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?
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!
Not sure if it's any good on modern bodies though, as it seems to be a fairly rare lens.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
I might have another look at a different copy of a 105VR. Seems like a good compromise
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.