Anyone here uses Macro-Nikkors?

Jul 14, 2007
Bay Area, USA
I'm very intrigued by the 4 macro lenses that Nikkor offers:

19mm f/2.8

35mm f/4.5

65 mm f/4.5

120mm f/6.3

Does anyone use them?


lol, almost every discussion about Macro-Nikkors goes back to Bjorn's page
Feb 5, 2005
I'm very intrigued by the 4 macro lenses that Nikkor offers:...

Does anyone use them?
Phil :

I've shot with a Zeiss Luminar 25mm f/3.5, which is a similar lens. Bjørn Rørslett's discussions are not the only ones on the internet, but they're pretty cogent for this sort of thing.

Chris is correct - you need a bellows for best results with the Luminars, Photars, and Macro-Nikkors. I use a Nikon PB-4 for my shooting, but almost any bellows that your body will mate to along with an RMS mount for the (true) macro lens will work. The magnification factors are not intuitive, and I in fact purchased a manual for the Zeiss lenses so that I could better plan the photography.

In all candor, shooting with these lenses is an exercise in extreme patience. The DOF is literally razor-thin, perhaps better described as microtome thin, requires exceptionally good lighting, and a lot of care in set-up.

These lenses are usually very very expensive, and a good bellows itself is not cheap. Going down this road is not like getting, say, a 105mm VR lens, which one can quickly "turn around", as the resale of this kind of gear doesn't proceed as quickly.

You might also explore reversed lens macro photography, which offers similar capabilities at reduced cost. There has been some quite fine work displayed here in the Café, most recently by "mdsign", but a search here will turn up a lot of work. Reversed lens shooting is just as painstaking, however, as the Macro-Nikkor type of systems.

Using either the Macro-Nikkor type of lenses or reversed lenses does yield results well outside the usual "macro" lenses that folks purchase. It's literally another entire world of photography, and there are several books that detail this type of work.

I'm traveling right now, or I'd offer more info on this for you. Let me know if you need more, and I'll try to pull more together when I'm home.

John P.
Jan 25, 2006
Encinitas CA
I would think either your 50mm or 35mm would perform well reversed. The 35 will give greater magnification.

If you can locate a PB-4 Bellows unit, go for it. It is the best bellows for Nikon F-mount I am aware of. You'll need a reversing ring for your lens, too. I am not at home so I can't tell you the number right now. Someone else can chime in, or I can tell you later when I get home.

-- Russ
Mar 20, 2005
I have used Leitz Photars (they perform similar as the Macro-Nikkors but are easier to get) a long time for shooting very small beetles before I started using a stereoscopic microscope for that purpose. I would only use them in the lab because
1) I am too lazy to lug a bellows to the field
2) Once you stop down you need a lot of light to achieve decent shutter speeds.
3) The working distance is extremely short

A few examples of what is possible (in order of decreasing size)

minute moss beetle (Hydraena sp.), body size 2mm

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Spider riffle beetle (Ancyronyx hjarnei), body size 1.2mm (without legs)

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Meru phyllisae, body size 0.8mm

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Jun 6, 2007
Lexington, KY
used the 60 mm.

I used the AF 60 mm. Micro-Nikkor quite a bit in the early to mid 90's before there were the D lenses. I used it in the operating room as I am a plastic surgeon and was required to photograph all my operative cases to sit for the boards. I found it to be very sharp and extremely durable. I can't comment on Nikon's newest variation of this lens, but based upon my past experience I wouldn't hesitate to purchase it.

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