Today’s so-called ‘macro’ lenses are astonishing in the resolution and contrast they offer and can do far more than most people ask them of them. Whether you choose one of the big names, or an independent, you’ll get the kind of optical quality for which our forefathers might well have given their eye teeth. I always get asked the question “What lens?”…so I thought that I would start off this macro series by considering the lens I use most at the moment. My choice is a 150mm f/2.8 EX IF HSM Sigma macro lens and has been for the last two years..
I happen to have a Nikon 105mm f/2.8 VR macro at my disposal and viewing images from this and the Sigma lens side by side I can discern no difference in quality and nothing that I could not attribute to other variables such as lighting. However, for me, the big advantage is that the 150mm lens comes with a tripod mount ring (and so should all macro lenses of 100mm focal length or over) making it easy to change from ‘portrait to landscape’ format exceptionally well-balanced with a Nikon R1C1 macro flash system attached and sitting on a small tripod (see the Novoflex minipod review)
Who wants to spend an age setting up (and missing) shots? I can go to a field attach the bits and move around on a ‘point and shoot’ basis. ‘ which enables me to get hundreds of publishable shots in a day’s photography from any species rich environment.
The f/2/8 maximum aperture permits lovely shots with shallow focus very much ‘Oh the OK bokeh’ (sorry) and it is a bit lighter, shorter (and cheaper) than a 180mm-200mm macro.
As far as I am aware, only Sigma currently produces such a lens (available in Canon, Nikon, Sigma and 4/3 fittings) though there was a once a 135 mm f/4 macro lens head for the Olympus OM series that was used on their ingenious 65mm-115mm extension tube. Read More