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Author Topic: Macro lenses for D810?  (Read 15309 times)

Ligament

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Macro lenses for D810?
« on: August 12, 2014, 04:48:18 pm »

Howdy,

Which is the currently best macro lens for the D810? Nikon, Zeiss, Sigma?

Is the Nikon 200mm f2 macro still a leader, or have higher resolution sensors revealed limits in its older design?

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DanielStone

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Re: Macro lenses for D810?
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2014, 05:42:42 pm »

The Coastal Optics lens is a really good one from all of the write-up reports I've read:
http://www.jenoptik-inc.com/coastalopt-standard-lenses/uv-vis-nir-60mm-slr-lens-mainmenu-155/80-uv-vis-ir-60-mm-apo-macro.html

LensRentals has one available:
http://www.lensrentals.com/rent/nikon/lenses/specialty/coastal-optics-uv-vis-ir-60mm-macro-for-nikon

I've used the Carl Zeiss S-Planar T* 60mm F2.8 Macro lens modified with a Leitax Nikon mount before, and it was a stellar performer that I found.

-Dan
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NancyP

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Re: Macro lenses for D810?
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2014, 07:15:58 pm »

What subject do you shoot, at what magnification, under what conditions? Is your subject live, easily spooked, or is it a coin or a bit of jewelry in your studio?

There is no "best" macro lens. There may be a "best" macro set-up for your subject. Working distance is the single most important issue, it governs what lighting you are able to use.

I have one lens (60mm) for predominantly 1:5 to 1:1 work on a lighted copy stand, and another 180mm  lens with nice long working distance for outdoors natural light live insects, herps, and plant/mushroom macro. I am a Canonista, so these are two Canon lenses. There are lots of excellent macro lenses out there, Nikon has several in the current lineup, Zeiss has two, Sigma has several 1:1 macros including a 180mm, Tamron has some.... The close-up (1:5 to 1:2) photographer has even more options, including tilt-shift lenses (in the Canon world, the TSE 90mm with/without extension tube is a popular product photography lens).
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luxborealis

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Re: Macro lenses for D810?
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2014, 09:37:06 pm »

You would be hard pressed to find better than any of the Micro-Nikkors. The most recent iteration of the 105 which is an AF-S is just as sharp as the D version, but the D version is more svelte. Personally, I prefer the 105 over the 60 for any and all close-up work as the added working distance prevents shadows and allows more breathing space, particularly when working on a tripod.

Check it out over at DxOMark.
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Ligament

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Re: Macro lenses for D810?
« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2014, 11:48:10 pm »

"What subject do you shoot, at what magnification, under what conditions? Is your subject live, easily spooked, or is it a coin or a bit of jewelry in your studio?"

Excellent questions.

I'll be renting a macro lens for a trip to Mr. Rainier in Washington. Will be used primarily to shoot alpine flowers.

Will be very mild summer weather, outdoor lighting. Frankly I don't know what magnification I'd need.

The Sigma 180mm f2.8 macro also gets great reviews. Where does this lens fit in compared to the Nikon 200 f4 macro?
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: Macro lenses for D810?
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2014, 01:05:59 am »

It seems that the venerable 200mm f4, a truly excellent lens even by modern standards, has just been listed as discontinued.

Since it has been short listed among the lenses to be updated for years, it is very possbile that a successor may be introduced in the coming weeks.

Cheers,
Bernard

PeterAit

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Re: Macro lenses for D810?
« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2014, 08:11:00 am »

You would be hard pressed to find better than any of the Micro-Nikkors. The most recent iteration of the 105 which is an AF-S is just as sharp as the D version, but the D version is more svelte. Personally, I prefer the 105 over the 60 for any and all close-up work as the added working distance prevents shadows and allows more breathing space, particularly when working on a tripod.


I'll second this rec of the Micro Nikkor 105 - great lens.
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luxborealis

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Re: Macro lenses for D810?
« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2014, 08:14:25 am »

The Sigma 180mm f2.8 macro also gets great reviews. Where does this lens fit in compared to the Nikon 200 f4 macro?


Watch out for those "great reviews" (who often have ad space to sell). Check out DxOMark; these are the results on a D800:
Sigma 180: 25
Micro-Nikkor 200: 27
Micro-Nikkor 105: 32
Higher is better.
No question where to put your money, unless you want to wait to see if the new 200 is a reality.
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Ajoy Roy

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Re: Macro lenses for D810?
« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2014, 08:18:44 am »

"What subject do you shoot, at what magnification, under what conditions? Is your subject live, easily spooked, or is it a coin or a bit of jewelry in your studio?"

Excellent questions.

I'll be renting a macro lens for a trip to Mr. Rainier in Washington. Will be used primarily to shoot alpine flowers.

Will be very mild summer weather, outdoor lighting. Frankly I don't know what magnification I'd need.

The Sigma 180mm f2.8 macro also gets great reviews. Where does this lens fit in compared to the Nikon 200 f4 macro?

Micro Nikkor 60mm is ideal for small flower. It has more linearity than the 105mm and less CA. Ideal lense for copy work. In case the flowers require even higher magnification, incest in a set of extension tubes. You may then go from 1:1 to 5:1 (enough for 5mm flower to fill the frame)

For normal flowers where you do not need 1:1, normal telephoto lense suffice. In fact I have shot a lot of flowers and bugs with normal lenses.
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Ajoy Roy

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Re: Macro lenses for D810?
« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2014, 08:22:12 am »

Another lense used for flowers is the Zeiss 135mm F2 APO. As it has practically no CA, you can use it upto F11 with no visible diffraction effects to get a good DOF.
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Ligament

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Re: Macro lenses for D810?
« Reply #10 on: August 13, 2014, 10:46:59 am »

Micro Nikkor 60mm is ideal for small flower. It has more linearity than the 105mm and less CA. Ideal lense for copy work. In case the flowers require even higher magnification, incest in a set of extension tubes. You may then go from 1:1 to 5:1 (enough for 5mm flower to fill the frame)

For normal flowers where you do not need 1:1, normal telephoto lense suffice. In fact I have shot a lot of flowers and bugs with normal lenses.

Ajoy, thank you. Which is a high quality set of extension tubes to purchase for the nikon system?
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NancyP

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Re: Macro lenses for D810?
« Reply #11 on: August 13, 2014, 10:54:09 am »

Current versions, weights: Micro Nikkor 60mm is ~460 grams, Micro Nikkor 105mm 790 grams, Micro Nikkor 200 f/4 1,180 grams, Sigma 150mm f/2.8 OS also 1,180 grams, Sigma 180 f/2.8 a whopping 1,630 grams.

I know my choice would depend on whether this would be a multi-day backpack journey or whether I would be making day hikes from the car, also on the elevation for each hike, how much other camera kit I wanted to take (tripod if shooting non-macro or if shooting formal focus-stacked micro, the "Lord V" method with a hiking pole if shooting only one-shot macro), and a realistic assessment of my own fitness.

Extension tubes: all air is equally good optically (well, don't blow smoke in your extension tube..  ;)  ). Select for strength and precision milling. I wanted to use extension tubes on a 400mm telephoto (in addition to the 1.4x teleconverter, which is the most efficient way of increasing magnification on a telephoto lens), I bought the very sturdy and well made three-ring Kenko set (62mm total) at ~$200.00.

Folks, the worst has happened. I now have GAS and associated nerdiness in two areas: photography and camping.  ::)     All hail to the scale! Realistically, since I weigh 115 pounds, I do have to be picky about gear if I don't want to exceed the 1/4 your body weight rule. I have tried 1/3 my body weight, and it wasn't pretty.  :(         You 6' 2" guys in the 180-200 pound range can "afford" more gear.
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NancyP

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Re: Macro lenses for D810?
« Reply #12 on: August 13, 2014, 10:59:16 am »

One last point - bokeh and perspective. Personally, I love the look I get at f/3.5 with my 180mm Canon lens. The perspective also limits the diversity of the out-of-focus background. But, some shots can work out very well with a short focal length macro at wide open, and flowers in a field may be one of those cases. Lots of small out of focus blobs of color standing out from the background - great, or distracting, depending on your composition.
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PeterAit

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Re: Macro lenses for D810?
« Reply #13 on: August 13, 2014, 12:25:56 pm »


For normal flowers where you do not need 1:1, normal telephoto lense suffice. In fact I have shot a lot of flowers and bugs with normal lenses.


Sometimes this is true, but because they are not optimized for close-up work they may not perform all that well. For example, I took some butterfly shots with the Olympus 12-60mm zoom, a lens that is fantastic for "normal" photograph, but the macro results were just not quite as sharp as I would have liked.
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JohnBrew

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Re: Macro lenses for D810?
« Reply #14 on: August 13, 2014, 12:58:09 pm »

I use the Zeiss 50 Makro. It's only 2:1 instead of 1:1 but I've never had an issue with that.

Ellis Vener

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Re: Macro lenses for D810?
« Reply #15 on: August 13, 2014, 01:08:02 pm »

If you can find one - and this will strike purists as pure heresy- look for a really good two-element diopter like the Canon 250D and 500D.
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Michael Erlewine

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Re: Macro lenses for D810?
« Reply #16 on: August 13, 2014, 03:16:42 pm »

I have used about every macro lens you can put on a Nikon Some of the suggestions here, like the Coastal Optics 60mm APO lens ($4500), which I have used for years are overkill and not that good a lens for this work. Its focus throw is a lousy 210-dgrees or so, it has a severe hot spot, and does not handle mottled light well.

If I were shooting small flowers, I would probably use the Micro-Nikkor 60mm, either version D or the newer G. Another relatively less-expensive lens is the Micro-Nikkor 105mm VR lens. All things considered, it is a good general macro lens.

On the other hand, I only use expensive APO lenses at this point, such as the Voigtlander 125mm f/2.5 APO-Lanthar, but it is hard to find and about $3K in price. The Zeiss APO 135mm, which I use all the time, is also expensive. So, bottom line for me are those two generally good Micro-Nikkors I mentioned above.

Here is a free e-book on close-up/macro lenses that I put together some years ago. It details some 42 lenses.

http://spiritgrooves.net/pdf/e-books/cmp_lenses.pdf
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RobSaecker

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« Reply #17 on: August 13, 2014, 03:38:03 pm »

Watch out for those "great reviews" (who often have ad space to sell). Check out DxOMark; these are the results on a D800:
Sigma 180: 25
Micro-Nikkor 200: 27
Micro-Nikkor 105: 32
Higher is better.
No question where to put your money, unless you want to wait to see if the new 200 is a reality.

Just for the record, the Sigma 150 macro scores the same as the Nikkor 200, plus it's a stop faster and several hundred dollars cheaper. As I've said before, I like mine. But I also really like my antique 55/3.5 Nikkor, even though I'm sure its DXO score wouldn't even be in the same ballpark.
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Michael Erlewine

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Re: Macro lenses for D810?
« Reply #18 on: August 13, 2014, 03:53:00 pm »

The problem with the Nikon 200mm Macro is the f/4. It is just too dark for early-morning or evening shooting IMO. I need light in the viewfinder to see to manually focus. IMO the best, walk-around macro for the least money is the Nikkor 105mm VR macro. It is sharp on the DXOmark rating as well.
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Ligament

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Re: Macro lenses for D810?
« Reply #19 on: August 13, 2014, 04:09:55 pm »

I have used about every macro lens you can put on a Nikon Some of the suggestions here, like the Coastal Optics 60mm APO lens ($4500), which I have used for years are overkill and not that good a lens for this work. Its focus throw is a lousy 210-dgrees or so, it has a severe hot spot, and does not handle mottled light well.

If I were shooting small flowers, I would probably use the Micro-Nikkor 60mm, either version D or the newer G. Another relatively less-expensive lens is the Micro-Nikkor 105mm VR lens. All things considered, it is a good general macro lens.

On the other hand, I only use expensive APO lenses at this point, such as the Voigtlander 125mm f/2.5 APO-Lanthar, but it is hard to find and about $3K in price. The Zeiss APO 135mm, which I use all the time, is also expensive. So, bottom line for me are those two generally good Micro-Nikkors I mentioned above.

Here is a free e-book on close-up/macro lenses that I put together some years ago. It details some 42 lenses.

http://spiritgrooves.net/pdf/e-books/cmp_lenses.pdf


Michael; thanks much for your comments. On this trip, I'll have the Zeiss APO 135mm F2 with me. It does not go to 1:1 for macro. Would the Micro-Nikkor 60mm still be needed if I have the Zeiss APO 135mm F2 with me? I'm not dead set on 1:1 reproduction...This will primarily be for alpine flower shots in the field.
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