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NikonAF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G ED VR Lens
 
4.6

(based on 162 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (104)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (49)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (4)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (5)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (0)

96%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Lightweight (66)
  • Fast / accurate auto-focus (53)
  • Easily interchangeable (49)
  • Consistent output (41)
  • Easy to use (32)

Cons

  • Poor in low light (11)
  • Slow focus (7)
  • Heavy (4)

Best Uses

  • Macro photography (81)
  • Close up filming (22)
  • Shooting outdoors (19)
  • Landscape/scenery (17)
  • Wildlife photos (17)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Photo enthusiast (49), Semi-pro photographer (19), Casual photographer (15), Tech savvy (13), Pro photographer (8)
    • Was this a gift?:
    • No (114), Yes (10)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

Right vs. Wrong - Micro 85mm wins

I'm a semi-professional photographer of 35+ years experience with close-up photography. I've used every technique, including reversal rings, extension tubes, close-up lenses and darkroom fixes with normal lenses in the engineering field...Read complete review

I'm a semi-professional photographer of 35+ years experience with close-up photography. I've used every technique, including reversal rings, extension tubes, close-up lenses and darkroom fixes with normal lenses in the engineering field to take 'technical' photos. I use this lens to photograph coins, and I'm having to re-learn how to be a photographer using this lens on the 26 Mp D3200!
I purchased the 85mm, rather than the 40mm Micro because I wanted some distance between lens and subject and this lens takes a full frame picture of a quarter at about 7-8 inches. Coins are a particular challenge due to being flat and all one color. This lens is easy to work with and I'm getting excellent results with the auto-focus and the auto-exposure and am using the built in flash, a pleasant surprise. Usually, the lens is so close that lighting is difficult, and a camera mounted flash is blocked by the lens itself. It's what's missing that makes this lens/camera combo stand out.
When adding close-up lenses to a normal lens, first off, they don't help that much for extreme close-up work and they add two lens surfaces per, degrading the image with increasing amounts of diffraction and chromatic aberration. Likewise, they are not mechanically aligned with the lens elements and I don't use them anymore. They soften and blur the close-up image. The 85mm gives a crisp image at it's maximum with no detectable corona or blurring.
Extension tubes, while giving a better image than close-up lenses, move the lens out of its 'comfort zone', and chromatic aberration increases with each extension, and the amount of light on the sensor falls off with the square of the distance. It also moves the front of the lens closer to the subject and decreases depth of field. Eventually, the lens is too close and shading the subject, with the lens wide open. The 85mm lets you work at a comfortable distance, use a high lighting angle, back the lights away, and stop the lens down to increase the depth of field.
Depth of field is always an issue, and in my case, a real problem because coins are essentially flat. A shallow depth of field is no problem, but the center of the coin and the edge of the coin are at different distances from the lens, and the center can be in focus while the edge is out of focus. The 85mm does not show any such distortion across the full frame.
The first sets of pictures I took looked fine, until I moved them into photoshop and looked at them at pixel resolution. I noticed two things, that I thought were lens problems, but were actually mistakes I made. First, the silver quarter looked 'rough'. Zooming in, I saw that adjacent pixels were of widely different colors, averaging out to grey at a distance. This was due to camera motion. It is essential to use liveview so that the mirror is up well before the shutter is released, AND to use a remote shutter release. I have developed a soft touch over the years to release the shutter, and this was adequate with film and lower resolution digital cameras. Not so with this camera, when you consider that the sensor elements are microscopic, and this lens provides a precisely focused image that will pick-up microscopic camera movement. It goes without saying that the camera must be firmly mounted on a tripod. The improvement was noticeable at a distance, and zooming in reveals surface details such as fine scratches that are lost in lower resolution digitals, and cannot be seen under 10x magnification with the naked eye. Adjacent pixels are nearly the same color, which speaks to the quality of the image produced by this lens. If anything, these pictures are too good, showing details that the naked eye never sees.
The second problem was a slightly out of focus edge on the coin. This was due to two mistakes. 1) The camera MUST be parallel to the surface. The slightest tilt, in this case about 2-3 mm, will cause a corresponding tilt in the planar field of view, and 2), the coin must be flat and parallel to the camera. I place coins on a smaller piece of foam rubber so they appear to float. The slightest tipping of the coin to one side or the other will throw the edge out of focus since I use the auto-focus on the center of the coin. This lens will not allow you to be sloppy or imprecise.
One other thing, lint, dust or any other bit of debris shows up quite nicely. I now have to dust the coins before photographing them, and occasionally re-photograph them when a microscopically large dust mote shows up.
To sum up, the 85mm gives a flat field, crisp image at a comfortable working distance, and produces excellent close-up images that are easy to light, but you have to work for it. This lens is not for the casual point and shoot, but will give great results to the serious photographer tired of fighting the limitations of the wrong lens for the job.

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

Decent Nikkor lens for the Cost you pay

Its nicely balanced on my D80. Quiet sharp, light & the VR helps in handholding for closeup macros of small insects, dragonfly, damselflies & butterflies. I got this as a...Read complete review

Its nicely balanced on my D80. Quiet sharp, light & the VR helps in handholding for closeup macros of small insects, dragonfly, damselflies & butterflies. I got this as a alternative to the big 105mm VR as the cost difference is worth considering towards getting an 85mm VR. The f/3.5 doesn't really matter to the limited amount of amateaur shooting I do & I did not really saw the need for a faster f/2.8. Overall a good deal.

Reviewed by 162 customers

Displaying reviews 1-20

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5.0

Surprisingly sharp!

By Leo

from São Paulo, Brazil

Verified Reviewer

Comments about Nikon AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G ED VR Lens:

To be honest, I wasn't expecting too much, for this price. But I was shocked at how amazingly sharp it is.
Comparing it to Nikon's top 105mm f/2.8 macro it's virtually half the price, with one less f/ stop (which doesn't really affect the photo in terms of depth of field, it being a macro and all, nor in terms of exposure if you have a well-positioned flash), smaller (which might not add to the whole pro-photographer-mis-en-scene, but has no practical downside) and lighter (gentler on your back). The only thing I actually miss from the 105mm is the focus range switch, that would make it a tad faster to find the subject on the AF. Not a problem if you're faster on the manual focus for macro.

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4.0

Fantastic Macro Lens

By Mo

from Sugar Land Texas

Verified Buyer

Comments about Nikon AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G ED VR Lens:

It is easy to use.

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(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
4.0

simple to micro with 85mm

By niknak

from scarsdale ny

About Me Photo Enthusiast

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Consistent Output
  • Easily Interchangeable
  • Fast / accurate auto-focus

Cons

  • Heavy

Best Uses

  • Indoors/Low Light
  • Landscape/Scenery
  • Macro Photography

Comments about Nikon AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G ED VR Lens:

85mm for potraits,great 1/1 micro image. metal bayonet.
very sharp no visible vignetting

  • Was this a gift?:
  • No

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(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Great dental photography lens !!

By Doug

from ASHEVILLE NC

Comments about Nikon AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G ED VR Lens:

A great lens for dental photography
Much lighter than 100 mm macro and quality of images outstanding

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(3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G ED VR L

By husker-1

from Omaha

About Me Photo Enthusiast

Verified Buyer

Pros

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Macro Photography

      Comments about Nikon AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G ED VR Lens:

      I use the lens to photograph watches. The resulting images are fantastic. I highly recommend this lens for all macro work.

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      (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

       
      4.0

      Needed a good macro

      By Minotaur

      from Philadelphia, PA

      About Me Semi-pro Photographer

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Consistent Output
      • Easily Interchangeable
      • Fast / accurate auto-focus
      • Lightweight
      • Nice Bokeh

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Indoors/Low Light
        • Macro Photography

        Comments about Nikon AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G ED VR Lens:

        Good for macro photos and portrait photography

        • Was this a gift?:
        • No

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        (6 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        Great Macro Lens

        By Zak Kogut Photography

        from Gilbert, AZ

        About Me Semi-pro Photographer

        Verified Reviewer

        Pros

        • Consistent Output
        • Durable
        • Easily Interchangeable
        • Fast / accurate auto-focus
        • Nice Bokeh

        Cons

        • Poor in Low Light

        Best Uses

        • Macro Photography
        • Wildlife Photos

        Comments about Nikon AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G ED VR Lens:

        I've been using this macro lens for about 6 months now and it's a very good macro lens. I've gotten some awesome shots and when used with extension tubes you get amazing detail in your focus stacks. I love having the extra working distance this lens provides as well. Buy it.

        • Was this a gift?:
        • No

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        5.0

        GREAT !!!

        By Afonso

        from Brasil

        About Me Casual Photographer

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Easily Interchangeable
        • Fast / accurate auto-focus

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Macro Photography

          Comments about Nikon AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G ED VR Lens:

          Easy to use. Works silently. Recommended!

          • Was this a gift?:
          • No

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          (8 of 8 customers found this review helpful)

           
          4.0

          Great Tele-Macro!

          By Ye Merrye Olde Geezer

          from Canyon, TX

          About Me Photo Enthusiast

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Fast / accurate auto-focus

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Macro Photography
            • Medium Tele Prime Lens

            Comments about Nikon AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G ED VR Lens:

            Very good macro lens. The 85 mm focal length gets the lens far enough from the subject that it is less likely to cast a shadow on the subject. Fair warning: the lens makes the camera a little front-heavy, so plan on using a tripod for most macro shots. I also like it for a medium-tele prime lens. I use the lens on my Nikon D3100.

            • Was this a gift?:
            • No

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            (4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

             
            5.0

            Very Nice sharp lens

            By graybeard

            from Va

            About Me Photo Enthusiast

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Fast / accurate auto-focus
            • Lightweight
            • Nice Bokeh

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Flowers and insects
              • Macro Photography

              Comments about Nikon AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G ED VR Lens:

              I wanted a macro lens for taking shots of insects and flowers. I looked at the various ranges and decided on the 85mm and I'm very happy with it. I get nice sharp shots; I have used it on a D90, D7000, and D7100 and they all work great. All of these were shot hand held so the VR is nice. The f3.5 was fine to get low depth of field for flowers, just need to watch that on insects. Very pleased and would recommend this for this use.

              • Was this a gift?:
              • No

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              (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

               
              4.0

              Sharp..sharp!

              By Charles

              from Monroe, La

              About Me Casual Photographer

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

              • Consistent Output
              • Durable
              • Easily Interchangeable
              • Fast / accurate auto-focus
              • Lightweight

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Macro Photography

                Comments about Nikon AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G ED VR Lens:

                I use this for flowers and closeups. Great lens.

                • Was this a gift?:
                • No

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                5.0

                Great lens!

                By AF

                from Seattle

                Comments about Nikon AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G ED VR Lens:

                Great lens, great online store. B & H is my favorite store for all camera gear.

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                (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                4.0

                Nikon AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G E

                By Rich

                from North Dakota

                About Me Photo Enthusiast

                Verified Buyer

                Comments about Nikon AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G ED VR Lens:

                This is my first macro lens. It is very sharp and has a relatively fast aperture. A longer lens may be more desirable but for the price this lens cannot be beat.

                • Was this a gift?:
                • No

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                5.0

                Great Lens

                By bobsphotos

                from Hoodsport, WA

                About Me Pro Photographer

                Verified Buyer

                Pros

                • Consistent Output
                • Easily Interchangeable
                • Fast / accurate auto-focus
                • Lightweight
                • Strong Construction

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                  • Macro Photography

                  Comments about Nikon AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G ED VR Lens:

                  This lens is very good and a good price! Worth the money!!!

                  • Was this a gift?:
                  • No

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                  (1 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  4.0

                  Good affordable micro lens

                  By PatW

                  from Columbus, Ohio

                  About Me Photo Enthusiast

                  Verified Buyer

                  Pros

                  • Easily Interchangeable
                  • Lightweight
                  • Nice Bokeh
                  • Strong Construction

                  Cons

                    Best Uses

                    • Indoors/Low Light
                    • Macro Photography
                    • Wildlife Photos

                    Comments about Nikon AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G ED VR Lens:

                    Ever since going digital, I've missed my old manual 55mm micro lens! This is a good replacement, allowing me to do the close-up work necessary to document antiques for research and resale. Lightweight, but with the advantges of VR technology, this lens will always be in my camera bag. The only drawback I've experienced thus far is that the lens does not automatically revert to auto-focus after being used in manual mode.

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                    (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                     
                    4.0

                    Pretty good lens

                    By Macro/Micro Novice

                    from Nothern California

                    About Me Casual Photographer

                    Verified Buyer

                    Pros

                    • Easily Interchangeable
                    • Lightweight

                    Cons

                      Best Uses

                      • Landscape/Scenery
                      • Macro Photography

                      Comments about Nikon AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G ED VR Lens:

                      I have not had much time to actually use this lens, but from the few times I have, it seems to do the job. I thought (having farily steady hands) that the VR would allow me to take close-ups using just a tripod, but now I've come to realise that such close focus needs a remote shutter control.

                      • Was this a gift?:
                      • Yes

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                      (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                       
                      5.0

                      Great Primary Lens

                      By Phil

                      from Newington, CT

                      Comments about Nikon AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G ED VR Lens:

                      Great addition to my collection of lenses for my D7000. Excellent results thus far. Very pleased with my purchase. B&H great to deal with. Speedy delivery.

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                      5.0

                      Great lens

                      By Efireb33

                      from Pittsburgh

                      Comments about Nikon AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G ED VR Lens:

                      Very fast. Images are very sharp and tons of detail. Very impressed with this lens. I highly recommend it!

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                      (2 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

                       
                      4.0

                      Great bang for you buck macro lens

                      By Color Blind Artist

                      from San Diego, CA

                      About Me Semi-pro Photographer

                      Verified Buyer

                      Pros

                        Cons

                          Best Uses

                          • Macro Photography
                          • Wildlife Photos

                          Comments about Nikon AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G ED VR Lens:

                          I work for a research office and we're primarily taking photos of insects and plants and this lens is perfect for just that. The best part is it's a Nikon lens which means its great quality glass and for the price, I think I can live without the extra cost for the 105mm.

                          • Was this a gift?:
                          • No

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                          (7 of 8 customers found this review helpful)

                           
                          5.0

                          perfect for DX Nikons

                          By Desmog

                          from Sarasota FL

                          About Me Pro Photographer

                          Verified Buyer

                          Pros

                          • Consistent Output
                          • Fast / accurate auto-focus
                          • Lightweight

                          Cons

                            Best Uses

                            • Macro Photography

                            Comments about Nikon AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G ED VR Lens:

                            I'm a long time 105mm macro user from back in the days of film.
                            Every one talks about having enough working distance from the front of the lens to the subject. Well for me a 105mm is too long, remember on a DX body, which is what I use a 105 is about 150mm, a little to far for my flash setup. The 85mm is about120mm, still a little long but ok. For me it works perfectly. It's also much lighter to carry. The image quality is as good of or better than the 105, especially when stopped down to f 16 or 22.

                            • Was this a gift?:
                            • No

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