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Forums Lobby MASTER YOUR VISION - BY SPECIALTY Micro, Macro & Close-up (Public) topic #50372
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Subject: "What Macro lens" Previous topic | Next topic
AartPapaya Silver Member Nikonian since 21st Oct 2011Wed 30-Jan-13 12:36 PM
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"What Macro lens"
Wed 30-Jan-13 12:38 PM by AartPapaya

Hectorspruit, ZA
          

I have a 50mm Sigma lens and got very fond of it. I would however like to upgrade to a 100+ mm lens. Would you mind suggesting a good lens? For example a Nikor lens would be about 2x as expensive as a Sigma. Can the extra expense be justified?


Aart

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Subject Author Message Date ID
Reply message RE: What Macro lens
blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas
30th Jan 2013
1
Reply message RE: What Macro lens
AartPapaya Silver Member
30th Jan 2013
2
     Reply message RE: What Macro lens
gheck58 Silver Member
31st Jan 2013
3
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AartPapaya Silver Member
31st Jan 2013
4
Reply message RE: What Macro lens
Tony_Jeffree
31st Jan 2013
5
Reply message RE: What Macro lens
AartPapaya Silver Member
31st Jan 2013
6
     Reply message RE: What Macro lens
Tony_Jeffree
31st Jan 2013
7
     Reply message RE: What Macro lens
blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas
31st Jan 2013
8
          Reply message RE: What Macro lens
Tony_Jeffree
01st Feb 2013
10
               Reply message RE: What Macro lens
blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas
01st Feb 2013
11
                    Reply message RE: What Macro lens
Tony_Jeffree
01st Feb 2013
12
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VR8 Silver Member
01st Feb 2013
9
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phoridae Silver Member
03rd Feb 2013
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blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004Wed 30-Jan-13 01:05 PM
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#1. "RE: What Macro lens"
In response to Reply # 0


Richmond, US
          

The current Sigma 105/f2.8 HSM OS Macro is actually more expensive than the 105/f2.8 AFS VR Micro-Nikkor. My impression is that the Sigma is slightly sharper, although there's not much in it. They are comparable in functionality.

The Sigma 180/f2.8 HSM OS Macro also is comparable in price to the 200/f4 AFD Micro-Nikkor at about $1700. The Nikkor is certainly Nikon's best Micro, and I certainly like mine, but judging by the fact that it's a 1993 design and the Sigma is a brand-new model benefiting from a full twenty years worth of advancement (in terms of manufacturing advances, glass improvements and design), it's a fair bet that the Sigma is even better. What's clearly the case is that the Sigma has much more flexible focusing, has OS, and is a full stop faster. I seriously doubt the additional speed will be of any relevance to most macro work, but the HSM and OS make this lens viable as a regular fast telephoto lens, whereas the Nikkor just isn't that.

Out of the stratosphere in pricing are two Tamrons: the 90/f2.8, and the 180/f3.5. I've owned two of the 90/f2.8 and it is a superb optic. It's also slightly sharper than the Nikkor 105, although again there is not that much difference. It is lacking in many conveniences, such as no OS/VR/VC, and it is not an internal focusing design so it extends as you move toward minimum focus. But it's a very functional lens and it costs a whale of a lot less: $500 compared to the $900 or so for the Sigma and Nikkor. It is also much lighter. On the other hand, many people don't like it because "it isn't built as well." Well, maybe, but my second one did something like 400,000 miles with me, and it looked pretty much like new when I sold it to a friend, who still uses it years later. Used copies are readily available for around $300.

The 180/f3.5 is also a superb optic, in the same league as the Sigma and Nikkor, probably not quite their equal but still excellent or better. Like the 90, it lacks features (OS/VC) and is not a quick focuser, it is much lighter than the others in its class - and it is well less than half the price at about $750. Used copies are available but are not common.

One more to consider is the older 105/f2.8 AFD Micro-Nikkor. Out of production for years, it is still readily available used and is an excellent lens. It lacks all of the conveniences: AFS, VR, internal focus. But it's available for around $350 used. I use this one for my mid-range macro needs. I have it rather than the Tamron primarily because of filter size - the Tamron takes a rather odd (in a Nikon bag) 55mm, while the 105 Nikkors take either 52 or 62. I have those filters and more importantly I have adapter rings for my macro flash in that size. Not usually a major consideration.

Finally, there is a Tokina 100/f2.8 ATX Macro. I know less about it, other than it too is an excellent lens, that it has basic features, and that it is in the same price category as the Tamron 90.

All eight lenses here are optically superb. It's a matter of pricing and features.

_____
Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member

My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!

  

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AartPapaya Silver Member Nikonian since 21st Oct 2011Wed 30-Jan-13 07:49 PM
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#2. "RE: What Macro lens"
In response to Reply # 1
Wed 30-Jan-13 07:53 PM by AartPapaya

Hectorspruit, ZA
          

Thank you Brian
Every time I deal with Nikonians I am overwhelmed by there willingness to share their knowledge. Thank you for preparing this. It was worth more than any of my searches on the web.

It was not easy but I decided on the 105mm Nikor lens. To me the internal focusing is a huge plus as well as the proven reliability of the lens.




Aart

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

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gheck58 Silver Member Nikonian since 26th Dec 2003Thu 31-Jan-13 02:46 AM
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#3. "RE: What Macro lens"
In response to Reply # 2
Thu 31-Jan-13 02:52 AM by gheck58

Aliso Viejo, US
          

"Can the extra expense be justified"

Well you really have to answer that yourself. Most macro lenses are sharp, certainly as sharp as you'll ever need them to be. So if that's all you care about then get the cheapest one (Tamron, Sigma, used Nikkor, etc.)

I read so many of these posts that equate lens sharpness with sole determination of value. Then they buy the cheaper 3rd party lens and it won't focus properly or it's not sealed well, etc. You should also keep in mind things like; how much will you use it, build quality, does the lens extend when its focused close, does the front barrel rotate or not, sharpness wide open, sharpness across the whole frame, length of warranty, if you need a long focal length or will 60mm do, can I get one that will do double duty as a portrait lens, bokeh, will it work with teleconverters, a bayonet lens hood, re-sell value, etc.?

And for me the answer to all of the above plus nano-crystal coating and VR is the Nikkor 105VR.


Hecky

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Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

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AartPapaya Silver Member Nikonian since 21st Oct 2011Thu 31-Jan-13 05:53 AM
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#4. "RE: What Macro lens"
In response to Reply # 3
Thu 31-Jan-13 05:54 AM by AartPapaya

Hectorspruit, ZA
          

Hecky, Thank you for the conformation. This is by the way a bloody nice picture you posted

Aart

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Tony_Jeffree Registered since 13th Oct 2004Thu 31-Jan-13 09:12 AM
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#5. "RE: What Macro lens"
In response to Reply # 0


Manchester, UK
          

>I have a 50mm Sigma lens and got very fond of it. I would
>however like to upgrade to a 100+ mm lens. Would you mind
>suggesting a good lens? For example a Nikor lens would be
>about 2x as expensive as a Sigma. Can the extra expense be
>justified?

You don't say what you mean by "upgrade" here. The Sigma 50mm lens is, by most lens standards, spectacularly good; but then, the same comment applies to the rest of the macro lenses (current models and otherwise) as well. What (apart from spending more money) are you looking for out of the new lens that your Sigma doesn't offer? By the look of the images that you have posted in this thread, the Sigma is delivering excellent image quality for you already, so IMHO that can't be the problem you are trying to solve.

Regards,
Tony

My Nikonians Gallery

  

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AartPapaya Silver Member Nikonian since 21st Oct 2011Thu 31-Jan-13 03:17 PM
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#6. "RE: What Macro lens"
In response to Reply # 5
Thu 31-Jan-13 03:17 PM by AartPapaya

Hectorspruit, ZA
          

Thanks Tony,
The main reason why I wanted a slightly longer lens is to be a little further from my subject. Most of my shots are in the wild and many insects, even spiders, are scared away if within a few cm from the lens.
A bonus is the internal focus mechanism. With the 50mm Sigma there is a very sudden increase in lens extension going in very close.
I thought I was alone on my admiration of the 50mm Sigma.

Aart

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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Tony_Jeffree Registered since 13th Oct 2004Thu 31-Jan-13 05:57 PM
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#7. "RE: What Macro lens"
In response to Reply # 6
Thu 31-Jan-13 05:59 PM by Tony_Jeffree

Manchester, UK
          

>Thanks Tony,
>The main reason why I wanted a slightly longer lens is to be a
>little further from my subject. Most of my shots are in the
>wild and many insects, even spiders, are scared away if within
>a few cm from the lens.

OK that makes sense - the Sigma 50 doesn't have much working distance when you get down to 1:1.

>A bonus is the internal focus mechanism. With the 50mm Sigma
>there is a very sudden increase in lens extension going in
>very close.

That is true, but along with the bonus of no extension, IF lenses do have the downside, because they focus by changing the effective focal length, of changing the framing of the subject as you focus. At the end of the day it comes down to what technique you use; one of my tactics, especially when attempting to track moving insects, is to set the focus to an appropriate distance (and set lens/camera to MF) and focus by moving the camera, either on a focusing rail or handheld. That way, lens extension isn't an issue.

> I thought I was alone on my admiration of the 50mm Sigma.
>
It is an excellent piece of glass, and I don't plan to get rid of mine anytime soon, despite having various other macro lenses to hand (Nikon 55 Micro, Tokina 35 and 100, Vivitar Series 1 105mm at the last count!). It has the great advantage over the 105's, particularly the VR variants, that it is very pocketable, so you can carry a macro around along with your favourite "walk around" lens just in case you spot something that needs the macro treatment.

Regards,
Tony

My Nikonians Gallery

  

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blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004Thu 31-Jan-13 09:18 PM
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#8. "RE: What Macro lens"
In response to Reply # 6


Richmond, US
          

> I thought I was alone on my admiration of the 50mm Sigma.

Count me in that group. Particularly considering that it's a really, really inexpensive lens.

> The main reason why I wanted a slightly longer lens is to be a little further from my subject. ... many insects, even spiders, are scared away

If you're really after insects, you probably should go for longer than the 105 - the 200 yields about twice the working distance of the 105 (13" if I recall correctly), and it is also an internal focus design. One might also even consider the Nikkor 300/f4 AFS for this, assuming an extension tube. The longer Sigma and Tamrons are also excellent at this. I've found that the 200 is only just barely long enough to stay out of the "circle of fear" of many insects. The Tamron 90 and 105 Micro-Nikkors are not all that different than any of the shorter lenses, in practical effect with insects. That's not to say that they can't get any insect shots, but the hit rate is a LOT higher with the long macros.

Of course, the long macros - any of them - are a much larger lens, so you have to make a choice as to whether or not that will get in the way between the car and your subjects, particularly if that involves a six mile hike and a 3000' change in elevation!

_____
Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member

My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!

  

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Tony_Jeffree Registered since 13th Oct 2004Fri 01-Feb-13 02:54 PM
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#10. "RE: What Macro lens"
In response to Reply # 8


Manchester, UK
          

>> I thought I was alone on my admiration of the 50mm
>Sigma.
>
>Count me in that group. Particularly considering that it's a
>really, really inexpensive lens.

What initially impressed me about it, when I looked at it side by side with a Nikon 60mm, was that its AF seemed to be significantly quieter than the Nikon. That plus the cheaper price clinched it for me at the time. No regerets!

Regards,
Tony

My Nikonians Gallery

  

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blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004Fri 01-Feb-13 07:45 PM
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#11. "RE: What Macro lens"
In response to Reply # 10


Richmond, US
          

I assume that was the older 60/f2.8 AFD? Yes, that one seems a bit on the noisy side. I have a 60/f2.8 AFS - and it is vewy, vewy quiet ... quiet enough to be hunting wabbits!

_____
Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member

My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!

  

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Tony_Jeffree Registered since 13th Oct 2004Fri 01-Feb-13 08:02 PM
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#12. "RE: What Macro lens"
In response to Reply # 11


Manchester, UK
          

>I assume that was the older 60/f2.8 AFD? Yes, that one seems
>a bit on the noisy side. I have a 60/f2.8 AFS - and it is
>vewy, vewy quiet ... quiet enough to be hunting wabbits!

Yes it was the AFD... not tried the AFS, but then, I don't hunt wabbits..

My dog does though...

Regards,
Tony

My Nikonians Gallery

  

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VR8 Silver Member Nikonian since 04th May 2008Fri 01-Feb-13 02:42 PM
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#9. "RE: What Macro lens"
In response to Reply # 0


Ottawa, CA
          

I am using the old AFD version, its bit noisy but the results are great.

One reason I have heard to go with the newer 105mm is that it works with the 1.4 TC. I have been curious what that combination with extension tubes might be capable of

Victor

My website: www.rakmilphotography.com

  

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phoridae Silver Member Nikonian since 27th Feb 2003Sun 03-Feb-13 02:13 PM
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#13. "RE: What Macro lens"
In response to Reply # 9


Monrovia, US
          

More expensive, but excellent, is the Voigtlander 125mm f2.5 macro. Really, really sharp.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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Forums Lobby MASTER YOUR VISION - BY SPECIALTY Micro, Macro & Close-up (Public) topic #50372 Previous topic | Next topic