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Lens Reviews

Tokina AT-X M100AF Macro lens review

J. Ramon Palacios (jrp)


Keywords: tokina, lenses, non_nikon, macro

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NIKON MICRO AF LENS OPTIONS

For those of us interested in doing up close close-up's, there are several options: reversing rings, attachment close-up lenses, extension tubes, bellows, macro couplers for stacking lenses, zoom lenses with a macro mode and true macro lenses. Since not all lenses work well on reversing rings and you loose a lot with most attachments, let me concentrate in the true macro lens options, micro in Nikon terms, all of them now with CRC, Close Range Correction technology.
 

 The very specialized and razor sharp 85mm f/2.8 Perspective Control Micro Nikkor Manual Focus lens
 

 

Micro Nikkor lenses have magnification ratios between 1:1 and 1:1.3

Nikkor zoom lenses with a macro mode have magnifications of 1:>1.3

 

The 40mm f/2.8G AF-S DX lens is the second DX lens appearing in the Micro Nikkor lineup, yielding the same field of view on a DX body of the classic 60mm f/2.8 and a magnification ratio of 1:1. Its depth of field though is greater. Very light and small, it will also be the least expensive option for a new lens for DX camera users. Its minimum focusing distance is 6.4 inches.
 

40mm micro Nikkor DX lens

The 60mm f/2.8 in both non-D and D AF Micro Nikkor versions is a wonderful lens, capable, as all true AF macros, of a magnification ratio of 1:1. That means that it can reproduce on the frame an image the same size as the original. Incredibly sharp and contrasty, the one with the most DOF (depth of field).  The working distance from the front of the lens to the subject is really small to achieve those results (about 2"), yet good good for flowers and still objects. The lens performs extremely well also as a non-macro, doubling as a portarit lens on DX DSLR bodies. This lens has been updated with a darn good G ED AF-S version, with a similar small working distance. It has a minimum focusing distance of 7.3 inches.
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The 85mm f/3.5G ED IF VR AF-S DX Micro Nikkor is relatively new and the first DX lens in this category.

Compact and lightweight, with 1:1 maghnification and better working distance than the 60mm, plus VR, it has already found a good number of followers within the DX format DSLR bodies users. On a DX body it yields a field of view equivalent to about that of a 127mm lens on FX. It has a minimum focusing distance of 11.3 inches.

 

The 105mm f/2.8D AF Micro Nikkor, on the other hand, has a more manageable working distance while aqlso giving a 1:1 magnification ratio. It is much better if you want to deal with animated (stinging/biting) subjects and/or use lights. Thinner DOF than the 60mm micro of course. This lens is also reputed as a great portrait lens. It has a length of 3.3" and weights 19.6 oz; a minimum focusing distance of 12.4 inches.

This 105mm f/2.8 lens has also been updated with a superb G ED IF AF-S VR version (shown at right), having a longer working distance than the 40, 60 and 85mm Micro Nikkors.
 

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The 70-180mm f/4.5-5.6D ED AF Zoom Micro Nikkor is another very interesting lens capable of very close to life-size magnification ratios, the maximum being 1:1.3; however, 1:1 is feasible with a 6T close-up lens. Many Nikonians like it precisely because it is a zoom lens, allowing for quicker framing with fast moving macro subjects. Street price when brand new was ~US$1,050 in the USA.

Hard to find since it was discontinued and owners don't seem willing to let go.

 

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The 200mm f/4D ED IF AF Micro Nikkor is the one lens providing the longest available working distance by having a mnimum focusing distance of 19.4 inches at 1:1 magnification.  A good friend of mine has one and it is his standard general purpose lens. Incredibly sharp throughout the focusing range, its smaller field of view allows for better subject isolation. Not that big (7.6") and not that heavy (41.8 oz.) as it may look here.

As many pros, our much admired nature photographer John Shaw swears by this lens. Not that hard to find used and available new as it is still in production.

 

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Great manual focus Micro AI and AI-S lenses are available, like the 55mm f/2.8, the 85mm f/2.8 PC, the 105mm f/2.8 or the 200mm f/4.0 IF. From what I've read and the images seen, they are all superb. AF is not necessarily the best for focusing macro shots, so a good majority of macro hard core practitioners use manual focus instead of AF and some still use manual focus lenses.

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Originally written on April 4, 2011

Last updated on April 28, 2016

J. Ramon Palacios J. Ramon Palacios (jrp)

JRP is one of the co-founders, has in-depth knowledge in various areas. Awarded for his contributions for the Resources

San Pedro Garza García, Mexico
Admin, 45241 posts

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