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Thread: Macro lens choices

  1. #1
    Rhoads238's Avatar
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    Macro lens choices

    Hey all,

    So I am looking to purchase a macro lens for my d600. I want to shoot a variety of subjects with it. I know undoubtedly I will be shooting food with it. I want to use it for a variety of other topics as well. The one I am most interested in is the micro-nikkor afs vr 105mm f2.8. I also like this lens because it's fast, has nine aperture blades and preforms well from what I see on the mtf charts in both macro and telephoto ranges. So it seems like the right choice.

    Does anyone own this lens that could comment on it for me?

    I am also open to other suggestions.

    -Jason

  2. #2
    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: Macro lens choices

    You can do food and product photography with your current selection of lenses. The 105mm is good for small insects, intricate crevices, and so on.

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    Melkus's Avatar
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    Re: Macro lens choices

    I agree your 18-105mm will work for that but if you wanting something with more reach then maybe the Sigma 70-300mm or the Tamron 70-300mm would work better for you.

  4. #4
    Rhoads238's Avatar
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    Re: Macro lens choices

    My 18-105 is a dx lens it came with my now retired d90. I only occasionally use it now. Now that I have a full frame d600, I want to pair it with a full frame lens. I want the macro lens so i can show small details in food. like a fennel frawn on top of an canape. I also want to shoot general macro photos like flowers, insects, water droplets and things like that.

  5. #5
    Clactonian's Avatar
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    Mike Bareham

    Re: Macro lens choices

    I have the Sigma 150mm macro on a DX and am pleased with it, although I find it a little 'long' on occasions. You would benefit from the loss of crop factor with the D600.
    I chose the 150mm so that I could get a bit more distance between the subject and the front lens element, which is always a consideration with macro photography.

  6. #6
    tbob's Avatar
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    Re: Macro lens choices

    I have the older version of the 105mm with no VR. The VR would be a great asset in hand holding, even my version of the lens is fast enough to hand hold down to 1/80 sec, so the VR would be even better. Very sharp at all apertures, although I must admit I usually use it at f8 or smaller aperture to get a deeper depth of field for insects. et al.

    To muddy the water somewhat; I also own the 200mm macro. Great lens but really shallow depth of field and absolutely impossible to hand hold to the weight, magnification and depth of field. Really good for stuff that will hold still long enough.

  7. #7
    Stagecoach's Avatar
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    Re: Macro lens choices

    Hi Jason, I use the 105VR micro and can not fault it and previous to that the 105D micro and only changed due to fungs starting to show internally. Was there any noticeable improvement in results, not that I detected.

    Many say that the major manufacturers macros are all very much on a par and when it comes to results this is very much due to procedure and lighting rather than which make of lens.

    Your main decision is going to be which focal length to go for.

  8. #8
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Macro lens choices

    Most food can be shot with just about any lens. However, I would prefer to shoot food with a slightly longer lens than with a shorter focal length. Shooting from a greater distance will minimize the distortion that is prominent in shots done with a shorter focal length from a closer distance...

    IMO, the 90-105mm focal range macro lens is an excellent choice between the shorter focal length lenses (such as 50mm and 60mm) and the longer, heavier and more expensive macros such as 150mm, 180mm and longer. This is true even with a crop format camera. I use a 90mm Tamron f/2.8 Macro on my crop cameras and I love it!

    I would definitely want to use a tripod and have some accessory lighting for my food shots. I would also want to get proficient in focus stacking which may come in handy to increase DOF...

    An ideal but, expensive type of lens that would be excellent for food photography is the Canon tilt shift. However, I don't believe that there are tilt shift lenses in the Nikon inventory The learning curve of the tilt shift lens is also quite steep and I would not necessarily recommend one for a relatively inexperienced photographer...

    Perhaps these food oriented photo links may be of some interest...

    Food Photography

    O’Reilly Digital Media
    http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/orei...od_photos.html

    Silverace Photogrnic Food Photography
    http://www.silverace.com/photogenic/...otography.html

    Making Food Look Good
    http://www.media-awareness.ca/englis...nderForPrint=1

    Professional Photography 101
    http://www.professionalphotography10...graphFood.html

    Michael Ray – Food Photographer
    http://www.foodportfolio.com/
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 11th November 2012 at 10:49 PM.

  9. #9

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    Re: Macro lens choices

    There are three tilt shifts from Nikon, from my usual supplier, but they are all over 2 grand.

    NIKON PC-E 24MM/3.5 D ED LENS
    NIKON PC-E MICRO NIKKOR 45MM/F2.8
    NIKON PC-E MICRO NIKKOR 85MM/F2.8

    I'd really love to get a tilt shift having been trained on view cameras, but I think waiting for some kind of 4x5 digital back that would work on a traditional view camera would make more sense than trying to adapt a 35 mm to do the job.

    I'm surprised no one has mentioned the Tamron 90 macro 2.8. Not the best build quality, as in built with plastic and feels cheap, but one of the highest rated lenses on any system it's made for, and an excellent performer for much less than you'd pay for most brand name macros. And is a true 1:1 macro. Did i mention it's really sharp?

  10. #10
    John Morton's Avatar
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    Re: Macro lens choices

    I have three prime lenses:

    NIKON PC-E MICRO NIKKOR 45MM F/2.8 (my favorite!)
    NIKON AF-S NIKKOR 50MM F/1.4 G
    NIKON AF-S MICRO NIKKOR 105MM F/2.8 G ED

    ...and a couple of zooms for wider and longer shots.

    Along with a 'kit' zoom (because the 24-70 f/2.8 wasn't in stock), I purchased the 105 when I bought my D700. It was a toss-up between that and the 60mm Micro but the VR on the 105 makes it a superior and more versatile lens in my opinion.

    I often wish the 50mm f1.4 had VR!

    Even now, I can't think of a different lens I would have preferred to purchase at the time instead of the 105. It is a really nice lens: solid, works beautifully, has great optics. I don't know if I would use it for food photography, since I do have the 45mm PC; but I won't hesitate to throw it on my camera instead of a zoom for just walking around photographing whatever.

    Took a quick look around for a photo I shot with the 105; this is the first one I happened upon:

    Macro lens choices

  11. #11
    Rhoads238's Avatar
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    Re: Macro lens choices

    So I went out yesterday to b and h yesterday and tried a couple of different lenses and ended up going with the 105 macro. And I have to say its unbeliveable. I wish I could have gotten a tilt shift lens but that would have been double the cost and a bit out of my price range at the time being. I should have specified my 1000 dollar limit for this purchase. Anyway I do plan on buying one someday.

    Richard- useful links. I will have to give them a solid presual. I fortunately have half of the skills for food photography nailed down. I used to be a cook at one of NYC's three michelin star restaurants. Thankfully I left because working 80 hours a week can get in the way of doing the other things that you like

    Thanks everyone who replied, I am very happy with my purchase.

    -Jason

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