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Macro Lenses - 30mm, 60mm, 90mm, 180mm - which is best? what has been your experience?
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Apr 14, 2019 09:36:25   #
lisasells55
 
Macro is my very favorite! I have a Nikon 60mm, 105mm and 200mm (macro lenses). I like the 60mm for taking photos of something at very close range ( like this photo of a silk moth in my hand). The 150 is great for a little distance and the 200 is fantastic when photographing something at a greater distance, so I won’t scare my subject.

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Apr 14, 2019 09:39:07   #
lsaguy
 
I use extension tubes so any of my lenses is a macro. I've only just started to learn about macro photography but right now my 135 f2.8 is my favorite. Blue skies

Rick

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Apr 14, 2019 09:54:13   #
nimbushopper (a regular here)
 
Chris T wrote:
I don't think anyone makes a True Macro Zoom, Nimbus … but a couple come pretty close.

This Sigma 70-300 Macro I have here - does 1:16.5 at 90mm and 1:8.9 at around 210mm.

At its farthest extension - 300mm - it drops down to 1:4.1, though …

My other goodie is the Sigma 18-250 OS HSM Macro - which achieves 1:2.9 at 250mm ....

At its shortest macro length (28mm) it achieves 1:9.5 ….

The difference between the two - is - the latter is constantly variable - essentially - Macro at all lengths.

Whereas the Sigma 70-300 APO Macro - locks into the zoom range, from 200mm to 300mm ….

And, of course - the DC lens is stabilized, whilst the DG lens isn't ….
I don't think anyone makes a True Macro Zoom, Nimb... (show quote)


Regarding your 70-300, you say at 300 it drops down to 1:4. You do realize that that is a higher magnification than 1:16, so I don't understand the "drops down comment!

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Apr 14, 2019 09:56:50   #
digit-up
 
Chris T wrote:
Dreamer - you've piqued my interest, there … who makes an 80mm Macro Lens?


Fuji makes a great 80mm MACRO. A little heavy and comes with a clunk, but damned good!!

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Apr 14, 2019 10:16:25   #
Gene51 (a regular here)
 
lsaguy wrote:
I use extension tubes so any of my lenses is a macro. I've only just started to learn about macro photography but right now my 135 f2.8 is my favorite. Blue skies

Rick


General purpose lenses are rarely optimized for close work like true macro lenses are.

https://www.1stvision.com/machine-vision-solutions/2015/11/macro-lens-vs-extension-tubes-what.html

Generally speaking if you were to use a 135mm macro lens, it will give you far better results with your extension tubes.

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Apr 14, 2019 10:42:55   #
pshane
 
Canon makes a ZOOM Macro that would fill all of those needs, and at $1000.00 , would be more economical than having and lugging all the other lenses.
( Canon MP-E 65mm f/2.8 1-5X Macro Lens )

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Apr 14, 2019 11:01:39   #
Picture Taker (a regular here)
 
I found that a 100mm or larger allows me to be further away from the object. This allows you a distance for creatures (they don't get scared away and/or less likely to create a shadow with your equipment).
I also use a moving track between my tripod and camera. They are relative inexpensive and do the best job for final focusing, by moving the camera in and out.

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Apr 14, 2019 11:02:31   #
Chris T
 
camerapapi wrote:
First, it is not necessary to buy each focal length of macro lens made. I first bought a 50mm macro when I was inexperienced in the use of macro lenses. Soon I learned that 50mm had a very short working distance which stopped me from shooting some of my subjects.
Then I went to the 105mm focal length and it has worked beautifully giving me plenty of room to work with.
I would say that the 105mm focal length for macros is a very useful focal length when it comes to working with different subjects.
First, it is not necessary to buy each focal lengt... (show quote)


I'm inclined to agree with you, William … but, if you're NOT shooting insects, or other LIVE things, the 30-40 and 50-60 variety of Macros - can come in pretty handy. The Sigma 70 has just recently made a re-entry - and I suspect that one will come in handy for a lotta things, too. Not sure about that Nikon 85, though, as it's a pretty slow lens. But, anything with f2.8 or faster - is right up MY tree ….

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Apr 14, 2019 11:03:18   #
davesit
 
Don't forget the Nikon 200mm f4 macro lens, which is the best lens to shoot insects. I guess the answer is it depends what you are shooting.

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Apr 14, 2019 11:05:23   #
Chris T
 
lsaguy wrote:
I use extension tubes so any of my lenses is a macro. I've only just started to learn about macro photography but right now my 135 f2.8 is my favorite. Blue skies

Rick


Rick .. that 135 f2.8 isn't a macro lens, though, is it? … You mean - w/ ext. tubes, it becomes one, right?

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Apr 14, 2019 11:05:49   #
fetzler
 
To be clear depth of field depends on magnification only and not focal length.

Any focal length lens can in principle be used for macro photography. A 15mm macro lens is made for Nikon.

Focal length affects the working distance between camera and subject. A good place to start is about double the normal lens focal length. For FF use the Nikon 105mm is a good choice. For APS-C cameras the Nikon 85mm is fine but the 105 is close enough. One could also consider the Nikon 60mm for APS-C it is a 90mm equivalent FOV for FF. On micro 4/3 the 60mm m.zuiko is very good.

Some photographers like lenses in the 180-200mm range (FF) for work with living insects as the bugs are less disturbed by the camera. If you copy artwork shorter focal lengths are good as your space might not be wide enough and you can take advantage of the flat field of the lens.

Just like in regular photography you can use focal length to control perspective.

Camera format is also a consideration. I have done macro photography with medium format through micro 4/3. I find that using smaller is easier. The smaller cameras are lighter and less magnification is required to achieve the same FOV. Less magnification means more field of view. My Pen F and and mzuiko 60mm are macro champs. In certain areas my D7200 has a few advantages as well. Medium format macro is a real challenge.

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Apr 14, 2019 11:07:40   #
Chris T
 
lisasells55 wrote:
Macro is my very favorite! I have a Nikon 60mm, 105mm and 200mm (macro lenses). I like the 60mm for taking photos of something at very close range ( like this photo of a silk moth in my hand). The 150 is great for a little distance and the 200 is fantastic when photographing something at a greater distance, so I won’t scare my subject.


So, would you say the Sigma 150 is your fave, then, Lisa - or would it be the Nikkor 200 Macro?

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Apr 14, 2019 11:20:45   #
jackm1943
 
Chris T wrote:
Is it really necessary for us to buy one in each range? Or, are just one or two suitable for most things? If you use them - please advise as to which length is better suited for YOUR purposes, and why you chose it.


Since I don't care to photograph things that might run or fly away, something in the 100 mm range works best for me.

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Apr 14, 2019 11:21:07   #
Chris T
 
fetzler wrote:
To be clear depth of field depends on magnification only and not focal length.

Any focal length lens can in principle be used for macro photography. A 15mm macro lens is made for Nikon.

Focal length affects the working distance between camera and subject. A good place to start is about double the normal lens focal length. For FF use the Nikon 105mm is a good choice. For APS-C cameras the Nikon 85mm is fine but the 105 is close enough. One could also consider the Nikon 60mm for APS-C it is a 90mm equivalent FOV for FF. On micro 4/3 the 60mm m.zuiko is very good.

Some photographers like lenses in the 180-200mm range (FF) for work with living insects as the bugs are less disturbed by the camera. If you copy artwork shorter focal lengths are good as your space might not be wide enough and you can take advantage of the flat field of the lens.

Just like in regular photography you can use focal length to control perspective.

Camera format is also a consideration. I have done macro photography with medium format through micro 4/3. I find that using smaller is easier. The smaller cameras are lighter and less magnification is required to achieve the same FOV. Less magnification means more field of view. My Pen F and and mzuiko 60mm are macro champs. In certain areas my D7200 has a few advantages as well. Medium format macro is a real challenge.
To be clear depth of field depends on magnificatio... (show quote)


I'll bet it is, Fetzler … I can't IMAGINE shooting live creatures with a Macro on a Medium Format camera!!!

So, would you say your fave GOTO rig for macros, then - is the MFT one, or the Nikon 105 one?

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Apr 14, 2019 11:22:11   #
Jerrin1
 
Chris T wrote:
Is it really necessary for us to buy one in each range? Or, are just one or two suitable for most things? If you use them - please advise as to which length is better suited for YOUR purposes, and why you chose it.


Because I shoot out in the wild and have to fight my way through brambles, stinging nettles and thistles, I favour a 180mm macro lens. Until a few months ago I owned a Sigma 180mm f2.8 OS macro lens and used it with a Nikon D500. It is a damned heavy lens though, and not really suited to being handheld at low shutter speeds. My Nikon/Olympus EM1 mark II kit became too heavy in the end and I now use much lighter Sony gear. I currently use a Sony 90mm f2.8 macro on my A7III and a Sony 100 - 400mm G Master + Sony 2xTC/auto extension tube for insects which are a bit too far away for my 90mm macro. Works for me.

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