Monday, 2 July 2018

AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G ED VR - My Thoughts

I've been using my Micro* NIKKOR 85mm for a few months now & I thought I'd share my thoughts. I will say for the record that I'm not an expert on camera lenses in anyway, so don't expect this to be too technical, it's just my overall thoughts of the lens in general. Also I am a photographer not a videographer so I won't be mentioning any of the video features within this post.

{*Micro is Nikon for Macro}

I already own the AF-S Micro NIKKOR 60mm f/2.8G ED lens & absolutely loved it but I was after something that could give me even more detail & enable me to get closer to my subjects. After doing a bit of hunting online & reading reviews & comments, I settled on the Micro NIKKOR 85mm. I did also consider the Micro NIKKOR 105mm but it is double the price of the 85mm... one day maybe! But since I'm on a APS-C sensor the lens focal length goes up to about 127mm {crop factor 85mm x 1.5}

While this is technically a Macro lens, I've found it quite versatile & gives a nice result even when you're not wanting to be so close to your subject, it would probably make a nice portrait lens although that's not what I'm using it for, unless you count taking photographs of cats as portraits!

Now for the sort of technical information as I'm sure you'd like to know some of the specifications*:

  • Minimum Aperture: f/22
  • Maximum Aperture: f/3.5
  • Minimum Focus Distance: 0.286m/0.9ft
  • Filter Attachment: 52mm
  • Lens Construction: 14 Elements in 10 Groups {with on ED Glass Element}
  • Diaphragm Blades: 9 {rounded}
  • Weight: Approximately 355g/12.5oz.
  • Diameter & Length: Approximately 73 x 98.5mm/2.9 x 3.9in.
*taken from the Nikon website.

The lens features Nikon's Vibration Reduction technology, which helps stabilise your hand held shots, a feature I find so helpful & really a must for me as I mainly shoot hand held but have quite shaky hands at times.

Another nice feature in the lens is the Silent Wave Motor, this means the lens provides fast & quiet internal autofocusing, it also gives the lens a nice switch over to manual & the focus ring is lovely & smooth to use in this mode. It also has a Super Integrated Coating which helps to eliminate ghosting & lens flare.

Okay now the specs & features are just about covered, I'm sure you're wondering how the lens is to actually use. Well I've found it nice & straight forward to use on my Nikon D7200 & there's no limited function as the lens is optimised for DX Cameras. {Nikon's CPS-C Sensor cameras} The autofocus modes work well, though sometimes it can take it a little bit to focus on your subject & it rolls back & forth now & then. Sometimes this was purely my fault as I was getting that bit too close to my subject but other times the camera was just taking its sweet time to figure out what it actually wanted to look at! Obviously shooting in manual mode eliminates this, but, if like me, you switch between the two, it's something to just be aware of if you're in auto mode.

I don't shoot for majorly long periods of time, {for reasons that will be saved for another post I'm planning} my time limit is usually around 30 minutes & in that time I don't feel like the lens plus my Nikon D7200 feel too heavy & I have shaky, weak hands at times. Though I don't think the weight of the two would really be an issue if you were using all day. I've also used my MeFOTO Roadtip Tripod & there's no lens dip {if you use heavy telephoto lenses you know what I mean} due to it's weight.

So I guess I should share some the photographs I've made using this wonderful lens, because I'm sure that's what you're all waiting for {I know its the first thing I like to see when checking out lenses}

The first photographs I took with this lens were of my cats, because if you follow my photography Instagram you know I'm a bit of a crazy cat lady who loves using a Macro lens for getting those cat photos!

Aperture: f/4.0  Shutter Speed:1/10  ISO: 800

I was really pleased with how the shots came out & thankfully my cats are all use to the camera, so weren't too bothered to have it quite close to them. I've been after a lens that could pick up even more detail in the cat's fur & eyes & personally I feel the 85mm does this really well.

I then headed off into the garden to test out the lens. Again I wasn't disappointed, the lens did really well with everything I pointed it at. I even managed to grab a shot of one of the Frogs in the pond. I'm not going to say all the shots were super sharp because they weren't & that was more me than the lens I feel as it was my first time using it for flower/nature photography.

Aperture: f/5.6  Shutter Speed: 1/500 ISO: 800

Aperture: f/4.8  Shutter Speed:1/350  ISO: 400 EV; -1

Aperture: f/4.8 Shutter Speed: 1/500  ISO: 400 EV: -1

As I said at the beginning of the post, this lens is really versatile & I was nicely surprised with the shots I captured by simply standing under my Japanese Maple Tree & pointing it upward, something I like to do with my NIKKOR 35mm lens. As you can see you can get a nice bokeh with them lens when you this.

Aperture: f/8.0  Shutter Speed:1/1000 ISO: 400

As I predominantly shoot in Monochrome, it was to good to see that in this mode, the photographs still looked great & the tones where nice & even. The same is true in all of the colour modes, even in Vivid mode, which is my colour mode of choice, it doesn't look like someone has put the saturation option to 100! 

So overall, the AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G ED VR is a really great lens for photography; especially if you are part of the Nikon family & wanting to delve into Macro photography more & want a decent, reasonably priced lens, it's currently about £400 on the official Nikon U.K. Store Website  It was about £60 more when I purchased it {in March} from Wilkinson Camera {my usual go to for camera stuff}, it's now just under £390. There's also a cash back offer going on with Nikon at Wilkinson right now so go check them out if you're in the U.K. {Nikon & Wilkinson are just my preference for kit & information, there are plenty of other great camera shops that you will be able to get this lens from.}

If you have this lens then please leave me a comment below telling me what you think of it or if you have any other recommendations regarding Macro photography that would help me to improve. If you have any questions about the information in this post or one everything else on my blog, then feel free to send me an email via the "Contact Me" box in the side bar & I'll do my best to get back to you as soon as possible.

I hope everyone is doing well & having fun with their cameras.

Take care,


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