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Old Jul 2, 2013, 2:22 PM   #1
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Default Help: which macro and telezoom lens to buy

Hey
I have my DSLR Nikon D3100 for one year now and I have Nikkor 18-55 f/3.5-5.6 lens. But I figured out this lens is not enough for me.
I really like to buy a lens that is good for shooting landscape (from closer, I don't want to make wide angle shots) and shooting objects from really close (like blossoms, grass, insects and other small objects in details). What I really like to shoot are flowers, small insects, drops on the grass, wheat ear, portraits, sunset (the sun should be big, not just a small dot on the picture), old ships at the seaside, dolphins jumping out of the water, family shots at the holidays...

I decided to buy one telezoom lens and one macro lens. I'm thinking to buy Tamron SP70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di VC USD (as a telezoom), but for macro lens I'm divided by Tamron AF SP 90mm F/2,8 Di Macro 1:1 and Tamron AF SP 60mm F/2.0 DI II LD (IF) Macro 1:1.
Tamron 60 has better aperture, but you need to shoot object from closer. What is better advantage - better aperture or bigger focal length?

If you think some other lens is better for what I need, please tell me. And please tell me about your experience with lenses I mentioned above. I'm high school student, so I have to look at the price, too (not more than 900 for both lenses).

Thank you for your help, I really appreciate it!
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Old Jul 2, 2013, 4:35 PM   #2
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G'day mate

May I answer you esp on the basis of you being a high school student and therefore $$ is probably the most important issue. I say this as I find too many people seem to think that the top-level pro lenses are the 'only' way to go ...

Your choice of the Tamron seems to be a good one - I realise that there are 1/2-dozen options for mm's and max apertures etc, but this lens gets a good wrap from many reviewers so I say to "go for it"

With respect to the macro part of your query - do you really need 1:1 magnification for macro - or just closeup photos of small objects. If you really need 1:1 then go for the 90mm macro lens - as it's a great portraiture lens as well as macro.

If you only need closeups then I am going to be a bit radical and say 'no-don't get a dedicated macro lens' ... yet

I suggest that you buy a very good "+2 dioptre close up lens" to fit onto the 70-300 zoom and use that for your closeups. This is what I use for my closeup stuff

I would suggest that you look into any of the:
Canon 500D or Panasonic LC55 or Raynox 500 lenses - all are +2 dioptre and also are 2-element lenses for better image sharpness and anti-colour fringing. Each costs about $120. Most are 58mm filter-thread diameter, so you would also need a 58 -> 62mm step-up ring for about $5 as well

Using one of these closeup lenses on the 70-300 will mean that the lens-to-subject distance remains at about 1/2-metre while the zoom is used to change image size, making it a very useful lens system
ps- if you'd like a PDF on closeup lenses please PM me [all my students get it too]

Phil
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Old Jul 2, 2013, 5:20 PM   #3
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In general, longer macro lenses provide you with more "working distance" between your subject and the lens. If you're shooting inanimate objects in good light, a short macro lens might work well, but if you want to avoid frightening your subject or blocking your own light, you should look for something longer. There are no bad macro lenses, so, so long as you get a lens with an appropriate focal length for your subject, you can't go wrong.

Both Sigma and Tamron have newer Marco lenses that include image stabilization (Sigma: OS. Tamron: VC.), which will be useful for what you say you're after. Stabilization isn't as good as a tripod, especially for 1:1 macro, but for less demanding subjects, having stabilization is better than not having it.

A problem with add-on macro devices (close-up lenses, etc.) is that, not only do they insert their own optical shortcomings, they magnify the shortcomings of the lens you use them with. While both the Nikon 18-55/3.5-5.6 you have and the Tamron 70-300/4-5.6 you're considering are very good "general purpose" lenses, neither of them would work well with a close-up attachment, and they're both pretty dim at the focal lengths you're likely to use them.
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Old Jul 3, 2013, 8:42 AM   #4
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Thank you both for good answers! Then I think it is better for me to buy Tamron 90mm, because I want to shoot insects that can be easily frightened if you come too close.
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Old Jul 3, 2013, 8:57 AM   #5
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Not only are the newer Sigma and Tamron macro lenses both stabilized, they both feature internal focusing. That means they don't get longer as they focus closer, so they are even less likely to frighten animate objects.
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Old Jul 3, 2013, 4:22 PM   #6
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G'day Mate

Quote:
Originally Posted by TCav View Post
A problem with add-on macro devices (close-up lenses, etc.) is that, not only do they insert their own optical shortcomings, they magnify the shortcomings of the lens you use them with. While both the Nikon 18-55/3.5-5.6 you have and the Tamron 70-300/4-5.6 you're considering are very good "general purpose" lenses, neither of them would work well with a close-up attachment, and they're both pretty dim at the focal lengths you're likely to use them.
TC - may I disagree with you here ... and I was also couching my response above bearing in mind the OP is a high school student with limited finances available

You say above that while "the Tamron 70-300/4-5.6 [is a] very good "general purpose" lens [it] would not work well with a close-up attachment"

here's some samples with the Canon 500D lens on a zoom like the 70-300 above

1- Paper wasps emerging


2- Paper wasp emerging from egg sac


3- Nephila Spider in web


Quote:
Originally Posted by TCav View Post
In general, longer macro lenses provide you with more "working distance" between your subject and the lens. ...
and all of these has a working distance of between 1/3m & 1/2m [12" to 18"]


To my eye the above images are quite okay as closeups - ie: not trying to be 1:1 macro images, and each of them would be quite okay in any camera club comp for close up images etc

Phil
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Old Jul 3, 2013, 6:55 PM   #7
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As good as the Tamron SP 70-300 is, from 200-300mm it's not great. It's also a stop or two dimmer than the lenses that were used in the examples you provided. As a result, focusing (auto or manual) will not be easy or accurate.

If we were talking about the Nikon 70-300 VR AF-S, it would still be dimmer and thus less likely to focus accurately, but because of the increased sharpness, the chances for success would be greater than with the Tamron.

The Tamron is a nice lens, and a very nice lens for the money, but with the added burden of having its flaws magnified, I doubt it would work well, especially when compared with the results available from a macro lens.
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Last edited by TCav; Jul 3, 2013 at 6:58 PM.
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