[d7000] Which of these 3 macro lenses is the best?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by allan_martin, Mar 4, 2013.

  1. Hi there!
    it's time I get a macro lens for my kit.
    Ive narrowed it down to these 3, which cost roughly the same:
    tamron 90mm 2.8. mwd ~10mm.
    tamron 60mm 2.9. mwd ~10mm.
    nikkon 85mm 3.5. mwd ~14mm.
    Nikkor's pros
    seem to be the working distance, but is 4cm worth it? Cons are the slower aperture and longer FL for dx format, as far I can see.
    Tammy's 60mm pros are goood FL for dx and non-extending barrel (is that even a pro?) compared to tammy 90. Also, faster due to wider aperture.
    Tammy 90, im not really sure. it's faster than 85mm nikon, but less working distance. Extending barrel (again not sure if good or bad). Cons are longer FL for dx.
    What do you say guys?
    Enlighten me please!
  2. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    This minimum working distances are not really in millimeters, are they?
    What type of macro subjects do you typically photograph? E.g. still subjects, flowers, insects? Generally speaking, you want more working distance, not less. When the front of your lens is really close to the subject, it could disturb it if it is a live insect, for example. You lens could block lighting and makes things difficult also.
  3. I would put the Nikon 60mm. 2.8G on your list for consideration. It is razor sharp and has great bokeh when I use it as a portrait lens. It is also has a nano crystal coating. I just bought one about a month ago and I love it.
  4. Sorry, the actual MWD are in centimeters!

    I sure will photograph insects! That's why I asked about the 4cm diff from the nikon 85mm compared to the other 2.
    Also, tammy 90's barrel extension should be beneficial as a way to keep me + camera body away from the subject?

    Regarding nikon 60mm, no way for me, working distance way too short for insects.
  5. I don't have any experience with the other lenses mentioned, but the AF-S 60mm Micro-Nikkor is one of the sharpest lenses in Nikon's arsenal. Though its working distance is a little short, I use mine for tabletop work. While the 85mm Micro-Nikkor is likely also very sharp, the 60mm has the benefit of being an FX lens, just in case you ever move to an FX body. The 85mm has the benefit of VR (which is less useful in macro photography).
    The other consideration is that both the 60mm and 85mm lenses on a DX body also serve as nice portrait-length lenses. The 60mm's slightly faster f/2.8 aperture could also be useful in this application, but, again, the 85mm's VR capability partially makes up for that. That said, the 85mm Nikkor is a good value, and gives you a bit more working distance than the 6omm macro, and since you mentioned this specifically, that's probably the wiser choice for your applications.
  6. I own the Nikon 60 AF-D, 105 AF-D and the 85 VR micro lenses. Of the three I prefer the 85 because of the VR. It's easy to use hand held and get sharp macro images. The two AF-D lenses are used on a tripod. The 105 gives me a little more working distance and is incredibly sharp, so much so that I see no need to upgrade it. BTW, I do all my macro work on DX camera bodies.
  7. I own the Nikon 60 AF-D, 105 AF-D and the 85 VR micro lenses. Of the three I prefer the 85 because of the VR. It's easy to use hand held and get sharp macro images. The two AF-D lenses are used on a tripod. The 105 gives me a little more working distance and is incredibly sharp, so much so that I see no need to upgrade it. BTW, I do all my macro work on DX camera bodies.
  8. For insects, you want as long a lens as you can afford. As for faster, you will likely be using at least f11 or f16 most of the time anyway as DoF wll be extremely shallow. I use a Canon 500D on my Nikon 80-400mm VR for insects as that gives me over a foot of working distance. My subjects are a lot less skittish when I'm not trying to photo them from a couple of inches away.
    Kent in SD
  9. I use a 105 AF-S for taking bug photos sometimes. I wish I had the 200mm macro lens.
  10. Just for clarification, the Tamron 60mm is f/2, not 2.9. I have it and it's sharp as can be also, I double it as portrait lens.
  11. Hey Michael what do you think about the 60mm? Ever used it for insect shots? Do you feel that the working distance is comfortable?
  12. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    For insects, you want a longer macro lens. I would say 100mm; 200mm is even better. Among those you listed, go for either the 85mm or 90mm. 60mm macro lenses are for copying (books, pictures) and larger subjects. For example, I take a lot of pictures of camera equipment for my reviews. A lot of those are with the 60mm/f2.8 AF-S Macro on FX.
  13. I've got the Tamron 60mm f2, Nikkor 105mm VR and the Tamron 180mm f3.5. The AF isn't so good on the 180, but IQ is great. The 105 is the best AF, by far, and has VR for handheld stuff. The 60 is sharp from wide open and peaks amazingly at f5, which I use for stacked images.
    I guess I use the 105 for 60%, the 60 and 180 for 20% each.
  14. I have the Tamron 90mm (presumably we're not talking about the new VC one?) - it has a very good
    reputation and, other than a little LoCA, I'm happy with it. The front is very recessed, which is
    annoying if you want working distance. I've heard less wonderful things about the 85mm Nikkor, but
    haven't tried it (my Nikon's are FX). Aperture helps for portraits - I used by 90mm until I got an f/1.4,
    85mm, but I'd hesitate to claim vr is a substitute. At macro ranges smaller apertures negate the faster
    lens's advantage, but also negate the effectiveness of the VR.

    I'd also consider the 100mm Tokina and 105mm Sigma. The 105 Nikkor handles best, but is also
    expensive (consider the 150mm Sigma if you want to spend that much). The 60mm Nikkor has a
    good reputation, but a bit short for insects.

    Hope that helps.
  15. I have heard more things about tamron 90mm than tokina 100mm. Working distance about the same so between these 2 id probably go with tamron.
    But guys, wait a sec, why are you telling me the tamron 60mm is too short for insects but at the same time recommending the 90mm? I checked and the working distance is the same, or pretty pretty close.
  16. Look, I made a little drawing to make clear what I mean:
    Now Im not sure if that extra "lens length" of tamron 90mm would be beneficial at all.

    However I also take into account that tamton 60mm is a newer lens, so it has to be some advantages concerning built and optical quality, doesnt it?
  17. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Allen, I am not familiar with those Tamron lenses, but if you go to 1:1, most macros would lose focal length.
    Do you always shoot at 1:1? If not, the 90mm should definintely give you more working distance with the same subject size on the sensor.
  18. Guess those are still CentiMeters on the drawing?
    The MFD for the 60mm is 230mm, and for the 90mm is 300mm. Those are measured from the sensor plane. Where the front of the lens is at that point, is a factor of the design. They are both IF designs so actual lens length doesn't change.
    I have the Tamron 60mm f2. The MWD is about 100mm. The spec I could find makes the 90mm Tamron have a MWD of 130mm........30mm isn't going to make any difference to a scared bug!

    For my Tamron 180mm f3.5, if you subtract (the actual lens length 165mm + 45mm for sensor plane) from the MFD of 470mm, you get a MWD of 260mm. I find the bugs quite tolerant of that!
  19. Guys, just clear this question out real quick:
    The tamron 90's working distance from that spreadsheet and all of the reviews out there are talking about exactly what? distance from the tip of the lens barrel to subject OR tip of front glass to subject?
    Im hoping it is 9 cm from tip of lens barrel to subject, i.e., 13 cm from front glass.
    If the ones who have it could confirm this, would be great.
    Also, are you supposed to expect a lot of flare when shooting macro? Cause tamron 60mm + lens hood leaves ~6 cm working distance. Now with the tamron 90mm I wouldnt need the lens hood cause the front glass is recessed, thus reducing flare, from what I understood.
  20. I have shot jewelry, not insects with my Tamron 60, but it is very close to the subject. This is the rig I use.
  21. Oops, here it is.
  22. Allan, if it's the newer VC version of the Tamron 90mm we're talking about, it is an Internal Focus lens, so stays the same physical length and doesn't have a deeply recessed front element. It's pretty flush with the front.....just like it's shorter sibling, the 60mm.
    Minimum Focused Distance of 300mm is from the sensor to the object. The lens is 123mm long and the mount to sensor is 45mm....so ~130mm from front of lens to object. That is the Minimum Working Distance.
  23. Michael, yes, I can imagine the initial 10 cm are severely reduced by the use of the lens hood. That's why I asked about the distance from the lens tip to the subject, opposed to the front glass to subject, in tamron 90mm. Since the glass is recessed, it should reduce the need for the lens hood.
    But at the same time I also dont know if flare is a regular thing to deal with in wildlife macro.
    Mike, no it is the old non VC tamron.
  24. Well, Sigma didn't feel the need to recess the front of the 150mm macro. The recessed front is my biggest issue with the 90mm Tamron - it
    does come with a hood anyway. The new one might have better LoCA behaviour, but then it's twice the price (is it actually shipping yet?)
  25. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Allan, please take a look at this thread from 2011: http://www.photo.net/nikon-camera-forum/00ZNW5
    I had a 10-Eruo bill taped onto the wall, and I set up Nikon's 40mm DX, 105mm, and 200mm macro lenses all at 1:1 magnification. See how much more working space you have with a longer macro lens. If your focus is insects, I would get a longer macro lens.

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