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Nikon 85mm or Nikon 105mm

Discussion in 'Nikon Chat' started by Keith Jones, May 10, 2021.

  1. Keith Jones

    Keith Jones Active Member

    Looking for yet another lens, wanting a decent macro lens so thinking either the 85mm macro or the 105mm macro but can't decide on what would be the most advantageous .
    Appreciate any thoughts
  2. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Usually a longer focal length gives more flexibility but 85 and 105 are pretty close. I’d look at specs/reviews. I’ve no idea about Nikon lenses.
    ChrisNewman likes this.
  3. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    I have both an 85 f1.8 and a 105 f2 but neither is a macro lens so I’ll say no more.
  4. ChrisNewman

    ChrisNewman Well-Known Member

    You don’t say which body you want to use the lens on. The AF-S Micro Nikkor 85mm f/3.5G ED VR is a DX lens; it’s only designed to cover an APS-C sensor. I bought one when I switched from Pentax film to the Nikon digital system, for my DX D90 body. Subsequently I upgraded to the FF D800, and later bought the AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED. I think the 105mm is a better lens all round; sharper, with a larger aperture and more effective VR. But it weighs twice as much as the 85mm, and cost me about twice as much. In the winter, when I don’t take many macro shots, I keep the 85mm in my camera bag rather than the 105mm, just to save weight, and accept 15 MPx rather than 36 MPx shots when I do use it. (Also I once missed the wingtips of a butterfly, because I have my D800 set to switch automatically to DX format with a DX lens, and didn’t notice the wings extended outside the black DX frame in the viewfinder. But if I was paranoid about that, I could cancel the automatic switch, fill the viewfinder and sensor with the 85mm, and plan to crop off the less sharp, darker outer parts of the image; I’m sure the butterfly wingtips would have been reasonably good.) But if I lost both lenses, I’d only replace the 105mm.

    The Sigma 105mm macro is generally reckoned to be as good a lens as the Nikkor, at about half the price. I paid the extra for the Nikkor partly in the hope of avoiding future incompatibility, but mainly because it goes down to f/32, while I think the Sigma stops at f/22. For 1:1 macro the depth of field is so narrow that I don’t find it unusual to use f/32 (but if I had the software and took the trouble, focus stacking with larger apertures to reduce diffraction would give much better results).

  5. Learning

    Learning Ethelred the Ill-Named

    The only Nikon micro lens that I own and use is the AF-S MICRO NIKKOR 105mm 1:2.8 G ED VR . This is the current version of the 105 macro Nikon. It is getting a bit long in the tooth but is still a superb lens. I am satisfied that Nikon make nothing better for general macro photography. The 200 mm f4.0 AF-D may be better for some specialised purposes but that uses the old fashioned screw driver AF mechanism; it is almost vintage but is still sold new.
    I researched the options carefully before buying the 105 and am certain that I made the right choice. I have used it on D7100, D800, and D500. I have also used the lens with a 1.7⨉ converter. With the converter AF becomes hesitant once the effective aperture drops below f8.0. This is expected for any lens at very close focussing distances.
  6. Keith Jones

    Keith Jones Active Member

    Hi Chris,

    Many thanks for the in depth reply, sounds as if the 105 mm might be the one, and apologies I should have stated that the body I have is the D7000 .
    Kind regards
  7. Keith Jones

    Keith Jones Active Member

    Hi Learning
    Many thanks for your reply, think the 105mm is the one to go for.
    Kind regards
  8. beatnik69

    beatnik69 Well-Known Member

    Don't forget that on your D7000 the 105mm will give the effective view of a 157.5mm on a Nikon FX camera body.
  9. ChrisNewman

    ChrisNewman Well-Known Member

    While that would be true for distant subjects, for close-ups the ratio between lens and subject distance for different sensor sizes using the same lens is closer than the ratio of the sensor sizes. Also, I believe the Micro-Nikkor 105mm, in common with many other macro lenses, uses a design where the focal length gets shorter as the lens is focused closer. But of course for any lens, the lens to subject distance to fill the frame with any subject will be greater with a small sensor than with a larger one.

    Personally, I prefer a fairly long macro focal length in almost all respects except for stability when hand-holding. In particular it reduces the risk of disturbing insects, etc, and can also give a more natural perspective (although the diagonal sensor size is considered a “normal” focal length, we view most things from further than half a metre; hence the popularity of short telephoto lenses for facial portraits). When I was considering which full-frame macro lens to get, I was tempted by the image-stabilized 150mm F2.8 macro that Sigma offered at the time, but the weight, size and price counted against it

  10. Learning

    Learning Ethelred the Ill-Named

    I did not buy the Nikon 200mm f4.0 macro because it was so long in the tooth. I am happy with my 105 f2.8.
    If Nikon were to update the 200mm as a Z S lens, maybe half a stop faster, it would cost a bomb. In spite of that they would have a good chance of selling me the lens and a Z camera. I haven't spent any money on photographic equipment for years.
  11. Learning

    Learning Ethelred the Ill-Named

    I don't know if you are still following this Keith. Within a month or two there may be a few more 105mm F mount macros coming on to the market second hand at lower prices. I would be reluctant to buy a new one since it is now obsolescent. I am hanging on to mine because I am not moving to Z system yet.

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