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Old Oct 2, 2012, 10:57 AM   #1
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Default Nikon 35mm F/1.8 G DX lens... good prime lens ????

I bought my first DSLR, a Nikon D5100. I wish to purchase a prime lens for it. Question: Would this Nikon 35mm F/1.8 G DX lens be a good choice ? I want to use it as an all around lens plus close focus work (macro). I figure I can crop to get 1 to 1 photos or how about using extention tubes on it to make it a macro lens ? What do you think ? I can't afford a 105mm macro lens. Thanks for your help.
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Old Oct 2, 2012, 11:36 AM   #2
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The Nikon 35mm f/1.8G is a nice prime, but it doesn't focus very closely by itself, and it's got more field curvature than it should if you want to use it with extension tubes.
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Old Oct 2, 2012, 11:40 AM   #3
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If you want the 35mm for macro work, consider the Nikon 40mm f/2.8. It is a macro lens and doesn't cost much more than the 35mm. A macro at that focal length doesn't have much working distance when you go to 1:1, but if you are shooting relatively flat and inanimate objects that shouldn't be a big problem.
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Old Oct 2, 2012, 6:43 PM   #4
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Thanks for all of the replies. "TCav", in your reply, you used the phrase "field curvature". I don't understand what this means. I'm sorry but I am rather new to this, however I am eager to learn. Can you explain what this phrase means. Thanks.
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Old Oct 2, 2012, 7:05 PM   #5
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Field curvature - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Field_curvature

Basically, it means that, while the center may be sharp, the sharpness falls off quickly as you look closer to the edges and corners.

Ideally, a lens would be able to focus a flat subject over the entire image sensor, but that rarely occurs, except in relatively expensive lenses, frequently macro lenses. In conventional photography, this isn't usually a significant problem, but for macro work not having good sharpness over the entire subject can be frustrating.

Extension tubes are a very good way to get into macrophotography inexpensively, but they will magnify the flaws in the lens you use them with.
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Old Oct 17, 2012, 5:29 PM   #6
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I agree - it's a great walk-around lens but do not buy it to do macro work. Just isn't going to be what you want. The 40mm 2.8 is a good recommendation though you'll lose 1 1/3 stops in aperture.

Here's one more option if you're a little adventurous - buy the 35mm 1.8 and then buy a non-ai 55mm f/3.5 micro with PK-3 extension tube. Your D5100 can mount a non-AI lens so this would work for you as long as you don't try to mount it on any bodies that have a focusing motor in the body. I got my setup for $50 and it is SHARP. The drawback is that you have to do the metering and focusing manually. Not a big deal with practice and precise macro work pretty much requires manual focus anyway. Here is one shot I took with this setup:

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