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Old Nov 13, 2006, 9:49 AM   #1
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Hello, I currently own a Nikon D50 with the 18-55 and 55-200 kit lenses.



I'd like to get a new lens this Christmas and I'm thinking about getting some kind of macro lens. I enjoy photos of insects and flowers etc. and I'd like to be able to get closer and bring out more detail than I currently can with my two lenses.



Can any body suggest any good options? I'm probably looking to spend around £200, £250, something like that.

I see all these things about 'true 1:1' magnification, but I dont really understand what this means. Can't really put it into a context agaisnt my current lenses. Will the focal length affect how close I can get to things, or how big I can make them in the frame?



Any help is much appreciated.
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Old Nov 13, 2006, 6:21 PM   #2
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A true macro lens reproduces images at 1:1, meaning they will appear as life sized in the image. True macros are typically primes, and nikon's macro's are called micros. The 60mm micro is the cheapest, around $400USD new. Others are available from Nikon and others. Nikon has a 105 (about $600 new) and new 105VR ($800) and 200 (lets just say really, really expensive). The longer the focal length, the greater the working distance from the subject. The 105 is great for bugs and other skittish creatures. From the third party vendors, Tamron makes a well regarded 90mm which stacks up well against the Nikon 105 for a cheaper price.
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Old Nov 14, 2006, 5:19 AM   #3
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I love my 60mm Micro but it is outside your budget so you need to be looking at the Sigma and Tamron ones (105mm & 90mm respectively). Both seem to get excellent results. 1:1 means an object the same size as the sensor size will fill the frame, so roughly 24mm wide for the D50/70 etc. For small bugs you will still need to do some cropping, but these lenses tend to be very sharp, so it is not a problem.

You may want to consider some sort of flash and possibly extension cable and bracket to try to get some depth of field. I use a Metz 28 AF3N - less than £100. Also, if you don't have an external flash, you can try the built in one - at 60mm you will cast a shadow at close distances, but you may get away with it with a 105mm. Don't be afraid to use ISO1600 if you aren't using flash.

Keith.
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Old Nov 14, 2006, 8:32 AM   #4
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Thanks for both of your replies, this is really helpful.



Keith, what do you mean by 'some sort of flash and possibly extension cable and bracket to try to get some depth of field.' I don't understand how this affects the depth of field.



And is the shot you posted just using the 60mm Micro? Could you post an uncropped version so I can get an idea of what's filling the frame. (Love the shot by the way, I spent ages taking photos of dragonflies and damselflies in the summer and wanted to be able to get even finer details such as this).
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Old Nov 14, 2006, 9:42 AM   #5
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Plankton wrote:
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Thanks for both of your replies, this is really helpful.



Keith, what do you mean by 'some sort of flash and possibly extension cable and bracket to try to get some depth of field.' I don't understand how this affects the depth of field.



And is the shot you posted just using the 60mm Micro? Could you post an uncropped version so I can get an idea of what's filling the frame. (Love the shot by the way, I spent ages taking photos of dragonflies and damselflies in the summer and wanted to be able to get even finer details such as this).
Sorry, I should have explained better. You can never get enough depth of field with macros - using flash really helps. That shot was f45 with flash. Even at that aperture the depth of field is probably only 2mm or 3mm. Without flash it would be very shallow. Also, the flash helps with camera shake and subject movement.

Yes, it was the 60mm. Here is the full uncropped version.

Keith.
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Old Nov 14, 2006, 11:33 AM   #6
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Ohh I see. So would I come into more problems with a 90mm or 105mm lens (I think I'm right in assuming a more shallow depth of field in a lens with a longer focal length)?



Thanks very much for this help. I'm probably looking at the sigma 90mm, unless I wait longer and save more moolah for the 60mm micro nikkor lens.
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Old Nov 14, 2006, 12:21 PM   #7
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Plankton wrote:
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Ohh I see. So would I come into more problems with a 90mm or 105mm lens (I think I'm right in assuming a more shallow depth of field in a lens with a longer focal length)?

Well, no! For a given magnification, to a first approximation, depth of field doesn't depend on focal length. (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depth_of_field). However, if you do a bit more searching and take into account non-symetrical lenses you may find slightly more depth of field with longer lenses!

Personally I would suggest you buy what gives you the working distance you want, that you can afford. I have only ever used the 60mm Micro (had it for years from film days) so I am no expert. However, I like it's size and weight. Also, when I have tried macro with longer lenses (around 150mm) they seem harder to hold still. I am not sure why.

The 60mm is available cheaper from Hong Kong http://www.digitalrev.com/en/product...ategory_id=136 but then you have to add on shipping, VAT, duty and the Post Office customs clearance fee, so I am not sure it's worth the hassle. Otherwise, it's around £350 compared to around £280 for the Tamron/Sigma.

Keith.
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Old Nov 14, 2006, 12:39 PM   #8
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Ah ok. I just went on the use of my two zoom lenses in that when I'm at, say, 200mm Iseem to geta far shallower depth of field, but thinking about it, I guess that's to do with the distances changing with the subject/background/camera etc. (or not? haha)



Anyway, thanks for all the help it's much appreciated.
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