Friday, 1 October 2010

Nikkor Micro 105mm f2.8D

My 105mm f2.8D Micro (Macro) lens has arrived and I got a chance to take it outside this morning for a quick test.

Here it is attached to my D300 and focused out to 1:1 magnification. It's a solid feeling lens, and the auto focus is quick and reasonably silent  - although for macro use it's more likely to be used in manual focus.

To facilitate said manual focusing, the 105mm has a large rubber focusing ring that is nicely ribbed, with a smooth action (as you would expect for a macro lens).

It uses 52mm filters, which you can see in the picture already attached to the front of the lens. And, as you can also see, it's a reasonably hefty lens - bigger than my 18-70mm zoom lens, and a lot heavier (although I wouldn't call it a 'heavy' lens at all).

Since I haven't done a lot of this macro stuff, I wasn't expecting too much from my first attempt. I read a few on-line articles that suggested setting the lens to 1:1 magnification and using your body to move the camera/lens in and out of focus. So that's what I did. And it worked - although it's a very tricky manoeuvre because even at f22 the depth of field in the viewfinder can be measured in millimeters! Breath and the insect you're focusing on goes out of focus.

I chased a white butterfly around the garden for a while, and eventually managed to snaffle a few quick shots. With an ISO of 400 and aperture of f22 I was getting 1/250th shutter speeds, so I took several shots in quick succession, hoping that at least one of them would be sharp! Fortunately, one or two were.

To calm the nerves I also took some flower photos (they don't move as much as insects). It was still tricky staying at 1:1 magnification and moving the camera in and out to achieve focus, even for flowers. Next time I think I'll use a tripod for the flowers. That should increase my rate of 'keepers'?

My favorite (and most successful) shot of the morning (IMHO) was a fly sitting on a leaf having a drink of dew. It looked to me like he was blowing a bubble, and that's exactly what my daughter said when she saw the shot on the computer later that morning. I'm very happy with this shot, and deem my first shoot with the Nikkor 105mm f2.8D Micro lens to be a success!

I'm also going to try it out as a 'portrait' lens, and see how it performs around the f2.8 to f4 region for my wedding work. If I'm pleased with the results using it as a fast telephoto at f2.8, then I'll be a very happy camper! A stellar macro lens and a fast portrait prime in the same lens... what more could you ask for?

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