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Old Mar 30, 2012, 9:47 AM   #1
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Default Macro lens reccomendation

What kind of macro lenses should I look for to use on a Nikon D300? Thinking about doing some macro photography for a while.
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Old Mar 30, 2012, 11:20 AM   #2
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There are no bad macro lenses. You pick a macro lens based on what you want to shoot. If you'll be shooting inanimate objects in good light, you might want a shorter focal length, but if you might block your light or frighten animate subjects you might want to use something longer to give you more working distance. And if your subjects are scorpions or rattlesnakes, you might want something really long.
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Old Mar 30, 2012, 3:09 PM   #3
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At the present time there are no zoom macro lenses, only fixed focal length (prime) ones. Zoom lenses with a "macro" label should really be labeled "macro-like" as they can't magnify the image enough to be true macro lenses. A real macro on a D300 can shoot down to a rectangle about 16mm by 24mm or 1:1 (the size of the sensor). The macro-like lenses can only get to 1:3 or 1:4 or 64mm by 96mm which may be enough for flowers.

In addition the real macro lenses are designed to have a very flat field of focus at macro ranges whereas the macro-like will exhibit field curvature.

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Old Mar 31, 2012, 9:30 AM   #4
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Thanks both of you. That is the kind of info I need. I now have a better understanding of what to look for, a good prime lenses.
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Old Mar 31, 2012, 9:40 AM   #5
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So, what do you want to shoot?
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Old Mar 31, 2012, 12:43 PM   #6
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Why not try a reverse ring and use any of your lenses for macro work?
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Old Mar 31, 2012, 11:14 PM   #7
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there is alot to think about. Short focal lengths require close working distance to get the magnification. That can cause problems getting light to the subject without spending more for a dedicated flash system. The advantage to the short focal length is you can adjust the focal plane with a slight twist of the camera, where the longer lenses often require you to back up and reposition with respect to the subject. With live things, that is easier said than done, as it may move again, and again.

The longer macro lenses allow longer working distances, which is nice with spooky critters. That didtance also means that standard flash equipment will be enough to light the subject. That's nice to not have to invest in more equipment just to find out if its something you even enjoy doing.

I chose the Nikor 105VR because it was compatable with my Nikon teleconverters, when the others are not. The converters allow the same working distance with greater magnification.

There are other non-macro related factors, such as what other use you may have for the lens, Dedicated DX or do you have FX asperations, and expense.

If you want a gut level suggestion, I'd say 90mm to 150mm prime macro lens would be a great first macro lens. Tonika, Tamron, Sigma, and Nikon all offer lenses with great macro ability, and it would be tough to find a bad choice as far as IQ goes.

Good luck,
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Old Apr 1, 2012, 9:00 AM   #8
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Greg, thanks for information. Also the suggestions. As of now, I just want to try macro to see how well I like it. I think I may start start off with your gut level suggestion as it seems reasonable.

Thanks again.
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Old Apr 1, 2012, 9:24 AM   #9
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If you just want to start out shooting flowers, bugs, etc., then something in the range of 85mm to 105mm will be a good place to start. Something shorter will require you to know what you're looking for, and something longer will be bigger and more expensive than might be justified for casual use.

If you'll be shooting handheld, you might consider a stabilized lens. Stabilization isn't great at 1:1 magnification, but it's better than not having it, and it works better as you get to 1:2 and 1:3. Nikon's 85/3.5 and 105/2.8 are stabilized as are Sigma's 105/2.8, 150/2.8 and 180/2.8.

There are other ways to do macro, but a macro lens is the best and most flexible.
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Old Apr 14, 2012, 12:56 PM   #10
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If tou just want to "try to see if you like it," consider tube extenders, or reverse mounting a prime.

Also, be aware that most macro primes are FX by design, but a few are DX. You may want to keep that in mind if you see your next camera as a FF if/when you upgrade from the D300. The Nikon 40 and 80 are DX, as well as the Tamron 60. All others are FX.
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