I finally dove in and bought 2 dedicated macro lenses. Many people are surprised to know that all of my macro pictures (i.e. bees) were taken with my "poor man's" approach--that being extension tubes and a 50mm lens. I have to say I am impressed and a bit puzzled by dedicated macro lenses. I'm impressed because both lenses function on the same principle of using the lens housing as an extension tube of sorts. I am puzzled because both have such different designs. I'm talking, of course, about the 105mm f/4 micro and the 55 f/3.5 micro. Both lenses are highly regarded, and both do a marvelous job at taking pictures of small things and things up close. From my quick testing this evening there's no doubt the 105 f/4 produces a much more pleasing background due to lens compression. However, in terms of sharpness the 55 f/3.5 leaves it in the dust. And here's the rub--both use their housing as extension tubes of sorts, however, only the 105mm f/4 has a protective casing around the threads (it's metal covered with felt); the 55 leaves the threads exposed along with the lubricant on them. My concern with the 55 is there's a chance that lubricant could somehow get on the rear element of the lens or on the sensor--and what a nightmare that would be to clean. With the 105 that's not a concern as the threads are covered. I posted this concern over the non-metering lenses on Nikon dslrs group and was assured no such thing would happen with the 55. My question is why would Nikon have changed the design on dedicated macros if the exposed lubricant wasn't a problem? I'm going to have to do a bit of research on this one, as I really like how sharp the 55 is wide open; well, that, and how light it is compared to the 105 f/4.
I'll be writing a full review this weekend--so keep your eyes posted here.
Till my next rambling, post, or review, this is, hey, hey,