AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED
Great prime lens, but maybe not for everyone
This lens takes amazing pictures, but extreme closeups are challenging. Depth of field, even with a narrow aperture, is limited at its minimal focal range, but it is certainly capable of superb photos! I rarely use a tripod, priding myself at having a steady hand when it comes to handling a camera. But when a single mm can make the difference in being out of focus, a tripod would probably be helpful. All the attached photos were hand-held.
The green spider on the sample photo included with this review is less than 1/2 inch in length, and I had to hold the camera by hand above him due to the location outdoors. I used manual focus, which is easier in a situation like this.
The blue flower (a spiderwort) was taken at near-minimal focal range at f/14, and the crop version of it shows the incredible detail that the lens (and the D800) picked up.
For photos that are taken from 2 or more feet from the subject, the lens is much easier to use -- auto focus works reasonably well, and a millimeter of body sway is not going to have much impact.
Lens is great for portraits, except that it can show too many details, especially for those over 40 (lol). Be prepared to do a little skin smoothing, because the lens can find every flaw.
Unlike some reviewers, this is not a lens I use every day -- I still prefer the versatility of the 28-300. But when you really want to get close, or want to be really super sharp, this lens is fantastic.
For the novice photographer who wants excellent depth of field in macro work, consider a good high-end pocket camera; the smaller sensor and the closeness of the lens to the sensor combine to make this kind of work easier, though the quality may not be as good.
I have to add that the D800, with its incredible 36MP resolution, adds a new dimension to macro work with this lens, because you can crop and enlarge even further with little or no loss of resolution. The two together are truly a great combination!
Incidentally, this lens provides even closer macro work on a DX camera due to the 1.5X crop factor. I've used it on my D90 very successfully!
July 30, 2014
Opens new horizons!
This lens allows me to pursue areas I have alway wanted to explore. Outstanding combination lens for portraits and closeups. This lens needs to be tried to be believed.
June 28, 2014
I was skeptical of this lense at first because of the price, as I am new to photography as a hobby. It is definitely worth it. I am delighted to have purchased it! You can take nice macro shots from a reasonable distance. It also is good for portrait shots. It works works well with my D5200.
April 19, 2014
Great lens for macro.
After having read reviews for this lens all over i wanted a lens which would be suitable for macro and portrait photography. Ive never done macro work before and was keen on getting this lens as it had some of the best reviews all around. Just got it in my hand yesterday and in spite of knowing this lens was heavy feeling it in my hands made me realize the actual weight it carried. This lens is heavy!! I use a Nikon D600 and after attaching the lens to the body it felt pretty ok. I took a couple of trial shots on general setting, manual, shutter speed around 250 and aperture about 3.3, i cant bel;ieve how easy it was to get great pictures even for a novice like me.
The perspective that macro offers was new to me and just after a couple of clicks the pictures were pretty unbeleiavable. I soon realized that at macro level the aperture def needs to be played around with to get the crisp shots. The bokeh is out of this world. on smaller subjects the focus hunting was pretty noticable and frustrating, and i quickly set it on manual and noticed it to be much easier to focus than autofocus.
I havent had chance to try portraits using this lens.
I would highly recommend this lens as the quality is awesome.
I am attaching a few first sample shots from this lens and remember i wasnt even trying to get a professional quality.
September 6, 2013
Great macro lens! very sensitive
Bought this lens with the R1C1 commander kit and the pair is perfect together. The speedlight flash kit goes together very easily and works real nice.
Paid the extra for the flash setup and it made life a LOT easier. Also, setup and breakdown is simple and the macro lens and flash kit travels easily in any camera bag.
February 12, 2013
Great sharp macro lens
This is my favorite lens for both fx and dx bodies. I have made more good photographs with this lens then all my other lens. Though it is a bit heavy it is worth it for the images it produces.
January 28, 2013
Unbelievable , amazing lense for close up dental photos
I use this lens for my dental practice photos and I got a great photos with this lense and my D7000 nikon camera.
December 18, 2012
Sharpness of the lens
This Lens is really amazing, the sharpness of the lens is really like a razor, i love to use it. And i also use this lens to shot Landscape photo too. Is a really recommended lens for macro, portraiture, and etc purpose.
November 13, 2012
Stunningly sharp lens
I've had this lens for nearly 5 months and until recently had been using it with my Nikon D7000 and now with my new Nikon D600. This lens is superb on both the DX and FX format cameras. I use it primarily for shooting insects of various types but have occasioned to take a portrait or two and the sharpness of this lens is nothing short of breathtaking. With portraits I've had to soften the images or I get a lot of push-back on seeing too many blemishes or wrinkles from the subjects in the photos.
When I first got it I struggled a bit with auto-focus "hunting" but have gradually adapted to it to where it is no longer an issue. I can't be more specific because I didn't do anything special other than more or less learning how the lens likes to be operated. Also in that regard I've read many a report that the vibration reduction and even the auto-focus is virtually useless when doing 1:1 macros. I have not found this to be the case. I use both to great advantage and rarely have had to manually focus.
Overall this is one truly outstanding lens worth every penny I paid for it. Highly recommended!
November 7, 2012
Versatility and superb image quality
I recently bought the Nikkor Micro 105 VR lens to match up with my new Nikon D600. What a fantastic combination! The VR works very well and I have been able to get some good macro shots hand held...I'm looking forward to some extensive tripod work with this lens.
Image quality with the Micro 105 VR is superb...tack sharp....and with the dynamic range of the D600 this lens really shines with outstanding colours and contrast...right out of the camera. Auto focus is very fast, although the D600 does "hunt' a bit with this lens depending on the subject being photographed (some of that could have been me working with a new camera).
The bokeh is very smooth and buttery which gives the Micro 105 VR even more versatility as a general purpose lens with perhaps even a bit of portrait work thrown in.
The shots below were taken hand held....the hole in the leaf is a 100% crop from a tiny segment of the overall photo. I shot the spider in its web with my D600 and D7000 about 1 minute apart. You can see the differences between how the the DX sensor D7000 and the FX sensor D600 work with this lens. The superior sensor in the D600 with its outstanding dynamic range was able to bring out so much more detail in the spider than could my D7000.....the spider looking dark and flat by comparison. The images were taken with identical camera settings, exposures etc. The D600 really enables the Micro 105 VR to excel. All images are jpegs straight out of the cameras with no adjustments what-so-ever.
I also have a Nikkor Micro 85 VR lens which is a very good DX lens but it simply cannot compete with the outstanding image quality of the Micro 105 VR. I have no hesitation recommending the Micro 105 VR...it is superb.
September 30, 2012
Perfect - Multipurpose Lens
Awesome... has left me speechless on several occasions...
I would recommend this lens to serious hobbyists and others above that level already have this beauty... Macro world gives you immense opportunities and kind of "unlocks" a different world altogether.
Indoor Portraits in low light conditions are pretty sharp... I have actually not used my other lenses for the last 4+ weeks since this has been around. Portraits are primarily shot in the 85-125mm range, this lens sits smack in the sweet spot of that range. Use your feet to zoom in and zoom out if needed.
I have a D5000, and have not gone above 640 ISO. Have got crisp handheld shots ~1/25 with f16+ for macro (means very low light conditions). Macro mode will need some practice to get used to - but that is the way macro oughta be!
for Portraits... I've not gone below f9 and not higher than 200 ISO with exceedingly fast shutter speeds.
Highly Recommended. A Nikkor .... will always outlast.
September 9, 2012
Great 'Magic hour' portrait lens
I use this lens very little for macro work. I own the 80-200 f2.8 zoom lens and find that it's too large to take to weddings. There has been a rash of people stealing gear at weddings so I decided to start wearing my lenses on a belt This lens is my go-to lens for portraits. After sunset when the light is still out for a few minutes this lens really shines. Just turn on the VR. I also use it inside of churches handheld with the VR on. I have also found that it focuses quickly in low light and it's amazing to use during the first dance.
i cannot tell you how sharp this lens is, it's breathtaking. But, yes, to photograph the rings I use it for that as well. The macro excels at that. If i had to go a year with only one lens, it would be this one.
June 27, 2012
Super sharp shots
This is my first Macro lens. I am using it on a D7000. Wow. I cannot beleive how clear the images are. It is heavy so I do use a tripod on my Macro shots. Do turn off the VR when using the tripod. I did not think it would matter but I experimented with it on and off on the same shot and it will be more in focus and respond to focus faster when switched off and using a tripod. To really see the fine detail this lens is capable of, crop some shots and reallly zoom in. Outstanding. So to sum it up, super clear, very fast focus, very sharp focus are all the pros. The only cons are it will not go to 2.8 when zoomed all the way in and it is a bit heavy but that is due to the super build quality.
June 26, 2012
An Introvert's Lens
I am an introvert. Photography is my hobby. I have found the perfect lens for the introverted photographer in Nikon’s AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED lens. Let me explain.
I find the medium telephoto fixed focal length of 105mm to be just right for taking candid shots of people, especially when used for street photography. I can keep my distance from my subjects to avoid either being too obtrusive or invading anyone’s personal space. Yet, the macro capability of this lens will allow me to get in much closer should the subject prove amiable and amenable to that.
We introverts are, on the whole, friendly people. It’s just that interaction with people takes its toll on us, and there is a point at which we need to call a “time out,” disengage, get away, and be by ourselves to reenergize. At such points it is a pleasure be able to walk around in solitude and explore the world that the “micro” feature of this lens presents. With this one lens I can photograph the world from both afar and up close, literally, from infinity to 1:1 magnification.
This is a wondrously wonderful instrument. Well done, Nikon optical designers, engineers, and technicians. And thank you.
June 8, 2012
amazing in every way, shape and form
I've owned this year for almost 5 years now, and It's quality shines!! I need to get a nicer tele-converter than the Kenko tubes, this lens is so heavy that it creates visible gaps between the rings ;-/ .. it still works but just a little sketchy... I suggest going with nikon teleconverter if you plan on expanding your reach
June 3, 2012
This lens is fantastic. The sharpness is incredible even with a d90. I use it to take pictures of flowers and insects and I could not be happier. I use it in the studio and outside. In truth I don't often use the VR but it is nice to have when you are taking action shots, or portraits in a low light setting. If you want something that is more versatile than consider the 24-70mm Nikkor Zoom lens. That doesn't have VR and doesn't cover the 105 range but can cover the edge of the macro range quite nicely. If you want to take your Macro to the next level than this is undoubtedly the lens for you. It works really well on my D90. I can't wait to try it on a full FX D800, which is where this baby will really shine!
May 24, 2012
Superb performance and extraordinary sharp images.
March 4, 2012
exellent macro lens!
i use this lens for macro shot and I got amazing results. things I love about this lens its super sharp, beautiful color rendition. some say the AF on this lens is slow for macro work, but not a problem for me because i use MF most of the time when when shooting macro. i love this lens.
February 29, 2012
The hand held best
This Lens does not disappoint, I have had it for over one year now, and all of my shots with it are stunning. It is by far the sharpest lens in my bag. and on a DX it really takes advantage of the magnification factor. I have used both a TC-20EII and a TC-17EII converter on this lens. It will fully auto-focus even in poor lighting. The shots with the teleconverter are sharp and very acceptable. however without the converter, it is like a razor. I still had to set the fine tune to -8 on my D7000, (back focusing issue). but this lens is by far one of my all around favorites. The VR is what really makes sets it apart from all the other micro lineup, not even the 85mm F3.5 Vr micro can really do what this one can. only the 200mm F4 will surpass this lens in sharpness if you have it properly stabilized, but this lens is made for on the go macro work. I really liked using this lens with the SB-400 flash, keep the weight down and still get excellent light fill. Highly recommended for all users, DX and FX. and If I had to have one lens, and sell the rest off, this would be my keeper. the quality is absolutely top notch.
November 13, 2011
A must-have lens for your camera bag
In the short time I have had this lens, it's hardly ever detached from my D90 camera. I soon discovered that being mounted on a tripod is vital to avoid camera shake. With such a shallow depth of field at low apertures, it takes practise to get focusing right. I now use a remote and what a difference it has made. This is one of the best lenses I have ever used, and it's so well built, can't fault it at all, just wish the insects would remain still for longer and the wind wouldn't blow so much!
August 1, 2011
Very good quality lens, high precision autofocus good for portraits with focusing range reduction, for macros I usually use manual focusing!
July 25, 2011
This one of my favorite lenses.
I love the versatility and quality of this lens. It produces images that are perfectly sharp with a beautiful depth of field. The depth of field is very thin in close-up work, so I had to learn where to focus and how to choose the aperture to produce the effect I wanted. Portrait and still life shooting has been great fun, as well. The 105mm telephoto design allows enough distance from the subject to produce a depth of field large enough to capture a sharp image of the subject in a soft environment. This contrast in focus draws the viewer's attention right to that part of the image you wish to emphasize. The quality of construction is excellent. I always make room in my bag or "fanny pack" for this workhorse.
July 10, 2011
This is one of Nikons best. I have the 70-200f2.8, The 200-400 f4 & the 105 f2.8 Micro Nikkor. These are the sharpest & best made lenses I have ever owned. Being near 75 years old, that is saying something. I have owned a lot of lenses.
Expensive & Heavy, yes but they contain a lot of Very good glass in a very sturdy container.
June 25, 2011
Overall this is a great lens.
This is a great lens to start with. The only thing I would like changed on it is when in manual focus it needs a fine and finer adjustment for focus. Instead of just one ring to focus with put two and let the second be a finer adjustment to the focusing. I have just started using the camera and I love it. Much better and easier to control than the Canon I had.
June 20, 2011
Best macro ever!
I bought this lens after trying older Nikon and off-brand models and I have to say I am delighted with it. Razor sharp. Colors and contrast are superb. The fact that it doesn't extend while focusing, its focal length and rugged construction make it a great tool for outdoor macro photography. I also use it in the studio for commercial shots. I am very pleased with the results.
June 4, 2011
My close ups are way better now !!
Pros: It works really nice.. a tripod is really usefull doing this type of photography...even without it i still get some good results.
Heavy..on a d300s with mbd10 grip but i don't mind it much the results make up for the weight.
Price..i guess you get what you paid for...i've waited three years to get this lens.
Other thoughts: I wish Nikon would let their customers know that the warranty form filled for their purchases was received.
May 21, 2011
I bought this lens more than a year ago with the expectation to take macro shots of insects, flowers and other small natural objects. The results have been great with the 2.8 glass elements. Recently I've started using it as a portrait lens and now its use has grown two fold. As a portrait lens, the results are spectacular. Each week I place a new image of mine as my desktop wallpaper, and each week I have several colleagues dropping by to say "Wow! nice photo!" The depth of field in portrait shots is great.
May 7, 2011
Sharpest Lense in My Bag
I have taken close-ups, portraits, and landscape shots with this lens and it has performed well, especially when sharpness is critical. I would recommend this lens for anyone needing professionally sharp images.
May 2, 2011
ideal for medical /dental applications
I have been using it for dental photography .
I find it to be one lense for intra oral as well as extra oral shots.
I conduct courses country wide on medical photography and presently writing a book on it
May 1, 2011
This is a great lens!
This lens was recommended as a good close-up lens and a good lens for nature. I have found it is all of that and more. Clear and sharp whether shooting nature scenery, birds in flight, or flower petals. Excellent in low light as well!
April 23, 2011