Rodney Campbell's Blog

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

by on Aug.24, 2010, under Life, Photography

I have finally gotten around to borrowing and playing with my neighbours new Nikon AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED lens.

This is a very sweet piece of glass and is the Nikon official sort of equivalent of the Tamron 90mm f/2.8 macro lens that I own (except this Nikon lens is twice the weight and size and two to three times the price! – it also has Vibration Reduction (VR) and Silent Wave Motor – SWM which enables fast and quiet autofocusing, and instant switching between autofocus and manual operation (AF-S) and is a joy to use. It isn’t that I don’t like my Tamron lens (it is absolutely fantastic – especially for the price) it is just that this lens is well… even nicer 🙂

I’ve had the lens constantly on the camera for about a week now and I took a number of shots during two lunch hours in the city. The first day I quickly grabbed some shots in Hyde Park which is next to my work and then on the second day a number of colleagues from work also brought in their D-SLR’s and we did a bit of a lunchtime photo walk through some of the Royal Botanical Gardens.

Note: Click any of the images below to see larger versions in an inline overlay gallery viewer.

Hyde Park is Sydney city’s central open green space and it was named after the Hyde Park in London; however, its origins are somewhat different. Originally the Park was a racecourse and sporting ground playing host to all manners of competition. Today the only reminder of its early 19th century competitive heritage is the huge playable chess set that features on the western side of the Park.

The tranquil setting is popular among office workers who want some fresh air, a quick siesta or some time out from the concrete jungle. The central pathway through the park is an impressive, tiled, fig lined road linking two of the parks other features, the Archibald Fountain and the War Memorial.

The War Memorial is a 1934 art deco tribute to the Anzac soldiers who fell in the first world war. The memorial stands 30 metres above the pool of rememberance.

This first shot of a Poppy in Hyde Park was taken towards the sun which is back lighting the semi translucent petals. This lens has a nine-bladed rounded diaphragm opening which affords fantastic Bokeh (the nice smooth out of focus backgrounds when shot at a wider aperture).

“Poppy Love”

Nikon D90 + Nikon 105mm macro, 1/1600 sec at f/4, ISO 200

I managed to get in pretty tight on this red poppy and a bee loading itself up on pollen. With macro shots like this getting a moving object like a bee sharply in focus is extremely difficult given the very tiny depth of field you get with such close up work. I did use my monopod to steady my camera but it is still difficult to stop the camera or the subject moving forward or backward – even a fraction of a millimetre can throw the focus off.


Nikon D90 + Nikon 105mm macro, 1/320 sec at f/11, ISO 200

That evening we had a fantastic sunset with fabulous colours in the sky. When I was picking up my daughter from her dancing class late in the day we grabbed this quick shot of these silhouetted trees set against this gloriously coloured sky.

Nikon D90 + Nikon 105mm macro, 1/60 sec at f/4, ISO 200

The Royal Botanic Gardens were first established in 1816 and they are now one of Sydney’s finest natural assets. The gardens also offer some of the best views of Sydney Harbour, the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge possible. A sprawling 30 hectares of green next to the Sydney central business district, and contiguous to the 35 hectares of Sydney’s Domain and are home to over a million specimens, some of which were planted by the newly arrived European colonists almost 200 years ago. It is also the site of Australia’s first farm.

We visited a number of areas in the gardens including the succulent gardens.

“Waiting for Trouble”

Nikon D90 + Nikon 105mm macro, 1/125 sec at f/9, ISO 200

Nikon D90 + Nikon 105mm macro, 1/125 sec at f/9, ISO 200

“Mini Suns”

Nikon D90 + Nikon 105mm macro, 1/800 sec at f/4, ISO 200

“Colour Trove”

Nikon D90 + Nikon 105mm macro, 1/60 sec at f/8, ISO 250

Another example of this lens’s smooth and creamy bokeh and ability to capture incredible detail and saturated colours.

Nikon D90 + Nikon 105mm macro, 1/125 sec at f/8, ISO 200

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7 Comments for this entry

  • Subram

    Hi, wonderful shots.

    I bought the 105 macro recently and is using it with a D90. I was wondering whether you help me clarify a potential VR issue with my lens.

    When the VR is turned on the lens makes a constant hissing/ soft grinding noise when the shutter release button is pressed halfway through and lasts for a couple of seconds only (as long as VR lasts!). When the VR is not engaged or if the VR on/off switched is turned off the lens is quiet. The VR as such is functioning well. Needless to say that it is best appreciated in a quiet environment.

    Have you noticed anything similar. I am suspecting that it could just be a normal VR.

    Any response would be highly appreciated.


    Cheers, Subram

  • murtuza

    hey i am using the 105 2.8 vr but it does not go down to 2.8 – it flicker back to f3 or f3.5 – is there a faul with the lense or cos i am using a D90 (dx camera)
    please guide

  • Rodney.Campbell

    Like many lenses the actual available aperture can sometimes change the closer you focus. You probably won’t notice this with most lenses however with a macro you’re often at or near minimum focusing distance so you will notice that you can’t select the widest aperture – this also isn’t normally a problem with close macro work (since you’re usually trying to use an extremely small aperture (like f/16 to f/64) to get any depth of field anyway). If however you’re standing a metre away from something you’re focusing on (e.g. portrait) and still can’t get f/2.8 then that might be a problem.

  • sharon

    I was hoping you could clarify something for me. I have been told that the 105 micro is not compatible with the d 90. I was really looking forward to getting this lens, and now am concerned that It will not work properly on my dx camera, as according to some, it is an fx lens only. Would you mind telling me if the auto focus on the d90 with this lens was in working order? Could the aperture problem above mentioned be a dx issue? How did you find the lens’ working order? Thank you! This post of yours has got me dithering over getting it again!

  • Rodney.Campbell

    Whilst the lens is an FX capable lens it works perfectly well on DX bodies (including the D90) – albeit it acts as a slightly longer lens – 157mm equiv. As with pretty much every FX lens it is designed for that larger imaging circle which generally makes them have more glass, larger, heavier and more expensive but pretty much all FX lenses can be used on most DX cameras.

  • Victor Wong

    Hi Rodney,

    Nice pictures. I like them all.

    I’m new to photography in general and recently acquired the excellent D90. Quite enjoyable. After seeing your pictures here, I would love to get such a lens for myself. I know it’s about AUD1000, but I can’t seem to find local distributors around my area.

    Do you think buying from eBay and having it sent from say Hong Kong or China is okay? Did you purchased yours from a local supplier?

    Thanks in advance.

  • Rodney.Campbell

    I don’t own the Nikon 105/2.8 macro (a friend does and I’ve borred it on a number of occasions). I’ve ordered a number of lenses (not from ebay but from HK based online stores) with no issues so far. You can even buy grey market locally if you’re interested (e.g. from DDP in North Sydney). If you are looking to spend less money can I suggest the Tamron 90mm f2.8 macro instead (it’s the lens I have) – it’s optically about as good as the Nikon but about a third of the size/weight and price. It doesn’t have VR or the build quality of the Nikon but it is a fabulous lens for the price.

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