I know the 55mm is recommended but I got a really good deal on a 50mm f1.8D instead. Are there any major differences between the two? Focus distance starts at about 1.5 feet. It's super sharp and so far no complaints. Anything I'm missing by not getting the 55mm? Any thoughts would be much appreciated. . .
The difference between 50mm and 55mm is nothing. Both are good. The main reason for getting the Nikon 55mm Micro is that it is a macro, it can focus much closer than a standard lens. That's good for when you want a big closeup shot of a puppet.
Looking at my 55mm, minimum focus is 241mm (9 1/2") . At that distance, looking at one of my 12" puppet heads, the eyebrows are at the top of the frame and the lower lip is close to the bottom - that's the 3:2 still image, you would see less after cropping to 16:9. I very rarely go as close as 241mm. At 1.5 feet I get a nice head and shoulders shot - a little bit of space over the top of the head, and down to about the bottom of the rib cage, before cropping. That's more like the shots I actually go for, so the lens is looking pretty good. I suppose a 50mm would be slightly wider, but then when you crop to 16:9 you would get less height in the picture.
You can get around a lens not being macro by fitting a close-up ring behind the lens, so any lens can focus closer.
Also, with the very large image sizes you get with DSLRs, you can crop the frame to get more of a close-up that you could have managed just by putting the lens as close as it can focus.
Old 50mm lenses are pretty reasonably priced because nearly every 35mm SLR came with one on it as standard, so there are a lot of them about.
Excellent! That's what I was hoping. I will check out the close up ring too. Thank you sir!