My first macro lens: Nikon 85mm DX micro lens








I went to the regular camera swap held at the Pasadena Elks Lodge on Sunday. Never been there before and I was lucky to come home with only one lens: the Nikon 85mm DX micro lens designed for extreme closeup photography. 


 
The rest of the world calls this macro photography, but Nikon hangs the 'micro' label on it for whatever reason. 

The lens sells for $527 new; I managed to get a very slightly used one for $430. There are faster lenses out there for macro with more reach. They're also more expensive. I decided to start cheap.

This is my new thing: I'm trying to save money on camera gear by only buying used or refurbished. Yeah, it's a little risky but so far I'm batting two-for-two. I picked up an almost new Nikon 70-300mm telephoto lens earlier this year from B&H for $100 under sticker and the lens works great.

Here's what you need to know about macro photography: it's hard. Really hard. The closer you get to whatever you're shooting, the harder it gets. Depth-of-field basically vanishes -- even at small apertures. Flash is helpful. So is a tripod. The ability to halt slight breezes helps. Bring gobs of patience and a swear word dictionary. 

Of the 200 images I took in the past day, the three that work best are above. There is still considerable room for improvement. Digital noise is an issue in each. The bee could have been closer and sharper, although I managed to capture a nice pose. Same with the flower petal. The fly is the best because I composed a nice shot with the leaves and his the fly's shadow. I like it, but it's really only quasi-macro.

Have any tips? Drop 'em in a comment please. I'm all ears.

Check out more of my work on my newly-redesigned SmugMug site. Please follow me on Twitter: every time I tweet I lose three followers and will soon have negative followers. I shudder to know what happens then.

--S.H. 

This photo is ©Steve Hymon 2013 and may not be used elsewhere without my advanced written permission.

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