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Old Monday 21st January 2019, 17:14   #1
DeeDeeG
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nikon macro lens

Hi. I have a nikon d7200 and would really like to know what would be the best macro lens to buy. I would like to take good close up photos, i.e. insects etc. Any help appreciated, thanks.
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Old Tuesday 22nd January 2019, 06:15   #2
nikonmike
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Depends on budget and what lenses you have, as for lens i feel the best buy at the moment is the Sigma 105mm macro, don't be tempted with normal lenses that have a macro facility.
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Old Tuesday 22nd January 2019, 06:53   #3
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Mike gives good advice. A 100mm macro lens is a great all rounder as the increased working distance over a 50/60 means you are less likely to scare the insects away and less likely to mask your subject from the natural light. Using a tripod is good but I get more photos with an image stabilised lens. Sometimes it is best to use manual focus if the autofocus locks on to vegetation rather than your insect. Getting decent depth of field is always a battle so approach your subject from an angle to maximise this if you can, so this would mean approaching a settled butterfly or dragonfly with spread wings from directly behind. Of course other angles are often useful too, and sometimes the circumstances dictate your position. Upping the ASA speed on your camera can allow a smaller f stop and a speed that further reduces camera shake. If not using a monopod or tripod use everything you can to steady your camera, such as rocks, trees, resting your elbow on your knee, your backpack, your flask or water bottle etc etc. Have fun and you can learn so much going through your pics with an identification guide to hand.

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Old Tuesday 22nd January 2019, 07:46   #4
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Tamron also used to have very good 90-100 mm macrolenses, that may also be a worthwile investigation.
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Old Tuesday 22nd January 2019, 17:29   #5
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Thanks for your advice. Lots of learning to do i think.
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Old Monday 8th April 2019, 19:01   #6
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Originally Posted by nikonmike View Post
Depends on budget and what lenses you have, as for lens i feel the best buy at the moment is the Sigma 105mm macro, don't be tempted with normal lenses that have a macro facility.
Hi Mike,

Would you mind commenting on how m4/3 compares with APSC or full frame sensors (such as the OP's NIkon) in terms of macro capability for insects? My understanding is that the larger the sensor, the narrower the depth of field for a given f-stop.

The reason I am asking is I use m4/3 currently for insect macros, and I'm happy with the EM-1 mkii and PL100-400 for larger insects or insects from a distance (it gives a max 1 to .25 magnification). But I'm wondering whether moving to a larger sensor might provide better IQ, without too much weight, for smaller insects for which I want 1:1 magnification. (Currently carrying around my old EM-1 mk i with the 60mm oly macro lens attached for the small stuff). But if the DOF is narrower, that might offset any low light advantage of the larger sensor.
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Old Monday 8th April 2019, 19:33   #7
nikonmike
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Hi Mike,

Would you mind commenting on how m4/3 compares with APSC or full frame sensors (such as the OP's NIkon) in terms of macro capability for insects? My understanding is that the larger the sensor, the narrower the depth of field for a given f-stop.

The reason I am asking is I use m4/3 currently for insect macros, and I'm happy with the EM-1 mkii and PL100-400 for larger insects or insects from a distance (it gives a max 1 to .25 magnification). But I'm wondering whether moving to a larger sensor might provide better IQ, without too much weight, for smaller insects for which I want 1:1 magnification. (Currently carrying around my old EM-1 mk i with the 60mm oly macro lens attached for the small stuff). But if the DOF is narrower, that might offset any low light advantage of the larger sensor.
Not really able to help you, although i had a Sigma 105mm macro on DX and FX i never did a lot of macro with it.

The 60mm is now my tool of choice on m4/3 for macro and i dont have to tell you how good it is.
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Old Tuesday 9th April 2019, 04:52   #8
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m43 question: I use the EM5m2 with the Oly 60mm 1:1 macro lens. First point is at 1:2 ratio, it has the same magnification as a Nikon FF 1:1 macro if the cameras have the same megapixel rating. In the 1:2 - 1:1 range on the oly, you are getting more magnification because the sensor is smaller. For a DX, it's not quite as much extra bang in terms of magnification. You get a lot more DoF because you're using a 60mm instead of a 100mm or 105mm. The downside is the lens is manual focus in the 1:1 - 1:2 range. I still like my d850 w/ Nikon 105mm VR macro better, but it weighs a ton more, but I like the results better.

You can also get some pretty good shots with the Panny 100-400.

Nikon: The 105mm VR lens is awesome. I shoot it around 1/60th at f/32 - f/40 at 1:1 handheld with off-camera flash and it is amazing. What I do is use a flash cord and hold the flash with my left hand and the camera in my right hand. I use a small bounce or softbox on the flash to avoid nasty reflections. I set the camera to manual with fixed ISO (about 400 usually) and then let the iTTL adjust the flash brightness.

If I'm living large, I'll do an on-camera flash at -2 EV and off-camera at +0 EV so I get nice fill flash. This works OK w/ the 50mm + extension tube because the lens is very short. With a longer lens, it often occludes the on-camera flash so I'm using using it as a master or use the flash cord.

I sometimes use one of the old-timey camera brackets with a flash arm. I open the arm out to the left of the camera (not above the camera like normal) and that gives me off-camera flash but in a single rig. I'm not a big fan of the lens-mounted flash rings as I find those cause too much reflection off shiny bugs.

For a DX camera, you could use a 90mm or the 105mm. The longer the lens the further away you can stand, but your DoF suffers more.

I am not a tripod macro shooter. I prefer the hand held method for quick mobility. Sometimes I might use a monopod as that is fast to move around.

Pro Tip: You can also use a good 50mm lens with extension tubes. I use the Nikon 50mm f/1.8D plus the Kenko 36mm extension tube, usually shot up around f/22. That gives a 1:1.15 (0.87x mag). It's super light and usually autofocuses pretty well. Again, I shoot with off-camera flash. You could do the same thing with the 35mm f/1.8 DX lens with either the 36mm or a 20mm extension tube, but your working distance will be a fair bit shorter.

Most things in my insect gallery were shot with the 105mm VR or 50mm f/1.8d + extension tube, or the Nikon 28-105D lens w/ macro mode.
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Old Tuesday 9th April 2019, 07:45   #9
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This was taken on m4/3 with my old sigma 105 via a manual adapter, it was the shot that decided me to pursue macro via the m4/3
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Old Tuesday 9th April 2019, 12:31   #10
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Thanks for the info gents! I recently started using the 60mm, so still learning how to use it. It is promising, but you have to get quite close, which is sometimes tough for things on the ground. (I'm tall and middle aged, so it's a long way to go for me ;-).
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Old Tuesday 9th April 2019, 19:04   #11
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Thanks for the info gents! I recently started using the 60mm, so still learning how to use it. It is promising, but you have to get quite close, which is sometimes tough for things on the ground. (I'm tall and middle aged, so it's a long way to go for me ;-).
The Olympus 60mm has a normal working distance for 60mm of 7.5" (0.19m). That's about the same as the Nikon 60mm Macro lens.

To get distance, you need something like the Canon 180mm f/3.5L macro or the Nikon 200mm f/4 macro. The Nikon 200mm has a 10" (0.25m) working distance for 1:1 and the Canon 180 is 13.5" (0.34m). That's about as much as you will get. Both of those lenses are very heavy compared other models, but amazingly sharp. Everything else will be closer working.

If you use a big zoom, like the Panny 100-400 (minimum focus 4.27' / 1.3 m), you can have a long working distance but will not get the 1:1 reproduction ratio and will need to work at higher shutter speeds due to shake blur.

The Nikon DX 85mm f/3.5G VR macro lens has a good 11.26" / 28.6 cm working distance. That's probably a great option for DX, but I have not used it.

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Old Tuesday 9th April 2019, 19:27   #12
nikonmike
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Thanks for the info gents! I recently started using the 60mm, so still learning how to use it. It is promising, but you have to get quite close, which is sometimes tough for things on the ground. (I'm tall and middle aged, so it's a long way to go for me ;-).
Due to age etc i now often push the camera out in front and use the LCD, i do have a small flash on though.
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Old Thursday 11th April 2019, 03:35   #13
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The Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro is on sale in the US at almost half off, presumably because a new Art line version is coming soon. Some US merchants like B&H will ship to the UK.
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Old Wednesday 17th April 2019, 13:46   #14
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Nikon AF-S 60mm f2.8 IMHO, for general photos and copy work. AF-S 105mm f2.8G for insects, longer working distance. Don't be afraid to buy these second hand as they hardly get used.
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