The headline feature of the Nikon AF-S VR Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED lens is, of course, that it’s a macro lens (Nikon uses the term micro instead of macro with their lenses). And a macro at 105mm is an excellent option for things like flower close-ups.
I also owned the previous model, and while both are excellent optically, this newer one is an improvement in several respects. For one, it has much faster and better focusing. For another, this one has built-in vibration reduction; that comes in especially handy for hand-held photography.
I use it a lot for product photos and for flower photography. It works quite well for portrait photography, but Nikon now has a better option for that: their 105mm f/1.4E ED lens. But aside from using it for macro, I’ve found the 105mm f/2.8 to be a surprisingly versatile lens. Being a prime, it’s obviously not going to be ideal or even useful for every kind of photography, especially general walking-around travel photography, but it works remarkably well in a wider variety of situations than I expected.
It has a maximum aperture of f/2.8 and a minimum of f/32. On the macro end, its minimum focus distance of 1 foot (30.48cm), and its magnification is 1:1. It has 9 rounded blades, uses a 62mm filter, and weighs around 1.6 pounds (720 grams). It’s designed for full-frame cameras, but you can put it on a DX camera with an APS-C cropped sensor, which will have the effect using a focal length of 152mm.
So here’s a small selection of photos I’ve shot with this lens to give a sense of how it performs in various shooting situations and at various settings.
Lens Vignetting Test Shots with Nikon 105mm Macro Lens
First, though, here’s a panel of shots taken against a clear sky to illustrate the amount of lens vignetting at various apertures.
Nikon 105mm ƒ/2.8G Macro Sample Images
Optical Correction Tools
I deliberately haven’t applied extensive corrections to these images. And the general rule of thumb in photography is that it’s better to get the shot right at the time of capture rather than trying to fix it after. That’s a great aspiration, but it’s not always possible to do if you’re bumping up against limitations or flaws in gear, conditions, or technique.
But it’s worth mentioning that there are some excellent tools available to help address common issues with lenses, such as distortion, chromatic aberration, and lens vignetting when editing the images. All-round image processing apps like Lightroom Classic and Capture One have solid tools built in already that often cater to specific lens profiles (or you can make your own).
Some more specialized tools can take it even further. DxO, in particular, sets the gold standard.Their software is built on the foundation of their incredibly deep archive of data from their extensive lab testing of the optical performance of lenses and cameras. But there are some other excellent specialized tools available. These are well worth a look (and have free trials):
DxO Pure RAW (for a suite of automatic RAW file corrections enhancement)
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I'm a professional photographer based in Washington, DC. Seven continents, up mountains, underwater, and many places in between. I've been shooting for 30+ years, and my photos and time-lapse videos have appeared in a bunch of different publications, from major newspapers to magazines and books, billboards, TV shows, professional sports stadiums, museums, and even massive architectural scrims covering world-famous buildings while they're being renovated. You can see some of my travel photography here and here.
My name is David Coleman, and this is my site.
I take photos for a living. Seven continents. Dozens of countries. Up mountains. Under water. And a bunch of places in between. I'm based in Washington DC.
All posts and reviews on this site are written by me. And I only review gear with which I have personal hands-on experience. More about me.