Sunday, November 27, 2011

Micro-Nikkor 55mm (f/2.8 & f/3.5)

Phenomenally sharp micro lenses; rarely does one get such good glass at such a low price

+ it's a crime how excellent they are
+ it's a crime how cheap they are
+ they can survive a nuclear blast. Unlike, sadly, modern lenses

- manual focus requires discipline and hard work for non-stationary subjects (then again, this is a macro lens)
- great magnification means close focusing distance. That can be a problem with bugs
- for special use; not a "general purpose" lens

The sharpness and contrast of these lenses are beyond words

Close enough for you? A reproduction ratio of 1:2 gets you closer than you think

Intended Users
Great for:
  • artistic macro work (such as household small items); flowers and plants
  • alternative portrait lens (but ONLY for people who can stay still - in other words, you can't use this lens with small children)
  • those who need superb image quality in the cheapest price possible

Not for:
  • general purpose; lack of autofocus will drive you insane
  • not recommended for bugs or small animals; it might be difficult to go close enough
  • children portraits; manual focus requires precision and stationary subjects

Final Verdict
Superb lenses. There isn't any great difference between the f/2.8 and f/3.5 version. Optics are almost equally good (if I had to choose, I'd go for the f/3.5). Even if the f/2.8 is a tad faster, this is irrelevant with macro work, when we use f/8 or even smaller to increase the depth of field. Oh, and if you're troubled because these lenses have a reproduction ratio of "only" 1:2 (half life-size), don't. 1:2 is all you need. You would need an 105mm lens to even begin to consider 1:1 - in other words, forget the AF 60mm micros.

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