Are you looking for the best macro lens for Nikon? Choosing the one best for you can be a tough task as macro lenses are available in a number of mixed focal lengths (ranging from 50 to 200mm). Some macro lenses focus down to 1:2 and can extend up to 1:1 by an optically-matched adapter at an extra price.
Nowadays, macro lenses have started gaining popularity and making inroads into the extensively evolving category of mirrorless interchangeable lens compacts, also known as MILCS. Choosing the ideal lens for your situation can quite challenging and hence this article will help you get through the process by not only listing the best macro lens for Nikon but also highlighting certain factors so that you purchase a model which covers your needs. To begin with, it would be helpful to identify what a macro lens is and how it differs from regular lenses.
What Is A Macro Lens? All You Need To Know As A Beginner!
The first thing to know is to not mistake a macro lens for a close-up, as it is wrongly believed that a macro is just used to click close-up shots.
It is true that macro pictures are shot at a short distance from the subject or object to be clicked, but the magnification is what makes the image ‘macro’.
A macro lens offers life-sized magnification, 1:1, or larger than that. This type of lens is used to click images of distinct and small animal species, insects, and various flora and fauna. It is also used to capture architectural details like intricate carvings and murals.
You may be the kind of a photographer who wants to have this lens in your kit just for experiment’s sake. However, if you want to use these lenses professionally, there are other kinds of longer variants available which cost considerably more but will deliver a better image quality in the end.
Macro Vs. Regular Lenses – What Is The Difference?
A macro lens can focus from infinity to 1:1 magnification, which means that the size of the image in reality is equal to what’s reflected on the sensor. The magnification ratio informs you how the image reproduced on the camera’s sensor compares with the subject’s or an object’s real size. So a lens with a 1:2 ratio can reflect an image on its sensor that’s nearly half the actual size of the subject.
Another lens with a 5:1 ratio can reproduce an image which is five times the size of the clicked subject. The major difference is that macro lenses enable closer focusing distances than what regular lenses allow.
The Pricing Of Macro Lenses
Like all other types of lenses in the market, macro lenses are also available at varying prices and in different styles. They usually aren’t more expensive than a regular lens. You can get an extremely decent model starting from $300 and some of the best Nikon macro lens can go up to $1500 or more.
There are several little things that you need to keep in mind before you buy a macro lens. For example, you might need a tripod and some sort of lighting to work with these lenses. Other such points will be covered in the following sections in detail.
Macro lenses are not limited to use only for macro photography and can also be used for portrait photography. For example, a wedding photographer can use a macro lens to take a close-up shot of the bride’s earrings or the wedding ring.
Do keep in mind that a macro lens can at times produce pictures with greater contrast (the lenses can sometimes resolve similar tonal values and locate boundaries between small areas with a varying luminance in a better way). It all depends on your portrait tastes according to which you may have to adjust your editing process.
Factors To Consider Before Buying The Best Nikon Macro Lens
As there are a number of great macro lenses available, it can become more and more confusing to search for the ideal one.
This section of our guide will highlight some crucial points to consider before finally purchasing a macro lens online. (It takes into consideration whether you plan on buying multiple macro lenses or just one.)
1. To Zoom Or Not To Zoom
Presently, there’s no such thing as a ‘true zoom’ macro lens. Technically put, a macro lens can capture subjects at a 1:1 magnification or even higher. A zoom lens will get you one-third of a life-sized image in your final picture.
You may prefer a zoom lens which can get you close, but it isn’t life-sized. In the end, it all depends on the subjects you choose to click and how you plan to use the images. If your work requires you to specifically use a macro lens, then make sure you invest only in them.
2. Focal Length
Macro lenses can be divided into three different categories: short (range from 35 to 60 mm), mid-range (range from 90 to 105mm), and long (range from 150 to 200 mm).
Short lenses cost the least and are very light in weight, the only con being that they have shorter working distances which make them unreliable for clicking subjects that move. But these can be a good option for testing and to decide whether you need a more advanced one for future experiments. Hence, short lenses can be a good start for beginners to try out.
Mid-range lenses are not only relatively inexpensive but also have larger working distances. They are ideal for shooting flowers as they enable you to get close enough so that the items in the background or foreground are no longer in focus. These lenses are one of the best options you can get at a low price point.
Long macro lenses can be quite expensive and tend to weigh a lot, but they do have the most brilliant working distance and deliver great image quality. They are the ideal lenses to shoot insects and other creepy crawlies that move and can handle continuous movements to stay in focus. They cost approximately $ 0, so you need to be very sure before you proceed with your purchase. In case you’re buying these for professional reasons, it’s a totally different case. But do make sure you check out different models.
3. Subject Matter
Considering the subject matter will further help you narrow down the kind of macro lens you require. It is recommended that beginners read this point carefully and consider what subjects they frequently shoot since different focal lengths work best for different subjects, as highlighted in the previous point.
If you’re concerned with how your subject relates to the background, you might require a lens which is wider (at least 50mm). This will enable you to grab more details than a narrow lens.
If you’re fond of subjects that are continuously in motion, such as little insects (like butterflies), you will require longer macro lenses. These make sure that your images have a greater chance of being sharply in focus. If you plan to click flowers, plants, or stationary items, then a short or mid-range macro lens work just fine.
Problems with regards to lighting generally come up in macro photography. The most clichéd of them arises from photographers blocking their own light.
Lenses which allow for close ups are great, but they surely increase the chances of you capturing your own shadow. This problem can be solved by introducing artificial light or standing as far as possible from the subject which you’re about to shoot using natural light.
Lighting is definitely important and no photographer can neglect its importance. Macro lenses generally need you to monitor your own shadow to a higher extent as compared to regular lenses. This may be tough in the beginning, but paying more attention when you’re clicking and checking your images as you work can help a lot in avoiding this problem.
5. Cost And Value Of Macro Lenses
Everybody wants to get the most value for their bucks, which is why it’s important to choose lenses that offer high quality for a considerable amount. It is important to know when the cost correlates with low quality and understand when it isn’t a rip off. The basic principle of buying some of the best macro lens Nikon is to know that the more sugar you put, the sweeter the result.
Macro lenses generally cost between $300 and $400 (for the cheapest models). If you want to buy them for experimentation purposes, a cheap, reliable model can work best for you. However, if you’re willing to spend as much as $ 0 for professional use, then you might want to focus more on the model and design.
In this guide, we have listed several models which are different and dependable at a low price point. If a short macro lens will not solve your requirements, you may consider purchasing a mid-range macro lens, which is great for photographers keen about macro photography. This kind of macro lens delivers high quality images at affordable prices and can be used for both casual as well as professional photography. They offer a better value and hence cost more than short-range lenses – usually between $700 and $800.
Long-range macro lenses produce great quality images and are usually preferred by professionals who click macro images as part of their work. They generally cost between $ 0 and $2000. Now that we have broken down all the costs of different kinds of macro lenses, the next step is for you to consider how you’d like to use your macro lens. This will help you narrow down and determine which category best suits your needs.
6. Vibration Reduction
Vibration reduction, or simply put, image stabilization, is important when it comes to buying a macro lens. In the past, in-camera stabilization was exorbitantly expensive and was made necessary to fix into the lens. But nowadays, this is not the case. Brands like Sony and Pentax prefer within-body stabilization, while on the other hand, Nikon and Canon still prefer lens stabilization.
Depending on the focal length, lenses which do not come with image stabilization can be quite useless, especially if you aren’t planning to use a travel tripod or a remote trigger release. This feature is more important in long-range lenses since greater sensor movements make the lens more sensitive to small and frequent movements while clicking a picture. Even pressing the shutter button or a minimal shake in your hands can make a crisp-quality image nearly impossible.
Keep all these six factors in mind and make sure you thoroughly consider how you want to use your camera and the kind of subjects you’d like to click in order to make the selection process easier for yourself. The next section of our guide familiarizes you on other important terms with regards to macro lenses so that you have a good idea about them before moving on to the product review section.
Macro Lenses Basic Terms And Usage Tips
1. Minimum Focus Distance
This determines how close you can be to the subject you are clicking. The longer the focal length, the further away you should be from the subject so that you’re able to focus on it better. When shooting small animals, creepy crawlies, or birds, you need to be extremely careful since these subjects can be more skittish than others and can get scared quite easily.
2. Depth Of Field
Another crucial point to keep in mind when engaging in macro photography is that the depth of field is a lot limited at close range, so to focus better on your subject, you will have to stop down. If you usually shoot at wider distance, it will take you some time to get accustomed.
In order to get your subject into better focus, you need to stop all the way down to an extremely narrow aperture and try to click your subject as flat as possible. At this amount of magnification, it won’t take much for things to begin to go soft. Getting your subject on the same plane of focus will aid you in keeping much of it as crisp as possible. A lot of macro shooters use a technique known as “focus stacking” to tackle this.
3. Flat Field
The front element on non-macro lenses is usually a little curved so that the center of the image will remain in focus while the background and foreground appear a bit softer. This occurs when a curved focus plane is employed on the flat sensors of a digital camera. This is not generally an issue in normal photography with a regular lens, but when you begin capturing small or tiny subjects, it can become significantly noticeable.
A lot of macro lenses come with a ‘flat field’ focus as they try to recompense for the curved focus plane so that the edges of the frame come under the same focus as the center. The detectable curvature is decreased and proves very useful when capturing small and flat things like notes and coins. The flat focus feature does not really matter when you’re clicking 3D subjects like plants and insects.
4. Focus Stacking
It is a technique which allows a photographer to collect and combine multiple images with varying focus distances to create a single image with the main subject in focus. Some of the best macro lenses for Nikon come with this feature built into their bodies, so all you have to do is fix your shot and focus options and the camera automatically combines the pictures in-camera.
Do keep in mind that you will have to frequently adjust the focus yourself and use software like Photoshop to compile images. Focus stacking can at times be a lot of work, but in the end it can also create some brilliant collections. If you professionally want to follow this up, then you may want to learn more about this concept.
Stability is an important criterion in macro photography. A lot of recent camera models come with built-in stabilization, and even some lenses have this incorporated into them. But none can match the usefulness of a tripod for clicking macro shots. Tripods are generally big, weigh a lot, and are thus difficult to carry around. Nevertheless, they are still an important tool when it comes to macro photography. This is because during close-ups of different subjects, camera shake becomes more and more noticeable.
A good tripod can handle your camera better and make it steady so that your shots are crisp and clear. Plus, having your camera on a steady base will enable you to stop ad shoot with a longer shutter speed (so that more of the subject is in focus). A longer shutter seed also means that it will allow more light in, which is great when shooting at night or in dark forest areas. Please do consider that tripods may cost a lot extra, so if you are tight on budget, you may want to revise whether you need a tripod to go with you macro lens.
6. Camera Shake And Macro Lens
We have been talking about this in all earlier-mentioned points, but a little more detail gives you a better idea. While engaging in macro photography, you definitely want to avoid camera shake, which can be best avoided by not touching the camera before clicking a picture.
There are a lot of ways to avoid doing this and the most accepted one is with a cable shutter release. Cable releases are quite cheap and simple to use. They can be plugged into your camera body for you to turn on the shutter without touching the camera.
Another way is to set a delay for a few seconds so that the shutter does not really open until you’ve picked your hand from the camera. Now different brands may work differently. For example, if you use a Canon macro lens, this is achieved by a ‘drive’ mode on your camera. But when it comes to the best Nikon macro lens , a ‘timer mode’ proves helpful in this regard. If you have a camera that can be controlled from your phone through Wi-Fi, it gives you other options as well.
7. Pocket Wizards As Shutter Triggers
You can easily use pocket wizard triggers as remote shutter releases. There are a couple of steps which may help you with this;
- Get two Pocket Wizards and arrange them with the same channel.
- Fix a remote camera cable between one Pocket Wizard and your camera.First switch on the Pocket Wizards, then the camera.
- Keep one Pocket Wizard inside your hand and click the TEST button to begin the shutter.
8. Ring Lights For Macro Photography
We already highlighted the importance of lighting in previous sections, so you might have an idea by now. But you also need to know some tips and tricks to get you through.
Ring lights can be a great and cheap solution to all your macro lighting problems. They fix on the end of your lens and can provide light over any subject. In comparison with a typical flash, these lights are surely not as powerful, but they are easy to use and highly effective if you’re low on budget.
An important thing to note when using ring lights in macro photography is that the ring is often reflected in the shiny shell or perhaps the eyes of any creature you’re capturing. This effect may add interest to your subject and its image, but can also be distracting if it emerges where you don’t want to see it.
9. Flash Lighting For Macro Photography
Another option you have with regards to lighting in macro photography is to employ a conventional flash, be it when the camera is on or off. Flashes are definitely more powerful than ring lights and enable you to simply generate enough light to highlight your subject. Do note that they come with a downside – they can sometimes be way too powerful. You can use diffusers to cut down on some light and get the desired effect.
By using off-camera flash, you are able to control the direction from which the light falls on your subject so that you have full control of the picture. Some of the best lighting systems that you can check out are Canon’s MT-24EX Macro Twin Ringlite Flash and Nikon’s R1C1 Wireless Close-Up Flash. Both these offer sets of adapter rings for differently-sized macro lenses.
10. Focusing A Macro Lens
As macro photography works on magnification, securing your focus is very important. By now, you might be clear that a macro lens not only magnifies the minute details of your subject (like the eyeballs of an insect) but also magnifies any mistake that you make.
When you subjects are way too small, then even a tidbit of adjustment in focus can cause a lot of changes. If the adjustment is right, you may immediately get a picture ready to be hung on the wall, but if it goes away, then the image captured might immediately end up in the bin.
You have to get the focus right if you want brilliant pictures. A lot of macro lenses come with built-in autofocus, but most professionals like to shoot in manual focus mode.
A lens would typically hunt around incessantly while it tries to set focus. Manual focus enables you to select with utmost precision where you want your point of focus to be. This ultimately gives you more control when clicking your images. Do keep in mind that in macro photography, the plane of focus can usually be extremely thin. Fixing the focus point precisely where you want it will aid you in making sure that the elements you desire are crisp and fine.
When depending on F, you need to make sure you know the difference between a Focus Point and a Focus area. You are required to set your point exactly where it needs to be set.
Keep these 10 points in mind and remember all these terms if you really want to excel in macro photography. For a beginner, cramming all this information may seem difficult, but as you keep getting familiar with these terms by reading them again and again, you ultimately learn more about their usage.
Now that you have a firm understanding of the technicalities associated with macro photography, you can move onto the next section of our guide which lists some of the best macro lenses for Nikon. This is the last section of our guide where we will be listing the best macro lens Nikon as well as the best Nikon macro lens . You may want to read up on some basic information about these models to help you in shortlisting a product.
We’ve already put up the best models which cover different features and price ranges to make your task easy. This doesn’t mean that you have to stay limited to this list; you can certainly explore other options online or at your nearest retail store. This list does not only contains lenses by Nikon but also those by third-party manufacturers, like Sigma and Tamron, which fit with a Nikon camera’s body. The products are as follows:
Top 10 Best Macro Lens For Nikon 2021
1. Sigma 258306 105mm F2.8 Ex Dg Os Hsm Macro Lens For Nikon DSLR Camera
The first one on your list of the best macro lens for Nikon is by a third-party manufacturer called Sigma. It is a formidable lens for engaging in macro photography and can shoot 1:1 or a life-size reflection of any tiny subject from its nearest focusing distance (which is about 31 cm).
This lens’ interior construction comprises 16 elements in total which are further divided into nine groups. These further consist of a Special Low Dispersion (SLD) element and a high refractive index SLD. These two gracefully handle a aberrations and disturbances.
The focusing mechanism of the lens does not let the front element of the lens rotate. This is most useful when employing variable ND filters and using circular polarizes. The aperture of the lens is f/2.8, which perhaps isn’t the fastest but is extremely bright for some creamy background blurring. Moreover, the nine aperture blades will help you get great results.
The lens also offers image stabilization – a feature we discussed in detail in the previous sections of this guide. The brand terms this feature as optical stabilization. Sigma’s HSM (Hyper Sonic Motor) technology powers auto-focusing. Focus-free technology is fixed into the lens, which can also manage auto-focus without the manual focusing ring in motion. This makes things simple as the lens comes with manual capabilities too.
The brand’s OS (Optical Stabilizer) mechanism allows for the lens to tackle low light and hand-held shooting when longer shutter speeds are required. There are two OS modes on the camera. The first one is made for stabilizing all kinds of movements no matter the direction in which the camera is moving. The other one is for helping with panning movements. This mode is used for sports or any action scene where continuous AF is needed and the subject is constantly in motion. It isn’t frequently employed in macro photography.
This lens is heavier than other lenses as it weighs 726 g. With all these features, the model is surely a great buy. You can check out more about the product online at Amazon.
2. Tamron Af 90mm F/2.8 Di Sp AF/MF 1:1 Macro Lens For Nikon Digital SLR Cameras
The second one on our list of the best Nikon macro lens is by another popular third-party manufacturer called Tamron. The brand has been creating lensesgreat for macro photography. The title of the product lists some abbreviations specific to the brand which might not be understood by a beginner. But don’t worry, we’ll make everything clear.
SP stands for Superior Performance, which means that this is one of the best-quality lenses by Tamron. Di is an acronym used to refer to the brand’s special lenses created to work not only on conventional film SLR systems but also on digital SR ones.
The 1:1 magnification which the lens offers at a minimum focusing distance of about 11.4” enables one to capture life-sized projections of any tiny subject. The lens has gone through significant remodeling to contain an AF motor inside to make sure that it functions with all kinds of Nikon DSLRs, even those that don’t feature a built-in AF motor system.
This lens is a non-stabilized version, so if you cannot proceed with your work without some image stabilization, then it may not be the ideal purchase for you. Make sure you check out the other V lenses by this brand mentioned ahead in this list for this feature. The aperture is quite fast and you will be able to obtain sharp images with exceptional color contrasts under reasonable lighting than in very dark conditions.
The lens is constructed to include 10 elements in total, subdivided into nine groups. The lens diaphragm includes a total of nine diaphragm blades that give an amazing background and foreground blur. The build quality of the lens is excellent and it weighs about 405 grams. That means that it’s extremely light in weight and easy to carry and use, especially when shooting handheld.
3. Nikon AF-S FX Micro-Nikkor 2177 60mm f/2.8G ED Standard Macro Lens For Nikon DSLR Cameras
The AF-S micro Nikkor is one of the best macro lenses Nikon and is a popular variant offered by the brand. It has a slightly longer focal length and makes sure of a longer reach and closer focusing even from considerable working distances. Created for the full-frame sensor of Nikon, it is in fact compatible to work with other Nikon’s DX-format camera bodies. It comes with a built-in AF motor and works well with cameras like the D5 or D3 which do not come with a built-in auto-focusing motor.
The lens comprises 12 elements divided into 9 groups. These groups include both aspherical as well as extra-low dispersion elements. These elements try to repress all kinds of aberrations and distortions caused while shooting, resulting in crisp pictures with better contrasts. The lens has nine rounded blades which make sure that a good quality bokeh is maintained. You can obtain a great background and foreground blur that would eliminate anything that lies in the front or behind the focusing plane.
The brand’s Nano crystal plus Super Integrated coating makes sure that the lens tackles flares as well as ghosting. This lens can produce a 1:1 or life-sized reproduction of any subject from a close focusing distance of about 7.3”. Similar to many other Nikkor lenses, auto-focusing on this lens is addressed by a special Silent Wave Motor system. This makes sure that the process is as quiet as possible and promotes better handling when compared to its contemporaries.
The lens also comes with a full-time manual focusing system, which is very handy as focus on tiny subjects at close distances without the camera ocking focus by itself. The internal focusing system specially offered in this model makes sure that the length of the lens’ barrel does not transform when the lens focuses. This offers great applications as the lens is able to focus without changing small living creatures into scary objects.
Please note that this model by Nikkor does not offer image stabilization, so you will have to shoot at a minimum shutter speed of 1/60 seconds to make sure that shots are not blurry.
4. Nikon AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED Lens Base Bundle
This is yet another model by Nikkor which may be considered an auto-focusing version of the earlier models. If you are a photographer concerned majorly with auto-focusing, then this is definitely the lens you should choose.
This new variant is compatible all of Nikon’s auto-focusing DSLR models plus the older 35mm film cameras. It weighs about 720 grams and the metal frame which constitutes the body of the lens is pretty solid.
The lens comprises 14 elements in total that are arranged into 12 groups. These include nine rounded aperture diaphragm blades which generate a nice bokeh.
Nikon’s Silent Wave Motor powers the auto-focusing on the lens and its mechanism works very quietly. In addition, a manual focusing override option allows you to hold the focus ring and manually adjust focus even in AF mode.
The lens can produce a 1:1 or life-sized reproduction of any tiny subject that you aim for. It comes with a vibration reduction feature and the VR on this lens is rated to three-stops, which means that you can use up to 3 different shutter speed compared to other lenses that do not offer VR.
5. Nikon AF-S DX Micro-Nikkor 40mm 1:2.8G
This lens by Nikkor is one of the best Nikon macro lenses but is an expensive model created for the smaller image circle of the brand’s APS-C sensor-powered cameras. On a Nikon DX camera model, the focal length it delivers is about 60 mm. Hence, this lens will easily double up as a fixed prime lens using which you can shoot images regularly plus engage in macro photography too.
With a total weight of about 235 grams, the quality of construction is totally dependable and decent. The body is made of quality plastic and the lightweight is all a result of this plastic body.
The lens can open up to an aperture of f/2.8 and stop to as low as f/22. To get a larger depth of field, you will need to be shoot stopped down.
The lens is very sharp in the center so that you’re able to focus on the subject clearly. This allows you to click brilliant shots of beautiful flowers, teeny-weeny insects, and other things you may fancy shooting.
6. Nikon AF Micro-Nikkor 200mm F/4D IF-ED Lens
This is Nikkor’s 200mm micro telephoto lens which allows you to focus from a close distance of 48 cm and produce 1:1 perspectives of tiny subjects. The lens is remodeled for the larger sensor size of full-frame cameras but can also be mounted on smaller DX-format DSLRs produced by the brand.
This lens also works well with Nikon’s film cameras. Do note that this is a ‘D’ lens and unlike the ‘G’ kind, it does not come with an auto-focusing motor. This means that if you plan to use this lens on Nikon’s DX-format cameras (which do not feature a built-in AF motor), this lens just won’t auto-focus on them. On a DX camera, the focal length is equivalent to that of a 300mm lens mounted on a full-frame body. The effective focal length also means that you could utilize it as a tele-lens for nature as well as wildlife photography.
The aperture can open up to f/4, which means that it is not the quickest if compared to the other models discussed in this list. But you needn’t worry since this is one of the sharpest macro lenses that the brand offers and can also function as a general purpose tele-lens. It wouldn’t work as a typical portrait lens though, because at f/4 the bokeh is not as exciting as it could get with other professional portrait lenses.
The internal construction comprises 13 elements arranged in eight different groups. These comprise two additional dispersion elements which make sure that the lens is able to repress chromatic aberrations in a better way. Nikon has additionally provided a close-range correction system which allows the lens to perform auto-focusing better than other non-CRC lenses.
7. Opteka Achromatic 10x Diopter Macro Lens for Nikon (Fits 52mm and 67mm Threaded Lenses)
This macro lens is manufactured by a brand named Opteka which specializes in lenses for Nikon camera bodies. This one can especially work with almost all popular camera models by Nikon. You can magnify a subject to about 10 times its size and capture breathtaking shots of all those bugs, bees, flowers, and plants with mind-blowing quality and crystal clear magnification.
Its internal construction has four elements composed of highly refractive, low dispersion white optical glass that assures a crisp image quality. In addition, a solid anti-reflective coating added to the glass lessens lens flare and ghosting for greater vibrancy and contrast. The body of the lens is very lightweight and durable. It features an all-metal design which lasts long and stands the test of time while at the same time keeps your photography undisrupted.
Thi model works well with any zoom or prime lens featuring regular filter threads. You just need to evaluate the number of millimeters of your lens’ filter threads and then latch your Opteka macro order with it. The whole package includes additional items like a 52 mm adapter ring, front and read lens caps, and a lens bag.
8. Tamron 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro VC USD
This is yet another contender for the best macro lens for Nikon by Tamron. It is specially-designed for Nikon f-mount and is one of the best you can ever get from any third-party producer. It is made for the larger 35mm full-frame sensor Nikon cameras and can even work with 35mm film cameras. It also functions well with DX-format cameras with the benefit of a longer effective focal length.
The internal construction of the lens comprises 14 elements divided into 11 groups. These consist of one low dispersion element and two extra-low dispersion ones. They consistently help in taking care of aberrations and disturbances that afflict quick aperture tele-lenses.
The auto-focusing feature on the lens is powered by a ring-type ultrasonic motor, which is also known as an ultrasonic silent drive. It is extremely quiet while focusing and is just way too accurate. The actuator technology by the brand ensures a quicker and more exact focusing lock when using things like manual focusing override.
This lens also comprises VC and when mounted on a full-frame camera and at about 90 mm can work as a portrait lens. You definitely require VC to click stable shots. The lens also offers a considerably fast aperture as well as a 9-blade diaphragm, which means that you get a comparable bokeh to what you would with any 85mm lens.
9. Sigma 180mm f/2.8 APO Macro EX DG OS HSM Lens
This is another model by Sigma that certainly qualifies as the best Nikon macro lens. It is a medium tele-lens built into one huge frame and delivers sharp and well-contrasted images that you can rely on for the coming years. Its 1600-gram weight makes it the heaviest in this list. It allows you to create true macro-perspective images or life-size reproductions of tiny subjects when functioning at its shortest working distance.
The lens offers a variety of features which are listed as follows. The maximum aperture provided is f/2.8, which it makes it quick enough to tackle low light situations and for clicking extraordinary background blur. But it may not be fast enough for ceasing action in extremely low light conditions.
You can use this lens as a general purpose tele-lens since it comes with an optical image stabilizer. Three FLD glass elements make sure that color fringing is suppressed. Finally, the lens’ aperture diaphragm includes a total of 9 blades which ensure the production of creamy background and foreground blur when capturing outdoors.
10. Sigma 150mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM APO Macro Lens (Nikon)
The last one on our list of the best macro lens for Nikon is yet another model by Sigma. It is capable of producing a 1:1 perspective and includes 19 elements arranged amongst 13 distinct groups (the highest number compared to other listed models in this guide). It also comprises three special low dispersion glass elements and comes with a protective coating thta handles ghosting as well as flares.
One of the most special features of this macro lens is that the auto-focusing is powered by the brand’s Hypersonic Motor technology. In real life situations, when you’re shooting in the wild or in any other bright outdoor area, the lens rarely misses its focus.
The auto-focusing mechanism of the lens is quite fast. The only time when it might miss or hunt is under extremely low light situations. The manual focusing ring of the lens is finely dampened and very encouraging when turned on. A floating internal focusing mechanism makes sure that the lens is able to focus pretty accurately at any distance. It also makes sure that the length of the lens’ barrel does not expand while focusing.
The frontal element remains still and does not rotate when focusing to ensure that distortions do not affect the shoot. This is quite useful for photographers when using variable neutral filters and circular polarizers. With all these amazing features jam-packed into one lens, this one sure is a great model but is certainly more expensive than previously-listed ones. If you are high on a budget and want multiple features, then you must shortlist this one.
1. If a zoom lens has a ‘macro’ setting then does one require a macro lens for macro photography?
Macro lenses, as mentioned earlier, offer a magnification ratio of 1:1 or closer. Hence, a lot of macro lenses are supreme and come with a fixed focal length. A few zoom lenses like the Nikon 70 – 180 will offer the same kind of images, but they still aren’t macro lenses. So you won’t be able to achieve crisp, clear, and fine-contrasted pictures.
2. Which focal length is ideal for studio work?
Long-range macro lenses are usually suitable for work accomplished outdoors, like capturing insects, flowers, plants, and little birds that would easily be scared by a shorter-length lens. But short-range lenses are suitable for studio environments. This is because you have more control over the surroundings with regards to light and wind movement indoors.
But there is one downside to this. Your movement becomes restricted inside and you have a lesser area to work with if you need to move further away from your subject. Longer lenses are better for a shallow depth of field. But you don’t need to consider them if you’re shooting against a simple backdrop, like a plain screen or studio wall.
3. How to differentiate between micro and macro?
Macro means big, while micro means small. Sometimes, these two terms are interchangeably used in photography. This is because both are applied to the photography of tiny subjects. Remember that macro lenses are used to make small subjects seem large.
4. How does one choose between different lens manufacturers?
There are a lot of macro lenses that work amazingly well with Nikon camera bodies. These include third-party manufacturers like Sigma, Tamron, Tokina, and Nikkor lenses from Nikon itself.
Nikkor lenses offer the best build and quality, but if you don’t want to spend too much, you can opt for third-party manufacturers that also offer reliable options. Nikkor lenses cost more than the other ones, but they also deliver the best quality.
We recommend you to go for the highest quality product since lenses aren’t a use-and-throw object. You of course want them to last and serve their purpose in a great manner.
If you plan on using lenses for macro projects, autofocus is not something which would be very useful. Instead, you need to consider manual focus lenses in your search. But if you’re planning to use a lens for landscape and portraiture, you may want to shortlist models which offer autofocus and vibration reduction.
5. What is working distance and how does it relate to focal length?
Focal length is defined as the distance between the image plane and the optical center of the lens. Working distance is the distance between the filter ring on the lens front and the subject you are clicking.
The working distance is different for most lenses since it is measured from the film to the subject and not from the front of the lens. It is definitely more crucial in terms of light. This is because it is simple to block light if you’re standing near your subject (butterflies, bees, other insects).
Get Your Best Macro Lens for Nikon Now!
We hope this guide has proven helpful for beginners who’re looking out to purchase a macro lens for their DSLR bodies. The first few sections have clearly highlighted some of the important terms associated with these lenses as well as important factors to look for before making a final decision.
You surely don’t have to limit yourself to the top 10 models listed on this guide; you’re free to check other models online. To get more information on the listed models, you might want to visit the manufacturer’s website. Lastly, the FAQ section covered important details which we might have missed in other sections. All the best for your final purchase!