Nikon 70-180 AF Micro Zoom f/4.5-5.6 ED

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by dennisbrown, Oct 21, 2021.

  1. I've been thinking about the subject lens for a while, and finally decided to buy one after reading reviews on its quality, build, etc. I found one at KEH, and received it yesterday. As usual, the quality of the product was well above the rating of the lens (BGN) - Clear glass, only some minor dust, no major scratches on the body, absolutely clears lenses. I took a few test photos of some small items, and I'm impressed with the quality of the photos.

    My usual battery of macro lenses has been the Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G VR, and the Sigma 180mm f/3.5 Macro. This will be a nice addition.

    I've always shied away from close-up lenses, mostly because I don't like to "stack glass". However, in a few of the reviews on the lens, the users have mentioned the Nikon 6T close up, so as to get to 1:1.

    What have been your experiences using the lens and the 6T close up lens? Any preferences, emotional outbursts, comments?

  2. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    I enjoy the old lenses as well, and have been tempted by the one you chose - I mostly use an AF Micro Nikkor 105 1:2,8 D to good effect. Can't recall your cameras, but if you have a D7200 or similar, consider giving your new macro zoom a try on one of those. The extra reach and less extreme crops are effective.
  3. Sandy, I own a D610, D750, and D810.
  4. My old Nikon Full Line Product Guide says the 70-180mm focuses to 14.6 inches providing 1:1.32 reproduction. Not sure if a person could tell the difference of .32 by rigging up a 6T for 1:1.

    I had a 6T for a few years and sold it (for way too little at the time) after purchasing a dedicated macro lens. It was a bit clumsy to use on a zoom lens but provided good results on film at the time.

    Eric Sande
  5. I owned that lens for quite some time and at some point added the 5T and 6T to it. I parted with it in favor of the Sigma 150/2.8 APO when I realized that due to the short working distance of the 70-180 (even at maximum focal length it is close to that of a 105mm macro lens) I was using it at maximum focal length almost exclusively. Without the close-up lenses, the maximum magnification is 1:1.33; with the 5T it's 1:1.1 and with the 6T it is 1:1. To me using the lens without the diopters was generally sufficient, so the ones I had didn't get much use. Optically they worked fine - DOF at the minimum focus distance of 0.37m is so narrow that not much is in focus anyway.

    AF with the lens is quite slow (depends, of course, on the camera body being used with it) and noisy. CA is very well controlled (better towards the longer focal lengths and worst at 70mm). To me its main strength is when shooting from a tripod; when using handheld a major advantage of the zoom lens is being lost. I mainly used it on cameras up to 12MP and have no experience on how it performs with higher MP sensors. I have some more info on the lens in the description of this image that is hosted on flickr (click on it to open the flickr page):

    Image of the tip of a cork-screw at 135mm with 5T and 6T stacked:
  6. I used to use diopters on macro-(and "normal") lenses when working on film.
    I found that (for me) on digital i got better results when cropping in post than using diopters, so for me, diopters became unneccesary and hence superfluos .
    dennisbrown likes this.
  7. 850_7525 Raynox 250.jpg 850_7526 Nikon 6T.jpg I've used the 70-180 with the Nikon 5T, 6T and most recently the Raynox DCR-150 and DCR-250, all with good results.
    The Raynox lenses are readily available unlike the 5T and 6T and to my eye are no less sharp. The lens adapter for the Raynox is plastic but can be replaced by a metal on if desired. Additionally the Raynox vignette at the shorter focal length of the 70-180 but not at 180. Nor do they vignette on a 105mm micro lens.
    Finally although the Nikon twin flash does not have an adapter that fits the front filter size of the Raynox, step-up rings can be found to fit. I mention this because the twin flash is a great macro addition.
    The first photo is maximum mag on a full frame DSLR with the Raynox DCR-250; the second is the same with the Nikon 6T. Scale is metric.
    dennisbrown likes this.
  8. Can you also an image with the 70-180 without diopter, but cropped to a comparable magnification ?
  9. I gotta say I quite like 50mm extension on my 70-200mm fl on the Nikon Z6ii...:)

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