105mm or 55mm Macro Lens?


I want to start scanning my film with my Nikon D610 (24MP Sensor).
I need to get me a macro lens and I’m wonering what focal lenght is actually better?
The NIKKOR 105MM 2,8 AF-D seems to be amazing…but the longer length means I would need a certain distance between camera and my 6x7 negatives. Maybe too big for a copy stand? Any experience? Also, a longer focal length gives higher risk of shaky images (even though with my remote it shouldn’t be an issue right?)

So, what’s preferable from your experience? 55 or 105? Which lens is known to perform better as well?

Thanks a lot

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I use a Canon 100mm macro. Mounted to an old enlarger through a lens clamp provides a stable platform. With manual focusing, live-view and the 2s self-timer, stability is very good.

Not that most macro lenses have a shorter focal length when focused close. Building a horizontal setup like this should eliminate all stability issues…

You should have no problems with a copy stand and a 105 mm lens. I measured with a 90mm macro lens for 35mm film: 28 cm (negative to sensor plane). For 6x6 I measured 38 cm. I fitted the 6cm onto the narrow width of the camera sensor. If you take 4.5 x 6cm you can go a bit closer to fill the frame. Add for your focal length proportionately. For a 105 mm lens that would become 44 cm. For convenience with 35mm you should get a macro lens capable of 1:1. That means that a 35mm negative will fill the frame of a digital full frame camera without having to add additional distance rings between lens and camera.
As to vibrations: Use a cable release and flip the mirror up before taking the shot (procedure as per camera manual) to avoid mirror shock. Do not walk around during exposures. Follow also the detailed instructions offered here.

Hi, ideally you need the 60mm Macro lens on a copy stand but I guess it depends on your scanning setup.Any version will do as you mostly use manual focus. I use this with the Nikon ES-2 which works great. have tried all the other film masks on the market but this gives me the best results.

Worst comes to worst you could just stich two manually focused ‘close ups’ together, then convert.

Both are fine because both are capable to capture 1:1 ratio.
I use the 55mm and I’m just fine. Took the one you can get with the best price or which you would use more often.

For 35mm film a 50-60mm focal length is ideal.

For 6x6 and 645 an 80 -105mm lens is ideal.

Don’t be tempted into using a zoom lens - the results are invariably unsatisfactory.

Surprisingly, the old manual 55mm F2.8 micro Nikons will still knock spots off even modern macro lenses for this type of work - and they are cheap.

For 35mm the most foolproof gear is a bellows with slide duplicating adapter. It avoids all the pitfalls of stray light, parallelism and even vibration. Second hand examples are quite inexpensive. A good alternative is the Nikon ES-2 copier but is a bit limited in comparison.

I use Sigma 105 1:1 macro, f2.8 DG DN on Sony A73. Excellent results even down to f13. Of course you can go lower but I’m avoiding refraction and f13 shows excellent sharpness and DOF.

Manual Focusing with A73 very accurate.

Read reviews.

Temporarily mounted on tripod that has center pole reversed and is underneath tripod pointing down. Will get a copy stand in the future but this works with no movement.

Using Bluetooth remote thru phone to set camera, check focus and timer for shutter.

A bit large and heavy but gives me a little more working distance from film.

Using EFH to hold films or slides and Viltrox video light that is same size EFH.

Light is very bright and allows for shorter shutter speeds and lower iso than when I was experimenting with cheap light panels or iPad for light source.

I wipe down film before it goes into EFH and use blower for each image.


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It’s interesting as I am using the Sigma 70mm macro lens on my Sony a7iii and it is also sharpest at f/13. I suppose Sigma used a similar design for both lenses.

To control your camera, you might consider tethered shooting. I use the Tethertools software (Smartshooter 4) so that I can have the shots go directly into Lightroom. You can use the free Sony Imaging Edge software but it doesn’t automatically feed directly into Lightroom and there’s an extra step to get the photos into the catalog.

The nice thing about using tethered shooting is your monitor serves as the panel you are looking at to check focus. I have a 24 inch ASUS photo monitor and it helps a lot.

That’s good advice to wipe and blow the dust off each image before scanning them. Good tip.

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I use the Sigma Macro 70mm 1: 2.8 DG, I use f / 5.6 (I read a technical review that the best combination is 5.6) however I am fine, it has a very good resolution, but the focus is slow, okay for Macro but not for anything else

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