I've never used that lens, but if you have one there's no reason not to use it as a normal lens. Micro lenses tend to be slower to focus, which could be an issue in some circumstances. The 35 f1.8 would focus faster, I'm sure. Also, the 35 f1.8 will open up to f1.8, which can be useful in some circumstances.
I do have the 35, which is a really nice lens and often recommended here. I also have an 85 micro, and an 85 f1.8. Comparing the 85's, the f1.8 focuses much faster, and of course if brighter, which is why I have and use both.
I wouldn't buy a 40 micro to use as a normal lens, but if you have one for macro and want it to serve double duty, it should do fine. Use it as long as it serves the purpose.
I too don't use the 40 Micro at all. However, I do sometimes use a 60/f2.8 AFS Micro as a normal lens on FX - this is a pretty similar kind of arrangement. It's especially effective if you normally have an all-purpose zoom on the camera - they are often f/4 or f/5 at the macro focal length, so f/2.8 is noticeably faster.
On the other hand, the 40 (DX) and 60 (FX) are not as well suited to low light as the actual fast normal lenses such as the 35/f1.8 AFS (DX) and 50/f1.4 (FX), but not everyone is in those circumstances.
_____ Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member
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Thanks for the responses. I plan on my next purchase to be a prime for low light, but I can't decide on which focal length. I am leaning toward the 85 1.8. I am really interested in prime lenses. I thought the 40mm Micro would be a good start because it would serve a dual purpose with macro and larger aperture than my zooms. Since it was between the 35 1.8 and the 50 1.8 focal lengths it would help me decide which direction I need to go as far as focal length. I also thought it would be a sharper lens since it was a macro.
1. The 40mm macro DX was designed to replicate the iconic 60mm macro film/FX lens focal length for DX users. I have not used it, but it's supposed to be a good macro lens. It was not intended to replace a 50mm f1.8 "normal" prime (which the 35mm f1.8 DX was designed to do).
2. Macro lenses are slower to focus, and as stated above, the 40mm is not as fast (aperture). My rationale has always been if you're going to slap on a prime in lieu of a zoom, why not get all the benefits of a prime, one of which is speed (and the resulting brighter viewfinder).
3. As a macro lens, in the film days, a lot of people found the 60mm macro to be a little too short for a lot of subjects. If you want to shoot at 1:1, you have to get REALLY close to small subjects. I'm talking so close that your lens/camera can impede your lighting. Also, if you're shooting insects or other small creatures, they can spook at that range. A good starter macro focal length is about 105mm (effective FL on FX or film), as this offers good working distance for small subjects. Even 85mm (which you could replicate with a 60mm macro on DX) would be much easier to work with than 60mm (what the 40mm's effective FL is on DX).
In short, if it were me, I'd get the very cheap (and very excellent) 35mm f1.8 DX as my normal lens (which I have), and pick-up a used macro lens of a longer focal length. The exception to this advice would be if you have a very specific macro subject you will be shooting often, where the shorter working distance of the 40mm DX would be workable.
Well said, I have the 40mm micro, 60 macro, and 180mm Sigma macro, the 40 and 60mm are only good for documentation reproduction, or jewelry photos, I used the 40 as a walk around lens but is not intended for that either, maybe you should consider the 85 1.8 it is a good lens,a and the 35 1.8 and a larger macro, the 40 gets on its own way.
>... maybe you should consider the 85 1.8 it is a good lens,a and the 35 1.8 >and a larger macro, the 40 gets on its own way.
I don't understand what you're recommending here, Tony. The OP already owns the 40 and hasn't expressed any dissatisfaction with it. He just wants to know if it is suitable as a normal general purpose lens. Seems to me it is, as long as he doesn't run into any of its limitations. Why should he sell a lens he already owns and, apparently, likes?