Best Tele Macro

spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 5,874Moderator
Hey guys, I usually use a 60mm G macro but am finding the most fidgety butterflies are too often disturbed by the proximity of the lens so I am looking at getting a tele macro. I think OS/VR is a must now and am wanting the 150-200mm focal range. the Nikkor is too old now and no VR so I am considering any and all others in that range. Do any of you have any experience you want to share or know of any serious review/tests?

TIA.
Always learning.
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Comments

  • snakebunksnakebunk Posts: 788Member
    edited June 14
    The Sigma 150mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM APO Macro is great optically but af is not as good as on the newer lenses (sometimes works perfectly but sometimes does not). Sigma also makes a 180/2.8 macro that I haven't used but I think is equally good.

    https://www.lenstip.com/index.html?test=obiektywu&test_ob=313
    Post edited by snakebunk on
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 3,809Member
    Never found VR overly affective for longer macros, unless you are not taking a macro shot, and that’s just with the 105mm Nikkor. Tripod is basically a must for a telephoto macro to get good results, IMO.
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 5,874Moderator
    Thanks Guys. I am aware of the 180 Sigma, but heard the 150 was sharper and the 150 pre-OS was sharper still - no experience to verify that with, just internet hearsay and marketing speak.

    PB_PM: I shoot butterflies mainly and if you stick to the strict rule that macro begins at 1:1 thru to 5:1, then no I don't, I am usually around 1:2 - 1:3 but the detail I demand requires a macro lens and I am still pretty close. I saw a great improvement at those magnifications when I used a Nikon 105 Micro with VR on compared to off, so as the D850 plus a tele is a lump to hold, I'll go for VR and take the possible hit on IQ. If the butterfly is roosting or resting on a cool day, the 60mm and flashes will do nicely.

    I am between a rock and a hard place because I need the working distance, but that makes it all sh-sh-shake!
    Always learning.
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 3,809Member
    I tend to shoot flowers and for what I do, it's almost required to use the tripod, and something to block even the slightest breeze. I'm typically working with longer exposures to get enough depth of field, since I don't have the patience for focus staking.
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • NSXTypeRNSXTypeR Posts: 1,954Member
    I asked about it the other day, Nikkor did make a 70-180 Micro zoom lens that they never really followed up with. Granted it's not exactly 1:1 reproduction, but I think there's a use for a zoom Nikkor. It would be great if they followed up with an update.

    http://www.bythom.com/70180Macrolens.htm

    Not sure if it's any good on modern bodies though, as it seems to be a fairly rare lens.
    Nikon D7000/ Nikon D40/ Nikon FM2/ 18-135 AF-S/ 35mm 1.8 AF-S/ 105mm Macro AF-S/ 50mm 1.2 AI-S
  • flipflip Posts: 98Member
    Over the years i have used both 300mm and 400mm nikkor manual focus lens with extension tube to photograph active butterflies with great results but always with a tripod. Now I also use a 200-400 f4 vr with tripod and af with terrific results. When i find butterflies sitting inactive with dew in grass etc i use a 90mm Tamron also with tripod but with cable release, mirror up and invariably slow shutter speeds. Careful technique required. Truely great results however.

    I have read that the Tamron 180 macro is viable particularly at apertures appropriate for insects F11-22. No vr though.

    Hand held photography of butterflies has never worked well for me. With flash yes it can work occasionally but dont usually like the results.

    Been working macro since 1982. Started with 50mm Olympus f3.5 on an OM1 with K25. Loved the results but learned that a tripod was mandatory. Still believe that.
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 5,874Moderator
    Interesting views guys. @NSXTypeR : yes, I remember that and I did some research on that zoom. I wish I could find one to try or see some full res results.

    Here are some examples of my hand held close-up field work where I don't use a tripod, some with flash, some without. There are a lot of others on my Flickr stream that can be clicked through to full res. The marbled White in particular show what can be done with careful technique, hand-held and without flash. I don't like to go beyond F11 due to diffraction so DoF is tight. I wish hand-held focus stacking were a possibility - perhaps when I have 30-60 fps to play with.

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/spraynpray/42303767282/sizes/l

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/spraynpray/26827816407/sizes/l

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/spraynpray/40786246511/sizes/o/

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/spraynpray/35160031984/sizes/o/

    The nature of my preferred method means I get a low keeper rate, but I am not interested in blurred shots or lack of detail due to small reproduction ratio's.

    @flip: do you have any images for us to view? The 200-400 is probably a bit too heavy for me to hand-hold, but I am intrigued by the use of extension tubes on a non-macro lens as opposed to using a macro lens.

    In the meanwhile, does anybody have a non-Nikon tele zoom they recommend?
    Always learning.
  • flipflip Posts: 98Member
    Nice images but hairstreaks for instance require higher magnification than my suggestions will provide. Nikkor 105vr still seems best option for your style. Dual flash systems and use of sync speeds which dont overly darken background would offer a more natural look.

    I can fill 2/3 of the frame with a large sulphur butterfly using the 200-400 zoom but you cant hand hold that lens for this kind of work.

    Maybe using a monopod with a vr type tele and tc and no flash would provide a solution? Dont know.

    Unfortunately do not have a flickr account or other public post.

    A couple of websites i used for this purpose closed down. Dont really want to manage my own site.
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 5,874Moderator
    Where I have used a fast shutter speed and flash, it is because the wind is just too strong go use slow shutter speeds. I think the 105 I used was a duff one as it was not as sharp as my 60mm G (which was not as sharp as my 60mm D of course). The tests say 105 VR should be better but I am sceptical that it could be.
    Always learning.
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 5,874Moderator
    So I went out this evening before the sun went down and found some freshly emerged Marbled Whites. Typical difficult weather - windy and cloudy with sunny periods. One before sunset and one just after. The 60 does well, but I was up and down and chasing them around before I managed to get some shots as I have to get so close. That's why I want a telemacro.

    850_1621
    850_1654
    Always learning.
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 3,809Member
    edited June 15

    Where I have used a fast shutter speed and flash, it is because the wind is just too strong go use slow shutter speeds. I think the 105 I used was a duff one as it was not as sharp as my 60mm G (which was not as sharp as my 60mm D of course). The tests say 105 VR should be better but I am sceptical that it could be.

    They are close, but have different characters. I sold the 60mm F2.8G, due to working distance issue you are having. Bees would get ticked off when I was using it, and that was bound to not end well at some point. As for 105 2.8G vs the 60mm, I can tell you that in outright sharpness you’ll never see the difference without a resolution chart. The 105 has more CA, which makes it look worse. I ended up liking the 105 better, because it pulls double duty as a portrait lens. The only thing the 60mm has going for it is better depth of field, due to the focal length.
    Post edited by PB_PM on
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • snakebunksnakebunk Posts: 788Member
    I find it hard sometimes to get close with my 150 mm so I can imagine shooting with a 60.
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 5,874Moderator
    @PB_PM: That is good info, thanks. There was definitely a problem with the one I tried then because I took a shot of a screw thread with both lenses at the same size and there was a difference in detail. I want to see scales on wings of my butterflies so I rejected it.

    Depth of field: Interesting. I think they are the same if you shoot the subject at the same size. Do you think you got a bigger Dof on the 60 because you didn't get as close so the DoF was then bigger?

    The Dof thing really is something I want to know all about. I can't find a definitive source for info in the differences between DoF's at different focal lengths for the same reproduction ratio. When I compared the 105 and 60 at minimum focus distance (1:1), they looked exactly the same.
    Always learning.
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 5,874Moderator
    edited June 16
    Wiki is good for DoF explanations:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depth_of_field#Factors_affecting_depth_of_field

    I might have another look at a different copy of a 105VR. Seems like a good compromise
    Post edited by spraynpray on
    Always learning.
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 3,809Member
    edited June 16

    @PB_PM: That is good info, thanks. There was definitely a problem with the one I tried then because I took a shot of a screw thread with both lenses at the same size and there was a difference in detail. I want to see scales on wings of my butterflies so I rejected it.

    Depth of field: Interesting. I think they are the same if you shoot the subject at the same size. Do you think you got a bigger Dof on the 60 because you didn't get as close so the DoF was then bigger?

    The Dof thing really is something I want to know all about. I can't find a definitive source for info in the differences between DoF's at different focal lengths for the same reproduction ratio. When I compared the 105 and 60 at minimum focus distance (1:1), they looked exactly the same.

    It has been 5 years since I owned the 60, and never had both at the same time so I never did a direct comparison on the exact same subject. I easily could, since my Dad has the 60mm F2.8G for his D7100, I would just need an excuse to borrow it for a while. Typically lenses with wider focal length will offer more depth of field at the same distance, but since they wouldn't be at the same distance at 1:1, I suppose it would end up being similar.
    Post edited by PB_PM on
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • WestEndFotoWestEndFoto Posts: 2,723Member
    I have the 60 and it is the least used lens in my collection.
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 5,874Moderator
    For me, during the winter, it is 24-35 1st, 60 2nd and 70-200 third. During summer, counting clicks the 60 is no.1.
    Always learning.
  • DenverShooterDenverShooter Posts: 318Member
    I have the 105 and its a good lens. I use it to shoot surface mount components on PCB’s and for that application its an outstanding piece of kit. I haven’t used it on anything else..
  • mhedgesmhedges Posts: 564Member
    Just curious - are extension tubes on a non-macro tele at all an option? I don't know how much they get you.
  • WestEndFotoWestEndFoto Posts: 2,723Member
    They are. I have all three of the Kenko. They even permit auto-focus. I bought them for my 200 f/4.0 macro when I want a reproduction ratio greater than 1:1 so I would not use them on other lenses - I would just use the 200. But they will certainly increase the reproduction ratio of any lens.

    However, I doubt that they would get you far if you were starting with a lens with a low reproduction ratio.

    On another note, Nikon PC lenses have high reproduction ratios. For example, 0.5 on the 85. Many third party vendors will market a lens with that reproduction ratio as a macro.
  • snakebunksnakebunk Posts: 788Member


    On another note, Nikon PC lenses have high reproduction ratios. For example, 0.5 on the 85. Many third party vendors will market a lens with that reproduction ratio as a macro.

    But isn't the PC-E MICRO NIKKOR 85MM F/2.8D marketed as a macro since it is called micro?

  • WestEndFotoWestEndFoto Posts: 2,723Member
    Yes, I stand corrected Snakebunk.
  • snakebunksnakebunk Posts: 788Member
    Thanks. I think (like you?) that the words macro or micro should be reserved for 1:1 lenses, otherwise it doesn't mean anything. I looked at Sigma and Nikon and all regular prime macro/micro lenses were 1:1. For zoom or pc-e lenses you have to check the the specs.
  • HankBHankB Posts: 221Member
    snakebunk said:

    ...words macro or micro should be reserved for 1:1 lenses, otherwise it doesn't mean anything...

    Deliberate, deceptive misuse of words with established definitions is far worse than just "spinning", it is nothing short of lying. Medieval tortures should be brought back for lying marketeers.
  • WestEndFotoWestEndFoto Posts: 2,723Member
    snakebunk said:

    Thanks. I think (like you?) that the words macro or micro should be reserved for 1:1 lenses, otherwise it doesn't mean anything. I looked at Sigma and Nikon and all regular prime macro/micro lenses were 1:1. For zoom or pc-e lenses you have to check the the specs.

    I concur with you. You can do a pretty good job at 0.5, but it is not quite macro in my view.
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