60mm f2.8 D Macro Nikkor

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by mervyn_wilmington, Mar 6, 2012.

  1. I recently posted a question - and received some very helpful answers - about the shorter Nikon micro lenses, ie 55mm and 60mm.
    I would really be grateful if I might be able to have further advice/comments more particularly on the 60mm af-d. I have seen a couple of near mint examples at very good prices.
    I have spent a good deal of time reading both professional and user reviews on the 60mm. Most of the reviews, understandably, concentrate on the close-up performance. A few mention use for portraits, but there is very little in terms of use as a general lens, although Nikon says it is fine for that. The question is, is it? I feel sure that even people who bought this lens for macro work, will have pointed it elsewhere at times, and may well have used it as a general lens on occasions.
    Compared with say, my 35-70mm f2.8D or 50mm F1.8d, am I going to find mid and further distances rendered just as well, or better or worse? I use a D700.
    I would greatly appreciate further help before I spend my money!
  2. I remember seeing some amazing shots of a black horse and a female model on a beach in the Nikon Prof magazine a year or so ago - IIRC they were taken with this lens...
  3. It makes a perfect 'standard' lens, I use it for food shots, product shots, macro (obviously), copy work etc.
    It is distortion free, has excellent contrast and doesn't need a lens hood in general use (deeply recessed front element).
    Probably one of the sharpest lenses I own. It's better on my D3 than my old D200, though I think thats more to do with ability to manually focus than the lens itself.
  4. There was a time when film was "slow" and this sort of lens wasn't "fast".
    1.8 and 1.4 primes ruled then.
    Today with dslr's capable of noise free performance @ ISO 1000 I'm of the opinion that "fast" lenses are useful mostly for throwing backgrounds out of focus/isolating subjects.
    I use my micro as a general purpose lens, except when it's a really, really low light situation.
    Bang for the buck tho, it's tough to beat a 50mm 1.8, but a micro does a lot of things the 1.8 cannot.
    The micro is deadly sharp, and for some portraits it is a tad too sharp (damn those wrinkles).
    Jim the non-pro
  5. Mine has been a very good normal lens but it is larger and heavier than the smaller 50mm 1.8.
  6. Robert, this lens can hardly be described as distortion free. It's amazingly sharp but certainly not distortion free.
  7. Perhaps I should have said 'almost' distortion free, it vignettes wide open (most lenses do) but it does have excellent flatness of field.
  8. These contributions really are most welcome and helpful: thank you.
    I'm in a quandry. 60mm af-ds almost abound, with some at very good prices used, and with warranties. However, I may have a chance of buying privately the earlier 55mm f2.8 af-d, obviously without warranty.
    Some people claim that the earlier 55mm is better for general photography. If that is true, the present views on the 60mm suggest that it can't be by much!
  9. My subjective impression of this lens (one of only 3 AF Nikon lenses that I own since 2 were stolen along with my D3) is that distortion is significant. And I'm not talking about vignetting which is something entirely different.
  10. Sorry Alastair, we will have to agree to disagree.
  11. Sure, Robert. As I say it's a subjective impression. I'll have to read up about it, perhaps look at some MTF data. You may well be right. I do like the lens because it really is incredibly sharp. I think it's my sharpest lens - including a whole bunch of Leitz lenses. But I have reservations about iq nonetheless.
  12. I have owned and shot with both the 60mm AF f/2.8 and the 35-70mm AF f/2.8 regularly. I find that at infinity they are equal for most purposes. At close range the 60 wins of course. A 60 could certainly be used for a general purpose lens with good results. The 35-70 is heavier (1.4# vs 1# for the 60). Because of the close working distance it is sometimes hard to get good lighting on the subject with flash with the 60. The 105mm and 210mm are better in that regard.
    FYI - There is a modest 'macro' mode at the 35mm end of the 35-70mm. I never found it useful.
    Good luck.
  13. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Nikon's 55mm and 60mm macro lenses, plus the recent 40mm/f2.8 DX AF-S macro, are designed for copy work. Their characteristic is that they have a flat focus plane and have very little distortion. And of course like most macro lenses, they are very sharp.
    I have no personal experience with the 60mm/f2.8 AF-D macro, as I only have the current 60mm/f2.8 AF-S version and I also tested the 40mm/f2.8 DX for photo.net last year. At least the 60mm AF-S version has minimal distortion. If anybody has questions about the AF-D vesion, that should be something easy to verify.
    Some macro lenses are optimized for close focusing, naturally, so that they are less sharp near infinity. My 200mm/f4 AF-D macro is like that. Again, I have no personal experience with the 60mm AF-D, but if the OP already has the 35-70mm/f2.8 zoom, the primary objective for getting the 60mm should be macro work??
  14. Shun,
    Thank you for your contribution.
    I do, indeed, have the 35-70, and very good indeed it is. However, as I mentioned in my posting a week or two ago, I have health problems and am trying to minimise the weight of my equipment. I often walk in the countryside around home (Yorkshire Dales, UK) mainly for exercise, but like to carry a camera. Recently, I have used a Panasonic TZ65 (I'm not sure what the US designation is) and very good it is too, and it weighs nothing!
    However, my D700 sits there, and I would like to take it with me, but there is the weight factor. Whilst I take 'general' pics of the countryside, there are many opportunities for close-up work of flora, although I don't mean 1:1. The 35-70 is poor for macro work. Thus, if a 'proper' macro lens also has very good performance for general work, it would fit my needs.
    I recall that the original pre-ai 55mm f3.5 micro was always highly regarded as a 'distance' lens, although I never used one - it was then beyond my purse. Thus, it does seem that macro lenses have the potential to be first class more generally.
  15. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Mervyn, in that case I wouldn't be too concerned about the 60 AF-D's quality at infinity.
  16. I've the 60/2.8 AFD, and like it a lot - sharp close and at infintiy. Like Richard Meyers, I'd think it comparable to the 35-70/2.8 in IQ, but the 35-70 is much heavier, bulkier, flare-prone and not good in 'macro' mode. The old 55/3.5 macro is lighter, sharp close and at infinity, and a great general lens - but obviously MF only. (Comments refer to these lenses on a D700).
  17. The 60 D Micro is distortion free for intents and purposed. It is one of the finest lenses in the Nikkor line.
  18. While most of what I shoot in the 60mm neighborhood involves an f/2.8 zoom lens that covers that range, I do have and use the 60/2.8 AF-D. It's a terrific lens. Most of the time, I'm using it it at typical plate-of-food, table-top-product type distances, and its stellar in such uses. But I've had occasion to point it as scenery-type scenes, and found that it serves quite well if that focal length suits the composition.

    Just for fun, between these paragraphs, I mounted the 60/2.8 D and stepped out the back door (ah, sunshine!). Took a quick hand-held shot towards the bird feeder. I deliberately kept the feeder - and an accomodating female house finch - in the corner of the frame. Did a focus-and-recompose to make sure the busy background wasn't confusing matters. Below is the full frame, reduced to 700 pixels. Will post a 100% crop right after.
  19. And here's a 100% crop out of the corner. Sorry, I can't show the corner your D700 would see. But this lens is plenty sharp and, in my experience, without any distortion that has ever made itself apparent to me.
  20. i have had the 60 f2.8 af-d for a year or so and used it with the d90 and d7000. it really is tack sharp for macro and general use. great feel and handling, as sharp as any 50mm with a bit more pull. i will never get rid of this, its a real gem!
  21. I agree with all others that the 60mm AF-d is a very very good lens, shows no noticable distortion, and works great as a "standard lens".
    There is only one thing you need to be aware of when using it as a general purpose lens : since it is designed as a macro lens, it takes long time to focus from nearby to infinity ( so slow AF...) . This is inherent to a Macro lens because it needs precision focussing....
    If you need a fast, and fast focussing, and lightweight "normal" lens i'd still go for one of the 50mm standard lenses i guess, for example the new 50mm af-s G , which is dead cheap has a great performance, and only weighs 185 grams !!, whereas the AF 60 2.8d weighs somewhere near 440 grams!! .....
  22. I shot a magazine cover with my 60mm this morning. Nice glass.
  23. I have used my 60 macro at weddings for macro shots of the invitations, flowers, and rings and have had great results. As a portrait lense, even at f/2.8 - 4, it gives too much detail which may or may not be a good thing.
  24. I have the non-D version, which is also very sharp at longer distances as well as close up.
  25. Can I please say to all members how much I have valued their contributions.
    As a consequence, I have this morning ordered a near mint example, but it will be a couple of days before it gets to me. I'm looking forward to putting it through its paces and challenging one of our sons in the definition stakes. He uses equipment manufactured by another company, that, at first, from its name, I thought made armaments.
    I looked on the Nikon site to see if I could download the instruction leaflet - not that it is very important - but could not find it there. Or was it just me looking but not seeing?
    Thanks to everyone again.
  26. You can also look at Tamron 60mm F2 macro lens. I haven't used the lens, but it's said to be sharp.
  27. Tamron 60mm F2 is nice but it is not good for the OP's D700
  28. My lens arrived this morning. It looks as new. It is cold, wet and miserable outside. However, one or two 'silly' shots taken indoors more than suggest the quality that members have expressed. As soon as it is dry outside, I shall be taking pics of the spring flowers, etc.
  29. Excellent! You're really going to like that lens. Get a umbrella out and shoot in the rain. A new lens waits for no weather!
  30. Matt, your sentiments are well expressed and accepted! I bought my first 'proper' camera in 1958. In those days I would be out and about with a camera despite floods and fire. Nowadays, my health is such that I have to be a little more conservative. However, in an hour or so I shall be out there. I will deport myself in a way that, if I do collapse, the camera will fall on me, and not me on the camera...
  31. I have read that this lens works perfectly well at infinity but that the older 55mm f2.8 AF micro Nikkor is slightly sharper at infinity. I have the latter and can say it is extremely good although I find the contrast is slightly lower than expected (not a bad thing with digital). It also has the advantage of focussing 1:1. I would have no qualms about using the 60mm in this way.

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