January 25, 2022

Superior Sharpness, Surprisingly Close: Nikon Z 105mm Macro Review

Nikons Z lenses tend to be much sharper than the older optics, an enhancement that had me itching to try the systems very first macro lens. The Nikon Z 105mm Macro, officially called the Nikon Z MC 105mm f2.8 VR S, brings a true 1:1 ratio to the businesss full-frame mirrorless system. The 105mm can shoot from about a foot away. How does the Nikon Z systems sharpness equate when up close?

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I spent 2 weeks with the Nikon Z 105mm macro to see what the systems very first real macro could do. The sharpness from this lens does not dissatisfy, while that 105mm focal length and macro capabilities make depth of field look simple.

Too Long, Didnt Read

The Nikon Z 105mm macro produces some exceptionally sharp, close-up images with very little distortion. Nikon photographers will like the stabilization and weather-sealing. But, concentrating on close items is sluggish, so it may not be the best choice for moving macro topics such as bugs.

Nikon Z 105mm Macro Pros and Cons

While the lens produces some great images, the autofocus tends to hunt when shooting macro. With tiny moving subjects, youll need to pre-focus with this lens. The good news is, there isnt a substantial hold-up when dealing with subjects a bit farther from the lens, just like pictures. The lighter develop also feels slightly plasticky on some parts of the barrel, but its forgivable because the lens isnt extremely heavy as an outcome.


Alleviate of Use.

The lenses are my favorite thing about the Nikon Z system. Its a lens thats deserving of pixel peeping.

That stated, this lens isnt f2.8 at the closest focal distances. If youre contending that 1:1, the largest aperture is f4.5. Lots of macro shots require that additional depth of field anyway, however it may disappoint professional photographers who expect the f2.8 in the name to be throughout the entire range.

Develop Quality.

The focus ring is grippy and large. Its simple to grab and work with in manual focus mode. At the end of the lens, it nearly appears like theres a third ring. Theres not; Nikon just included some textured grip towards completion of the lens barrel. This is a fantastic spot to hold and easily screw filters on and off.

The Nikon Z 105mm f2.8 VR S has a bit of a different feel to it compared to some of the other S lenses. The plastic by the buttons feels various, while the material closest to the install feels like the familiar product of other S lenses. While it feels like the products are a little more affordable than some of the most costly S optics, the trade-off is a lighter lens.

With macro abilities and a 105mm focal length, you dont require an f1.8 to wow. Get in close, shoot broad, and youve got big background bokeh balls. Even when narrowing the aperture to get more of the little subject in focus, you still get some great, soft backgrounds because of that 1:1 capability.

Image Quality.

Macro focusing often needs some hunting
At 1:1, the best possible aperture is f4.5.
Construct feels a little bit more plasticky than other S series lenses.

Using the focus limiter switch helps some. But, if you are focusing right at that 1:1, it takes a few seconds to secure, even with the focus restricted to the closest range. If I were attempting to take photos of bugs instead of stationary snowflakes, this is long enough that I think I would have been annoyed.

The autofocus motor likewise has a slight hum to it. Its soft enough that I would still use this lens for wedding events. However, it could be gotten when recording video.

The Nikon 105mm macro is more of a modern pixel peeper pleaser than a timeless character builder. Much of the charm and character here is from that longer focal length and the lovely backgrounds you can create by getting in close..

As the VR in the name suggests, the Nikon Z 105mm macro is stabilized. I could still get a sharp chance at 1/30, though I needed to push that higher for the closest subjects. (And skipping my morning coffee probably would have assisted.) Thats quite outstanding for such a long focal length and for such close topics.

The Nikon Z 105mm f2.8 VR S is the first macro Z install with a 1:1 recreation ratio. It brings some of the functions that Ive liked about the S series of lenses into severe close-up territory. Nikon states the lens is and uses a multi-focus system created to decrease chromatic aberration.


Nikons Z lenses tend to be much sharper than the older optics, an improvement that had me itching to attempt the systems first macro lens. (140 mm), Distance to end of lens from camera lens mount flange, Based on CIPA standards.
Because of the longer focal length, S-line classification, and macro abilities, the Nikon Z 105mm macro is not a small lens. Fellow Phoblographer Feroz Kahn took this lens out in opposite conditions– a windy desert– and didnt have any concerns with sand getting onto the sensing unit or inside the lens.

Thankfully, the autofocus is quicker when focusing on topics further away. There wont be a long, uncomfortable pause if you are utilizing this as a 105mm picture prime, for instance. I was also still able to get many of the shots of my young child in focus, although he seldom sits still.

From day one, The Phoblographer has been huge on openness with our audience. Nothing from this evaluation is sponsored. Further, lots of folks will post evaluations and reveal lots of modifying in the pictures. The problem then ends up being that anybody and everybody can do the very same thing. Theyre not showing what the lens can do. We have a section in our Extra Image Samples area to show edited and unedited images. From this, you can make a decision for yourself.


After those switches, the lens broadens out a bit where it accommodates a thin control ring. I have a tendency to unintentionally bump the control ring on some of the other Z lenses out of location, so this thinner style is actually a good modification. Its discreetly textured. Small turns are all thats needed to change the aperture by doing this. (The custom ring can also be set to manage exposure settlement or ISO.).


The sharp images with minimal chromatic aberration will make this an extremely tempting lens for Z professional photographers who dont yet own a macro lens.

A true 1:1 macro
Not as heavy as it looks
Thin custom-made control ring
Digital screen
Excellent stabilization
Super sharp
Very little aberration and distortion

Moving even more out on the lens, the optic homes a digital display screen for the focal range scale. Beneath the screen button is the lens single custom-made Fn button.

The color originating from this lens is dead on for what I anticipated. Theres a great deal of great contrast. I was delighted with my JPEGs and didnt feel the need to edit each and every single shot. The absence of chromatic aberration and well-controlled flare likewise helps keep those colors intact. It still has those traditional Nikon colors, which can frequently alter a little towards green. It fits right in with the other S lenses. Nikonians will not see any wild color changes with this lens.

Since I have a tendency to inadvertently bump that custom-made control ring, Ive had trouble with some of Nikons Z lenses. I like the slightly various design of this 105mm. The control ring is much smaller, so youre less most likely to accidentally turn it when you get the lens. In general, the lens is a pleasure to use.

Keep in mind: The speckled bokeh here is from water on the front of the lens, not a lens error.

Mount Type: Nikon Z Mount.
Focal Length: 105mm.
Maximum Aperture: f/ 2.8.
Minimum Aperture: f/ 32.
Format: FX.
Maximum Angle of View (DX-format): 15 ° 20 ′.
Optimum Angle of View (FX-format): 23 ° 10 ′.
Maximum Reproduction Ratio: 1x.
Lens Elements: 16.
Lens Groups: 11.
VR (Vibration Reduction) Image Stabilization: Yes.
Lens shift using voice coil motors (VCMs).
Diaphragm Blades: 9.
Rounded diaphragm opening.
ARNEO Coat: Yes.
Nano Crystal Coat: Yes.
ED Glass Elements: 3.
Aspherical Elements: 1.
Fluorine Coat: Yes.
Super Integrated Coating: Yes.
Autofocus: Yes.
AF Actuator: STM (stepping motor).
Internal Focusing: Yes.
Minimum Focus Distance: 0.96 ft. (0.29 m).
Focus Mode: Auto/Manual.
Focus limit switch with 2 positions: FULL (∞ to 0.29 m) and 0.5 m to 0.29 m.
Filter Size: 62mm, P = 0.75 mm.
Approximate. Dimensions (Diameter x Length): 3.4 in. (85 mm) x 5.6 in. (140 mm), Distance to end of lens from video camera lens install flange, Based on CIPA standards.
Approx. Weight: 22.3 oz. (630 g), Based on CIPA guidelines.
Micro: Yes.
Lens Type: Prime.

Im giving the Nikon Z 105mm macro 4 out of 5 star. Desire one? Examine it out on Adorama and Amazon.

Additional Image Samples.

Lens Character.



The Nikon Z 105mm macro can focus as close as.96 feet away. Thats good enough for a true 1:1 ratio. And, real to form, I was able to get rather close to snowflakes, water droplets, and fashion jewelry.

Like other S lenses, the Nikon Z 105mm macro has a couple of extra functions that take a little expedition to learn. But, the level of difficulty isnt high at all. The most tough feature of this lens is finding out how to custom set the control ring and Fn button, which is a pretty straightforward menu item on the cam body.

When you include the sharpness of the Z mount to a lens that can focus up close, you get stunning detail. The Nikon Z 105mm macro does a terrific job decreasing chromatic aberration, and providing a sharper image with less fringing than the equivalent F-mount. Despite the fact that the f2.8 isnt offered at the closest focal ranges, this lens can still produce some excellent bokeh and soft backgrounds.

Because of the longer focal length, S-line designation, and macro abilities, the Nikon Z 105mm macro is not a little lens. Its not a light-weight lens, however it doesnt overwhelm the front of the video camera. Using this lens and a body around my neck for a few hours wasnt extremely exhausting.

The front of the lens accepts 62mm filters. Theres a little plastic lip around the front glass.

I used the Nikon Z 105mm f2.8 VR S with the Nikon Z7 II.

Color Rendering.


Regardless of the feel, I didnt have any issues shooting with this lens in the snow. Then, when the snow started melting off the roofs, I did some macro splash photography, and the lens was unfazed when struck by the moisture. Fellow Phoblographer Feroz Kahn took this lens out in opposite conditions– a windy desert– and didnt have any issues with sand getting onto the sensor or inside the lens.

Along that exact same style, chromatic aberration is extremely well managed. Its a substantial improvement over the F-mount equivalent, which we kept in mind in our first impressions of the lens.


Points of light do not have a difficult edge or a soap bubble seek to them. There is the tiniest tip of that nine-blade aperture in the shape of the bokeh, which if you look closely is a little decagon instead of perfectly round. As expected, the bokeh on the edges takes on a more cat-eye shape, which you can decrease if you narrow the aperture a bit.

The sharpness here deserves the S in the lens title. Even at the corners and edges, subjects are impressively sharp. Numerous of Nikons Z lenses have actually wowed me with sharpness, but when you include macro abilities, you can draw out a lot of great detail. Even pixel peepers will be pleased here..

Tech Specs.


The Nikon Z 105mm macro has a familiar design adopted by several of the lenses with the S designation. Closest to the install, theres an autofocus switch in addition to a focus limiter switch, so you can use the complete range from close to infinity or only the closest focal lengths.

While the lens can focus close, it takes its time getting there. Often, the lens felt like it was going through the entire focal range before locking on my subject.

Equipment Used.

The autofocus also had some problem focusing on a strong black coffee mug (unsurprising based upon my previous experience with the Z bodies). The autofocus requires to be put on the edge of dark items that dont have a lot of contrast to them.

The sharp images with very little chromatic aberration will make this an extremely appealing lens for Z professional photographers who do not yet own a macro lens. If very little chromatic aberration and sharp edges are worth $1,000, photographers with the F-mount equivalent might have more trouble determining. Autofocus searching might bother photographers working with small moving topics. However, if I were a Z system shooter, this lens would be on my dream list for its ability to go from wedding details to pictures, both with outstanding information.


This lens hunts when soaring close, even with the focus limiter.
The f2.8 isnt available at the closest shooting distance, where its limited to f4.5.
Part of the lens barrel feels great, part of it feels a little more plasticky. Its worth the lighter weight, but likewise worth a reference.

This is a real macro lens, with a 1:1 recreation ratio.
Its slightly larger than the F-mount, however its really lighter.
The thinner custom-made control ring is less likely to get bumped.
The digital display swaps through focal distance, aperture, and the reproduction ratio.
The stabilization is a huge plus for such a large macro lens.
Images are super sharp, even at the corners.
This lens does a great job lowering chromatic aberration: I couldnt find any.



Nikon notes the following specifications for the 105mm Macro:.

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