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Most suitable maco/portrait lens?
Hello good people!.

Recently I have bought(after asking here) a Canon 500D close-up lens for my Nikon D40. As I am very happy with the results I feel like switching to Macro photography in the near future. I'd also like a portrait lens and I feel like a lot of mcro lenses do godo at that too. However I can't make up my mind on which suits me best. For now I am considering a few lenses:.

*Sigma 70mm: Quality is said to be good, it's cheap, has a great focal length for portraits. However only 70mm = hard photographing bugs. Feels like my first choice..

*Tamron 90mm: About the same prize and quality. Focal length is a bit better for macro(does it matter that much?) but not as good for portraits..

*Nikkor 105mm: Quality is nice but it's rather pricy. VR is handy but not within 3 meters range, they say. Autofocus is handy here but only when shooting portraits, not for macro. Focal length is not optimal for portraits..

Anything with longer focal lengths(i.e. the Sigma 150mm) seems out of the question as they are not perfect for shooting portraits..

Important when choosing the MF or the Nikon AF is whether or not it is handy to use MF for portrait shooting. Any experience on that?.

Last but not least is it useful to keep using my close up lens on a macro lens?.

Thanks in advance!Practice makes perfect, but obsession makes even better!..

Comments (12)

Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Lens Sample Photos.

Http://www.pbase.com/cameras/tamron/sp_af_90_28.

Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S VR Micro.

Http://www.pbase.com/cameras/nikon/105_28g_ed_if_afs_vr_micro.

The Tamron is a very good lens.....Bill,Jr'I kind of like the Earth, it's where I keep all my Stuff.'Website; http://www.pbase.com/wboth125 Lake Wylie, SC..

Comment #1

I don't think any non-zoom lens is ideal. You should have about 60mm for portraits, and 150mm for bugs. Maybe the 55-200 zoom? Or, two lenses. The $100 50/1.8 would make a fine portrait lens...

Comment #2

I already have a 55-200 zoom so buying one with macro options will make my old one feel like wasted money. However I do like your option of buying a seperate portrait lens. Can you telle me the big advantage of using a portrait lens over making portraits with my zoomlens on 55mm?Practice makes perfect, but obsession makes even better!..

Comment #3

Greg Nut wrote:.

I don't think any non-zoom lens is ideal..

I am not sure where did you pulled that from....

You should have about 60mmfor portraits,.

You need a fast, long lens for portraits. 60mm is probably the minimum, and at less than 1.4 I'd say. Some photographers use very long lens for portraits... and two way radios..

And 150mm for bugs. Maybe the 55-200 zoom?.

Well, for a macro lens PROBABLY the most important parameter is the working distance. Never heard of a macro zoom before, by the way. If he wants to photograph bugs, especially timid ones, a longer macro is probably needed..

Or, twolenses. The $100 50/1.8 would make a fine portrait lens..

A bit short..

I am not sure about Nikon, but in Canon line, good, affordable, portrait lenses are the 85 f1.8 and 135 f2.8 soft focus. For macro, it's a bit tougher, with 180mm rated very good, but EXPENSIVE; for decent images, people use 100mm or around it, from various manufacturers..

So, if I were to reccomend a lens for both macro and portraiture, it would be probably around 100mm. Or, use two lenses, a longer one for bugs with a extension tube (note! a true macro lens has other characteristics, not only the ability to take 1:1 images), and a 85mm for portraits...

Comment #4

Wicked_Cricket wrote:.

Can you telle me the bigadvantage of using a portrait lens over making portraits with myzoomlens on 55mm?.

In a word - aperture..

Canon has the perfect 'compromise' lens in the EF-S 60/2.8 macro, but unfortunately there is no equivalent in the Nikon line-up..

If I recall correctly the Tamron 90 won't autofocus on the D40, and while you can probably live with that for macro, it would be a total pain for portraits and other applications. Also, although the Tamron is often considered to be in the same class as the 100/105 mm macros, it's working distance is actually much lower, barely beating the Canon 60 mm macro..

Same applies to the Sigma 70 mm - no AF, and working distance is well short of the 100/105 mm class..

I've already told you what I really think you should do, when I replied to one of your posts a week or so ago.....

Comment #5

Devnull wrote:.

Greg Nut wrote:.

I don't think any non-zoom lens is ideal..

I am not sure where did you pulled that from....

I think what he means is that none of the primes is ideal for both macro and portrait - the best macro lenses are too long for portrait; the best portrait lenses won't do macro focusing. At least, that's how I read it. Not that primes per se are unsuitable, which would be ridiculous obviously..

You should have about 60mmfor portraits,.

You need a fast, long lens for portraits. 60mm is probably theminimum, and at less than 1.4 I'd say. Some photographers use verylong lens for portraits... and two way radios..

And 150mm for bugs. Maybe the 55-200 zoom?.

Well, for a macro lens PROBABLY the most important parameter is theworking distance. Never heard of a macro zoom before, by the way..

A 'macro zoom' is normally taken to mean the close-focusing zooms which the marketing men like to call 'macro'. They are not really macro lenses of course, but regrettably the term is in widespread use now..

Ifhe wants to photograph bugs, especially timid ones, a longer macro isprobably needed..

Or, twolenses. The $100 50/1.8 would make a fine portrait lens..

A bit short..

I am not sure about Nikon, but in Canon line, good, affordable,portrait lenses are the 85 f1.8 and 135 f2.8 soft focus. For macro,it's a bit tougher, with 180mm rated very good, but EXPENSIVE; fordecent images, people use 100mm or around it, from variousmanufacturers..

I think you may be forgetting to take the crop factor into account. It is generally accepted that the most suitable range for portraits is around 80/85 mm up to 135 mm *on a full frame camera*. Nothing in my experience has ever led me to think that is wrong. So on a 1.5x crop Nikon, that's 55 mm up to 90 mm..

On that basis the 50 mm lens is ok but right at the short end of the range. But the 50/1.8 is far from ideal on the D40 for a different reason - it doesn't autofocus...

Comment #6

Devnull wrote:.

Greg Nut wrote:.

I don't think any non-zoom lens is ideal..

I am not sure where did you pulled that from.......

I should have said, "I don't think any single non-zoom lens is ideal for both.".

For full-frame, most portrait lenses are 85, 105, or 135. The 105 Micro is longer than any of these on a crop-sensor camera. Further, working distance is a huge obstacle in photographing bugs which might not just sit there with your lens an inch away. The 200 is a much better choice. Maybe I'm biased because I photograph fish where getting an inch away isn't an option. Lighting is also much easier with some distance..

Sure, the 105 DC and the 200 Micro would be ideal along with a full-frame body, but those two lenses and a D3 are $7000 combined..

The 55-200 covers the range of the traditional portrait lenses. It does only offer f/4 at the wide end. And, combined with the OP's high-end close-up lens, it should do passable macro at the longer end. I use mine with a Nikon 3T, and am very happy at small apertures. Still not comparable to a $1200 Micro lens..

Alternately, a 50 or 85 f/1.8 would do well for portraits (the latter only outside or in a large studio). I don't see any good alternative to the 200 Micro other than adding a close-up lens to a zoom.

It comes down to budget...

Comment #7

Wicked_Cricket wrote:.

I already have a 55-200 zoom so buying one with macro options willmake my old one feel like wasted money. However I do like your optionof buying a seperate portrait lens. Can you telle me the bigadvantage of using a portrait lens over making portraits with myzoomlens on 55mm?Practice makes perfect, but obsession makes even better!.

I meant adding your close-up lens to the regular 55-200 that you already have. I think you need a 52-58 adapter for that..

The previous poster is right about it being aperture. You need a large aperture (small number) to keep the background out of focus. There's also the issue of bokeh which I'm not about to try to explain except to note that the DC lenses let you manipulate it. You can also soften the background in post-processing, which is what I do...

Comment #8

I've been doing some more research. Sigma 150mm macro is just affordable(gotta love the euro/dollar currency) and seems to have the right focal lenght for macro as well. One thing a lot of reviews are happy with is the autofocus(which DOES work on my d40). Still, is autofocus even a factor in macro photography? I'm not sure....

When thinking about the crop factor the 150mm seems like an odd choice for portraits(especially indoors) so I must buy a seperate portrait lens once I am ready for that. But when looking at srlgear.com, most Nikon portrait lenses seem either bad or expensive. And I really need autofocus for portraits I guess... any advice?.

Steve, I just don't feel like swapping to Canon, so that's out of the question. The Nikon style just suits me more(no hard feelings though).

Thanks for the great responses so far...learning every day!Practice makes perfect, but obsession makes even better!..

Comment #9

The 150mm Sigma sounds like a great macro choice. For portraits, it's harder since none of the likely candidates autofocus on a D40...

Comment #10

I think I read it the wrong way - see also Steve's reply above. And probably the reply came out more confrontational than I intended. Sorry again..

Greg Nut wrote:.

For full-frame, most portrait lenses are 85, 105, or 135..

However, I do prefer longer focal lenghts, both for macro and portrait..

It comes down to budget..

Indeed...

Comment #11

Not a problem. I worded my original response clumsily to begin with..

Thanks,Greg..

Comment #12

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

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