Which Nikon macro lens, 60mm or 105mm?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by greg, Sep 5, 2004.

  1. greg

    greg Guest

    Hi folks,

    I'm trying to decide which Nikon macro lens I should get for my D70. I have
    no SPECIFIC plans for the lens; I just want to have a good macro for nature,
    anything. Please ignore the cost of the lenses.

    The lenses are, of course:
    - Nikon 60mm f/2.8D
    - Nikon 105mm f/2.8D

    I would have assumed that the 105mm would be better, because then I wouldn't
    HAVE to get as close, but then I've heard that the 60mm is sharper.


    Thanks in advance!
    greg, Sep 5, 2004
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  2. greg

    MXP Guest

    I would go the the 105/2.8. Because you get longer distance from the subject
    to the lens. I have a 55/2.8 and a 200/4 .....and I use the 200/4 more than
    55/2.8. Using the 105/2.8 at 2.8 you can make an even softer background than
    with the 60/2.8. Optically the 105/2.8 is very good. The old AIS version was
    very good also. So don't worry about the optical quality. I have seen many
    pictures taken with the 105/2.8.

    MXP, Sep 5, 2004
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  3. greg

    Doug Payne Guest

    If money is no object, then also consider the 85 PC f/2.8 and especially
    the 200 f/4.0. Both excellent lenses. Just use an extension tube on the
    former, or a 4T closeup lens mounted backwards on the latter to get to 1:1.
    Doug Payne, Sep 5, 2004
  4. greg

    Guest Guest

    I have both lenses. Both are fine glass. I rarely use the 60mm anymore. I
    will be giving it away to a friend of mine.

    Guest, Sep 5, 2004

  5. I am not at all sure that the usual reproduction ratios like 1:1 are
    meaningful for digital cameras. It might be more meaningful to state the
    size of the subject that can be covered and of course this might change from
    camera to camera.
    Joseph Meehan, Sep 5, 2004
  6. greg

    Alan Browne Guest

    At this level, having manoeuvering room is more important than
    some small amount of sharpness difference that you will never
    perceive in a side by side of a real subject.

    I'd go with the 105 or a

    Tamron 90mm f/2.8 or (90mm f/2.5 which is a hair less sharp).
    These are both discontinued lenses and both are sharper than the
    Nikkor 105 ... and the f/2.8 has an a stellar rep as a portrait
    lens as well...(except that on a D70 it would be a bit "long" for
    portraits), otherwise very win-win.

    They have a new "digital" lens as well:
    http://www.tamron.com/lenses/prod/90mm.asp no performance data to
    date that I can see ... but it is likely at least as good as the
    f/2.8 that they claim it is based on. Again they tout the
    portrait usefulness of it, but at 135 mm (Eff. FL on D70) it's a
    bit on the long end for portraits ... need a lot of room.

    Alan Browne, Sep 5, 2004
  7. greg

    Alan Browne Guest

    Joseph Meehan wrote:

    It remains 1:1 as the image formed at the 1:1 postion of the lens
    is the same ... but the sensor is smaller and hence the subject
    that can be covered needs to be smaller too (or gets cropped).

    IOW if I photograph a 5mm long insect (1:1) it will end up being
    5mm long on the film, and it will be 5mm long on the digital
    sensor surface when it is captured.

    For digital of course, once it is a file of x by y pixels the
    notion of the size of the image has little meaning.

    Alan Browne, Sep 5, 2004
  8. greg

    Dallas Guest

    Get a bellows or an extension tube instead. You're bound to find them
    Dallas, Sep 5, 2004
  9. greg

    Doug Payne Guest

    Of course, but lots of people still seem to like relating everything to
    traditional 35mm film terms, including focal length, repro ratios, etc.
    To me the term "macro" is nothing more than marketing hype. I included
    the 1:1 reference only because it seems to be an important consideration
    for lots of people. I suppose it's a useful reference point to those who
    are used to 35mm film. (I use both film and digital, although I'm
    drifting pretty quickly towards the latter).

    As a way of comparing, my macro lens that does 1:1 on 35mm film (i.e.
    about a 24x36 mm 'lifesize' image) produces an image of 15.5x23 mm at
    closest focus on a D100 body (and I assume about the same on a D70).
    That's what marketers would call 1.5:1.
    Doug Payne, Sep 5, 2004
  10. You have a good point there. I had not looked at it that way.
    Joseph Meehan, Sep 5, 2004
  11. greg

    columbotrek Guest

    A lens like the 60 or 105 macro feature flat field focusing which is
    great for flat things like stamps and coins. For natural objects a true
    macro is not so important. A regular lens with extension rings or
    bellows may be all that you need. You loose metering that way though.
    For living critters, you will have better luck the further away you can
    be. Many have a comfort zone boundary and the 60mm puts the glass in to
    close. For other things it does not matter much unless you are so close
    as to interfere with your lighting. Another thing to considered is
    glass with dual purpose. A 60mm f/2.8 is very close to the faster 50mm
    f/1.4 and is more expensive. Where as in the 105mm, your other choices
    are much closer to the 105's f/2.8 speed so no compromise there. The 105
    is a very sharp lens. I use mine for more than macro work.
    columbotrek, Sep 5, 2004
  12. greg

    Sander Vesik Guest

    Well, you are counting on Nikon not bringing out a DX macro lens I see -
    something that is certainly not guranteed or even particularily unlikely.
    Well, the max repro value is still interesting. Of, course, propely,
    a macro lens should be one with a ratio *better* than 1:1 but its
    hard to argue with manuacturer's marketing.
    Yes. If a DX version came out and called itself a 1.5:1 macro lens,
    would you object? and why?
    Sander Vesik, Sep 5, 2004
  13. Either of these lenses can easily outresolve the sensor on your D70.
    They can also outresolve most commercially available 35mm film.

    A lack of sharpness is frequently a problem with macrophotography, though,
    as physics work against it. Not only is depth of field extremely limited,
    but any vibration, including mirror slap, works against you.

    In order to get sufficient depth of field for a three dimensional objects,
    you may need to stop down to the point where diffraction effects become
    the controlling factor for sharpness rather than the glass.

    Since both lenses have the same number of aperture blades, there's no
    clear winner. If the 105mm gives you the working distance and focal
    length you want, go with it.
    Michael Benveniste, Sep 7, 2004
  14. greg

    greg Guest

    Geez, how come I don't have friends who just GIVE me lenses? ;-)
    greg, Sep 8, 2004
  15. greg

    greg Guest

    Thanks everyone! For several reasons that people have raised in this thread
    (especially the distance-to-object factor and the fact that I already have a
    50mm 1.8 lens), I think I'll go for the 105.

    greg, Sep 8, 2004
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