Review: 105mm f/2.8 Macro Nikkor Lens

Macro Lens Review-Macro (1 of 2)

I have several lenses that I use on a regular basis. It is safe to say that each one of them has been my “favorite” lens at some point, until the newness wore off. Obviously different lenses will help you accomplish different things with your photography.  However, the more I work with this particular lens, the more I realize how extremely versatile it is. My favorite lens, as of this moment, is the Macro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G lens. I will give you three reasons why you want it too.

1) Versatility

My husband was the one who initially convinced me to get this lens. He was mainly interested in taking macro pictures of bugs and other insects. This lens allows you to focus on small objects that are extremely close to your lens. You can be millimeters away from an object, and it allows you to focus on your subject in great detail. It gives you a unique view of the world to be able to focus in so closely on such tiny objects.

Before I purchased this lens, I was always curious how photographers were able to get that unique depth of field you see in various nature pictures. Whether it be a bug or small bird for example. The only thing in focus is that tiny subject, and the rest of the photo is COMPLETELY blurred. The key is that having that Macro lens.

Macro Lens Review-Macro (2 of 2)

Macro Lens Review-Macro (1 of 2)

Photos: Courtesy of Josiah Schaddelee with Rememory Photography.

So, knowing that I wanted to specialize in portraiture, taking photos of weddings, couples, families and such, I was hesitant to purchase such an expensive lens that seemed to only have one very specialized focus. For those of you more experienced readers, you are probably shaking your head and thinking “this person knows nothing.” Well, back in the day, I didn’t. Just because your lens is macro capable, doesn’t mean you can only take macro shots with it. This lens turns out to be a beautiful portrait lens. The focal length is perfect for taking portraits, as you don’t get the facial distortion that would occur on shorter focal lengths. The ideal is anywhere from 75-135mm for taking portraits. Below you will find one of my first portraits with this lens.

Macro Lens Review-Portrait (1 of 1)

So you see, I find it very versatile. I use it more than any other lens I own.

2) Image Quality

Another perk I love about this lens is the sharpness I get from it. My sharpest photographs are all taken with this lens. With proper technique, you should be able to get sharp photos from most lenses that you purchase, but there is something special about this one. Nikkon’s overview on the lens words it perfectly:

“-Nikon VR II (Vibration Reduction) Image Stabilization Vibration Reduction, engineered specifically for each VR NIKKOR lens, enables handheld shooting at up to 4 shutter speeds slower than would otherwise be possible, assuring dramatically sharper still images and video capture.”

I have VR II in all my lenses, but Nikkon nailed it on the head with this one. Simple as that. The portrait above was taken with a shutter speed of 1/50. Typically, the rule of thumb is 1/[your focal length]. So with a 105mm focal length, I should have at least been at 1/125 of a second. 1/50 is a general no-no, and definitely something I don’t do often. In this case, the VR II greatly helped with camera shake.

Another thing I noticed to be true, as Nikkon claims on their website, is that the Nano crystal coat and ED glass elements prevent flare and chromatic aberrations. I find this to be 100% true. I have found time and again with certain lenses and high contrast lighting conditions, I will always get some CA. But with this lens, I never have to even touch the “lens corrections” tab in post processing.

Overall, Nikkon doesn’t lie when it comes to image quality with this lens.

3) Look like a Pro

When I first started out, I was always trying to figure out how to look like a pro photographer and the steps I needed to take to get there. My google searches would look something like “How to look like a pro photographer,” or “what do I need to be a pro photographer?” In retrospect, I would say that the answer is simple: know what gear you need for the type of photography you want, and learn how to use it. Obviously this just takes research and practice. But many pro’s will all say the same thing: get bigger gear.

Looking like you have legitimate gear ultimately means bigger and better gear. Flash systems, tripods, camera bodies, lenses, etc. are all large equipment pieces. Pro lenses are also larger and much sturdier than their non-pro counterparts. This macro lens is a legitimate pro lens. It has the gold band that Nikkon puts on all their pro lenses. It is also fairly large. The filter size is 62mm, and weighs almost two pounds. You can put that thing on an entry level camera body and look like a pro simply because that lens is so grand.

Photo: Courtesy of

So if you are a seasoned photographer and don’t have this lens yet, I would consider this lens a must-have (or it’s Cannon counterpart). If you are new to the game and looking to upgrade and expand your lens collection, I would also consider this a great first pro-lens purchase. You can use it on a DX body, and if you choose to upgrade later, it is made for FX cameras, so you only help your transition.You can check it out on Nikkon’s website here:


2 Comments on “Review: 105mm f/2.8 Macro Nikkor Lens

  1. Hi.
    Great article. I’ve used the earlier version for almost two years and love it. I shoot with only prime lenses and am finally upgrading to this lens later this week. I’m very excited as I love close up photos.
    The vr should help in lower light and the nano crystal coating should help where there is too much light.
    So pumped to get it.

    Any other places on your site where you are sharing photos taken with that lens?