View Full Version : Zoom/macro combo

07-03-2008, 04:30 AM
I'm looking at getting a lens for the D80 to cover me from 18mm and upwards(55mm minimum)

Now I've been doing some thinking and I'd love to do some macro work as well.

Is there a zoom/macro combo available that's of decent quality and not too heavy on the pocket(USD1000)?

It doesn't have to be super sharp at the wide angles, but I'd like to get some sharp macro shots

07-03-2008, 04:50 AM
sigma 17-70 i think has macro feature. its not 1:1 though.
dont expect miracles in macro without a macro lens.

it may be a better opton for macro for a reversal ring or extension tubes.

07-03-2008, 04:57 AM
Aren't extension tubes pretty expensive though?

07-03-2008, 04:59 AM
it may be a better opton for macro for a reversal ring or extension tubes.

That's what i was thinking. I've seen really good results with the 50mm reversed and it's a heck of a lot less than US$1000.

For the (non macro) lens what about the Nikon 18-135 or the 16-85 both of which are well under the budget.

07-03-2008, 05:02 AM
or get a 17-70 or 18-50mm sigma (both have macro ability) then stuff a close up filter on the end of it...get good results with that (but not as good as you would with a dedicated macro lens).

Given you are on a tightish budget I would do that.

07-03-2008, 05:02 AM
Inexpensive extension tubes are found on ebay all the time....but they almost sell from Hongkong or China.

07-03-2008, 05:02 AM
Aren't extension tubes pretty expensive though?

Reversing rings are dirt cheap like US$30. Click here (http://www.adorama.com/NKBR2A.html).

With a reversing ring it's all manual and guesswork but people who are into that stuff love it and as i said I have seen some spectacular results.

07-03-2008, 05:08 AM
a set of 3 kenko tubes are around $150 i think.
they may be more flexible than a reversal ring, and easier to use aswell.

07-03-2008, 05:43 AM
Ahhh I see. Thanks guys

07-03-2008, 05:58 AM
I agree, extension tubes is much easier to use. With a reversing ring, aperture control is pretty awkward, and the focussing is also pretty hard. This is because you need to focus the lens while it is stopped down (this is hard, because the viewfinder is dark and it is hard to judge the focus) or you need to adjust the apperture after you have found focus (in this case it is hard to keep the subject in focus).
Also, a reversing ring will only get you to 1:1.7, which isn't really that much better than you can do with a Sigma 17-70.

Tubes can be used on all your lenses, so if you get a telelens in the future, you can also use them to get closeup shots.

You can make extension tubes yourself, with a body cap and a rear lens cap. If you connect these with a tube of a couple of cm, and cut out the center of the caps, you have a extension tube. It works best on light lenses, because with heavier lenses you need to be very careful that they do not fall off. Getting decent results with this is hard (for the same reasons as it is with reversal rings).

The Sigma 17-70 does close-up work quite well, but it has its limitations. At 1:2 magnification the working distance is 5mm, so generally you cannot shoot insects with it, and it is difficult to get light to the subject (the lens blocks the light coming from ths sun at certain angles, and using a flash mounted on the hotshoe will not help much either. Here are two samples of the 17-70 doing close-up:



But if you like macro, I would definitly recommend getting a genuine macro lens. These are just so much more fun to use and will get you much better results. Keep your eyes open for old manual focus glass (AI or AI-s, not Pre-AI!!) too. Many old macro lenses still perform very well today.
Old macro lenses from Vivitar Series 1, Kiron, Tamron, Cosina, Sigma, Tokina and more are generally pretty good and sell for a fraction of the price of new macro lenses.
Be carefull with old Nikkor lenses. They are good optically, but many of the old micro lenses (e.g. the 55 f/2.8, the 105 f/4) only go to 1:2. The same may go for some of the third party brands.

07-05-2008, 03:17 PM
I thought about starting a new thread but this seems like a place to begin.
I'm a novice camera guy and have purchased a Nikon D50 to take some pictures of jewelry for a catalog and some web shots. I want to get a macro lense but am unclear what to buy. I saw a lense at a camera store Nikon 105 VR Macro lens for $900 and thought "whoa, slow down." there got to be something a little more afordable if I use a tri-pod. The other problem I have is the metal is so reflective and I want to diffuse it if I can and still get a clear shot. I'd like to be able to blow up these pictures for signs/posters too. Any suggestions.