Additional Information on
Nikon's AF Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8D telephoto lens as close-up application lens

 
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I always thought Nikon has series of an incredible close-up lenses at the 105mm focal length where the famed Micro-Nikkor telephoto lens series began with the the MF Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/4.0. The subsequent MF Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8s with an Ai-S lens spec has improved considerably in all aspects from lens speed and handling - it was a full-stop faster, came with a lovely focusing lock, a truly well built body construction as well as doubling itself as a top quality telephoto for normal photography. The only slight drawback was the more complex optical formula used in this version somehow has a slight compromise in its optical quality especially at the few larger opening apertures. Well, as a whole, this was not too much of a concern as most seasoned photographers for macro photography would usually have to deal with depth of field and stopping down smaller f-stop to gain maximum depth of field for sharpness of pictures. However, another slight drawback was, the MF Micro-Nikkor 105/2.8 it requires the PN-11 Extension Tube to increase reproduction ratio to 1:1.

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The much anticipated upgrade of an equivalent AF version for this 105mm close-up marvel lens was strangely much delayed late by Nikon and only in 1990 where the first version of the AF Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 was introduced.. As some of you would recall, when the Nikon F4(s) was introduced in 1988, Nikon lens catalogue still has not shown with an AF-105mm Micro Nikkor in the AF-Nikkor lense group. Possibly Nikon had found the task was very demanding to redesigned an AF Micro-Nikkor equivalent for the popular 105mm Micro, as it was an enormous task in ensuring the new lens be able to surpass, if not better than the manual focus version in various aspects. So, when the AF Micro-Nikkor was eventually released to the photo community in June, 1990, there was little surprises to find one of the key technical highlight of the new AF Micro-Nikkor 105 was able to focus all the way down to reach an 1:1 reproduction ratio without requiring any physical attachment and/or any extension - further, it was a feat that has already being made possible with the 1989's AF Micro-Nikkor 60mm f/2.8s.

Credit: Image courtesy of Laura Kornylak ® <shutterblade@comcast.net> from shutterblade*com where the Company has a website on its own. Image copyright © 2003. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

The AF Micro-Nikkor 105 mm f/2.8D was introduced as a native AF-D lens. It also employs a 'floating element's design (CRC) in ensuring its excellent image quality be extended from far to its minimum focusing distance where the maximum reproduction of 1:1 is realized. Further, this dedicated close-up lens has been treated with the enhanced Nikon SIC (Super Integrated Coating) which ensures high-contrast images with minimum effects of ghosting and flare, with additional overall brilliance of colour balance delivered. It has also been fitted with a focus limiter which serves the same function as the previous focusing lock on the manual focus 105mm model where the feature allows setting a previously selected focusing range. Note: The Limiter was like a standard feature in most AF-Nikkor lenses now.

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The optical composition used in this AF version of the 105mm Micro-Nikkor is using a revised, rather complex arrangement of 9 elements in 8 group design (a few of the early published Nikon lens catalogue stated it has a 10/9 composition, which was wrong, a printed error ?). It also has a proprietary CRC (close-range-correction) optical compensation system internally which enables the lens be able to close focus all the way down to 0.314m (approx. 1 foot) where a 1:1 life size reproduction ratio is achieved. As compared with the shorter 60mm Micro-Nikkor, the more important difference offers by this 105mm is the working distance, where it provides a 136mm as compared to the 60mm Micro-Nikkor's 90.4mm. Besides, despite all the advantages it delivers over the 60mm counterpart, lense only weighs at 560g as compared to 440g of the 60mm counterpart. This makes the lense highly portable for those photographers who are always on the move.

Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8D gallary by Jeff@photocreative, Canada Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8D gallary by Jeff@photocreative, Canada
A mini showcase of some lovely images of the lens by Jeff of Photocreative inc., Ontario, Canada.

Credit: Images courtesy of Jeff@photocreative ® from Canada where Jeff's Company PHOTO CREATIVE INC> has a very popular EBAY STORE on its own. Tel: (905) 629-0100 Image copyright © 2006. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.
Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8D gallary by Jeff@photocreative, Canada Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8D gallary by Jeff@photocreative, Canada


Anyway, as each of us has individual interpretation on the quality aspect of how a lens should be, but when relates to its performance, this is another story all together because the AF Micro-Nikkor 105mm Nikon is an impressive optical tool throughout. Given the fact that the 105 Micro lens was aged almost 15 years until the introduction of this AF version in 1990, where Nikon still thinks there may not be too much room for this lens to improve upon except the fact that, when the Nikon F90X/N90s (and later cameras) was introduced during first quarter of '90, a D-version of this lens is essential to enable this specific optic be able to supplement the capable Nikon bodies to take advantage of enhanced 3D Matrix metering/flash control but optically, this AF-D Micro-Nikkor 105 is unchanged from earlier version introduced in 1990. Other than this change of inclusion of a distance sensor inside the lens where you can differentiate the two new/old versions is via the addition of a "D" behind the lens data. i.e. AF Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8D
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With a moderate size and weight, the AF Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8D offers a superb balancing when mounted onto a typical Nikon AF or even MF SLR camera. Personally, the lightweight lacks the same apparent rigid feel of the manual focus counterpart Strangely, most people put the alternative complaint of "weight factor" to on lenses rather than on most modern SLRs and one of the "yardstick" when reviewers look at a lens, the weight factor usually was the center of attention. On the other hand, very few people complain on the size and weight on the camera, huh ? I guess mainly because the camera is where the gadgets and controls are. Well, if you are comfortable with what Nikon has to offer in reducing weight of a lens, that is fine because you are terming this change as an improvement but personally, I don't always agree with the fact lighter can deliver a more rugged made hardware. The same goes for the this AF Micro-Nikkor 105mm. It simply makes me missed the old feel of all those superbly crafted MF lenses of old days. Anyway, the biggest advantage it offers to photographers is autofocusing where the MF equivalent does not provide, so, you just have to live with this change.

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Both the new and AF-D versions of the Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8D's body construction are made out of a primary aluminum alloy and coated with black analyzed paint. It is designed to be scratch resistant, as mine has gone through quite a number of years which shows little signs of paint wiping off. The lense has a typical early prime AF-Nikkor lens design where it includes a distance scales window (it is one of the vulnerable part of an early AF Nikkor design, along with the fragile feel of the aperture ring). It has an Auto/Manual focus (A/M) ring and a handy focus limiter. Despite it is a dedicated close-up optic where DOF is of prime important to use to help in determine the amount, one would expect Nikon to provide MORE depth of field scales to be printed as a reference guide on the plastic distance scales window, but it only has a sole f/32 DOF scale to refer (Come on..Nikon !).The filter attachment size for this lense is a standard 52mm instead of the larger diameter of 62mm as found on the Micro-Nikkor AF-D 60mm f/2.8s. TO me, this is great as it permits sharing of many cheaper Nikon or 3rd party filter accessories that are easily accessible and available on the market. The external filter thread does not rotates and it makes a good design esp. when front attachment (such as Bellow Units) or other filter accesssories (like Polarizer) is used.

Scanic old country house, Averted Vision at AOL dot com
An old statue

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On handling, the "focus Limiter" which displayed as "LIMIT & FULL" permits limited focus range from infinity to 0.5m, or from 0,314m to 0,5m via the switch, it may or may not be providing absolute advantage (all depends on individual preference) but it does provides some degree of efficiency in power management for the camera/lens combination as it drives lesser during focusing. As Nikon believes close focus lenses should have been designed with more precise focusing, the lens barrel actually takes quite a long throw to focus from its closest focusing distance to infinity. Depends on camera models, this feature also may result in the lens keep searching for focus points (especially those Nikon with older AF system installed). The vertical width of the rubberized hand grip of the lense for manual focusing is considered to be generously broad enough for positive hand grip operation in manual focus. The most confusing part for a newbie in an AF Nikon is actually the A/M switch on the lens barrel - you have a switch on the camera and another at the lense ! As mentioned on other section of the site, the aperture ring is quite flimsy, it should have a better material such as the design of the older MF Nikkor. I would believe the AF-D Micro-Nikkor should sell very well in numbers as this long time favorite also packs many essential elements to term it as a good all round macro optic + as well as doubling itself as a prime telephoto wide range of general applications. However, as this featured original Nikkor dedicated close-up lens doesn't come with a cheap price tad and within the particular 90-105mm macro segment has invited quite a few competitions from 3rd party labels (in particularly, Sigma and Tamron where both also have macro option lens to offer on their own and they also offered 1:1 reproduction ratio).
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I wouldn't like to differentiate the performance of these individual alternatives as it can be quite subjective as well as inappropriate to influence a buying decision but they do offer photographers with an alternative if budget is an issue. Naturally, if financial is not a problem, the AF-D should always your first preferred option for overall system compatibility as well as its outstanding optical quality it delivers I laid down the current prevailing retail price (03.2005) from a reputable sales outlet for your reference so as not to have a not too distinctive price variation. I am still keeping this AF-D for staffs to use for their advertising works but personally, I am using the AF Micro-Nikkor 200mm f/4.0 ED-IF as I enjoy the greater working distance as well as the more natural perspective it provides. Lastly, Nikon has released a new AF-S VR Mcro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED lens in 2006 for Nikon SLR bodies that offer Sub-Command Dial to manipulate aperture control. The AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor packs many features which includes IF, VR and uses Nano Crystal as well as ED lens elements. I will featured that later when I get a unit in hand.

As for those who may be still looking for an used unit of this mid range micro-Nikkor tele-lens, the AF-D version provides extensive system compatibility with most old and new Nikon bodies. So, invest with confidence.
Credit: Image courtesy of Laura Kornylak ® <shutterblade@comcast.net> from shutterblade*com where the Company has a website on its own. Image copyright © 2003. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

Hibiscus, Tropical Malaysian national flower of Malaysia and Hawaii
Close-up lens and flowers are inseperable element - mainly because due to easy access and the brilliance of colors in them. Here is the National flower of Malaysia. If I have a choice, I would rather reserve this slot for contributor to send me a better shot.

Interim photo ONLY. Looking for contributing images to substitute this.

Technical Specifications for Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8D-

Type of lense: D-type AF Micro Nikkor lense with built-in CPU (early version without D-sensor)
Lens Mount: Nikon bayonet mount with CPU contact
Focal length/Aperture: AF 105 mm f/2.8s
Lens construction: 9 elements in 8 groups
Lens Coating / Design:
Lens Coating: early may still be using NIC, late models are using new SIC (Super Integrated Coating), CRC (close-range correction) system employed

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Picture angle(s): 23° 20' (15°20 with Nikon DX fromat digital cameras)
Depth of Field Scales: f/32 only
Minimum Aperture Lock
: Slide Switch design
Diaphragm
: Automatic
Attachment size: 52mm
ExternalFilter attachment:
Does not rotates
Aperture scale:
f/2.8 - f/32 on both standard and aperture-direct-readout scales
Exposure measurement: Via full aperture method with Ai cameras; via stop-down method with non-Ai cameras. Distance information is relaying to camera body electronically for the AF-D version, not possible for the Ai-S model.
Distance scale: Graduated in meters and feet from
approx. 12 in. (0.314m) to infinity (OO)
Maximum Reproduction ratio(s): Scales provided, 1:1 is possible when close focus down to approx. 0.314m
Lens Hood
:
HS-7
Weight:
560g
Dimensions:
75mm dia. x 104.5mm long (overall)
Filters: 52mm front screw-in
Front lens cap: Snap-On

Lens case: Lens only: CL-15S hard leatherette, No. 63 soft pouch Usable Auto Extension Ring/Bellow Unit: Bellow Unit PB-6 Usable Teleconverter(s): TC-200, TC-201, TC-14A
Note
: Serial Number for this version of the AF Micro-Nikkor lens may have began with:-
AF 105/2.8 Micro 4+ 200001 < 242906 - 313939 > Jun90 - Oct93 113939
AF 105/2.8 D Micro 4+ 3300001 < 3306152 - 3499819 > Oct93 - 2005 199819
AF 105/2.8 D Micro high serial nos 4+ 4000001 < 4007243 > 2005 - 2006 7243
AF-S 105/2.8 G Micro IF-ED VR nano crystal coating 200001 < 200984 - 225717 > > Feb06 - > 25717
Reference: Roland Vink's lens data sheet.

Red rose on h20 by Espen Hildrup, Norway
Red Rose on the stream

Credit: Image courtesy of EspenHildrup ® from Norway, who has his PORTFOLIO hosted at Pbase. Image copyright © 2007. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

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Credit: Image courtesy of Laura Kornylak ® <shutterblade@comcast.net> from shutterblade*com where the Company has a website on its own. Image copyright © 2003. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

AF-D 105mm f/2.8s @ USD650-00
Tamron 90mm f/2.8s @ USD480-00
Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX @ USD369-00

B&H Photo price indicator, Condition: New.

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Image at the top left corner: Credit: Image courtesy of DS Camera ® where the Company also operates a popular Ebay Store and sells, trade new/used photo equipment. Image copyright © 2003. All rights reserved.

Other alternatives for your reference are:Kiron 105mm f/2.8 Macro 1:1; Vivitar AF 100mm f/3.5 (approx. USD140-00), Tokina's ATX AF 100mm f/2.8 MACRO (approx. USD340-00)

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| Back to Nikon F5's Macro-Photography | | Main Index Page - AF-Nikkor Lens Family |

Relative: | AF-D Micro 200mm f/4.0s IF-ED | AF-D Zoom Micro-Nikkor 70-180mm f/4.5-f/5.6 ED | AF-D Micro 105mm f/2.8s | AF-D Micro 60mn f/2.8s | PC-Micro-Nikkor 85mm f/2.8D | MF Micro-Nikkor 55mm | MF Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 | f/4.0 | MF Micro-Nikkor 200mm f/4.0s IF | Other Nikkor prime of 180mm-200mm Telephotos | Other Nikkor prime of 105mm Telephotos | MF Medical-Nikkor 120mm f/4.0s | Medical-Nikkor 250mm f/5.6 | MF Bellow Nikkor 105mm f/4.0 | Bellow-Nikkor 135mm f/4.0 preset | UV-Nikkor 55mm f/4.0 | UV-Nikkor 105mm f/4.0s



Main Index Page- AF Nikkor lenses
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Micro-Nikkor lense Family: Main Index Page (3 parts)
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50mm | 55mm (AF) | 60mm (AF) | 85mm PC | MF-105mm (AF) | MF-200mm (AF) | 70-180mm (AF) |

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Medical Nikkor: 120mm 200mm
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Others: Noct Nikkor | OP-Nikkor | UV Nikkor 55mm 105mm | Focusing Units | Bellows-Nikkor 105mm 135mm
Nikon Series E Lenses: 28mm35mm50mm100mm135mm | E-Series Zoom lenses: 36~72mm75~150mm70~210mm


MF Zoom-Nikkor Lenses: 25~50mm | 28~45mm | 28~50mm | 28~85mm | 35~70mm | 36~72mm E | 35~85mm | 35~105mm | 35~135mm | 35~200mm | 43~86mm | 50~135mm | 50~300mm | 70~210mm E | 75~150mm E | 80~200mm | 85~250mm | 100~300mm | 180~600mm | 200~400mm | 200~600mm | 360~1200mm | 1200~1700mm

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Recommended links to understand more technical details related to the Nikkor F-mount and production Serial Number:
http://rick_oleson.tripod.com/index-153.html by: my friend, Rick Oleson
http://www.zi.ku.dk/personal/lhhansen/photo/fmount.htm by: Hansen, Lars Holst
http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/hardwares/nikonfmount/lens2.htm
http://www.photosynthesis.co.nz/nikon/serialno.html

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