Micro-Nikkor AF-S 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED VR - Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews - Nikon / Nikkor (APS-C)

Lens kindly provided for testing purposes by Friedrich Burgwedel (1st sample) and Peter-Cornelius Spaeth (2nd sample)!

Introduction

The Micro-Nikkor AF-S 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED VR is the latest addition to the Nikon macro lens line-up (at the time of this review). It replaces the Micro-Nikkor AF 105mm f/2.8 D, a dated but popular and highly-regarded lens. As usual we will have a look how the new lens performs on an APS-C body (Nikon D200) where its field-of-field of the lens is equivalent to 158mm.

The Nikkor is a quite fat and heavy lens (see below). Compared to its predecessor its diameter increased by 1cm plus 40% more weight. As such it is among the biggest of its kind. As the name implies the Nikkor is a macro lens with a min. focus distance of 0.31m resulting in a max. object magnification of 1:1 and a working distance of min. ~15cm. At 1:1 the max. aperture decreases to f/4.8 which is a quite typical characteristic for an IF (internal focusing) macro lens. The adjusted aperture value is displayed in the viewfinder.

The build quality of the lens is very decent thanks to an outer barrel made of metal. The broad, rubberized focus ring operates quite smooth but it is not damped. Unlike its predecessor it is a "true" IF lens so it does NOT extend during focusing - this is a seldom but very welcome feature for a macro lens in this focal length class. Typical for all IF lenses the front element does not rotate so using a polarizer is no problem.

The AF-S 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED VR has a silent-wave AF drive which operates relatively fast and virtually silent. The AF on the D200 seems a little prone to hunting with this lens so it is generally a good idea to take advantage of the build-in focus limiter when using the lens for non-macro purposes.
A new key feature of the lens is the single-mode VR II (vibration reduction) mechanism with an efficiency equivalent to 4 f-stops towards infinity focus (claimed by Nikon). An interesting new technology used in this lens is "Nano Crystal Coat" on the rear optical element. NCC is supposed to eliminate internal lens reflections (reads: less flare). There´s also a corresponding "N" logo printed on the lens.

Specifications
Equiv. focal length157.5 mm (full format equivalent)
Equiv. aperturef/4.2 (full format equivalent, in terms of depth-of-field)
Optical construction14 elements in 12 groups
Number of aperture blades9 (rounded)
min. focus distance0.31 m (max. magnification ratio 1:1)
Dimensions116 x 83 mm
Weight760 g
Filter size62 mm (non-rotating)
HoodNikon HB-38, petal-shaped (included), snap-on type
Other featuresNano Crystal Coating. Vibration reduction. Constant physical length (true IF design). Silent-wave AF motor.




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