Nikon 40mm f/2.8 DX AF-S Micro Preview

Nikon DX Lenses

In March 2003, Nikon made history by introducing the first DX lens (the 12-24mm/f4 DX AF-S) dedicated to digital SLR cameras with an APS-C format (roughly 16×24mm) sensor, which Nikon calls the DX format. These DX lenses have a smaller image circle that cannot cover the full traditional 35mm-film frame (24×36mm), which Nikon calls the FX format. During those early days of digital SLRs, a lot of people assumed that the DX format was merely a short-term, interim solution, and most DSLRs would return to the traditional 24×36mm frame as soon as sensor production cost went down.

Clearly Nikon realized from the beginning that the majority of DSLR sensors would remain in the DX format in the long term. Therefore, they have been enhancing their DX lens line up in the years following 2003. Now eight years later, DSLRs with an APS-C (DX) sensor dominate the market across all most major brands including Canon, Pentax, Sony, and Nikon. The main exception is Olympus, which is committed to the even smaller 4/3 system (13×17mm).

The majority of Nikon DX lenses are zooms from wide to telephoto. There are no fewer than eight different Nikon DX zooms that start from 18mm on the wide end, including three versions of 18-55mm/f3.5-5.6 AF-S (one with VR) and two versions of the popular 18-200mm/f3.5-5.6 DX AF-S VR. So far there are only three fixed-focal-length DX lenses. One is the popular and affordable normal lens for
indoor, low-light conditions, the 35mm/f1.8 DX AF-S. The other two are specialty lenses: a 10.5mm/f2.8 DX fisheye and a 85mm/f3.5 DX AF-S micro for macro photography. The new 40mm/f2.8 DX AF-S micro is another special-purpose macro lens. Its addition clearly indicates Nikon’s commitment to continue
introducing DX lenses to strengthen their DX-format DSLR system beyond merely serving entry-level consumers.

Where to Buy

Photo.net’s partners have the 40mm/f2.8 DX AF-S Micro lens available. Their prices are fair and purchasing via the link helps to support photo.net.

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The New 40mm/f2.8 DX AF-S Micro

The new 40mm/f2.8 DX AF-S micro lens is the DX equivalent of the popular 60mm/f2.8 AF-S micro, which is a flat-field lens that can capture a flat subject and keep the image sharp from edge to edge with little distortion; it is especially suitable for copy work. With the 1.5x “crop factor,” the new 40mm DX lens provides the same angle of view on DX-format DSLRs as the 60mm macro on FX-format SLRs. Both of these lenses are flat field macros and can achieve the 1:1 reproduction ratio native, i.e. without the aid of any extension tube or other attachments.

Features, Pricing and Availability

The new 40mm/f2.8 DX AF-S micro can focus down to 6.4 inches (16 cm) to achieve 1:1 macro photography. Similar to other Nikon AF micro lenses, it has a reproduction ratio scale along side with the focusing distance scale.

Optically, the new lens has 9 elements in 7 groups. It uses Nikon’s Super Integrated Coating (SIC) and Close-Range Correction (CRC) System with floating elements to provide excellent image quality from close range. However, unlike the 60mm/f2.8 AF-S Micro lens, the new 40mm DX lens does not use nano
crystal costing, ED glass elements or aspherical elements. Neither lens has the Vibration Reduction (VR) feature.

The new 40mm/f2.8 DX AF-S lens is 2.7 inches (6.9 cm) long and weights 9.9 oz (280 g). That is a very light lens; therefore, apparently the barrel is made from plastic, similar to many small, fixed-focal-length lenses introduced in the last couple of years, such as the 35mm/f1.8 DX AF-S and 50mm/f1.8 AF-S.
The good news is that it comes with a metal lens mount. While I have not used the new 40mm DX micro, I find the construction quality on similar lenses sufficient. However, for those photographers who are used to the all-metal barrels on the Nikon AI/AI-S lenses from the 1980’s and earlier, they may have the
impression that these new lenses are not as well built as they used to be.

The new Nikon 40mm/f2.8 DX AF-S micro lens is scheduled to be available in the US around 25th August, 2011 with a suggested retail price of US$279.95.

Conclusions

By strengthening their DX lens line up, adding one more special-purpose yet affordable micro lenses to match their consumer DX-format DSLRs, Nikon is showing their commitment to the DX format and the expectation that more serious photographers will use DX-format cameras beyond merely capturing casual images. The suggested retail price for the new 40mm/f2.8 DX AF-S micro is less than half of that for the 60mm AF-S micro, but the new lens does not have some of the more expensive components. The 40mm/f2.8 DX micro is positioned to be an affordable macro lens for the more advanced consumers.

Where to Buy

Photo.net’s partners have the 40mm/f2.8 DX AF-S Micro lens available. Their prices are fair and purchasing via the link helps to support photo.net.

  • nikon_40mm_dx_micro

Nikon 40mm and 60mm Micro Lenses Compared

60mm/f2.8 AF-S Micro 40mm/f2.8 DX AF-S Micro
Minimum Aperture f32 f22
Angle of View on FX 39 degrees not suitable for FX
Angle of View on DX 26 degrees 39 degrees
Number of Elements (Groups) 12 (9) 9 (7)
Nano Coating, ED and Aspheric Elements yes no
Vibration Reduction (VR) not available not available
Number of Aperture Blades 9 7
Filter Thread 62mm 52mm
Size 2.8" wide, 2.9" long’ (7.1 cm wide, 7.4 cm long) 2.5" wide, 2.7" long (6.4 cm wide, 6.9 cm long)
Weight 15.7 oz (440 g) 9.9 oz (280 g)
Price US$599.95 US$279.95

Official Nikon Press Release

GET CLOSER TO CLARITY: THE NEW NIKON AF-S DX MICRO NIKKOR 40mm f/2.8G BRINGS FAST MACRO ABILITY TO DX-FORMAT SHOOTERS

Images Packed with Stunning Detail and Amazing Sharpness Have Never Been So Near

MELVILLE, N.Y. (July 12, 2011) – Nikon Inc. today introduced the new lightweight and versatile AF-
S DX Micro NIKKOR 40mm f/2.8G lens to provide Nikon DX-format shooters macro capabilities at an
affordable price point. Ideal for intimate details or general portraiture, the new AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR
40mm f/2.8G lens has a minimum focusing distance of just 0.53 feet (6.4 inches) to allow users to
capture extreme close-up photographs and High Definition (HD) video with a life-size 1:1 reproduction
ratio.

“This new NIKKOR lens is an ideal accessory lens for those who are ready to explore a totally new
perspective, whether it’s extreme close-up detail or general still images and movies with flattering out
of focus elements,” said Lisa Osorio, general manager of marketing at Nikon Inc. The new Micro NIKKOR
lens delivers new and added versatility to the Nikon DX-format digital SLR system and provides DX-
format shooters with compact optics that deliver excellent color reproduction and stunning sharpness."

Weighing in at approximately nine ounces, the extremely compact and lightweight lens is an ideal “next”
lens to complement any DX-format shooter’s growing D-SLR kit. The natural focal length (60mm, FX
equivalent) and large f/2.8 aperture are ideal for a wide variety of applications, whether capturing close-
up details in flowers and insects or shooting flattering portraiture with a pleasing bokeh.

For fast and whisper quiet autofocus operation, the new Nikon 40mm Micro lens also features Nikon’s
exclusive Silent Wave Motor technology, which allows photographers to get even closer without
disturbing a subject. For complete control, the AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 40mm offers users both manual-
priority autofocus (M/A) and manual focus (M) modes to quickly and easily switch focus modes on the
fly. To help ensure amazing lens performance at close distances, this new lens employs Nikon’s Close-
Range Correction System. With this system, the lens elements are configured in a “floating” design
wherein each lens group moves independently to help achieve critical focus. Additionally, Nikon’s Super
Integrated Coatings are applied to help reduce instances of lens flare and ghosting. The seven blade
diaphragm also helps to create a more natural out of focus component.

The versatile and compact nature of the AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 40mm f/2.8G lens combined with its affordability make it a great travel companion for any DX-format D-SLR, including the new Nikon D5100
and popular D3100.

Price and Availability
The versatile AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 40mm f/2.8G will be available in August for an estimated selling
price of $279.95. For more information, please visit www.nikonusa.com.

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    • Nikon Zoom Lenses for DX format. 

      'There are no fewer than eight different Nikon DX zooms that start from 18mm on the wide end....' 

      What happened to the AF-S DX Nikkor 10-24mm f3.5-4.5G ED and the AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 12-24mm f4G IF-ED lenses? Both specifically built for DX format.

      As a Nikon user for some 40 years I find it great that I can still use my old 50mm f1.4 from my Nikkormat EL, along with the extension rings and bellows unit of that area, albeit with some limitations, on my latest D7000, and can now look forward to adding a purpose designed 1:1 lense to the system.

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    • George, of course there are other DX zooms; I have the 12-24mm/f4 DX AF-S myself. I was pointing out that if we only count DX zoom that starts from 18mm on the wide end, there are already 8 of them:

      • 3 versions of 18-55mm/f3.5-5.6 DX, 1 with VR
      • 1 18-70mm/f3.5-4.5 DX, now discontinued
      • 1 18-105mm DX with VR
      • 1 18-135mm DX, now discontinued
      • 2 18-200mm DX, both with VR

      There are the current 16-85mm/f3.5-5.6 DX with VR and the 17-55mm/f2.8 DX AF-S, w/out VR.

      And more ....

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    • Nice preview Shung! In addition to the 6.4" minimum focus distance, it would be useful to know as well what the length of the lens is at 1:1 and what the MFD translates to as working distance from subject to front edge of the extended lens barrel. If the construction is similar to the 60mm micro then the front might come out quite far to reach 1:1 and cut down the working distance to just 2 or 3 inches.

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    • Paul, again, I have never even seen this lens. The preview is entirely based on information supplied by Nikon. Hopefully I'll get to play around with one when it becomes available. But given that I already have various 105mm and 200mm macro lenses and I usually shoot macro with FX, most likely I won't buy one myself.

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    • Nikon has released two DX macros back-to-back! Will they be able to squeeze out a decently fast (F1.8 to F2.0) DX portrait lens anytime soon?

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    • Shun,

      What is your current opinion of the now discontinued 18-70mm lens?  Is it still a worthwhile lens to have in one's arsenal?

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    • I just ordered this 40 2.8 for these reasons - It is a lens in that "sort of normal" range that apparently has very well controlled flare and controlled CA, plus excellent sharpness. I have a 30-year-old Micro 105 2.8, and enjoy those same qualities. Razor-sharp and contrasty does matter.

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    • The 18-70mm DX has some pretty serious distortion on the wide end. Other than that, it is still a fine lens to own for that price.

       

      Incidentally, photo.net's review of the 40mm DX micro is up: http://www.photo.net/equipment/nikon/lenses/40mm-f2.8-af-s-dx-micro/review/

      I got to use a test sample for a month and I was surprised by how excellent it is. There is some chromatic aberration; otherwise, it is surprisingly good, especially for the low price.

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