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The best macro lens for Nikon reviewed

Updated on July 13, 2015

What is the best macro lens for Nikon digital SLR cameras?

Here we have the best macro lens for Nikon cameras. If you shoot a Nikon and want to capture close up and macro images you are going to need the best macro lens for Nikon cameras for stunning shots that are tack sharp each and every time. It doesn't matter whether you are shooting insects, butterflies, mini beasts and bugs or still life images, if you want to capture those amazing images you need a specific macro lens.

There are cheaper alternatives to macro lenses, such as close up filters, extension tubes and macro lens converters, but none of these produce images like a specific macro lens. Choosing the best macro lens for Nikon cameras can be a difficult task, however this article should hopefully make it easier. For the best macro lens for Nikon cameras that are guaranteed to improve your macro and close up images, and take your macro photography skills to the next level check the following best macro lens for Nikon cameras below.

Best macro lens for Nikon - Nikon 105mm macro lens

Here I have saved the best till last. There is only one word that can describe the Nikon 105mm f2.8 macro lens and that is awesome! This is a great lens and optically speaking, one of the best lenses Nikon makes. Images are tack sharp from the centre to the edges, the colours are bright, vivid and punchy by still realistic and the contrast is spot on. The images this lens is capable of will simply amaze and astound.

With a 105mm focal length this lens provides enough working distance to comfortable photography insects, butterflies bugs and mini beasts without scaring them off. It is also suitable for still life and subjects that don't move as well. The 105mm focal length is ideal for portraits (both head and shoulder and full body) so this lens is also perfect for that too. This lens can obviously be used for other types of photography, although some people consider 105mm to long to be used as a general lens, but this is down to personal preference.

With a maximum aperture of 2.8 this lens is faster and brighter than all the other macro lenses on the market, so be prepared for some nice bokeh.

The Nikon 105mm macro lens isn't cheap but this is a quality, professional grade lens that will simply blow you away. If you want, and can afford, the best macro lens this is the one to get. It really is that good.

If you want the best macro lens that money can buy for your Nikon camera there really is only one choice - the Nikon 105mm macro lens. This lens is awesome and

Best macro lens for Nikon -Tokina 100mm macro lens

The Tokina AF 100mm f2.8 AT-X M100 Pro D macro lens is prime lens that is built to last. Honestly, the first thing you will notice about the Tokina is how sturdy and durable it is. The Tokina lens is simply bullet proof however it is much heavier than other similar sized macro lenses. The weight may bother you or it may not, it is down to personal preference.

This lens is another fast lens that is very sharp and capable of capturing some stunning images. The optics in this lens is top drawer. The colours are bright and vibrant and the contrast is great.

This lens is an external focusing lens, meaning it gets longer when you focus. You need to bear this in mind when you are up close and focusing on subjects that are very close to you, especially insects and bugs. The fact the length changes is a disadvantage and it is a shame Tokina couldn't produce and internally focusing lens instead.

The Tokina macro lens is a cheaper alternative and ideal for those on a budget or those who can't justify shelling out a few hundred bucks on a macro lens.

Best macro lens for Nikon - Tamron 90mm macro lens

The Tamron AF 90mm f2.8 Di SP macro lens is a 90mm prime lens. With the maximum wide aperture of 2.8 this is a fast lens that is good in low light conditions. If you have looked a longer length macro lenses the first thing you will notice that it is smaller and lighter than the other longer macro lenses. This means it is light and comfortable to use for extended periods of time. The image quality of this lens is not as good as that of the Nikon or Sigma, but it is still very good.

With a 90mm focal length the working distance is greater than that of the 40mm, 50mm and 60mm macro lenses, therefore it is a good lens for those who like to photograph insects, bugs and butterflies. One thing to point out is the autofocus isn't very fast, so you are going to have to be quick or learn to focus manually.

Overall the Tamron AF 90mm f2.8 Di SP macro lens is a good entry level macro lens and ideal for those on a budget. The image quality is good and images are sharp, but the auto focus and build quality aren't as good as the competitors. This doesn't mean the Tamron lens isn't worth looking at though as some people like the compact size and low weight.

Best macro lens for Nikon - Nikon 60mm f2.8G macro lens

The Nikon 60mm f2.8D AF macro lens is one of the best lenses you can buy for your Nikon. With a wide maximum aperture of 2.8 this is a fast prime lens that is capable of taking pin sharp close up and macro shots that are simply awesome.

With a 60mm focal length the working distance at 1:1 size is not that great therefore it is best suited to taking macro images of still lives and things that don't move very quickly. The working distance is greater than the 40mm and you can use the 60mm for shooting butterflies, insects, bugs and other mini beasts but there will many times when the working distance simply isn't enough.

With a 60mm focal length the Nikon 60mm f2.8D AF macro lens is the ideal length for portrait shots, and when you consider how sharp this lens is, how punchy and vibrant the colours are, how fast the lens is and the excellent bokeh it is easy to see this lens is great for people shots. The 60mm focal length is also ideal as a walk around lens since this focal length is considered to be closes to what the human eye can see.

Overall, the Nikon 60mm f2.GD AF macro lens is a superb lens and one that all Nikon owners should have in their kit bag.

Best macro lens for Nikon - Sigma 50mm f2.8 macro lens

The Sigma 50mm f2.8 EX DG macro lens sits between the 40mm and 60mm focal lengths, and is often considered the best all round focal length to have.

Like all 50mm prime lenses the Sigma is very sharp and will produce some great shots. It is a nice lens to use, although it does not feel as solidly built as the Nikon lenses. The Sigma also does not autofocus as fast but then this should only be a problem if you are shooting moving subjects. With a 50mm focal length the working distance is not great, but this is only a problem if you want to shoot butterflies, insects and bugs.

One of the best things about the Sigma 50mm lens is the fact you can stop it right down to f45, which means you can get front to back sharpness in the whole image. If you want to take photographs of still lives and get every part of the photograph in focus this is a great feature.

Like all 50mm prime lenses the Sigma lens makes a good portrait and walkabout lens. The Sigma is a cheaper alternative and a good choice. It is just a shame the build quality is not as good as the Nikon.

Best macro lens for Nikon - Nikon 40mm f2.8G AF-S macro lens

The Nikon 40mm f2.8G AF-S DX is a "wide angle" macro lens that is a cracking little prime lens. With a maximum wide aperture of 2.8, this is a fast and bright lens capable of producing some sharp images that are vibrant, punchy and have a lot of contrast. Like all prime lenses there is sharpness from the centre of the frame to the edges. The build quality of this lens is superb and it is tough and durable and will withstand a lot of abuse, pretty much like all Nikon lenses.

With a 40mm focal length the working distance of this lens isn't great therefore if you want to shoot images of insects, butterflies, bugs and other mini beasts you are going to struggle to get close enough to them to get a good image on a regular basis. If, however, you are more interested in capturing images of still lives, flowers and other subjects that don't move this lens is going to be spot on for your needs. Despite this lens being a macro lens it can also be used for other types of photography and since it is small and light weight it makes an ideal walkabout lens.

This lens doesn't have Nikon's vibration reduction technology although at 40mm you shouldn't have too much problem with camera shake, unless you are using it in very low light conditions of course.

Overall, the Nikon 40mm f2.8G AF-S DX is an awesome lens that is compact, light weight, durable, capable of capturing some great shots and relatively cheap. It is a shame the focal lengh is no good for insects, but I guess you can't have everything.

Books to improve your macro photography

Another way of getting inspiration and improving your macro photography shots is to read some books and look at other photographer's work. Remember, getting inspiration from other photographers is fine, but you need to make sure you don't replicate and copy what they do. Take their ideas and make it unique to you by putting your own stamp on it.

Understanding Close-Up Photography: Creative Close Encounters with Or Without a Macro Lens
Understanding Close-Up Photography: Creative Close Encounters with Or Without a Macro Lens

One of the best macro photography books I have read that is jam packed full of useful tips and advice.

 
Macro Photography for Gardeners and Nature Lovers: The Essential Guide to Digital Techniques
Macro Photography for Gardeners and Nature Lovers: The Essential Guide to Digital Techniques

If you have a passion for flowers and fauna this book will help you improve your macro images.

 
Close-Up & Macro Photography (Expanded Guides - Techniques)
Close-Up & Macro Photography (Expanded Guides - Techniques)

A good book to improve your macro images of insects and mini beasts.

 

How to keep your macro lens clean

If you want to get the most out of your macro lens for Nikon you need to make sure you keep it dirt free, dust free and spotlessly clean. No matter how good you are with photoshop, or any other photo editing software, you will never get rid of a blemish caused by a dirty smudge or greasy fingerprint on the lens when the photo was taken. Therefore, you need to make sure you keep your lens immaculate at all times.


If you have any thoughts, opinions, comments, rants or raves please feel free to get them off your chest by noting them down in my guestbook. Thanks.

Protect your Nikon macro lens

Nikon macro lenses are expensive and you want to protect your investment, right? The front element of a macro lens is fragile and if this is damaged you may as well throw the lens away. One of the best pieces of kit you can buy to protect the front element of the lens is a UV lens filter, which is simply a piece of glass that is screwed in to the end of the macro lens.

Many people argue a UV lens filter reduces the overall quality of the photograph and whilst it does to some extent, the effects are negligible and you will be hard pressed to see the difference. In my opinion a UV lens filter is an essential product for all lenses, and not just macro lenses, and I ensure each and every one of my lenses has a UV lens filter on at all times.

UV lens filters aren't expensive and there is one to fit all Nikon macro lenses and I suggest heading over to Amazon where there are always deals to be had.

For all the UV filters you will ever need

Your comments are welcome

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      2envelopparadox 3 years ago

      nice lens

    • crbphotography profile image

      crbphotography 5 years ago

      Great lens. I plan on watching all of the videos. I just bought a Nikkor 85 mm Macro lens. Sorry to see that you did not mention this one. I just purchased a Digital Promaster extension tube set to allow me to get additional magnification. It couples with the camera's automatic diaphragm. The set includes a 12 mm, a 20 mm, and a 36 mm tube.