Top positive review
108 people found this helpful
on 16 August 2009
I originally bought this lens strictly for macro use, and for this it is extremely competent. It is just so sharp, and autofocus works well, even when in macro mode. If you are not using a tripod, then the VR function is a very great assistance even when shooting macro shots. This makes ad-hoc macro photography a possibility where having to unpack a tripod would be bothersome.
It didn't take me long though, to appreciate the fantastic potential this lens has for portraiture. The 105mm focal length and f2.8 maximum aperture are very useful for portraiture, and out-of-focus areas are rendered very softly with an attractive bokeh, approaching what you'll get from the masters of bokeh - the 70-200mm f2.8 VR and 85mm f1.4. In addition to this, in-focus areas are tack-sharp, though if you do want to soften the shot, or reasons of flattery, this can of course be done in post very easily. This ability effectively doubles the usefulness of this lens, and makes it one of the top performers in the Nikon range. I would put it in the top 5 most competent lenses along with the 14-24mm f2.8, 24-70mm f2.8, 70-200mm f2.8 VR and 50mm f1.4 - some might insist the 85mm f1.4 be included, but I'd put this at no.6 because it's such a specialist item.
I have also used this lens for landscape photography. Its sharpness lends it well to this application, as long as you can achieve the crop you want with its fixed focal length. Yet another, if minor, string to its bow. It is, of course, fully corrected for FX, so you can use it with your D700, D3, or D3X with confidence.
The one negative point, and reason for only giving 4 stars, is that when shooting at the macro end of its range, adjusting focus also increases and decreases the size of the image in the frame - often quite significantly. This makes achieving a precise crop in frame at exact focus more difficult than it need otherwise be, and may prove irritating if you are a full time macro photographer. For me though, it's a worthwhile compromise for the very positive features of the lens, so I can strongly recommend it.