I am about to purchase a macro lens for my Nikkon System.
Sine now I was using bellows and my normal 50 mm lens , reversed or not , and occationally a closeup filter on my 75-150 3.5 E.
The results are not spectacular and I am looking for a macro lens. I am considering used or new.
I am not sure about the focal length either.
I know that the longer thet better up to a limit , but the price follows the FL closely
Has any Nikonian used , or uses a manual or AF macro that considers a good buy ?
I hear that the 55 micro nikkor (a certain version) has problems with the diaphragm blades is that true ?.
Also can you recomend a good macro lens considering that price should be within reach of an amateur photographer , from the old or new micro Nikkors , Nikkon has to offer ?
I hope everyone is in good health !
All manual Anemos
#1. "RE: Which macro ?" | In response to Reply # 0f8bthere Basic MemberMon 14-Aug-00 03:35 PM
I am also a user of manual equipment, and have pretty good experience with the 55mm f2.8 Micro Nikkor.
It is smaller and lighter than the 60mm autofocus, but only goes to 1/2 life size without the PK13 extention tube, but this never was a problem for me. The tube is small, light and just sits in my bag if needed. Additionally, the tube works on all Nikkors, so it earns its keep in many ways.
I have owned two of these lenses... I stupidly sold the first one... suffered mentally until I replaced it. I have never had a problem with either lens' aperture... both of these were the typically smooth operating MF Nikkors that made me fall in love with the brand. The front element is tiny and very recessed into the lens body... you simply can not induce this lens to flair. It is just as sharp at infinity as it is close up, (unlike the f3.5 versions), and can be a good normal lens as long as you can live with f2.8. For many of the zoom folks, f2.8 would be a revelation!
As testiment to the quality of these lenses, they are hard to find, and expensive when availible. I paid 200 dollars for my brand new one in 1986... 300 for a used one in 1995. For me it was worth it!
#2. "RE: Which macro ?" | In response to Reply # 0jalle Basic MemberMon 14-Aug-00 04:33 PM
Her comes my personal thoughts around your questions.
Never use a macrolens under 90 mm (if you don’t want to move into the subject, if the subject not already moved away
A good macro lens will at least reproduce down to a scale of 1:1 (real life size).
AF is good to have on a macro lens, not for the macrophoto but for other things you could use the lens for.
AF Micro Nikkor 105 2,8 is a very good macro lens, incredible sharp. (One of Nikons many golden eggs)
Used non ‘D’ you can find in the second hand market for a reasonable price. The ‘D’ is not so important ins this case if you don’t often use flashlight in you macro photo work.
Alternative to Nikon? Yes there is. Tamron make a very good AF or MF 90 mm 2,8 macro lens.
Sure there is others to but I have long experience of this Tamron lens because I have used it
in many many years. It is one of Tamrons few golden eggs
Other alternative? Extension tubes and a medium tele works well. I often use my Nikkor 80-200 2,8 or even the 300 4.0 in combination with extension tubes. It make the background diffuse
and move the subject into the front. But it depends on the motif.
Maybe I have helped you a little bit?
#3. "RE: Which macro ?" | In response to Reply # 0BJNicholls Charter MemberWed 16-Aug-00 12:45 AM
I'm quite pleased with my 60mm 2.8 Micro D. Yes, it would be nice to have twice the focal length. I can borrow a 105 should I need to, but I don't shoot macros of animate objects, so the 60 has been a reasonable focal length to work with.
I consider the performance at the price to be one of Nikon's best deals. The handling is excellent for an AF lens, with both focus limit and manual focus/AF controls built into the lens.
Salt Lake City, UT
#4. "RE: Which macro ?" | In response to Reply # 3Merlin Basic MemberMon 28-Aug-00 08:33 AM
I've been fortunate enough to use, in my opinion, the world's two TOP macro lenses: the 55mm and 105mm Micro-Nikkors.
I work at the US Army's Medical Illustration Division - for years, we've tested both these lenses for surgical photography, forensic, and repro work.
Back in the days before scanners, we'd use the 55mm f2.8 for creating 35mm slides of X-rays. The film was Kodak's SO185 - an incredibly slow black and white slide film, with an ASA of about 3. This meant shooting with the lens wide open, but this Nikkor was razor sharp edge-to-edge. Shooting 35mm Kodalith film of text or graphics, you could always depend on this lens to deliver the goods - slides so sharp they would project onto a 30 foot conference screen with no visible distortion - truly amazing!
One of the problems we had with shooting clinical stuff during surgery is that you had to push the lens alarmingly close to an open patient. So we solved it by buying a 105mm f-2.8 Micro-Nikkor. Wonderful! Double the distance from the subject, with almost boring sharpness (we used a ring flash, giving a working aperture of around 11 on 200 ASA Ektachrome.
Both these lenses will go up to 1:1 only with an extension tube. But it's a small penalty, believe me.
As for autofocus in macro work, forget it. You have very little depth of field to play with, and the autofocus will only find the front edge of the subject for you. Depth of field (rule of thumb...) goes one third towards you and two thirds away from you, so you want to be focusing a third of the way down the subject. You'll have to rely on good, old fashioned photog's eyeball for that!
Both these lenses can, at a pinch, be used for general purpose photography, but focusing can be tricky at longer distances from 5 meters to infinity. The numbers are very tight together, which makes for ultra critical care when focusing.
Both these lenses are legendary, you'll never have to worry about wearing them out - it just can't be done!
#5. "RE: Which macro ?" | In response to Reply # 4f8bthere Basic MemberMon 28-Aug-00 05:06 PM
It seems that we agree more often than not on most of these subjects...(read my praise to the 55mm f2.8 micro Nikkor in this thread).
I find that I like the short turn of the focusing ring at the longer distances. At about 30 degrees of rotation to go from 3 feet to infinity, the image "pops" into focus very quickly. My older AI 50mm f1.4, while having less DOF travels more than three times the rotation for the same range. I find more back and forth action is required to "zero" the focus with the non-micro lens. With the micro, focus is established in one swift move. This may just be personal, but I like the short turn.
I concur with everything else you spoke, especially the fact that autofocus is not the best mode working macro. This lens is one of the classics from the good old days.
#6. "RE: Which macro ?" | In response to Reply # 5jrp Charter MemberMon 28-Aug-00 11:07 PM
Perhaps will also help to make your final decision a section written by the Nikon Tech staff, at:
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#7. "RE: Which macro ?" | In response to Reply # 0
I have the 105 2.8 AF Micro Nikkor, and I love the sharp images it creates. I prefer to focus manually when shooting macro, as the AF brackets may not fall on the part of the subject I want to emphasize, but the AF is just fine when using the lens for non-macro subjects. The greater working distance (as compared to the 60mm) and the 1:1 reproduction without needing additional extensions, etc., made it worth the cost to me. I just posted an image I shot recently in the "A Picture I Took" forum of a flower closeup, which I was lucky enough to get shooting handheld (a tripod is ALWAYS a better choice for macro).
#8. "RE: Which macro ?" | In response to Reply # 7
Thank you all for your trully enlightening remarks about the micro nikkor. I found one 105 2.8 on the market and I am waiting for my money to add up
Meanwhile I ll be watching this space , coz there is nothing more rewarding than listening to Real people that use Real lenses with Real Remarks.
All manual Anemos