Macro/Portrait lens for DX

turnthedarncranksturnthedarncranks Posts: 116Member
edited April 2013 in General Discussions
I use a D7000, and currently have three lenses -- the 18-105 and 55-300 kit lenses, and the Nikkor 35 mm 1.8. For my birthday, I get to add to my collection. I would love to get a macro because I like to mess around shooting small things, but am not sure which route to go. The Tamron AF 60mm 2.0 is appealing as both a macro and a portrait lens, but I am not sure that a 60 mm makes sense considering what I've already got in my bag. The Nikkor 85 mm 3.5 costs about the same and is quite tempting considering its longer focal length. But the Tamron seems to get somewhat better reviews. The longshot in this competition is the Nikkor 105 mm 2.8, which probably busts the budget but seems like it might be the best of the bunch, as well as good future-proofing should I ever go FX. But it really will be a stretch financially. So I am completely unsure which way to go, and I also wonder if there's another lens out there I should consider. Any and all thoughts appreciated.

Thanks!
Post edited by Msmoto on
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Comments

  • GodlessGodless Posts: 113Member
    edited April 2013
    The cheapest way
    If you want to go the cheapest route, get an extension ring set and use it with your longer lenses.

    The relatively cheap way
    You can get older manual focus 105mm AI-S Nikkor macros real cheap, and they deliver.
    You need to save the lens data in your cameras Non CPU lens menu if you get one of these.

    The most expensive way
    Get a decent, dedicated macro lens.

    I would stay away from the 85mm DX for low resale value unless you find one used.

    I would stay away from macros shorter than 100mm, because I find those very difficult to use for
    live insect photos (you get in the way of your own lighting or scare the bugs away by getting too close)

    I would consider getting one of these:

    Nikkor 105mm VR
    Sigma 150mm OS (costs about the same as the 105mm above)

    Forget the Sigma 105mm, it won´t work with a D7000, but the 150mm will.

    These two are really good but very expensive
    Sigma 180mm OS (heavy as hell)
    Zeiss Makro-Planar 100mm f/2 (Very expensive, but the world´s best macro lens. Period.)

    Hope this helps.



    Post edited by Godless on
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    edited April 2013
    I have a philosophy with macros. The longer the better. I
    +1

    If you can afford it, get the Nikon 105 2.8 vr it’s one of Nikons sharpest lenses
    I use one on a D800 but often crop
    It will give you a greater distance between the camera and the subject, which is vital for good lighting
    And more comfortable when shooting bugs and creepy crawlies
    Post edited by sevencrossing on
  • Rx4PhotoRx4Photo Posts: 1,200Member
    edited April 2013
    If 60mm is what you're first considering, then why not look directly at the 60mm Micro-Nikkor (Nikon) lens instead. It's only about $25 more and it's a "Nikon". What the Micro-Nikkor 105mm would afford you is the ablilty to not have to be on top of your tiny subjects to photograph them thus minimizing the need to often get out of your own shadow. The beauty of Macro lenses is that they tend to be sharper overall and they allow you to get "on top" of what you're photographing instead of standing 2 or more feet away. If you're even thinking you might go FX some day then truly consider the Sigma 150mm OS Macro at least.
    Post edited by Rx4Photo on
    D800 | D7000 | Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 | 24-70mm f/2.8 | 70-200mm f/2.8 | 35mm f/1.8G | 85mm f/1.4G | Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art | Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art | Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM | Zeiss 100mm Makro-Planar ZF.2 | Flash controllers: Phottix Odin TTL

  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    @turnthedarncranks

    I have changed the thread title to better represent what I think you are asking....

    I would suggest the 105mm f/2.8 VR Micro Nikkor.....Look at

    http://forum.nikonrumors.com/discussion/788/options-for-macro-photography#Item_51

    and

    http://forum.nikonrumors.com/discussion/780/practical-lighting-for-close-up-photography#Item_42

    As these talk about lighting and macro, intermixed.

    Also, search the forum as there is a lot of good experience on the old forum which will show up in a search.
    Msmoto, mod
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    @turnthedarncranks: Given that you have waited patiently in getting a macro lens, my recommendation would be to continue saving additional funds and get the 105 2.8. It is an amazing lens and it has served me well every time I have used it.
    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 |
  • JJ_SOJJ_SO Posts: 1,158Member
    This "amazing lens" is quite an expensive and very heavy toy. I'm not surprised you're recommending it, Golf007sd: It is really good and usually one is on the safe side, as you tend to recommend the most expensive stuff - but the question is, if a Tamron SP AF 60mm F/2.0 Di II wouldn't be a nice choice as well? As long as it is available.

    Photozone verdict
  • donaldejosedonaldejose Posts: 3,199Member
    Don't forget to consider the Nikon 60mm f2.8 AF-D micro (maybe $300 used) and the Tokina 100mm f2.8 macro (about $500 new). Both are very sharp. Check out the reviews.

    Here is a photo taken with the 60mm Nikon Micro (remember it will equal 90mm on a DX body). Check out the sharpness of the feathers, at least of those in the zone of focus at f22.
    DSC_1598

    You have to look at this larger size to see the detail captured by the lens.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/76080384@N03/7907053260/sizes/k/in/photostream/

    Here is a photo taken with the Tokina 100mm f2.8 macro: Look at the detail in the dial.
    DSC_1344a

    Once again you have to look at this larger size to see the detail captured by the lens.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/76080384@N03/7913671798/sizes/k/in/photostream/
  • shawninoshawnino Posts: 453Member
    I think Godless and 7xing make the most important point in that "longer focal length = more working distance", and it raises a question: what kind of working distance will you need? Will you be shooting things that move, like bugs, or exclusively still objects? A corollary is to ask whether you'll be handholding (a few people do...I do) or set up on a tripod--in which case weight may or may not be a big deal.
  • turnthedarncranksturnthedarncranks Posts: 116Member
    Thanks, all. Very helpful -- and a lot to think about.

    @shawnino -- probably bugs more than anything. And likely handheld more often than not, as my best chances to shoot are when we are out and about as a family -- which also means I need to shoot quickly and rarely have time to set up a tripod.
  • donaldejosedonaldejose Posts: 3,199Member
    For bugs you want as much working distance as possible because they simply fly away when you get too close. So go for the longest mm you can afford. Some say the 200mm f4 Nikon AF Micro is the best. Don't know, never had one.
  • shawninoshawnino Posts: 453Member
    I actually have the 200 f/4. It's amazing, but if the 105 2.8 nikkor is already over-budget, the 200 is that much over again. So I didn't bring it up. But since DEJ brought it up, let me wax poetic.

    It's one of those lenses where we keep getting promised an update (and likely massive price increase: see the 80-400) and it never quite seems to happen. It's heavy, D-class (will not AF with D3x00, D5x00--not the end of the world for Macro, but I find AF useful when using it as a slow, "regular" 200), isn't especially accommodating to ring lights, and I guess it gets its share of complaints. Too long for portraits, f/4 only. But it's also ridiculously sharp (exposes my crap technique) with very good contrast and gives the user a lot of working distance. I used it as a "sail around" lens in Antarctica when I didn't need longer, and didn't need to swap it off when I wanted penguin closeups as they approached me on land.
  • turnthedarncranksturnthedarncranks Posts: 116Member
    edited April 2013
    Thanks, all. The 200 is clearly out for now, so it looks like its either the Tokina 100 or the Nikkor 105 -- the former being much more budget friendly. And, I have to say, the results as shown in donaldjose's post look pretty darn good.

    It seems that the Nikkor is beloved by all. Any dissenters out there? Anyone other than donaldjose have experience with the Tokina?

    Thanks again. I can't believe how much information folks provide around these parts!
    Post edited by turnthedarncranks on
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    Note the Tokina does not seem to have VR
    this might be an issue if you hand holding without flash
  • donaldejosedonaldejose Posts: 3,199Member
    edited April 2013
    Right, no VR on the Tokina. If you are using flash it won't matter since the duration of the flash is so short. If you are using a tripod it won't matter. But if you plan to hand hold at shutter speeds lower than about 1/60th of a second the Nikon's VR would be helpful. You shouldn't have any issues with sharpness.
    Post edited by donaldejose on
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    edited April 2013
    @JJ_SO: My comment where in support of the OP own though process; hence his own words..if one reads between the lines so to say. And I quote: "...in this competition...the Nikkor 105 mm 2.8...seems like it might be the best of the bunch, as well as good future-proofing should I ever go FX."

    I always trust the sweet tasted in my mouth for a lens, or any good equipment, that I have been looking for. I NEVER settle for something knowing deep in my gut that I wanted X but got Y because of price. I don't play games or fool myself. If my comments help support those with similar thought process then I feel I have help. In the end, the ball is in his or her court....I just like to tee it up a bit. If you get my meaning,
    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 |
  • JJ_SOJJ_SO Posts: 1,158Member
    Well, the thought process might be ongoing. And while I really like the 105, most of the time it stays at home because of it's weight.
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    edited April 2013
    @JJ_SO: I would hope that you would agree with me in that those that get a macro lens know from the beginning that these lenses serve a specific purpose; thus, the weight is the last thing on their (my) mind. After all macro lens are not intended for a "walk around lens."

    With respect to the 105 2.8, I do not find the weight of it, be it on my D7000 or D4, that uncomfortable or unmanageable, specially with the Black Rapid strap. Not sure what strap you use, but if you don't have the Black Rapid, by all mean get it ASAP. You will find it quite rewarding.
    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 |
  • JJ_SOJJ_SO Posts: 1,158Member
    Dear Golf, don't send me on shopping tour! #:-S
    I"m not happy with straps and I already own some heavy primes. Compared to the 40/2.8 which also allows 1:1, there's a tiny weight and space difference. If I'm determined for "only macro today", I'll happily pack the big tube. If I'm more in the mood for slender, my bag looks different.
    No doubt, a great lens and thanks for shopping ideas and advices. I was only enlarging the choice.
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    edited April 2013
    Just a note on VR and macro...from the manual on the 105mm f/2.8 VR Micro Nikkor
    Quote....:
    ■The effects of vibration reduction
    • When the subject is from infinity (∞) to approx. 3m (9.8 ft.) away (at 1/30x
    reproduction ratio), pictures can be taken at shutter speeds approx. 4 stops* slower
    than is possible without using a VR2lens. As the reproduction ratio increases from
    1/30x, the effects of vibration reduction gradually decrease. (*Under Nikon
    measurement conditions. The effects of vibration reduction vary depending on
    individual and shooting conditions.)
    End quote....

    So, when near 1:1, VR does very little. I am turning it off when using the flash....and testing to see if possibly the image will be sharper. And, this might suggest the older non-VR lenses purchased used at a lot less than the new one can produce results of equal quality....but, this is only for those who are smarter than I am..LOL
    Post edited by Msmoto on
    Msmoto, mod
  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,172Member
    edited April 2013
    The tamron 60 F2 is a good choice. For insects working distance is important and the 60mm Tamron has about twice the Working Distance of the Nikkor 60mm. at 1:1. Its working distance is almost the same as the well received Tamron 90mm at 1:1.

    I have the sigma 150 F2.8 macro and its great! but its big and heavy.. and like JJ_SO with his 105 my 150 stays at home often because of the weight and size bec of that I have been considering getting the Tamron 60.
    Post edited by heartyfisher on
    Moments of Light - D610 D7K S5pro 70-200f4 18-200 150f2.8 12-24 18-70 35-70f2.8 : C&C very welcome!
    Being a photographer is a lot like being a Christian: Some people look at you funny but do not see the amazing beauty all around them - heartyfisher.

  • turnthedarncranksturnthedarncranks Posts: 116Member
    Any thoughts on whether the 60 is a useful prime with the 35 already in my bag? Seems like it's probably at the lowest end of what makes sense. And while I continue to waffle, anyone have any thoughts on the Nikkor 85mm f/1.8G? The reviews make it sound like its optics are pretty much on par with the 105, while being quite a bit lighter. (As an aside, is it obvious yet that I have no idea which way to go?)
  • JJ_SOJJ_SO Posts: 1,158Member
    Yes it is. But who has?

    The 85/1.8 is no macro.
  • Rx4PhotoRx4Photo Posts: 1,200Member
    edited April 2013
    You must really consider how you'd plan to use the lenses that you're considering. For example, sometimes, depending on what I'm trying to photograph as a macro, I'm stooping down or lying on my belly with the lens up pretty close to what I'm shooting. I totally don't mind doing that to get the shot. For that you're best to use a macro lens with a short Minimum Focus Distance preferably under 12 inches. The 85mm f/1.8 has a Minimum Focus Distance of 2.62 feet which means you might not get that true close-up that you're aspiring for without extention tubes. I've never used extention tubes but you could probably use them with the 85mm f/1.8 to get that occasional shot that you want while still using the 85 alone for other purposes.
    Post edited by Rx4Photo on
    D800 | D7000 | Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 | 24-70mm f/2.8 | 70-200mm f/2.8 | 35mm f/1.8G | 85mm f/1.4G | Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art | Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art | Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM | Zeiss 100mm Makro-Planar ZF.2 | Flash controllers: Phottix Odin TTL

  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    edited April 2013
    @turnthedarncranks: As JJ_SO pointed out, the 85 1.8G is NOT a macro lens. It is however a fantastic lens for portraits. Moreover. I have spend an entire day of shooting just with that lens....it is very versatile. That being said, Rx4Photo suggestion in using extension tubes is worth exploring. Though, much like Rx4Photo I too have never used them.

    If you live in the USA you many want to consider renting these lenses for a week or so and see which is best for you...then buy the one you find most acceptable to your usage of it.
    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 |
  • JJ_SOJJ_SO Posts: 1,158Member
    Extension Rings usually are a tiny bit too short or long but a really great accessory if you always shoot the same size and more or less the same distance. Otherwise it's annoying to rearrange them always.

    @golf007sd don't you own the 85/1.4G as well? How - if yes - would you feel the difference between them? Mine's troubling me because of unreliable focussing. It was twice in service and they told me, they will do it once again or change it against a new one. Otherwise, I was also thinking of getting a 85/1.8G
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