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Archive 2013 · Best Macro Lens? Need some suggestions...
  
 
mendo
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Best Macro Lens? Need some suggestions...


Need some help picking out a lens. Looking to buy a macro lens to shoot flowers, and other objects, extremely close to create abstract compositions. Rented the Nikon 105vr last weekend but it does not work as well as I would like as I get close. The focus depth of field narrows a lot when I get close to the subject. I know Sigma and Tamron also make macro lens and that I could go up to 180mm or down to 60mm. I would appreciate some suggestions on other lenses to look at from those of you who have them.



Apr 07, 2013 at 12:11 AM
afm901
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Best Macro Lens? Need some suggestions...


In Macro photography, depth of field is a function of magnification and aperture. Not lens manufacturer or focal length. In other words, if you shoot a subject at 1:1 magnification and use f/8, you will get the same depth of field with a 60mm and 150mm macro lens.

Read up on macro photography to find out more.

Here is an interesting read:

http://www.dpreview.com/articles/3064907237/depth-of-field-in-macro-photography

Scott



Apr 07, 2013 at 12:21 AM
egd5
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Best Macro Lens? Need some suggestions...


I have the Sigma 150 non OS and I love it. Gives me a little more working distance.
It really depends on how much surrounding info you want in your shot. Given the same magnification, if you want a tight shot of just your subject, then a longer focal length is in order. If you want to show more of the surrounding area, then a shorter focal length is better.



Apr 07, 2013 at 02:12 AM
UsseryG
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Best Macro Lens? Need some suggestions...


First, determine the focal length and working distance you want. Second, buy a lens in said focal length and distance.

Just about all macro lenses are awesome. You really can't go wrong with macro lenses, they are all pretty superb.

My 2 pennies,
Gary



Apr 07, 2013 at 02:32 AM
Andre Labonte
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Best Macro Lens? Need some suggestions...


For what you are describing, a shorter macro lens like the 60mm micro would work very well. At micro distances you will always have shallow DOF but more so with longer lenses. Also, because of the short working distance, you can get into very tight spots as need be to get the angle you want.

Longer macro lenses are nice for moving critters or when working in places you need the reach. In that case I suggest the Tamron 180 which has the longest working distance of any F-mount micro lens as measured from the front element of the lens. Why the lens makers express working distance from the sensor plane I do not know since in practical photography it's the distance from the front element that matters.

I have used the 60 micro (my brother's) and it's great for table top work, tight spots and lying on your stomach or back to get the shot. I own the Tamron 180 and it is fantastic. Every bit as good as my brother's Nikon 200 but smaller, lighter and 1/3rd the cost!




Apr 07, 2013 at 02:33 AM
Gregg Heckler
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Best Macro Lens? Need some suggestions...


"The focus depth of field narrows a lot when I get close to the subject."

This has nothing to do with the 105VR, it has to do with the focal length and how close you focus. So if you are frustrated by this you'd be better off with a shorter Macro lens like the Nikkor 60.



Apr 07, 2013 at 02:51 AM
afm901
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Best Macro Lens? Need some suggestions...


Gregg Heckler wrote:
"The focus depth of field narrows a lot when I get close to the subject."

This has nothing to do with the 105VR, it has to do with the focal length and how close you focus. So if you are frustrated by this you'd be better off with a shorter Macro lens like the Nikkor 60.


That's not the issue. If the OP wants the subject to be a certain size in the frame, the depth of field is going to be the same with the 105mm and the 60mm.

Scott



Apr 07, 2013 at 03:23 AM
afm901
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Best Macro Lens? Need some suggestions...


Andre Labonte wrote:
At micro distances you will always have shallow DOF but more so with longer lenses.


No. If you want the subject to be a certain size in the frame, the depth of field is going to be the same no matter what focal length lens you use.

Scott



Apr 07, 2013 at 03:38 AM
Andre Labonte
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Best Macro Lens? Need some suggestions...


afm901 wrote:
No. If you want the subject to be a certain size in the frame, the depth of field is going to be the same no matter what focal length lens you use.

Scott



Oh yea, that's right, for near-field work where the shooting distance is at or below the focal length of the lens, DOF is dependent on the magnification and is independent of the focal length ... but again, that assumes that you are at the same reproduction ratio, which is what is often done in macro work.

But, we do have to be careful, since we are not using symmetric lenses, but complex compound lenses. The DOF equations will have significant errors so not all lenses will give exactly the same DOF even at the same reproduction ratio.

I don't usually work at the 1:1 end of things but use my macro lens to get closer than I can with my other lenses but still have some reach. So for instance, my 70-200 has a min focus distance of 5 feet but I like shooting critters that are say 3 feet away ... at that distance, DOF is still dependent on focal length.

Thanks for the reminder. Silly me ... and to think I used to teach optics ...



Edited on Apr 07, 2013 at 04:46 AM · View previous versions



Apr 07, 2013 at 04:42 AM
afm901
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Best Macro Lens? Need some suggestions...



http://toothwalker.org/optics/dof.html#macro

http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/macro-lenses.htm

Scott



Apr 07, 2013 at 04:44 AM
 

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Andre Labonte
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Best Macro Lens? Need some suggestions...


afm901 wrote:
http://toothwalker.org/optics/dof.html#macro

http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/macro-lenses.htm

Scott



Nice links, thank you.

FYI, right in the first link:

... the DOF is not affected by the choice of focal length. This is only true, however, when lenses of symmetrical design are compared.

So over-all, you are correct, but there will be errors that depend on the lens design.




Apr 07, 2013 at 04:51 AM
afm901
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Best Macro Lens? Need some suggestions...


Andre Labonte wrote:
Nice links, thank you.

FYI, right in the first link:

So over-all, you are correct, but there will be errors that depend on the lens design.


Andre,

Look at the text. If anything, the longer focal length lens has greater depth of field due to lens design.

Scott



Apr 07, 2013 at 05:02 AM
Andre Labonte
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Best Macro Lens? Need some suggestions...


afm901 wrote:
Andre,

Look at the text. If anything, the longer focal length lens has greater depth of field due to lens design.

Scott


------

Scott,

I said there would be errors, I did not say which would produce more DOF. I have not had a chance to read the full text ... I saved the link and will tomorrow once I get some sleep, it is 1AM where I'm at.

Fear not, I see the error of my first statement ... it's easy to forget such details if you have not worked in that regime for a long time. Thank you again for the correction. It's good to learn (or should I say, relearn) things.

But, I must say it is interesting how in the near field, with asymmetric lenses, it is possible for a longer focal length to produce more DOF than a shorter lens ... it still depends on the design of the two lenses. I'm looking forward to reading the articles ... and maybe studying my optics books that are collecting dust.

Cheers,
Andre





Apr 07, 2013 at 05:18 AM
Kerry Pierce
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Best Macro Lens? Need some suggestions...


mendo wrote:
Need some help picking out a lens. Looking to buy a macro lens to shoot flowers, and other objects, extremely close to create abstract compositions. Rented the Nikon 105vr last weekend but it does not work as well as I would like as I get close. The focus depth of field narrows a lot when I get close to the subject. I know Sigma and Tamron also make macro lens and that I could go up to 180mm or down to 60mm. I would appreciate some suggestions on other lenses to look at from those of you who have them.
...Show more

Flowers are one of my favorite subjects, but they can be extremely difficult to photograph. I rather doubt that you'll find a sharper, more versatile and capable lens than the 105vr, but you're running into limitations that are inherent to macro shooting, as the others have mentioned. None of the lenses will do what you appear to desire done, because the high magnification of all macro lenses always result in shallow DOF. You'll need to do focus stacking for huge DOF, which will likely require a lot of additional equipment, like a tripod that's more conducive to macro shooting, some McClamps to hold the flowers still, flash, reflectors, etc.

Personally, I tend to use the longer macro lenses for flowers, when shooting in the field. My primary lens for flowers is the 70-180 micro. But, I am often just shooting close-ups, rather than 1:1 macro. If you will always want to use 1:1 magnification, especially with focus stacking, then the zoom isn't any more useful than a prime.

My suggestions would be to get one of the longer telephoto macro lenses, like the 150 or 180 Sigma or even the Nikon 200, assuming that you are doing the majority of your work with live flowers in the field. But, doing focus stacking in the field is usually a low percentage endeavor, IME, especially when you have windy conditions, unless you can erect an effective wind block.

If you're using cut flowers in studio, then most any macro lens should work just fine, with proper technique and lighting, although the shorter focal length lenses can present some challenges for lighting the subject.

good luck
Kerry



Apr 07, 2013 at 07:43 PM
Mark_L
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Best Macro Lens? Need some suggestions...


Sigma 180mm. Also look at helicon focus for dof stacking, it works very well.


Apr 07, 2013 at 07:46 PM
trenchmonkey
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Best Macro Lens? Need some suggestions...


Hell, even the 40 f2.8G Micro will git 'er done There are NO bad macros.

D7K wide open SOOC







Apr 07, 2013 at 07:53 PM
mendo
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Best Macro Lens? Need some suggestions...


Guys

Thanks for all the great info. The great spirit of cooperation on this forum is why I come here first when I need help



Apr 07, 2013 at 08:07 PM
Frank_Maiello
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Best Macro Lens? Need some suggestions...


On the subject of image stacking, how much of a problem is breathing and are there lenses that maintain their focal length enough to minimize the effect? Or is it mostly just a matter of using the right kind of tripod head?


Apr 07, 2013 at 09:41 PM
CAlbertson
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Best Macro Lens? Need some suggestions...


mendo wrote:
Need some help picking out a lens. Looking to buy a macro lens to shoot flowers, and other objects, extremely close to create abstract compositions. Rented the Nikon 105vr last weekend but it does not work as well as I would like as I get close. The focus depth of field narrows a lot when I get close to the subject. I know Sigma and Tamron also make macro lens and that I could go up to 180mm or down to 60mm. I would appreciate some suggestions on other lenses to look at from those of you who have them.
...Show more

People say the DOF depends on the magnification, not which lens you choose. Yes this s technically correct but a smaller sensore requires less magnification. So if it is more DOF you like you have two options

1) Buy a mirrorless camera with a tiny sensor or,
2) Don't get so close and CROP. Yes you loose pixels when you crop but most people today only look at images on their computers or phones so you don't need pixels.

OK there is a third way to get more DOF in macros and that involves a LOT of post production processing. What you do is shoot the subject many times and change the focus a little each time. like exposure bracketing. Call it focaus bracketing. Then you go home and combine the sharp parts of each frame with software. They call it a "focus stack"

I think those are the only methods.

About which lens to buy. Choose the focal length based on the working distance you want. But also notice how poorly autofocus works for macros. Most people will use a tripod and manual focus. So why not save about $500 can buy and older manual focus macro lens. I got one for $85 and it is sharper than the sensor can record.



Apr 08, 2013 at 08:24 AM
CAlbertson
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Best Macro Lens? Need some suggestions...


Frank_Maiello wrote:
On the subject of image stacking, how much of a problem is breathing and are there lenses that maintain their focal length enough to minimize the effect? Or is it mostly just a matter of using the right kind of tripod head?


You are going to need a tripod and hope nothing moves. The focus shift you will use is tiny. You are only moving the focus a few millimeters. The stitching software should re-align, scale and "stack" the images.

I think focus stacks are a bigger deal with microscopes than with macro photography



Apr 08, 2013 at 08:32 AM
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