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Help picking a lens


Minimiz

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So I'm still fairly new to photography (beyond my old P&S) and I recently got myself a Nikon D5100 with 18-55 and 55-200 lens kits. Takes good pics, but not great ones like what most of you are posting here. After doing a good amount of reading, its apparent I shoud get a better lens suited for this. I was browsing the best buy macro lens section and this one jumped out at me because of the price and reviews. Anyone here have experience using it? The reviews rave about it for indoor and low light situations, but only found one person mention it for macro. Hard to pass up a macro lens for $200, but I'm not sure if it will work correctly for what I'm looking to do. Feedback is appreciated and open to suggestons on other cost efficient lenses I should consider.

 

PS

 

What would a post in here be without a pic?

 

Urchin that snuck his way into the tank on some live rock

Urchin.jpg

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Its not a macro lens, but it's great for a low light, prime lens. can be used for portraits as well.

 

I am not to sure this is what you're looking for.

 

check out http://www.amazon.com/Nikon-40mm-2-8G-Micr...3336&sr=8-1

 

it's cheap and a macro (or "micro" in Nikon term.) However, I would suggest going to the 90-100 range if you're shooting your tank coral.

 

40mm is a pretty short range, so if you're not shooting at stuff that are right in front of your tank glass, than this macro might be pointless

 

look at the tokina 100mm , tamron 90mm, or sigma 105mm macro lens for more of an affordable price. I got my used sigma 105mm for like 275

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Thanks for the feedback. I figured from the reviews of the other lens that it was more for portaits, didn't hurt to have some hope lol.

 

Question on getting one of the macro/micro lenses with the longer focal length. On let's say the 90-100 range, what if the subject (fish or coral) happens to be right up by the glass? (I know the obvious answer of just take a step back) Would those lenses still be able to sharply focus on the subject and just be larger (or too big) in the frame if I had the camera right up by the glass or would it just not be able to focus that close?

 

Thanks for helping this noob learn more about his two new hobbies

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for a non macro/micro lens, you cannot focus that close. If you were using the 100mm you would probably just have to take a few steps back. Or you can move the coral in the tank so it's farther from the glass.

 

If you're trying to take a picture of a fish, than most likely you wont need a macro. As you're first picture, you took a picture of your urchin, a macro lens will probaly not be required for that type of shot, unless you wanted to get an even closer shot of it.

 

hope that makes sense.

 

here's an example (sorry my dime isn't that clear when you enlarge the picture. I never had a steady hand for macro)

 

IMG_7907.JPG

try focusing on a dime with your current 55-200 lens. set it at about 105mm and see how clear you can get your dime. and how big the dime will appear in the picture.

 

To get a feel of how close you can get, you can just move the camera closer to the subject (of course it wont focus, but you should be able to see the blurry outline/color) just get to a point to where only the dime takes over the whole viewfinder.

 

Now you can see the difference a macro lens can make and how much closer you can get to your tiny subject

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You are looking in the wrong directions. If you want macro without a dedicated macro lens then you need a lens with the longest focal length and shortest focus distance.

 

The next step is to get a decent quality lens. That 35mm is no doubt a nice lens but it is specifically made for portraits without costing a lot of money. The focus distance is 12" also. This isn't gonna give you a great macro.

 

I use canon so I cant really point you in a good direction but my 28mm takes perfect pictures just from the high quality of the glass. My 28-135mm lens is also very good since it zooms in close and can focus close also. Both of these lenses are upper mid grade lenses.

 

The next thing... Don't shrug off the abilities of the lenses you already have. The two main factors in great pictures is "knowing how to use the camera" and "Post processing" I'd suggest starting with adobe lightroom 3.

 

Zoomed in and at it's closest distance, your 18-55 will give a 0.31 magnafication where the 55-200 tops out at 0.23 so go with the 18-55 for macro. Also, do not open the aperture fully, step it down a bit. When the lens' aperture is wide open it softens the image and looses detail.

 

Last but not least. Post processing along with a good base image can go a long way. However, you have to look at the really impressive macro shots and realize that these came from expensive dedicated macro lenses attached to a higher end camera than you have. A 25mm portrait lens on a low end camera is not gonna give you the same results.

 

Your photo of the urchin for instance could easily be made much much better with the gear you already have. I see it as out of focus, under exposed and the possibility of camera shake all in one.

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Thanks for the tips bishop. I'm already working on getting my hands on a copy of lightroom which I should have within the next two days or so. The urchin pic was a little tricky for me since the thing would only come out when the moonglows were on and would go back into hiding when the lights were on. so i had to set up the shot on a tripod using a little bit of light from my phone in order for me to see where he was and try to focus on him (clearly i was a bit off). Then right before the shot, used some lighting from a flashlight because the urchin was the slowest to react to that than the lights from the tank. Not my best of shots, but the only one I had readily avialable. Will take some better shots this weekend.

 

Back on to the lens, did some browsing and came across these two which may fit your suggestion. let me know your thoughts:

 

Nikon 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6 AF-S DX ED Nikkor VR Lens

Tamron LD A014 18 mm - 200 mm F/3.5-6.3 XR Di-II Aspherical IF Lens For Nikon

 

Like before, the feedback is much appreciated

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Back on to the lens, did some browsing and came across these two which may fit your suggestion. let me know your thoughts:

 

Nikon 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6 AF-S DX ED Nikkor VR Lens

Tamron LD A014 18 mm - 200 mm F/3.5-6.3 XR Di-II Aspherical IF Lens For Nikon

 

Like before, the feedback is much appreciated

 

I have a Nikon D90 that came with the 18-105 VR. The lens workable but I'm looking for something a little faster with the ability to focus closer. I considered the Tamron zoon with macro but after reading reviews I think the Macro mode might not fit the bill. I'm leaning towards the Tamron 90mm Macro HTH.

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Read Bishops post again.

 

Use the lenses that you have. There is no reason that you can't get a really nice shot with one of those two. Learn to use the camera, then get lenses that you need, instead of throwing money at the camera to get good pics.

 

A lot of people (me included) can take nasty looking pics, with thousands in gear.

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The post processing will help a ton as will me continuing to experiment with the camera and learning more about it, but if I can get either of these for around $200 and they will be a good addition to my gear, why not upgrade? I'm using the camera for more than just the tank as are most of you, so having versatility in my bag is a good thing, right?

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... if I can get either of these for around $200 and they will be a good addition to my gear, why not upgrade? I'm using the camera for more than just the tank as are most of you, so having versatility in my bag is a good thing, right?

 

The 18 - 105 VR is a kit lens... just like the two lenes you have now. It won't add anything to your bag that you don't already have. Same goes for the Tamron. Ken Rockwell says:

 

"

This is a pretty good lens if you want a do-it-all lens. For the same money you can get both the Nikon 18 - 55 and 55 -200 lenses and get much less distortion for the same price, but you have to carry two smaller lenses and change them as needed. Personally I use the two lens solution and not accept the optical compromises, especially in distortion, that you do with any lens of this type.

"

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Thanks for the link to Ken Rockwell. That site's got a ton of good info on there. Time to do some more reading

 

 

As you already see Ken Rockwell has great reviews on products. I also read a lot on DP Review for cameras.

 

The first and most important thing that I would suggest before buying lenses is to stick with what you have for a few weeks at least. Get out and use those lenses to take the photos you want. Take the time to get lots of photos of each subject from different angles. Don't forget to Take shots at around f/16 as well as f/3.5. The sharpness at f/16 might make that your preferred aperture in many cases where a wide open aperture isn't near as sharp as you need it to be.

 

The whole point is to get a good feel for the camera, the angle of the lenses, and the aperture. When I first got my camera, I thought the 18-55 was garbage. I needed something that zoomed in more. Reality is that my 18-55 is my most common used outdoor lens. I only use it at 18mm. My nice 28mm lens is only used in low light areas or closer up photos where I want a shallow depth of field. That's probably just me. I always want to get closer and get the lens wider. the canon 10-22mm lens is at the top of my list for lenses right now.

 

The short. If you buy a lens that don't match the style of photos you take then it is a pure waste of money. For instance, You could give me a 100-400mm "L" series lens and I would be ecstatic but I would have absolutely no use for it. If you have a specific focal length that you find yourself taking most of your photos with, then you could start looking into a nice Prime lens.

 

One other note to hit on. You mention diversity in your bag. You have lenses that go all the way from 18mm to 200mm. That alone is a lot more diversity than you may realize.

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The first and most important thing that I would suggest before buying lenses is to stick with what you have

 

...

 

I always want to get closer and get the lens wider. the canon 10-22mm lens is at the top of my list for lenses right now.

 

Thanks for posting this. I have a Tokina 11-16mm lens in my bag that I have been completely ignoring for tank shots because I thought it was too wide. I was convinced that I need a macro lens but I'm gonna toss the wide lens on today and see if I can get some satisfactory shots.

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Thanks for the link to Ken Rockwell. That site's got a ton of good info on there. Time to do some more reading

No, Ken Rockwell doesn't have great info. The only thing he has is the statistics and specs. His opinions are typically terrible. He'll make reviews for items he doesn't have, offering really just specs and an opinion he can't back up. He's also known for suggesting things like you need good high iso, a flash, or a tripod, not all 3. He suggests some P&S cameras are far better than DSLRS, and he's not even a great photographer. The vast majority of his posts with photos include crappy family snapshots with terrible white balance. Oh, don't even get me started on his anal probe posts.

The only reason you see him is that he plays the google search game, trying to be at the top of the results.

 

 

As far as a macro goes. IIRC, the d5100 doesn't have the aperture tab, so you can mount Pre/Non-ai lenses without damaging the camera. It would be all manual, but you won't find a sharper lens than the 55mm F3.5 micro. It's also anywhere from $40-100 used.

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