GEAR REVIEW MICRO-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8G VR
If you're in the market for a dedicated macro lens for your Nikon camera body, then you can't go too far wrong with the Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G VR. A beautifully constructed, quiet and razor sharp optic that serves equally well as a classic portrait lens.
The added addition of vibration reduction makes it great for handheld shots where shutter speed can start to compromise image quality as motion blur creeps in.
As expensive and well made this lens is, I have to say that on the D90 I honestly found the 105mm VR a bit of a chore to use. Due to the AF system of the camera and the amount of juice the body allocated, the 105mm would take 4 seconds to go from close focus to infinity and back again. If the focus missed, the lens began to hunt and it would seem like an age before it locked on again. I hated standing there like a lemon in front of the model waiting to take a shot. However, when I mounted this on the D800, it became a very different beast entirely. The auto focus barely took a second to perform the same focus range and due to the awesome accuracy of the D800, it rarely misses a beat. It is now a dream to use.
At closest focusing distance the maximum aperture is in fact f/4.8 - not f/2.8. As you focus further away the aperture widens and eventually hits f/2.8 at 3m/10ft. A bit cheeky but, I'll let Nikon off. Still, if you're shooting in studio and move your position, be mindful of any changes to the aperture and resulting exposure. I actually bought the lens for portraits primarily. The fact that its a macro lens was just an added bonus.
It's not the cheapest macro lens in its range but then again, its a Nikon. At over £600, what are you exactly getting for your money? As it turns out, a fair bit. It's solidly built with a metal mount. None of your cheap plastic here. There is also a rubber gasket to moisture seal. On the side of the lens are the VR, AF and focus limiter controls. You also have instant manual focus override by turning the well dampened and precise focus barrel. The addition of vibration reduction is a big plus for this lens.
I used to have a Tamron SP90 f/2.8 Di, which I used on the D90. I would lose so many shots with due to camera shake. The AF always seemed to miss as well and hunting was a frequent issue. Whether that was due to the accuracy of the D90's AF system or not, I don't know. What I do know is that I was able to get sharp hand held shots at 1/25 sec with the Micro-Nikkor. For a 105mm on a crop sensor (157.5mm) that's pretty impressive - especially with my hands!
Optically its crazy sharp and the detail it delivers is quite fantastic. You also get an ED element and nano crystal coating to boot. Focus speed on the D800 is awesome but, will vary depending upon your camera body. For portraits its a stunning lens. The compression on the face is far more flattering that the 50mm f/1.8D which used to to be my go to lens on the D90. For macro its great - its a macro lens.
If this review has wet your appetite then click the link below and order yours from Amazon!