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Cameras, Lenses and Accessories: Discuss Creative lenses...Okay, so as most of you know, I've already made a few posts about lenses that almost contradict eachother. I've ...
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Old 13-01-2012, 04:03   #1 (permalink)
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Creative lenses

Okay, so as most of you know, I've already made a few posts about lenses that almost contradict eachother. I've decided that I want to get a new lens (being new or used) and I've jumped around between big 120-400mm lenses all the way to fisheyes and wide angles. I am really eager to go into a lens that would allow me to be more creative with my pictures and that is why I'm currently looking at a macro lens. The things that I'm thinking about are:
1. Is tere a better type of lens that would be good to atlas look at?
2. What size or brand of macro lens would I want? I want to be able to get very close to things such as insects and flowers and letting them fill the frame, preferably without cropping.
3. Is there anything else I should keep in mind when looking?

I have a nikon d50 and a budget of under $1000 US. Other than that I'm open to suggestions, help, or anything else. Thank you all
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Old 13-01-2012, 07:20   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Creative lenses

i dont do macro but the 100mm macro is a good one as it allows you to reamin a wee bit away from the subject whilst still being able to fill the frame with its zoom.

but you have to decide what it is you want to concentrate on shooting before buying a lens else you risk having it gathering dust on the shelf and getting very little use.

saying you want to shoot wildlife and then saying you want to do macro is talking about buying two completely different lenses, so really its not up to us its up to you and what you want to shoot.

if you are talking about something that would give you the best flexibility, then look at something on that is similar to the canon 28 - 300mm L . my OH uses this and only this for the majority of his shots.
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Old 13-01-2012, 08:34   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Creative lenses

Personally, I do a lot of macro using the
Pixalo Photographic Equipment Reviews - Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro -
and
Pixalo Photographic Equipment Reviews - Sigma 150mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro HSM -
and find them both excellent. There's now an OS version of the 150mm which looks even better.......... tempting, very tempting!
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Old 13-01-2012, 09:58   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Creative lenses

If you are determined to go the macro route you can get a Sigma 105 Macro second hand on Ebay for about $400. They are superb lenses but be warned, the reason you see so many near mint macro lenses for sale is that people don't realise what a time consuming frustrating thing macro can be (also rewarding and utterly absorbing).

If you don't have much experience with macro I suggest you just get yourself some extension tubes and give it a try first with your stock lens.

The results can be great and if you hate it you wont have blown your budget.
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Old 13-01-2012, 10:03   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Creative lenses

I use a Tamron 90mm macro and am quite happy with it. If you are just starting on macro absolute lens quality will be the least of your problems there is a lot to learn.
Here's an image, about full frame, taken with the lens

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Old 13-01-2012, 11:14   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Creative lenses

.....or if you want to play around this was taken with an enlarger lens with a camera body just taped to the top of an old enlarger
Again about full frame

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Old 13-01-2012, 12:12   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Creative lenses

I agree with helgrrr. Getting close to a subject requires time and and patience. Filling the frame is just a case of how close can you get. Longer focal lengths (100mm+) give a more remote opportunity for insects that are easily disturbed, but hand holding a lens like this requires good eye/hand coordination which is not normally acquired in the first shot. So be prepared for disappointments, and get a good stable tripod! You will need this if you are going to get good DOF on your photos, that will include the whole subject. (Jake's example of a coin is excellent to demonstrate what you can achieve from a near flat surface, but look at his other example, a nice shot that needs a lot of light to get that DOF hand held). A slider is also useful to help move in and out on the subject in order to put the background out of focus while taking a series of small DOF slices on your subject and then sandwiching them together in post processing. Have a look at the macro section and you will see several people (e.g. photos from ChrisA) have used this technique. Don't expect the lens to focus for you. A great percentage of the time you will need to manual focus.

If you want to be serious about macro your budget also needs to include off camera flash(es) and suitable diffusers to balance the lighting and avoid strong highlights. You are effectively taking a small studio with you.

Having said all this, if you are just starting to explore macro then a shorter macro lens** will probably suite you better in the beginning and when you have got that under control, move on upwards. Using extensions tubes with a fixed focus lens like the 50mm f/1.8 will not disappoint you in the beginning and will give you lots to practise with. If you can find a reversing ring you can mount the lens reversed and get even closer, or find a bellows set that will move your lens close to the subject. You can greater magnification than 1:1 but the light fall off is enormous and focusing becomes very difficult, and pretty well impossible to manage hand held shots.

**Avoid the Nikon 85mm f/2.8, it doesn't fully function on the D50. Check exactly what you are buying is suitable for the D50.
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Old 13-01-2012, 13:37   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Creative lenses

Thanks! The extension tube is a great idea! Thank you guys for all your help I really appreciate it.
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Old 13-01-2012, 14:42   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Creative lenses

I should have added that Nikon extension tubes do not work will all lenses as there is only one Nikon tube at the moment that has CPU coupling for AF-S lenses. Kenko tubes have the CPU coupling. Have a good look round and check before you buy.
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Old 14-01-2012, 13:58   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Creative lenses

I've been seeing extension tubes for 8-60 dollars, which should I get?
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Old 14-01-2012, 20:01   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Creative lenses

Quote:
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I've been seeing extension tubes for 8-60 dollars, which should I get?
Price is not an issue. Compatibility with your camera and lens system is.

A quick check tells me that Kenko tubes for the Nikon are around $170+ from places like B&Hand Amazon. These tubes have the all important CPU couplings that are necessary for you to work with a lens on your camera and get sensible light meter readings. While not Nikon quality, there is little alternative. Buying something less than suitable will leave you with an impossible task - no auto-focusing and more importantly no means to adjust the exposure with the aperture. Newer lenses have no aperture ring and therefore need the aperture to be driven from the camera. This is only possible with CPU connectors. If you have older or 'D' type lenses then you will have an aperture ring to work with but metering will still be manual.
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Old 16-01-2012, 07:34   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Creative lenses

If I'm getting an extension tube like the ones mentioned, I'm just looking for one to get my foot in the door and figure out if it's something I want to fully invest in and buy a better actual macro lens. With this knowledge do you still recommend the lento tube? It just seems like a bit for something I'll just be looking at for only a little while. But then again when was photography cheap haha
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Old 17-01-2012, 21:27   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Creative lenses

Your local camera store might sell individual tubes and even give advice on a suitable lens. Searching on the Internet does not give you the immediacy of handling a lens and getting to understand it. It could be worth while taking a trip to your local store and asking a few questions. You might even be able to try out a second hand macro lens that will suite your camera and allow you get an idea of which way to go.
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Old 17-01-2012, 23:51   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Creative lenses

Quote:
Originally Posted by Markulous View Post
Personally, I do a lot of macro using the
Pixalo Photographic Equipment Reviews - Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro -
and
Pixalo Photographic Equipment Reviews - Sigma 150mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro HSM -
and find them both excellent. There's now an OS version of the 150mm which looks even better.......... tempting, very tempting!
For the hsm version, are you able to work with the lens fairly well with out a tripod? I'm curious because I'm trying to figure out how accessible it is in the field.
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Old 18-01-2012, 07:59   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Creative lenses

The 150mm (HSM refers to the focus which I rarely use for macro)? Prefer it when using a tripod as it has a tripod foot, making changes from portrait to landscape (and vice-versa) very quick. Having said that, most of my macro work is handheld! Otherwise, find little operational difference between the two: 150 is heavier, has internal focus (105 has extending barrel) and you don't need to be so close to the subject (though I've never found a problem with getting closer with the 105) but image quality is the same.

Use the 105 in preference to the 150 for portrait work (despite it's slower AF motor - but again, tend to manually focus)







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Old 18-01-2012, 11:07   #16 (permalink)
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Re: Creative lenses

Thanks! And just to make sure, the 105 it compatible for the d50?
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Old 18-01-2012, 11:26   #17 (permalink)
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Re: Creative lenses

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jared View Post
Thanks! And just to make sure, the 105 it compatible for the d50?
Looks like it: Nikon D50 + Sigma 105mm - Reef Central Online Community
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Old 19-01-2012, 16:32   #18 (permalink)
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Re: Creative lenses

I've looked at the reviews of the 105mm and see it's for a little under 300 there, but everywhere I look now has it priced for 480. Am I looking in all the wrong spots?
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