Things seem to be a little slow here so I thought I'd try to jump start things.
First, the camera I use the most is a Nikon N80. For this camera, I have a:
Sigma 28-80mm f3.5-5.6 Aspherical Macro H (Came with the camera).
Nikon 20mm f/2.8D AF
Nikon 50mm f/1.4D AF
70-300mm f/4-5.6D ED AF
I've found that I really need/want (a bit of both) better macro capability. I've also found that I really don't like the Sigma lens (it is a bit sloppy and has a tendency to overtravel when focusing to infinity). So, I've been considering three lenses:
Nikon 105mm f/2.8D AF Micro
Nikon 200mm f/4D ED-IF AF Micro
Nikon 24-85mm f/2.8-4D AF
I briefly considered the 60mm Micro but discarded it as I already have the 50mm which I like.
Now, I'm leaning towards one of the two Micro lenses since that is the capability I am trying to add/improve. The Sigma lens will do for awhile longer and I have the other lenses to cover the same basic range. But the lens keeps bothering me and I keep coming back to the thought of replacing it first.
I like the 105mm because it is smaller, lighter, and fast. It also gives me a prime that would be useful.
The 200mm is much larger and heavier. However, it gives me a longer prime and, more importantly, would allow me to add a 2.0 TC to gain a little reach. I'm nervous about adding a 1.4 TC to the zoom because it is going to make the lens very slow and I'm not going to be able to afford a nice 400+ mm lens anytime soon.
So, the question is what to buy to best compliment what I have. I take a variety of pictures ranging from "snapshots" of kids/scouting events, technical and fun macro, informal portraits, nature, in other words, whatever happens to strike my fancy.
Opinions , advice, or even abuse of what I have is welcome.
My initial suggestion would be to go for the 105mm Micro because it could double as a portrait lens.
I've seen reference to a lens-reversing ring that allows a standard lens to be used at high magnification. I think that Nikon makes one of these. It might be a bit less expensive than buying a new lens.
You may also want to look into (ha! extension tubes or a Canon 500D close-up filter. Either of those would probably be much less expensive than a new lens.
Expense isn't a major driver. I don't mid the $800 or so the 105mm will cost and can even swallow the $1300 or so that the 200mm will cost. I prefer the actual lens to the macro rings (I used them in High School when I was REALLY tight on money) or the reversal method (risk of lens damage seems to be too high).
I'd go for the 105 also for the reason Prime mentions. I've gone through long stretches where the short tele was my "normal" lens.
Here is another vote for the 105 Nikkor. I have never had any luck with third party lenses, my Nikkors blow them away in both color and contrast. They are just punchier.
Sponsored Ad. (Subscribers to APUG have the option to remove this ad.)
None Marque Lenses
I agree with Brian and have always been disapointed with independant lenses, if not opticaly, they were mechanicaly inferior. To my mind the reason to buy Nikon, Canon etc. cameras, is so that you can use first class optics, especialy if price isn't the primary consideration,and anyway in a few years when the price has been forgotten you won't be stuck with an expensive paperweight.
Originally Posted by bmac
Another consideration would be the nikkor 28-105 which will do 1:2 with out adapters. That would replace the smegma lens & give you great versatility.
Only drawback is f3.5 max aperture.
The 105mm Nikkor is a great lens, and well worth the money if your serious about your photographs, good quality glass and not so big as to be difficult to handle. If you get one of the micros , you can still work with extention rings in the future if you would like to increase magnafication factors, which seems to be the best of both world, macro capibility in the prime and still have the ability to go with the tubes if more magnification is required.
On another note, I have used reverse rings on both my 35mm and my MF gear for years and have never had a problem with lens element damage.
can't miss with the 105 Micro
Also consider the Tamron 90mm/2.8 Macro. Very good
Mama took my APX away.....
I am not up to date on Nikon goods. However, you might consider the following: A reversing ring for your 50mm. A 2x extender for your 50mm giving you a 100mm 2.8 which shoukd work nicely stooped down 2-3 stops and focus quite closely, 200mm f4 with 1.4x and 2x extenders and get rid of both zooms. Sounds like a nice kit to me. A 28mm or 35mm wideangle would fill things out nicely.