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By Branmuffin
Posts:  394
Joined:  Fri Jul 08, 2016 2:29 pm
#289786
Hello! We recently picked up a Nikon D3400 to get into shooting some basic photography. I would like to pick up a lens that will get me right in there for these nice macro shots you all have been posting. This is only a small hobby so not looking to drop $1000 on a lens, I just want the ability get those nice big detailed macro shots.

If anyone has suggestions on a lens that can be picked up new or used in the couple hundred dollar range it would be appreciated.
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By Shadowtski
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Posts:  4284
Joined:  Tue Mar 22, 2016 8:19 am
#289793
If you want a quick "Plan B", consider a set of extension tubes and use them with your regular lens. Extension tubes go between the camera body and the existing lens. Here are some manual focus ones and here are some autofocus ones, and here is a whole slew of them. I'm not recommending any of these because I don't shoot Nikon gear. Read the reviews and specs and go for the best one you can afford. Read up on Extension tubes in general.

I have a set of Extension Tubes for my Minolta Maxxum film cameras and Sony digital SLR.
They work fine but not as convenient as a full Macro lens. Most of my Macro work is done with a 100mm f2.8 Maxxum Macro lens. It gives 1:1 size reproduction on the film. But to buy it today, it would probably cost some stratospheric amount.

Just my long winded two cents worth.

Good growing,
Mike
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By nimbulan
Posts:  2204
Joined:  Fri Feb 28, 2014 9:03 pm
#289795
I have the set of XIT extension tubes. They're easy to use and do a decent job of it. If you want to get really close though (at the expense of it being much more difficult to use,) you'll want a lens reversing ring which you can pick up on eBay for about $5.

Also...I did not realize we had a photography forum.
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By Branmuffin
Posts:  394
Joined:  Fri Jul 08, 2016 2:29 pm
#289797
Shadowtski wrote:If you want a quick "Plan B", consider a set of extension tubes and use them with your regular lens. Extension tubes go between the camera body and the existing lens. Here are some manual focus ones and here are some autofocus ones, and here is a whole slew of them. I'm not recommending any of these because I don't shoot Nikon gear. Read the reviews and specs and go for the best one you can afford. Read up on Extension tubes in general.

I have a set of Extension Tubes for my Minolta Maxxum film cameras and Sony digital SLR.
They work fine but not as convenient as a full Macro lens. Most of my Macro work is done with a 100mm f2.8 Maxxum Macro lens. It gives 1:1 size reproduction on the film. But to buy it today, it would probably cost some stratospheric amount.

Just my long winded two cents worth.

Good growing,
Mike
Great info, I will absolutely do some research into the tubes.

If I am understanding correctly you mostly want to have a fixed lens and the MM length will just be how fAr away from the subject you can be and still aceheive a 1:1 ratio? Since a plant doesn't care if you are an inch away or 4 feet I should be ok going with a 40mm or 60mm macro lens? I know my terminology is horrendous.
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By nimbulan
Posts:  2204
Joined:  Fri Feb 28, 2014 9:03 pm
#289799
Extension tubes are odd in that you actually get better magnification with a shorter focal length lens when using them. It's the same story with reversed lenses. I wouldn't use anything over 50mm with either method, preferrably lower. I tend to aim for 35mm.
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By Shadowtski
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Posts:  4284
Joined:  Tue Mar 22, 2016 8:19 am
#289800
Quick example: Using a 50mm lens and a 50mm tube your filmplane to lens-center is 100mm this gives you a 1:1 ratio. The subject will be in focus at 100mm in front of lens-center. Using a 35mm lens and a 35mm tube your filmplane to lens-center is 70mm this gives you a 1:1 ratio. The subject will be in focus at 70mm in front of lens-center. You can also use a zoom lens. It's not neccessary to use a fixed focal-length lens. There will also be a 2-stop light loss die to inverse squared law but your TTL exposure should compensate automatically. Also remember, you have a very narrow depth of field shooting Macro.

Good growing and good shooting,
Mike
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By Branmuffin
Posts:  394
Joined:  Fri Jul 08, 2016 2:29 pm
#289801
Shadowtski wrote:Quick example: Using a 50mm lens and a 50mm tube your filmplane to lens-center is 100mm this gives you a 1:1 ratio. The subject will be in focus at 100mm in front of lens-center. Using a 35mm lens and a 35mm tube your filmplane to lens-center is 70mm this gives you a 1:1 ratio. The subject will be in focus at 70mm in front of lens-center. You can also use a zoom lens. It's not neccessary to use a fixed focal-length lens. There will also be a 2-stop light loss die to inverse squared law but your TTL exposure should compensate automatically. Also remember, you have a very narrow depth of field shooting Macro.

Good growing and good shooting,
Mike

My brain just imploded.
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By nimbulan
Posts:  2204
Joined:  Fri Feb 28, 2014 9:03 pm
#289806
To provide some examples of magnification:

Reverse ring, kit 18-55mm lens at 35mm:
Image

Reverse ring, kit 18-55mm lens at 18mm. The plant is approximately 3mm in diameter. This picture came out quite poorly and I'm not sure how much better I could do. Lighting is a huge problem when this close.
Image

35mm prime lens with 12mm extension tube. The working distance becomes too small with more extension so it's too difficult to take pictures closer.
ImageRoridula dentata by Nimbulan, on Flickr

I have attempted to use my 55-200mm lens with extension tubes as well but the picture quality suffers too much as well as the magnification ratio being poor. Oddly enough, using a reversing ring with the 35mm prime lens also results in poor picture quality, and provides a lower magnification ratio compared to the 18-55mm at 35mm too.

I believe I took this picture with the reversed 35mm but don't quote me on that:
ImageDrosera pauciflora by Nimbulan, on Flickr
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By KategoricalKarnivore
Posts:  1724
Joined:  Wed Aug 24, 2016 5:00 pm
#289813
You can check with any local camera shops for used lenses and tubes. Also many will rent out lenses if you want to experiment before actually making a purchase.
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By nimbulan
Posts:  2204
Joined:  Fri Feb 28, 2014 9:03 pm
#289868
The general recommendation I've heard is to not bother with macro lenses less than 100mm, and 200mm is ideal. If you're only planning on taking pictures of plants you could get away with less, though I think 40mm is probably still too short. Unfortunately the price increases rapidly with focal length and they get quite expensive - that's why I ended up going the reverse ring / extension tube route.
By Branmuffin
Posts:  394
Joined:  Fri Jul 08, 2016 2:29 pm
#289870
nimbulan wrote:The general recommendation I've heard is to not bother with macro lenses less than 100mm, and 200mm is ideal. If you're only planning on taking pictures of plants you could get away with less, though I think 40mm is probably still too short. Unfortunately the price increases rapidly with focal length and they get quite expensive - that's why I ended up going the reverse ring / extension tube route.
Ya I read one review that says don't bother with the 40mm macro lens and just buy a 100mm but then another says the 40mm is basically amazing and everyone should own one. I'm sure it works fine, everyone had their own technique and a lot of people don't like being intimately close to get a shot and see it as useless. I think I will need to take the above advice and head down to the local camera shop and try out some glass to figure out what will work best.
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By nimbulan
Posts:  2204
Joined:  Fri Feb 28, 2014 9:03 pm
#289871
The problem isn't necessarily whether you like the working distance or not, but the physical problems the short working distance results in. When you need to get so close it's very difficult to avoid blocking your light source, and you may find the lens bumping into your pots before you can get close enough for a 1:1 shot.

If you are able to try out a lens though, definitely do so. If it turns out to work for you, it's certainly a lot cheaper than Nikon's 105mm model.
By Sharnee
Posts:  12
Joined:  Thu Nov 02, 2017 1:40 am
#307947
I am really new to photography still but i managed to pick up a used Tamron 90mm lens and i am really enjoying it so far :)
By riveraXVX
Posts:  1098
Joined:  Sat Apr 29, 2017 5:29 am
#307950
awesome, I just got a 60mm canon not that long ago maybe a month or two ago! love it! wish I could have sprung for the 100mm at the time though!

that Tamron is a
nice lens!
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