105 2.8 D Micro vs 105 2.8G Micro

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by mark4583|1, Mar 10, 2019.

  1. How does these 2 lens compare, is it worth the extra $$$ for the G? Im wanting to do some Bug shots hand held and wondering if the VR is worth going for
  2. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    Have the lens - it is excellent, even with extenders. Last year I bought the AF Nikkor 75-300 4.5 - 5.6 Micro which can be had very inexpensively used ( more so than the 105) - found it to be.even more convenient - used it a lot on my D 7200. This at the very end of the bug season. Drop me a note if interested, I'll send you a link to a favorite vendor who has a good one..

    DSC_9226 (683x1024).jpg
  3. Don't have any images at hand to show, but I've owned both and sold the VR G version.

    I have Nikon Micro lenses in various focal lengths made in the 1960s, and have owned ones made in this decade.

    My GENERAL observation is that Nikon has made a habit of making Micro lenses better general purpose lenses, but has done so at a cost of close performance. This was true even back in the days of ancient history, where the 55mm f/3.5(compensating aperture) was optimized for 1:10, a common magnification range for me. The f/3.5 non-compensating, and nearly identical AI lens performs very similarly, while the 55mm f/2.8 AI-S(another lens I owned and sold) works better at infinity but it's not as good as the f/3.5 on extension tubes or bellows.

    The 105mm f/2.8D works beautifully down to 1:1 with its built in focusing, and holds up reasonably well on tubes, bellows, or reversed. Even more importantly, since it has an aperture ring, you are free to use "dumb" tubes, bellows, and reversed.

    The 105mm f/2.8D VR, in my experience, is an OUTSTANDING lens from infinity to a few feet away. I love VR and it's one of the few non-exotic(and actually affordable) VR primes Nikon makes. VR is useless at close focusing distances(try it if you're shooting digital since it doesn't cost you anything, but don't be surprised if you find, like me, it doesn't actually help any and can actually be detrimental when it realigns right before the exposure and changes your framing. More importantly, though, under the same conditions(with VR off) I found that getting into the 1:10 and closer range, the D version is sharper on my D800. Of course, forget the VR version if you don't have the lens directly on the camera lens mount or expensive "smart" tubes(which I don't use). That's not a big deal for most lenses, "G" or not, but I do often put things between my micro lenses and the camera(or even reverse them) so that kills it for me. I also found the field to be slightly flatter on the D version, but the VR version seems to have better center resolution...it seems as though there is no such thing as a free lunch.

    If you only occasionally go to 1:10 and higher, and instead want a general purpose 105mm lens(with VR!) that just happens to be able to focus really close, I don't think you can go wrong with the VR version. With that said, a 70-200mm f/2.8 VR is not a lot more expensive(on the used market) and isn't QUITE as good at 105mm, but it's still pretty darn good, focuses faster, and has some extra perks as a purpose made "action" lens. Of course, it also is larger and weighs a lot more, but it still weighs less than a bag full of comparable f/2.8 primes it replaces.

    That's just one persons opinion, though. I harp on here a lot about lenses without aperture rings(I prefer having one, but they're not coming back) but for anyone who wants to throw bellows and/or reversing into their photography(both are SUPER common for high magnification) having one is essential to retain aperture control. Also, along the lines of reversing-my BR-2A reversing rings are 52mm filter threads, which happens to match the filter thread size of all the micro lenses I use but not the 105mm f/2.8 VR. I'm NOT about to hang a heavy lens off the end of a set of bellows with a flimsy step ring.
  4. VR is of limited (if any) use when working at near life-size magnification. Especially for insects (assuming you are shooting live ones), working distance is the parameter to worry about most - and its virtually identical for the D and G 105 Nikkors you are considering. And in my opinion: too short. I'd prefer a 150 or even 180mm lens for that particular application (don't go for the Micro-Zoom Nikkor 70-180 though as its MFD at 180 is about the same as that of the 105mm lenses you are currently considering). Nikon's 200/4 AF-D provides the largest working distance at 1:1 of the macro lenses I am aware of - but its AF speed is just painfully slow. I have owned the 70-180 and gave it up for the Sigma 150/2.8 non-OS, which in turn I later traded for the OS version. One drawback of the latter is the rather large weight - which still pales in comparison to that of its Sigma 180/2.8 brethren.

    EDIT: Ben posted while I was still typing. I also recall having read that the 105G isn't as good as the 105D at large magnifications.
    Albin''s images likes this.
  5. hmmm, I never thought of using the 75-300 as a macro lens. I just use it as a long zoom.
    The one issue I have with mine is "stickcion" where the zoom ring gets stuck on both ends, like it is stuck in goopy grease. And take significant extra effort to release.
  6. Never owned the G VR, but the 105mm f/2.8 AF-D is pretty good optically. However, I'd be hard pressed to tell the difference between images from it and my Tamron SP 90mm f2.8 macro.

    A small ring flash, or a flash on a bracket-arm, is much more effective at freezing camera shake than VR.

    I think I might have mentioned before in one of your threads, that there are some excellent cheap ring-flashes sold under the Centon, Starblitz and similar lesser brand names. They all seem to come out of the same factory, and consist of a proper circular xenon tube attached to a small plastic rectangular box that contains the batteries and electronic gubbins. They have a simple manual/auto switch on the front as their only control over flash output. The trigger voltage is a safe 5v, but they need a camera P-C socket or hotshoe adapter. I seem to have acquired 4 of them, since they usually only fetch a couple of £s at camera fairs. Make sure you get the series VII adapter rings that they need though, otherwise you'll pay more for the rings than the flash!
    bgelfand likes this.
  7. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I currently own both versions, but a 105mm/f2.8 AF (pre-D) instead of the AF-D. The AF and AF-D are almost identical lenses but obviously the AF-D version can relay distance info to the camera body.

    Both are fine lenses, but the AF-S VR is much bigger. AF-S is going to be more future proof, e.g. if you ever have the need to adapt this lens to Nikon Z mirrorless, currently there is no adapter that can maintain AF for AF/AF-D lenses since there must be an AF motor inside the adapter (or that will be a future, high-end Z body with an AF motor built in and has gear to drive any AF-D lenses via an adapter, but I find that scenario highly unlikely).
  8. FWIW, I have, and have been happy with, the 150mm Sigma f/2.8 OS macro; it appears to be more apochromatic than the Nikkor VR, for a start. There's a 180mm if you want more working distance and less money in your pocket. Traditionally the 300mm primes focus pretty close (the non-VR one slightly more so) and are good for bugs. If you really want to lose money, the latest 70-200 FL gets quite close as well. They're not in the 1:1 range of a true macro, but for a lot of reasonable-sized bugs you can't necessarily get all that close anyway.

    I have the 90mm Tamron (pre-VC version, which has a massively inset front element that reduces working distance), so the premium for the Nikkor 105mm VR never really appealed to me in price/performance. The LoCA issues on that lens have always dissuaded me - and the Sigma 150 is a decent long portrait lens, too. YMMV.

    Happy bugging, however you get there!

    Incidentally, in case you decide you want to go smaller than life-size and want to learn from my mistakes... I bought the 20mm Mitakon f/2. No problem with the optics, but the three-blade aperture is incredibly distracting. I'm strongly considering getting the Laowa 25mm instead.
    Albin''s images likes this.
  9. There again, everything is relative but for a macro lens whose primary use is a macro lens, I wouldn't lose too much sleep over losing AF. My 2.8D stays on "M" most of the time anyway.

    At the same time, most of my macro work is with stationary subjects, and I honestly don't know how much bug photographers(for example) rely on AF.
  10. Depends how still the bugs are keeping! I've snapped hovering dragonflies with AF, but I've also had the AF system completely fail to register them and had to focus manually, and I've had to prefocus for the more lively ones. I've used AF for insects on a plant, certainly tracking a bee on a swaying flower for example, but I've also used trap focus in the past. If you don't mind getting the insect on a surface, AF tends to be useful, because it'll get focus to the right place before it flies off again - so long as it finds the subject and it holds still enough. Most recently for the very high magnifications I put the D850 in mirror-up burst mode and shot a manual focus sequence in the hope that at some point during it the subject would cross the focal plane - whether that was a crawling insect, my hand tremor, or trying to dangle the camera under a bluebell at an awkward angle. There's the focus stacking mode on the D850, too (not that I've yet used it - and it's probably not as useful as focus bracketing would have been).

    I'm not really an expert on the subject, I've just failed at it quite a bit. :)
    mag_miksch likes this.
  11. I have the SB-21, image seems kind of flat, Maybe I need to tinker and experiment more with it
  12. I dumped my 105mm VR for the new Tamron 90mm VC MK II

    I was never happy with it's close-up sharpness, and as Ben mentioned above it always seemed a compromised macro. It's focus limiter was backwards.

    My copy also had HUGE Chromatic problems. Somewhere on p.net is an image I took of a lovely dewy cobweb and it's magenta and green......:(

    So 'pretty' infact that someone asked for the original RAW file,,,:)

    Late Edit. Found it!

    Odd CA with D5300+ 105VR + SB-800??
    Andrew Garrard and mag_miksch like this.
  13. Especially for Macro/Micro lenses i like to have a lens with an aperture ring on the lens, so that it can also be used (stop down) on a bellows, since there are no bellows attachments that can operate the aperture "G"type lenses for Nikon available at all...
  14. I have an adapter for my Novoflex bellows which allows F mount G-type lens aperture to be adjusted from the ring on the adapter.
  15. Mark, I have owned the older D version now for twenty years. Its much less expensive used, uses the autofocus motor on the camera body, has a 52mm filter thread that takes the dual element apochromatic Nikon close filters that I own but are no longer made. It also adapts well to the Nikon auto extension tubes including the 50mm PN11 tube. The auto refers to the aperture and not to autofocus. Its a great lens if your using a tripod that I prefer to do. If your going to be hand holding I would go with the newer lens. Quicker autofocus and VR will give you more opportunities. Its hard to make a bad close up lens and folks I know who use the Tamron like them a lot. I am sure sigma and tokina are just as good. Consider a longer lens like the Nikon 200mm or Tamron and Signa 180s. They give you better working distance and an angle of view that betters isolates the subject. I often shoot close ups with my Nikon 300mm f4 afs with or without extension tubes and close up filters. If your thinking of close up filters consider the Canon or Marumi dual element apochromatic filters. Good hunting.
  16. Thx IkkA , i did not know that one :)
    Which novoflex adapter is this, i can only find the G-lens on Eos adapters and the G-lens on M3/4 adapters on Amazon..
  17. thanks Ikka, i understand this is just usable for the Novoflex bellows system (or any other M39 mount).

    The reason i gave for only wanting macro lenses with Aperture rings on the lens itself, is that i want them to be usable on my Nikon bellows system (PB4 in my case) and for these i do not know any G-lens adater at a reasonable price, hence I would Always chooes for the "D"version of the 105mm lens in answering the OP's question....
  18. Okay, but by stacking an F to M39 adapter you should be able to use it on a Nikon bellows as well. I'll have to check if I have the pieces and double check that it works.
  19. i agree that this might work, alltough it would give another extra minimum extention and may also work for reverse mounted lenses.
    It would become also a bit expensive, 300 Euro's or so on top of the lens so theoretacally : yes, in practice for me , better to stick with lenses that do have an aperture ring and other lenses .
    The newer E-type lenses are totally out of the picture if it is for macro apliances for now.

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