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Nikon AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 IF-ED

I just started shooting the Nikon AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 IF-ED. It has been available for some time, but it’s now finally on active review duty. It’s a relatively large lens, and not too unlike Canon’s 100mm f/2.8L IS in bulk and weight. I’ll have at least a modest writeup in DAP on it, which of course includes many much higher-res samples than I show here in this blog. You can get the 105/2.8VR for about $900 .

My initial impressions are favorable in terms of optical quality, though the autofocus hunting quickly proved how counterproductive AF can be for macro work. Bokeh seems particularly nice, with a creamy smoothness, though there can be some curious rainbow discoloration on highlights which I do not like.

The field shots show very impressive sharpness, at least in the central ares. Out-of-focus magenta/green color is there as one would expect from any non-apochromatic lens: see What color is your background? APO Lenses.

Working distance is a problem for close-ups, with the large lens hood shading the subject as 1:1 is approached; it must be removed. It’s probably really a 75mm lens or so at 1:1, a trick employed quite commonly as part of the optics, but not one that is helpful. I observed that wide-open the D3x was showing f/4.8 at 1:1, in line with that idea.

Did you know that potato bugs (Jerusalem cricket) will stand and defend like a boxer? Or roll over and play dead? I didn’t know that until I started prodding this guy with a leaf after moving a large wood round, and exposing him. Very complex behavior, this guy seemed almost smart. Potato bugs scare the crap out of my daughter, and they've bitten me at night and they do stink when you smack ’em. Still, they have a sort of beauty all their own.

Potato bug defending like a boxer
Nikon D3x + 100/2.8 VR macro @ f/8
Potato bug moving soil
Nikon D3x + 100/2.8 VR macro @ f/8

Well, it’s that marketing bonanza time of the year again, and K-Mart is already advertising their lay-away plan for Christmas. The color and bokeh here work rather nicely I think.

To pie or not to pie?
Nikon D3x + 100/2.8 VR macro @ f/3.3, 1/30 sec

Trying to use autofocus on this flower was a disaster, so I resorted to manual focus. this is pretty close to 1:1 magnification. There is a curious double-image effect on out of focus areas which I have to investigate.

Dandelion in October
Nikon D3x + 100/2.8 VR macro @ f/8

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