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


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Poll: Rate this lens (51 member(s) have cast votes)

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#1 SLRShooter

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Posted 17 June 2008 - 15:09

I love the 105 VR lens but when you get close to 1:1, you need a tripod to get a really sharp picture.  Also, and this is the same with most macro/micro lens, the depth of field is paper thin at 1:1.  
Norm (SLRShooter)

#2 Dallas

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Posted 06 December 2009 - 11:50

Have you used this lens? If so, let others know what you thought about it by summarising your experiences as a reply to this thread. Please keep all comments on topic.

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#3 Fish_Shooter

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Posted 14 December 2009 - 01:05

I got this lens to use under water. In a housing of course!  >:D
The fact that it has a fixed physical length is an advantage for this application since the housing port can be optimal (less air space between lens and port). For the attached shot I added a Nikon diopter to get slightly above 1:1 and to reduce the working distance just enough so the port could be submerged in rather shallow water.

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  • _D2X5095.jpg

a multiple-decade Nikon shooter; cameras from Nikon F to D2x, Nikonos I to RS, Nikkor lenses from 10.5 to 1200mm

#4 wings

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 16:01

The colour rendition and sharpness are fantastic. Bokeh is very smooth. I use it for portraiture and flowers, mainly. For bugs, I use something longer.

#5 nfoto

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 16:35

I never was enamoured with the AFS 105 VR. Part of the problem was its "Micro-Nikkor" designation that sets up high expectations which the lens cannot entirely meet. I suspect its optimised range is quite far away from the close-up zone. Sharpness of my copy was OK but nothing more, focusing breathing made the lens impractical in the field, and CA issues were prominent. I quickly dropped it and replaced it with the Voigtländer 125/2.5 APO-Lanthar, the merit of which sufficient has been written. Over the years I have met lots of people reacting in a similar fashion to their 105 VR so my experience isn't unique. Also, I tried several samples before I finally decided to ditch the 105 VR in favour of the 125 APO. In contrast, heaps of people swear by their 105 VRs, so it's only fair to say opinions of it are diversified.

Recently, I retested another 105 VR as part of a bigger test setup of "macro" lenses for a Norwegian magazine (the test comprised Nikkor and Canon lenses, plus Sigma). This sample performed markedly better than the lens I had rejected three years ago. True, the basic issues with some axial CA and a loss of detail in the extreme close-up range still were detectable, and focus breathing is, like the Canon 100 Macro models, a huge problem if you use the lens on a tripod for close-ups. However, the overall sharpness of this copy was at the same level as the new Canon 100 EF L USM and the Sigma 105 EX DG HSM.

I won't purchase another copy of the 105 VR, but my experiences make me wonder about sample variability of this lens as a prime cause of the very different responses people express for this lens. Ensure you test the lens throughly before accepting it and you should be just fine with the 105 VR.


Bjørn

#6 j.c.denton

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 18:16

I experienced the Nikon AF-S 105mm f/2.8 VR as a lens with two souls, the soul of a macro lens and the souls of a short tele lens. Depending on what you plan to use this lens, it will be awesome or just a good lens.

If you plan to use it as a macro lens, this lens will do fine. Focus breathing is a bit annoying when aiming for a specific magnification and framing. The VR helps less the nearer you get to your subject. As usual with macro, AF-S makes no different because at serious magnification, you will do manual focus anyway. Sharpness is fine, but does not exceed the competition. Biggest problem is that for the same money or less, you can get the Sigma 150/2.8 which offers you a greater working distance with at least equal image quality. I have owned both, and for macro work, I would go for the Sigma (if one can live with cosmetic faults once the EX finish is exposed to outdoor roughness).

If you ignore Nikons designation of the 105VR as a macro lens and take it as a short tele with increased magnification, you get an awesome piece of glass. Sharpness is good to excellent even wide open, conrast is extremely high, colors are very vivid and bokeh is very creamy. VR works as advertised with a solid 3-stop improvement in handholdable shutter speed. AF-S is very reliable, also in terms of speed absolutly not in the league of Nikons longer AF-S primes, it is fast enough even for sports. Personally, I saw only two major drawbacks with its role as a short tele. First, performance at infinity focus drops a bit. It stays good nevertheless, but misses the bitter sharpness yuo gain when using it at f/4 and medium distances. Second, it is a VR prime lens, granted, but on the other side it features only a maximum aperture of 2.8. You can get a comparable performance with VR in the 70-200, a flexible and long range zoom, if you can live with a higher weight and price.

Nevertheless, this lens is an excellent all-rounder and as this, it is recommandable. If I were an FX shooter, it would be my first buy.

#7 Tom

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 20:35

I really like the VR even when it seems to get less useful at larger magnifications. But I think that people complaining about the reduced efficiency ignore that the recommended shutter times shorten with larger magnifications and thus the VR on this lens still has some usefull function even if you still need 1/125 sec at a 1:1 shot.
The only complaints I have are
(a) some AF mishaps on normal (i.e. non-macro) shots
(B) the Sigma 150/2.8 macro is sharper (but lacks VR)
In the end I believe I'll sell my 105/2.8 VR and keep the Sigma ::)
See some selected shots with this lens here.

Thomas (moderator and lens-tester at Camera Labs)
All my lens reviews, My Photography Blog, My photos


#8 Jason Ross

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Posted 05 April 2010 - 12:15

Although this is a macro lens I just use it as a short telephoto lens with VR, for macro work my old Nikon A1 105 f4 knocks the spots of the new 105 VR, but the Nikon 105 VR is brillant at anything else and works well on both DX & FX Nikon camera bodies.

#9 dspeed

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Posted 05 April 2010 - 13:07


I've never quite understood the issues people report w this lens, perhaps because my previous 'macro' was an old 135 f2.8 AI lens with a Tiffen 'closeup lens'.  My copy is about 12 yrs old now, and I have no sharpness issues.  Maybe because Nikon chose to target a wide market segment with AF, VR and more of a general purpose than a pure macro design philosophy.  The problems with 'breathing' I thought were normal for the breed, hence the plethoria of macro focus gadgets (some quite nice).  There are inherent issues with DOF in macro shooting, and yes, a tripod is required for sharp shots at high mag (tho a flash can do wonders if applied correctly}.  The 105's length gives me enough distance for most subjects.

On top of that, I use this lens a lot as a medium telephoto where it works well.  It has a home in my bag.

Dave

aka 'Joe Photographer' <g>
[size="4"] [/size]

#10 Airee

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Posted 30 May 2010 - 17:19

I mostly use it as an allround short tele (on FX) in dark places, and VR gets me sharp pictures down to 1/4s (only about 25% but never mind, big memory cards have become cheap). Moreover, I get good results wide open in high contrast situations (no blue fringing), and vignetting is moderate. I agree that, as a macro lens, some compromises had to be made, but since that was not my primary usage, I do not care.
Some AF hunting, indeed, but I mostly use it on static subjects where this does not matter. The weight and size, also, are not very pleasant, nor is the unusual (to me at least) filter thread, 62mm.

Overall, quite a useful and good piece of optics and mechanics.

#11 HenkL

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Posted 02 September 2010 - 09:46

It is a sharp, contrasty macro lens. Somehow I do not like this lens. For macro work it is so so, portrait lens no go (focus hunting is terrible). I am planning on selling it. I believe it has the same optics as the 105 E series lens.. no kidding (only differing in nano coating which means less flaring). It may be that it differs in lens formula, but the outcome of pictures are just the same (sharpness, bokeh and contrast).

#12 Polizonte

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Posted 25 October 2010 - 14:47

I use this as a sub-telephoto more often than a macro lens on my D700; it was my first AFS G lens when switched to Nikon FX. It is better than the Nikon 105mm f/2.5 Ai purchased back in the 1970's perhaps because I am enjoying digital photography more than film. At times I have to switch to manual focus to cope with the hunting but in general for my simple photography it has exceeded my expectations.
Es mejor pescar que ser pescado.




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