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Lens suggestion help/recommend 345

Hero Member Posts: 856
Lens suggestion help/recommend
« on: December 09, 2017, 12:35:54 PM »
Hi -

I recently acquired a Nikon DSLR and have found that the photo world has changed quite a bit from the old days when I was traveling a lot while in the service and using my trusty Olympus 35mm. I really enjoyed it back then and am hoping to get back into the hobby some.

Anyway, for you guys that are taking knife close ups, what mm lens are you using to do that with?



Zombie Apprentice Posts: 19,386 Armed with camera and not afraid to use it.
Re: Lens suggestion help/recommend
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2017, 02:06:40 PM »
I still use a Canon G12 point and shoot, but with an external flash which I bounce off the off white ceiling to get even lighting.

As for DSLR stuff, any macro lens will do jury duty. I would think a 90mm or like focal length is ideal because it gives you some distance from your subject, allowing the reduction of possible shadows from the camera gear. Likewise, if you so wish to go into bug photography, that little extra distance will allow you to get some nice shots without scaring off the bugs some of the time.

Come to think of it, any lens will do provided you have good lighting. I have found that the lens used is not as important as the lighting. You can get creative and use flashlights and other items, and the real fun part of photography is the experimentation process.

Now if you want mad closeups, I have found my Pentax fisheye lens to be phenomenal as long as you don't mind the distortions. That lens will focus on something almost touching the front element. I know the lens is now marketed for the Canon and Nikon folks as the Tokina 10-17mm f/3.5-4.5 AT-X, which is basically a clone of the Pentax lens. The fisheye is the extreme end of wide, but most wide angle lenses  will have close focusing capabilities depending upon its construction. The issue with the wide angle lens is that you have to move in close causing issues with lighting. This can be negated with a ring flash or cheap ring LED ring that fits on the end of the lens.

So there are no easy answers. You can achieve what you want in multiple ways. Just remember that the lighting is key, no matter the lens you decide to get or use.

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Zombie Apprentice Posts: 19,386 Armed with camera and not afraid to use it.
Re: Lens suggestion help/recommend
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2017, 02:18:23 PM »
What Olympus did you use in the service? Here is my funny odd Olympus story. When back in high school, I had bought an Olympus OM-10 to get ready for the photography class that I knew I would take the following year. I loved that film camera, but quickly replaced it with a Pentax SF10, one of the first of the new autofocus 35mm cameras that came out in the mid 80's. I held onto the Olympus until I gave it to one of my education assistants. I quickly had gifter remorse. A few years later, I spy an Olympus OM10 camera with the same manual adapter at the local Value Village. I ask to examine the camera, and it turns out to be my old camera, minus most of the other lenses...but it was my old camera. I quickly bought it and brought it home. It was meant to be.

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No Life Club Posts: 2,388
Re: Lens suggestion help/recommend
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2017, 03:59:59 PM »
Are you using a crop camera or a full frame camera?

We use the Nikkor 60mm and 105mm Micro lenses in our studio. Both are excellent even with the highly demanding tasks we use them for. We've got spare one of each for sale if you're interested, I haven't got round to putting them on ebay yet. We're saving up for a Coastal Optics 60mm, a bargain at $5000  :facepalm:

If you're ok with manual focus, specifically using live view, the Mamiya 80mm f4 Macro lens can be had for about $200 on ebay (you will need to add an adaptor). It's heavy and bulky and only goes to 1:2 but man are the photos incredible. It's permanently bolted onto our Nikon D810 in the studio and easily matches the Nikkor Micro lenses.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2017, 04:02:32 PM by pomsbz »

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Re: Lens suggestion help/recommend
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2017, 05:55:38 PM »
I just use an 18-200 zoom lens for most of my photographs.

Depending on your DSLR, if it is not full frame (sensor), there could be a multiplication factor of about 1.5. So an 100mm lens will actually behave like an 150.  Take this into account when you buy a non-zoom lens. 

If someone suggests a 35mm lens, then you should get an 18mm, in that case.

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Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 8,488 I'm blue!
Re: Lens suggestion help/recommend
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2017, 06:46:28 PM »
I make my ´close ups´ from a few yards distance, with a 100-150mm focal point, to avoid distortion and reflections.
Hero Member Posts: 856
Re: Lens suggestion help/recommend
« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2017, 12:49:27 AM »
My camera came with a Nikon 18-55mm lens which seems to be like a standard lens for most snap shot type stuff. But so far, I’m doing pretty much everything on auto. When I’m trying to get a close up of say, a flower, on one of the houseplants, I run into trouble with focus as when I get that close, the sensors seem to jump around a lot due to the flower obviously not being a flat surface. Even in manual focus, I don’t get how some guys can get the entire thing to be in sharp focus like I see posted online or wherever.

I’m considering taking a photo class at the community college which I think would probably be a huge help.

Chako - That would have been back in 1979, and I was on a Coast Guard icebreaker in Antarctica taking pictures of penguins with an Olympus OM-2 that I thought was just an awesome camera. Like electronics and phones, cameras have come a very long way indeed. Lol. And what are the odds of finding your old camera? Wow.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2017, 12:57:34 AM by Joe58 »

Zombie Apprentice Posts: 19,386 Armed with camera and not afraid to use it.
Re: Lens suggestion help/recommend
« Reply #7 on: December 11, 2017, 02:45:33 AM »
The odds...I should have bought a lottery ticket that day.

Yes, cameras have come a long way. I taught photography in the early 2000s at the High School level for a few years. Back then, it was darkrooms and 35mm film. I saw the end of that era and the move into digital photography and software. I do miss the darkroom at times, but digital is so much more convenient. It is nothing to shoot 4 to 500 frames in an outing, that through practice, it can't help but make make you a better photographer. Not to mention the decrease in overall cost as processing film was never overly cheap.

May I suggest using your lens...figure the closest focus distance....set up a tripod. Key here is lighting however. Do you have an external flash unit with a rotating bounce head? Find a nice white sheet of paper for your subject's background. Bounce the light off of a ceiling. Experiment with the light direction. Be sure to add in any extra room lighting as that will play an effect. Auto is ok. I rarely shoot in manual mode unless I need to tweak it. I do like shiftable program mode as I can select my aperture/shutter speed combination. With a solid tripod, you can select different combinations and see the result right on the camera. Keep experimenting until you get the depth of field you want. I do seriously miss those old depth of field scales on the lenses. Happily enough, the theory of aperture and shutter speed hasn't changed from the 70s. There are a few things that did change...mostly crop factor, white balance, and ISO sensitivity which is now set in the camera as opposed to buying different speed films. These days ISO is a hold over term from film days that allow the photographer to alter the sensitivity/gain of the electrical signal from the digital sensor. Similar to higher speed 35mm film giving you grain, higher ISO settings will give you digital noise...which you can remove with software later.

Here is a good read for you...

« Last Edit: December 11, 2017, 02:47:10 AM by Chako »

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Hero Member Posts: 856
Re: Lens suggestion help/recommend
« Reply #8 on: December 11, 2017, 01:34:13 PM »
Terrific advice Chako, and I appreciate the links. I think using the tripod is a good idea too and I already have a fairly decent Swarovski one for my birding scope.

I am fortunate as well that my outfit came with a remote control which I found to be pretty cool once I figured out how to set the camera to use it, which actually isn’t hard. And I figured out the control needed a new battery. Lol.

I’ve been practicing taking pictures on the dog but the dang thing won’t sit still. ;)

Admin Team Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 6,922 I brake for cake
Re: Lens suggestion help/recommend
« Reply #9 on: December 11, 2017, 02:15:19 PM »
Joe, sounds like you need to get to grips with the aperture priority mode on the camera and experiment with depth of field.  You don't need a tripod to get good results, particularly if the light is good (but it will help).  Your 18-55 mm lens will be up to the job to begin with too - for close ups set it to 55mm to start with (equivalent to approx 80mm on a full frame camera) and see how that works out for you.



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