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Thread: lens selection

  1. #1
    starsage56's Avatar
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    lens selection

    hi everyone,

    its been a long time since i was here last.

    and a question concerning lenses. recently I've been wanting/needing a macro/medium telephoto/portrait lens. I've been looking at the 60, 85, and 105 lengths (all Nikon flavors) in varying qualities. and the 18-200 to replace the kit lens but that's low priority. so my question is what would be a good compromise to do macro and minor portrait work? currently I'm leaning towards the 85mm 3.5. i understand this one doesn't have the best aperture but I'm on a really tight budget.

    alternatively, would it be more prudent to get a teleconverter? i have a kit 18-75 3.5-5.6 and 70-300 4something - 5something.

    -Keith

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    Peter Ryan's Avatar
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    Re: lens selection

    Quote Originally Posted by starsage56 View Post
    hi everyone,

    its been a long time since i was here last.

    and a question concerning lenses. recently I've been wanting/needing a macro/medium telephoto/portrait lens. I've been looking at the 60, 85, and 105 lengths (all Nikon flavors) in varying qualities. and the 18-200 to replace the kit lens but that's low priority. so my question is what would be a good compromise to do macro and minor portrait work? currently I'm leaning towards the 85mm 3.5. i understand this one doesn't have the best aperture but I'm on a really tight budget.

    alternatively, would it be more prudent to get a teleconverter? i have a kit 18-75 3.5-5.6 and 70-300 4something - 5something.

    -Keith
    Welcome back Keith.

    Personally, if it fits the budget, I think the best option would be the Nikor 105m Macro. I did look at this lens for macro work and finished up with the Tamron 180mm macro, which I absolutely love but have to say I always need a trip as it is a heavier lens. Also it is too long for portrait work, if this is a priority.

    As for teleconverters, I did look into this for my older 70 – 300m lens but they do not recommend I use one. I am not sure about other Nikor lenses; others here may have some input. I have been meaning to see if I can get a 2x teleconverter for my Tamron, as it is a fixed focal lenght.

  3. #3
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: lens selection

    Hi Keith,

    Can you remind me what camera you have, it may alter my advice.

    I have the 105mm f2.8 VR2 and am very pleased with it, but I agree it isn't cheap.
    I do like bing able to go to f2.8 and focus close and having VR for low light use, but it can be too long for some subjects.

    Cheers,

  4. #4

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    Re: lens selection

    105 mm indeed is rather long for a portrait lens, although it is a very nice macro lens, allowing a convenient distance to the object photographed.

    For a lens to be used extensively for portraits, I would prefer the 60 mm, although it gets inconveniently close when used for macro.

    There is another thing with these lenses too, that is pleasing when you use them for portraits, and that might be one reason to get the 60 mm lens even though it has virtually the same focal length as the longest of the kit lens. All the real macro lenses have a beautiful bokeh, while the bokeh of the Nikon 18-55 kit lens is crappy in my opinion, splitting up the background elements instead of blurring them out. I agree, that it is very sharp, but the bokeh leaves a lot to wish for, and the macro lenses provide that: a pleasing bokeh.

    I have seen on the forum several times, that people misunderstand bokeh, thinking that it is only a matter of largest aperture and the round shape of the diaphragm, but it is more than that. It is about the properties of unsharp spots far away; a "bad" bokeh will show the shape of the lens opening with a sharp edge, and the senter spot darker or with a darker ring inside the bright one before it goes to a brighter spot in the middle. A good bokeh does not have any sharp spot and should be brightest in the middle and gradually softening toward the edges, which should be blurred. Straight objects with a bad bokeh will become "double" and disturb the eye, while a good bokeh softly blurs them out. Those effects will be seen at any aperture. Bokeh should not be evident, bokeh is a property of what we don't want to see.

    So, if the lens is for mainly portrait work, the Nikon 60 mm is one of the best lenses you can get; crisp sharpness, pleasing bokeh. OTOH if you want to use it mainly for macro, Id suggest any of the very good 90 to 105 mm macro lenses that are available. In my opinion, they are too narrow for portraits.
    Last edited by Inkanyezi; 20th September 2010 at 10:44 PM.

  5. #5

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    Re: lens selection

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Ryan View Post
    Personally, if it fits the budget, I think the best option would be the Nikor 105m Macro. I did look at this lens for macro work and finished up with the Tamron 180mm macro, which I absolutely love but have to say I always need a trip as it is a heavier lens. Also it is too long for portrait work, if this is a priority.
    Quote Originally Posted by Inkanyezi View Post
    105 mm indeed is rather long for a portrait lens
    For head and shoulders portraiture - on a crop-factor camera - it's actually a very good length. It'll give flattering compression and a good working distance (if you have the room).

    These were all taken with a focal length approximating what the 105mm would be like on a crop-factor camera ...

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    Last edited by Colin Southern; 9th September 2010 at 10:48 AM.

  6. #6
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: lens selection

    I like Colin's advice on focal length. An additional lens in the approximate focal length Colin recommends that you might consider is the Tamron 90mm f/2.8 SP Di Macro. I use the earlier version on my Canon gear and it works brilliantly.

    Here is some info on this lens from a Nikon site.

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

    By the way, the present 90mm f/2.8 Tamron macro lens is the Di model which is supposed to be optimized for digital work. However, the previous model is a great lens in all ways. The IQ is comparable to any of my top-line Canon glass and the bokeh is creamy smooth. I was able to snare my copy, used, for just above $100 (USD) including shipping a few years ago on eBay. These lenses do not appear very often on the used market but, they are wonderful buys if you can find one.

    The Tamron doesn't have the Vibration Reduction capability of the present VR Nikon offering but, when purchased new on Amazon.com it is roughly half the price of the Nikon VR offering. I'd love some sort of motion compensation on my 90mm Tamron but, I can work very well without it.

    The Tamron doesn't incorporate a tripod ring but it is so light that I don't believe a ring is necessary. An additional plus for this lens is that its light weight makes it easy to hand hold. I hand hold macro shots when chasing bugs or other creepy-crawlies.

    lens selection
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 9th September 2010 at 04:07 PM.

  7. #7
    starsage56's Avatar
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    Re: lens selection

    thanks for all the advice everyone. couple clarifications that i forgot, i have a d300s and my kit lens is the 18-75 from my d70s from back in the day. also, the portraits im thinking of doing would be full body with background and maybe a little head and shoulders. as for macro: id like to do flowers and some jewelry product shots. which is another area im interested in but bound for another section of the forum.

    i think after doing a tiny bit of people shooting, today actually, i think the 105 might be a bit long and i am leaning towards the 85. but ill have to go play with both at a store though. i may look into the third party offerings too since they tend to be a bit less expensive. or maybe ill land a good gig and that can help pay for the 105.

  8. #8

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    Re: lens selection

    Quote Originally Posted by starsage56 View Post
    i think after doing a tiny bit of people shooting, today actually, i think the 105 might be a bit long and i am leaning towards the 85. but ill have to go play with both at a store though. i may look into the third party offerings too since they tend to be a bit less expensive. or maybe ill land a good gig and that can help pay for the 105.
    I'd suggest going for a zoom lens - then you get "the best of all worlds".

  9. #9

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    Re: lens selection

    i dont think a teleconvertor would work on the two lenses you already own, i have a 2,8 sigma 105mm macro, its not too bad, cheers martyn

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