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Macro lens recommendation

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Hi,

 

I'm about to switch from using an Olympus 7070 to a Nikon D80. I had ordered a Canon 400D, but it's in short supply (I've waited for weeks) so today I ordered a Nikon D80 instead.

 

Have the idea I should get by with two lenses, one wide angle and one macro. (Plus perhaps some standard zoom lens to use on land.)

 

I have my mind set on getting the Sigma 15mm F2.8 EX DG DIAGONAL Fisheye lens, but I have no idea about which macro lens would be a good alternative. What focal length should I aim for if I only want one macro lens?

 

/Anders

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This is a frequent thread. Essentially two choices, 105 and 60. My vote if you only have one, is the 60 for more versatilty.

Hi,

 

I'm about to switch from using an Olympus 7070 to a Nikon D80. I had ordered a Canon 400D, but it's in short supply (I've waited for weeks) so today I ordered a Nikon D80 instead.

 

Have the idea I should get by with two lenses, one wide angle and one macro. (Plus perhaps some standard zoom lens to use on land.)

 

I have my mind set on getting the Sigma 15mm F2.8 EX DG DIAGONAL Fisheye lens, but I have no idea about which macro lens would be a good alternative. What focal length should I aim for if I only want one macro lens?

 

/Anders

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I am using the Nikon 60mm 2.6D with my D80. I bought it in on the second-hand market. I am really happy whith it.

 

resultado.jpg

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I did read some earlier threads on macro lenses, but didn't feel they answered my question.

 

60 or 105 is a pretty big difference!

 

Most macro lenses I read about can not focus closer than 20/30cm. That seems a lot for a macro lens. (Where is it measured from?) My Oly 7070 can focus down to 2cm in front of the lens.

 

Sigma has a new MACRO 70mm F2.8 EX DG

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Here is an extract from my !05mm VR review, which may be useful:

 

"Macro is a big part of underwater photography and perennially the favourite lenses for Nikon shooters are the 60mm and 105mm. The 60mm is the favoured option in low viz and with larger subjects. While the 105mm is better for shyer subjects and for high magnification reproduction. This is because the longer camera to subject distance (for the same reproduction size) facilitates lighting subjects with our strobes. Few land photographers own more than one macro lens, but underwater with the inherent restrictions on camera to subject distances many underwater photographers routinely choose both macro optics in their lens bags."

 

Full article:

http://wetpixel.com/i.php/full/nikon-105mm-vr-review/

 

Alex

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Rather then being concerned with focusing distance (remember your point and shoot is a much shorter focal length at the wide end of it's zoom) your concern should be with 1:1 reproduction or better (usually with additional add on lenses) of a macro lens. A shorter focal length may focus closer, but still not fill the frame with a life size image.

 

I did read some earlier threads on macro lenses, but didn't feel they answered my question.

 

60 or 105 is a pretty big difference!

 

Most macro lenses I read about can not focus closer than 20/30cm. That seems a lot for a macro lens. (Where is it measured from?) My Oly 7070 can focus down to 2cm in front of the lens.

 

Sigma has a new MACRO 70mm F2.8 EX DG

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Hi Anders,

 

I was in the same position about 1 year ago when I moved to a Nikon SLR after being a keen compact user.

 

As I saw it there was not a lot of choice in macro lenses. Like many others I landed up with the 60mm micro Nikkor. As I dive mostly in UK green water I thought a 105 was just too long. A 50mm Sigma was the only other option I considered. There is a 90mm Tamron and now a 70mm Sigma as well as several 105 options

 

Something that rarely gets mentioned in moving from compact to SLR is just how much longer the 60 mm lens is to what you normally have on a compact (typically the equivalent of a 35mm). Initially I was struck at how far away from mediun to small sized subjects I had to be. Depth of field seems less than I was used to.

 

I now think of the 60 as more of a fish portrait lens and often a frustrating focal length to work with, especially in poor viz. For the very small stuff you are really very close to your subject but for 1:1 it is ok as long as the subject is static and there is room to get the front port up to the subject.

 

There are a lot of Nikkor 105 fans on this forum and although I have no experiece of this lens I can see that for the very small stuff it may be preferable. I have no regrets buying the 60mm Nikkor.

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I read on a page about macro photography that there are no low quality macro lenses (no market for them)...

 

1.1 seems to be a magic limit; why?

 

I'll stay in the 50-70 range, and perhaps get an extension tube / tele converter / diopter to go with it.

 

Thanks everyone! /Anders

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Hi -

 

The Nikon 60mm is a good choice..not only 1:1 magnification but also fish portraits....so, I think this lens is more versatile... Also, depth of field ( I think) is better for this lens than the 105mm. I like more DOF than less..

 

A very good choice if you are only going to have two lenses to start.

 

You can get better than 1:1 with diopters and external or wet diopters as well. The Kenko 1.4 TC also works well with this lens.

 

Experiment with the auto ISO feature on your D80...it is pretty cool in WA situations when you are tracking moving critters and ambient light varies considerably.

 

M.

Edited by Starbuck

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I also echo the reccomendations for the 60mm, I found as a beginner, that I was able to produce awesome pictures on my first dive while the 105 initially caused some frustrations. both the 60 and 105 are lenses that you will likely want in your bag, but IMHO the 60 is much easier to begin with.

 

John

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Get the 60mm macro. It makes a great pair for the 15mm FE which is also a good choice for a good, cheap, simple WA.

 

Your two choices are the 60mm or the 105mm. The 60mm is better for most fish portraits. Its my favorite lens. I get most of my keepers with it. It focuses fast in low light, is less expensive and is perfect for subjects from butterfly fish sized to turtle size. They both get 1:1 so you can even get closeups of static subjects like Christmas Tree Worms just as well with this one.

 

The 105mm is more of a specialist lens. It gives you more breathing room to light the subjects and not spook it, but it doesn't focus as well (even the AFS VR version), the FOV is often too narrow for a lot of subjects, and its harder to steady the long lens. The 105mm (or Tameron 90mm) definately has its place but its not the first macro I'd get.

 

Many of the Sigma zooms are listed as "macro" lenses. Don't believe it. They have a relatively long minimum focus distance and can't achieve anything close to 1:1. They also lack the sharpness or fast aperture of a true "macro" lens. This is all about marketing.

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Ok, everyone recommends the Nikon 60mm.

 

Is the reason you like it anything other than the fact that it has a shorter focal legth? AF systems generally have problems with longer focal legths (and low light).

 

I'm, also, looking at some Sigma lenses (no zoom lenses).

 

Sigma MACRO 50mm F2.8 EX DG

 

Sigma MACRO 70mm F2.8 EX DG

 

All Sigma macro lenses reach 1:1.

 

/Anders

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The Sigma 50mm does seem to be a good contender..

 

Price is similar to Nikon 60mm

Angle of view is better

Close focus is better

More lens and elements with Sigma...I dont think that is necessary better..could be wrong..

 

I would just want to make sure diopters are available and a TC will work..

 

Anders, you should get the Sigma 50mm and show us some photos!! If it does not perform well you can always sell on eBay!

 

M

Edited by Starbuck

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If I was starting again I would at least go and try the Sigma 50 and the newer Sigma 70 on my camera in a store somewhere.

 

I have found is that compared to my cheap kit lens 18-55 f3.5-5.6 AF-S Nikkor - the 60 f2.8 Nikkor does not focus any faster and seems to make more fuss and noise about doing it. I've wondered if this non AF-S lens is perhaps as an oldish style lens that could now be improved.

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I have never used either Sigma lens. My guess is that they are roughly equivelent to the Nikon 60mm. The price of the 60mm is the same as the Sigma 50mm.

 

The main thing is that the 60m is just about perfect so there really is no reason to look elsewhere. Neither of these lenses offer specifications that are any better than the Nikon. Nikon/Canon lenses are usually better and have better re-sale value than the second manufacturers so why look elsewhere? The 15mm Sigma is an exception. Its very good and much less expensive than the Nikon 16mm. A few Sigma primes offer fast apertures that Nikon's don't for less--again a good trade. Aside from that why go Sigma?

 

The Sigma 50mm does seem to be a good contender..

 

Price is similar to Nikon 60mm

Angle of view is better

Close focus is better

 

Of course the 50mm will focus closer since the focal length is less and it still needs to go to 1:1. The only way to do that is go closer. As a practical matter they both focus too close to be useful most of the time. Closer would be worse iMHO. If you really want a lot of 1:1 then you want the longer lenses in the 90-105mm range.

 

I have found is that compared to my cheap kit lens 18-55 f3.5-5.6 AF-S Nikkor - the 60 f2.8 Nikkor does not focus any faster and seems to make more fuss and noise about doing it. I've wondered if this non AF-S lens is perhaps as an oldish style lens that could now be improved.

 

The 60mm is a fairly old design. It has hung around because its nearly perfect. Its probably Nikon's sharpest lens. The 60mm has an aperture ring which the others don't. This makes it useful on very old film cameras but isn't needed on digital SLRs. It doesn't hurt but maybe allows it to be re-sold to more poeple. I think its due for an update. AFS wasn't a huge improvement on the 105mm but maybe it could help here, esp. since I am less likely to use this lens near 1:1 than I am the 105mm. As it is AF is pretty fast for a non AFS lens.

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I just upgraded to the DSLR for U/W as well and I think both the 60mm and the 105mm have space in the kit bag for underwater macro photography. The 60mm is a more versatile lens, but for 1:1 you have to get a lot closer to the subject. Sometimes, that is just not possible, especially with skittish critters. The 105mm allows you to get 1:1 for the skittish stuff (hawkfish, garden eels, etc etc) by putting some distance between you and subject. Also, with a diopter, you can get some seriously dramatic macro.

 

I understand your issue with the ability to focus up-close but frankly, being a 7070 user before, I'd say that is a handicap more than a advantage cos' you can't get that close most of the time without scaring off the subject. That said, I won't be able to switch between wide angle and macro in mid-dive now. :) You win some, you lose some.

 

 

Tim

Edited by wolf

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My lens history goes like this.. 60mm -> 105mm -> 60mm+2xTC.

 

I started on the 60mm because it's such a versatile lens. I would recommend that to everyone. Then I moved to the 105mm because I could get images of the same subjects that the 60mm couldnt take. Mostly about behavior, where the added distance is the difference between a spooked creature or a natural looking creature.

 

But now ive reverted back to the 60mm and basically have a 2xtc attached to it permanently. I find it a very useful combination as I can stay a bit further away for 1:1 shots, but if I want to I can get closer and go beyond 1:1. It's not as sharp as a single 105 or 60, and you'll need a bit more light, but i havent found these to be big issues really...

 

Cor

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