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Thread: Best general use macro lens

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    Member rick75's Avatar
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    Best general use macro lens

    Ok so about to get a macro lens, either the tamron 90mm f2.8 or the tamron 60mm f2.0, so my question is which is going to give the best all round performance, interested in jewellery photography, bugs, but also as a general lens, portraits etc. For the bugs etc I assume the 90mm would be the best, but I thought the ability of the 60mm in general and low light conditions would be better, can you get close enough to bugs with a 60mm or do you really need a 90mm or higher, what does everyone think?

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    Account Closed Wayne's Avatar
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    I have neither, but imagine the 90mm is pretty short for working distance when it comes to anything live, the 60mm I imagine would be even worse.

    For static like jewelery either would be fine I think, but as portrait outfits, the 90mm is probably best.

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    The tammy 90mm was voted worlds best macro lens for quite a few years and it got those awards for a reason. It makes a great portrait lens. I have one.

    Now next question, what sort of portraits. Studio, outdoor, casual, glamour? If you are working in a studio for example with space restrictions the 60mm might be your better choice, but if you are doing outdoor stuff where you have the freedom of space, I would say get the 90. For my fungi shots I tend to use my Sigma 150mm macro much more.
    "It is one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it is another thing to make a portrait of who they are" - Paul Caponigro

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    Could you use the 90mm for bugs, or is it just too close to be practical, Rick you mention the 150mm what sort of distance from the subject are you for bugs etc?
    Cheers

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rick75 View Post
    Could you use the 90mm for bugs, or is it just too close to be practical, Rick you mention the 150mm what sort of distance from the subject are you for bugs etc?
    Cheers
    You have to take into account the closest focusing distance of each lens as well, cause no use getting your subject closer than that cause you cannot focus on them

    Tamron 60mm : 23cm
    Tamron 90mm : 29cm
    Sigma 150mm : 38cm

    I haven't really taken many bug photos with anything other than my 150mm. I prefer to keep my distance from spiders etc (hehe).

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    Thanks Rick, even a 150mm at 38cm is pretty close, I guess I am looking for a one off solution, I am starting to see this is not going to happen, is this where GAS kicks in?

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    What do you shoot brand wise? I had the Tammy 90 and got rid of it in favour of the Nikon 105VR - although I'm not terribly experienced, that Nikon is certainly the best lens I've ever used, and it spends an awful long time on the camera. I find it focuses significantly faster than the Tamron (not a factor in macro where you are not often in auto focus but is in general use), is whisper quiet, produces a beautiful bokeh, and the front element does not extend when focusing. On the downside, it is significantly heavier and twice the price, although I don't regret the upgrade for a second.

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    I am using a Nikon D3000, looked at the Nikon 105mm, but at $1000 I was trying to pick something up a little cheaper, also was not sure what the 105mm would be like on the jewellery.
    If the 105mm will be fine on the jewellery I might go that way.

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    can't remember Tannin's Avatar
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    I shouldn't think that there would be too much doubt that the best general-use macro les in the world today is the Canon 100mm/2.8L IS. It has swept the field so far as reviews go, it is quite reasonably priced for what it is, and it has new-generation image stabilisation superior to any other lens made. Next best would probably be the Nikkor 105 VR, but it lacks the macro stabilisation function.

    But that's a general answer about the best lens: you are asking which is the better of two. As Rick says, the Tamron 90mm macro is well-regarded. Here is a generally positive review from the excellent and very reliable site The Digital Picture http://www.the-digital-picture.com/R...ew.aspxlookibn You can usually take anything they say there as gospel truth. Note that the Canon 2.8 macro they compare the Tamron to is the old non-IS model (which is still a worthy lens nevertheless), not the new one I mentioned at the start of my reply.

    There don't seem to be any trustworthy reviews of the Tamron 60mm/2 yet. It's a fair bet that it will be a high quality lens - in fact, you really battle to find a bad macro lens these days - but whether it will beat the 60mm Nikkor and Canon ones remains to be seen. I should imagine that it will go close. Tamron don't say if it has a high-quality focus motor ("silent wave" in Nikon-speak, "USM" if you talk Canonese) but the availability of full-time manual focusing hints that they do. It's a worthwhile feature.

    The real question for you isn't "which lens", it is "which focal length class". In the end, there are differences between the Tamron, Nikkor, Tokina, Canon and Sigma lenses in the 100mm class, but they are small differences compared to the difference between any of those lenses and any of the 60mm class macro units. In short:

    100mm class (including 90mm, 100mm, and 105mm):
    • Quite a lot better for insects with a much more practical working distance
    • Somewhat better for flowers and other small objects (same reason)
    • Probably better for rings and stuff too, but I'm guessing at this.
    • Useful as a longish portrait lens, but a bit too long for most people.
    • Somewhat useful for landscapes and general-purpose use, but too long to be a great general lens.


    60mm class:
    • Not so good for insects
    • Good for flowers and other small objects
    • Probably not quite so good for rings and etc. but I'm guessing again.
    • Very useful indeed as a portrait lens
    • Really good to use as a general-purpose short telephoto for landscapes and similar.


    Summary: get a 100(ish) mm lens if macro is your # priority, get a 60mm macro lens if you want a more all-round useful lens.
    Tony

    People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.

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    Sigma do a 105 also & it is rated in the same league as the Tamron 90.

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    can't remember Tannin's Avatar
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    The Nikkor 105/2.8 VR macro is $1000? For what it is, that's a damn good price! If you are going to go for something longer rather than something shorter, that's hard to go past. I've never used one (wouldn't fit my Canon bodies) but everything I have heard about them is good. Go for it!

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    Excellent advice Tony - although what would you say to the proposition of OP picking one up in the 100mm class, but for only $150 more picking up a 50mm 1.8? Slides into your advice.... and then the would have the best of both worlds.

    rick75 I couldn't really see any difference between the Nikon and the Tamron as far as jewellery goes. There is nothing between the two as far as macro work goes (with the exception of the extending front element of the Tamron which may or may not trouble you) but if you are looking to use the lens in various situations, I would go with the Nikon for the reasons outlined above. Assuming of course you want to go with the 100mm class - I have no idea about the shorter ones from a performance standpoint.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tannin View Post
    The Nikkor 105/2.8 VR macro is $1000? For what it is, that's a damn good price! If you are going to go for something longer rather than something shorter, that's hard to go past. I've never used one (wouldn't fit my Canon bodies) but everything I have heard about them is good. Go for it!
    I got mine for $900 delivered (grey import).

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    Thanks for all the advice, I can see them on ebay for between $980 o/s or $1050 local where abouts did you pick it up for $900.

    Thanks again for the advice

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    Quote Originally Posted by rick75 View Post
    Thanks for all the advice, I can see them on ebay for between $980 o/s or $1050 local where abouts did you pick it up for $900.

    Thanks again for the advice
    http://www.citiwideonline.com/au/ind...emart&Itemid=1

    Although from memory courier was $40 - $910 all up actually.

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    I have both Tamron's (recently sold the 90) and for macro the 60 is the clear winner IMO. It has the same working distance as the 90 (about 100mm) but it also has internal focusing and faster AF. It is also a stop faster @ f2, though you can only use it wide open near infinity, at portrait distances it's usually about f2.4. I also found it slightly sharper at wider apertures than the 90 and with less CA.

    100mm working distance is plenty for 99% of bugs and I use extension tubes which further reduces the working distance but I never have any problems getting that close to my subjects.

    For portraits you still need to stop down to f2.8 to be tack sharp but it IS sharp right across the frame. Sharper than my Nikkor 50 1.8 at the same apertures.

    Cheers
    Leigh
    Nikon D600, 24-70, 300 VR1 2.8, Tamron 60 f2 macro + Kenko tubes. SB800.



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    Still in the Circle of Confusion Cage's Avatar
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    Hi Rick,

    FWIW, I have the Sigma 105 2.8 Macro and I think it's an incredibly good lens. It also doubles as a short telephoto (157mm on my camera) and is priced around the $600 mark. Google it and check the user reviews it gets.

    Cheers

    Kevin
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    D600 : D7200 and too much stuff to list

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    The only problem with the Sigma is that they don't have the AF motor built into them, the d3000 needs this.
    Leigh I am glad you like the 60mm lens, I was really leaning towards this lens until tonight. I just don't know which way to go, everybody has very valid points .
    Thanks for everyones input it is much appreciated.

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    I am buying a 60 mm F 2.8 ef-s second hand next week for $400,I bought another lens of a chap,and he had this 60 mm macro (Canon brand) and I was'nt planning to buy it,but I put it on the camera=took three photos,and thought-Damn-this so,so sharp,I had to to have it!,

    I have been interested in getting into macro for some time,and heard very good reviews of this lens (9.6 on FM),so for general use/potrait/some garden and insect close ups.for for $400 a great way to start out.It would be very good for jewellery photography the OP mentions.

    I have used and seen a Canon 100 EF-S F 2.8 and its a stunning lens, (9.5 on FM) very good for insects and portait/head and shoulder photos,I will be buying one of them soon too!.

    I know a chap who has both,and they can be both used and are so good,that just because you have two does'nt mean you have to sell one on.

    The world of macro is endless and lot of fun!
    Canon 50D and 450D - Canon 10-22 F3.5-5.6, 17-55 F2.8 L, 70-200 F2.8 L, 400 prime F5.6 L, 60mm F2.8 macro, EX 430 Flash,and all sorts of other bits and pieces

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    Rick,

    Cant add much else to what's been said, except an example of jewelery taken with my Tamron 90mm. Took this about 5 minutes ago, straight from camera :



    At the end of the day, your budget will drive things.

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