Micro-Nikkor AF-S 60mm f/2.8 G ED N - Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews - Nikon / Nikkor (APS-C)

Review by Markus Stamm, published September 2008


Although the AF-D 60 Micro Nikkor was (and still is) a decent performer, the lack of some innovations that have become market standard during its lifetime made it look more and more outdated. The Micro-Nikkor AF-S 60mm f/2.8 G is here to change that, replacing a lens that has been around for close to 15 years and delivering almost everything you could seriously expect from a new design, including true IF, the latest Nano Crystal coating, a silent wave drive and last but not least the most complex optical design of a Micro Nikkor in this focal range to date.

The good news is that with a street price of around 475US$/€ (at the time of this writing) the new lens is only marginally more expensive than its predecessor used to be not too long ago. The Micro-Nikkor is a FX lens, but full frame testing hasn't started yet on OpticalLimits, so as usual we'll take a look at how the lens performs on the D200, where the field-of-view is equivalent to a 90mm lens on a full frame camera, so it behaves like a moderate tele within this scope.

As the name implies the Nikkor is a macro lens with a min. focus distance of 0.185m (with manual focus, 0.219m with AF) resulting in a max. object magnification of 1:1. The build quality of the lens is very decent thanks to an outer barrel made out of high quality plastic. The broad, rubberized focus ring is slightly damped and operates reasonably smooth.

Thanks to a true IF design, the physical length of the lens remains constant at all focus settings. However, the effective aperture decreases down to F/4.8 at minimum focus distance, the lens reports this corrected value to the camera.

The front element does not rotate so using a polarizer is no problem. Unlike its predecessor, the lens no longer has a deeply recessed front lens, consequently a dedicated hood is now part of the package. That hood might cause some headache though when used in close-up work, at maximum magnification the subject distance to the front lens is just about 5 cm ... which equals to only 1 cm in front of the outer edge of the hood. This easily makes lighting a challenge, since the hood is likely to block quite some light.

As an AF-S lens the Micro Nikkor is compatible with all current Nikon DSLRs (including the motor-free entry level cameras D40, D40x and D60) and features all the advantages of a silent wave drive, including manual override at any time, silent and very fast operation (especially for a macro lens). Because of the high AF speed, the lens no longer features a focus limiter (which wasn't missed during testing).

Equiv. focal length90 mm (full format equivalent)
Equiv. aperturef/4.2 (full format equivalent, in terms of depth-of-field)
Optical construction12 elements in 9 groups incl. 1 ED and 2 aspherical elements
Number of aperture blades9 (rounded)
min. focus distance0.185 m (max. magnification ratio 1:1)
Dimensions73 x 89 mm
Weight425 g
Filter size62 mm (non-rotating)
HoodNikon HB-42, barrel shaped, bayonet mount (supplied)
Other featuresNano Crystal Coating. Constant physical length (true IF design). Silent-wave AF motor.