Nikon 105mm Macro af-d review
The official name is Nikon AF Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8D
Different letters explained – Nikon 105mm macro af-d
AF – means it is an autofocus lens
D – is a letter for distance, which means this lens sends information to the camera, which was important because of flash systems
105mm is usual distance for macro lenses and portraits as well on a Full frame camera, for macro it is even better for macro as it is a little longer meaning we have shallower field of view.
Micro Macro refers to the lens has huge magnification for macro photography
f/2.8 refers to lens brightness – it is a bright lens on absolute scale, but there are some even brighter lenses out there with f/1.2-1.4 aperture
Introduction – Nikon 105mm macro af-d
Macro lenses can be very useful tools in photography. Add one macro lenses to your arsenal broaden your possibilities significantly. The 105mm focal length seems to be a very popular focal length among macro lens manufacturers. This lens can serve very nicely as a portrait lens as well. The longer focal length helps to blur the background more nicely than wider macro lenses, which can give a creative taste to the photos of the lens makes. Because the lens is very sharp it is very capable in the telephoto range as well. Sports, cat-dog-horse-bird pictures can make in high quality. This older Nikon 105mm macro lens was discontinued in 2006 and were substituted with the newer Nikon 105mm Vr macro lens, which is a very high quality, but also very pricey lens.
Optical quality – Nikon 105mm macro af-d
This is a very fine lens. Distortion is almost negligible, chromatic aberration is very low. Sharpness is excellent. When I looked in the viewfinder I was very satisfied with I saw, although it is not the first macro lens I tested (I tested the Nikon 105mm Vr, Canon 60 and 100mm lenses as well). The colours of the lens produces are beautiful. Very few lenses has this high optical quality. The picture made with the Nikon d7000 digital camera.
Very sharp in the telephoto range as well.
Bokeh – Nikon 105mm macro af-d
The 105mm and f/2.8 aperture helps the lens to have smooth bokeh.
Specifications – Nikon 105mm macro af-d
Mount: Nikon F
Compatibility: Full frame, Aps-C, not autofocusing with D3xxx, and D5xxx Nikkors
which lacks focusing motor
Price: 350 dollars used (discontinued in 2006) initial price was double
Max magnification: 1:1
Max aperture wide end: f/2.8
Max aperture long end: f/2.8
Lens design: 9 elements in 8 groups
Filter size: 52mm metal thread which is quite unique today
No of aperture blades: 7
Weight in g: 560 gr
Weight in oz: 19.8 oz
Dimensions in mm: 105 x 75mm
Dimensions in inch:
Closest focus distance in cm: 31 cm from the sensor plane
Closest focus distance in foot: 1 ft from the sensor plane
Distance from the end of the lens: 133 mm
Focusing system:traditional micromotor
Angle of view APS-C: – degree
Angle of view Full frame: – degree
Separate aperture ring: yes (good for video)
Internal focusing: No
Manual focus override: No
Constant physical size: No
Non-rotating front element: yes
Zoom lock: No
Tripod collar: No
Lens Hood: Nikon HS-7 optional, barell shape
Focus limiter: yes
Distance scale: yes
DOF scale: yes
Sealing against moisture: No
Compatible with teleconverters: No
Built quality – Nikon 105mm macro af-d
The lens has very good build quality, but the physical size is not constant, which can be a problem if you want to shoot insect, as the lens extends in close distances. There is a workaround, you fix the focus on closest distance and zoom with your hand or foot. The autofocus is slow compare to modern lenses. The weight of the lens is about average with it’s 560g/19.8 oz weight. The size is longish showing it is a telephoto lens and not small. The manual focus ring operates quite smoothly.
What is it good for ? – Nikon 105mm macro af-d
This is a classical macro lens, ideal for photographing flowers, butterflies, insects and many other Macro subjects. The other ideal usage is portraits. I prefer slightly longer lenses for portraits, so this 105mm is ideal for this purpose. With this lens you need little more distance from the subject, but if you want not pre-set, more natural portraits it is better.
There is a manual focus switch.
-excellent optical quality (extremely good lens, I liked it very much)
-solid build quality
-perhaps cheaper price
-dated autofocus mechanism
-lens going to be bigger in close focus distances
-not auto-focusing with entry level Nikon cameras
Main rivals :
The main rival is the newer 105mm Ed Vr version which is better in several key aspects. But if you find the older version for cheaper price this is an excellent lens as well. There are many other macro lenses around even with similar focal length, like the Tamron 90mm, the Tamron 90mm Vc USD, the Sigma 105mm, which has several versions. None of this lenses are bad actually. The newer ones has quick silent drive which is a definite bonus if you not only use the lens for macro photography.
The Nikon 105mm Af-D is still a very good lens with excellent optical qualities, but if you have the budget for the newer version it is better in several key aspects, like af speed, constant physical length, vr, ed glass element, etc. See the review of the new version here.
Even the broader concurrence is extremely strong from Sigma and Tamron lenses.