- Extreme Sharpness - edge to edge pure optic performance
- Built like a tank - solid metal end to end.
- Long working distance, 1.6 feet
- Internal Focus - filters stay put, as well as the barrow length
- 2.6 pounds of solid mass, use a common 62mm front Filter Size
- Incorporates 2 ED glass elements to ensure pinpoint sharpness
- 1:1 reproduction
My other Macro Lens: As comparisons for sharpness
- Sigma 180mm HSM OS
- Nikon 105mm 2.8 VR and older105mm D lens
- Nikkor 60mm 2.8
- Nikkor 45mm 2.8 PC-E
- Sigma 150mm HSM
How could my macro work possibly get better? I use the Nikkor 200mm f4 and discovered the perfect macro gem. When I first mounted this lens on my camera I thought oh god what have I done, it was large and heavier than my other lens, then I ventured out and began to explore its capabilities. At first, I was not that impressed (see cons) but after a week and finally figuring out how to best use the lens; my mind is now set – this lens rocks! It is hard to explain why I love this lens, it is like a portal into the small world placing you close and personal with your subjects.
Weight: If you are a handheld shooter you may wish to look at other lighter lenses as the weight of this lens with a DSLR is a handful. However, weight does have a stabilizing advantage mounted on a tripod because of more mass = less movement from vibration or wind and that equates to sharper images.
With the Nikon 200mm f/4 you have greater working distance over the shorter macro lenses, this allows you to fill the frame and acquire fantastic pictures with very sharp detail and less chance of you being in the way of sunlight, or the insect fleeing. Since this lens starts at F4 and when shooting at the closest 1.6” range your smallest available aperture is F45, YEPO F45. So, lighting will need to be available to use that aperture. For my macro flash system, I and use the R1C1 to light my subjects when needed.
When using the Nikon 200mm for macro work, I find the lens performs well at all apertures, however, I find F15 through F29 to be the sweet spot; depending on your subject, ISO, and available light.
What Some un-informed People Say: It’s Old Technology, I say It works. People say you have to turn a dial to move to autofocus, I say who cares – turn the freaking knob, I prefer manual focus when working close anyway. People say it does not have vibration reduction, I say use a tripod.
Here is an example shot on location in natural sunlight using the R1C1 for fill light at F29. See the nice bokeh? Even if you don’t want to do Micro work the lens performs well and has great sharpness and detail as a general use telephoto.
- A heavy lens if you are a handheld shooter; makes hand holding tiresome over time
- Starting aperture a bit slow f/4 but for macro, this is less of a concern, views are still bright but f/2.8 would be better.
- Old School Focus with manually actuated switch M/A
- No V/R
- Super Sharp, hard pressed to find a sharper macro
- Fun to use and truly is a great macro lens
- Built like a tank
A note about VR: While Vibration Reduction does at time payoff, I know using it unnecessarily degrades overall image quality, there are articles on the web that describe and illustrate with and without VR. Having a 600mm I know VR can come in handy I also notice images are less sharp when using VR at higher shutter speeds.
To see more photos shot with this lens visit the Portfolio - look for the insects & flowers
This is an example of shooting in late available light at f5 at about 30 feet away from the bird. Although I had to crank up the ISO the results are very pleasing, with sharp details shown in the feather area.
I am still amazed at the sharpness of this lens and the distance it allows you to work and still get 1:1 macro shots - fantastic macro lens, nothing better!
Buy Yourself One Below!