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For Nikon D40 users, which macro lens is best?

Magda Beda , Feb 08, 2008; 01:58 p.m.

Hey everyone, I bought a dSLR Nikon D40 about three weeks ago. I love shooting macro, droplets, flowers, eyes, ect. The problem is, that I don't have any clue which macro lens to buy. There are so many, but don't work automaticly with the D40. Any suggestions that work auto and manual with the D40, would be greatly appreciated

Thanks Magda.


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Paul E , Feb 08, 2008; 02:02 p.m.

The 60mm AF-S and 105mm AF-S VR will work but are very expensive. Why not learn to manually focus and maybe manual settings for an inexpensive lens.

Magda Beda , Feb 08, 2008; 02:09 p.m.

Oh I can manually focus, but some lenses are completely incompatible with the D40. That's my worry. Usually i shoot on Manual, but auto is always something good to have. If not... then maybe, you could tell me lenses that are really sharp and great for macro, no auto... but still cooperate with the D40.

Greatly Appreciated Magda,

Richard Borovoy , Feb 08, 2008; 02:18 p.m.

Other than for the issue of not autofocusing on a D40, the 100/105mm f2.8 macro lenses from Tamron, Tokina and Sigma are all very good. They cost a fraction of what the 105mm AF-S VR Nikkor does and are all otherwise compatable with a D40.

Something that you will soon learn about macro is that autofocus is almost useless anyway. The depth of field at the short distances and high magnification is so shallow that AF simply doesn't work consistently. That being the case, the lack of autofocusing on a D40 for macro is not a major issue.

The drawback is that you would still have to manually focus at "normal" shooting distances. You pay your money and you take you choice.

Nick White , Feb 08, 2008; 02:20 p.m.

The Sigma 150mm and 180mm macro lenses have the HSM motor so will work fully with the D40. As yet the 50mm, 70mm, and 105mm have not been updated to include the motor but all are superb macro lenses. HSM is the equivalent of AF-S. http://www.sigma-imaging-uk.com/lenses/macro/macro.htm

Magda Beda , Feb 08, 2008; 02:27 p.m.

Wow. Thank you for telling me these things Richard and Nick.

Peter Hamm , Feb 08, 2008; 02:32 p.m.

You can buy a used 55mm f2.8 or f3.5 micro (I've recommended this course of action so many times people are tiring of me saying it I bet) for a little over a hundred bucks. It is totally "compatible" with your camera... if you don't mind going into manual mode, manual focus, and no meter. If you are shooting still subjects, it's not a problem. Just experiment with the exposure and look at the histogram and you'll be fine. That's what i do. In fact, I would rather manually focus at close distances anyway, for the reasons stated above.

If you want something totally compatible in terms of AF and all possible metering modes, choose between the AFS 60mm (brand new) and the AFS 105 with VR.

The Tamron 90 seems to be great to go with, too. All modes supported, but you will need to manually focus.

Gary Watson , Feb 08, 2008; 02:52 p.m.

Since macro work doesn't depend on speed, the D40's ability to mount old non-Ai 55mm Micro Nikkors is a huge advantage. These were some of the sharpest lenses Nikon made. eBay's usually clogged with these at very low prices--cheap enough for some experimentation.

Joe A , Feb 08, 2008; 03:02 p.m.


What is your budget?

Walter Schroeder , Feb 08, 2008; 04:05 p.m.

Yes some of the older pre Ai 55mm f3.5 lenses may be a good excuse to get a used or new D40(x)as a second body ^^.

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