Sunday, December 25, 2011

Micro-Nikkor AF-S 60mm f/2.8

An expensive (for a 60mm) autofocus macro lens. Is it worth it?

+ fast autofocus (for non macro use)
+ AF override, wide AF ring, distance scale
+ 1:1 macro reproduction ratio (but read on)

- working distance for 1:1 macro ridiculously short; almost unusable
- image quality clearly inferior to the old AI-S macros
- autofocus useless for macro (like with other lenses)

Intended Users
Great for:
  • a macro lens that can be used as a short tele or a portrait lens
  • product shots; cooking photos
  • experimenting in the garden and around the house

Not for:
  • true macro work; working distance way too short
  • those who think they will use autofocus with macro. Forget it
  • people needing/wanting the best image quality.

Final Verdict
In my opinion, this lens is not worth the money. You pay for autofocus, you pay for the AF-S tricks (silent, fast operation and AF override), you pay for the 1:1 macro, but you end up losing the most important of them all: image quality. Not to mention, the AF stuff are useless for macro anyway (in macro distances AF goes insane and keeps hunting back and forth).

Image quality isn't bad, but it's clearly inferior to the superb AIS lenses (55mm & 105mm). Even stopped down, I was never able to get the crisp sharpness, the phenomenal contrast, and the creamy bokeh of the old AIS lenses. If you want a lens that can be used as macro (at least in the house/studio) but also as a short tele or portrait lens, this might satisfy you - although, if you have a camera with a focus motor, consider the cheaper AF 60mm f/2.8.

If you want a lens that is a true macro lens - with the ergonomics, image quality, and handling that requires - prefer the much cheaper and much better manual focus AIS lenses.

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