Macro photography is about getting close to the object. When an image projected on the camera sensor is relatively the same size as your subject this is defined as macro photography. We give this term a 1:1 magnification ratio. True macro lenses have a magnification of 1:1 or higher. Most non-macro lenses have magnification ratios significantly less than that (1:2 , 1:4 etc ).

magnification-factor-d3100

There are several considerations before you choose to buy a macro lens , especially for Nikon D3100.

  • Maximum Reproduction Ratio ( see above explanation ).. true macro lenses always have 1:1 magnification ratio.
  • Working Distance .. is the amount of room between the end of the lens and the subject (and is usually measured at the highest reproduction ratio). More working distance is good for photographing insects , butterfly , snake etc because your camera is far from the object. Less working distance is only good if you want to shoot static objects like food photography , flowers etc.
  • Image Quality .. macro lenses always sharp , period.
  • Autofocus .. you probably heard that some people says we dont need to autofocus when doing macro. That’s true at some point , especially when we want to magnify an object beyond 1:2 magnification. But, in my experience you still need autofocus in most of time. Besides, you can also use the lens for portrait photography
  • Technology .. some lenses has built-in VR technology. I dont have knowledge about their effect on macro but will be useful if we use the lens for non-macro jobs eg : portrait
  • Price .. macro lens is expensive but luckily there are 3rd party macro lenses. They’re cheaper and gives high-quality results but usually lacks of build quality

Here are some recommended macro lenses for Nikon D3100:

Nikon 105mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S VR

  • medium fokal length useful for photographing ‘far’ object such as butterfly, bugs etc
  • VR technology useful to reduce blur because of camera shake. You’ll get that a lot when doing macro
  • fast autofocus with AF-S technology
  • high image quality , sharpness
  • can be use for portrait photography , amazing bokeh
  • bit pricey = $899

Nikon 60mm f/2.8G ED AF-S

  • focal length 60mm useful for photographing flowers and food. if you’re into food photography this lens will prove useful.
  • fast silent focus with AF-S technology
  • image sharpness , like other macro lens
  • price: $539

Nikon 85mm f/3.5G AF-S DX ED VR Micro

  • for macro or portrait
  • VR technology
  • $476 , cheap Nikon macro lens

Sigma 150mm f/2.8 EX DG HSM APO HSM IF

  • longer focal length means more working distance .. for photographing insect , snakes etc
  • will Autofocus with your D3100
  • $729 , pricey but longer focal length is an advantage or Nikon 105mm

Tamron AF 90mm f/2.8 Di SP AF/MF 1:1 Macro

  • I’m not so sure if this lens will Autofocus with D3100 . Anyone ??
  • sharp and cheap ..

Other Alternatives

Actually, there are other ways to shoot macro with your camera without a macro lens. Accesories !! yep, there are special accesories that when combine with normal lens can be used for macro photography. I will discuss them later but here’s some of the accessories : Extension Tube, Macro Reverse-Ring, Close-Up Filter, Belows , etc.

That’s it.. if you have questions or tips please use comment below .

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