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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Macro Talk 
Thread started 09 Mar 2016 (Wednesday) 13:48
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If You Had a Choice on a lens Other than MACRO

 
John ­ Koerner
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Apr 20, 2016 23:02 |  #46
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Wilt wrote in post #17978778 (external link)
And Archibald was right, when correcting my use of 'microphotography'...i​t indeed is making a photo that requires optical magnfication to be seen, such as in microfilm.

Certainly there are some blurred distinctions.

My understanding is photomacrography is camera-based photography, through lenses/objectives, etc.

But that Photomicrography is microscope-based photography directly through a microscope.

In fact, Nikon has a Photomicrography Contest (external link) that is entirely microscope-based.
(In fact, the mantra for this Nikon contest is Celebrating 41 years of images captured by the light microscope.)

And again, the author of Zerene Stacker runs Photomacrography.net (external link), which is camera-based.
(He even has a completely separate forum for "through the microscope" photography.)

So, while there are definitely blurred distinctions, in the end it all boils down to this:

Macro = camera + lens
Micro = through a microscope

Nikon confuses the issue by calling their macro lenses "micro," so who knows :rolleyes: :-P

Still, the roughly general consensus is macro = camera + lens (even by adapter through microscope lenses), while micro = using an actual full microscope to get the photo.

Jack




  
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John ­ Koerner
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Apr 21, 2016 09:00 |  #47
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TeamSpeed wrote in post #17978877 (external link)
What you can shoot with for macros will depend pretty heavily on what you plan to shoot. Still objects like flowers, bugs that are sedentary, etc are fine for the more "coarse" methods of macro shooting, but if I have a choice, I will always buy a 100mm or longer macro lens. If I want more than 1:1, I will add extension tubes, but the DOF is so hard to work with. The macro lenses make for great portrait lenses too.

This really gets to the heart of it: what do you plan to shoot?

The lens you select should be that which best-facilitates your ultimate goal.

The rub is no "one" lens does everything, hence the need to have several if you're out in the field and have varying interests.

Since the title of this thread is choosing between lenses other than macro, I felt it was on point to discuss these "other" lenses, not macro lenses.

My selection for an all-around non-macro lens is the all-manual, Nikon 28mm f/2.8 Ai-S for the simple fact (based on my own experience) it is able to do more, and cover a wider potential gamut, than any other single lens I have ever used (see p. 2). It does wide, medium-wide, and super-close (20 cm from subject, thereby showing a lot of background for context) ... and it can be reversed and do 2:1 ultra-close macro ... all in one lens ... with excellent sharpness and color correction. It can also be adapted for Canon.

If I could only have one additional lens in my bag, that was a macro lens, it would be the Sigma 180mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM APO Macro (external link), for the reasons expounded-upon and articulated in the provided link. It gives you working distance, operates as a telephoto, has IS/VR, AF, gives you true 1:1, and has higher resolution/bokeh ratings than any non-Zeiss commercially-available macro lens on the market.

With those two lenses alone, you could accomplish quite a lot of macro/nature photography.

However, staying strictly within the subject of "other than" macro lenses, the Nikon 28mm f/2.8 Ai-S gets my vote for "most bang for the buck," and by a huge margin too.

Jack




  
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Post edited over 3 years ago by Wilt. (3 edits in all)
     
Apr 21, 2016 09:16 |  #48

Something not discussed, since this thread is about recommended non-'macro' lenses to use, is the question of FL. Just as in non-macro shots where shooting distance with WA vs. telephoto alters perspective due to camera position, for macro work the 1:1 magnification (any specific magnification) is achieved with a longer distance between lens and subject when the longer FL is used. So the choice of 'which lens' is really very much driven by the distance at which you (or your subject!) prefers to be from one another.

Just as some folks feel comfortable shooting portraits at 8-10' away (classic studio distances), other (shy?) photographers shoot what they call portraits from 30' away because they do not want their subjects to KNOW they are being photographed (I still say that such photos are 'candids' and not 'portraiture'!) Many insects dislike you being too close and will immediately depart for other locales when you get too close...for insects I might suggest 100mm. OTOH, flowers don't care how close you get, your only consideration about distance is if YOU block the light and how the perspective of the flower's surroundings will look in the photo, and 28mm FL's shooting distance might provide the better perspective!

Here is a shot taken with a lens mounted on a 13mm extension tube. These three photos are taken at 75mm, 45mm, and 28mm focal lengths.

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Swiftlet
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Post edited over 3 years ago by Swiftlet. (2 edits in all)
     
Apr 21, 2016 10:41 |  #49

Sorry if this is covered - I don't think so - or if I have a detail wrong, but there are several, optically different, Nikkor 28mm F/2.8's.
One is JK's AIS 8 element, focusing to 0.2m, the others can have 5, or 6, or 7 element.
See http://www.photosynthe​sis.co.nz/nikon/serial​no.html (external link) though I think kI have one which doesn't fit their demarcations, which does happen.
The MF "E" , though AIS fitting, is 5 element.
The "better" 28mm, yes is definitely better.


Yes Teamspeed, taking a Canon lens off while stopped down seems to be perfectly OK, though I've never heard Canon recommend it, have you? I've tried an MP-E reversed, but not "tested" it, beyond proving it works. It's one way to get an MPE working on a D810 :). And while it occurs to me, if you want to reverse a Nikkor G lens, use a Nikon- Canon adapter ring, which gives you a lever for the aperture peg, which looks better than a matchstick jammed in.

Another lens along John's line of thought - or group of them - is the Sigma 24mm primes. There's a MF f/2.8 which focuses down to 1:4, and doesn't cost much - GET ONE! It should be under $100. There are wider aperture and AF Sigmas which focus even closer for a lot more $$$. But at about f/8 they're no better (according to a Sigma rep I asked). They're certainly up to "very good" level. A nice feature of the manual f/2.8 is that the slimmest of the Nikon K macro rings is shorter than the focus throw (6mm, obviously), so there's NO gap.
I haven't used it reversed, but I'd expect it to be at least OK, because it's working at something near its designed focus distances ("conjugates").
It varies, but reversed primes often work better on a longer prime, with both focused at infinity, than on tubes. The corners are where it usually notices. Obviously, on a 100 macro you get ~ 1:4..
And, obviously a right-way close-focus 24mm on full frame is that bit more punchy for perspective than a 28mm.

That reminds, me, I must sell my Nikkor 28 AF - I never use it.
Shall I describe it as reversible for photmucrography?

Does everyone know that almost any kit "standard zoom " makes a remarkable ( assuming you have one, so it's free) macro lens, reversed? A Nikon 35-70, F/3.3-4.5 is ok, as is a Canon 18-55EFS, or a Pentax 35-80 f4-5.6. Some vignette depending on the sensor, but they all let you go close. I tried a couple of wide-range zooms reversed - dramatic, and quite bad.
There's an interesting article about the Pentax, if I can find it.

Edit - here it is:
http://extreme-macro.co.uk/anybrand-mpe-65mm/ (external link)



Jack Swift

  
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John ­ Koerner
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Apr 21, 2016 10:50 |  #50
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TeamSpeed wrote in post #17978877 (external link)
I just like having a good macro lens, instead of reversing a lens too. Having the 100L is nice, and allow easier macro shots of moving critters, like the little pillbug (which is really not an insect). Having IS is very nice with macro shots, and you cannot get that with a reversing ring, unless you use an electronic go-between. If I could not afford a macro lens, or only wanted to take one lens with me, I would probably try to take some ext. tubes first, but also a reversing ring if that was all I had available.

QUOTED IMAGE

I shoot on a tripod + remote switch, for optimal quality, so IS does nothing for me on a macro lens, typically.

Compare the detail/noise of your hand-held shot to the detail of this tripod shot (the spider is about the size of the dragnonfly's head):

IMAGE: http://www.thenaturephotographer.club/thumbnails/1/1_thumb_0000001313_large.jpg

When I need IS, and longer range, for mobile subjects, I have replaced my IS macro lens with a Nikon 300mm f/2.8G ED VR II zoom, which rates 1320/1560 in resolving power/bokeh (compared to the meager 900/900 resolving power/bokeh of most 100mm macros).

I can't get 1:1 with my 300mm, but I can shoot from 7' away, and pull a crop from this lens, and get about equal-quality as a 1:1 macro lens from 2 ft away on a butterfly, etc.

Jack



  
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Apr 21, 2016 10:50 |  #51

Yes, I have, it doesn't hurt anything. The DOF button tells the camera to physically lock down the lens, and then you just detach. It is not as nice as an aperture ring that you dial around though, but does work. You will have all the same other issues though with a reversed lens, like having to use manual mode, no IS, and no lens data in the EXIF.


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Apr 21, 2016 13:32 |  #52

Some of the latest Canon zooms are rivaling older prime lenses' IQ, which is good, but you pay for it. :)


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Apr 21, 2016 13:36 |  #53
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TeamSpeed wrote in post #17979839 (external link)
Some of the latest Canon zooms are rivaling older prime lenses' IQ, which is good, but you pay for it. :)

Yes, the Canon 200-400 in particular ... phenomenal, prime-like performance, with the versatility.

But OUCH! on the price :cry:




  
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Apr 21, 2016 14:31 as a reply to  @ John Koerner's post |  #54

The 100-400 II has been shown to rival some primes as well. However I don't think I would like to reverse that lens.


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Apr 21, 2016 15:18 |  #55
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TeamSpeed wrote in post #17979915 (external link)
The 100-400 II has been shown to rival some primes as well.

Yes, it exceeds most ordinary, sub-1000, primes and is probably the best bang-for-the-buck in < $2500 zoom lenses (except, perhaps, the Sigma 150-600 Sport (external link), which is VERY slightly-inferior to the 100-400 II optically, but is quite superior in range).

The Canon 100-400 II does not, however, in any way compare to the super-telephoto primes ...

Where the Canon zoom floats in the 900/1000-quality-range, truly good super-telephotos are in the 1200-1400 qualitative range.


TeamSpeed wrote in post #17979915 (external link)
However I don't think I would like to reverse that lens.

No. There would be no reason to reverse-ring this lens.

Reverse-ring magnification is inversely-proportional to mm range (meaning the wider you go, the more magnification ... while the longer you go, the less magnification).

Reverse-mounting a 105mm macro is a waste of time.

Magnification is only 1x when you reverse-mount a 50mm lens.

Magnification goes up to 1.8x when you reverse-mount a 35mm lens.

It goes up to 2.1x at 28mm ... and up to 2.6x at 24mm.

And you're at 3.4x when you reverse-mount a 20mm lens.

Therefore, reverse-mounting a 100-400mm lens would do nothing for macro shooting.

Placing an extension tube might bring you closer, but there are better options.

Jack




  
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Apr 21, 2016 20:15 |  #56

Detail - you can reverse all the Nikkor 28mm f/2.8AF versions as aren't G's, and keep aperture control.

I've put in a link (external link) above to replace what I wrote about the versions. . I'm sure I have one, a 28 f/2.8 AI-S wich focuses to 0.3m only , and it's not the "E". There were sometimes lenses between versions which aren't on their list, it may be one of those or it may be altered, I'll have to check.
There were evidently two AF versions, with 5 and 6 elements (mine's 5). And the older AI MF had 7.
Parhaps the later AF-D 6 element is better, I don't know.

A 24mm is similar, being 2.6x lifesize, and the Sigma has a 77mm filter,

Not the Sigma 24mm f/2.8, it's 52mm, which is nice. I take your point 2.6x (assuming the Sigma is the same) is a big step, from 1:1.
If you can snag one for around $50-$60 I'd say try one. Right-way round, it definitely gives a more in-your-face look than a 28mm, at 1:4.

You mention the 20mm MF. Nikon claimed it was good reversed, but I never found it to be great.



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Apr 22, 2016 01:41 |  #57

The Nikon 28mm obviously suits you, and that's fine. Others may want to have a look at alternates.
The Sigma isn't as badly built as you seem to imagine it, as you haven't seen one. And it's way less money, and it's wider, and focuses closer. Have both ;).
For a close-focusing wide I prefer the Sigma mostly because it's wider. I have a shot to do where either would work. I may try them both, as an exercise.

Personally:
2:1 in the field isn't close. I don't use reversed primes any more, it easier to grab the Canon MP-E.
It's also a lot sharper than the reversed primes and is way easier to use, full out to 5:1.

On a D810 the 14-24 and 24-70 zooms beat all the old f/2.8 primes from 20 through 35 on most of what I care about, including sharpness, which for me makes them pretty redundant. YMMV. The 14-24 got broken, where a prime may escaped, perhaps that's an argument against it. Sure, the 28 AIS was the best of those primes.

Some of the expensive later Nikon primes look a good deal better than the old ones, but I don't have any.



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Apr 22, 2016 09:56 |  #58

John Koerner wrote in post #17980721 (external link)
"Look" ... "appear" ... that is all you do is speculate :rolleyes:

Jack

Hmmmm? Seems like the speculation door swings fully in the other direction too. Let's dispense of the personal attacks and rudeness, please.

John Koerner wrote in post #17980721 (external link)
What I think you've done is "Google" some of these lenses, and then "type what you've read," without any true first-hand experience using these lenses.
...
I also don't think you have any of the lenses you mention. If you had the $3,000 D810 and the $2,000 14-24, you wouldn't be be worried about a $200 price difference in a low-budget, plasticky, $100, 3rd party lens (with sticky focus-throw) versus a quality-made lens with a well-dampened focus-throw.

John Koerner wrote in post #17980721 (external link)
Show me, don't tell me. You type a lot, but I've never seen you post a pic. And I don't believe you own both.

John Koerner wrote in post #17980721 (external link)
Back to you: there is no way you own both the all-plastic Sigma 24 f/2.8 and the all-metal Nikon Ai-S if you think they're "comparable" in quality.


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Apr 23, 2016 00:18 |  #59

Archibald wrote in post #17978614 (external link)
Perhaps you guys are thinking of photomicrography. I don't think 'microphotography' means anything, unless it means photography by a very small photographer, or making tiny prints.

This is of course correct.

Damm Wilt and I out pedanted in a single post!


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Apr 23, 2016 00:25 as a reply to  @ post 17978692 |  #60

You can't believe how pissed I was with Canon for obsoleting my Canon FD/FT system; I nearly switched to Nikon when I went digital. But trying both in the shop I found the Canon more natural to use despite no connection with my old gear; purely personal of course.

Back in the day I used reversed 28 mm manual lenses for macro, lots of magnification but a PITA even with the auto stop down cable. I have no desire to return to that whilst I have a working MP-E.


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If You Had a Choice on a lens Other than MACRO
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