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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Choosing Your Macro

Getting in close and maintaining critical focus is the forte of this breed of lens

Click Images To EnlargeThis Article Features Photo Zoom
David Middleton
Nikon AF Micro-Nikkor 60mm ƒ/2.8G ED
With a Close Range Correction (CRC) system, high performance is guaranteed at both near and far distances with the Micro-Nikkor 60mm. Continuous focusing from infinity to life-size 1:1 reproduction is possible as close as 8¾ inches from your subject. When used with DX-format sensors, the focal length bumps up to 90mm.
David Middleton
Professional outdoor photographer, author and teacher David Middleton has used all of Nikon’s macro lenses over his career, but the one he likes the best by far is the Nikkor 200mm ƒ/4. "There are three big advantages to this lens", says Middleton. "The 200mm gives me a great working distance to my subject. This means I’m less likely to spook what I’m photographing, and it makes it easier to get my tripod in the right spot to get the picture I want. The 200mm has a very narrow angle of view, which is certainly the biggest advantage for me. This allows me to pick the best background with just the smallest adjustment of my shooting angle."
Middleton says the third advantage is the fact that the lens has a tripod collar. This allows me to flip from horizontal to vertical compositions painlessly", he says. "And it makes it very easy to slip the lens off the tripod, so I can beat away a noisy photographer trying to get my shot, after which I can simply slip it back on the tripod. The fact that it’s built like a brick makes the beating part worry-free!"

Stephen Lang
Sigma 17-70mm ƒ/2.8-4.5 DC Macro
With a maximum magnification of 1:2.3, the 17-70mm DC Macro comes close to the 1:1 standard of macro lenses, but with the decided advantage of
a variable focal range.Part of Sigma’s DC line, it’s designed for smaller sensors and has
an equivalent performance of 109-310mm on the likes of Sigma, Sony/Minolta, Pentax and selected Canon and Nikon D-SLRs.
Stephen Lang
Macro-zooms can be a great complement to a
fixed-focal-length macro. Each definitely has it's advantages for close-up work, so one isn’t necessarily better than the other. Macros get you life-size 1:1 reproduction. Macro-zooms get you close to that, but with the added benefit of flexible focal range. Like the pros we talked to, the ideal lens depends on your preferred compositional style and how you like to work when you’re out in nature.
Professional photographer Stephen Lang loves the versatility of the Sigma 17-70mm ƒ/2.8-4.5 DC Macro and describes it as his "workhorse" lens. "I use this lens for just about everything", says Lang. I’ve used a number of fixed macro lenses, which are all fine, but the 17-70mm ƒ/2.8-4.5 Macro has an excellent range for the kind of shooting I do. It gives great options as to focal length. I can zoom into a flower from a comfortable distance, as opposed to having to be right on top of it and still have the sharpness of being close. Or I can have the wideness to do a group of people or a landscape."

These features also are found in the new Tamron SP AF70-200mm ƒ/2.8 Di LD Macro, with a magnification ratio of 1:3.1 at 200mm. Since it’s a Di lens, it gives you an equivalent focal range of 109-310mm when used with APS-C-sized sensors in Canon, Nikon, Pentax and Sony D-SLRs.

TokinaTokina AT-X 100mm ƒ/2.8 Macro
Capable of serving both digital and film cameras, the AT-X 100mm macro gets you life-sized, 1:1 reproduction at 11.8-inches‚ a nice, moderate working distance from many subjects. There’s still plenty of room for using reflectors or a wireless flash, yet close enough to capture all the tiny details with great sharpness.
TamronTamron SP AF70-200mm ƒ/2.8 Di LD Macro
While the maximum magnification of 1:3.1 makes it shy of true macro, you won’t hear photographers complaining about that. The flexible zoom range makes up for that, and the minimum focusing distance of 37.4 inches means you don’t have to be right on top of what you’re photographing to fill the frame.
SonySony SAL 100mm ƒ/2.8 Macro
From close-up nature shots to mid-range telephoto work, the SAL 100mm Macro provides sharp 1:1 reproduction when focusing as close as 12.24 inches. With a built-in focus-range limiter, focus time is speeded up by limiting the range of distances that are brought into focus either close-up range or telephoto range.
PentaxPentax P-D FA 50mm ƒ/2.8
When you want to get close, the P-D FA 50mm lets you focus as close as 7.67 inches from your subject to capture life-size reproductions. It also works just as well as a regular telephoto lens, so you don’t have to change lenses every time you want to grab a wider shot.

>> To see more work from John Isaac, visit www.johnisaac.com

>> To see more work from Adam Jones, visit www.adamjonesphoto.com

>> To see more work from David Middleton, visit www.davidmiddletonphoto.com

>> To see more work from Stephen Lang, visit www.stephenlangphotography.com


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