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Snapshotbirder

What Macro lens would you recommend?

14 posts in this topic

Just wondering what macro lenses people here use, was thinking of purchasing a dedicated one here in a few months. Right now I'm stuck between 3 choices, the Sigma 105mm, Tamron 90mm, and maybe even the Nikon 105mm (a little over budget right now but we'll see where I'm at down the road), all f/2.8. Was wondering if any here has used any of these 3 lenses or what they personally use for macro photography. Open to suggestions but would prefer a medium telephoto range such as 90 or 105mm.

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I personally would never use a macro lens in bird photography.

That I understand. I should have specified that I want a macro lens to use in addition to my birding lens, one I can use primarily for bugs, reptiles, and the like. I'm planning a trip to visit friends in FL next year and don't want to miss all the cool little animals that exist down there, hence why I want a dedicated macro lens. I was tired last night so sorry for me not being clear, I want a macro lens IN ADDITION to my birding lens. :)

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I also own the Nikkor 105, and it's a heck of a lens. I've also owned the older, non-VR version, and it was sharp as well. (Just lacks the VR)

I got mine used in excellent condition through KEH for 650. (And it looked new) You can get the older, non VR  version for $300-350 used, easily.

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90-100mm lens can be used for birds, particularly in Florida where I've used a 90mm lens for Little Blue Heron, American Bittern and Black Skimmer.  I should have had one on hand while photographing Ptarmigans in Colorado.

 

Ruffed Grouse, Oregon

rugrou00.jpg

 

Northern Hawk Owl, Alaska

nhowl00.jpg

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Awesome, thanks for the suggestions! Just wondering, do any of you use a macro lighting system or do you prefer to use natural light? I can imagine natural light is easier to utilize with a 105mm lens?

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Awesome, thanks for the suggestions! Just wondering, do any of you use a macro lighting system or do you prefer to use natural light? I can imagine natural light is easier to utilize with a 105mm lens?

 

I'm not doing much macro photography these days, but do have the Yongnuo Macro Ring Flash, which I like. Ring flashes attach to the front of the lens, with the controller inserted into the camera's hotshoe.  Here is one photo I took with the ring flash:
 
14712426499_e08ffbfb29_c.jpg
 
 
Some of the best macro photography of bugs I have seen is by Thomas Shahan, and he always uses flash:
 
He has some nice videos on macro photography and lighting, which are easily found. If I was doing more bug photography, I would get the Venus Optics KX-800 Flexible Macro Twin Flash, which has 2 small LED flashes on separate flexible arms so you can control the angle of the lighting.  It's available on B&H Photo for $279. Check out how it looks here:
 
For non-bug applications of macro, I've taken a few snowflake photos without flash, but this winter want to try it using Speedlite flashes (which also work great for bird photography if using a better beamer flash extender with it). I've also used the Speedlites for drops.  Here is one example:
 
15661689576_c439513592_c.jpg
Splash! by Dave T., on Flickr
 
Go to that page for info on how it was done, including camera settings.

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I use an SB-700 with a softbox in all my macro photography. I also own the R1C1 flash kit, but haven't used it yet, so can't tell you how it works. What kept me from getting a ring flash is the eye reflection. So depending on what you're shooting, the eyes will reflect white circles from the ring flash and it's just one of my personal peeves. I know people who like them, though.

I wouldn't recommend natural light macro photography. I will use my macro in natural light when shooting snakes and such... but not for shooting salamanders and bugs that much.

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Thanks! I've done research in the past on flash ring setups, and I'll make sure to continue doing so in order to find out what works best for me. Thanks again for all the help from those who take such awesome shots!

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