Nikon Announces AFS DX 85 f/3.5 VR Micro Nikkor

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by mt4x4, Oct 14, 2009.


    MELVILLE, N.Y. (Oct. 14, 2009) – Nikon Inc., today introduced the new medium telephoto AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G ED VR lens designed specifically for extreme close-up photography, yet perfectly suited for portrait, nature, and general imaging as well. Focusing as close as 0.9 ft., this new 85mm Micro lens allows photographers to capture breathtaking close-up images with life-size reproduction ratios up to 1:1, helping to ensure that even the subtlest of subject detail is reproduced faithfully. The new 85mm Micro NIKKOR lens, in conjunction with Nikon DX-format digital SLR cameras, renders a picture angle equivalent of approximately 127.5mm (in the 35mm or FX-format), providing a natural perspective along with a desirable and practical lens-to-subject working distance.​
  2. It will be interesting to see how that stacks up against my Tamron SP90 2.8 which I rate as being as good as if not better than my Micro 105/2.8 AFD.
    The only negative I found in use is the push/pull AF clutch, but then the lens is in manual focus for macro shooting anyway.
    Big positive was the longer distance bokeh and warm rendered colours.
  3. The lens is described to be also good for portrait. So my question to the experts is: is f3.5 enough? Clearly f3.5 is implemented to save weight and bulk. Will this lens replace the excellent 85/1.8 AFD lens?
  4. At $530, they are not going to sell (m)any 105's, and it will be one for the scalpers.
    My guess, in that price range, it may match the rez. of a 50 with a T filter (which isn't really bad.)
  5. Wow, another 85mm lens.
    Still, I'm kinda slightly interested in it.
  6. it's not the 85/1.4 VR we all wanted...
  7. Looks like a versatile lens, AFS/VR, prime for portraits and macro work. Good affordable price. I would like to have it.
  8. A slow 85 mm lens only for DX...ho humm... If the 105/2.8 is too expensive, buy a 60/2.8; one gets nanocoating, larger aperture, coverage for FX and high quality. I for one use 55 mm on DX all the time, so the 60 would be a solid choice. For longer reach, 105 is clearly longer. But a slow 85 that won't work with FX...I really can't see the point in this one.
  9. I have looked at all of the Nikon announcements and tech specifications on this lens and can find no statements regarding use with extension tubes, either Nikon's non electronic ones or other manufacturers. Does anyone have any real info on this matter?
    Joe Smith
  10. One thing to remember about macro lenses is that "f/2.8 is not f/2.8" (or something like that). As soon as you change focus from infinity f/2.8 goes bye-bye. I don't see f/3.5 as a limiting factor for this lens.
  11. As soon as you change focus from infinity f/2.8 goes bye-bye. I don't see f/3.5 as a limiting factor for this lens.
    The aperture loss is cumulative i.e. at 1:1 it'll then be f/7, which means a very dark viewfinder. Unless Nikon invokes substantial focal length loss (greater than that of other micro nikkors if the aperture is to be the same at 1:1). Not good... This seems like a cheapo macro option for D3000/D5000/D90 users who want to travel light and not do any general (non-macro) available light photography with the lens. The 105 VR already has very dim corners wide open - this is more of the same. What is gained in high ISO is then lost by going to slower and slower glass.
  12. I really fail to see why Nikon found this lens necessary, especially at this price...
    So probably Ken Rockwell will find it a swell lens (which he never used), Google will pick up on this 'review', and Nikon sells enough of them to justify its existence.
  13. I use D300/105VR for macro photography in the field. I think this 85 could be quite a useful lens. Why lug around a full-frame lens if you don't have to? Note that DX has DOF and working distance advantages over FX for macro. In addition, the 60mm macro has far faster focussing than the 105VR, so if the 85 is in between, that's another advantage. Admittedly, users like me may represent only a small share of the market.
  14. Meh ... at that price, I'm still much more interested in the Tamron 60/2, which appears to be three lenses in one: macro, portrait and low-light.
  15. Note that DX has DOF and working distance advantages over FX for macro.
    Working distance, yes; DOF, no. All you have to do to match DX DOF is stop down about 1.3 stops more when you're using FX than what you would with DX, and increase ISO to get the shutter speed up. The quality should be similar.
  16. I agree with Oskar, not much point to this lens. I don't think 127.5mm is a good portait length (DX equivalent) and I don't think f3.5 is fast enough. I can't think of a time I'd want it in place of my 60 or 105 macros. If it was weight I wanted to limit, I'd carry the 60, if not the 105. When would I use the 85? Not really long enough, not fast enough, just not right.
    BTW, I'm not saying this because I'm hung up on full frame, I love the new DX35/1.8.
  17. It's a DX lens?!?!?
    Oh Snap! That is nuts.
  18. To me it indicates Nikon's continuing committment to the DX format.
  19. I'm not so excited about it being DX either, as I couldn't use it with my F100. I also thought it was a little odd that Nikon chose to release a new DX lens along with the release of an FX camera, the D3S.

    This new lens could be a great combination with a smaller camera such as a D40/60/3000/5000 though. The VR, focal length and macro capability could have advantages in a small package.
  20. It's f3.5? Yawn. Where's the 300mm f4 VR?
    Kent in SD
  21. I'm waiting like forever for 400mm f5.6. VR or not. Tthat would be dim lens I'd use a lot.
  22. The rumored long lens is the 100-500/4-5.6 VR for next year. Would be desirable to me.
  23. Max 3.5 is lame, not a disaster for macro but will not double for portrait / low light. MTF looks good though, sharp across the frame already at 3.5. Working distance should be about 14 or 15 cm, which is much more reasonable than Nikkor AF-S 60mm and also an improvement over say Tamron 90.
  24. I recently got the 105 VR - so this specific lens doesn't really interest me at the moment.
    I'm interested in the move to f3.5 though - I appreciate the DOF nature of wider aps (although for Macro with such narrow DOF I guess this is less of an issue).
    With the announcement in BJP for the D3s with even higher ISO performance quality - is there a shift for faster camera performance, and less reliance on faster lenses ? - and is this born out by this lens ?
  25. When doing macro, there will frequently be situations where a fast lens is required due to the difficulties of framing and focusing in low-light (and often the good stuff is found in the low light). I'm getting by with slower lenses, but the Zeiss f2 macros are definitely appealing to me. It doesn't matter whether one uses optical or LV focusing, both get problems when the light gets low.
    A bigger problem is the target audience; focusing in macro is manual. The viewfinders of anything below the D300 are not sufficient for critical manual focusing. The lowest end cameras don't have live view. This means that there's only a limited number of cameras for which this lens is useful and personally I think this would be the least useful of Nikon's macro lenses (I'm a D300 owner, I do macro, I own several macro lenses). I think that if cost or size is a problem, it's best to buy an old MF macro lens for macro and a proper portrait lens for portrait. If macro is only occasional, buy a 50/1.8 and extension tubes.
  26. Hope the D700s comes soon. Itching to use my AI 85mm/F2 the way it was meant to be used. It's a pity that with DX sensors the 85mm is now suitable only as a macro lens. IMHO, the Tamron 180mm is probably the only macro one should get.
  27. This lens will make a fine 2-lens combo with the 35/1.8 for DX users. Apparently Nikon is committed to this format. Many will prefer the size and cost advantage of the DX format.
    What might be a good addition is a 16-17mm, wide angle prime for DX now. It will round up the prime offerings for DX. Many of us used the 24/50/105 or the 24/35/85 three-lens set up in the film days. If one has no intentions to go to FX format, this will make a very attractive, light weight, reasonably priced, top quality lens package.
  28. "A bigger problem is the target audience; focusing in macro is manual."
    Last month I was trying to photograph a butterfly in the Amazon. It may well be a species new to science. This butterfly only settled on the underside of leaves. There were no leaves mores than a few feet above the ground, because this was a swamp. Because it was a swamp, I could not lie on the ground to photograph the underside of leaves, I would have been underwater. I was still able to photograph the insect holding the camera low and framing the leaf from my vantage point above, making use of the D300 autofocus and flash.
    How would you get this shot using manual focus, Oscar?
    Another thing I do all the time when chasing things around rain forests is to take photographs with my arms outstretched and the viewfinder about 2 feet from my head. This way I can get many times closer to subjects that I cannot approach eg because they are up a tree. I can't focus those shots manually either.
    Apparently, autofocus macro lenses do have some purpose after all.
  29. Now after some thought, may be the 85/3.5 is not a bad idea. When I use the 85/1.8, I usually stop down to 2.8 - 3.5 any way to give me enough DOF so the person's whole face can be in focus. The bokeh issue seems to be addressed by the new rounded nine blade diaphragm. Thus IF the 85/3.5 performs at its peak at f3.5, it will work just as well as the 85/1.8. Most of time when I use these fast lenses wide open is when it is really dark, an issue that is partially addressed by the use of VR. It may still be difficult to freeze movement though with a f3.5 lens and it is not going to be as bright as you would hope in the VF... But then, what do you expect from a lens that is also light and (hopefully) relatively inexpensive?
  30. Nic, I can't comment on your amazon photos; in the thousands of macro shots I took I never ran into those kinds of problems, even when I had to guesstimate focus for some UV shots. Maybe you should consider a Panasonic G1 that has a swivel screen along with a good macro; would make those outstretched arms -shots much easier due to the smaller weight and swivel screen. I can't say that shots close to the ground are convenient with a D300.
    However, it should be noted that my point is that AF and macro are not something that can be systematically used, the focusing just isn't convenient or reliable enough. Even in insect photography I typically find it easiest to just move myself by a suitable amount to get the subject in focus.
  31. This 85mm AFS macro lens would be good for my underwater photography with the D300s. It is shorter in length than the 105VR means that I don't need an extension ring on my housing plus it is much lighter than the 105VR. I would like to have one of this.
  32. How much does it weigh? I searched but could not find this data.
    Happy shooting,
  33. Got it. 355g. I need to work out on my search skills.....
    Happy shooting,
  34. I'm among those who feel F3.5 is disappointingly slow. A Nikon 70mm to 85mm F2.0 lens without macro would have been preferable for me and many others. Pentax offers a 70F2.3 DX type lens that's extremely compact, uses a 49mm filter thread and focuses to 2 feet--enough for an eyes-only portrait. The recent Tamron 60F2.0 is a tad too short and too expensive imho.
    Having had macro lenses in the past (although I'm not heavily into macro per se), I agree strongly with Nikon's choice of a long focal length (near 135mm FX equivalent). So the combination of the 35F1.8 and 85F3.5 DX lenses is the best prime lens DX combo that Nikon is going to offer for some time to come. Plus it mimics the pre-zoom classic 50/135 combo of the 60s and 70s, which I used for years. So I'm very interested in the new lens, already having the 35F1.8 DX.
    Still, here's hoping a 70mm F1.8 DX (which exactly matches the classic 105mm FX focal length!) can be offered at some later date.

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