DX_MC_85_VR_lFor DX format shooting we now have a specific Micro-Nikkor to suppliment the FX/DX options already on the market such as the 60mm f/2.8G ED Micro-Nikkor and 105mm f/2.8G AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor. Or of course those older micro-nikkor lenses and now discontinued lenses still practical for use with certain Nikon bodies, something often overlooked and a real strength of the Nikon system.

The new AF-S DX Micro-Nikkor 85mm f/3.5G VR lens has a maximum 1:1 reproduction ratio without further accessories like extension tubes, reversing rings or bellows being used alongside, and will go on sale from December for a suggested retail price of £499:99. With VR II technology, Extra Low Dispersion Glass (ED) and other practical aspects it will also double as a portable light weight portrait lens. For my ‘First Thoughts’ and more information.

First Thoughts
Nikon have a very long tradition of producing high quality Micro-Nikkor lenses primarily for close-up, macro and micro photography. They are certainly flexible, and I use them just as much for my people photography as well, they are simply that adaptable. They traditionally have higher resolution than many other lens types. They have, to put things simply, been one product line that has helped create and maintain the companies reputation. As many who have met me know I am a keen advocate of people owning such an option. I was surprised though that this lens has been introduced now. I think it could be argued that existing Micro-Nikkor lenses cover most current needs, and there are too my mind other lenses I thought more logical to add to the DX/FX line-Ups. On that score however it does give a fixed focal length option not already available for DX format shooters, and it will make a comfortable hand holdable option potentially for many. The press release wording suggests it is targeted more towards the enthusiast and hobby market, but to me the imaging and technical specifications looks like they are there to a high standard, so I will report back once I have had a chance to use a final production lens.

For those new to close-up, macro and micro photography, one way to decide between lens options is to consider the focal length. If we take the current “G” type lenses of 60mm f/2.8G ED Micro-Nikkor, the new AF-S DX 85mm f/3.5 Micro Nikkor and 105mm f/2.8G AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor, all enable up to a life-size or 1/1 reproduction ratio. That means that a subjects dimensions are recorded the same size in your camera as it is in real life. Handling and budget aspects aside as they are so personal, the longer the focal length, the greater distance at this and other magnifications the lens can be from the subject. This in turn means that there is more room if you need it to place flash lighting and or reflectors between the two. This is something we demonstrate on our Close-Up workshop. Sometimes it does not matter sometimes it might, it simply depends on what and how you shoot.

Here is the official Press Release:

Press Release
RRP: £499.99 / €607.00
Sales start date: December 2009

Nikon UK is pleased to announce the launch of a new compact and lightweight DX format Macro lens with high quality optics, the AF-S DX MICRO NIKKOR 85MM F/3.5G VR. Implementing Nikon’s second generation Vibration Reduction (VR II) system and a 1:1 reproduction ratio, it’s the perfect choice for exploring the world of close-up photography. Zurab Kiknadze, Product Manager Lenses, Accessories and Software, Nikon Europe says: “Lenses like this really expand creative opportunities beyond the standard kit lens. The AF-S DX MICRO NIKKOR 85MM F/3.5G VR is compact and light, so balances well with D-SLR’s like the D90 and D5000”.

Get close, stay steady
Ideal for those new to macro photography, the AF-S DX MICRO NIKKOR 85MM F/3.5G VR boasts a 1:1 reproduction ratio, allowing photographers to get lifelike close-ups of more intricate textures and details, even down to the fine texture on flower petals or insect wings. On top of this, the VR II system provides both a steady viewfinder image for composition and sharper results at slow shutter speeds or when shooting movie clips.
Beautifully balanced to take anywhere The Nikon DX format provides a compact and light form factor that balances well with Nikon’s range of DSLR’s like the D90 and D5000. With a picture angle equivalent to a focal length of 127.5mm in FX/35mm format, it extends options beyond those offered by standard kit lenses, ideal for portraits or candid photography.

The finishing touch
Nikon’s acclaimed ED glass provides crisp high contrast results rendered with attractive background blur thanks to the rounded nine blade diaphragm. The SWM ensures smooth, discrete auto focusing and the non rotating front element enables the use of lens mounted flash accessories like the SB-R1C1 Macro Lighting kit.

Focal length 85 mm
Max/min aperture:  f/3.5 Min: f/32
Lens construction 14 elements/10 groups (one ED glass element)
Picture angle 18°50?
No. diaphragm blades 9 (rounded)
Closest focusing distance 0.286 m/1 ft
Filter/attachment size 52mm (non-rotating)
Diameter x length Approximately 73 x 98.5 mm/2.9 x 3.9 in.
Weight Approximately 355 g/12.5 oz.