Nikon AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED review

With VR and internal focusing

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  • Nikon's Vibration Reduction system
  • Internal focusing system
  • Fast and quiet focus


  • Small focusing window
  • Pictures lose sharpness by f/16
  • Distortion and chromatic aberration control isn't the best

Nikon caters particularly well for macro photographers, with 40mm, 60mm, 85mm and 200mm options in addition to this 105mm lens. An update to the popular Nikkor 105mm f/2.8D AF Micro optic, the Nikon AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED adds a host of improvements, chief of which being Nikon's second generation Vibration Reduction (VR) system.

This, a macro first according to Nikon, uses a compensatory lens group that shifts to counter image blur. It promises a four-stop effect when used as close as 3m away from the subject, which drops to three stops when used at a 1:2 reproduction ratio, and two stops when used at 1:1. Nikon does, however, recommend that Vibration Reduction is turned off when using a tripod.

Elsewhere, an internal focusing system enables the lens to constantly maintain the same length, and therefore the same working distance from the subject. This is useful for macro photography in general, but particularly for shooting living subjects such as insects.

Internal focusing also means that the front of the lens stays static as the Nikon AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED focuses, enabling filters and other front-mounted accessories to be used without any hassle.

Focusing itself is carried out by Nikon's Silent Wave Motor technology, which arrives with the same high speed, low noise promises as the similar technology found in its rival lenses. As with similar systems, it also enables the manual focus ring to be used for fine-tuning, once autofocus has been confirmed.

Nikon af s vr micro nikkor 105mm f 2 8g if ed

Optically, the lens has 14 elements arranged over 12 groups, with a single ED element among these for the prevention of chromatic aberration.

A nine-bladed diaphragm is said to help produce circular bokeh, and Nano Crystal Coating is also used to help minimise flare and maintain image contrast. This works by gradually changing the angle of refraction as the light enters the lens, which helps more to pass through to the sensor rather than be reflected.

Next to similar macro lenses, such as Canon EF 100 f/2.8 Macro USM, the lens is fairly bulky, but its 62mm filter thread is a reasonable size and means that you won't need to spend a small fortune should you want to invest in a filter or two.

The barrel is finished in the same mottled effect Nikon uses on its DSLRs, and despite being almost entirely plastic on the outside, it feels perfectly solid. A gold ring encircles the front of the barrel, behind which sits a large focusing ring that moves freely enough to be easily operable while not being so slack that it moves out of a set position.

The three switches for focusing, focus limit and Vibration Reduction are all clearly labelled and click satisfactorily into position, while their positioning on the barrel enables each to be conveniently flicked back and forth by the thumb as required.

Tech Specs

Product TypeLens
Fixed Focal Length105 mm
Maximum Aperture Fixed2.8
Brand NameNikon
Filter Attachment Diameter62 mm
Lens TypeMacro
Depth116 mm

Nikon Digital & 35mm Film SLR Cameras

ManufacturerNikon Corporation
Product ModelJAA630DA
Product Name105mm f/2.8G AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor Lens
Product LineNikkor
Manufacturer Part NumberJAA630DA
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

The AF-S VR 105 f/2.8G IF-ED brings the benefits of vibration reduction (VR) to the domain of Macro photography. It offers high-resolution, high-optical performance for both digital and 35mm film format SLR cameras. This lens incorporates Nikon's second-generation vibration reduction system (VR II) that allows flexible hand-held shooting by stabilizing the image to the equivalent stability of a shutter speed that is 4 stops faster when compared with a conventional lens (as determined by Nikon performance test). The SWM (Silent Wave Motor) and IF (Internal Focusing) ensure quiet autofocusing with quick and convenient switching between autofocus and manual operation. Optical performance is enhanced by an ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass element that minimizes chromatic aberration, and Nano Crystal Coat which drastically reduces flare, enabling finely defined, clear images.

Package Contents
  • 105mm f/2.8G AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor Lens
  • Lens Cap LF-1
Weight (Approximate)720 g