Review Nikon 55mm f/3.5 Micro-NIKKOR

Mar 20, 2017
Central Ohio
Real Name

A very capable and sharp near 1:1 macro lens, this sharp wide open gem is inexpensive and another great legacy lens. Read on to see our impression of this pre AI lens.

Very similar in size to the Nikon 105/2.5 AI lens, this lens is missing the AI or aperture indexing ridge on the aperture ring. This means that it may not be able to be mounted on some cameras safely without modification. I'm using it adapted on the Olympus PEN-F and the Nikon Df.

On the Df, you need to flip the aperture indexing tab up, so as not to damage it.

1/100, f/3.5, ISO 250 - Olympus PEN-F

You then enter the lens info into the camera as a non-ai. Then in order to register accurate EXIF, you turn the aperture ring to the desired size, then also spin the command dial to match

It is all metal construction, so it does have weight to it, but not something that I would consider "heavy".

1/400, f/3.5, ISO 200 - Olympus PEN-F

Image Quality
Even at f/3.5, this lens is super sharp. Stopping down increases sharpness a bit.
I'll let images speak here.

1/1250, f/3.5, ISO 200 - Olympus PEN-F

1/80, f/4, ISO 100 - Nikon Df

Being a macro lens, the focus throw is longer than a standard optic. It is not too bad, but going from infinity to close focus takes more than one turn. I still found it easy to manually focus the lens on either body I used.

1/100, f/3.5, ISO 100 - Nikon Df

1/125, f/3.5, ISO 100 - Nikon Df

Bottom Line
Not the fastest 55mm lens, but it's hard to beat the price to quality ratio here. A solid build, excellent optics and a used price that is worth the experiment. An experiment for me turned into a keeper lens.
Nov 14, 2006
Winnipeg, Canada
It's reproduction ratio is 1:2. With the 27.5mm PK-3 or PK-13 extension tube it's 1:1. I've had an Ai version since 1977 and will not part with it!

Jun 26, 2010
Redwood City, CA
I used the f2.8 version as my "normal" lens for years and was always happy with it's performance. You're better off with the f3.5 since the 2.8s succumb to sticking aperture blades - I might attempt to fix mine some time.

Congrats - another worthy MF Nikon and a good review.
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