AF Micro-Nikkor 60mm f/2.8D

copyright 2004 by Koh Kho King


I bought my first micro lens: AF Micro-Nikkor 60mm f/2.8D lens used on the 26th September 2000 in a very sudden and surprise deal. The lens is in mint condition although it has no box, manual or warranty card (even without caps!). Just the lens itself with a Nikon UR-3 lens hood and a Kenko L37 SuperPro 62mm filter. I bought this lens together with another Nikon body...F70D, but that's another story. The price I pay for the lens and the F70D is about US$380, so you go figure out how much the AF Micro-Nikkor 60mm f/2.8D lens worth. Oh yes, the F70D is about 95% new.

 

I shot some films with the AF Micro-Nikkor 60mm f/2.8D lens this morning (27th September 2000). Wow...the lens is really great! The feel of it when shooting is definitely different from my AF Zoom-Nikkor 28-80mm f/3.5-5.6D. Very solid and heavy feel. Mount on my F60D, and it is really cool looking! Ha! I like the lens very much, I guess it will be my standard lens from now on, and I will not to go for the Nikkor AF 50mm f/1.8 that I initially thought of. My initial plan was to get the Nikkor AF 50mm f/1.8 lens, because it is so cheap (RM350)! The Nikkor AF 50mm f/1.8 lens is light, and small. Some might find these as the advantages of it, but for me, I don't like the plastic and cheapo feel of it. Nevertheless, with so little money you spend, you get the best (or among the best) Nikkor lens, and shouldn't complaint too much again...the price or the Nikkor AF 50mm f/1.8 is really too good to reject...Ok, back to my AF Micro-Nikkor 60mm f/2.8D lens. With the price I paid, I think it definitely worth every cents I spent.

F60D

and micro 60mm lens

In term of built quality, I find the aperture ring of my lens is a bit loose. When turning, the ring can't click precisely and smoothly into position. Need to turn the ring carefully and slowly to make sure it has gone to the correct aperture. I am not sure if the lens is originally design to be like this, but even my AF Zoom-Nikkor 28-80mm f/3.5-5.6D can click stop smoothly, so does my Nikkor AIS 50mm f/1.4 (Millennium Edition). Please let me know if you happen to own/try this lens. (updated: July 2002 ~ I have tried several other 60micro, and all has the loose aperture ring. So does the Nikkor AFD 105mm f/2.8 micro). The lens is solid but not so heavy. Manual focusing is very smooth and comfortable. The focusing ring is wide enough for me to comfortably holding it and turning it slowly. The lens extend out when going down to 1:1, and the internal mechanism get so close to the filter. Thus, you need to have a slim filter to be used on this lens. The filter ring does not rotate when focusing, so another advantage when using filter.

 

In term of performance, I am not sure yet. But I heard people complaining the lens is TOO SHARP! Ha...I still have a few frames left in my camera, and I will finish them as soon as possible...as I myself can't wait to see the results and "complaining" myself.

 

Updated 9th September 2000: I have gotten my print today. Most of my photos (macro) do not have enough DOF...I use too wide aperture in my shoot. When going down to 1:1~1:3, I give the maximum aperture f/2.8 (actual effective aperture is f/5), and this turn out making most of the shot too little DOF. I should go to f/8~f/11 indeed...ai...waste another rolls of films...sorry, I am not rich (yet!). However, some of the photos are ok, please take a look at them in My Colour Book. Comparing this lens with my AF Zoom-Nikkor 28-80mm f/3.5-5.6D, I am very much impressed by the sharpness of this lens and the rich contrast it produces. Yes, this lens is really sharp! I can see every details of the pedals of the flowers that I shot, and even the fur of the dragon fly! Ha...I am not complaining though...I love the sharpness! Will try shooting some portrait soon...

Get a macro lens for yourself if possible. You will see the world and subject in a whole new very different way. The 60mm is definitely not meant for insects (insects have their circle of comfort zone, thus if you get too close...they get alert and fly away), but if you are shooting flowers, stationary subject...etc. then you will find this lens very nice and comfortable. My initial plan was to get a Nikkor AF D 105mm f/2.8 micro lens, but the price too high (double as of the 60micro) and I am not willing to pay such a high price...I missed a very good deal of this lens some times ago, which I still regret now...I have never try the Nikkor AF D 105mm f/2.8 micro in field, but I am sure the working distance is better. Still, I heard people complaining about the too close working distance of the lens to capture insects. Insects has their own comfortable zone, when you get too near to them, they will alert and run away. The Nikkor AF D 60mm f/2.8 micro lens needs to get very close (a few centimeters) to get to the subject at 1:1. However, when shooting flowers, very seldom I go for 1:1. 1:2 is good enough for me already, and the working distance is comfortable enough. One advantage of getting very close to the subject is that you can actually eliminate the unnecessary things that block you and the subject. You can't through away the unwanted things between you and the subject if you are using a super powerful micro lens and standing few meters from your subject. Ha...just my complaint or envy for those who owns the 105mm or 200mm micro lens.

 

To conclude, my Nikkor AF D 60mm f/2.8 lens is very much worth it for what I pay for. However, if you are going to buy a new one, then I would suggest you to save your money and get a mint Nikkor AF D 105mm f/2.8 at a slightly higher price (almost the price of new 60micro). A micro lens is a very interesting lens and you will not regret having one in your camera bag. If you haven got one, buy one today or you are missing one very big joy of photography! ;-)

Update: July 2002: I used this lens for my family's photos during my Chinese New Year holiday back to my hometown. My sister is complaining of showing her pimples on the photos...but she is very satisfied with her son and daughter shots using this lens. I find this lens really good for children as it shows out the smoothness of their skin and you can shot at 1/60s and still get sharp photos, something which might be difficult if you are using a 105micro lens. I used this lens as a all purpose lens...and I find it much better than the AIS 50mm f/1.4 lens that I have. Very seldom I use f/1.4, thus I find the 60micro lens to be a better lens for me. Sorry to say, I have sold this lens some times ago (due to financial problem)...but I will get one again in future.

 

Updated Sept 2004: Sold my previous 60micro...miss the lens so very much and bought the lens again in August 2004. Paid S$350 for it, more than what I have sold (S$330) previously. Lens is in mint condition thus I have no regret :)

Nikon built their macro lens to have very deep front element inside, making a lens hood not necessary. When focus to 1:1, the lens extends and front element move out. A picture explains thousands words...see pics below:

 

 

 

One of the finest lens that is still MADE IN JAPAN making sure that quality is maintained. Rounded diaphragm giving very pleasant bokeh. Four contacts points and still using screwdriver AutoFocus mechanism.

 

 

Update: 21st September 2004

How sharp is sharp? Here's some example of photos I shot using my Fuji S2 Pro (that's the convenient of DIGITAL!) with the 60micro lens. It would have been even sharper if I use a tripod and stop down to f16.

 

original

100% cropped

Butterfly: 1/60s @ f/8 ; ISO100 ; 12MP resize to 50% (6MP) ; handheld

 

Flower: 1/125s @ f/4 ; ISO100 ; 12MP resize to 50% (6MP) ; handheld