Im buying a Nikon D3100 with the 18-55mm kit lens as my first DSLR. With my current point and shoot digital camera, with some minor SLR features, I love taking close ups shots of flowers and bugs. Could someone recommend a beginner macro lens to buy once I get the hang of the new camera?
Looking for a beginner macro lens for Nikon D3100(11 posts) (8 voices)
Also, I might want a lens for landscapes, since I just moved to South Korea and the mountains are beautiful.
85mm f/3.5G AF-S ED VR DX Micro NIKKOR
40mm f/2.8G AF-S DX Micro-NIKKOR
The 60mm f2.8 and the 105mm f2.8 VR are both great but each cost more than your current set-up (I'm assuming you don't want to spend that much).
If you do a search on this site, each of the above lenses have been discussed many times.
Not worried too much about the cost. Im 17 and live with my parents, so no bill paying or anything and plenty of income, so every bit of my money will go towards the new lens.
You can't go wrong with any of them. They are all top notch lenses.
I have the D3100 and its "kit" lens of 18-55mm. Actually, that lens focuses very closely and is a great macro lens for flowers (and a wide angle lens for landscapes). You might want to wait until you have it in hand and have shot flowers with it to see if it focuses close enough for you before you buy a dedicated macro lens. I also have the 40mm macro and it also is a great lens. But when you focus close (near 1 to 1) for bugs you will be too close to them and they will fly away. Even with a non-animate object at 1:1 the lens is so close to the object that it can block your light. A longer focal length, such as a 105 macro, would be better for photographing small living objects (which I don't do) and keeping the lens from blocking light at 1:1.
all micro lenses are fantastic. as donaldjose said, the 40 gets you very close to your subject, all the rest are great.
the macro lenses from 3rd party makers are very good, some being better built than others.
throw VR and auto focus out the window, autofocus is difficult to use and VR is of no use.
a $400 lens is as good as a $1000 lens
85mm, 90mm, 100 or 105mm is a good starting point, if you really like it then you can move up to the longer lenses.
all macro/micro lenses are very sharp. remember if you use your macro lenses firstly for macro and other lenses for other things you will be very happy,
do not start with 150mm, 180mm or greater, they are very demanding on technique and can be frustrating to the beginner.
good luck on you journey into the fantastic world of photography.
May I suggest the old 35-70mm f2.8? While not a true macro, I think it does 1:1.5 ratios and is a great overall lens for many situations. I used for macro work before I bought a true macro. I still own and use the thing on a pretty regular basis. I think they range between $200-$400.
You could also check out a used 60mm f2.8. It's a great portrait lens length for a crop sensor.
For bugs and possibly, you might want to consider getting an external flash or another way to light bugs. For macro shots, you will often stop down to f/16 or more to get enough depth of field, and even in bright daylight, you may find yourself a little short on light.
Another thing you may want to consider is a decent set of support, like a tripod and a macro focusing rail. If you intend to shoot still life or any other relatively still subject, then you'll find that a rail will save you a lot of effort in setup.
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