A better (but stilll cheap?) macro lens than the 40mm

Started Mar 13, 2012 | Discussions thread
Forum MemberPosts: 70Gear list
Re: The choice...
In reply to PHXAZCRAIG, Mar 14, 2012

All good points, thanks for the reply.

I think part of my problem is I'm not sure yet what I plan to focus on (buh-dum-dum) - i.e. what I want to shoot most often. I'm looking for an all around good macro. This is why I don't want to spend a huge amount of money also and why I easily landed on the 40mm. If it wasn't for the working distance, I'd probably keep it.

But using the 40mm makes me think I'll use a lens like this quite often, particularly for the sharpness, but also for the closeups. Sharpness is SO much better than the other lenses I currently own (18-105mm - will be upgrading to 18-200mm and the 35mm f/1.8).

I do plan on getting a decent tripod this week as well - probably when I go to try out the Tamrons.

Concerning lighting, what are your thoughts on ring flashes like this?


Back to your original post...

First, none of your issues except, to some extent working distance, will be cured by getting a different lens.

-all macros these days, and for a long time, are sharp, at least for macro purposes. They differ when used for non-macro work, particularly if trying to focus at long distances, where some lenses will do better than others. That is, for general purpose shooting, some lenses are much better (like the 105vr).

-Nikon's 60mm macro has an excellent reputation for both macro and non-macro.

-If you are shooting macro, you're still going to have to have the subject be extremely still, and/or use a high shutter speed. And a fast aperture does you no good at all, because you'll commonly be stopped down to F16, F22, and even more. Such apertures generally mean slower shutter speeds, which means:
a. tripod (and you'll soon see the reason for macro rails), and
b. adding light (flash and/or reflectors)

-Adding light means needing some working distance to light without shading the subject.

-Shooting certain subjects (bugs, snakes) needs more working distance to avoid scaring the subjects

-More working distance tends to lead photographers to macro lenses with at least 100mm

-Shooting at very close ranges changes the effective aperture, meaning an F2.8 lens does NOT get F2.8 at very close range. It may be F4.5 at best. This is true of all macro lenses, but it tends to be meaningless because you usually stop down a lot for any kind of depth of field.

-AF is pretty much worthless at macro distances, along with VR. Thus it is not a problem to get an old manual focus macro lens for a cheap price and use it just fine on a new camera. The Nikon 55mm macro has a good reputation for this.

-To do macro well, or at least more easily, you want a good tripod and macro rail. Especially if you want to do focus stacking. Especially with longer lenses, you want to have a tripod collar on the lens. These tend to start at lenses longer than 105.

To get a lot of features for a decent price, people have been using the Tamron 90 for a long time. (Poor man's 105 macro). Be aware that there are multiple versions of this lens out there, and some don't have a built-in focus motor, if you want autofocus on your camera.

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 midimid's gear list:midimid's gear list
Nikon D7100 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di VC USD Tamron SP AF 60mm F/2 Di II LD IF Macro +1 more
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