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Old May 19, 2011, 11:00 AM   #1
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Default Macro Lens Suggestions

I have a D80 and I am interested in purchasing a lens that can also do macro for the camera. I have looked on Ebay and there are hundreds of items for sale some Nikon items some not.

If you had a couple of hundred dollars to spend and only wanted a Nikon lens which lens would you suggest?

Thanks for your help.
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Old May 19, 2011, 11:31 AM   #2
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The majority of real macro lenses on the market are very good. I'm referring to the single focal length (prime) lenses that can shoot 1:1 or life size on the sensor, not the "macro" capable zoom lenses which can't. The "macro" capable zoom lenses aren't all that great for the most part.

1:1 means the lens can focus close enough to cover an area the size of your imaging sensor or about 16mmx24mm.

Macro lenses come in various focal lengths from about 50mm to 200mm, the longer the focal length the greater the working distance between the camera and the subject. This can be handy if you are shooting something like an insect which you might spook if you get too close. Longer focal lengths also allow for better lighting on the subject and less chance of shadows from the lens barrel.

105mm seems to be the trade off point between cost, working distance, weight and popularity.

In addition to Nikon, Sigma, Tamron and Tokina also offer real macro lenses of various focal lengths.
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Old May 19, 2011, 2:26 PM   #3
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Thank you for explaining 1:1 and distance relationship to the lenses MM...I never got that before.
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Old May 19, 2011, 3:01 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lisalonewolf View Post
Thank you for explaining 1:1 and distance relationship to the lenses MM...I never got that before.
Well, it's not entirely true... I have the Tamron 90 macro lens, and it has no more working distance than the Tamron 60 macro. Lens working distance depends in part on focal length, but it also depends on the rest of the design choices made for the lens. Most commonly, longer focal length means longer working distances, but not necessarily. And, unfortunately, working distance is not one of the specs that gets reported on macros -- they will report the minimum focal distance, but without knowing how much the lens trombones and how recessed the lens is in its housing, etc., there is simply no way to translate the minimum focal distance into working distance -- even though that is probably the number you really want!
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Old May 29, 2011, 10:22 AM   #5
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For the $200 price limit, virtually every macro is well beyond that limit, starting around $450.

Staying within your price range, consider an extension tube set, such as Kenko for $179. They have no optics, so brandname is not important. You will use your existing lens. While you can find cheaper, they are true manual. With the current generation of DX lens without an aperature ring, that is a major problem as the camera cannot communicate the lens adjustment. Look for a set with TTL capability so you can set the aperature on camera, and it communicates it to the lens.

The other advantage, if you later buy a macro, the tubes will work with it too.

A cheaper advantage (around $30) is a reversing adapter which screws into the filter threads and allows mounting the lens backwards. This absolutely requires a lens where the aperature can be set, such as the 50mm 1.8.

Either are good ways to get a taste of macro with incidental demand, without the major outlay.
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Old Jun 6, 2011, 10:03 PM   #6
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I hope I'm not out of place posting this. But in the $200 price range I don't think you can go wrong and with the Nikon 35 MM 1.8 lens. I realize that this isn't a real macro shot. But this lens can get reasonably close.
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Old Jun 17, 2011, 7:11 AM   #7
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But isn't getting really close part of the problem?


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Old Jun 17, 2011, 11:21 AM   #8
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Getting close is the heart of macro photography. See http://forums.steves-digicams.com/ge...ml#post1219400 for some examples of macro photos.
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Old Jun 27, 2011, 3:04 PM   #9
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That's what I mean. Getting the lens is just the start. Use a short lens and there is hardly any light, so extra illumination is required and that doesn't come cheap for good stuff. So being on a budget, which I know doesn't seem to apply to lots on here, a longer lens with greater working distance has a lot of advantages.
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