Best macro lens for the D7000

Started May 17, 2012 | Discussions
Smiling_Pariah
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Best macro lens for the D7000
May 17, 2012

What would be the best macro lens for the D7000 that would produce amazing up close and personal shots of insects?

I honestly don't know much about macro lenses, so any input would be appreciated.

Steve

nfpotter
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Re: Best macro lens for the D7000
In reply to Smiling_Pariah, May 17, 2012

Smiling_Pariah wrote:

What would be the best macro lens for the D7000 that would produce amazing up close and personal shots of insects?

I honestly don't know much about macro lenses, so any input would be appreciated.

Steve

I have the Sigma 105mm EX DG Macro, and love it. I got it used for $220, MUCH less than the Nikon 105mm VR. It makes a great portrait lens, too. Here's a few samples, all shot hand-held and with only the built-in flash:

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sshoihet
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Re: Best macro lens for the D7000
In reply to Smiling_Pariah, May 17, 2012

I'd suggest the Nikon 200mm F4 or the Sigma 150mm f2.8 OS

Smiling_Pariah wrote:

What would be the best macro lens for the D7000 that would produce amazing up close and personal shots of insects?

I honestly don't know much about macro lenses, so any input would be appreciated.

Steve

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Ron E Trees
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Re: Best macro lens for the D7000
In reply to Smiling_Pariah, May 17, 2012

The Tamron 90mm f2.8 gets good reviews. The Nikon 105mm is also a great lens but spendy!

Ron

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LAHJ
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Re: Best macro lens for the D7000
In reply to sshoihet, May 17, 2012

I agree with this, for insects you want working distance.
Below some samples with the Sigma 150 2.8 non OS.

sshoihet wrote:
I'd suggest the Nikon 200mm F4 or the Sigma 150mm f2.8 OS

Smiling_Pariah wrote:

What would be the best macro lens for the D7000 that would produce amazing up close and personal shots of insects?

I honestly don't know much about macro lenses, so any input would be appreciated.

Steve

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Tbolt47
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I agree with sshoihet
In reply to Smiling_Pariah, May 17, 2012

If your primary purpose is insects then the minimum I would go for is the Sigma 150, if you don't mind spending a bit more the Nikon 200 would be great. Anything less than 150mm and your working distance is a bit close.

Also if you are handholding you will of course need a higher SS with the longer lenses and may need to get your flash a bit closer off camera.

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motobloat
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Re: I agree with sshoihet
In reply to Tbolt47, May 17, 2012

Yep, for insects, longer focal length is going to be better to avoid scaring them off (unless they are dead insects, in which case any macro lens will do).

I would recommend the Tamron 180mm f/3.5 macro (which is quite good, and reasonably priced at about $750 new). Review here: http://www.photozone.de/Reviews/284-tamron-af-180mm-f35-sp-di-ld-if-macro-canon-review--test-report

You can also probably find the older Sigma 180mm f/3.5 macro used, but the performance isn't as good as the Tamron: http://www.photozone.de/Reviews/305-sigma-af-180mm-f35-ex-hsm-apo-macro-test-report--review

Sigma is also working on an update for this lens, a 180mm f/2.8 OS macro, but it won't be available for probably six months to a year.

Nikon makes a 200mm f/4 macro, but at $1400, it's rather expensive.

At shorter focal lengths:

Sigma's 105mm and 150mm macro lenses are a solid bet, and the older non-OS versions can be found used for a reasonable price. The newer OS versions have about the same (maybe better) image quality, but also have optical stabilization (which you don't really need for macro work on a tripod, but helps if you want to also use the lenses as telephotos for non-macro work).

Another budget option would be the Tamron 90mm macro or the older AF-D version of the Nikon 105mm macro.

And then of course, there is the Nikon 105mm f/2.8 VR macro, but at $900 it's rather expensive. The equivalent Sigma version is on sale for $770 until the end of this month, and has virtually the same optical performance.

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Smiling_Pariah
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Re: I agree with sshoihet
In reply to motobloat, May 17, 2012

So for insects 180mm or 200mm is what I should be looking at. Are there large differences between what Sigma, Tamron and Nikon quality wise?

Price is obviously a huge factor for me since I'm a starving student, and this won't be happening for a long time anyways.

Steve

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Catallaxy
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Re: Best macro lens for the D7000
In reply to Smiling_Pariah, May 17, 2012

There are several ways to get macro shots.

The first is to use a dedicated macro lens that does 1:1 (also called 1.0 reproduction ratio). All dedicated macro lenses are sharp, and most have pretty good bokeh. The main differentiators are focal length, build quality and the whether the lens is interal focus or not.

For insects, you want a longer lens since it has the most working distance. 90mm is about the minimum you want to go. At the top is the Nikon 200 f/4 followed closely by the Tamron 180 f/3.5 and Sigma 180 f/3.5, then the Sigma 150 f/2.8 (non - OS). Of these the Nikon is very expensive, the Sigma 150 is very well know and loved, the Tamron 180 is the bargain of the lot and the Sigma 180 f/3.5 kinda lags the field.

The problem with long telephoto macros is that they are hard to hand hold. I have the Sigma 150 f/2.8 and it is very hard to hand hold to get critical sharpness. You really need a sturdy tripod. That means a $300 or more tripod, not one of the cheapies. Add that to the cost of the lens and you are out over $1000 by the time you add in the tripod plate and ballhead.

Another way to get the magnification you need is to add an extension tube to an existing long telephoto lens. I have seem some quite good shots with the 300 f/4 (old and new version) with tubes. Do you have an existing long tele lens?

Another way is to add a teleconverter to an existing telephoto lens.

Another way is to reverse mount an old MF WA or standard lens (with an old time aperture ring) to a long telephoto lens. Do you an old MF short lens with an aperture ring to reverse mount to a telephoto lens?

And last is to add a close up filter to the end of an existing telephoto lens. I have added the Canon 500d closeup filter to my 55-200 VR and a Marumi 330 +3 to my 70-300 VR and obtained very good results. This is the cheapest method to get to macro (usually) and is often overlooked. You have to pay $80-$150 for a good closeup lens because the cheapies have terrible CA and aberrations, but that is still a lot less than $1000.
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Smiling_Pariah
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Re: Best macro lens for the D7000
In reply to LAHJ, May 17, 2012

@ LAHJ - Did you use a tripod when taking those photos??

Steve

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LAHJ
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Re: Best macro lens for the D7000
In reply to Smiling_Pariah, May 17, 2012

Smiling_Pariah wrote:

@ LAHJ - Did you use a tripod when taking those photos??

Steve

Yes except for the shot of the spider where I used a monopod.

The spider was just on the move the whole time so it was difficult using a tripod, and in general I use some sort of support 95 % of the time for shots like these, sometimes just a beanbag or try to lean on something.

Depending on what type of insects or other critters you want to shoot might also be another reason for having a good working distance.
This was a harmless Rainspider, but there are some nasty ones out there.

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SantaFeBill
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Re: Best macro lens for the D7000
In reply to Smiling_Pariah, May 17, 2012

With a micro lens of 150mm or longer, I'd want optical stabilization. Yes, if you always shoot with a steady support, you don't need it. But there will be times when a subject is moving and/or you don't have time to set up a tripod (or room). Then you'll be glad you have the option to hand-hold with the possibility that you might get a worthwhile image.

So that would indicate the Sigma 150 OS, rather than the Nikon 200, as the Nikon doesn't have VR.

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rightwinger
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Re: Best macro lens for the D7000
In reply to Smiling_Pariah, May 19, 2012

I had the Sig 105 2.8 and 150 2.8, sold them when I went with the Nikon 105VR and 200f4, which are both stellar. Looking back though, I have to admit the Sigs were fantastic lenses. I have many fine bug shots with the sig 105. Its all about technique and learning to use the lens. All mentioned here would be fine purchases, its just what you want to afford, and learn to use......
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chriscphoto
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Re: Best macro lens for the D7000
In reply to rightwinger, May 19, 2012

You might also want to have a look at the Tokina 100mm Macro/Telephoto with focus barrel lock and which can be shot in either full or limited (macro or 100mm) with the flip of a switch. This image was shot with that lens:

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gohikeacanyon
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Re: Best macro lens for the D7000
In reply to Smiling_Pariah, Dec 27, 2012

Hi Steve,

I recently purchased my D7000 with the Nokin 18-105 VR to have a decent all purpose lens.

I'm now in the market for a similar macro to yourself for insects and flora. I believe I've settled on the fact that I want to have atleast a 150mm prime lens or higher however am still deciding.

A lot of discussion surrounds the need for a tripod or not and therefore whether the VR or OS technologies of the Nikon's and Sigma's is of any particular advantage/disadvantage?

I'm interest now 7 months after your initial post as to what you purchased and how you have went? also if you could post some photo's that would be great.

I'm leaning towards the sigma 150mm f/2.8 APO EX DG HSM Macro which retails for $800-$900 but am giving great though to whether this is the best option or to buy a lower quality lens with greater focal range and adding various extensions, filters or converters to replicate the macro effect!

regards,

Gohikeacanyon

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evan47
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Re: Best macro lens for the D7000
In reply to Smiling_Pariah, Dec 27, 2012

i have the 60mm af-d micro nikkor, 105mm af-d micro nikkor and sigma 150mm plus sigma 1.4tc. i have previously owned the tamron 90mm.

all are more or less as sharp as eachover, the 105 and 150 giving the best minimum working distance. the 60mm with the best dof, the tamron the better stopped down performance.

the sigma is my current favourite as it works excellently with the sigma 1.4tc giving 1.4;1 images at about 8 inch distance. best used in manual focus on a monopod. bear in mind that you will need to learn good technique to get decent results, getting this close takes a bit of practice!

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guidodg
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Re: Best macro lens for the D7000
In reply to evan47, Dec 28, 2012

Nikon 105mm and Nikon 200mm with a set of 3 Kenko tubes and a duet of SB-R200 strobes

Make sure you can mount the strobes to the end of the lens. If the end of the lens rotates for focusing it is not totally suitable for insect photography unless you hand hold a strobe.

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evan47
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Re: Best macro lens for the D7000
In reply to SantaFeBill, Dec 28, 2012

SantaFeBill wrote:

With a micro lens of 150mm or longer, I'd want optical stabilization. Yes, if you always shoot with a steady support, you don't need it. But there will be times when a subject is moving and/or you don't have time to set up a tripod (or room). Then you'll be glad you have the option to hand-hold with the possibility that you might get a worthwhile image.

So that would indicate the Sigma 150 OS, rather than the Nikon 200, as the Nikon doesn't have VR.

when shooting at minimum distance for 1;1 macro work vr becomes more or less ineffective. bear in mind that the longer macro lenses seem to have shallower dof making a tripod/monopod more or less essential.

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GMack
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Re: Best macro lens for the D7000
In reply to Smiling_Pariah, Dec 28, 2012

Mine using the Nikkor 105mm G with VR on and handheld since I was stalking them on the backyard bushes hence no tripod.  Stopped down to f/32 (Diffraction issues?) due to old Minolta 1200 ring flash on the front that I couldn't turn the intensity down on.





Does a pretty good job for what it cost. Does hunt a bit at times though and maybe why they included that "Distance Range" switch on it too.

Mack

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Molando
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Re: Best macro lens for the D7000
In reply to Smiling_Pariah, Dec 29, 2012

Hello,

Photo newbie here, Nikon 105 vr micro arrived a couple of days ago. And had a DCR-250 turn up today.

Experts, if I say anything wrong, please correct me.

The 105 feels fine walking around with. Focusing is a bit of a pain. Sometimes it is spot on, other times, it zooms back and forth, and easier to manually focus.

Impressed with how well it works just holding it with the vr.

You are still fairly close with it. If I was trying to capture bugs outside, would not go for below a 105.

Expecting some kenko tubes to arrive in the next day or so. Chose kenko, as AF should still work with them. Have a feeling that will have to use manual focus with them.

Both the tubes and the DCR means you will be waving carera bits closer to the bugs.

In the second picture I am using a rayflash. Plastic device that sticks on the end of my flash.

Below is a bad picture of a dead fly on a rum cap. Hand held, and probably every wrong setting you can set on the camera. I just wanted to see how close I could get to a fly. The focus is on the flies body somewhere.

Dead fly on rum cap. 105 micro. handheld.

Dead fly on rum cap, with nikon 105 micro, and DCR-250. Bad photo, but again I wanted to see how close I could get.

You have to be about 50% closer with the DCR on, and would not have been able to do this without tripod.I would guess that the area in focus is round 2 or 3 mm.

For £39 the DCR is a nice toy. Looking forward to seeing how it works with tubes. Expect that I will need to set up some sort of rig, to know where to place the item I want to photograph.

Hope this helps.

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