Best Macro lens for bugs?

Started Oct 4, 2006 | Discussions thread
brokenz Veteran Member • Posts: 9,098
Subject, lighting conditions, and you...

Those are the three factors I think always come into play. Specifically...

Thomas Karlmann wrote:

..or flowers. Is it the 105mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor,
the Sigma 150 or another contender? Bug hunters: Which is best?

Frankly I prefer a shorter lens for flowers as it makes it easier for me to get the composition I need. I actually prefer a 35mm f/2.0D or 45mm 2.8P even though ultimately neither equal the sharpness (at most apetures) or contrast I can get with my Nikon 60mm 2.8D.

1. 105 Nikkor has VR; can one reliably hold the 150 steady enough like
Claypaws does?

That's really a personal thing. I can get away with 120mm handheld at 1:2 in even decent lighting but that's about my limit. Everyone has a different limit though.

2. Scare-bug-away-factor: Sigma has longer reach. Is Nikkor long
enough not to scare the bug away?

Do either really give "significant" reach over what you are using now? What I mean...

My two main normal macro lenses are a Nikon 60mm 2.8D and a Nikon 120 f/4.5 Macro. Both focused at a repro of about 1:2 (as close as the 120mm will go) I see hardly any difference in actual working distance between the two. Reason being is that the Nikon 60mm does get slightly longer physically as you focus closer while the Nikon 120mm grows a huge amount in length. Therefore the 120mm has a great advantage if you look at only minimum focus distance (measured from the image plane) while in real use there's hardly any difference between the two in working distance (measured from the front of the lens).

3. Lens optical quality

I think you'll find few people that are unhappy with about any modern made macro lens.

4. Is the UltraSonic focus of the Sigma up to the Nikkor's AF-S

If you are doing true macro (1:2 or greater IMO) then I hardly see why this would matter.

I presently have a 50mm macro, but by the time you get close enough
to the bug to almost fill the frame, it is likely to be scared
away. Does the 100mm solve this issue or do I need the 150? (For
use on DSLR with 1.5 crop factor)

Comments anyone? Thanks.

Personally I think you'd be better off concentrating on technique more than lens. Do "you" think you can handhold a 100mm without flash? I assume without flash because if flash is in use then I could probably handhold a 200mm macro lens. I assume off a tripod also. Personally I find 60mm long enough. Not the closest I can get but a few recent shots with the Nikon 60mm...

None at 1:1 but none were cropped either.

Are you really unhappy because of working distance because of working distance or the physical size of your lens? You might be focused on the wrong thing. The 50mm you are using, it isn't that first generation Sigma 50mm Macro is it? That would be one of the few macro lenses I've seen universally criticised for image quality.

Fit for release from a mental institution but banned from the 3-0-0-D forum since 6-2005.

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