View Single Post
Old 11-01-21, 09:32
sassan's Avatar
sassan sassan is offline  
Senior Member
Join Date: May 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 15,813

Originally Posted by Potp View Post
I primarily shoot in manual mode, but on some occasions it would be nice to have the option of AF.
Macro is all about sharp lens, manual focusing and good complimentary light.

Well that is the key points that can save you a bundle.
And yes, with your Camera body (D40 -One that does not have in camera AF motor for some Nikkor lenses) to have AFing, you need to have a lens that has internal motor i.e. NIKKOR AF-S, AF-I or *AF-P type or equivalent lenses. LINK

But then and frankly, Macro in true sense, is all about "Manual Focusing", in fact, all manual, for the best result and the learning curve here is absolutely easy. With your express ability and will to focus manually, I strongly suggest you go directly for a manual lens. Why?
1- These lenses (Older generation macro lenses) are build like a tank and seriously, nothing much can go wrong with them.
2- You can find them very cheap. Almost at a fraction of any digital true macro (1:1 or 1:2 lens).
3- with a slight and easy modifications, you get even surpass the 1:1 ration, as the need might be.
4- The low cost of set up, ease of operation, affordability, Can provide you all ease for a true " First hand on procedure", experience to titrate your real like for this type of photography and should you really feel this is the way to go and still your need AFing (That I seriously doubt), you can then, always spend more. So in case this wasn't for you, at least you have not broken your bank!

And if by now I've convinced you that manual is the way to go, then I have a few very very good suggestions for you, because your choices are really plenty but I give you the best of best. So you only get what that makes you happy and provide enough support to produce the best of macro can offer.

The BEST bang for buck, then the best resolution, color saturation/render/ micro-contrast, right off the camera can be provided by one of the best secrets of Macro photography, The Pentax Super Macro Takumar 50mm f/4 Prime Lens. Don't allow F4 makes you to think this is a slow lens... As you probably know better, in Macro, you already have a very very narrow depth of field. Thus you want to utilize the right F and the sweet spot is generally about F 11 ish, where you have the best of optical features, with omitted all aberrations and the diffraction of plus 16 has not yet set in to distort image quality.
Well this Pentax is an old vintage macro lens with Screw M42 mount that can last you and your offspring's, several life time worth of best macro experience (Attention: You want "Screw / M42 mm" mount and not Pentax K mount of this lens that is the newer and less refined version). To me, it's the true Number one secret in this field. You will be amazed by the sharpness and all that this gem has to offer. You should be able to obtain a good, clean copy of this lens at or about US $100 from eBay, Reputable stores that sell used items, photography web sites or local shops.

Though almost every manufacture has a similar Focal Length and F stop macro lens, this Takumar is the Crème de la crème of all. You wont regret.
Of course you realize that you need a cheap M42 to Nikon F adapter and may be bellow, microfocusing rails (Something like this in LINK- if you click early before it is removed) and some sort of macro flash, that though secondary requirement, can make your job a lot easier and I'm pretty sure you have made enough home work on that ground.

The other suggestion for a good but cheap manual macro lens (And to stay close to the Focal Length you have proposed initially- And you know that FL means the "Working Distance" between photographer and the subject - Something crucial that is left to the need and taste of the photographer) (Ask more if in doubt, for additional info that is beyond the current topic of discussion), is Tamron's King of Macro! the Adaptall type mount lens. That 90mm F2.5 (All manual and not the AF F2.8 one you have already considered) that I can see being sold as cheap as $60 ish and is a hell of a macro lens, in every respect. If you know about Adaptall Tamron lenses, you know via the right native interchangeable adapter, these lenses are universal and can virtually fit any camera (So should you change your platform in future, you can still carry on with your beloved macro lens). They come in two versions, original 52B (All metal, cylindrical - rather unique shaped lens) and newer (More plasticky thus less desirable) 52BB and both should be almost the same price. They both have identical optical so go for whichever that is cheaper and is in better condition.

The key when choosing an older lens is to get one that optically is clear. Cosmetic conditions should not worry you but even slightest of glass imperfect, fungus, haze, scratch, separation are all deal breakers. The good news, there are plenty of these out there and with little search, you should be able to find the right one for much cheaper than you thought, thus having bonus fund for the rest of macro gear s.a. Flash / rails/ etc.

Hope this lengthy discussion wasn't boring and in fact useful! Have fun.
S a s s a n .


"No one is going to take our democracy away from us. Not now, not ever.
Reply With Quote