Looking for 1st micro lens advice

Joined
Dec 11, 2012
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Northern California
I recently took some photos of my wife's yellow stargazers using my 18-105mm lens. I thought they came out pretty well. Then of course my cousin had to show me up w/ his Nikkor 105mm micro lens and of course there was a significant difference. Well I obviously can't afford to shell out that much $ right now on a nice lens like that. So what would be my alternates??? Nikkor 60mm, Tamron 60mm or Nikkor 40mm. The price range of the 60mm's seems to be as high as I'll go. I won't be taking a lot of close up picture but I thought it would be nice to have a dedicated micro lens in my line up. My mother in law has an awesome orchid greenhouse that I'd love to do a shoot in. Any suggestions which lens would be suit me?

Thanks,
 
Joined
Mar 23, 2007
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Collecchio, northern Italy
Jeff
if yellow stargazers are (as I think, sorry I'm not a native English speaker) a bunch of flowers yes you can choose something shorter, although please consider from 40 to 60 to 105 mm there's a lot of difference in perspective and look of the same subject. Your biggest issue as far as I can see is the fact you can't use old AF lenses without an inner motor (better: you can do that, but you have also to focus everything manually and I'm not sure you want to). This allows you very few alternatives, probably the only lens I can think of is the Tamron 60 f/2 or the Nikon 60 f/2.8. Not sure if the old version of the Tamron 90 (the one before this VC USD version) might work properly on D5100.
 
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Nov 21, 2009
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Baton Rouge, La.
You really don't need a dedicated macro for flowers. Before you spend any money, take your 35m, make sure that you have some light, and shoot around f8 - f11 at base iso. I am assuming that it's a 35 f1.8. Try the same thing with your 55-300. You need to shoot at a SS above 1/200 for handheld and use the pup-up flash, just dial it down to around -.07 ev. You may be surprised at the outcome.
 
Joined
Mar 21, 2006
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New Zealand
I would not suggest the Nikkor 40mm macro, the focal length is too short - you need to be virtually on top of the subject at close range. On the other hand, it is a nice compact lens, and if you like shooting close and rarely shoot wider than f/2.8, you might consider trading your 35/1.8 for the 40/2.8 since the 40 can also double as a "standard" DX prime.

The Nikkor 60mm macro has better working distance, but is still a little short for macro work (1:2 - 1:1). For less extreme closeups of flowers etc, it's a good option.

For about the same price is the Tamron 60mm f/2, which is a whole stop faster. This would be a good lens if you also want to do portraits or shooting in low light. But the Nikon is sharper especially in the corners if that matters (for flowers and portraits usually it doesn't)

But before you buy a macro lens, take another look at the lenses you already have. Your 18-105 focuses down to 0.45m, giving 1:5 magnification. That's good enough for casual closeups.

The 18-55 focuses to 0.28m, giving 1:3.2 magnification. That's significantly more than the 18-105, and might be enough for your purposes. Of course, a dedicated macro lens is likely to be a little sharper, but if you shoot at smallish apertures, lowly 18-55 performs very well.

Your 55-300 also focuses reasonably close, down to 1.4m giving 1:3.6 magnification. That means it crops in slightly less closely than your 18-55, but you can stand much further back. The longer focal length means you get much less background in, so you can get better subject isolation. Adding a closeup lens will turn it into a macro zoom, and depending on the strength of the diopter you will get beyond 1:1. Again, a dedicated macro lens will be sharper, but sometimes tele zooms with a diopter are surprisingly good. Note that the diopter will probably affect how VR works, so you might have to turn it off to get good results.
 
Joined
Dec 3, 2012
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N Idaho
try taking the lens off the camera and hold it front of the body, your 18-55 should work pretty well for this method. you get focus by moving and you should be able to adjust aperture with that little plastic slider on the back of the lens. it doesn't cost anything and is worth trying. you can also pick up a reverse lens mount for around $10, which you might like.
i've tried macro's in 60, 100, 105 and 200. 60 is inexpensive and works very nicely for flowers. my personal favorite is the 200.
 
Joined
Mar 30, 2006
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Springfield, VA & Cape Charles, VA
I recently took some photos of my wife's yellow stargazers using my 18-105mm lens. I thought they came out pretty well. Then of course my cousin had to show me up w/ his Nikkor 105mm micro lens and of course there was a significant difference. Well I obviously can't afford to shell out that much $ right now on a nice lens like that. So what would be my alternates??? Nikkor 60mm, Tamron 60mm or Nikkor 40mm. The price range of the 60mm's seems to be as high as I'll go. I won't be taking a lot of close up picture but I thought it would be nice to have a dedicated micro lens in my line up. My mother in law has an awesome orchid greenhouse that I'd love to do a shoot in. Any suggestions which lens would be suit me?

Thanks,
Short macro primes, 40-70mm, are great but not optimal for general outdoor use IMO. Most close up imagery most of us do requires a bit of standoff and the longer focal lengths seem to be more flexible in most situations.

If you're on a budget, the best bang for your buck(s) might be in the used market. The best dual purpose, macro/telephoto, would be a used Sigma 150/2.8 first version. A good alternative might be the Tamron 90 in any of it's versions.
 
Joined
Mar 31, 2007
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3,531
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Thornhill, Ontario, a suburb of Toronto
I recently took some photos of my wife's yellow stargazers using my 18-105mm lens. I thought they came out pretty well. Then of course my cousin had to show me up w/ his Nikkor 105mm micro lens and of course there was a significant difference. Well I obviously can't afford to shell out that much $ right now on a nice lens like that. So what would be my alternates??? Nikkor 60mm, Tamron 60mm or Nikkor 40mm. The price range of the 60mm's seems to be as high as I'll go. I won't be taking a lot of close up picture but I thought it would be nice to have a dedicated micro lens in my line up. My mother in law has an awesome orchid greenhouse that I'd love to do a shoot in. Any suggestions which lens would be suit me?

Thanks,
The micro-Nikkor 60 is $430.00 at Adorama, so assuming that that is your budget, you can buy a manual focus micro Nikkor 105 2.8 for $400.00, or a 105 f4 AIS in excellent condition for $265.00
I've had the 105 f4 Micro-Nikkor for 30 years and can tell you it is an excellent micro lens, as well as a very good portrait lens.
 
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Joined
Mar 21, 2008
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The Netherlands
I have both the Sigma 150/2.8 macro and the Nikkor 85/3.5 DX micro. The Sigma gives very good results but I find it difficult to use handheld as it is rather heavy. The Nikkor is specifically for the DX camera's and is about half of the weight of the Sigma and I find it a lot easier to use handheld. And the VR on the Nikkor helps with that too.
 
Joined
Jan 11, 2013
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33
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LA, California
I have the Nikkor 40mm macro and I really love the lens. Yes, it's not 60mm or 105mm, so when getting tight shots, I have to move in very close and when in close, I can't use the lens hood, but the shots are fantastic. I shoot a lot of outdoor nature things up close and it works for me.


Bob Diaz
 
Joined
Dec 11, 2012
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Northern California
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
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I have the Nikkor 40mm macro and I really love the lens. Yes, it's not 60mm or 105mm, so when getting tight shots, I have to move in very close and when in close, I can't use the lens hood, but the shots are fantastic. I shoot a lot of outdoor nature things up close and it works for me.


Bob Diaz

That's probably one reason why I won't get the 40mm, I don't want to be very close to an object. God help me if a spider would jump at me :eek:
 
Joined
Dec 27, 2010
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Vermont
I did this just a few minutes ago with my wonderfully cheap $65 AI-s manual focus 135mm f2.8 and a 36mm manual extension tube on my D7000. The image is very slightly cropped to an 8x10 size which magnifies things slightly more than what came out of the camera.

The cheapest solution would be to purchase a set of Kenko full automatic extension tubes with all the electronic contacts, and slap them on your 55-300mm lens.

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Joined
Mar 10, 2008
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704
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Sydney, Australia
Go for the AF-S 60/2.8, see if you can get a used one. Tubes work well but you lose infinity focus and are not as convenient. Obviously if $$$ are a big issue the tubes would be a good option for u.
 
Joined
Mar 21, 2006
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New Zealand
The suggestions to use manual focus lenses like the AI 55/3.5 or AI 135/2.8 with extension tubes is not practical with the D5100 since the camera only meters with CPU lenses. With manual lenses you get no metering - your best option is to set the camera to "M", set the aperture on the lens and guess the shutter speed. View the histogram and adjust the shutter speed until you get the exposure right. That's ok if you are working on a tripod and have plenty of time...

I second the suggestion to consider the Nikon 85/3.5 VR micro. It's about the same price as the 60mm micro and has some advantages. See my post here:
https://www.nikoncafe.com/vforums/showthread.php?p=4250851
 
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