Options for macro photography

CorrelliCorrelli Posts: 135Member
edited March 2013 in General Discussions
I would like to get some opinions on what options there are for doing some macro work. My wife would like to get a camera that she can use for some macro photography. The size of the objects would be half the size of a regular post card and static. We did not yet think about the lighting but most likely we will use some constant light source, so macro flashes are not required.

I have got a D700 but this camera is too heavy for her. As macro lenses I have got the 55 mm f/2.8 AI-S and the AF-D 28-105 mm f/3.5-4.5 which has got a Macro mode and takes good images.

The next things I was looking at are the entry DSLRs. I borrowed a D5100 and from the size and weight it is fine. But I could not find any zoom lenses with a Macro option. I know that there are the 40 mm and 85 mm Macros but we would prefer an zoom lens. Another option would be the D90 as we could use the AF-D zoom lens but I don't know if getting the D90 now is a good idea as it is kind of dated - or am I wrong?

The Nikon 1 system would be another option but I have no idea if the lenses do have a macro mode. I could not find any information on that. Using the adaptor to attach a F-mount macro lens is not an option for me. I think for the price of the Nikon 1 plus adaptor I could also get a D3200 or D5200.

The last option I thought about is a good P&S like the Coolpix P330.

Any other ideas? How would you spend my money (currently we don't have a fixed budget but we want to keep it reasonable).
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Comments

  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    edited March 2013
    You have many options here. The body is all up to you but you should be able to get some good deals on the D7000.

    For the lens, you can always go with the 105 2.8 Micro or if you have any lens and are trying to go a cost effectve way then have a look at the Canon 500D Close up lens adapters. Just get the one with the right filter size.
    Post edited by Golf007sd on
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • CorrelliCorrelli Posts: 135Member
    Thanks Golf, close up lenses is something I completely missed in my thoughts. Good idea!
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    Macro Zoom, is a bit of an oxymoron
    The 85 f 3.5 gets good reviews but is a Dx lens so you not "borrow it" for your D700
    I have the 105 f 2.8 its an fx lens and it is one of Nikon' s sharpest
    Canon 500D Close up lens adapters, have the advantage of being light, but are no substitute for a proper macro lens
    I have a botanist friend who has a old panasonic P&S. she takes amazing macro photos.
    the P&S has the very big advantage, it will fit in the a handbag and is alway available ( not at home in a cupboard )
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    I have an old Nikon 28-85mm f/3.5-4.5 "Macro zoom". The macro occurs on the short end.

    If a constant light source is to be used I would recommend an LED source as anything else will tend to generate heat.

    Weight...I think the camera and lens increase their weight about five times when I try to shoot macro..... :))
    Msmoto, mod
  • JJ_SOJJ_SO Posts: 1,158Member
    Macro Zooms usually have the Macro on the wide end, so you will have to be closely to the subject. That makes lighting more difficult.
    Some of my focus stacks were done with heavy D800, 105 Micro Nikkor, flashlight on the lens, geared head on heavy tripod. Focus stacks need stable situations.
    For other macros in the field I was happy with D5100 because of the swivel display and the 40/2.8 which is amazing for this price.
    And there's a beautiful Canon G11, also with swivel display and macro functions. Because it's a small cam, I hardly faced lighting problems and I can use a gorilla pod if I have to (and have it with me).
    If you have an iPad mini or something like that it is helpful for lighting.

    In your situation I'd prefer D5100, it's light, has a great display and IQ. The 1 series is not that attractive to me.
  • tcole1983tcole1983 Posts: 981Member
    Hmmm I don't know of any zoom lenses that I would recommend. Any of the Nikon micro lenses are great and obviously the 105 f2.8 vr being the most expensive with the most working distance and features (love the lens personally). As for bodies any will do and i am not certain it is that important...the one thing I will point out is the d3XXX and d5XXX bodies aren't able to easily use the Nikon macro lighting system because the don't have commander mode for the flashes. It can be done with extra stuff but a D7000 would be able to use the Nikon macro flash setup without anything else. If she ever wanted to go that route.

    D5200, D5000, S31, 18-55 VR, 17-55 F2.8, 35 F1.8G, 105 F2.8 VR, 300 F4 AF-S (Previously owned 18-200 VRI, Tokina 12-24 F4 II)
  • CorrelliCorrelli Posts: 135Member
    Thanks everybody for the input. One thing to mention is that the zoom lens I already got (the AF-D 28-105 mm f/3.5-4.5) does have the macro mode on the long end. You can only use it from 50-105 mm.

    The more I think about it the more attractive I find the idea of getting the D90. It is currently about 450 € new (body only). I assume that the IQ of that camera is still better than any P&S at that same price level. The D90 can still use AF-D lenses (which the current D3x00 and D5x00 cannot) so we would only need the body.

    D7x00 is out of the range we are thinking about. Her primary hobby is to create postcards and she would like to take pictures of them before she gives them away. But the pictures should look better than just taking a phone and create a reproduction. So she does not want to dive too deep into photography but keep it simple.

    I was also thinking about the 105 mm f2.8 VR but if I am honest it would be more so I own it than for her. B-)
    And apart from the price issue: from what I have heard this lens is not exactly a lightweight, or am I wrong.

    I will keep thinking about it and let you know how we decided... :)
  • ElvisheferElvishefer Posts: 329Member
    The 105 is not light; it has that 'well made' heft to it.
    D700, 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII, 24-70mm f/2.8, 14-24mm f/2.8, 50mm f/1.4G, 200mm f/4 Micro, 105mm f/2.8 VRII Micro, 35mm f/1.8, 2xSB900, 1xSB910, R1C1, RRS Support...

    ... And no time to use them.
  • DJBee49DJBee49 Posts: 133Member
    Correlli

    I also have the 28-105mm lens that I bought years ago for my F100. I have kept it even though I now have better/more expensive/more modern equivalents because it is extremely good! In particular, its macro performance is very surprising bearing in mind the fairly basic level of design and cost. I have shots of insects that I have taken with this that are absolutely pin sharp.

    I admit it is slightly irritating to use as a result of the little switch you have to use to put it into macro mode, but as a general purpose lens that does almost everything, including macro, it could be a very smart choice for your wife. Light, good IQ, very good range of focal lengths (on FX anyway), not so expensive that you need to be too precious about it and good macro. Good choice I would say. I often use it as my' walk-about' lens for exactly these reasons.
  • proudgeekproudgeek Posts: 1,422Member
    edited March 2013
    One way to alleviate the weight of a body/lens would be to shoot on a tripod, which is probably a good idea for macro work anyway. If you're going to get a lightweight DX body like the 5100, why not try the newer 40mm macro or even the 85mm macro? Both are reasonably priced (relative to many other options) and the combination should be pretty lightweight.
    Post edited by proudgeek on
  • Swame_spSwame_sp Posts: 58Member
    edited March 2013
    I've the 85mm f3.5 DX macro for D7000... I'm very happy with the lens, if you planning to stay with DX I'd suggest that lens. Very silent and fast in focussing as well.

    I myself planning to get ride off it, as I might move to FX sometime.

    How many here think 105 f2.8 (macro) is useful as a portrait lens? Just curious to know, I already have 70-200 for portraits.
    Post edited by Swame_sp on
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    I have both. the 105 a superb macro lens but I tend to shoot portraits @ 200mm so I have never compared the two. Things may change, as I am thinking of changing the 70 -200 for the new 80 - 400
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    @The 105 Macro is a fantastic lens for macro as well as portraits. You will not be disappointed should you get it. In fact, I highly recommend that lens to anyone that is looking for nice prime lens in that focal length. Moreover, that ability use a teleconverter with it is also a very nice welcome.

    @sevencrossing: The new 80-400 is very appealing, and should you get it I think it will make you very happy. I look forward in seeing some of your shots with it. That said, I think you should still keep the 70-200 as well.
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • GodlessGodless Posts: 113Member
    edited March 2013
    I would like to get some opinions on what options there are for doing some macro work. My wife would like to get a camera that she can use for some macro photography. The size of the objects would be half the size of a regular post card and static.

    Any other ideas? How would you spend my money (currently we don't have a fixed budget but we want to keep it reasonable).
    Olympus OM-D E-M5 and m.Zuiko 60mm f/2.8 . Cannot beat that in lightweight category.

    See Robin Wong´s and Ming Thein´s reviews of the lens. Google will find them.

    What´s more, Olympus has a MAL-1 macro arm light which is cheap and easy to use.
    Post edited by Godless on
  • tcole1983tcole1983 Posts: 981Member
    I've the 85mm f3.5 DX macro for D7000... I'm very happy with the lens, if you planning to stay with DX I'd suggest that lens. Very silent and fast in focussing as well.

    I myself planning to get ride off it, as I might move to FX sometime.

    How many here think 105 f2.8 (macro) is useful as a portrait lens? Just curious to know, I already have 70-200 for portraits.
    I love it for portraits...I know some have had qualms with it but off the top of my head I can't think of why. When I have used it...put it at f2.8 and they seem to turn out perfectly every time. Because of the focal length you get nice bokeh and it isn't too shallow a dof and I always get the whole face/body. I really like it and have thought about an 85 for a long time but I really don't see the need for it.
    D5200, D5000, S31, 18-55 VR, 17-55 F2.8, 35 F1.8G, 105 F2.8 VR, 300 F4 AF-S (Previously owned 18-200 VRI, Tokina 12-24 F4 II)
  • paulrpaulr Posts: 1,176Member
    edited March 2013
    Rather than spending your hard earned cash on new Lenses , Extension Tubes are a good way of getting closer to your subject without spending fortunes, I would keep to Nikon ET's though.
    Post edited by paulr on
    Camera, Lens and Tripod and a few other Bits
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    @Swame_sp: Here are some sample of the 105 2.8 used as a portrait lens.

    ARN_1419

    D7000 105 2.8 1/160 ISO 400 @ f/4.0

    ARN_1448

    D7000 105 2.8 1/200 ISO 640 @ f/2.8
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • Swame_spSwame_sp Posts: 58Member
    @GOLF, nice set of portraits. May be time to sell 85mm macro and get this fantastic 105mm... :)
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator

    @Swame_sp Thanks. To see what other have to say regarding the 85 vs 105 2.8. Have a look at this old topic.
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • GitzoGitzo Posts: 174Member
    @ Correlli........You mentioned something about "maybe getting a Coolpix P&S"; I'll probably be run off the forum for saying this.......but if there is any place Canon has it "over" on Nikon, it's clearly in it's point and shoot cameras; Nikon's not even in the ball park. All of the knowledgeable magazine reviewers will tell you that.

  • CorrelliCorrelli Posts: 135Member
    @Gitzo: I completely agree with you on this. I have had two Coolpix and while I always thought the image quality was ok they felt like really slow (AF and shutter).

    @Godless: The Olympus looks very tempting, but the price is completely out of our range for this one. For one-third of the price I can get a new D90 and keep using my existing lenses (currently this is my plan). But the OM-D really is close to a digital FM2... :)
  • paulrpaulr Posts: 1,176Member
    Lets not forget that Nikon do a 200 F4 Macro lens , I know it's a bit long in the tooth but it's a great lens especially when you don't want to get too near your subject. When used with Extension tubes it really does a good job.
    Camera, Lens and Tripod and a few other Bits
  • GodlessGodless Posts: 113Member
    Lets not forget that Nikon do a 200 F4 Macro lens
    And Sigma has just released a 180mm f/2.8 macro, which has received some excellent reviews. Weighs a ton though, but it´s really good. The Sigma 150mm f/2.8 OS ain´t bad either.

    But I would stay away from the Sigma 105mm, which has had some incompatibility issues with "new" Nikon bodies since D7000.

    I would love to see an AF-S G version of the Nikon 200mm f/4 macro. But we´ll see if that ever happens.
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    edited March 2013
    @paulr: I do not believer Correlli was seeking to spend $1700 in getting the Nikon 200 F4 Micro in order to accomplish this task he hand in mind.
    Post edited by Golf007sd on
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • paulrpaulr Posts: 1,176Member
    Yes, but we all start with good intentions about keeping to a budget, but hand on heart how many of us stick to it once we get in the camera shop?
    Camera, Lens and Tripod and a few other Bits
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