Attended a car show last Sunday and shot about are 100 close-ups of miniature gasoline and steam engines and models (you have to see these - fantastic). I used an MF 105mm macro on a D200 with an SB-900 mounted on-camera with a reflector set at 45 degrees and the camera on a monopod. (Tripods were not allowed; monopods were.) I relied on the camera's focus indicator because my eyesight isn't what it once was. Best I could do was f4.0 at 1/20th to 1/30th second at ISO 400.
Based on a first-look of the photos, the lighting is great with fill flash or direct flash but the focus and sharpness wasn't due to the shallow depth of field; I could not keep the monopod rock steady; and I could not maintain my focusing point. (The slightest shift left of right, front or back would "lose" the area that I was focusing on.) The D200's point-of-focus kept "hunting" left to right. I went back later and used the 24-70/f2.8 zoom and obtained better photos just without the close-up that the macro lens would have provided.
Would Nikon's 105mm/f2.8 AF macro, compared to the MF 105mm, be a better lenses due to its autofocus capability. Factors also include build quality and durability I bought the MF 105mm for what I thought would be the greater control provided by the manual focus feature combined with the magnification ratios engraved on the lens barrel. I can easiliy trade-in the MF macro with the extension tube and hood for the AF lens.