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post #29071 of 29551
I need some advice. I'm looking for a good macro lens. It will be general purpose macro lens. My GF is a scientific illustrator and she's going to panama in June. I'll be tagging along and I figure this is a perfect excuse to pick up a macro lens.

My two top candidates are:

nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED
and
Sigma 150mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM

Since the price between the two are comparable, we'll ignore that for now. Also note I'm using a D40x...an old DX body. I will eventually upgrade the body but I’m not sure if it will happen before the trip.

Does anyone have hands on experience with either or both of these lenses? Does anyone have a another suggestion in a comparable price range?
Edited by serothis - 2/2/16 at 2:44pm
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post #29072 of 29551
Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM and Tamron 90mm f/2.8 SP Di MACRO VC USD.
Both are excellent lenses and cheaper than the Nikon lens.

It is hard to decide because all 4 lenses are superb.

However if you want to buy a sigma or tamron lens make sure it will work out with your D40X. I think there were some issue with 3rd party lenses and the D40. Not sure about the D40x.

I have the Sigma 105mm. It is as good as it gets but before I bought it there was a tie between this one and the tamron 90mm. Almost went for the Tamron 90mm (warranty and weather sealed) but it was out of stock and I was not able to test it. As a result I bought the Sigma 105mm. 150mm was out of my range.
So Im using it for waterdrop photography. Not necessarily comparable to other macro but here is my impression all around:
- Ultra sharp
- superb contrast, colors, bokeh..
- smooth and precise MF
- good enough AF (propably as "bad" as every macro lens)
- noisy but acceptable image stabilisation (nothing compared to a Tamron 70-300mm Usd)
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post #29073 of 29551
It's heeeere! biggrin.gif

Took an accidental picture when transferring files from camera to computer. Apart from the corner blur, it's quite nice.

post #29074 of 29551
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tchernobyl View Post

It's heeeere! biggrin.gif

Took an accidental picture when transferring files from camera to computer. Apart from the corner blur, it's quite nice.


You have much to learn padawan tongue.gif

So are you enjoying the camera?
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post #29075 of 29551
Quote:
Originally Posted by Magical Eskimo View Post

You have much to learn padawan tongue.gif

So are you enjoying the camera?

Looks good so far! I'm not venturing much outside of the presets yet. Taking snapshots here and there. I'm wondering what I have to do to tweak the ISO settings without having to go full manual control (and even then, poking around at that didn't let me change it. That or the interface is just being obtuse...)
post #29076 of 29551
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tchernobyl View Post

Looks good so far! I'm not venturing much outside of the presets yet. Taking snapshots here and there. I'm wondering what I have to do to tweak the ISO settings without having to go full manual control (and even then, poking around at that didn't let me change it. That or the interface is just being obtuse...)

You should be able to adjust the ISO yourself in modes M, P, Av (Aperture priority) and Tv (Shutter Speed Priority) I think with the 1200D if you press the iso button on the back of the camera and then scroll the little knurled wheel by the shutter button that should adjust your ISO
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post #29077 of 29551
Quote:
Originally Posted by Magical Eskimo View Post

Check out Mike Browne on YouTube, his videos are great
Thanks. I've started watching them. I wish he were a Canon user though. Would have been easier for me to grasp the technical stuff.
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post #29078 of 29551
Quote:
Originally Posted by ahnafakeef View Post

Thanks. I've started watching them. I wish he were a Canon user though. Would have been easier for me to grasp the technical stuff.

Canon/Nikon are so similar, ignore what camera he uses, focus on the the ideas behind taking a photograph, composition, depth of field etc.

The only significant difference is what they call Aperture and Shutter priority on the camera

Canon:
Av = Aperture Priority
Tv = Shutter Speed Priority

Nikon:
Mode A: Aperture Priority
Mode S: Shutter Speed Priority
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post #29079 of 29551
Quote:
Originally Posted by Magical Eskimo View Post

Canon/Nikon are so similar, ignore what camera he uses, focus on the the ideas behind taking a photograph, composition, depth of field etc.

The only significant difference is what they call Aperture and Shutter priority on the camera

Canon:
Av = Aperture Priority
Tv = Shutter Speed Priority

Nikon:
Mode A: Aperture Priority
Mode S: Shutter Speed Priority
Thanks for the clarification. But the confusion I faced was with focus modes. His camera had Continuous, Manual and Single modes, which I think translates to AI Servo, Manual, and One Shot in Canon.

But you're right. I'm going to focus on the photographing techniques instead of the gear.
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post #29080 of 29551
Quote:
Originally Posted by serothis View Post

I need some advice. I'm looking for a good macro lens. It will be general purpose macro lens. My GF is a scientific illustrator and she's going to panama in June. I'll be tagging along and I figure this is a perfect excuse to pick up a macro lens.

My two top candidates are:

nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED
and
Sigma 150mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM

Since the price between the two are comparable, we'll ignore that for now. Also note I'm using a D40x...an old DX body. I will eventually upgrade the body but I’m not sure if it will happen before the trip.

Does anyone have hands on experience with either or both of these lenses? Does anyone have a another suggestion in a comparable price range?

In a nutshell ? None! Get a used Tamron 90 or Sigma 105, the older, non VR/OS versions.

Don't get me wrong, both are great lenses, with the Sigma 150 probably being not only better / more useful for hunting down small insects etc but also having better IQ and much more convenient working distances vs a 90-105 lens.
Me thinks the Tamron 180 macro is the best value macro out there, especially used, but all of those mentioned bought new are a bit too expensive for someone with a basic kit like yours.
There are so many more useful lenses and not to mention bodies that you can buy with that kind of money, and still save some change for a used 100/105 Macro.

Some points: Macro photography involves camera - to - subject distances that make DOF razor thin...I mean we are saying that over and over about 50 1.4 or 85 1.4 lenses, and how at MFD that doesn't capture sharp impression of both eyes of a human face that is posing 3/4...now try to understand that at 1:1, 10in away from your subject you will face the same issue with a fly. Even at f/11.
So Macro photography is too often DOF limited, so you have to stop down, a lot. And when you are focusing really close, you are limiting the light that reaches your sensor...light levels that would easily be metered to expose properly @ f/11 and say 1/160s & 100 ISO @ 5ft for a portrait, might require quite a few more ISO stops to meter for same aperture / shutter speed at 10in.

That pretty much makes most natural light macro photography pretty limiting for hand-holding the shot - at least without bumping your ISO to levels that kill quality.
Not only because you need pretty strong (aka harsh = not good for 95% of the time) sunlight to keep your shutter speeds high enough, but also because in macro distances, camera shake is magnified - much like when you are shooting with a super-telephoto. Add the fact that even light breezes make vegetation that your subjects often hang to, moving back and forth for longer distances than your DOF, and then you have an issue.

So you need either a still subject and a very elaborate tripod positioning, flash or both to make shots.
And ofc when we say flash, the on-camera flash is almost useless for the distances we are talking about (lens is shading the light beam).

Most of the macro shots of insects, small flowers etc you see with decent DOF, are made with flash. Do some research (Google / Youtube, easy) on macro rig setups most often used.

Dropping $1,000 on a lens without understanding how much work and potentially extra "stuff" you need to support that lens @ work, is not a good advice.
Edited by pcfoo - 2/3/16 at 4:46pm
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