What is the Best Macro Lens for Nikon?

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What is the Best Macro Lens for Nikon?
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In this post, we shall be looking at the best macro lenses for Nikon. I think it should be mentioned that Nikon refers to its close focusing lenses as “Micro”, while Canon name this kind of lenses as “Macro”. We already posted a similar article about macro lenses for the Canon cameras.

Nikon produces several good lenses that allow you to get very close and capture a 1:1 (life-size) perspective of a subject. What this means in real terms is that you can fill the entire image sensor of a DSLR or mirrorless camera with a subject that is the size of a postage stamp. In other words, if you photograph an insect that’s 10mm long, its image will be 10mm long on your sensor.

Whether you’re looking at a tiny insect, or a flower, or one of any number of other small objects, macro lenses enable an incredible level of enlargement when viewing images on screen or in print.

The best macro lenses aren’t exclusively designed for photographing tiny subjects but are generally excellent primes in their own right. Ideal for close-ups of all kinds, they produce super-sharp images at all aperture settings.

What is the Best Macro Lens for Nikon?

Photo by Guillaume de Germain on Unsplash

What to look for when choosing a macro lens?

  • Focal length

All commonly available macro lenses are fixed focal length prime lenses.  A focal length of around 90-105mm is often regarded as ideal for macro photography (for full-frame cameras), as it allows you to get close but not too close to what you’re shooting.

Shorter focal-length macro lenses may be cheaper and lighter, but there is a downside: because you need to work closer, you could inadvertently cast a shadow over your subject with the camera. However, shorter focal lengths are the only way to get that wide-angle perspective. We have provided a selection of longer and shorter lenses in our guide so you can decide what is best for you.

  • Maximum magnification

In macro photography, the technical term for magnification is ‘reproduction ratio’. A macro lens that can reproduce objects at life-size is said to be a 1:1 macro lens. A 1:2 macro lens can reproduce objects at half-size. A lens that can reproduce objects at double life-size will be a 2:1 macro lens. Some true macro lenses go far beyond a standard 1:1 ratio to offer 2:1 or even 5:1 ratios.

  • Maximum aperture

Macro lenses typically have a maximum aperture of f/2.8. This can be helpful when you’re trying to take shots in a low-light situation, but can also be handy if you’re using your macro lens as a short telephoto or portrait lens.

  • Minimum Focus Distance

The minimum focus distance is the shortest distance at which a lens can focus. In the case of DSLR Cameras, the distance to the subject is measured from the focal plane mark on the camera body, not from the front of the lens.

  • Image stabilization

In macro shots, and with using a wider aperture, the depth of field is so shallow that your subject can easily shift out of focus with even the tiniest camera movement. An image stabilizer can provide a good solution to this situation, besides using a tripod.

What is the Best Macro Lens for Nikon?

Photo by Robert Zunikoff on Unsplash

What is the Best Macro Lens for Nikon?

Here are the best macro lenses for extreme close-ups to fit your DSLR; the list is arranged in ascending order of the lens focal length.

  1. Nikon AF-S DX Micro-NIKKOR 40mm f/2.8G

What is the Best Macro Lens for Nikon?

The AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 40mm f/2.8G from Nikon is a 60mm-equivalent macro prime offering a 1:1 life-size maximum magnification along with a 6.4″ minimum focusing distance. Benefitting both close-up shooting as well as working at greater distances, the optical design uses a Close-Range Correction system that maintains consistent image quality and sharpness throughout the focusing range.

Individual elements also feature a Super Integrated Coating, which suppresses flare and ghosting for greater contrast and color fidelity, and harsh lighting conditions.

Additionally, complementing the imaging capabilities, a Silent Wave Motor affords fast and precise autofocus performance, along with full-time manual focus override, to benefit both stills and video applications

Key Features

  • F-Mount Lens/DX Format
  • 60mm (35mm Equivalent)
  • Aperture Range: f/2.8 to f/22
  • Super Integrated Coating
  • 1:1 Magnification, 6.4″ Minimum Focus
  • Silent Wave Motor AF System
  • Close Range Correction System
  • Rounded 7-Blade Diaphragm

PROS

  • Very sharp.
  • 1:1 magnification.
  • Focus limiter switch.

CONS

  • Lacks stabilization.
  • Not a full-frame lens.


  1. Nikon AF Micro-NIKKOR 60mm f/2.8D

What is the Best Macro Lens for Nikon?

Ideal for close-up shooting, the Nikon AF Micro-NIKKOR 60mm f/2.8D is a short telephoto macro lens offering a life-size 1:1 maximum magnification along with an 8.7″ minimum focusing distance.

Benefitting working throughout the focus range, the optical design uses a Close-Range Correction system, which maintains consistent image quality and sharpness from the minimum focusing distance to infinity.

Additionally, a rounded nine-blade diaphragm contributes to a pleasing bokeh quality.

Key Features

  • F-Mount Lens/FX Format
  • Aperture Range: f/2.8 to f/32
  • 1:1 Magnification, 8.7″ Minimum Focus
  • Close Range Correction System
  • Rounded 7-Blade Diaphragm

PROS

  • Good lens body
  • Good image quality at the center and at the frame borders
  • Low level of distortion
  • Low astigmatism
  • Rather fast autofocusing
  • Very low vignetting

CONS

  • Slightly high coma
  • Aberration may increase at maximum aperture settings


  1. Nikon AF-S Micro-NIKKOR 60mm f/2.8G ED

What is the Best Macro Lens for Nikon?

The Nikon AF-S Micro NIKKOR 60mm f/2.8G ED is a short telephoto macro lens offering a life-size 1:1 maximum magnification along with a 7.3″ minimum focusing distance.

Contributing to clear and accurate rendering, the lens design incorporates two aspherical elements and one extra-low dispersion element to reduce aberrations and distortions for improved sharpness and color accuracy.

Both a Nano Crystal Coat and a Super Integrated Coating are featured, too, to control flare and ghosting for improved contrast and color fidelity in harsh lighting conditions.

Additionally, complementing the imaging capabilities, a Silent Wave Motor affords fast and precise autofocus performance, along with full-time manual focus override, to benefit both stills and video applications.

Key Features

  • F-Mount Lens/FX Format
  • Aperture Range: f/2.8 to f/32
  • One ED Element, Two Aspherical Elements
  • Nano Crystal & Super Integrated Coatings
  • 1:1 Magnification, 7.3″ Minimum Focus
  • Silent Wave Motor AF System
  • Rounded 9-Blade Diaphragm

PROS

  • Sharp from edge to edge.
  • Light and compact.
  • 1:1 magnification.
  • No distortion.

CONS

  • Strong vignette effect.
  • Omits stabilization.


What is the Best Macro Lens for Nikon?

Photo by dan carlson on Unsplash

  1. Nikon AF-S DX Micro-NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G ED VR

What is the Best Macro Lens for Nikon?

A macro telephoto designed for DX, the Nikon AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G ED VR is a 127.5mm-equivalent prime optimized for close-up shooting.

Offering a life-size 1:1 maximum magnification and an 11.3″ minimum focusing distance, this lens is especially adept for working with nearby subjects.

Its optical design includes one extra-low dispersion element, which minimizes chromatic aberrations in order to achieve high clarity and color accuracy.

A Super Integrated Coating is also used to suppress flare and ghosting for greater contrast when working in bright and backlit conditions.

The Silent Wave Motor AF system produces a fast, near-silent focusing performance that suits both stills shooting and movie recording, which can instantly be manually overridden by simply turning the manual focus ring.

Further contributing to producing sharp imagery, VR II (Vibration Reduction) image stabilization compensates for the effects of camera shake by up to three shutter speed steps.

Key Features

  • F-Mount Lens/DX Format
  • 5mm (35mm Equivalent)
  • Aperture Range: f/3.5 to f/32
  • One Extra-Low Dispersion Element
  • Super Integrated Coating
  • 1:1 Magnification, 11.3″ Minimum Focus
  • Silent Wave Motor AF System
  • VR II Image Stabilization
  • Rounded 9-Blade Diaphragm

PROS

  • Very sharp.
  • 1:1 magnification.
  • Optical stabilization system.

CONS

  • Lacks focus limiter switch.
  • The short working distance for 1:1 photography.
  • Not a full-frame lens.
  • Some barrel distortion.


  1. Tamron 90mm f/2.8 SP AF Di Macro Lens

What is the Best Macro Lens for Nikon?

Optimized for close-up shooting, the SP 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 VC USD Lens from Tamron is a short telephoto prime designed for FX-format Nikon F-mount DSLRs.

Offering a life-size maximum magnification ratio of 1:1, this lens benefits working with small and nearby subjects and employs a Floating System for maintained image quality throughout the 11.8″ to infinity focusing range.

One Low Dispersion and two Extra-Low Dispersion glass elements are incorporated into the optical design to minimize chromatic aberrations and color fringing for clean, consistent sharpness and clarity throughout the magnification range.

BBAR and eBAND coatings have also been applied to minimize flare and ghosting for increased contrast when working in strong lighting conditions, and a rounded nine-blade diaphragm contributes to a pleasing bokeh quality to benefit shallow depth of field imagery.

As an update to the classic 90mm macro, this enhanced version is well-suited to the high-resolution crop of DSLRs and blends timeless appeal and functionality with current imaging performance.

Key Features

  • Nikon F Mount/FX Format
  • Aperture Range: f/2.8 to f/32
  • One LD and Two XLD Glass Elements
  • eBAND, BBAR, and Fluorine Coatings
  • USD AF Motor, Full-Time Manual Focus
  • VC Image Stabilization
  • 1:1 Max. Magnification, 11.8″ Min. Focus
  • Rounded 9-Blade Diaphragm
  • Moisture-Resistant Construction
  • Compatible with TAP-in Console

PROS

  • Extremely sharp.
  • No distortion.
  • 1:1 macro magnification.
  • Optically stabilized.
  • Available for multiple camera systems.

CONS

  • Dim corners at wide apertures.


  1. Zeiss Milvus 100mm f/2M ZF.2 Macro

What is the Best Macro Lens for Nikon?

A portrait-length prime featuring a high 1:2 maximum magnification for close-up shooting, the Nikon F-mount Milvus 100mm f/2M ZF.2 from ZEISS features a floating elements system for consistently high image quality when working with both near and distant subjects. Based on the classic Planar optical design, this lens features two anomalous partial dispersion glass elements to control aberrations and distortions for even illumination and sharpness throughout the aperture and focus ranges. An enhanced ZEISS T anti-reflective coating has also been applied to lens elements to suppress flare and ghosting for increased contrast and clarity.

Key Features

  • F-Mount Lens/FX Format
  • Aperture Range: f/2 to f/22
  • Two Low Dispersion Elements
  • Planar Optical Design
  • ZEISS T* Anti-Reflective Coating
  • Floating Elements System
  • 1:2 Magnification, 1.4′ Min. Focus
  • Manual Focus Design, Rubber Focus Ring
  • Manual Aperture Ring Can Be De-Clicked
  • Weather-Sealed Construction

PROS

  • Sharp from edge to edge.
  • Minimal distortion.
  • Wide aperture design.
  • Resistant to dust and splashes.
  • Superb build.
  • Available for Canon and Nikon SLRs.

CONS

  • Dim corners at f/2.
  • Magnification limited to 1:2.
  • Manual focus isn’t for everyone.


What is the Best Macro Lens for Nikon?

Photo by nicolas reymond on Unsplash

  1. Nikon AF-S Micro-Nikkor 105 mm 1:2.8G VR

What is the Best Macro Lens for Nikon?

The Nikon AF-S VR Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED excels at close range with its life-size 1:1 maximum magnification and a minimum focusing distance of 1′.

Contributing to its success is an advanced optical design that includes one extra-low dispersion element, which minimizes chromatic aberrations in order to achieve high clarity and color accuracy.

Both Nano Crystal and Super Integrated Coatings are also used to suppress flare and ghosting for greater contrast when working in bright and backlit conditions.

A Silent Wave Motor AF system produces a fast, near-silent focusing performance that suits both stills shooting and movie recording, which can instantly be manually overridden by simply turning the manual focus ring.

Further contributing to producing sharp imagery, VR (Vibration Reduction) image stabilization compensates for the effects of camera shake by up to three shutter speed steps.

Key Features

  • F-Mount Lens/FX Format
  • Aperture Range: f/2.8 to f/32
  • One Extra-Low Dispersion Element
  • Nano Crystal & Super Integrated Coatings
  • 1:1 Magnification, 1′ Minimum Focus
  • Silent Wave Motor AF System
  • VR Image Stabilization
  • Rounded 9-Blade Diaphragm

PROS

  • Very sharp.
  • 1:1 macro magnification.
  • No distortion.
  • Optically stabilized.

CONS

  • The short working distance for 1:1 photography.


  1. Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro Lens

What is the Best Macro Lens for Nikon?

A classic for close-ups, the Nikon F-mount 105mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro from Sigma is a short-telephoto prime characterized by its ability to achieve a 1:1, life-size magnification along with a 1′ minimum focusing distance for macro applications.

The optical design employs two SLD elements to virtually eliminate chromatic aberrations and color fringing throughout the focusing range for improved clarity and color rendering.

A Super Multi-Layer Coating has also been applied for greater contrast when working in strong lighting conditions.

Balancing the optical assets, this lens also features a floating internal focus design that maintains consistent sharpness throughout the focusing range.

A Hyper Sonic Motor affords quick and quiet autofocus performance while an Optical Stabilizer minimizes the appearance of camera shake for sharper handheld shooting.

Key Features

  • F-Mount Lens/FX Format
  • Aperture Range: f/2.8 to f/22
  • Two SLD Elements
  • Super Multi-Layer Coating
  • 1:1 Magnification, 1′ Minimum Focus
  • Hyper Sonic Motor AF System
  • Floating Internal Focus Design
  • OS Image Stabilization
  • Rounded 9-Blade Diaphragm

PROS

  • Fantastic image quality
  • Sharp
  • Solid build quality

CONS

  • A little heavy with extended use


  1. Irix 150mm f/2.8 Macro

What is the Best Macro Lens for Nikon?

Optimized for close-up shooting, the Nikon F-mount 150mm f/2.8 Macro 1:1 from Irix is a medium telephoto prime featuring a life-size 1:1 maximum magnification and a 1.1′ minimum focusing distance for photographing nearby subjects.

A bright f/2.8 maximum aperture enables working in a variety of lighting conditions and also offers greater control over the depth of field for isolating subject matter.

The 12 element, nine groups optical design features a Neutrino coating, which helps to suppress lens flare and ghosting in order to achieve higher contrast and color accuracy when working in strong lighting conditions.

Complementing the optical assets is a robust physical construction, dubbed Dragonfly, which incorporates extensive weather sealing to guard against dust and moisture.

This manual focus lens also features printed focus distance and depth of field scales to benefit fast and accurate focusing, and a rounded 11-blade diaphragm contributes to a smooth bokeh quality.

Additionally, the included tripod collar has an Arca-type compatible foot for seamless compatibility with a variety of tripod heads.

Key Features

  • F-Mount Lens/FX Format
  • Aperture Range: f/2.8 to f/32
  • Neutrino Coating
  • 1:1 Magnification, 1.1′ Minimum Focus
  • Manual Focus Design with Focus Lock
  • Depth of Field and Focus Distance Scales
  • Dragonfly Weather-Sealed Construction
  • Rounded 11-Blade Diaphragm

PROS

  • Excellent sharpness
  • Virtually no distortion
  • No flare
  • Fog, rain, and snow sealed
  • Very smooth Bokeh

CONS

  • Manual focus only
  • No Optical Stabilization built-in

 

Can’t afford a brand new lens?

Sometimes, Lenses can be very expensive for many people. However, Keh is a great option to get a used one at a reasonable price. Read the full review here.

 

Related posts

The Macro Lenses Explained – Samples & Recommendations

Macro Photography Tips And Tricks – Guidelines & Examples

Best Macro Lenses For Canon

Best Macro Lens For Flower Photography

 

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed the article, in case you have any questions just drop them below & I will be happy to answer you.

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4 Comments

  • I believe my best choice is the Nikon AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G ED VR. In my book, it is perfect for close up, nature and portrait photography. Our macro images will be clearer than ever with Nikon’s professional quality Vibration Reduction image stabilization system. It is just what I have been looking for! Thanks for your helpful review.

  • I have to say an extremely interesting review. It can be said that this is a text for professionals and passionate photography lovers, but also for others to get acquainted with the important features of extremely sharp photos and the “world” that can be opened to us with the help of Nikon.
    I am grateful for the new knowledge.

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