I've received the following questions from penguinnikon919:
Im a new photographer and have been blessed to have found the camera labs community, so i thank you for all you do.
So why im bothering you
1.) im interested in purchasing a micro lens from nikon mabye the 60 mm. Gordon said u were the expert in this area. i own a d3100 and have 18-55 and 55-200.
i like taking pictures of wildlife and close ups of bugs and flowers. First do i need a micro lens or should i not get one? and is 60 mm enough zoom or should i invest more in say the 105?
Also in your post can you talk about if a micro lens will be better with people shots than my 18-55 for example. What i mean, is a micro lens going to produce just as good or better pictures that are not supper close up?
please tell me when you post it. Thanks so much
First let me direct anyone interested in this question to Gordon#s write-up "Recommended Nikkor / Nikon lenses for insect, flower and general close-up photography
". Plus there are other macro-lenses from manufacturers like Sigma or Tamron.
The fun part with all these macro lenses is that they produce pretty good pictures: sharp and contrasty. So the main choice comes down to focla length and stabilization.
first: there are only 2 stabilized macro-lenses for Nikon bodies: The Nikon 105/2.8 VR which works on both DX and FX bodies and the 85/3.5 VR which is for DX bodies only.
There are people saying that the image stabilization in macro lenses is not very helpful, but:
1. All image stabilization in longer lenses comes in handy at normal shooting situations and
2. Even a 1-2 stop effect is very welcome when shooting macro handheld.
Now onto focal length
Focal length determines from how far away you can achieve a certain magnification. So in a very simplified way you could say that with a 105mm macro lens you can achieve the same magnification as with a 60mm lens from almost double the distance.
This might a critical success-factor when you're shooting small critters that are shy and tend to run/fly away.
You might also find out that illumination of your subject becomes more difficult the smaller the distance between the front-lens and the subject is.
And a third factor that might influence your decision is: if you use your macro-lens in standard shooting situations like portraiture or nature would you prefer the longer (105mm) lens or shorter one.
Now this sounds like more questions than answers. But to put this in perspective I'd personally go for the long, stabilized 105/2.8 VR (which I own and am very happy with). It is the most expensive, but it gives you a good working distance, increases your chances of capturing sharp images and will also work an FX bodies. But this was just my personal preference, and sometimes I even need a longer macro lens (150mm-300mm), because getting close enough to beautiful insects can be pretty hard.
Thomas (beware: Nikon-fanboy and moderator!) My Lens Reviews
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