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Thread: New member enquiry - Macro lens for D3000?

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    New member enquiry - Macro lens for D3000?

    Hello Everybody, Reuben here.

    Getting back into photography. I purchased a Nikon D3000, I figured this would be a good entry level camera. Many years ago I bought a Konica FS1 Motor Drive and still have it. Can't get parts for it.

    I am looking for a macro lens for the D3000, I wish to do extreme close up photography, like the veins in a leaf etc.

    Can anyone suggest what I should be looking for, I think I would prefer a genuine Nikon lens rather than other?

    Thought I should add, I'm in Sydney Australia!
    Last edited by Donald; 26th August 2011 at 06:54 AM.

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: New member enquiry - Macro lens for D3000?

    Rueben

    As promised, I've copied your introductory post in here. Hopefully the Nikonites (and others) will now come in with their suggestions.

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    Re: New member enquiry - Macro lens for D3000?

    Welcome Reuben from a Melbournite ... now living in Norway.
    I have the D3000 but no true macro lens ... yet! I use Nikon's 35mm AF-S 1: 1.8G lens for closeups and crop. Nikon have many close up lenses and I would recommend that you read their lens page to determine what is best for you and within your price range.
    http://imaging.nikon.com/lineup/lens/

    Also read Ken Rockwell at http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/nikkor.htm

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    Re: New member enquiry - Macro lens for D3000?

    Reuben, I am not sure what you are looking for exactly in terms of money. If you want to do macro work though, go for a real macro lens. It works better than cropping to reach the same effect.
    My favourite lens is the Nikkor 105mm VR, it is good and allows you a bit of distance when you shoot macro. It is quite expensive though.
    An alternative would be to use close-up lenses. They magnify the lens you are using and allow you to get closer. If you buy a good brand (nikon has its own close-up lenses) the quality is good (not as good as a dedicated macro lens though).
    These lenses are really cheap, so it would allow you to experiment a bit.

  5. #5

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    Re: New member enquiry - Macro lens for D3000?

    Nikon makes a few macro lenses. They have a new 40mm macro, which seems crazy to me -- why anyone would want such a short focal length macro lens is more than I can fathom. Allow me to offer a few suggestions about macro in general:

    The working distance is the first thing you care about in a macro lens, and it is never directly reported. You will find the focal distance, but that is from the focal point to the focal plane of the camera. You need to subtract the length of the lens when used in macro mode (good luck finding that!) plus some additional constant to get the working distance. I have no idea why this isn't standard information on macro lenses, but it isn't. To a first (very rough) approximation, the longer the focal length, the more the working distance. However, I have the Tamron 90 for my macro lens, and that ends up with almost exactly the same working distance as the Tamron 60. The 90 trombones like JJ Johnson, so the final working distance is not very much -- maybe two inches or so. This is OK for leaves or other inanimate objects, but a real pain for things like insects. You would probably want something with a focal length of 150mm or more for comfortable distances with critters that move.

    If you are only going to use the macro lens for macro work, you don't care whether the lens will auto focus on your camera or not -- you'll need to use the Live View and zoom it to the max for focusing anyway. The big problem with macro is that the depth of field is so narrow and the field so small that you will have a lot in the focal point that will be out of focus. You need to manually focus to get the point you want as the focal point to be in focus.

    There is a very nice web site for getting the list of choices available for lenses: http://dpanswers.com/roztr/lens_finder.php It lists 17 macro lenses that can be used with your camera, of which six are made by Nikon. If you want the 40mm Nikon lens, I have nothing more to say to you A lot of people use the Nikon 85mm f/3.5 macro, which is reasonably well-regarded as a general-purpose macro lens at a reasonable price. Although the Nikon 85 macro has VR, this is like the proverbial tits on a bull -- it won't help you with true macro at all. It was kind of an odd thing to put on a macro lens, but I suspect Nikon will start putting VR on their lens caps soon, so I guess it fits their marketing plan.

    While I have the tamron 90, I am ambivalent about it, and would probably not get it again. It has too-close working distance for macro and has a very bad LoCA problem for general photography. I know a lot of people rave about the Tammy, which is why I bought it in the first place. But it is my least-favorite lens. FWIW

    The Tokina 100 mm has a lot of fans, but it's not easy to get hold of. It won't autofocus on your camera, but that doesn't matter for macro. I have never used it, so all I can do is report what I have heard -- which didn't really do that much good for me with the Tammy! (BTW, my absolute favorite lens is the Tamron 28-75 f/2.8, so I was predisposed to liking Tamron when I got it. It just isn't the same quality lens, though.)

    You will of course need a tripod for macro work. If you don't have a remote release, get one. If memory serves, your camera doesn't support delayed shutter release. But, if it does, use it with macro. If it doesn't, you may want to consider shooting at a slow enough shutter that the vibration will have died down long before the shot is over -- a few seconds or so. (I am out of my depth here. If memory serves, your camera slaps the mirror down and up when in Live Mode to do some settings when you click the shutter, so you still need some kind of MLU to fully dissipate the vibration. But I may be misremembering this factoid, in which case you will be fine just shooting in Live Mode and not need to worry about mirror vibration at all. If you can find that in your manual, it is worth looking up.)

    I suggest you get a focusing rail, too. Macro is a real PITA, and any equipment that makes your life easier is a good investment IME. Focusing rails are a real convenience. Also, they are absolutely essential if you want to try your hand at focus stacking -- and you will. FWIW
    Last edited by tclune; 26th August 2011 at 02:26 PM.

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    Re: New member enquiry - Macro lens for D3000?

    Quote Originally Posted by tclune View Post
    I suggest you get a focusing rail, too.
    Hi Tom. This is very useful information for anyone using Nikon and considering exploring the Macro/Micro world. Do yopu have any recommendations on focusing rails? I don't have a macro lens yet but I know I want to get more into Focus Stacking which I am currently playing with.

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    Re: New member enquiry - Macro lens for D3000?

    I second Peter's advice on the 105mm. There is an older model that is not VR (I have one since it is less expensive and could be bought in excellent quality second hand). I can handhold the lens down to about 1/20 sec but prefer the use of a tripod for most things.

    I also was fortunate enough to have my entire family band together and buy me a 200mm macro. This is a great lens but suffers from two problems. First it is extremely heavy and second it has an extremely narrow depth of field. Both of these add up to absolute impossibility to hand hold; the vibration from any attempt will result in out of focus images 99% of the time.

    Also strongly consider a macro focusing rail. It will allow you to make the fine adjustments needed to focus given the narrow depth of field.

    So there you go; an $800 to $1600 lens, a $600 tripod and a $400 focusing rail and you will be set. Cheap at any price

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    Re: New member enquiry - Macro lens for D3000?

    Quote Originally Posted by FrankMi View Post
    Do you have any recommendations on focusing rails?
    I'm a bit of an oddball on these things. I have a cheap tripod and a cheap focusing rail, and find both fully adequate for my purposes. You can spend a lot of money on really good focusing rails, and I'm sure they are worth the money for hard-core macro shooters. But I got the Adorama budget focusing rail (also available as the Cowboy Studio focusing rail and from a few other resellers) for about $70. It does the job in a manual sort of way, and is definitely better than not using the rail at all. FWIW

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    Re: New member enquiry - Macro lens for D3000?

    Here's a review from the Nikonian website comparing the Tamron 90mm f/2.8 macro with Nikon issue Macro Lenses...

    http://www.nikonians.org/html/resour...mron/90_macro/

    I use an older Tamron 90mm f/2.8 SP AF (not the newest Di model) on my Canon cameras and I am very satisfied with it; especially since I purchased it used several years ago for right about $100 (USD).

    The Canon (and I would suppose also the Nikon) macro lenses hold their value better on the used market than do the Tamron macros. if I were buying new, this would help me lean towards an OEM lens. However, when buying used, depreciation is to the benefit of the buyer.

  10. #10

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    Re: New member enquiry - Macro lens for D3000?

    Here's a very small album of test images I put together a while back of my Tamron 90 in general use, showing the LoCA: http://www.dpreview.com/galleries/63...AFBF306EC04A51

    I have also not had good luck with this lens when focusing at mid-distance for some reason. It misses focus a lot at that range (it doesn't hunt -- it just plain fails to focus properly. I don't have this problem with any other lens I own. Of course, it could always be something that I am doing, but this lens just isn't sympatico with me.)

    The bokeh is the smoothest of any lens I own, and it doesn't have any behavior problems as a portrait lens AFAICS. As a macro, I am reasonably content with everything but its working distance, as I mentioned above. I am not unhappy enough to get rid of the lens, but I am less "in love with" this lens than any other I own. And I understand that an awful lot of people really do love this lens. OTOH, since buying it, I have seen threads on bulletin boards of other people asking what's up with all the LoCA on this lens, so it isn't somehow just my copy. FWIW

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    Re: New member enquiry - Macro lens for D3000?

    Reuben, I think the most important thing to consider when purchasing a macro lens is what exactly are going to be your subjects.

    You mention leaf veins, but will it be all botany photos?

    You can usually get very close to this sort of subject so something around 100 mm or a little less should prove sufficient.

    Shots of live insects, etc, in the wild are a little different because your real working distance is how close can you get before they fly/run away. This may mean that you will be lucky to get within 12 ins of them so a larger lens would be needed.

    A 150 mm lens is common for this purpose, and then often requires a 1.4x converter.

    A lot of my insect shots are taken from 2 ft or further away so I use a 180 mm and usually with a converter added.

    Third party macro lenses are widely used and I have the Sigma 180. But these larger lenses are really for tripod only use.

    For insects, I like a quick release ball head which allows me to quickly line up on a fleeting subject; but the slider heads allow for very fine adjustment of those static subjects.

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    Re: New member enquiry - Macro lens for D3000?

    Quote Originally Posted by tclune View Post
    But I got the Adorama budget focusing rail (also available as the Cowboy Studio focusing rail and from a few other resellers) for about $70.
    Thanks Tom!

  13. #13
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    Re: New member enquiry - Macro lens for D3000?

    It may be out of your planned price range, but if you get a chance to beg or borrow the Nikon f2.8 105mm micro then give it a go, it wont disappoint.

    Razor sharp images at a decent focal length.

    Dont think anyone has mentioned rental as a means of trying out a lens in real world situations? Not a cheap thing to do, but better than be landed with something you are unhappy with.

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