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cowsharks

Macro Lens For A Nikon D7000 Dslr

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cowsharks

So I have a new Nikon D7000 and want to get a good macro lens. After reading some of the threads here I think I might have narrowed it down to one of these two.

1) Sigma 258306 105mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro Lens for Nikon DSLR Camera ($680)

2) Nikon 105mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor Lens ($800)

I'm a novice at this stuff and want something easy to use that produces nice images.

Anyone got any thoughts on these lenses, or have a better option for me to consider?

thanks,

Daryl.

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Jed '06

Hi Daryl,

The Nikon105mm macro is a great lens, haven't any experience with the Sigma. Best results are with a tripod and manual focusing on any macro lense. Also a ringlight is best for micro photography. These are just my opinions, I'm sure there are some pros on TFF to give better indepth info and advice. Enjoy your new lense & be sure to share some photos! :)

Jed

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snolly50

I don't have any knowledge regarding the lens you mention, but I do know that's a great camera.

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Scylla

My wife who knows more about cameras than I know about fossils says go with the Nikkor if you can afford it.

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Jersey

Daryl - I'm only a novice at photography and I have no experience with using a macro lens. But I wonder if another option that you might want to consider is a close -up lens or a set of close-up lenses. My wife and I have a Nikon D80 and we occasionally use a set of Hoya Close-Up lenses and have been happy with the results. We use the lenses rarely and so can't say how they compare to a macro lens (I'm sure they are not as good). But for the price (around$50 for a set) you may want to consider seeing if they meet your needs. See for example some on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=hoya+close+up+lens+set&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Ahoya+close+up+lens+set . Perhaps others on the forum can offer their opinions on this.

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Malcolmt

I use a set of close up lenses (2,3,4,10)(not Houa, they are chineese knockoffs) that screw over the end of the 18-55mm zoom lens on my D5100. If I recall the set cost me like $25 from China on Ebay. Low cost way to get quite good close up pictures but you must use a stand and have a ring light and use a high F stop as all your pictures will be longer exposures to get a reasonable depth of field. If you couple this with a bellows setup and a set of tubes you can get some pretty close up results as long as you have a rock steady rig.

I also have some older Nikon macro lenses that are not AF so you have to do all the settings yourself, but I got them very cheap on eBay.

Pleecan here on the forum has had a lot of experience with this type of stuff and may be a help. Look up some of his posts on photography of micro fossils.

Edited by Malcolmt

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pleecan

Malcolm is correct: Get yourself a set of extension tubes and attach your existing lens and you should be a be to shoot macros in full manual mode. I am able to achieve 10 micro resolution with this method.

PL

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cowsharks

Thank you folks, I appreciate all the help & info.

In general, which is better, manual or Auto focus lens? I'm not sure I understand why folks prefer one type over the other.

thanks,

Daryl.

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Jersey

Thank you folks, I appreciate all the help & info.

In general, which is better, manual or Auto focus lens? I'm not sure I understand why folks prefer one type over the other.

thanks,

Daryl.

For several years (before I owned a digital camera) I used a Pentax K1000 camera and it was manual. I liked it a lot but it didn't work out for taking pictures of fast moving objects: wildlife - especially hummingbirds. There was just too little time to focus and get a good shot because the wildlife move too quickly. But now with the Nikon D80 and its autofocus lenses, it's far easier to take a picture as the camera focuses for me and does it quickly. Of course, with fossils there is no concern of them moving quickly but having auto focus is a plus for other things that I photograph that aren't a stationary subject.

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Malcolmt

Maybe I am oldschool but I think the pictures from the old manual focus pre digital lens are actually better. My old manual focus film SLR for me took better pictures than my Nikon D5100. But the convenience of Digital makes film a non starter.

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pleecan

Thank you folks, I appreciate all the help & info.

In general, which is better, manual or Auto focus lens? I'm not sure I understand why folks prefer one type over the other.

thanks,

Daryl.

All my digital photos are Full Manual.... Manual lens are super high quality... I never let the camera focus it is all manual for the best results....

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cowsharks

Thanks again folks for the helpful info.

From your replies and other research I did, for Macro it looks like Manual focusing is best to make sure the camera focuses on the part of the object/specimen that you want to be in focus (vice what the camera chooses to focus on if it is auto).

thanks again,

Daryl.

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Jed '06

Thanks again folks for the helpful info.

From your replies and other research I did, for Macro it looks like Manual focusing is best to make sure the camera focuses on the part of the object/specimen that you want to be in focus (vice what the camera chooses to focus on if it is auto).

thanks again,

Daryl.

Hey Daryl,

Have you seen the camera guide books written by David Busch? I have one for my Nikon DSLR, very informative about all the features of your camera and how to use them. Mine doesn't cover macro photography but goes into great detail about everthing else.

When I'm using auto focus with my Nikon for closeup shots ( regular lens, not the micro lens) I use the "single point focus" setting. With a tripod the focus is on the money 99% of the time. I always use aperture priority mode with a flash for the fossils, aperture setting around 20 for good depth of field. Also I found I have better results with the normal focus setting rather than the closeup setting. With the D7000 you will be able to crop any photo extremely tight with great results.

Using the Nikor Micro lens I always use manual focus. The older Nikon lenses I find easier to manually focus than the new AF wave motor lenses.

Jed

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cowsharks

Hey Daryl,

Have you seen the camera guide books written by David Busch? I have one for my Nikon DSLR, very informative about all the features of your camera and how to use them. Mine doesn't cover macro photography but goes into great detail about everthing else.

When I'm using auto focus with my Nikon for closeup shots ( regular lens, not the micro lens) I use the "single point focus" setting. With a tripod the focus is on the money 99% of the time. I always use aperture priority mode with a flash for the fossils, aperture setting around 20 for good depth of field. Also I found I have better results with the normal focus setting rather than the closeup setting. With the D7000 you will be able to crop any photo extremely tight with great results.

Using the Nikor Micro lens I always use manual focus. The older Nikon lenses I find easier to manually focus than the new AF wave motor lenses.

Jed

Jed, thanks for the info on the camera guide books - I'll take a look at them for sure; God knows I need help figuring out how to use this camera.

I know through lots of experimentation I'll be able to hone my skills.

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digit

So I have a new Nikon D7000 and want to get a good macro lens. After reading some of the threads here I think I might have narrowed it down to one of these two.

1) Sigma 258306 105mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro Lens for Nikon DSLR Camera ($680)

2) Nikon 105mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor Lens ($800)

Here is my $0.02 on the matter--take it for what it's worth.

Getting directly to your question quoted above, if you are trying to decide between the two lenses above the matter comes down to cost and quality. I tend to switch between Nikon and Canon for my topside and underwater photography (currently on the Canon team at the moment). When I was shooting with a Nikon back in the film epoch, the 105mm was one of my favorite lenses for shooting small macro images (though I loved my 60mm macro for more general purpose shooting). In my slightly informed opinion you tend to get what you pay for when buying lenses. In general the cost of the lens correlates roughly with the quality of the image produced. It is true that popular lenses benefit from the economies of scale and can sometimes be purchased at a discounted price compared with less popular lenses--but generally you get what you pay for. Third party manufacturers that make Nikon compatible lenses (Sigma, Tamron, etc.) are a discount option for those tight on budget. Many times the "knock-off" lens will have similar specifications to the Nikon lenses but will sell at a discount to the Nikon lens that it is competing with. Without looking at your to choices in too much detail I will make the comment that Nikon has always been known for good glass. I've had Nikon and Sigma lenses in my collection before and I've usually found the Nikon lenses were built a bit more solidly and tended to have a bit less chromatic abberation (color fringing on high contrast edges). When money is not an issue I've always gone with the best lenses I could afford. I used to tell people that the lens makes the picture and the camera only records it so never chince on lenses. In these digital days the camera has become something more than just a box that holds the film steady and so equal weight must be given to the quality of the camera. If it were my decision I'd save up a bit more and buy the Nikon lens. When you factor in how many images you will take with this lens over its lifetime the difference will be negligible.

As for the manual/auto focus question that really depends on what you are shooting. I use both depending on the circumstances. Auto focus has gotten a lot lot better (and faster) over the 25-30 years that I've been shooting SLR cameras. In most cases AF does the job better and quicker than the photographer could do himself (especially in rapid motion wildlife photography). For taking macro photos of tiny fossils in a controlled environment with a tripod you might find that MF works just as well if not better for getting the focal plane on just the bits you want in tack-sharp focus.

Once you get your new camera setup we expect to see lots of gorgeous photos on the forum to make us drool on our computer screens.

Cheers.

-Ken

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cowsharks

Here is my $0.02 on the matter--take it for what it's worth.

Getting directly to your question quoted above, if you are trying to decide between the two lenses above the matter comes down to cost and quality. I tend to switch between Nikon and Canon for my topside and underwater photography (currently on the Canon team at the moment). When I was shooting with a Nikon back in the film epoch, the 105mm was one of my favorite lenses for shooting small macro images (though I loved my 60mm macro for more general purpose shooting). In my slightly informed opinion you tend to get what you pay for when buying lenses. In general the cost of the lens correlates roughly with the quality of the image produced. It is true that popular lenses benefit from the economies of scale and can sometimes be purchased at a discounted price compared with less popular lenses--but generally you get what you pay for. Third party manufacturers that make Nikon compatible lenses (Sigma, Tamron, etc.) are a discount option for those tight on budget. Many times the "knock-off" lens will have similar specifications to the Nikon lenses but will sell at a discount to the Nikon lens that it is competing with. Without looking at your to choices in too much detail I will make the comment that Nikon has always been known for good glass. I've had Nikon and Sigma lenses in my collection before and I've usually found the Nikon lenses were built a bit more solidly and tended to have a bit less chromatic abberation (color fringing on high contrast edges). When money is not an issue I've always gone with the best lenses I could afford. I used to tell people that the lens makes the picture and the camera only records it so never chince on lenses. In these digital days the camera has become something more than just a box that holds the film steady and so equal weight must be given to the quality of the camera. If it were my decision I'd save up a bit more and buy the Nikon lens. When you factor in how many images you will take with this lens over its lifetime the difference will be negligible.

As for the manual/auto focus question that really depends on what you are shooting. I use both depending on the circumstances. Auto focus has gotten a lot lot better (and faster) over the 25-30 years that I've been shooting SLR cameras. In most cases AF does the job better and quicker than the photographer could do himself (especially in rapid motion wildlife photography). For taking macro photos of tiny fossils in a controlled environment with a tripod you might find that MF works just as well if not better for getting the focal plane on just the bits you want in tack-sharp focus.

Once you get your new camera setup we expect to see lots of gorgeous photos on the forum to make us drool on our computer screens.

Cheers.

-Ken

Ken, thanks for the info, and I understand "you get what you pay for" can be quite important in this area. I'll be saving up for the more expensive lens, but in the meantime I'm going to at least be taking some pics of larger specimens so I can at least get more familiar with my camera; I think that's going to be part of the battle first. I just learned that one of my son's will be taking a college class in which he will need to use my new Nikon D7000, so I'm hoping he'll learn first and then show me; kids these days learn the tech stuff so fast, and he has more time than I.

Once I have some decent pics I'll post back.

Daryl.

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Jed '06

Hi Daryl,

forgot to mention one other thing, I use the self timer also to keep camera movement to a minimum. Or use a remote if you have one!

I'm using a regular 18 -55 mm AF lens for fossils 1/4 inch and bigger, then crop if needed. My tripod has a feature that allows it to swivel to a horizontal position, putting the camera directly above the fossil. Use cardboard or something a medium gray color for the background for a good exposure.The built in flash works fine with this setup too, might get a shadow below the fossil though. It's amazing how detailed the pictures are with this simple setup.

Jed

Here's a photo shot with this setup:

post-12952-0-11900900-1389229532_thumb.jpeg

Edited by Jed '06

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Jed '06

One more photo using same setup:

post-12952-0-56470700-1389230092_thumb.jpeg

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rocdoc6982

Thank you folks, I appreciate all the help & info.

In general, which is better, manual or Auto focus lens? I'm not sure I understand why folks prefer one type over the other.

thanks,

Daryl.

Hi Daryl,

A few observations that hopefully help shed some light on your dilemmas:

1) Resale value of a Nikon Nikkor lens will be higher that an off brand lens, even if the optics are identical. Not sure? give Greys of Westminister in London a call and ask them, or check ebay. Generally, the 105mm Nikon is a great portrait lens too, should you be so inclined! I own one I use with a D600, but have not played with the Sigma, it may be just as good...

2) Image stabilization (the VR on the Nikon 105mm) won't be helpful in tripod mounted shots or in macro-mode and should be turned off.

3) To maximize depth of field you will need to stop down the lens (bigger F number), reducing the amount of light that passes through it. In doing so, past about F8, the autofocus detection will be limited to the very central portion of the lens. In other words, the autofocus becomes less effective at you stop down (true for all lenses, not just macro-lens). For this reason, assuming you are attempting to maximize depth of field to ensure all is in nice focus and crystal clear, it is advisable to manually focus for macro-shots and not rely on autofacos tracking, hence, whether you buy the last AF-S lens, of an older, non AF-S version lacking autofocus, is not a particularly big deal if this is all you intended to use the lens for. With these small working apertures, having adequate lighting is essential and you may need to consider adding flash lighting: check out Andy Smith's ammonite phoography rig here to see his set up and read his thoughts:

andysfossils.com/2012/07/07/20-posts-or-who-photographs-the-photographer/

4) Lastly, the depth of field (for a fixed aperture) will be greater the further your from the from the subject. That's why a 200mm macro lens (expensive) is 'better' than a 105mm which, in turn, is better than a 60mm macro and so on, as the camera can be further away, achieve the same field of view, and will have proportionally 'better' depth of field. For the majority of us, who are not photography pro's, the limitation is usually economic!

By the way, Thom Hogan has an excellent review of the Nikon 105mm here: www.bythom.com/105AFSlens.htm

Anyways, this is my first post to the Fossil Forum. Hope you feel it's helpful!

Best wishes,

Siimon

Edited by rocdoc6982

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cowsharks

Thank you very much folks for all the helpful info. As a newbie I first had to work my way through the new terminology. I recently picked up the book that should help me learn more about my camera and how to use it. Now I understand why the 200mm lens is better than the 105mm and 60mm etc. I didn't realize the benefit of being able to be further away from the specimen when taking macro shots; it makes sense that at close up shots with the smaller lenses that the camera/lens can block the light hitting the object.

I hope to have some sample pics up some day soon. I'm trying to not be too ambitious because I'm really interested in the photo stacking software, but I don't want to bite off more than I can chew; walk before I run, etc.

thanks again.

Daryl.

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levaconline

I'm using Nikon D7000 + Sigma 105mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro. This combination works good for me.

Here is example (image taken from hands, without tripod):

post-16411-0-15834000-1410121414_thumb.jpg

post-16411-0-15834000-1410121414_thumb.jpg

Edited by levaconline

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Jersey

leva: That's very good especially without use of a tripod. Do you know the shutter speed?

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levaconline

Hi Jersey,

here are data from metadata of the image file:

Camera

Make NIKON CORPORATION

Model NIKON D7000

Exposure 1/80

Aperture 36

Focal Length 105.0 mm

ISO Speed 1000

Flash Off, Did not fire

Edited by levaconline

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