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Macro Lens - Advice Please

Discussion in 'photo' started by Soloist, Apr 15, 2017.

  1. Soloist

    Soloist pfm Member

    Morning Forum.

    I have an itch to scratch in the form of a new lens. I have decided that what I've really wanted over the years is a macro lens but I've never used one so I've no idea what length to go for!

    I like taking details of natural features for abstract textures
    The camera is FX
    Budget is 'enough to get the job done properly'

    So the question is 85? longer?

    Any experiences out there? Is this one of those bits of kit you buy, use once and then have in the bag as an 'oh yes, I've got one of those'?

    Please share your honest opinions!

    Thanks. Andrew
  2. Lefty

    Lefty pfm Member

    Hi Andrew,

    What is the camera? I've recently picked up a Tokina 100/2.8 Macro for my Nikon D800E and am very happy with the results. I previously had a Sigma 105/2.8 for my D610 and was equally happy with that. The Sigma had the added benefit of VR, but the Tokina is a tad better optically. Both of these weigh in at around £300 - £350 new, although can be picked up for around £100 less second hand. The other lens which is well regarded is the Tamron 90mm, but I've not used that so can't comment.

    In terms of focal length, you don't want to go too wide, as that will mean you'll have to get close to your subject and risk casting a shadow or disturbing them.

    Hope this helps.

  3. Soloist

    Soloist pfm Member

    Camera is a D700. Your comments support my instinct to 'go longer'. Good to know there may be some bargain s/h lenses to have too! I'd not considered Tokina as I put it below Sigma for quality. Again, good to know.
  4. Lefty

    Lefty pfm Member

    My pleasure Andrew - I don't think you can go too far wrong with either the Sigma 105/2.8, Tokina 100/2.8, Nikon 105/2.8 it or Tamron 90/2.8.

    I love macro too :)

  5. Vinyl Giraffe

    Vinyl Giraffe pfm Member

    I've got the Nikon 105 vr macro, and think it is an excellent lens. Color rendition and sharpness are great. Focal length gives decent working distance in the macro range. A little big and heavy for the fixed focal length, but I've got no complaints otherwise. VR is limited in use for macro, but you'll likely want to be shooting in brighter light/with flash and a tripod anyway, due to the limited depth of field, etc.
  6. Blurboy

    Blurboy pfm Member

    Get the Sigma. It's sharper than the Nikon VR and trounces the Tokina. I use Nikon gear, all Pro series lenses and chose the Sigma purely for optical reasons over the Nikon. Check any online review too. You'd only buy the Nikon for snob badge value.
  7. Soloist

    Soloist pfm Member

    Cool. And typical - just missed out on one on eBay that went sub-£130!
  8. Blurboy

    Blurboy pfm Member

    Make sure you get the right Sigma. You need the OS EX DG HSM model and not the non OS ones.
  9. James

    James Lord of the Erg\o/s

    I've had macros in two lengths; 35mm and 100mm. I regret selling the 100 macro, but the 35mm has better versatility if I carried only one lens. Both offer 1:1 magnification, but the 100mm is much harder to hand-hold at full magnification.
  10. Soloist

    Soloist pfm Member

    Hmm, many thanks... Still listening; still looking!
  11. Colinb

    Colinb pfm Member

    A few pictures taken with the Tokina:


  12. Rockmeister

    Rockmeister pfm Member

    I've had use of Nikon Sigma and Tamron macro lenses. You already have the best advice regarding focal length, which is that live subjects are FAR easier with longer focal lengths. My Nikon Micro 60 for example, forces me to actually touch a subject with the rim of the lens hood for proper 1 to 1 macro shots, which is not ideal! D700 is great for Macro but you want at least a 90mm, and preferably more.
    My own experience suggests that the very very sharpest shots require a Tripod (making VR redundant mostly) and maybe even photostacking for the really spectacular. If your more casual thatn this, then make sure that your chosen lens works at it's sharpest at a sensible aperture..looking for pretty bokeh wide open at f1.8 is useless in Macro...you end up with only 1/10th of a millimeter depth of field, so even the slightest movement results in a blur. Check the lens performance at f8 or f11. That at least gives you SOME DOF and if you move out a tad from full magnification at those apertures and then crop the image you should be getting something spectacular.
    For quality, ANY of the mentioned lenses will be just fine, although my time with the very latest Tamron SP90 suggests that that is where MY money would go.
  13. Rockmeister

    Rockmeister pfm Member

    [​IMG]hyacinth rain by John Dutfield, on Flickr

    This is the Nikkor 60 Micro. Tested (on DXoMark etc) it rates the worst of all the lenses suggested to you above. Go to Flikr and enlarge that drop center right on the stem. Crap huh? Tripod, a little distance for D of F, crop. Just my 2p.
  14. Soloist

    Soloist pfm Member

  15. Wiicrackpot

    Wiicrackpot pfm Member

    @Colinb, those shots of the lizard are immense, bought a Tamron 180mm F3.5 for my ESO50d but never got anywhere near as good as yours,
    care to share your set up?, what camera?, ring flash etc...
  16. sam_cat

    sam_cat ʇɐɔ_ɯɐs

  17. Colinb

    Colinb pfm Member

    they were taken on the garden wall in my cousins house in Bermuda with my D300, Tokina 100mm 2.8 macro, a lot of patience and stealth!
  18. Colinb

    Colinb pfm Member

    Same lens using a softbox and Nikon SB 400 on something like 1/16th power combined with natural light

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