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Thread: Macro lens for D5100 user + Essentials

  1. #1
    ClaudioG's Avatar
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    Macro lens for D5100 user + Essentials (For Macro and Portrait)

    Hi all... i've had my Nikon D5100 for a few months now and finally i've decided to go the portrait and macro way.

    Now..i'm still pretty new to all of this..so ..i'm looking at three lenses...while considering my APS-C sensor and if i could use it for both portraits and macro photography, and seeing as there so many brilliant pple in both fields i thought i'd ask.

    The lenses are:
    Tamron 90mm f2.8 Di VC USD (this is the newest tamron Macro lens)
    Sigma 105mmf/2.8 EX DG OS HSM
    and the Nikon 105mm f/2.8 AF-S VRII Micro

    They all have great reviews.. i like the Sigma but i believe the focus struggles a little, and as far as the Sigma and Nikon lenses go..with APS-C sensor..the Focal length will be about 157..where with the Tamron it'll be 135..which i could use for both macro and portrait. Unless the portrait pros out there can tell me if the 150 up region is ok??

    The Nikon lens is a little out price range.. but if ya all tell me to wait..i"ll wait and save up for that rather

    Aside from all this... what other equipment is essential for macro photography especially, Is essential?... for outdoor..as well as for indoor(beginner Studio) Macro photography.

    Anyone who can help.. it would be greatly appreciated!! I'm itching to buy a lens and i dont want to go wrong.
    Last edited by ClaudioG; 3rd August 2013 at 05:34 PM.

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    ClaudioG's Avatar
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    Re: Macro lens for D5100 user + Essentials

    I realise this sounds more like a macro thread..so if you recommend i buy one lens for macro and one for portraits...please feel free to go mad

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    Re: Macro lens for D5100 user + Essentials

    Hello Claudio, I would suggest that Nikon because the glass quality is superior. All the fonctions on this lens will operate 100% on your camera and the auto focus will be faster. Between Sigma and Tameron, go for Tameron. The finish on the lens body on sigma wears out quickly. At least that is what my freind who owns a Nikon told me.

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    Stagecoach's Avatar
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    Re: Macro lens for D5100 user + Essentials

    Hi Claudio,

    I have been a macro shooter for some years and over that period have used the following lenses, Nikor 28-105 with 2:1 macro position, Nikor 105 2.8 D and finally the Nikor 105 2.8 VR. From my experience of reading others views and opinions it appears that you can not buy a poor macro lens and of the three you mention the Nikon and Tamron seem to be the most common used when looking at good macro shots. Focal length of around 90/105 seems to be most popular.

    You will not need VR or its equivalent when using one on a tripod BUT for hand holding or portrait it will of course be useful.

    Other 'essential' gear you will need at the start is a tripod, a good quality one, and a remote release of which you can buy cable or wireless cheap or expensive.

    You will also need to consider lighting, flash or fixed for inside work. Very good results can be achieved with simple rigs such as torches if you are prepared to then spend a few seconds correcting WB in post.

    Holding subjects (unless they are live and don't like being squeezed) is always a challenge and simple flexible clamps are available.

    There are other accessories such as focus rails that can be considered as you progress later.

    As for using the lens as a portrait lens you will receive many varying views as to what the best focal length is for portraits, I do not often take them so can not offer an opinion here. One comment I have read a few times is that because the IQ of all the macro lenses is so high they are not good for portraits but I would have thought this could be catered for in PP.

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    ClaudioG's Avatar
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    Re: Macro lens for D5100 user + Essentials

    Thanks guys..Graham...with my nikon d5100..ive ordered a great quality tripod.. and the wireless remote.., as far as flash goes..the sb_910 is way out my range..could u recommend any? From your opinion i think i'd rather hold out and get the great glass with the nikon 105mm and buy a portrait lens later.

  6. #6
    Stagecoach's Avatar
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    Re: Macro lens for D5100 user + Essentials

    Hi Claudio,

    I have the SB-600 that has ample power for any macro work I have ever done and the two small specialist SBR-200s that fit with a kit to the front of the lens or can be used as standalone units. I have also used various desk lamps, torches and daylight energy saving bulbs.

    One problem you come up against in macro work is blowing out shiny areas so lighting power and diffusion always has to be considered. For best definition it's ideal to have the lighting if flash off camera and you often need two sources or can at times get away with simple reflectors such as a sheet of white paper.

    So choices of flash really come down to what you want to spend, you are not after power and the ability of being able to move it/them around and fired remotely from the camera is a consideration.

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    Re: Macro lens for D5100 user + Essentials

    I would have said that all three lenses would be suitable for both macro and portrait work depending on their IQ capabilities.

    Both are situations where you need to keep back from the subject, with portraits to avoid the distortion caused by being close to the person, with macro so that you have room to light the subject, and perhaps safety if the subject might bite you. I imagine a more serious consideration for you than me in NZ

    Bill from Australia recently showed us his 'baseball glove looking reflector' which would give you a nice soft light particularly when used close to the subject.

    Since light from a source falls off at the inverse square of the flash to subject distance you also find as Grahame wrote you don't need that much power when the flash comes in close to the subject ... quite a weak flash with a guide number of 56 [imperial] will have you using f/5.6 at ten feet but at 15 inches you will be using f/22 with 100 ISO. So there is scope for diffusing systems to knock back the power.

    If you are going to 'hold back for the good lens' then in the meantime if you have a longish kit lens/zoom when it is used at similar focal lengths [60 upwards] will work for portraits and at full zoom be suitable for big close-ups with a moderate close-up lens to enable it to focus closer than its basic design parameters. My 280 lens focuses to 12 inches but for close shots I use a 2 dioptre CU lens and hope to shortly have a 4 dioptre [250mm] version. This is a bridge camera technique which works just as well with bigger cameras. Though a proper macro lens is more convienient.
    Last edited by jcuknz; 4th August 2013 at 01:59 AM.

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    Re: Macro lens for D5100 user + Essentials

    I love the Nikon 105 macro. Not hard to use even for a novice such as myself.


    Macro lens for D5100 user + Essentials

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    Re: Macro lens for D5100 user + Essentials

    The f/2.8 is great! Nikon 105.

    Macro lens for D5100 user + Essentials

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    Re: Macro lens for D5100 user + Essentials

    The Nikon 105 macro is also a telephoto? Say it ain't so!

    Macro lens for D5100 user + Essentials

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    Re: Macro lens for D5100 user + Essentials (For Macro and Portrait)

    Without much technicalities-for portrait a 50mm prime(make sure it has an internal focus motor)as for macro I have a 70mm Sigma where the external focusing is a pain,have the 105mm Nikon-what a pleasure but is a bit long for portraits at times.Bought a ring flash recently from Graham Robertson in Strijdom Park for under R1000.00 but not tried it yet.The most phenominal lens out of about 12 lenses is the 18-200 Nikon(not for Macro) but so versatile.You could consider a 60mm Nikon Macro?I would wait for the Photo expo at Coca Cola Dome end October for specials and you can try before you buy.

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    Clactonian's Avatar
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    Re: Macro lens for D5100 user + Essentials (For Macro and Portrait)

    Depending on the type of macro work you are doing the front lens element to subject distance may be relevant, and I would certainly consider a lens of about 100mm focal length as a minimum for general use. The Nikon I know has internal focusing so that measurement is constant. If the rivals have extending lens barrels to achieve focus then you may have less room than you think, and a problem.

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    Re: Macro lens for D5100 user + Essentials (For Macro and Portrait)

    Claudio,

    Great thread. I'm leaning toward the Nikon 105 myself; glad to see so many positive comments about it. May I ask which tripod you purchased? You and i are in similar situations (interest in macro), and it sounds like you've done some good research.

    Thanks, Bruce

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    ClaudioG's Avatar
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    Re: Macro lens for D5100 user + Essentials (For Macro and Portrait)

    Hi Bruce..yeh..everyone is a helpful bunch here..and i'm also leaning towards the nikon 105mm... the tripod is the Manfrotto MT294C3 and got seperate head Manfrotto 498RC2..but ask around first..i was recommended this tripod bu a photographer friend and love it..but there so many out there. To many choices

    thanks Siggi for heads up on Photo expo...will check it out.

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    Re: Macro lens for D5100 user + Essentials (For Macro and Portrait)

    As to if you get a 50mm, 90mm or 180mm macro lens is very much your choice of shooting style ... my choice of recent years has beenoriginally at 280mm, then a 430mm and currently a 280mm. Then there are the options of using extension tubes and/or bellows to add variety.
    Yet another option is what I did early on in adding my 50mm prime, reversed in front of my Nikon 5700. I am a DIYer so I made the rig myself though it is possible to get one from SRB-Griturn in the UK.
    Macro lens for D5100 user + Essentials
    and the subject matter taken at the 280mm AoV of the camera ...
    Macro lens for D5100 user + Essentials
    Not everybody is after lovely close-ups of insects ... well I wasn't at the time

    The second picture does illustrate the very limited depth of field one has at these distances. Even though I was working at the equivalent of around f/22 in DSLR terms.

    Edit ... My tripod is the Slik Master I bought over 40 years ago though I must say when I bought Slik for my son last year I didn't think the plastic was as good as my 40yo metal one from them .... buying from Amazon is fraught with hazards as to actually what you are getting.
    Last edited by jcuknz; 4th August 2013 at 10:25 PM.

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    Re: Macro lens for D5100 user + Essentials (For Macro and Portrait)

    Claudio, I am both Nikon D5100 and Tamron 90mm 2.8D macro lens user. From my experience i can say sharpness of Tamron lens is very good considering the budget. Built is also sturdy. But only drawbacks are front element of lens moves front and back during focusing and auto-focus is slower. If budget is not a constraint then go for Nikkor 105mm 2.8 VR.

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