Last year when I changed my old Nikon D40x for a Nikon D7000 I also bought a cheap second hand Sigma macro lens to go with it. I wouldn’t normally do that, but because of the attractive price tag I thought I’d give it a go in order to dip my toe in the water of macro photography without upsetting my bank manager. Or, more importantly, my wife!
When I first got the lens I mooched around the house looking for small things to photograph and I didn’t have to wait long before a selection of arthropods presented themselves.
Vespula vulgaris, I also like this image because of the clear double reflection in both panes of the double glazing.
The wasp was buzzing up and down the glass of a door trying to find a way out so I practised my macro technique on it before opening the door and providing it with an escape route.
In this image the plane of focus has captured the wings and the head is slightly out of focus, demonstrating the narrower depth of field (DOF) inherent with macro photography. Tech note: DOF decreases in range with magnification and aperture, so for a given aperture the DOF will decrease with increasing magnification. Or put another way, if you need to open the aperture wider (smaller F-stop number) to get enough light on the sensor to generate an image, you may need to sacrifice some magnification.)
And while I was busy with the wasp a house spider appeared by my feet so I had a shot at that too:
This individual was only 2-3cm long indicating it’s a young one and from the shape of its abdomen it’s a male. The female is bigger and has a more bulbous abdomen.
And on an earlier occasion, whilst fulfilling my domestic obligations and doing the washing up, this splendid red eyed dipteran appeared on the teapot on the kitchen window sill and sunned itself for long enough for me to grab the camera and snatch a few close ups.
The lens I bought was the Sigma 70-300mm APO DG 4-5.6 macro zoom which can switch to macro between focal length 200-300mm. It has pretty solid build quality, it’s reasonably small (although it gains approximately 5.5cm in length at 300mm zoom) and is a pretty good little lens for general purpose zooming too. It’s noisy and slow when moving from far away to close in, and vice versa, but as you can see I’ve had some fun with the local insects, and although I need a lot of practise it holds the promise of lots more minibeast shots. All in all it was a good ninety quids worth, and I shan’t be rushing out to spend lots of cash on a better quality lens just yet because I don’t think I need one. I shall carry on having fun with this cheap and cheerful one.