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Nikkor 85mm Micro Lens Review - AF-S DX MICRO-NIKKOR 85MM F/3.5G ED VR

written by: SparkKD•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 4/20/2010

This Nikkor 85mm micro lens review is aimed at photographers who are interested in buying the Nikkor 85mm macro lens or are considering it for their DX format Nikon D-SLR.

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    Key Features of the Nikkor 85mm Micro Lens

    Rating Average

    Although the name is misleading, the Nikkor 85mm Micro Lens is actually a macro lens. One essential feature of this lens in terms of lens construction, is the presence of an extra low dispersion element (amongst the 14 lens elements) which helps reduce chromatic aberrations and is aimed at improving optical performance ... and the Nikkor lens delivers on this promise.

    Further, the onboard Silent Wave Motor helps to ensure quick and silent focussing. The presence of a Focus Switch helps to switch to manual or automatic with manual override modes. Also there is a VR switch (Vibration Reduction), which as per Nikon will provide the benefit of four stops as against a non-VR lens. A magnification scale is also present which ranges from 1:1 to 1:10.

    Key Features

    • Silent Wave Motor - Internal Focussing Mechanism
    • Prime lens with superior optical quality
    • Extra Low Dispersion (ELD) element reduces chromatic aberrations
    • Wide Focus ring makes manual focussing easier
    • Presence of Focus Switch and VR Switch
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    Build Quality

    Rating Average
    The Nikkor 85mm micro lens appears to be very well made and has a strong exterior body made of a polycarbonate material. This being a G-series lens, there is no aperture ring and apertures are controlled from within the camera body. Further, the lens is neither light nor heavy and feels good in the hand. Also, it provides good balance when fitted on a camera body of medium weight such as the Nikon D90.
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    Ergonomic Design

    Rating Average
    Because it is a prime lens, there is no zoom ring and instead, the lens has a wider focus ring. This facilitates proper focussing and the focus ring is very easy to use. Further the presence of the focus and VR switches on the lens provide for easy changeover between modes. The only downside is the absence of a autofocus limiting feature.
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    Rating Average
    As mentioned earlier, the optical quality of the lens is top-notch and the focussing is quick and silent. Photographs are extremely sharp and magnification up to about 1:3 can be taken hand-held. Beyond that, a tripod may be required. Barrel distortion and chromatic aberrations are very low with this lens.
    It can also serve as a very efficient portrait lens. However, the downside is that the f/3.5 lens is slightly slow and may not blur the background as much as desired. Also, the lens is a DX format lens and cannot be used on a full format camera (except in a cropped mode).
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    Price to Value

    Rating Average

    At first glance this may seem like an overpriced lens, especially considering that it is a DX format and may be unusable on a full format camera in future (except in a cropped format as mentioned above). However keeping in mind the entire Nikkor 85mm micro lens review and considering the features of the lens (especially the presence of vibration reduction), the overall build quality (the ergonomic design, the good balance and the low dispersion element) and the excellent optical performance (minimal aberration and fringing), it is a very good buy and provides good value for money.

    The Nikkor 85mm micro lens can be obtained from At the time of writing this article, it was priced at $507.95.

    For those interested in nature photography and macro photography, this lens may be a very worthy investment.