Lens for damselflies, dragonflies, butterflies ..

Started Jun 17, 2013 | Discussions
sicherheit
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Lens for damselflies, dragonflies, butterflies ..
Jun 17, 2013

I currently use the Nikkor 105mm VR on a D5100 to take most of my insect shots but need a bit more distance for the larger insects e.g. damselflies. I need to able to fill the frame as the main purpose is identification and I try to get whole insect in focus head to tail so that the markings can be seen, therefore needs to be sharp as well.

Looking at recommendations it would appear that Sigma 180mm or 150mm (with 1.4 TC) may be the way to go but the weight puts me off a bit as the majority of the images I take are hand held.

I was thinking that the Nikon 70-200mm f4 may be a viable alternative to dedicated macro lenses as I have used the Nikon 70-300mm but found that the results can be a bit soft especially between 200 and 300mm.

Any thoughts?

John

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JohnB
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One photo out of focus is a mistake, ten photos out of focus are an experimentation, one hundred photos out of focus are a style. Anon

Nikon D5100
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Cytokine
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Re: Lens for damselflies, dragonflies, butterflies ..
In reply to sicherheit, Jun 17, 2013

sicherheit wrote:

I currently use the Nikkor 105mm VR on a D5100 to take most of my insect shots but need a bit more distance for the larger insects e.g. damselflies. I need to able to fill the frame as the main purpose is identification and I try to get whole insect in focus head to tail so that the markings can be seen, therefore needs to be sharp as well.

Looking at recommendations it would appear that Sigma 180mm or 150mm (with 1.4 TC) may be the way to go but the weight puts me off a bit as the majority of the images I take are hand held.

I was thinking that the Nikon 70-200mm f4 may be a viable alternative to dedicated macro lenses as I have used the Nikon 70-300mm but found that the results can be a bit soft especially between 200 and 300mm.

Any thoughts?

John

The 70-200mm f4 looks good on paper, close focussing 1M,  (1:3.6) Closer than the f2.8 and light.

John

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sicherheit
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Re: Lens for damselflies, dragonflies, butterflies ..
In reply to Cytokine, Jun 17, 2013

Cytokine wrote:

The 70-200mm f4 looks good on paper, close focussing 1M, (1:3.6) Closer than the f2.8 and light.

John

Funnily enough that was my thinking.

John

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evan47
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Re: Lens for damselflies, dragonflies, butterflies ..
In reply to sicherheit, Jun 17, 2013

when i go on a hunt for dragonflys/butterflys i prefer to use either the sigma 150, non os. sometimes with the sigma 1.4tc but more often without. or more recently with the nikon 300mm f4 af-s with the nikon tc 14 ii.

mounted on a gripped d7000, with a manfrotto 680b monopod and 234rc head to help keep things stable.

when i am having a good day and the creatures let me get close i use the nikon 105 af-d which i keep in my bag mounted on my spare gripped d7000.

 evan47's gear list:evan47's gear list
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sicherheit
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Re: Lens for damselflies, dragonflies, butterflies ..
In reply to evan47, Jun 17, 2013

Thanks evan

I've been finding just lately that the ones I want to photograph are out of reach of the 105. When they behave and come close then the 105 does just fine. Hadn't thought of the 300mm f4 (AF-S but no VR) so I would need to use the monopod a bit more than I do, reasonably priced too currently. How does the AF perform with the TC attached to the 300mm?

John

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labalaba
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Re: Lens for damselflies, dragonflies, butterflies ..
In reply to sicherheit, Jun 17, 2013

here's some comparisons, if you are prepared to click through the flickr set:http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/50439961

bottom line: the 70-200 f4 is not bad, better than the 70-300 VR, but not as good at closest focus as other options. It's a great lens otherwise

The simplest option you have is a TC. Both the 1.7x and 2.0x work reasonably well with 105VR (on my D700).

300 AFS f4 is really good at close focus distances. I have hand held this lens a lot, using D5100, D7100, & D700. If you think your light is not good enough to keep the shutter speed up, I suggest a flash and diffuser; I would find a tripod limiting for macro in the field, since you will not get to choose where to plant it.

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ERROL FLYNN
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Re: Lens for damselflies, dragonflies, butterflies ..
In reply to labalaba, Jun 17, 2013

I have just acquired the Sigma 180mm F2.8 OS, bit heavy to hand hold after a while, but works fine with a decent monopod.

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sicherheit
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Re: Lens for damselflies, dragonflies, butterflies ..
In reply to labalaba, Jun 17, 2013

Thanks for the link and the comparisons really useful.

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JohnB
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evan47
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Re: Lens for damselflies, dragonflies, butterflies ..
In reply to sicherheit, Jun 18, 2013

af is adequate, it helps to pre-focus though. upping iso or using iso auto helps too.

please view full screen to check details.

sicherheit wrote:

Thanks evan

I've been finding just lately that the ones I want to photograph are out of reach of the 105. When they behave and come close then the 105 does just fine. Hadn't thought of the 300mm f4 (AF-S but no VR) so I would need to use the monopod a bit more than I do, reasonably priced too currently. How does the AF perform with the TC attached to the 300mm?

John

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JohnB
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One photo out of focus is a mistake, ten photos out of focus are an experimentation, one hundred photos out of focus are a style. Anon

 evan47's gear list:evan47's gear list
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sicherheit
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Re: Lens for damselflies, dragonflies, butterflies ..
In reply to evan47, Jun 18, 2013

evan47 wrote:

af is adequate, it helps to pre-focus though. upping iso or using iso auto helps too.

Thanks for that, nice examples too. I do tend to use Auto ISO but limit it to 800 on the D5100.

That's a nice Orange Tip especially as it's on one of its favourite food plants.

I think I'm being more drawn to the 70-200 f4 though as it is relatively light and might be a bit more versatile. I will try the 300mm out to see how it feels on the camera.

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JohnB
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One photo out of focus is a mistake, ten photos out of focus are an experimentation, one hundred photos out of focus are a style. Anon

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