D750 and macro work

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by Renee Shipley, Mar 1, 2018.

  1. Hi everyone. Been a while since I've posted! I'm looking to expand my horizons with the addition of macro work. Looking for opinions on dedicated macro lenses vs using extension tubes. I'm open to both. Looking to do flowers, grasses, etc as well as detail shots for weddings. I've been looking at sigma 105 vs nikon 105 vs tamron 90; does anyone have any wisdom?
  2. The non-VC Tamron 90mm is a very good lens for the money, although it has a little LoCA at wider apertures; it has the advantage that it's a passable f/2.8 portrait lens. Mechanically it's a little clunky, and it has a deeply recessed front element that's annoying for working distance - but otherwise I've been happy with it.

    The VC version is better, I believe, but appreciably more expensive. The Tokina 100mm is the traditional other budget option.

    The Nikon is apparently very good, but not necessarily vastly better than the others given the price differential - and it does have some LoCA problems of its own (spider webs showing in multiple colours as they cross the focal plane, for example). I've heard people prefer the non-VR version. While I find it handy to have VR when hand-holding a macro (see my Nikon Wednesday snow shots this week), none of these have compensation for translation (shaking the camera from side to side rather than rotating it) in the way that the Canon 100mm does.

    While a shorter macro allows you to include more of the background, I've generally preferred as much working distance as possible - especially for insects. I found the Sigma 150mm OS to be the best trade-off for price and it's quite good on LoCA (and again, it doubled as a long portrait lens) - there's an older non-OS version if you are okay with a tripod. For really long working distance, the 300mm f/4 lenses allow you to get a pretty good (but not true macro) reproduction ratio, which is handy for dragonflies and the like.

    Having come from Canon (long ago), Nikon's extension tubes have always alarmed me a bit - Canon's, being purely electronic, just work. But that may be unfair since I've not tried the Nikon ones.
    mike_halliwell and Renee Shipley like this.
  3. I should add a disclaimer: I've only had personal experience of the 90mm non-VC Tamron and the 150mm Sigma. Everything else came from reviews on the internet. YMMV. :)
    Renee Shipley likes this.
  4. Andrew! When I do macro I really don't care how the lens coupled to the camera. I need no AF and no metering when doing macro.
  5. :) I discovered when trying to shoot bluebells with the 90mm Tamron on my F5 that autofocus really didn't work. And then I put it on a D700, and all was well. While I make heavy use of back-button autofocus (and letting go when I feel it's locked), I do find both autofocus and metering to be useful when hopping between plants that are blowing in the breeze, especially in changeable weather, or when I spot insects buzzing around them.

    This does not make for truly professional (locked down, macro rail, possible focus stacking) macro shots, I admit. But I took this week's shots of a light dusting of snow in the couple of minutes I was willing to make myself late for work, given the nice light. And they're not, I admit, perfectly technically sharp. but if I'd done it "properly", I'd have got yelled at by my boss! Sometimes "good enough" is a lot better than nothing.

    Which in no way means that you can't get very good photos out of older macro kit, obviously. Just that it's a little less convenient to do so (or at least, to get tolerable ones).
  6. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Moderator Staff Member

    I bought the older AF Micro Nikkor 105 2.8 D. Not terribly expensive, have used it with an without Telextender and have been very satisfied with results. I usually use manual focus, but the autofocus works quite well. I have used it on both DF and D 750. Looking forward to trying it on the D 7200 when weather improves and we finally manage to dig out.
    Renee Shipley likes this.
  7. nikon
    This one is an excellent value.

    Although auto-focus is probably not critical for some photographers, hwvr, yes, it can help in many situations.
    Renee Shipley likes this.
  8. Some folks ravish about the Tokina 100 or 105mm as a bang for the buck macro miracle (especially on Nikon!). It has no VC / VR / whatever, so better prepare to bring some flashes along with it, since you are very likely to run out of DOF & light with FF macro shots. Although I end turning of the AF of my Pentax lenses quite frequently when I am doing macro work, I am really happy to have it and wouldn't fancy getting all manual macro lenses for DSLRs. - With AF they double up as portrait lenses, without they become heavy one trick ponies in your bag first and develop shelf queen potential later.
    If you plan shooting hand held maybe settle on a 1:2 macro weighing less than an 1:1 one, for the before mentioned DOF reasons. In manual film days I had a 1:2 Tamron (not recommended due to reflections from film or sensor surface, when stopped down). - I own extension tubes, but 1:2 is very frequently more than close enough for my needs.
    Renee Shipley likes this.
  9. Assuming one of the key aspects of a true macro lens, rather than a dual purpose macro/portrait, is very high res, I'd wait and see what the new Sigma Art macro is like.
    The Art series is often panned as being flat/boring/souless etc, but very sharp and high contrast.
    The new lens appears to be not IF, which in itself it interesting and I suspect very handy for stacking at its best aperture.
    My Tamron 60mm f2 DX is crazy sharp at f4, but obviously the DOF isn't usually enough for macro. So I stack numerous very sharp images.
    Someday I'll play with a D850 and stacking..... Someday
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2018
    Renee Shipley likes this.
  10. I've got the Tokina 100mm f/2.8, and it deserves its place on your shortlist. It's not as readily available as some other brands, but it's priced very nice, and it's an excellent lens (also very smooth OoF rendering, which is nice for portraits).
    Indeed it lacks VR, but VR for macro-shots in the real macro range (1:2 to 1:1 sizes) is of questionable advantage anyway. So for macro usage, you need flash as much as you'd need it with any of the others. Of course, the pretty excellent high ISO performance of the D750 is a sure advantage here as well.
    Renee Shipley likes this.
  11. Edit. Apparently the new Sigma macro won't be available in F-mount!
  12. I use extension tubes (rings) extensively with my Hasselblad for macro photography in nature. They are not so handy for mobile situations such as weddings. Many non-macro lenses focus only as close as 3 to 5 feet without the use of extension tubes. This includes most Hasselblad lenses and many zoom lenses for small format. Many times you only need to cover an area postcard sized or larger, which represents a ratio of 1:5 or more. I have a Hasselblad 120 mm macro lens which focuses that close, but in the woods I prefer to use a 180 mm lens for longer working distance, but only at moderate magnification. These days, many zoom lenses will focus close enough for the traditional "hands and rings" wedding photo.

    Caveat! If you use extension tubes with a zoom lens, the focus no longer tracks the zoom level (known as "parfocal" performance). Some extension tubes allow auto focus, but most do not.

    Closer than 1:4 magnifies the effects of camera shake and subject motion, not to mention shallow depth of field. It is hard to use a flash without some sort of attachment which positions it in front of the lens. Save it for subjects which don't have other things to do or places to be ;)
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2018
  13. Wow. Thanks for the information! I just looked up the tokina lens...it gets rave reviews!?

  14. One caveat about the Tokina. It is a "D" type lens; it needs the screwdriver drive in the camera body to autofocus. This is not a problem with the D750 but may be with other camera bodies.
    Renee Shipley likes this.
  15. I am good there !
  16. I only stumbled across some YouTube gurus praising it. - Example - Fast forward to 6th minute. (Studio guy doing portraits with moderately priced primes on D810s calling it his favorite & go to lens.) Traumflieger.de rank it pretty high, noticed issues with contrast AF though (extremely low hit rate) - on Canon 5D II? - Not sure.
  17. As Andrew G mentioned above, my Nikon 105mm 2.8 VR, has serious long chromatic problems and, for me, can't be used on any high contrast subjects without getting bad fringing and infront..behind green magenta colouring. I don't seem to be the only one. Most sites that measures such things shows the issue, but curiously there are exceptions that seem just fine. Maybe some aspect of early VR can be easily knocked out of wack?
    I'm currently looking at the latest iteration of the Tamron 90mm....'cos unlike the supersharp Tamron 60mm is an FX lens!
    Renee Shipley likes this.
  18. I too, am considering the Tamron. If you do purchase or test it, please post how you like it.
  19. I just ordered the Tokina 100mm; it shall arrive Wednesday. Just in time for me to have no chance of using it until Saturday...!
  20. I'll be interested to see what you have to say, Renee. The Tokina did have good reviews in its day (I believe it tended to come in a close second behind the older 90mm Tamron, although possibly with better LoCA control) - but I'm wary that many reviews are from a while back, and "sharp" on a D700 might not amount to much with a modern sensor.

    That said, the Tamron still holds up on my D810, so I'd expect the same here. There aren't many macro lenses that don't perform (although I've found the 150mm sigma is perhaps a little soft at infinity, and I believe it was lens rentals who found the same of the Nikkor 105mm).

Share This Page