Cheapest macro lens

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by felicity_dyson, Dec 21, 2010.

  1. I'm a young photographer wanting a macro lens for a Nikon D40 but I have no idea whats best. I have an 18-55mm lens and a 55-200mm lens and am confident enough to not have to use autofocus. I can spend up to £200, maybe a bit more if needs be, any advise?
     
  2. The 18-55 focuses pretty close, but I wouldn't consider it as a macro replacement.
    If you can find a Vivitar, Cosina, Promaster 100/f3.5AF, (screw drive AF) though made rather cheesy it is a great performer for the price. They usually go for (US) $120. or so. I paid $69, for mine.
     
  3. Put a Marumi 2-element close up lens on your 55-200mm VR lens. I don't think your D40 will even meter for exposure with a non-AFS lens.
    Kent in SD
     
  4. This is one of those rare situations where the cheapest is also the best, or at least a contender for that title. You should be able to get a nice used 55mm f/3.5 Micro Nikkor for around half of your specified budget. It's one of Nikon's legendary lenses. Your D40 can even use the very early non-AI variety without modification, which more advanced digital bodies can't.
     
  5. Good catch, Kent.
    I forgot. I sometimes do use a 3 or 4T on the 55-200vR and it works well. It's standard equipment in my D5000 (light and cheap) bag. There also resides the above mentioned 100mm. which will meter but not AF on a D40.
     
  6. Felicity: assuming the "£" means you're in the UK, mifsuds.com currently have a used 90mm Tamron f/2.8 macro and (if you want to stick to Nikon, although I might not recommend it in this case) an 85mm f/3.5 DX micro in stock for about £250. I'm very happy with my Tamron (so far - I've not had it long, but it has good reviews). Both will autofocus and meter properly on a D40. I've bought from Mifsuds before without major complaints. For the flexibility and convenience, I'd pay the extra for one of these, myself (and the Tamron at least is an okay portrait lens). If you'd rather save the money, a close-up filter(/lens) is going to be the cheap approach. Be wary that AI manual-focus lenses won't meter for you, although you can check the histogram and make manual adjustments. Good luck.
     
  7. Thanks a lot, this has all been very useful!
     
  8. I use a 55mm f3.5 Micro-Nikkor on my D40 very often because the results are so good. I got it for $75 USD. Use camera "M" mode, and the back LCD to fine tune the exposure since the camera meter will not work with a non-AF lens.
     
  9. This lens is very good, also for portraits:
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Nikon-60Mm-F2-8D-Micro-Nikkor/dp/B00005LE77/
    With the D40 only manually focusing (no problem with a macro lens). However, it is upwards compatible ;)
    Not the cheapest, but not the most expensive either. Look for used offers at Amazon or Ebay. You can get it between 200 and 300 British Pound.
     
  10. If you really want the cheapest... simply buy a third party reverse mount ring (the Nikon one is the BR2A). It will cost you less than $10, and attached to your 18-55 @ 18mm should** provide a huge magnification.
    A reversed 50/1.8 lens will reach almost 1:1. It is also dirty cheap in the secondhand market.
    Anyway, a true Micro-Nikkor is infinitely more practical :)
    ---
    **I say "should" because I have never tested it (I don`t have that lens). Maybe others could confirm it.
     
  11. A good start would be a used Sigma 50 f2.8 EX DG. Since it's macro you'll be focusing manually. No need for an in lens motor. It's reasonably priced and like all macro's very sharp. I love mine and use it regularly.
     
  12. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Moderator

    Do you have to buy a dedicated macro lens? Or parpahs a diaopter or extension tube would do (as it has already been suggested within this thread)?
     
  13. The Sigma 105 is a great macro lens. I have seen these going for very reasonable prices on a certain auction site.
     
  14. Jose - re. the reversed 18-55 idea, bear in mind that reversing a G lens will give you a locked aperture (unless you use blu-tac on the aperture lever). An older lens with a manual aperture ring would work better. But with a budget around £200, I'm sure a used "real" macro lens that works properly on a D40 is possible - at least Tamron, Tokina or Sigma. I'd also pay a premium for the working distance of a longer (90mm+ vs 65mm or less) macro, but then we're not talking about my money. :)
     
  15. Thanks Andrew, I was not aware it is a "G" lens!. And I absolutely agree with you... better to buy something useful once.
     
  16. David's right, if you're able to MF on your camera then that Nikon 55mm f3.5 is the best lens you can buy for under $100. Sharp wide open, great color and IQ. But it's only a 1:2 macro, you'll need to buy the PK ring for another $25 to get true macro 1:1 and you need to be very close to what ever you want to subject for macro.
     
  17. Many years ago I purchased a used Nikkor 55mm micro f3.5 for $250. I still use this lens with the M2 extension tube in order to achieve a 1:1 reproduction ratio. I also use this lens with the Nikon PB4 bellows and the Nikon BR-2 reversal ring to achieve shots deep in the macro range (such as 12:1).
    I later paid about $30 to have Nikon convert the lens from pre-AI to AI. Today, I read this thread and learn that this great lens in which I invested $280 is now selling for less than $100 on the used market. All I can say is – what a deal.
    .
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