Home » Nikon » Best Nikon Macro Lenses

Best Nikon Macro Lenses

By on

Looking for the best Nikon macro lenses? In our Nikon lens guide you can find the best macro lenses for close-up, flower and insect photography.

First of all what is macro photography? It is also known as close-up photography, is one of the most popular types of photography among professionals and amateurs alike, as it can reveal sharp and intricate details that are invisible to the naked eye. If you want to shoot some extreme close-up images, then it’s important for you to get a true macro lens that can offer 1:1 magnification life-size reproduction without the use of accessories.

Here are the top best macro lenses for Nikon DSLRs that can help you take amazing close-up images. We’ve included a buying guide so that you can know exactly what you should be looking for when purchasing a Nikon closeup lens.

Best Nikon Macro Lenses – Things to Consider Before Buying

Magnification (ratio): In macro photography, it is important to know how large or small your subject appears on your camera sensor. True macro lenses have a 1:1 ratio, which means your subject appears as big as it is in real life. If the ratio is 1:2 or anything less than 1:1 but still has macro in its name. This is common with cheap zoom lenses.

Minimum Focusing Distance: The minimum focusing distance will determine how close you can get to your subject while still being able to maintain a sharp and accurate focus.

Image Stabilization: If you’re using something long without a tripod and don’t have a fast enough shutter speed, you’ll easily get blurred images. So this is a great feature for handheld photography means that you can capture your subject without having to use a tripod.

Focal length: Longer focal lengths are better for photographing portraits, insects etc., while shorter are more appropriate for photographing products.

Best Macro Lenses for Nikon DSLRs

List of Best Nikon Macro Lenses

FX-Format Macro Lenses | DX-Format Macro Lenses

FX-Format Nikon Macro Lenses

1. Nikon AF-S VR Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED Lens

Product Highlights

  • F Mount Lens/FX Format
  • Minimum Focus Distance: 12″
  • Aperture Range: f/2.8 to 32
  • 1:1 Magnification Ratio; Macro Close-Ups
  • Silent Wave Motor (SWM) AF System
  • Nikon VR Image Stabilization
  • One Extra-Low Dispersion Glass Element
  • Nano Crystal & Super Integrated Coating
  • Internal Focus; Manual Focus Override
  • Rounded 9-Blade Diaphragm

Our favorite Nikon macro lens is easily the Nikon 105mm f/2.8G VR Micro.

With a closest focusing distance of 1.0 ft (31cm) and Vibration Reduction, it’s much easier to get close up shots without a tripod, especially in low light situations. Sometimes you just want to go out without all that extra equipment and it helps knowing that at 105mm (which is a length where movement can easily cause blur) you can get sharp results even with slower shutter speeds.

The lens focuses internally which means it does not extend as you focus, so it’s a big plus if you’re working with bugs and insects. Quality wise, it’s got ED glass elements and nano-crystal coating to reduce flare and chromatic aberrations, although you can believe us that any macro lens is razor sharp and optically superb. If you don’t need VR you can check out the Tokina 100mm f/2.8.

2. Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 VC USD Lens

Product Highlights

  • Nikon F Mount/FX Format
  • Aperture Range: f/2.8 to f/32
  • VC Image Stabilization
  • 1:1 Max. Magnification, 11.8″ Min. Focus
  • One LD and Two XLD Glass Elements
  • eBAND, BBAR, and Fluorine Coatings
  • USD AF Motor, Full-Time Manual Focus
  • Rounded 9-Blade Diaphragm
  • Moisture-Resistant Construction
  • Compatible with TAP-in Console
  • Affordable price and high-quality design

For around $300 less, the Tamron 90mm f/2.8 DI VC USD also gives you excellent sharpness and Vibration Reduction.

It is slightly shorter and this makes it a little bit more appropriate for capturing more in the scene, as well as hand-held photography. It’s got the same closest focusing distance of 11.8″ (30cm),  3 Low Dispersion elements to improve the quality and an USD Motor (Ultrasonic Silent Drive) for fast focusing.

Offering true-life 1:1 magnification with excellent sharpness, VC Image Stabilization and outstanding optical performance at an affordable price, the lens is highly recommended. The focal length is perfect for anything you can think of; food, products, portraits, fashion, products, bugs etc.

3. Sigma 150mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM APO Macro Lens

Product Highlights

  • Macro Lens with 1:1 Magnification
  • Focuses to 15″
  • Optical Stabilization (OS) System
  • Maximum aperture of f/2.8
  • Hyper-Sonic Motor (HSM) for Fast, Quiet AF
  • Splash-proof
  • 3 SLD Elements Correct Aberrations
  • For Nikon SLR Cameras

Sigma 150mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM APO Macro lens is a super compact and lightweight large aperture telephoto lens, with life-size (1:1) macro capability. The macro optic has an ideal focal length and is equipped with Sigma technology including an Optical Stabilizer (OS), Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM) and Super Multi-Layer Coating. The HSM ensures accurate, quiet, high speed autofocusing while the OS compensates for camera shake. Sigma’s OS System (Optical Stabilization) allows handheld photography even in low-light situations. Ideal for close-up and macro shooting.

DX-Format Nikon Macro Lenses

4. Nikon AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G ED VR Lens

Product Highlights

  • F-Mount Lens/DX Format
  • 127.5mm (35mm Equivalent)
  • Aperture Range: f/3.5 to f/32
  • 1:1 Macro Capability
  • Nikon VR II Image Stabilization
  • 1 ED Element; Super Integrated Coating
  • Silent Wave Motor AF System
  • Internal Focus; Manual Focus Override
  • M/A Focus Mode Switch
  • Minimum Focus Distance: 11.3″

Optimized for DX-format cameras, the AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G ED VR delivers exceptional images, reproducing every detail in true-to-life brilliance thanks to a host of Nikon lens technologies. Silent Wave Motor (SWM) provides ultra-fast, ultra-quiet internal autofocusing from infinity to life-size (1:1 reproduction ratio).

SWM also allows for seamless manual focus override—key when shooting live subjects like insects or flowers. Extra-low Dispersion (ED) glass elements provide superior sharpness and color reproduction, and Super Integrated Coating (SIC) virtually eliminates ghosting and lens flare.

5. Nikon AF-S DX Micro-NIKKOR 40mm f/2.8G Lens

Product Highlights

  • F Mount Lens/DX Format
  • 60mm (35mm Equivalent)
  • Aperture Range: f/2.8 to 22
  • 1:1 Magnification Ratio; Macro Close-Ups
  • Super Integrated Coating
  • Silent Wave Motor AF System
  • Close-Range Correction System
  • Manual Focus Override
  • Minimum Focus Distance: 6.4″
  • Rounded 7-Blade Diaphragm

This macro lens is perfect if you’re not too serious about macro photography, but just want to shoot from time to time. That’s not to say you can’t use the Nikon 40mm f/2.8G Micro as your only lens of course, but it’s the price that makes is such a good deal.

For a macro lens, its focal length isn’t too long, which makes it better for product photography or even as a casual choice for outdoor activities. Forget the term macro and don’t the numbers limit your creativity.

If you’re into bugs, you might find it too short. A lot of bugs get frightened easily and you’ll have to get really close with the 40mm.

6. Nikon AF-S Micro-NIKKOR 60mm f/2.8G ED Lens

Product Highlights

  • F Mount Lens/FX Format
  • Aperture Range: f/2.8 to 32
  • 1:1 Magnification Ratio; Macro Close-Ups
  • One ED Glass and Two Aspherical Elements
  • Nano Crystal & Super Integrated Coating
  • Silent Wave Motor AF System
  • Internal Focus; Manual Focus Override
  • Minimum Focus Distance: 7.3″
  • Filter Diameter: 62mm
  • Rounded 9-Blade Diaphragm

The Nikon 60mm f/2.8G ED Micro works on both FX and DX models unlike the 40mm above, so if you already own or plan on upgrading to FX in the future, keep this in mind.

With a slightly longer focal length it’s much more appropriate for photographing live subjects (bugs, insects) without scaring them away, and it’s also great for product photography. On DX cameras its field of view is actually equivalent to a 90mm lens!

The image quality and colors are both excellent, and if you’re wondering about more in depth features; closest focusing distance is 8 inches, it weighs 0.93 pounds and has a 62mm filter size. For improved quality there’s also Nano Crystal and Super Integrated coatings.