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> Acorn, I think the biggest differentiator between these two macro > lenses is the working distance they offer - the longer focal length > allows for your camera to be set further back from the subject to > achieve the same reproduction ratio, and this can be useful if you > need to introduce lighting or if you are working with icky things > (insects or whatever).
As I recall, in the old days the 50mm Micro-Nikkors were designed to have a flatter field of focus - that is, if the subject were flat (like a postage st&) the lens was corrected to be sharp from edge to edge of the image field. Since normally a lens' focus zone describes a hemisphere, if the optics were left alone the corners of the st& might otherwise become fuzzy (since at macro distances depth-of-field becomes paper thin). However, I do not know if the current 60MM macro lens is built the same way - and frankly if that's an issue to you...depending on what you plan to shoot, it might make no difference whatsoever.
>FWIW, I've got the 60mm, 105mm and 200mm Micro Nikkors. If I was to buy >just one it would be the 105mm. It is the most versitile of the group. >Gives enough distance from your subject to work with and also makes an >excellent prime lens for portature or other uses.
With the 60mm, while an excellent lens, you don't have much working room and that can be a problem if you are shooting anything live. You just have to get too close.
Get a set of extension tubes including the PN-11 and you can get some great reproduction ratios. You can also use a 2x teleconverter and get good results.
>For an ideal lens the focus zone for a flat piece of film is NOT a hemisphere but a plane ! > > If you look to the lens equation you will see that. The non-planarity of the focus zone is a typical kind of deviation in a real lens which of course has to be corrected. And this correction depends in second order on the object distance. This makes the big difference - a normal "landscape" lens is corrected for infinity, a typical portrait lens is corrected for 3 to 10m and a macro lens for 0,2 - 2m. The curvature of the focus zone depends on the viewing angle and the correction is more difficult for shorter focus length like 50-60mm as for 105mm. Nilkon solved this problem for its wideangle lenses by the CRC construction - moving the lens groups independently for short focusing. hope this helps Jochen from Old Germany
For product shots, the 60mm is almost ideal (a little bit too long, actually). The 105mm will work too, unless you expect to get a complete, large product (like a piece of furniture) in the photo. The you need a very large studio.
An alternative for close up product shots can be a moderate wide-angle with close focusing (Sigma 24 and 28 are two possibilities, although the 24 may be too short). But they are not nearly as sharp as the mentioned Nikkors.