I stated early on my belief that Nikon will make the development of the ‘Z’ System a relatively rapid one.

Nikon users have above all else, appreciated the depth and breath of the ‘F’ mount system for both film and digital capture. It is logical therefore to offer similar in the new mount, adding credibility with each introduction.

Nikon today announced two important parts of that jigsaw, filling an obvious and important gap with the NIKKOR Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S and NIKKOR Z MC 50mm f/2.8.

Lenses for micro, macro and general photography – until now called ‘Micro-Nikkor’s – have been legendary.
I have been lucky enough to use all versions in all focal lengths at various stages in my career. I still use two a lot, while regretting not having two others still. They are simply versatile and high quality optics.

The name changes slightly to ‘MC’ in the new lenses. It is of course logical that a ‘Z’ system user will look at these if they have no earlier equivalents. But a point to consider for those that have?

Micro-Nikkor lenses are proven optics, used by demanding photographers for decades. If you are going to shoot ‘typical’ subjects they are primarily designed for, then shooting fast is not usually a major issue. With an adapter, they may well therefore serve ‘Z’ mount shooters really well also. Particularly if you continue to run an ‘F’ camera system as well. I use them as much for portraits and fashion shooting (see previous posts) as I do product or close-up photography.

But back to the NIKKOR Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S and NIKKOR Z MC 50mm f/2.8. The spec and imaging qualities look impressive enough.
The 105mm focal length has long been very popular. And while other factors can make shorter focal lengths better for some images, the longer the focal length, the greater and more beneficial the working distance. Or that space between subject and front of the lens in close-up, micro and macro shooting.

A 55mm or 60mm has traditionally been Nikon’s shorter Micro-Nikkor option, although a 40mm Micro-Nikkor for DX format also exists. A 50mm is a bit of a surprise in terms of Nikon’s previous focal length thoughts, but in a similar ball park. The 50mm reminds me of the first 55mm AF Micro-Nikkor in looks and physical aspects in some ways.

Noticeably missing, but understandable at this stage from a sales and marketing point of view, is a 200mm or similar option. I suspect one will appear at some point. Previous lenses of this focal length are highly regarded. But certainly, the announced focal lengths will cater for most peoples needs.

Time will tell of course about all things performance and handling wise, but for now, here are the official details.

John (02/06/21).

Reveal the beauty you see with the first Nikon Z Series macro lenses

Sales Start: 24th June 2021

NIKKOR Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S – £999.00 UK | €1,149.00 ROI

NIKKOR Z MC 50mm f/2.8 – £649.00 UK | €749.00 ROI

London, United Kingdom, 2nd June 2021: Today, Nikon introduces the first two macro lenses to join the Nikon Z family. The impressively lightweight NIKKOR Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S is a professional S-line macro lens capable of stunningly lifelike depth and detail. The NIKKOR Z MC 50mm f/2.8 is a compact, lightweight, and versatile lens that’s ideal for starting macro photographers who want to shoot vibrant close-ups.

Image

With its 1:1 reproduction ratio, flawless focusing, and superb rendering abilities, the professional NIKKOR Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S is a master of the life-size shot. Optimised for macro shooting in stills or video, its medium-telephoto angle of view also makes it a stunning lens for detailed portraiture: sharpness and contrast are incredible, and so is bokeh. Control is precise and flexible, and photographers can reverse the focus direction of this lens, which is an advantage when working in a mixed production environment.

The new NIKKOR Z MC 50mm f/2.8 is a great portable lens capable of bringing out the beauty in even the most ordinary subjects. From enticing food photography to top shots of flowers, photographers can capture super-sharp life-size (1:1) macro images and striking close-ups of small subjects and details with ease. Focus is fast and sharp, even when the front of this macro lens is just 5.6 cm away from a subject! Users can also take advantage of the classic 50 mm focal length and natural perspective to shoot anything from portraits to street scenes. 

Rob Harmon, Senior Commercial Lead, Nikon Northern Europe, says: “The long-awaited 105 mm macro lens brings astonishingly beautiful macro performance to the Z system, and is a perfect choice for both professionals and macro enthusiasts. Its smaller and more affordable sibling has a lot to offer too: the new 50 mm macro lens is ideal if you want to start shooting true macro images. And if you simply want a versatile 50 mm lens that will also let you capture incredible close-ups, then this is it.”

#CreateYourLight: hands-on with the NIKKOR Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S 

Donna Crous, food photographer and Nikon Europe Ambassador says: “I was fortunate enough to get to work with the new NIKKOR Z 105mm macro lens whilst shooting the Create Your Light campaign with Nikon.  I was completely blown away by its performance, particularly in lower light.  Definitely a staple lens for any food photographer who values shallow depth of field, focusing speed, and beautiful bokeh—because we all love those beautiful bokeh balls!”

Summary of key features: NIKKOR Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VRS

Professional f/2.8 mid-telephoto macro lens: S-Line next-dimension optical design. Smooth, silent multi-focusing system. 

Lifelike images with remarkable depth: the wide Z mount and fixed f/2.8 rounded 9-blade aperture enable perfectly rounded, natural-looking bokeh. 

Fast, flawless focusing: sharpness is superb from close-up to infinity. Colour fringing is dramatically reduced, allowing the AF system to find focus with incredible speed and accuracy. 

Beautifully clear: Nikon’s anti-reflective ARNEO and Nano Crystal coatings combat ghosting and flare. In-lens Vibration Reduction (VR) combines with in-camera VR for steady handheld shots even in low light.  

Close-up precision: the minimum focus distance is just 0.29 m and the AF focus limiter allows rapid acquisition of subjects from 0.29–0.50 m. In MF, you can adjust the focus throw to match your preferred way of working. 

Macro video: benefit from quiet AF and smooth, stable aperture control. Focus breathing is all but eliminated so you can shift focus without affecting the shot’s angle of view.

Nikon versatility: you can reverse the focus direction of this lens,1 and it accepts the same 62 mm screw-on filters as the renowned AF-S Micro-NIKKOR 105mm. 

Built to work: the mount and all moving parts are sealed to keep dust and moisture out. Nikon’s fluorine coating repels water, dust, and dirt.2

Summary of key features: NIKKOR Z MC 50mm f/2.8

Awesome macro shots: markings on the lens barrel clearly indicate whether shooting at a 1:4, 1:2, or 1:1 (life-size) magnification ratio.

Brilliant everyday shots: take advantage of the classic 50 mm focal length and natural perspective to shoot anything from portraits to street scenes.

Tack-sharp up close: a minimum focus distance of just 0.16 m enables sharp focus even when the front of this macro lens is just 5.6 cm away from a subject! In-camera VR keeps shots steady.

Bring out your subject: superior optics and the f/2.8 rounded 9-blade aperture enable beautiful bokeh.

Focus limit switch: the AF focus limit switch lets the lens focus more quickly on subjects within a 0.16–0.30 m range. 

Compact and lightweight: this lens is easy to handle and balances beautifully on both Z series full-frame and DX-format cameras. 

75 mm in DX crop: when used on a Z series DX mirrorless camera, this lens offers a 75 mm angle of view. Great for portraits or tighter crops of small subjects when shooting macro.

Precise, easy control: control aperture, ISO, and more via the silent control ring. Instantly switch between manual and autofocus via the lens.

Protective coating: Nikon’s fluorine coating protects the front of the lens and makes it easy to wipe the surface clean. Perfect if your creative playground is outside.

FOOTNOTES

1 When used together with Nikon Z cameras released in October 2020 or later.

The lens is not guaranteed to be dust- and drip-resistant in all situations and under all conditions.