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Photography Question 
Julie M. Cwik
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/2/2005
 

Macro Photography: What Type of Lens?


Hi, I own a Fuji FinePix S2 Pro that takes the same lens that Nikon will take. I am looking into getting an AF macro lens for myself, my problem is that I don't quite understand the 1:1 or 1:5 ratios of the macros and their focal length, along with the fact that I'm a college student so the newest/fastest lens is definitely not in the budget. Any advice would be great, thanks


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4/21/2005 8:04:01 AM

 
Michael H. Cothran   Nikon makes three true macro lenses (called "Micro" by Nikon) in autofocus: 60mm/2.8, 105mm/2.8, and a 200mm/4. Each will focus to 1:1, meaning that your subject will be the same size on "film" as it is in real life. Which one you buy will depend on your need, desire, and the depth of your wallet. None are cheap, but they're all top drawer. The longer the focal length the more expensive they get. These are the only three Nikon Micro lenses that will function completely with all the S2's electronics.
You can also use any of Nikon's older manual focus Micros (there's always a slew of them for sale on Ebay), as long as they are either Ai or Ais. These lenses will mount to your S2 and work, but will NOT activate the S2's meter, since they don't have the necessary contact points. You'd have to use a hand meter in this case.
Truth be told, AF is not really a good thing in macro work, as the lens often fumbles around trying to focus. You are usually better off focusing manually with these lenses while working in macro modes.
I own ALL the equipment above, including the S2, and can attest to their quality. I use 30-year-old Ai Micro's for all my commercial studio work. Their quality has never been improved upon, and I actually think the latest plastic AF versions do not perform as well.
The second alternative is to purchase a third party lens such as Sigma, Tamron, Tokina, etc. They all make similar focal length macros in a Nikon mount (that will also fit the S2, and function fully), and for about half the price of a true Nikon lens.
Your third alternative, and for something cheaper to start with, consider some close-up lenses that you can screw into the front of your existing lenses. Often, they come in groups of 3, and can be purchased very cheaply. Their quality is usually OK, albeit a far cry from a true macro lens. They will, however, get you into the world of macro photography while you save your pennies for a true macro/micro lens.
Good luck.
Michael H. Cothran
www.mhcphoto.net


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4/22/2005 11:24:10 AM

 
Julie M. Cwik
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/2/2005
  Thanks for the information Michael. One other question, what do the focal lengths mean on a Macro/Micro? I understand in a normal lens but if your shooting up close already why would you need a long macro lens?
Jules


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4/22/2005 11:58:52 AM

 
William Koplitz   The defination of macro is a ratio of 1:1 (life size) to 1:5 (5 times greater than life size). The macro lenes only get you to 1:1, to actually go further into macro you have to reverse the lens and use extension tubes. There are many articles about this, wikipedia.com is a good source.

Longer lens will provide greater working distances but will also reduce the depth of field which also gets a rule change when you get to macro, it's no longer the 1/3 - 2/3 rule of hyperfocal distance, it's now 1/2 - 1/2.


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4/26/2005 6:48:50 AM

 
Michael H. Cothran   Focal lengths correlate to macro the same as with "normal" lenses. TWith macros, the longer the focal length, the longer the distance will be between you and your subject in close-up (usually a good thing). Also, your angle of view will be narrower with a longer lens, and your depth of field will be less. These latter two conditions are idea for such things as flowers.
If you are shooting widgets or things that are pretty flat in nature, then the focal length won't really make a difference. Only the distance between you and your subject will be changed.
For macro use, here's what I use my lenses for -
I use my 55 and 60 lens for subjects like pottery, flower pots, bouquets, and other handsized widgets, etc.
I use the 105 for flowers, jewelry, and very small widgets.
I use the 200 for flowers.
It would be nice if you could own all three, but that may put a big dent in your wallet. If you are serious about macro work, I would definitely by the 60 and the 105. As I stated, if you cannot afford the Nikon's, look into Sigma - they offer similar focal lengths in Nikon mount that will work seamlessly on your S2, for about half the Nikon price. You can also find used macros on Ebay. There's always some for sale. I've bought a couple of mine off Ebay. Check out my website (www.mhcphoto.net) if you'd like to see some samples. I have a few images posted in the Fine Art section taken with the S2, and some with one of my macros (each image lists the equipment used). In the Jury Services section, all the images are shot with the S2 and a Nikon micro. The clay pieces were shot with the 55/60, and the jewelry is all shot with the 105.
Michael H. Cothran


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4/26/2005 11:39:21 AM

 
Janis Herd
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/11/2004
  I am extremely happy with my Sigma 105mm macro. It is from their EX line and it is amazingly sharp. It also makes a good portrait lens.


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4/26/2005 4:11:02 PM

 
Karma Wilson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
  A second for the sigma. You can see samples of shots I've taken with it in my gallery. It's a very versatile macro lens and I would never be without a good macro lens again.

Karma


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4/26/2005 8:06:40 PM

 
Terry  R. Hatfield
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/4/2003
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  Wait Till You Have The Money For A Good Lens Julie The Sigma Is a Clunker,I Had One!(The Image Quality Looks Good But Thats Where It Stops)
I Have Seen People Rave About This Lens, I Really Wonder If They Have Ever Used A Good Lens!LOL!!


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4/30/2005 7:34:40 AM

 
Janis Herd
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/11/2004
  I have four Nikon lenses and this Sigma is sharper than any of them. It is my favorite lens and I use it constantly. I got it for Tony Sweet's flower class, and when I discussed it with Tony before buying it, his opinion was that it was "probably an excellent lens." He was correct. You either did not have the EX version, or you had a defective one, or maybe you don't recognize a quality lens yourself.


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4/30/2005 8:54:49 AM

 
Terry  R. Hatfield
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/4/2003
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  Yes It was The EX 2.8 Version And It Cant Hold A Light To My Nikon! Maybe You Have A Inexpensive Nikon Lens And Dont Recognize the Difference Janis:-)


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4/30/2005 9:00:33 AM

 
Janis Herd
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/11/2004
  Again, I suspect you got a dud, Terry. Also, the person who asked this question said in the first post "I'm a college student so the newest/fastest lens is definitely not in the budget. Any advice would be great, thanks." If you go to pbase and search on this lens you will see many excellent images. Each to his/her own!


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4/30/2005 9:09:05 AM

 
Terry  R. Hatfield
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/4/2003
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  My Lens Wasnt A Dud It Was a Clunker! A Typical Sigma Lens Build.
And If You Read My Post Before You Will See I Said The Lens Had Good Image Quality,But Was Lacking In Other Things,Thats All The More Reason For Julie To Save Her Money For A Good Lens Because Of The Cost To Rectify A Mistake,Honest Anwsers Is What Q&A Is About!!


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4/30/2005 9:16:11 AM

 
Janis Herd
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/11/2004
  I am having fun, learning a lot about macro photography, and doing well in Tony's flower class with this lens. I certainly don't think I would be better off with NO macro lens. Good image quality goes a long way, esp. when you're on a budget. If Julie can afford the Nikon, great. If not, she can try the Sigma, test it, and return it if she doesn't like it.


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4/30/2005 9:34:19 AM

 
Terry  R. Hatfield
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/4/2003
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  There You Go Janis Much Closer To An Honest Anwser:-)That Will Be Up To Julie...


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4/30/2005 9:43:23 AM

 
Terry  R. Hatfield
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/4/2003
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  Here Is A Link To Some Reviews Of That Lens Julie It Might Help You Some More.
http://www.photographyreview.com/pscLenses/35mm,Primes/Sigma/PRD_83578_3111crx.aspx#reviews


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4/30/2005 9:52:05 AM

 
Janis Herd
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/11/2004
  All my posts are honest!
Julie, this lens was updated in June 2004 so if you get it, be careful about the version:
http://www.dpreview.com/news/0406/04062001sigmalenses.asp
I got it new at B&H for 369.00 plus shipping in March.
This is my last post, so feel free to have the last word, Terry!


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4/30/2005 10:18:25 AM

 
Julie M. Cwik
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/2/2005
  Thanks so much for the advice Janis and Terry. I will be checking out all the information very soon, and hopefully I can pick up a good macro lens soon!


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4/30/2005 11:29:05 AM

 
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