Nikon 105

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Nikon105.jpg Two versions of the 105mm macro lenses side by side.
Macrosetup.jpg A typical setup for macro photography. Here I also use a 2x teleconverter TC 20E.

The most popular macro lens

If you want a macro lens, most probably this is the lens for you. It is quite expensive, and it is quite specialized. The tricky bit is that a macro lens can be used as a regular lens as well, and this 105mm is no exception. In that sense it is also a very good prime lens that you can use for landscape, portraits just as well as taking pictures of small objects, insects etc.

If you are interested in macro photography you will realize that 85-135mm seems to be the most preferred focal length, most of the manufacturers offering 105mm lens. The reason is simple, if you approach your subjects too much (i.e. with smaller focal lengths) the camera and lens combination will block a lot of the light and it will be difficult to get a proper picture. In some others (like insects) you may actually need a bit of distance not to to disturb the subject.

This lens has a minimum focus distance of a bit more than 30cm , leaving about 15cm between the end of the lens and your subject.


I had three different versions, unfortunately one was stolen.

  • Manual focus only 105mm f/2.8 AI-s. If you are interested in macro photography, this is absolutely no worse than much newer versions. The auto focus and vibration reduction are not so important for most macro photography.
  • There is also a slower 105mm f/4.0 AI-s. I have not seen or used this one
  • 105mm f/2.8 AF, this is the one that was stolen from me.. Excellent lens. It does not have vibration reduction, which is not really that much of an issue for macro photography.
  • 105mm f/2.8 VR G, this is the lens with all bells and whistles.

All three of these end up being similar in price when they are used and it is not understandable.

Note that there are also many non-macro Nikon 105mm lenses

  • 105mm f/1.8 AI-s and 105mm f/2.5 AI-s are older manual focus lenses, not meant for macro use
  • The highly rated 105mm f/2.0 DC, an excellent portrait lens (I describe its longer brother Nikon 135)
  • A very expensive and fast 105mm f/1.4 lens that replaces the older AI-s lenses.
My Nikon 105mm f/2.8 VR
Price Expensive
Weight Quite heavy, 750g
Good for Close ups, animals, portraits
New or used 1000 new or at least 500 used, does not lose much value

This is the macro lens for full frame it works perfectly. I love visiting museums, and most of the time, this is a great lens to have to take details. It will also allow you to get very close to the glass frames in the museum to deal with the reflections.

If you are not using it for focusing close, truth to be told it is a bit on the heavy side. The Nikon 85 is half the weight and at f/1.8 is even faster, so I would not buy/use a macro lens if you do not need to use it for close-ups.

This is one of those lenses that works very well on a setup where you combine APS-C and full frame cameras. On APS-C the lens becomes a 150+ mm, without changing the minimum focus distance.

At this focal length it is also quite a long lens, and I sometimes use this as part of a two camera setup, a 35mm or wider on a full frame body and the 105mm on an APS-C. Covers more or less anything.


Most of the equipment pictures on these pages are made with the 105mm.

These pages are for Amateur Photographers and not really for seasoned photographers and professionals. I have no affiliation or commercial interest with any brand/make. I write from my own experience. I ended up using mainly Nikon, so I am more familiar with this brand than others. See price for notes on pricing as well as photography related links.