Nikon Micro Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 AIS Lens Review

What can I say about this lens superb ? Outstanding ? Perhaps these are the right words, I suppose every body expect phenomenal quality from a professional level Nikkor lens. You won't be disappointed! Exceptional good lens from every point of view , very well built mechanically and optically both. I didn't see any weakness of this lens, photography really a joy , easy to focusing , produce laser sharp superb colored images.Slightly better lens than other famous companies like Tamron SP 90 or Kiron 105mm f2.8. Sure this is very subjective opinion.


Fact Sheet

Vendor nameType Product year
Focal Min(mm)Focal Max(mm)Focus Min(cm)
Aperture MaxAperture Min.Barrel length(mm)
2.8 32
Elements In GroupDiaphragm actionWeight (g)
10 in 9
Filter Size (mm)Push on diameter (mm)Angular field


User Comments

This complex lens design features CRC correction to give it very good image quality over its entire focusing range from 1:2 to infinity. Unexpectedly, peak performance occurs for distant objects and the image quality is slightly reduced when it is brought to its near limit at half life-size. The focal length is a mere 88 mm at the near limit. To go beyond 1:2, it's necessary to add the PN-11 extension ring. However, the CRC system isn't working optimal when the extension is added so Nikon advises the lens be stopped down more to retain flat-field correction. The lens flares easily and the use of a long lens shade is recommended at all times. Best image sharpness occurs at f/5.6-f/8 and the quality deteriorates very rapidly beyond f/16 (this decline is common to all Micro-Nikkors).

(Bjorn Roslett, 

There are two manual focus 105mm Micro-Nikkors, an f/2.8 and an f/4.0. You should consider both. The 105/2.8 AIS Micro makes a good general purpose 105 and macro. As for the change in focal length I estimated 92mm for the 105/2.8 Micro but the lenses has CRC and change in focal length seems complex. Notice the free working distance of the 105/4.0 v. 105/2.8 at 1:2 and 1:1. The 105/4.0 AI or AIS Micro-Nikkor is probably the better and certainly the easier lens to use for serious close-up and macro photography.

(David H.Hartman) 


I did not like the 105mm f4 Micro-Nikkors I have tried - the 105mm f2.8's seemed better to me throughout their ranges. As for the 105mm MF Micro's CRC, if you use the lens at 1:1 on a tube, the CRC is nearly optimally set. As you approach 1:2 using a tube, the CRC approaches the infinity setting, but the lens is still good stopped down. (You might want to check out my "SLE(MN)" again....). Finding a lens that is great from 2x (with tubes, converter, or achromat added) to infinity at wide apertures is pretty difficult. The Nikkor 105mm f2.8 Micros (both MF and AF) come close, though each has a few compromises. (If very-close to medium distance performance and ease-of-use is more important to you, take the AF version; if moderately-close to infinity work is more important, take the MF version; if 6' to infinity is all you require, save money and take the 105mm f2.5). BTW, I would consider the 105mmm Micro's to be noticeably sharper than the 105mm f2.5 at 4-5' at wide apertures, though you may want the slightly reduced sharpness of the f2.5 at that distance for portraits. 

If I have to make an order between my macro and macro purpose lenses I make this very subjective order.

  1. Olympus OM Macro 50mm f3.5
  2. Nikon Micro Nikkor 105mm f2.8 AIS Macro 1:2
  3. Micro Nikkor 200mm f4
  4. Kiron 105mm f2.8 Macro 1:1
  5. Tamron SP 90mm f2.5 Macro 1:2
  6. Nikon Micro-Nikkor  55mm f3.5 Macro 1:1
  7. Vivitar Series 1 90mm f2.5 Macro 1:2
  8. Industar 61/LZ 50mm f2.8 Macro 1:2

105mm focal length good enough to use advanced lighting tools like ring flash or others. Longer distance makes it  more usable in nature. It has a focus fix screw, that is useful in field if you have good tripod for macro photography.

Fast maximum lens speed also provides a brighter viewfinder image where often users complain the previous slower version has caused darkening of the split-image rangefinder in a standard K-type focusing screen in particular when working with a close-up attachment units or with PN-11 at its closest focusing distance. The lens can be focused down to a minimum distance at 0.47m (1.55ft.) to reach for a reproduction ratio of 1:2 half-life-size magnification. Similar to the slower f/4.0 counterpart, it uses a same PN-11 Auto Extension Ring to enable to almost * 1.0X magnification, that is at a minimum focusing distance at from 0.41sm (1.4ft.).

{mos_ri:macro,micro,Tamron SP 90,Nikon,Nikkor}  

Comments (2)
2Tuesday, 30 June 2015 15:44
Thanks for the list. I have lenses 1, 5 (two) and 6 (three). Although I've not done critical macro tests, the Tamron gets used the most. I have the older Canon EF 100mm f2.8 that is superb and I use it in MF mode for most macro work.
stacked 105mm Micro with 105mm bellows lens.
1Saturday, 08 November 2014 05:34
I have the 105mm F4 and find it to be a very good lens with a 105mm bellows lens attached to the front of it (NOT reversed) with a Nikon K3 ring. One of the best macro setups I've used.

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