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Old Sep 16, 2008, 10:39 PM   #1
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I've got a D40 and I'm looking around at different lenses, just basically trying to learn.

I see lenses labeled as "macro" lenses. Typically 50 or 60mm F2.8.

Why are these labeled as macro?

My 18-55 kit lens can be set near the same focal length but obviously not that large of an aperture. What is the comparison?

Some lenses labeled as "standard" are 50mm F1.4.

I'm confused.
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Old Sep 16, 2008, 10:56 PM   #2
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A macro lens is able to obtain a closer focus. The reproduction may be 1:1.The focal length of a macro lens will usually range from 50mm to 200mm. It is more complex than a regular lens and is a fixed focal length. Some zooms may advertise themselves as macro when they can get to a 3:1 or higher ratio; however, they are not real macros.
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Old Sep 16, 2008, 11:07 PM   #3
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I'd like to get closer to subjects than I currently can. When I'm using my 18-55 kit lens @ 55mm as soon as I get closer than about 10" (which is the min distance) the camera won't focus and won't take a shot (in Auto mode and Auto focus).

The macro lenses I looked at from Nikon seem to have a shorter min. distance. 60mm F2.8 AFS lens is 7.2". The 105mm F2.8 is 12".

What would allow me to get closer (either via zoom or distance) to get finer detail?
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Old Sep 17, 2008, 10:28 AM   #4
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The Nikon 60mm and 105 macro lenses allow for 1:1 reproduction. This means that at the closest foucusing distance the subject is the same size as the sensor. On the D40 that's 23.7mm by 15.5mm. So macro lenses will allow you to focus much closer and get more detail on smaller subjects.

There are other macro lenses available for Nikon cameras from Sigma, Tokina and Tamron. Just make sure they support autofocus on the D40 and have the 1:1 reproduction, or if you can find it 1:2 which means that the subject is even smaller at 1/2 the size of the sensor.

As Spokane says don't be fooled by the zoom lenses that claim to be macro but give a reproduction ratio of something like 3:1 this means that your smallest subject will be 3 times the size of the sensor.


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Old Oct 5, 2008, 7:01 AM   #5
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Macro lenses (called Micro lenses by Nikon :?) also are designed to have optimal sharpness and performance at close focus distances.

Most of the time, for macro work. you will be using manual focus. Hence, the lack of AF ability on a D40/D60 will be less of an issue than for general photography. The depth of fieid for macro photos is usually very small (1-2" is common). AF can't decide which specific part of your subject is most important to be in focus.

The focal length you need for macro work depends partly on the type of subjects you want to photograph. If your interest is stinging insects or animals which might attack you, then you can't get too close. A telephoto zoom (150-200mm) would make more sense than a 60mm lens. There are several excellent macro lenses in the 85-200mm range, from Nikon, Tokina, SIgma and Tamron (and perhaps others too).
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