Considering 60mm 2.8 Macro

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by cindygillespie, Jun 28, 2011.

  1. I do a lot of portraits and love my 105 macro (Nikon) mainly for the great boken and clarity of all the images. I am now considering the use / purchase of one of the two 60mm 2.8 or the 85mm 3.5. I am running these on the D7000...... I believe (at least in my mind) that the 60mm would work at the 50mm range of my nifty fifty am I thinking properly?
    Thank you all so very much for your time and advice,
  2. I find the 50 and the 60 ranges to be very different.
    That said, the 60 length will be equivalent on DX to about a 90mm field of view, which means that that is a good length for portraiture... but... the macro lenses are super sharp and sometimes that super sharpness can be UNflattering for portraiture, plus the fact that you can't shoot more open than f2.8. They're also not really designed for bokeh, although my old 55mm f3.5 has really nice bokeh.
    I am one that thinks that a micro lens is not a great portrait lens but can work in a pinch, and that a 50mm on DX (equivalent field of view - 75mm) isn't perfect either, but isn't a horrible compromise.
    There is a manual focus 58mm f1.4 from Voigtlander that I've heard and read good things about, that might be better for that purpose.
  3. I would recommend the AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.8D over the f/3.5. An f/3.5 maximum-aperture lens is not only slow, it will limit your ability to employ shallow depth-of-field, especially when used on a DX body. I actually like the 60mm length on DX bodies, even for portraits. But again, an f/2.8, 60mm lens, on a DX body will have less subject isolation than say, a 50mm f/1.4.
    That said, my two favorite portrait lenses are: AF 85mm f/1.8D/1.4D or AF-S 85mm f/1.4G, and the AF DC-Nikkor 105mm f/2.0D.
  4. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Nikon's 60mm macro lens is flat-field macro designed for copying. E.g. if you want to shoot a flat piece of paper, the 60mm has the best chance to give you edge-to-edge sharpness. While 60mm is suitable for portrait work on a DX body, I am not sure you want to use a macro.
    I am also not at all a fan of shooting portraits with f1.4, f1.8 type shallow depth of field. Those portrait images where one eye is sharp while the other is out of focus bother me to no end. Naturally, the viewer's vision will be drawn to the eye that is unsharp and attempt to view it as sharp; that is highly distracting.
  5. If you do go with the 60mm macro, get the newer AF-S version, it's notably sharper and faster focussing than the older D version.
    But as others have said, that kind of sharpness can be cruel!
    On DX, especially the very hi-res D7000, I'd be tempted to go with the 50mm AF-S, approximates to a 75mm FOV....would allow full length shots at a push, unlike the 85's equivalent to 135mm...(unless you do a lot outdoors or have a big studio!! ;-) )
  6. I second Peter's advice for a CV 58/1.4. Works great for portraiture both on FX and on DX. But shooting at f1.4 lead often to what Shun said... one eye in focus when the other is out of focus... but at f2 you can manage this much easier.
    If you don't mind shooting portraits with a macro lens, an interesting option could be Tamron 60mm f/2.
  7. I think both 60s work well as portrait lenses on DX. I found the older 60 to be sharper, but I prefer the handlign of the new one. Here are some samples, click through to see them bigger at Flickr:
    Portrait with the old AF 60/2.8D:
    Portrait with the newer AF-S 60/2.8G:
  8. Mark...
    Thank you ! That's exactly what I was hoping to find. I LOVE the clarity and sharpness of my 105 but for 1/2 or full body it's a bit difficult especially in my small studio. That's why I was looking at the 60mm 2.8 and I haven't yet been disappointed with my 105 also I have never once ran into the problem of it been unreasonably sharp. I strive for those sharp eyes and lashes and then to have the wonder boken that the 105 gives me is that much more.
    If you happen to have standing 1/2 or full body please post... I would love to see them.
    Thank you all once again for your experience and thoughts ! They are more than appreciated.
  9. If you're after an 85mm portrait lens, I'd consider the Samyang f/1.4, which is a bargain for its price (but manual focus). It's probably not as sharp stopped down as the micro lenses, but the bokeh is much better than the Nikkor f/1.8 85mm (IMHO). The Tamron 90mm f/2.8 macro is another good option, and I used it as a short portrait lens (on FX) before getting my Samyang. They may all be long for a DX body, though. I'm a believer in filling in the ends of the range I want before plugging the middle - if you've already got the 105mm, I'd definitely think about a shorter lens in your place. Unless you actually need a macro with a short working distance, I'd have thought a 50mm would be a better option, especially now the 50mm f/1.8 AF-s is available with relatively decent sharpness and bokeh wide open. No harm in having the aperture there in case you need it...
  10. Okay... I guess I should have listed this. These are my current lens
    Nikkor 35mm f1.8, 50mm f1.4, Macro 105 f2.8, 18-105 f3.5, 55-200
    f4-5.6, 70-300 f4.5-5.6, 24-70 f2.8
  11. I just got the Tamron 60mm f/2 macro for my D300s, partly for portrait use with the fast f/2.
  12. Cynthia -- with your very nice lens lineup, I don't see what the 60 f2.8 micro adds.
    For macro work, the 105 should be just fine and the better working distance should be an advantage.
    For portrait, you already have a great selection of lenses. The 50 f1.4 is a good choice on a DX body. The 24-70 gives you more flexibility. And you have some good choice when you need a longer lens, too.
    Personally, I'd save the money for something more useful... but all those choices are MUCH more expensive, like a 135 f2 DC, a 70-200 f2.8, or a PC-E lens.
  13. Cynthia, I have the 60 AF-S Micro. It's a lovely lens. Sharp, with stunning bokeh, and when mounted on my D300 the AF is pretty good. I mostly use it for repro work, and am considering taking some portrait shots, but I never hesitate to take it out in the field for a spin.
  14. Cynthia - I agree with Allan. I've seen unflattering reviews of the 85mm f/3.5 (not that this is definitive), and the aperture's a bit slow for a portrait part. If you've already got a 24-70 f/2.8, the 60mm micro isn't going to gain you much other than slightly less distortion, a slightly flatter field, and macro support - none of which are typically in high demand for portraiture. If you want it as a macro lens, go for it - but the 105mm is probably easier to use. What exactly are your current lenses not providing? I'm surprised that the 24-70 and 50mm f/1.4 (is it the older one?) aren't doing all you need.
  15. I'll second the suggestion of the Tamron 60 f/2. I'm quite happy with mine and suggest you give it a look as well. After rebate you are looking at $400.00.
  16. I'm with the others ... unless you want to be uncomfortably close to your subjects, an actual macro lens adds nothing. I see the 105 used for portraits often on FX cameras, but these are generally shots where the photographer is using f/8 or somesuch to get the entire body/hair/wardrobe/etc. in focus; at which point the better sharpness of the macro wins out over the unused bokeh on an 85.
    Also, I'd pass on the 85 micro. With the exception of weather sealing, I'd never use it over the Tamron 90 macro if I owned them both.
  17. These are my current lens
    Nikkor 35mm f1.8, 50mm f1.4, Macro 105 f2.8, 18-105 f3.5, 55-200
    f4-5.6, 70-300 f4.5-5.6, 24-70 f2.8​
    cynthia, you've got most of your bases covered already...
    i'm not sure you need another macro lens since you already have the 105; in fact, i'm not sure you need a portrait lens, period, since you have the 24-70 and the 50/1.4. given that, what makes sense is something like the 58/1.4 (and upcoming CV 75/1.8) with its faster aperture and MF (requiring a slower, more deliberate approach than an AF-enabled lens) or one of the fabled portrait nikkors: 85/1.4 or 135/2 DC.
    as a 24-70 owner myself, i don't find that lens lacking at all. in fact, between that and the 70-200 VRII, i've pretty much got most situations dialed in. for you, it might make more sense to save for the 70-200 than get something extraneous at this point. i did notice you don't have an UWA or a wide fast prime...
  18. Eric... do you have a suggestion in that statement? "A fast wide prime"?
    The main reason that I was thinking the 60 is that my studio (home) is very tight and I love my 105 but for full body it's not an option... I use the 24-70 for my full body or my 50.
    With all these responses I am questioning my thought process and I am agreeing that maybe the 60 isn't what I am looking for (although for a macro at 2.8 it is appealing) But, maybe what you have suggested is something a bit wider and faster is another consideration.
  19. I've used the 60mm extensively for portraits and I like it a lot. I wouldn't worry too much about it being "too sharp", or about 2.8 not giving shallow enough depth of field.
    Try it, you'll like it.
  20. The 60 is a great lens and could work well for what you want ; just because the 24-70 covers that range does not mean the 60 is a duplicate; shooting with a prime vs a zoom is an entirely different style, and the images are different; I myself move much more freeely with a prime, and shoot better images. Truth is, in the using, the 50 and 60 are completely different. The 60 is a cheap rent, rent it for a week and give it a go.
  21. do you have a suggestion in that statement? "A fast wide prime"?​
    cynthia, the obvious choice for a pro fast wide prime is the 24/1.4 G. very expensive but from a long-term investment standpoint probably worth it. unfortunately there's not too much else out there that's faster than 2.8 and wider than 35. also, it's not that wide on DX, but a future-proof investment as i said earlier. at that price point, though, you'd probably also consider the 17-35 AF-S which goes wider and is better at open apertures than the 18-105, or maybe even the 14-24. ultimately, though, you may end up going full frame, at which time the 24-70, 50 and 105 will be wider, and something like the 85/1.4 begins to make sense. so you may want to not acquire any more DX lenses for that reason.
    The main reason that I was thinking the 60 is that my studio (home) is very tight and I love my 105 but for full body it's not an option... I use the 24-70 for my full body or my 50.​
    ok, but 60 is tighter than 50, which you already have. i just don't think you gain that much from this focal length with what you already own, since a 60 overlaps a 24-70 and is pretty close to a 50. 90mm equivalent on DX is still head and shoulders territory, not full body, and you already have a 2.8 lens in this focal length. i think the 35/1.8 is pretty good for full body shots but i dont think it's better than the 24-70, so i don't know why you wouldn't just use that most of the time. for a zoom, the 24-70 is actually that good, except at 24mm where there is some distortion. usually for a body portrait you're going to stop down anyway, so the faster aperture of the 35 doesn't really help you there.
    i'm not fully convinced you even need a new lens, since 24-70+35/1.8+50/1.4+105 macro is already a pretty good, even awesome, kit, even on DX. i was merely pointing out that you do have an obvious wide angle gap in your otherwise sweet lineup. might as well stay the course until you can go FF. it's kind of cool to have a hybrid system which allows you to take advantage of the crop factor or not, depending on what you want to shoot.
  22. I think you could buy the New Nikon 10-450 mm 1.2f...

    Im just kidding, i think you have plenty of lenses to achieve any diferent results. For portrait i regularly use Nikok 50mm 1.8, sigma 30 1.4. They are pretty good. The nikon is extremely sharp!!
  23. I don't know, I kind of like it (the older model 60mm).
    Your mileage may vary.
  24. A lot has been said about lenses, so one more question :
    What lighting possibilities do you use / have available ? (flash , softbox etc.)
  25. I was going to suggest the (manual focus) Samyang 35mm f/1.4 as another bargain with decent performance - but I'm not sure how much better it is than the f/1.8 Nikkor 35mm (and bokeh probably doesn't matter as much at 35mm as at 85mm, where the Samyang has clearer benefits over the Nikkor f/1.8). The Zeiss 21mm f/2.8 is considered to be pretty special (it's one of the few lenses that makes the 14-24 look bad, although it does so at the weak end of the 14-24's range), but it's not much wider than your 24-70 and no faster. For both the Zeiss and the Samyang (and the 24mm f/1.4 Nikkor) you're paying both in money and size for a full-frame lens. All this assumes you actually want to use a wide lens for portraits, since this is kind of the exception rather than the rule. (If you want unusual images, don't rule out a fish-eye or tilt/shift, or even a Lensbaby.)

    For what it's worth, if we're lusting over expensive glass, I take a fair number of (candid) portraits with my 200mm f/2, but I'd be the last person to suggest that it's a practical piece of glass for the purpose, especially in a studio and with a DX camera.

    Having said all that, C.P.M. makes a good point about lighting, which is probably far more significant in portraiture than any minor differences in focal length or depth of field.
  26. Lighting also has a lot to do with why so many pros(relatvely) use macros for portrait work. If you're using lights, there's a good chance you're shooting at f/8-f/11 or so, in which case something like the 85 f/1.4 isn't really given the chance to shine. If you're using natural light, you're more likely to be around f/4 or wider than with lights, and those fast primes offer some huge advantages.
    Also, keep in mind the distances you plan to be from your subject. If I'm not mistaken, most 60mm macro/micro lenses hit infinity at around 10 feet. Since those lenses are designed specifically for close up work, they won't be as sharp at infinity. They're not necessarily bad at infinity (although you could argue that the 60 micro-D was), but they will definitely be less sharp than they are before infinity. I would do this:
    - Look at the exif data on your favourite 'average' photos. Note whether or not it was a wide aperture.
    - Google focusing information on the lenses you're interested.
    - If you're generally using a middle aperture, and standing closer than what that lens would call infinity, then a macro/micro can add sharpness to your images. Whether or not the images are better is an entirely different can of worms, but they will probably be sharper.
    - If you're using wide apertures, or you expect to be standing at a distance that falls under 'infinity' on that lens, then you're better off sticking with your 50 f/1.4, or the 85 if you want to start buying FX lenses. The macro lenses may still have something to offer, but you won't usually be in a position to see it.
    For what it's worth, I used to use an 85 f/1.4D in my living room for 'studio' shots. I was never more than 12 feet away, even if I was crammed against the wall, and I could do torso shots on smaller models without a problem, and head and shoulders shots with everyone. I'd still be using it today, if I hadn't sold it to buy a Hassy kit :)
  27. CPM......... I have two speed lights that I remote trigger if needed and I have two 36" (medium size I would guess) softbox strobes.
    I just have a small area... 20x20 with 8ft ceilings....get the picture? Very limited.
    Zack... I have been looking this morning at the average of my focal lengths.. that also dawned on my last night. So I will see where the focal points are laying. I typically am using any were from f4 to f11 depending on the effect I am wanting to obtain.
    I also do a some old school night club shots that require the faster primes the 35 and the 50 and the 24/70. I don't use flash in those environments so the wider the aperture the better. But that is not were I do portraits. I do them outside or in studio.
  28. shun: "I am also not at all a fan of shooting portraits with f1.4, f1.8 type shallow depth of field. Those portrait images where one eye is sharp while the other is out of focus bother me to no end."
    thanks shun! i absolutely hate this too!
  29. Hi Cynthia,
    In that case I'd say : investigate a voigtlander 58mm , although manual focus, it beats the 60mm macro for portrait on different levels.. excelent center sharpness, "draws" the picture not unlike a Leica lens, nice colour rendering and best bokeh in its class ( only one has a nicer bokehmaybe in this class i think, that's the Nikor 50mm 1.2 AIs, but thats just a matter of taste...) .
    Here it is on Photozone :

    And mayby , just maybe, get an umbrella or twoon a stand for those speedlights i'd say, (for some extra versatility , and a different look from softboxes...)
    Just my two cents....

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