I need a macro!

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by joannersr, Jan 29, 2010.

  1. Hi all, I've visited this forum befor when I needed advice on equipment and found it very helpful.
    I'm turning to you once again. I have a Nikon D80 and I am looking for a macro lense. The one I want is the Nikon 105mm f/2G ED-IF AF-S VR Micro Nikkor. $800+ However I really cannot afford this. I can afford the 60mm but not sure if this will suit my needs. My budget is about $500. I know an off brand would be much cheaper but I"m not sure which brand is the best. I am only kind of familure w/ Sigma and Tamron. My manual for my camera says not to use an off brand and that it may not work properly and could void the warrenty. *sigh*
    Could anyone help me w/ this. As an aside, I'm a 40 yr. old first time college student (serious about photography) and this is for my nature photography class. I will also need a telephoto for this class. Any advice there?
    Thank you so much to whoever can respond.
    Very Sincerely,
  2. I do not own a D80 so cannot comment on Nikon's remarks in the Warnings and Warranty issues. Many years ago I purchased a Tamron 90mm macro and it goes to 1-1 without tubes, has long helix. I couldn't be happier with it's build quality and performance. With an AIS mount it should fit any Nikon DSLR however it may not meter with some. The one I have is manual focus! It's a keeper in my stable of lenses and cameras.
  3. SCL


    Although I have the Nikon 105/2.8 macro it is not the AF G version. Yes it was expensive and it works fine on my Nikon and other cameras (because it is NOT the G version, ie it has an aperture ring). However I also own the older Tamron 90/2.8 macro (not AF) in an Adaptall II mount, so I can use it on a variety of cameras, including my Nikon D100. No, it doesn't meter, nor autofocus. But for macro work, I generally find those features useless anyway. I personally don't think you could go wrong with either. I do strongly recommend you try to avoid the G version because of the lack of aperture ring. I know they were designed with the novices in mind, but many novices grow attached to good lenses and want to use them on other gear they acquire as their expertise improves.
  4. I used a D80 with a Tamron 90 2.8 macro lens (the newer "digital" one, model # 272, I believe) and it was a good combination, worked fine. The Tamron is a very sharp macro lens. My only complaint with it was the autofocus hunting; it does have a limit switch and that helped a lot. I usually focused it manually for macro but also used it for a general 90mm lens (which also worked fine) and the non macro use is where the AF hunting occurred.
    I'm not sure of the current list price for new but you can probably get a good one from KEH for less than $500.
  5. Have you checked for used versions on-line? I've done business with both KEH and B&H buying used lenses and have been pleased with both sites.
  6. I was not really satisfied with the Sigma on my camera, because you'd touch the focus ring involuntarily, and the shutter will block immediately... eventually I got the Nikon version. But yes, see if there are used ones on the market, which can save you up to half the price.
  7. +1 for Tamron. But there are some good alternatives too:
    a) Tokina 100mm/f2.8 - the advantage is that for a similar IQ offers a much better BQ
    b) the new Nikkor 85mm/f3.5
    No matter is your final decision, be sure that you don't go wrong with any of these choices...
    Finally - for a telezoom, maybe the most versatile at this stage is Nikon 70-300VR. You can get a used copy at quite decent costs.
    Good luck with your studies!
  8. Joanne, Bite the bullet, if at all possible, to make the stretch. Get the 105 mm. You won't be sorry. The extra working distance alone is worth it. A much sharper lens.
  9. Have you tried to find a used one on the web?
    If you are planning to use it primarily as MACRO you should also consider the older AF 105 f/2.8 D Micro. For macro work you don't need AFS, a G type lens or VR. You will most probably be shooting on a tripod. I used to have one and it was a great lens. The only reason I changed to the VR version is because more than for macro I use it for portraits and shooting birds at close distance handheld.
  10. Hi Joanne,
    I have the Sigma 105mm f2.8 EX Macro AF non DG version which I used to have almost permanently set up on a copy stand in my studio. The lens is very well made and very sharp. The new DG version supposedly has a special lens coating on the rear element to prevent stray reflections due to camera sensor and rear element proximity. I have used my non DG version on my digital bodies and have not noticed any loss of contrast, reflections, or any other negative effect, so I can recommend this lens in either version. You might be able to purchase a mint non DG version for very little. Even if you buy the new version, it's within your budget. Either lens will allow you to excell in your class. ;-)
  11. My manual for my camera says not to use an off brand and that it may not work properly and could void the warrenty. *sigh*​
    Huh? I'm pretty sure the language in the Nikon manual says the following:
    This is really refering to batteries, power cords, chargers, flashes, and wired remotes. I guess it could conceivably extend to lenses, but Nikon would have to prove that damage to your camera was caused by the use of a Non-Nikon brand lens. As lenses don't have any power source, the only real potential for damage would be an ill-fitting lens, which actually had to be forced in place, damaging your lens mount. I've never heard of such a thing, as ALL of the third-party manufacturers are using the standard compatible F-mount tolerances to make sure their lenses fit properly.
    No need to worry about this. Nikon expects that the end-user will use third-party lenses at one time or another.
  12. If you want a 105mm, and you want a Nikkor, the older (and 100% compatible with a D80) AF Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8D is available from KEH.com for as little as $400 in EX condition. As useful as VR might be, you don't need it for close-up work. Nor do you need AF-S for your D80. The AF-D will autofocus just fine on your D80 for longer shots, and you should use manual focus for macro shots anyway.
    And of course the Tamron 90mm models (autofocus only) are also a good alternative. And with respect to Nikon's warning, you probably have a better chance of being struck by lightning than having a third party lens damage your camera if it is properly mounted. That statement is a CYA proviso, and of course Nikon wants to encourage you to buy Nikkor lenses (and conversely discourage you from buying non-OEM).
  13. Joanne, I had the 105mm, sold it and replaced it with the new 60mm 2.8. I paid about $550 for it. It is quickly becoming one of my favorites. Love the very close focusing distance. Of course, that can be a real turn off in some macro situations. It is extremely sharp, with quite a bit more contrast than the 105. I find myself having to do much less post-editing. I also find myself using the 60mm at times instead of my 17-55mm. Something that was a little more difficult with the 105 because of the longer focal length. This is an image from back in September.
  14. I second the Sigma 105/2.8 EX. I think mine's the DG version. Extremely well constructed, sharp as all get out, and goes down to 1:1. The only downside is that the autofocusing isn't particularly fast - IIRC it doesn't have a built in motor, relying on the camera's AF motor - this disqualifies some Nikon dSLRs, but I think the D80 is compatible. It's plenty fast on my F4S, but seems slower with my D70S - I presume a function of the size and power of the camera's AF motor. Either way, for macro, fast AF isn't a massive advantage - I usually use it in MF mode anyway - switching between AF and MF requires push/pulling the focus ring - easy to switch back and forth without looking - it's as good as AF lock. This lens lists for ~$480, so it's well within your budget - highly recommended
  15. mizore

    mizore A Gringa in Nicaragua

    I second the recommendation for the older non-VR 105mm macros for purely macro work. The VR in the newer versions makes the lens a nice all-rounder (sharp portraits, handheld landscape details, environmental shots) but for macro, you want flash and perhaps a focusing rail on a tripod. The VR becomes less useful in magnifications greater than 1/3rd life size. It's sort of useful if you're handholding and doing sway and pray focusing since it stabilizes the viewfinder, but you only get that if you use autofocus and most macro does better locked into the magnification you want with focus done by moving the camera (what I call "sway and pray") or on a focusing rail).
  16. You should try Tamron 90/2.8 AF or AF-S, model E272. Is a very good combo with D80. The macro raport 1:1 you will get at f/5.6. You must use 55mm filters. Is a little lazy, but all macro lens are like that. Is very sharp, it has a lovely bokeh, smooth and creamy. Nice construction, easy lens for your age. You will love it ;)
    Another option is Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 AF-D, used one. 62mm filter size.
    Both are nice lenses, sharp and you can find them around 400-500$ on used lens market. Maybe KEH.
    I have also Nikon D80... and F100.
    Btw, AF-S version from Tamron has the same speed like AF version or the difference doesn't matter.
  17. I second Michael's recommendation for the Nikon 105mm AF D version. It will accept Nikon extension tubes, especially the Nikon PN 11 tube which results in any lens mounted to it having a tripod collar mount a feature I really recommend for macro work. If you read the manual for the 105 VR lens, available online at nikonusa, it states that VR may not be that useful for macro work. And that manual states that the 105mm VR version will not accept Nikon extension tubes. You can use non Nikon ones at your own risk. I prefer to do all of my macro shooting with a tripod and want all of my macro lenses to be able to be mounted to a tripod and to extension tubes for maximum flexibility and utility. Since you shoot with a D 80, you need to be aware that if you add a Nikon tube to your camera and 105mm AF D lens you will lose metering; however, you can easily adjust for that by reviewing the exposure in your histogram and make any needed exposure adjustments. Another lens to consider is the Sigma 180mm macro. It has a tripod collar mount and is highly recommended. However it might exceed your budget. Non Nikon lenses are not an issue for your D 80 as already posted. Joe Smith
  18. You might take a look at the Nikon AF-S 70-300mm VR Nikkor lens.
    Used prices are
    in your budget range. And if you need a telephoto lens later, you might be able to use one lens for both parts of your class. The 'close-up' range is 4-1/2 feet, but at 300mm on a DX Nikon body, that is about 450mm in focal length.
  19. I have the Micro Nikon 105mm AI, available from KEH for $200 in ex condition. OK, I bought this lens to use with my F4, but it works fine on my D80, just no metering. In order shoot at 1 to 1 (lifesize) a PN-11 extension tube is required. Still, I like the manual focus of this lens, and the images that it produces. Bjorn Rorslett likes it also. For exposure values, I either use another lens, or more conveniently, the sunny 16 rule. With the crop factor, effective length is 157.5mm. If you wish to have your macro lens double as a telephoto, I am sure that you would be happy with the Tamron 90mm, or some of the other lenses that are suggested.
  20. Joanne, I have the Tamron 90mm macro for Nikon, which I used on the D70 and now on the D300. It is a really sharp and contrasty lens, that is a favorite of mine. You can find all kinds of reviews on the net as to how good this lens is. I have also shot the Nikon 105mm f/2.8 VR on a D80, both borrowed from my brother. Undoubtedly the 105mm VR is a spectacular lens, but it is pricey. Although, I wanted it and could afford it, I felt that based on the amount of macro shooting I do, I couldn't really justify spending that much. If price is a factor, you cannot go wrong with the Tamron. As I said, it is a wonderful lens. But for the price difference, you trade the following: it is nowhere close to flimsy, but it does have a plastic housing, it is not AF-S and is slower to focus, and it does not have VR.
    One thing to note is that, besides being macro lenses, both the 90mm and 105mm lenses make great portrait lenses, with wonderful bokeh. The 90mm, even with a DX crop-factor, still falls within the generally accepted range of 70-135mm for portrait lenses. The 105mm is a bit longer on DX, but despite that, makes a wonderful portrait lens. If you justify the 105mm as both a portrait and a macro lens, then maybe you should get the 105mm. If not, you cannot go wrong with the 90mm.
    The image below, "Bouquet Bokeh" was shot on a D70 with the Tamron 90mm.
  21. joanne,
    macro lenses as a rule tend to be very sharp and basically everything in the 90-105mm range from nikon, tamron, tokina, and sigma adheres to this. there have been many debates over whether the tamron 90 is sharper than the nikon 105 VR, and the founder of nikonians himself uses a tokina 100mm lens. so i wouldnt worry about 3rd party macro lenses from any of the major lens manufacturers. if you're ok with purchasing used, you can get an older nikon 105 af-d non-VR, as some have suggested, within your budget. if you'd rather buy new and get a warranty, flip a coin between the sigma 105, tamron 90, and tokina 100. they're all good. the tamron is probably the most highly-regarded, but the tokina has a tank-like build. you can find reviews, MTF charts, etc. at www.photozone.de
  22. ps for telephoto, if you're mainly shooting in good light, the nikon 55-200 VR is a good deal for the money, with the 70-300 VR being even better (and pricier). basically both with be very good stopped down to f/8, although neither will give you the same degree of DoF isolation as with a 2.8 lens.
  23. I'll throw another into the mix. The Sigma 150mm 2.8 HSM is a great lens, longer working distance to skittish subjects, and can be found on the used market for around your budget. I bought mine for $550 (EX condition) and it's the best money I've put into a lens. I use it for everything from macro to portraits to birds. If I could only have one lens, this would be it.
  24. I have the Nikon 60mm f/2.8 AF-D, the 105mm f/2.8 AF-D and the 200mm f/4 AF-D. I previously owned the Tamron 90mm SP f/2.8 AF-D.
    The Nikon 200mm is one of Nikons best and sharpest lenses, but is quite expensive and generally overkill. It works great for putting some distance between you and your subject. I also like it for some portraits and sports. The autofocus is slow, but the contrast and bokeh is different than what you get from the 70-200mm AF-S and makes a nice change of pace.
    I use the 60mm frequently for product shots and keep it in my bag when carrying a telephoto only. It is one of the smallest lenses I own. It is great for macros, but you have to get too close to the subject to use it for wildlife. It is good for non-macro shots, but not great.
    I almost never use the 105mm because the other two fit my needs and I have the 105mm f/2 DC, which is my preference for portraits. I think its optical quality falls in between the 60mm and the 200mm.
    If I were starting from scratch with just one lens, I'd buy the Tamron 90mm. It is as good or better than the Nikon 60mm or 105mm and much less expensive. I would also suggest that you look for used lenses. Everyone that I've mentioned will autofocus with your D80 and you can find the Nikon 60mm and Tamron 90mm for around $300-$350 used. You can find the Nikon 105mm for around $400 and up.
    Regarding the 105mm VR -- be aware that the VR actually doesn't work for close-ups. The Nikon literature explains that it is just for far away shots. Almost all macros are focused manually from a tripod, so the AF-S isn't critical. What you are buying is a macro lens that is also a VR portrait lens.
    Lastly, some zooms have good close-focusing ability. Some are called macros, but are mostly marketing hype. I have the Nikon 24-85mm AF-S, for example and it focuses as close as 1.2 feet, which gets you "almost" macro shots.
  25. Since you have a D80 I'd go for the 85vr, it's an awesome lens offering everything the 105vr has for almost half the price. If you plan to go DX I'd go for the Sigma 105 and if need to go cheap get a Sigma 50.
  26. sigma 70mm?
  27. joanne,
    Hear is a idea, trade/sell the D80 and get a D200, you still should have enough to get a 105mm ai. With the D200 you now have a camera that will meter with all the ai/s lenses and the next time you want to buy a lens you should have more and cheaper options. My micro 105 with a PN-11 tube cost a little over $200 and is razor sharp. You can get a slightly upgraded body, a nice macro lens, and future ability to buy great but very reasonable ai/s lenses and you still haven't spent anything over your budget.
  28. Since you have to stop down a macro lens for M 1:2 - 1:1 close-ups anyway, it does'nt matter so much, which maco lens you choose for your camera!
  29. Why do you think that the 60/2.8 micro-Nikkor would not be suitable? It's a very good lens, some say it has superior image quality to the 105 and use my old 55 macro a lot more often than my 105.
  30. Wow! I never expected so many responses. I have an awful lot to mull over.
    I just wanted to make sure I thank everyone. Do you all know how great you are? Not one of you know me but you all took time to help me.
    My very best regards,
  31. A budget-minded gem at $129. or less: Item # 190369380990
    (Can you guess where?)
  32. I'll second Steven's suggestion. The same Phoenix 100mm f/3.5 AF macro lens was sold under Vivitar, Tokina, and other names, it's made by Cosina. I have one. It's excellent for image quality, light, plastic, and a bargain. (Includes the matched supplemental lens to get to 1:1; it's 1:2 without the supplemental.)
  33. I have the 105VR and have used it with D300 and D700. While this is a good lens, it might not be worth the money if you did not make use of the VR. VR is useful for chasing butterflies in the wilderness but less so if you will be using a tripod and/or flash in more controlled conditions. Many other, non-VR lenses would be cheaper.
    Why you compare the 105VR with the micronikkor 60 is unclear. They are different focal lengths, so if you need 105, the 60 will not suffice, and vice versa. If you are able to get close to your subject, the new 60 is said to be very nice indeed.
    As has been mentioned, if you really do want the 105VR but cannot go much above $500, the new 85VR seems like the next best thing. You are probably the ideal customer for this new lens.
    Finally, I also own the 70-300VR. It does focus quite close at 300, but is not at its sharpest under these circumstances and nowhere near the image quality of the 105VR, or (probably) any of the other macro lenses being discussed.

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