Lens test results / examples

I recently rented a fairly expensive Nikon macro lens for a week just to see what it might do for me. Many zoom lenses have a macro switch which sets a closer focus distance and allows closeups to a 1:4 magnification while macro lenses allow 1:1. None of the current range of Nikon DX lenses have a macro switch.

I thought I would visit Butterfly World to see what I could capture. This is just one image that prints well full frame at A4. The others are cropped from the original but also sized to A4 for printing.

I’m fairly happy with the results but not sure how often I would use the lense’s ability. I could almost convince myself that it would be a very welcome 105mm/f2.8 medium telephoto with a macro facility. Many of my recent Coot baby shots were taken with this lens as it allowed me to shoot from several meters away and also get within 35 cms of the nest for head shots. I could have used my 500mm/f5.6 but the results really would not have been as good.


23 May, 2011
donna said:

Wow John your photos are really good Thank you

23 May, 2011
johnponting said:

Thanks Donna but ... are they £613 good?

23 May, 2011

Hi John, nice shots, I bought the Canon 100mm and not used it to it's full capabilities yet, but I will later. It's certainly easier to use than the 500mm and like you say it's a cracking prime lens too. I'm going to try it with my 1.4 adapter that'll give me 140mm lens. I'll try a macro with that on too. I have a week off next week so will put it to good use.

23 May, 2011
aster said:

Wonderful images John,sorry though I can't help you decide :))

23 May, 2011
robashfield said:

Hi john,
You got some great results with that lens,but as you say,is it really worth the outlay?
Personally,no. I have done macro shots with the standard settings on the lenses i've got and am happy.Don't think I would get value for money if I spent that kind of money(nor would the wife be happy!! lol)
For myself,I would rather spend it on a better zoom lens or other equipment.Don't know if this helps you decide,but it's just my opinion.

23 May, 2011
johnponting said:

Rob, I think it's good to play with bigger toys from time to time and the rental market will probably take another hit soon.

As I mentioned earlier, there is no Nikon zoom with a pseudo macro facility; there are other manufacturer zoom lenses with a close focus and 1:4 magnification but that isn't macro. Well, it is to Japanese marketing people.

It's been interesting to test a high standard real 1:1 macro lens but probable usage, price and current non availability means I may have to restrict myself to closeups with an existing 1:4 lens. Downside is having to crop in tight and accept smaller prints.

25 May, 2011
mike said:

Hi John
Your photos are spectaculare but there is no doubt that a Macro lens is not the most common one any of us will ever use. IMHO it comes down to what is "fun" for the individual and as long as it is not a food from the mouth choice I think "go for it". I am not a smoker, drinker etc so waste my money on things which make me smile. Photography has always been special too me but it is only these recent couple of years that I have been trying to take photographs rather than snaps (apart from holiday snaps of course). When I bought my macro I knew it would get rarely used but I wanted to be able to play and have my fun with it. Yes price matters and so I got the Sigma 105mm but it is a beauty. For close up shots I get some decent results with my 50-500 actually BUT for macro - no chance - hence the 105mm. I would also love a Nikon 3x set up but there is always a limit you know.

25 May, 2011
johnponting said:

100% Mike.

I've spent a huge amount of money over the past 40 years or more on cars (never had a company car, always paid for my own) and motorbikes (a bit harder to justify).

Cars have been a problem ever since I first drove an Aston Martin DB4 and later a Shelby Cobra; even bigger problem after the late Denny Hulme piloted me around Oulton Park in his CanAm Maclaren.

Motorbikes have taken Mr & Mrs from John o'Groats in the north to Segovia in the south, up Mont Blanc, Alpe d'Huez and Mont Ventoux and most of the rest of France.

During that time I have, like many, always had a camera and have in the past enjoyed club membership and DIY processing (B&W and colour). Now I can indulge myself to some extent. However the £4,000 body and the £5,000 lenses are strictly off the menu - a decent Euro Lottery win could change that.

I shall probably revisit macro at some stage and will be trying the Sigma as an alternative; in the interim I shall enjoy using the 150-500 and the 70-300 for birding and soccer and the 18-105 for general and closeup.

OK I'm off to Laon in France at 4:30am so not much ISAB for a few days.

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