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Lens Reviews

The 85mm f/2.8D PC Micro Nikkor Review

Roger Engle (ziggy7)


Keywords: micro, macro, lenses, nikon, nikkor, pc, pc_e, 85mm, 105mm, hb_22, scheimpflug, fotowand, targets, fuji, velvia, zeiss, luminar

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A POWERFUL LENS

The 85 mm f/2.8D PC Micro Nikkor lens arrived in an excellent rigid and padded case. The objective is huge but its size can be judged as modest, considering its features. Its weight of 770 grams / 27.2 ounces is almost double that of the popular 105mm f/2.8AFD Micro Nikkor. This could represent a problem for our back but not for its use; we will need a tripod anyway.

 

Click for a larger image

The lens mounted on a D100 body
Focused at infinity (left) and minimum working distance (at right)

The accessories front thread is 77mm and the frontal element is well inside the lens housing to reduce risk of flare, even when not using the not included specific HB-22 hood. Build quality can't be said to be but exceptionally excellent. Incorporates the CRC image correction feature for close focus, not standard in Nikon wide angles. The focusing ring is smooth but firm; as in all modern Micro Nikkor lenses, the engraved distance scale is less progressive for long distances.

 

 

With a totally extended helicoid for minimum distance focusing, the reproduction ratio is 1:2 or half life-size. Such working distance is 39 centimeters/15.4 inches, identical to that of the 105 mm at the same repro ratio. Real luminosity of the lens under these conditions is f/4.5, since the nominal value of f/2.8 corresponds to infinity. We must remember that even when not shown in the viewfinder of older cameras, effective aperture is diminished as the focusing helicoid is extended.

The most spectacular characteristic of this objective is its thick central body, which includes two precise ramps with gears, with a screw and stop for control. One is for tilting and the other for shifting, possible at a maximum of 12.4mm and 8.3 degrees respectively.

 

Click for a larger image

Shift and tilt motion is feasible in all directions, because at the mount of the lens there is a mechanism to gyrate it around its own axis.

On the image at right you may see an animation with all possible movements. Be patient, it is a 240Kb image; it may take some time to load.

  All movements animation


The lens shutter has nine blades making the diaphragm iris almost perfectly round, so the out of focus areas are softer than on the 105mm Micro Nikkor. Minimum aperture is f/45, corresponding to a real f/72 with the helicoid at full extension.
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Due to the obtrusiveness of both the mobile ramps for shift and tilt, and the mount, there seems to be no room for aperture communication with the body, so it is completely manual. Once pre selected in the aperture ring, a button needs to be depressed to close the diaphragm iris down. Although this does not seem agreeable in this day and age, it is completely understandable given the characteristics of the lens itself and its mount.
 

On the other hand, the lens belongs to the D series and has the chip to collect and send distance data to the body, allowing for 3D matrix flash.

(2 Votes )
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Originally written on June 19, 2004

Last updated on April 28, 2016

Roger  Engle Roger Engle (ziggy7)

Orange Park, USA
Basic, 13 posts

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