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Good lens for flower photography?

Taleni

New member
Hi all. Lately I've really started to dig flower photography. It's beautiful, fun, and subjects are plentiful. I've tried shooting with all three of my lenses and have noticed that they all produce different results. Differences in sharpness, color, bokeh, DOF, the works. So, that makes me wonder... if different lenses yield different results in the same field, then there must be a lens that transcends them all. The obvious guess is that such a lens would be a macro lens...

but what do you think? From your opinion, to your experience, what's the best flower photography lens?
 

Taleni

New member
Hi all. Lately I've really started to dig flower photography for my flower shop which produce delivery flowers Dnipro. It's beautiful, fun, and subjects are plentiful. I've tried shooting with all three of my lenses and have noticed that they all produce different results. Differences in sharpness, color, bokeh, DOF, the works. So, that makes me wonder... if different lenses yield different results in the same field, then there must be a lens that transcends them all. The obvious guess is that such a lens would be a macro lens...

but what do you think? From your opinion, to your experience, what's the best flower photography lens?
Any updates?
 

Shashin

Well-known member
You might be better served posting in one of the forums that are on the type or brand of camera you are using.

I have found the lens does matter, but that is really subjective as well. For medium-format digital, you probably can't go wrong with any 120mm f/4 marco lenses. I am less confident about other formats, but is you have micro bellows, some enlarging lenses can be very good for that work.
 

msstudio

Member
Hi, I take a stab at this: I prefer normal focus length over others. It gives some depth and perspective, whereas a longer lens flatness things out, which is not to my liking. Another fun approach is a Tilt Shift lens for what it's made for or the opposite. A zoom isn't necessarily a bad thing, instead of choosing your crop, use it to select the focal length you like. On a personal approach, I prefer a more focused image and sharpness, but some lens rendering s can be more fun than others...a lot of room to play. BUT, the key its lighting and appearance along with great subjects. As usual, garbage in, garbage out...
 

bab

Member
Fuji 80mm macro one of the sharpest macro glass ever made if not the sharpest. Super micro contrast perfect mm for close up flower work!
 

Jack

Sr. Administrator
Staff member
Over the years I have tried almost every version of obtaining macro available. This included dedicated macro lenses of various makes and focal lengths, extension tubes, bellows, reversing rings and diopters; I even went so far as to build a macro coupler so I could reverse my 50mm prime and use it as a diopter over another lens.

All said and done, my favorite carry option remains a high-quality 2-element diopter over my 70-300 zoom. My diopter is a 1.8x, which means it changes infinity focus on my zoom lens to 1/1.8m or roughly 55cm or about 22 inches. Obviously it then focuses closer as I turn in from the infinity setting, getting me to around half that. Also, the zoom changes total magnification while retaining working distance, so the combined zoom and focus capability is very convenient for framing. With this combo I can get pretty close to life-size. Finally I have a couple of electronically-coupled extension tubes I can add to take me beyond 1:1 with that same set-up. The total combo of tubes and diopters is significantly smaller, lighter and cheaper --as well as a lot more versatile-- than a dedicated macro lens. The extension tubes also work well by themselves without the diopter, you just don't get as close.

Nowadays if I want to get closer than 1:1 and want the ultimate in IQ, I'll reverse a 50mm to 105mm lens and stick it on a bellows. A bellows with a focusing stage built-in is significantly more convenient to use than one without, FWIW...

Dedicated macro lenses... My issue with the 50's is they have too short of working distances. My issue with the 90's and 105's is as a group they generally are sub-par optically at normal shooting distances and then most also have pretty ugly background bokeh, which is something I think can detract from a good macro. (FWIW most current 90 to 105 macros are basically 50mm to 70mm f2.0 lenses with a 1.4-1.8x converters built-in, so 1:1 focus achieved by increasing the distance between the two main lens groups; which probably explains why they are generally less impressive optically at normal shooting distances compared to a conventional lens...)
 

JoelM

Active member
(FWIW most current 90 to 105 macros are basically 50mm to 70mm f2.0 lenses with a 1.4-1.8x converters built-in, so 1:1 focus achieved by increasing the distance between the two main lens groups; which probably explains why they are generally less impressive optically at normal shooting distances compared to a conventional lens...)
Really???, wow, I've never heard this. How did you conclude this? Perhaps it isn't still done that way today. My old AI-s Micro Nikkor is a wonderful lens. I should check the optical formula against the 55.
Joel
 

Jack

Sr. Administrator
Staff member
Really???, wow, I've never heard this. How did you conclude this? Perhaps it isn't still done that way today. My old AI-s Micro Nikkor is a wonderful lens. I should check the optical formula against the 55.
Joel
From Nikon: https://imaging.nikon.com/history/story/0072/index.htm
This excerpt from that page, italics mine:
>>Fig. 1 shows how this lens is constructed. The AI AF Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8S is designed with a modified Gauss-type structure comprised of six elements in five groups with a three-element teleconverter behind this main structure. Three elements in front of the aperture, three elements behind the aperture, and the front two elements in the teleconverter structure combine to form a total of three groups that each moves independently to focus from close-up to infinity. Reducing the amount of movement required by adding a teleconverter behind the Gauss structure followed the AI Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8S upon which this lens was based.<<
 

Jack

Sr. Administrator
Staff member
FWIW I have attached an image I took with the Nikon 70-300 AF-P zoom at f8 and diopter mentioned above. It is near minimum magnification (85mm instead of 70, but at near infinity focus) and I processed it basically SOOC other than resizing to 1200px for web here -- I think it gives a good idea of the working magnification, relative sharpness and bokeh rendering:

 
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JeRuFo

Active member
If you want the very most pleasing rendering without compromises I think you'd still have to look at a large format lens. The large recording area combined with a buttery smooth, but technically slightly flawed, lens is almost impossible to beat in digital.
 

MGrayson

Subscriber and Workshop Member
Best I've gotten is with a Fuji GF 250/4 and extension tubes. A Leica S180+Elpro is also superb. But if you don't have or want these systems, the recommendations are somewhat pointless. If you're going to focus stack, the 120/4 macro suggestion is a good one. The Pentax 645 120/4 macro is very inexpensive, but not APO. The Contax (Zeiss) 120/4 is better corrected for CA, but the difference only shows up in specular highlights.
 

neilvan

Well-known member
I have had a large number of macro lenses (1:1 and 1:2) over the years for flower photography. The one that gets used the most, by far, is the Tamron 90mm. For me it just works the best... If you are shooting with Nikon also check out the Nikon 45mm PC-E (1:2).

That being said, you didn't mention what system you are using. It really is kind of hard finding a modern macro lens that doesn't produce fantastic images.
 
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