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4.8 out of 5 stars69
4.8 out of 5 stars
Price:£619.00+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 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.
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VINE VOICEon 3 May 2010
Macro lenses tend to be put in the "Special-purpose lenses that I won't need because I don't do that specific type of photography" category without much thought, but this is a big mistake because if anything, the macro functionality seems like more of an useful addition to an already-great telephoto lens. Let me explain:

Build:

The 105mm VR lens is solid. It's one of Nikon's best built lenses. From front to back it is solid metal. The focus ring is wonderfully fluid, and yet has a damped enough feeling to know it will resist even the most penetrating of dust and moisture. The focus index is useless, don't use it. When you're doing macro work all those equations go out the window any way. At the rear of the lens, it is rubber lined so that when you mount it on a camera it creates another seal. Looking at it closely, the seal is strong but don't rely on it to hold up against everything. The lens hood is plastic, and about the length of the lens itself. I never use it, reason being that it doubles the length of the lens, and your effective working distance is that much shorter before you scare away bugs and insects, just use your hand to remove stray light if you really need to. All focusing is done internally so that the lens never extends when focusing, and the SWM motor means that it hardly makes a sound, good for not scaring little critters.

Optics:

It's no secret to say that Macro lenses have some of the clearest, sharpest, most precise optics around. In fact, there is basically no fault with this lens, optically. You will find that due to it's flat-focusing nature, in-focus objects are sharp across the entireframe, even at wide-open apertures like F/2.8 Speaking of which, this lens will only ever be F/2.8 at infinity focus, as you get closer, and eventually up to 1:1 focus, the minimum aperture increases past F/2.8 This is no mistake, and no fault with your lens, it's a simple optical trick that all (yes, all) macro lenses need to do in order to do what they do. You won't get flare with this lens, and ghost are very well controlled until you are shooting directly into a large light source, in which case the smallest amount will come in to play. The front element is smaller than the filter diameter, which means that even filters with a very large, thick ring will not cause you any vignetting. Speaking of which, even at F/2.8 vignetting is not a problem at all on DX and very slight on FX. This is normal.

Features/Performance:

This lens, according to the manual features VR II technology, although the VR icon on the lens barrel is red, and not gold as the new VR II lens models have. I don't know or care which it is, because it works perfectly. There are a lot of reviews saying that VR is 'nearly useless when doing close macro stuff' and to 'turn it off to save battery'. I'll admit the VR isn't as effective as when used at infinity focus, but it still works very well at 1:1 and really can make the difference, I assure you. Don't be put off. As for the battery-draining, a close friend of mine says that the VR on this lens eats his D200's battery alive, and he can literally see the bars going disappearing with use. On my D3s, it is not a problem, it hardly has any impact on the battery level at all, and I can comfortably use it all day long on a full charge, and have plenty for the next day.

Autofocus speed is good, but it's hardly stellar. This is not a fault with your lens, all (yes, all) macro lenses have quite poor (in comparison to $4000 zoom lenses) focusing due to the extreme range in which they have to work. This will often lead to 'hunting' which is where the lens struggles to find the focus point and moves back and forth between near and far. Fortunately, the lens does have a focus lock but this won't help you in macro as it locks way past where macro really begins. What will help you, however, is that the lens has a full-time manual focus override on that beautifully large focus ring, meaning that you can have the last say, every time. It works without failure, and it's a useful feature.

Moving away from macro, this lens can be used as a stunning prime-telephoto lens for portrait work. The bokeh is nice, but not as good as an 85mm 1.8 lens, against a plain background however it is much sharper and with less distortion, and obviously VR helps in every situation.

I hope this helps
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on 25 September 2010
This lens is not cheap but it is worth every penny if you are serious about this hobby. It is pin point sharp and renders the colours better than any other lens in my bag. The auto-focus is quiet, quick and exact in all normal situations, although it is less useful at the macro end where it is better to override it with manual. The bokah is beautiful.
I shoot in JPEG with a D90. I have put up three of my shots on this site taken recently with this lens. The one with the detail of a butterfly wing is a crop from a shot taken about two feet away. The colours have not been touched and the sharpening I did in post was truly minimal. If you have any hesitation about purchasing this lens this shot should convince you about the potential of the lens. For my part, I am going to be using it a lot for both macro shots and portraits.
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on 30 December 2009
This is simply the best lens that I have and I do have good fast glass... excellent bokeh and colour rendition, headshots with this one are really tack sharp and the macro is stunning (provided that you have good light). The only lens that might be better for headshots than this one is the 85mm f/1.4 (which is in my list but no funds for it yet), but this one is definitely an outstanding piece of engineering.

If you are serious about photography and use Nikon, this lens should be on your kit. It has replaced the 24-70 as the "always on" lens on my D300.
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VINE VOICEon 2 April 2010
Unfortunately the version Amazon sent me looked like it was second hand (lens barrel dirty, front and rear elements dirty), so I sent it back for refund and got another from Jessops. But don't let that put you off, because this is an excellent lens.

As others have said this lens is wonderfully sharp and doubles as both a macro and walkabout lens for portrait and other uses. Fully compatible with both FX and DX format, on DX cameras you will of course get a 1.5x boost in magnification compared to FX. It's expensive, but it's top quality glass and a good investment in my view. If you have a DX format SLR you will have a lens which will upgrade to FX if/when you decide to. One day I'm going to go for a D700 (or whatever semi-pro FX SLR Nikon is selling at the time), so when I do the 105 will step up with me without me having to pay again.

A nice fast f/2.8 aperture, although you may notice the camera body showing a smaller aperture (higher f/number) when working in macro ranges - apparently the effective aperture at macro distances decreases (by 2x if working at 1:1 magnification). This is the law of physics and applies to all macro lenses, it's not a defect (and besides, you're unlikely to be using wide apertures when taking macros anyway, so nothing to lose sleep about).

In normal ranges the AF is very quick on my D300, but this is with the limit switch on (which limits AF from 0.5M to infinity, therefore excluding macro). I found that at macro range or at normal range with the limit switch off that the lens can sometimes hunt. At macro I'm mostly working with manual focus anyway, so this isn't a problem for me. If you're using the reach of the 105 for fast action shots just keep the limit switch on. Simple.

Bokeh on this lens is lovely - I've only had it a week, but have already taken some wonderful flower macros with it, with beautiful creamy bokeh. The lens is very sharp but at macro range the DoF takes some getting used to - the field of view changes at macro range with just minor movements of the lens (breathing), but given the results you get I'm prepared to live with that.

It's a big lens, heavy and fairly large for a prime, but doesn't look out of place on my D300 (and well worth the size/weight inconvenience IMO). It's very well built, and looks like it would stand up to the roughest of treatment. More pro-like than the other (DX) lenses that I have. I haven't tried it on smaller SLRs, but I expect that on something like a D40 or D3000 it would make the camera feel very front heavy - my advice would be to try it out in person on the high street and see how you get on.

Recommended.
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on 1 July 2008
I bought this as a present for myself after my father died when I didn't fancy taking any more photos and I felt very sad. It drove me back to photography so much so that I have to remember that I have many other lenses in my camera kit :-) It's a big lens and at first I found handling it a little awkward because of the weight - I'm not very big but after a while swapping to the smaller lenses and particularly the 50mm made the camera feel way too light!

I'm using the D50 and I take macros of flowers and plants and the occasional insect. I prefer sunlight and use a tripod for 'studio' type shots but outside I hold it. I like too a deep dof for detail on the macros. This delivers the goods. The quality of the images is superb, I've had no problems with the lens 'hunting' but I do manual focus a fair amount, very close to that is often easier. With the lens open wide (a shallow dof) the bokeh is great.

I found the VR works very well indeed and in fact I was so impressed I opted for VR on my telephoto lens.

It is expensive though in my opinion it is worth it - it handles well and as I say, the images are superb. By the way, apart from an occasional crop, I don't post-process much and I have to say I've been pleased with the results this lens produces. Highly recommended indeed. I've got the 60mm (macro) lens too but if I was told I could have just one, I'd take this!
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on 3 January 2008
This lens is absolutely stunning. I use this for portraiture work all the time and the results are incredibly sharp. In fact they are so so sharp Warburtons could use it for slicing bread!!l

Although it has macro capability I have not used this apart from checking that it doeswork. And I don't use the VR either but have tested it and it works brilliantly.

I have not had any problems with hunting/chasing with the focusing - its probably the way the previous reviewer has his focus points set in his camera. I use it on a D2H, D2X and a Fuji S5 Pro and it works great.

Prime lenses are not for everyone but the results you get are of a much higher quality than zooms but zooms give flexibility. The choice is yours but I would go for quality over flexibility every time.

And this lens is quality. Period.
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on 6 March 2011
I have heard some people say this lens is not good for Macro due to the lens breathing whilst focusing. This really isn't an issue if I'm honest. Just work with the lens and you'll find yourself getting stunning results. This is my main Macro lens and it's brilliant to work with, I honestly love this lens. I only use prime lenses, this being one of the best, especially as the build quality of this beast is unreal. The price maybe expensive for some people but what you get is a lens that has the quality of lenses twice this price.
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on 4 May 2011
I am an amateur photographer and bought this lens for taking pictures of butterflies, plants, flowers and bugs!!
I must say it was bigger than I expected and at first found it quite difficult to hold steady. Takes a bit of practice!! Tripods are great but some shots have no time to set them up. The quality of this lens is outstanding! All that I expect from a Nikon lens. If you can keep it still you can get fantastic shots. I am very pleased with it and an excellent buy! Would whole heartidly recommend it.
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on 12 November 2009
I bought this lens after searching through many reviews including those on this site as well as managing to borrow a similar Sigma macro lens. My experience to date with this Nikkor micro and the D300 is only positive - the quality is superb both for portrait work and 'traditional' macro work. Like most things, it pays to experiment to get the feel for the lens and its capabilities - one of the many beauties of digital is that it allows you to do that free of charge. It is not cheap but my advice is to do what I did and save until I could afford it rather than buy a cheaper model and then decide that you want to upgrade. It lives up to my previous very good experience of Nikkor lenses - beautiful workmanship. If you do decide to take the plunge I am sure that you will be extremely satisfied with the results.
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