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Review by Markus Stamm, published October 2011
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performer, the lack of some innovations that have become market standard during its lifetime made it look more and more outdated. Replacing a lens that has been around for more than 15 years, the Micro-Nikkor AF-S 60mm f/2.8 G delivers 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 AF-S is a full frame (FX) lens. In this review we will have a look at the lens' performance in its native scope. As usual, we'll use the Nikon D3x as test camera for this FX review.
As the name implies the Nikkor is a macro lens with a min. focus distance
of 0.185m, 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. Typical for any macro lens in F-mount featuring a CPU the lens reports the effective aperture 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 often 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 motorless entry-level cameras) and features the usual advantages of a silent wave drive, including manual override at all times in single-shot AF mode as well as 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).
The AF-S 60 is a G-type lens and thus does not offer an aperture ring.
|Optical construction||12 elements in 9 groups incl. 1 ED and 2 aspherical elements|
|Number of aperture blades||9 (rounded)|
|min. focus distance||0.185 m (max. magnification ratio 1:1)|
|Dimensions||73 x 89 mm|
|Filter size||62 mm (non-rotating)|
|Hood||Nikon HB-42, barrel shaped, bayonet mount (supplied)|
|Other features||Nano Crystal Coat. Constant physical length (true IF design). Silent-wave AF motor.|