, I'll bring my 200-400mm up to T.O. next month when I'm there on business, and you can try shooting with it (in a safe public area, of course! :rolleyes: )


    John P.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  20. Oh gawd now I'm salivating John!!!! I'd REALLY appreciate if you could bring it with you. Let me know ahead of time what your schedule is and we can set up some autumn colour shooting if you'd like. I'll keep your lens OUT of the kayak!! *LOL*
     
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