Best Macro Lenses for Nikon

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Are you looking for the best macro lens for Nikon? We can help.

Photography, especially professional photography is a fascinating sphere that constantly keeps your eye well acquainted with the character and atmosphere of your surroundings so that you never miss out on capturing that perfect moment.

Macro photography has endowed us with the ability to explore the minuscule and descry what our naked eyes deem as unseen. But with a deluge of options on the market, how do you know which macro lens is the optimal choice for your photography? Well, a few factors should be considered.

Quick Summary: Best Macro Lenses for Nikon

  • Nikon AF-S DX Micro-Nikkor 40mm f/2.8G
  • Nikon AF-S FX Micro-NIKKOR 60mm f/2.8G
  • Sigma 105 mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro
  • Tamron AF 90mm f/2.8 Di SP
  • Sigma 150mm f/2.8 EX DG OS
  • Nikon AF FX Micro-Nikkor 200mm f/4D
Nikon AF-S FX Micro-NIKKOR 60mm f/2.8G
BEST ALL AROUND

Aperture: f/2.8 – f/32, Magnification: 1:1, Minimum Focus Distance: 18.5cm (7.28″), Filter Size: 62mm, Weight: 425 g (15oz)
Nikon AF-S DX Micro-Nikkor 40mm f/2.8G
BEST BUDGET MACRO LENS

Aperture: f/2.8 – f/22, Magnification: 1:1, Minimum Focus Distance: 6.4″, Filter Size: 52mm, Weight: 235 g (8.3oz)
Sigma 105 mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro
BEST MID RANGE

Aperture: f/2.8 – f/22, Magnification: 1:1, Minimum Focus Distance: 32cm (12.3″), Filter Size: 62mm, Weight: 726g (25oz)
Tamron AF 90mm f/2.8 Di SP
BEST BUDGET MID RANGE

Aperture: f/2.8 – f/22, Magnification: 1:1, Minimum Focus Distance: 30cm (12″), Filter Size: 62mm, Weight: 600g (1.3lb)
Nikon AF FX Micro-Nikkor 200mm f/4D
BEST TELE MACRO LENS

Aperture: f/2.8 – f/32, Magnification: 1:1, Minimum Focus Distance: 49cm (19″), Filter Size: 62mm, Weight: 1185g (2.6lb)
Sigma 150mm f/2.8 EX DG OS
BEST BUDGET TELE LENS

Aperture: f/2.8 – f/22, Magnification: 1:1, Minimum Focus Distance: 38cm (15″), Filter Size: 72mm, Weight: 1150g (2.5lb)

Macro Lens Buying Advice

Types of Macro Lenses

Standard: a standard macro lens typically has a focal length of 50mm, and Minimum Focus Distance for a 1:1 magnification is around 20cm. This type is often preferred when taking pictures of jewelry, stamps, or flat artwork.

Short Telephoto: short telephoto macro lenses have a focal length around 100mm with a Minimum Focus Distance of around 30cm to achieve a 1:1 ratio. These lenses are very convenient for flowers, insects, and is a good choice for portraits as well.

Related: Selecting the Best Lenses for Nikon D3400 (D3300, D3500)

Long Telephoto: this category of lenses boasts the longest focal length of 150mm and longer, and can achieve a 1:1 magnification at around 50cm. Many employ this type to capture pictures of dangerous or venomous species such as reptiles, snakes, or flies.

Focal Length

The focal length refers to the distance between the optical center of the lens and the plane of the image to be photographed, which determines the angle of view and the level of magnification.

Related: Top Rated APS-C Lenses for Canon

Primarily, longer focal lengths produce the narrower angle of view and possess stronger magnifying potential. In contrast, shorter focal lengths result in a wider angle of view and lower magnifying ability. The focal length of the lens is commonly in direct proportion with its size, weight, and price.

Lenses with shorter focal length are usually cheaper and lighter, but they force you to get closer to your subject, sometimes too close.

On the other hand, lenses with a rather long focal length will offer more of a practical working distance but they certainly come at a higher price and a larger size.

Related: Top Rated Nikon Lens for Portraits and Family Photography

Macro camera lenses normally come with a fixed focal length. While there is the option of purchasing a zoom macro lens, but most of these lenses tend to be of lower optical qualities and can’t achieve 1:1 magnification ratio.

Magnification Ratio

The magnification ratio, which is also known as the reproduction ratio, describes how enlarged the subject will be in the final image. This feature is crucial when selecting a macro lens.

What exactly does a 1:1 magnification ratio mean? A 1:1 magnification ratio is the ability of the lens to focus at such close proximity to the object to project a life-size image to the camera sensor. A 1:1 ratio is sometimes referred to as the “standard” or the “life-size” ratio.

Related: How to Select the Best SD Memory Cards for Nikon D3400

The majority of macro lenses that have a medium or long focal length that range from 100mm to 200mm can achieve a reproduction ratio of 1:1 at the very least. Highly capable lenses can even go up to a substantial ratio of 5:1, which makes them ideal for extreme close-ups of tiny insects.

Macro lenses with a shorter focal length that range anywhere from 35mm to 50mm are often limited to a 1:2 ratio, which is half the ideal “life-size” ratio. A lot of photographers equip this type of lenses with extension tubes to achieve the desired 1:1 ratio.

A true macro lens is a lens that can achieve at least a 1:1 magnification ratio. You need to be aware of zoom lenses that are labeled as “macro” because their magnifying abilities usually don’t exceed a 1:3 ratio and the produced photos are very disappointing from macro photography perspectives.

Working Distance

Working distance is the distance between the fore-end of your lens and the subject.

At magnification ratio of 1:1, the working distance of a lens is at its smallest because of how close you’re ought to be to achieve life-size magnification. A lens that has a longer focal length will permit a more comfortable working distance and vice versa.

Best Nikon Macro Lenses

As with anything, buying the ideal product starts first by narrowing down your choices to a few of the best models on the market. The following list of top notch macro lenses will integrate perfectly with your Nikon camera and should be highly considered.

Nikon AF-S DX Micro-NIKKOR 40mm f/2.8G Close-up Lens for Nikon DSLR Cameras

Nikon AF-S DX Micro-Nikkor 40mm f/2.8G

Aperture Range: f/2.8 – f/22
Magnification: 1:1
Minimum Focus Distance: 6.4″
Filter Size: 52mm
Size: 68.5 x 64.5mm (2.70 x 2.54″)
Weight: 235 g (8.3oz)
Price: Check the latest price here

The Micro-Nikkor 40mm f2.8G from Nikon is one of the most credible and most affordable macro lenses with 1:1 reproduction ratio on the market. Providing a performance that is up to par with sharp and fairly contrasty quality at every aperture within a normal capturing distance.

Related: Prime Lenses vs. Zoom Lenses – Which One Is Right for You?

The performance of this lens degrades slightly in the corners. However, you’ll usually need to stop down a bit to get a rather decent depth of field with larger magnification ratios, which won’t be a problem for an f2.8 lens.

Probably the most prominent downside of this lens is that you have to get really close to your subject to achieve 1:1 magnification. Macro enthusiasts may desire more working room to house lights and modifiers, and they might not be satisfied with the rather short focal length, but for a small macro lens that’s compact and easy to work with, you can’t go wrong with the price.

What I like

  • Very sharp with good contrast
  • Inexpensive 1:1 macro lens
  • Has a focus limiter switch
  • Compact lightweight design

What I don’t like

  • Short focal length
  • Lacks stabilization

Check Latest Price & Reviews


Nikon AF-S FX Micro-NIKKOR 2177 60mm f/2.8G ED Standard Macro Lens for Nikon DSLR Cameras

Nikon AF-S FX Micro-NIKKOR 60mm f/2.8G

Aperture Range: f/2.8 – f/32
Magnification: 1:1
Minimum Focus Distance: 18.5 cm (7.28″)
Filter Size: 62mm
Size: 73 x 89mm (2.9 x 3.5″)
Weight: 425 g (15oz)
Price: Check the latest price here

Although Nikon stopped advertising this macro lens long ago, they are still manufacturing it because of the incredibly huge demand for this product. Superb is the word to describe the overall performance and sharpness of this lens.

Aside from being good for macro photography, this lens works great for portraiture when equipped on a DX camera. The lens feels pretty solid in hands but suffers from the placement of the focus switch ring, which can be moved accidentally.

This probably isn’t the most ideal lens for shooting small insects because you’ll have to be really close to get a 1:1 magnification ratio. However, you’ll find this lens to be an excellent choice for static objects.

But is it really worth the upgrade from the original 60mm? I believe so, because of the vastly improved sharpness that this lens provides and better vignetting control at wider apertures.

What I like

  • Extremely sharp
  • Great color rendition
  • Low distortion
  • Compact lightweight design

What I don’t like

  • Not cheap
  • Bulky design
  • Slow autofocus

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Sigma 258306 105mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro Lens for Nikon DSLR Camera

Sigma 105 mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro

Aperture Range: f/2.8 – f/22
Magnification: 1:1
Minimum Focus Distance: 32cm (12.3″)
Filter Size: 62mm
Size: 79mm x127mm (3.1 x 5″)
Weight: 726 g (25oz)
Price: Check the latest price here

What I like

  • Sharp with good contrast
  • High build quality
  • Good color rendering
  • Very affordable

What I don’t like

  • Noisy autofocus
  • Strong vignetting

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Tamron AF 90mm f/2.8 Di SP AF/MF 1:1 Macro Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras

Tamron AF 90mm f/2.8 Di SP

Aperture Range: f/2.8 – f/32
Magnification: 1:1
Minimum Focus Distance: 30cm (12″)
Filter Size: 62mm
Size: 79mm x123mm (3.1 x 4.8″)
Weight: 600 g (1.3lb)
Price: Check the latest price here

Tamron introduces the newer and more enhanced version of the celebrated 90mm macro lens for both film and digital photography. Tamron’s 90mm macro lens, often referred to as “the portrait macro lens”, is reborn again as a Di lens.

This macro has a focal length of 90mm, it has to be slightly closer to the subject than a lens with a focal length of 100 or 105 would have to be to reach its 1:1 ratio capabilities.

The autofocus mechanism on this lens can be a bit too noisy, but its performance is pretty quick due to an almost complete absence of hunting. Switching between autofocus and manual mode is simple, you just pull the focus ring backwards.

The hood if the lens is reversible and doesn’t get in the way of the focus limited or distance window in you need to stow it. It’s best to leave the hood in its pouch when it’s not being used because it reduces the gripping area.

What I like

  • Extremely sharp
  • Weather sealing
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Includes lens hood

What I don’t like

  • Dark corners at wide apertures
  • Contrast reduction at smaller apertures

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Sigma 150mm f/2.8 AF APO EX DG OS HSM Macro Lens for Canon Digital SLRs

Sigma 150mm f/2.8 EX DG OS

Aperture Range: f/2.8 – f/22
Magnification: 1:1
Minimum Focus Distance: 38cm (15″)
Filter Size: 72mm
Size: 79mm x123mm (3.1 x 4.8″)
Weight: 1150g (2.5lb)
Price: Check the latest price here

This is the second installment of macro lenses from this range. This macro comes packing a hypersonic monitor that makes for near-inaudible autofocus. Also, it comes with built-in 4-stop stabilization and an autofocus limiter switch.

The aperture range of this lens is an incredible f/2.8 to f/22 and the enhanced focal length comes with a minimum focusing distance of 38cm, which allows for a life-size ratio without having to be too close to your subject.

The sharpness of this lens in the corners is uncanny at wide apertures, but it seems to degrade at f/11. The multi-layer coatings designed to cancel chromatic aberration. Vignetting, however, is present until f/8.

Weighing at 1150g, the Sigma 150mm is one of the heaviest lenses on this list, but it’s accompanied by a tripod collar to add stability to its already balanced frame. The overall look of this lens has a premium finish and it will definitely be a great addition to a Nikon camera.

What I like

  • Sharp
  • Silent autofocus performance
  • 4-stop optical stabilization
  • Included tripod collar

What I don’t like

  • Steep price tag
  • Heavy

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Nikon AF FX Micro-NIKKOR 200mm f/4D IF-ED Fixed Zoom Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras

Nikon AF FX Micro-Nikkor 200mm f/4D

Aperture Range: f/2.8 – f/32
Magnification: 1:1
Minimum Focus Distance: 49cm (19″)
Filter Size: 62mm
Size: 76mm x193mm (3 x 7.6″)
Weight: 1185g (2.6lb)
Price: Check the latest price here

What I like

  • Sharp
  • Silent autofocus performance
  • 4-stop optical stabilization
  • Included tripod collar

What I don’t like

  • Steep price tag
  • Heavy

Check Latest Price & Reviews


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