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

(based on 157 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (101)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (47)

  • 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 (52)
  • Easily interchangeable (48)
  • Consistent output (40)
  • Easy to use (32)

Cons

  • Poor in low light (11)
  • Slow focus (7)
  • Heavy (3)

Best Uses

  • Macro photography (79)
  • Close up filming (22)
  • Shooting outdoors (19)
  • Wildlife photos (17)
  • Landscape/scenery (16)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Photo enthusiast (47), Semi-pro photographer (19), Casual photographer (15), Tech savvy (13), Pro photographer (8)
    • Was this a gift?:
    • No (113), 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 157 customers

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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

    Share this review

    (1 of 1 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

    Share this review

     
    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

      Share this review

      (1 of 1 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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        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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          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

            Share this review

             
            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.

            Share this review

             
            4.0

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

            By Rich

            from North Dakota

            About Me Photo Enthusiast

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

              Cons

                Best Uses

                  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

                  Share this review

                   
                  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

                    Share this review

                    (0 of 1 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.

                      Share this review

                      (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

                        Share this review

                        (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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                        (1 of 2 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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                            (2 of 2 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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                              (1 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                               
                              4.0

                              Great for the money

                              By Jacob

                              from Jupiter, FL

                              About Me Casual Photographer

                              Verified Buyer

                              Pros

                              • Fast / accurate auto-focus
                              • Lightweight

                              Cons

                                Best Uses

                                • Macro Photography
                                • Wildlife Photos

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

                                I have the D5200 and this DX lens is perfect for it. It is very light, quick to focus, and the instant manual override is great. 85mm gives a great working distance. I can't imagine the 105mm micro is worth the extra $400.

                                • Was this a gift?:
                                • No

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                                (7 of 7 customers found this review helpful)

                                 
                                5.0

                                Exactly what I was looking for!

                                By Bill

                                from Fredericksburg,VA

                                About Me Semi-pro Photographer

                                Verified Buyer

                                Pros

                                • Fast / accurate auto-focus
                                • Lightweight
                                • Sharp pictures

                                Cons

                                  Best Uses

                                  • Macro Photography
                                  • Portraits

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

                                  First day I had this lens, I shot cicadas, bees, summer flowers and was thrilled with the hand held shots I got just around my yard. I was really thinking I wanted a 105mm or 100mm, but it turns out that the 85mm is good because I with a larger flower bloom I don't have so far away to get the image in the frame of my Nikon D7000. My pictures came out sharp and the colors were vivid.

                                  I also tried several head shots, and think this also a great portrait lens as well.

                                  I would recommend this lens to anyone who wants a great macro and portrait lens and at reasonable price.

                                  • Was this a gift?:
                                  • No

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                                  (4 of 18 customers found this review helpful)

                                   
                                  2.0

                                  More like: Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5-5.0

                                  By Baaxee

                                  from MIA

                                  About Me Pro Photographer

                                  Verified Buyer

                                  Pros

                                    Cons

                                    • False Max Aperture
                                    • Poor in Low Light
                                    • Variable Aperture Prime

                                    Best Uses

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

                                      This lens looked really good and image quality seems ok, that's why I don't give it 0 stars. Tthe deal breaker here is that although this lens is advertised as f/3.5 it really is more like an f/3.5-5.0, because 5.0 is the maximum achievable aperture when focused at the minimum focusing distance and since this is a macro lens that should be a pretty common scenario, for me this is absurd, I'm a pro photographer and I have a sigma 180(macro) for my full frame DSLR and of course it can be used at its maximum aperture despite the focusing distance I can't believe Nikon releases a lens crippled like that, you could name it the "Variable aperture prime", and I also can't believe none of the other reviews or the product brief (which by the way I consider pretty dishonest) mentions this. By all means, get a SIGMA

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                                      (1 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

                                       
                                      5.0

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

                                      By Nikon Fan

                                      from Southern New Jersey

                                      About Me Photo Enthusiast

                                      Verified Buyer

                                      Pros

                                      • Durable
                                      • Easily Interchangeable
                                      • Fast / accurate auto-focus
                                      • Lightweight
                                      • Nice Bokeh
                                      • Rugged
                                      • Strong Construction

                                      Cons

                                        Best Uses

                                        • Macro Photography

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

                                        Excellent Mico-Nikkor. Fast non-hunting focus. Crisp, sharp images with good color. Long working distance provides adequate lens to subject space for macro subject lighting.

                                        • Was this a gift?:
                                        • No

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                                        (2 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

                                         
                                        5.0

                                        An extremely sharp lens

                                        By Sam

                                        from Stamford, CT

                                        About Me Photo Enthusiast

                                        Verified Buyer

                                        Pros

                                        • Nice Bokeh
                                        • Strong Construction

                                        Cons

                                          Best Uses

                                          • Indoors/Low Light
                                          • Macro Photography

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

                                          This is mt first Macro lens. So, I was very excited to try this out! I use this lens to take potraits, flowers and landscape photography.
                                          The potraits are very sharp and crisp, with a nice bokeh!!!
                                          The flowers and insects that I photographed came out as I expected, and as per the book I was following !
                                          Well, I would be hard pressed to find too many faults in this lens..

                                          • Was this a gift?:
                                          • No

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