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Cheapest macro lens

Felicity Dyson , Dec 21, 2010; 09:36 a.m.

I'm a young photographer wanting a macro lens for a Nikon D40 but I have no idea whats best. I have an 18-55mm lens and a 55-200mm lens and am confident enough to not have to use autofocus. I can spend up to £200, maybe a bit more if needs be, any advise?


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Steven P , Dec 21, 2010; 09:51 a.m.

The 18-55 focuses pretty close, but I wouldn't consider it as a macro replacement.

If you can find a Vivitar, Cosina, Promaster 100/f3.5AF, (screw drive AF) though made rather cheesy it is a great performer for the price. They usually go for (US) $120. or so. I paid $69, for mine.

Kent Staubus , Dec 21, 2010; 09:57 a.m.

Put a Marumi 2-element close up lens on your 55-200mm VR lens. I don't think your D40 will even meter for exposure with a non-AFS lens.

Kent in SD

Kent Shafer , Dec 21, 2010; 10:05 a.m.

This is one of those rare situations where the cheapest is also the best, or at least a contender for that title. You should be able to get a nice used 55mm f/3.5 Micro Nikkor for around half of your specified budget. It's one of Nikon's legendary lenses. Your D40 can even use the very early non-AI variety without modification, which more advanced digital bodies can't.

Steven P , Dec 21, 2010; 10:10 a.m.

Good catch, Kent.

I forgot. I sometimes do use a 3 or 4T on the 55-200vR and it works well. It's standard equipment in my D5000 (light and cheap) bag. There also resides the above mentioned 100mm. which will meter but not AF on a D40.

Andrew Garrard , Dec 21, 2010; 10:19 a.m.

Felicity: assuming the "£" means you're in the UK, mifsuds.com currently have a used 90mm Tamron f/2.8 macro and (if you want to stick to Nikon, although I might not recommend it in this case) an 85mm f/3.5 DX micro in stock for about £250. I'm very happy with my Tamron (so far - I've not had it long, but it has good reviews). Both will autofocus and meter properly on a D40. I've bought from Mifsuds before without major complaints. For the flexibility and convenience, I'd pay the extra for one of these, myself (and the Tamron at least is an okay portrait lens). If you'd rather save the money, a close-up filter(/lens) is going to be the cheap approach. Be wary that AI manual-focus lenses won't meter for you, although you can check the histogram and make manual adjustments. Good luck.

Felicity Dyson , Dec 21, 2010; 10:48 a.m.

Thanks a lot, this has all been very useful!

David L , Dec 21, 2010; 11:01 a.m.

I use a 55mm f3.5 Micro-Nikkor on my D40 very often because the results are so good. I got it for $75 USD. Use camera "M" mode, and the back LCD to fine tune the exposure since the camera meter will not work with a non-AF lens.

Tommy Lee , Dec 21, 2010; 12:26 p.m.

Check this.

Cost=low. Result=Good. Mechanical make and low= You get what you paid for.



Peter Eisenburger , Dec 21, 2010; 01:53 p.m.

This lens is very good, also for portraits:
With the D40 only manually focusing (no problem with a macro lens). However, it is upwards compatible ;)
Not the cheapest, but not the most expensive either. Look for used offers at Amazon or Ebay. You can get it between 200 and 300 British Pound.

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