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Best Macro Lens for Nikon [2021 Review]

In: 
Published: 07/07/2021

As a professional real estate photographer, every detail counts. Everyone wants that perfect shot that tells the whole story. The first step to achieving that is a high-quality camera. After that, the right lens makes all the difference. Equipping yourself with the best macro lens for Nikon will help you capture these moments perfectly.

Our Top Macro Lens for Nikon Reviews

Identifying the best macro lens for Nikon may be challenging due to the many options on the market. Fortunately, the review below focuses on the Nikon macro lens that will suit your needs best.

Brand
Best Overall
Nikon AF-S 105mm f/2.8
Best for the Money
Venus Laowa 15mm f/4
Best Cheap Pick
Nikon 55mm f/2.8
Product
Nikon AF-S VR Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED Lens
Venus Laowa 15mm f/4 Wide Angle 1:1 Macro Lens...
Nikon 55mm f/2.8 Micro Nikkor Lens AIS IMP
Lens Type
Telephoto
Macro
Macro
Maximum Focal Length
105mm
15mm
55mm
Rating
-
Best Overall
Brand
Nikon AF-S 105mm f/2.8
Product
Nikon AF-S VR Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED Lens
Lens Type
Telephoto
Maximum Focal Length
105mm
Rating
Price
Best for the Money
Brand
Venus Laowa 15mm f/4
Product
Venus Laowa 15mm f/4 Wide Angle 1:1 Macro Lens...
Lens Type
Macro
Maximum Focal Length
15mm
Rating
-
Price
Best Cheap Pick
Brand
Nikon 55mm f/2.8
Product
Nikon 55mm f/2.8 Micro Nikkor Lens AIS IMP
Lens Type
Macro
Maximum Focal Length
55mm
Rating
Price

Here are the features we will compare in these reviews:

Product Magnification Minimum Focus Distance (Inches) Weight (Pounds)
Nikon AF-S 105mm f/2.81:1121.74
Venus Laowa15mm f/41:14.722.53
Nikon 55mm f/2.81:29.840.6
Sigma 18-300mm f/3.5-6.31:315.361.29
Tokina ATX-I 100mm f/2.81:111.812.53
Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-41:2.88.71.05
Rokinon 100mm f/2.81:112.121.6

Best Overall Macro Lens for Nikon: Nikon AF-S 105mm f/2.8

The Nikon AF-S 105mm f/2.8 is a contemporary short-telephoto macro lens that excels in its minimum focusing distance of one inch, better than the 9.8 inches in the Nikon AF-S 55mm f/2.8.  

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

The optical design consists of an extra-low dispersion element that helps reduce the chromatic aberrations, enhancing color accuracy and image clarity. It features Super Integrated and Nano Crystal coating to suppress ghosting and flare, achieving greater contrast when working in backlit and bright lighting conditions. 

It employs a Silent Wave Motor for an enhanced autofocusing experience suitable for both real estate videography and photography. Besides, it features a full-time manual override to allow you to fine-tune your focusing manually by turning the manual focus ring. 

Manual focus is specifically important when shooting camera-sensitive subjects that shy away from the slightest noise. On top of that, it features an internal focusing design which ensures only the focus elements internally move while maintaining the overall lens's length. 

It weighs 1.74 pounds, 1.14 pounds heavier than Nikon AF-S 55mm f/2.8, making it unsuitable for carrying around during long property shoots. 

Also, it comes with a vibration reduction image stabilization system which helps reduce the camera shake effects by around three shutter speed steps. This allows you to shoot more sharp images. 

The maximum wide aperture of f/2.8 works well in a wide range of lighting conditions. In return, this provides you with better control over the depth of field for use with selective techniques and isolating subjects. 

It also features a nine-blade aperture diaphragm which promotes an impressive out-of-focus quality, further benefiting selective focus techniques and the bokeh quality.

Pros

  • It has the smallest minimum focus distance on our list.
  • The autofocus is silent, ideal for real estate videography.
  • It achieves a life-size magnification, excellent for small subjects.

Cons

  • It's heavier than Nikon 55mm f/2.8, making it unsuitable for carrying.
  • It produces lower quality bokeh than Venus Laowa 15mm f/4
Nikon AF-S VR Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED Lens
  • Designed for close-up and macro photography; versatile enough for virtually any photographic...
  • Maximum Angle of View (FX-format): 23°20'.Features new VR II vibration reduction technology, Focal...
  • Nano-Crystal coat and ED glass elements that enhance overall image quality by further reducing flare...

Best Nikon Macro Lens for the Money: Venus Laowa 15mm f/4

The Venus Laowa 15mm f/4 comes with a life-size magnification of 1:1, an excellent option for photographers in wide-angle macro photography. Unlike the Nikon 55mm f/2.8, the optical construction includes 12 elements arranged in nine groups, consisting of one low dispersion element and three high refractive elements. 

Venus Laowa 15mm f/4 Wide Angle 1:1 Macro Lens...

Although distortions are a major issue in wide-angle lenses, these elements reduce both chromatic and spherical aberrations, enhancing the image clarity and sharpness. It also features a multilayer reflective coating to minimize ghosting and flare, enhancing image quality even when capturing in strong lighting circumstances. 

The Venus Laowa 15mm f/4 comes with a 14-blade aperture diaphragm which helps produce the best bokeh on our list. However; unlike the Nikon AF-S 105mm f/2.8, it comes with a manual focus only, which may not be suitable if you want a fast and effortless focus performance. 

Although the manual focus is seen as a downside to many, it allows fine-tuning your focus for better image clarity and sharpness. Also, the manual focus is noise-free and will work well if you like to shoot videos, too. 

When working with a full-frame camera, this lens offers an ultra-wide perspective. This allows you to get close to your subject to a 4.7 inches minimum focus distance, as well as capture the subject background enhancing scene detailing. 

Besides, even when you reach the minimum working distance of 0.2 inches, the internal focusing design ensures you don't scare the subject. This is because it helps maintain the overall length of the lens. 

To enhance your scene, the Venus Laowa 15mm f/4 comes with a flat front element that offers room for a filter thread, allowing you to use specialized filters.

Pros

  • It allows wide-angle usage in macro photography.
  • It produces the best quality bokeh on our list.
  • It has the highest number of elements for suppressing distortions in our list.

Cons

  • The manual focus may inconvenience you if you want a fast and smooth focus.
  • It's the heaviest on our list, making it hard to carry around.
Venus Laowa 15mm f/4 Wide Angle 1:1 Macro Lens...
  • Venus Laowa 15mm f/4 Wide Angle 1:1 Macro Lens - Front & Rear Lens Cap - Venus 3 Year Warranty -...
  • Full Frame Sensor Supported
  • Multi-layer low-reflective coatings to avoid unnecessary flare

Best Cheap Macro Lens for Nikon: Nikon 55mm f/2.8

The Nikon 55mm f/2.8 is a normal-length prime ideal for close range, making it suitable for a range of subjects such as product, real estate, and portraiture photography. 

Nikon 55mm f/2.8 Micro Nikkor Lens AIS IMP

It features a minimum focusing distance of 9.8 inches and a maximum magnification of 1:2, which falls short of the life-size magnification in Nikon AF-S 105mm f/2.8. This magnification works well in macro photography, especially when shooting nearby subjects such as items in a home. 

However, if you want to further improve the magnification, it's compatible with the PK-13 optional Auto Extension Ring. This helps reduce the minimum focusing distance to 8.9 inches and increase the magnification to life-size 1:1, like the Nikon AF-S 105mm f/2.8. 

Also, it comes with a maximum wide aperture of f/2.8, allowing shooting in a variety of lighting conditions. Besides, this bright aperture enhances the use of selective focus techniques and shallow depth of field. 

The Nikon 55mm f/2.8 comes with a manual focus design which allows you to focus precisely for enhanced image sharpness. However, the manual focus may be inconvenient if you want a fast and smooth focusing experience like that of Nikon AF-S 105mm f/2.8. 

In case your plan is to shoot camera-sensitive subjects such as insects or birds in a property, manual focus is the most ideal as it's noise-free. To further enhance the focusing experience, the manual focus design is enhanced by engraving depth of field and focus distance scales. 

Also, the optical design incorporates a Range Correction functionality which helps retain consistent picture sharpness and quality throughout the focusing distance, from the minimum to infinity. It weighs 0.6 pounds, an ideal weight to carry around and use for an extended period without exhaustion or your wrists hurting. 

Pros

  • The aperture is ideal for low-light shooting.
  • It's the most lightweight on our list, suitable for carrying.

Cons

  • The manual focus is not convenient for fast focusing.
  • The minimum focusing distance is not suitable for nearby subjects.
Sale
Nikon 55mm f/2.8 Micro Nikkor Lens AIS IMP
  • Focal length: 55 mm
  • Filter size: 52 mm
  • Weight: 10.2 oz

Best Versatile Macro Lens for Nikon: Sigma 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3

The Sigma 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3 ranges from a wide-angle to super-telephoto, all-in-one zoom with a sleek design, making it flexible and versatile. 

Sigma 886306 18-300mm F3.5-6.3 Contemporary DC...

As a contemporary-series lens, it's more compact than the Nikon AF-S 105mm f/2.8, making it convenient for everyday real estate photography needs. Its optical design consists of aspherical and low dispersion elements that help suppress the spherical and chromatic aberrations to enhance the image quality. 

The Sigma 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3 comes with a Super Multi-Layer Coating that helps reduce the ghosting and flare. This enhances color accuracy and contrast even when working in strong lighting conditions. 

Although its maximum magnification of 1:3 is less impressive than life-size 1:1 in Nikon AF-S 55mm f/2.8, the minimum focus distance of 1.3 inches is more appealing for close up capturing. 

It features a Hyper Sonic Motor, which enhances smooth and fast autofocusing performance. It also comes with a full-time manual focus override which allows you to shoot camera-sensitive subjects as well as fine-tune your focusing by rotating the focus ring. 

Although it comes with a seven-blade aperture diaphragm which is less appealing than a 14-blade aperture diaphragm in Venus Laowa 15mm f/4, it produces an impressive bokeh and enhances the use of selective focus techniques. 

The optical design boasts of an Optical Stabilizer, which helps reduce the camera shake effect, enhancing image sharpness even when capturing handheld. Additionally, it's Sigma USB Dock compatible, allowing you to update the lens's firmware as well as fine-tune its characteristics. 

It comes with a zoom lock, which helps prevent unwanted or accidental zoom adjustments, allowing you to shoot scenes more confidently.

Pros

  • It has an excellent zoom range
  • It suppresses optical distortions considerably with the optical elements.
  • It comes with a zoom lock to prevent accidental zooming.

Cons

  • It has the lowest magnification on our list 
  • Although compact, it's heavier than the Nikon AF-S 55mm f/2.8
Sale
Sigma 886306 18-300mm F3.5-6.3 Contemporary DC...
  • Maximum Aperture Range: f/3.5-6.3
  • Focal Length : 18-300 mm, Minimum focusing distance -39cm/15.3 inch
  • One SLD and Four FLD Elements, Super Multi-Layer Coating

Best Autofocusing Macro Lens for Nikon: Tokina ATX-I 100mm f/2.8

The Tokina ATX-I 100mm f/2.8 features a unique flat-field optical design which makes it yield realistic rendering without the field curvature. Also, this flat-field design enhances clarity and sharpness over the entire focusing range. 

Tokina ATX-i 100mm F/2.8 FF Macro Lens for Nikon F...

Although it comes with a maximum magnification of 1:1, like the Nikon AF-S 105mm f/2.8, the minimum focusing distance of 11.8 inches is not very appealing. It features an autofocus functionality that facilitates a fast and smooth focusing experience. 

It also features the noise-free manual override, making it ideal for real estate videography. A One-Touch Focus Clutch Mechanism to help you switch between manual and autofocus settings by pulling or pushing the focus ring. This makes the process quicker and effortless than in Nikon AF-S 55mm f/2.8. 

In case you are using the manual focus mode, the focusing is impressively smooth and responsive, thanks to the hard stops at the focusing range end. Besides, it uses a focus range limiter, further enhancing focusing, especially on closeup distances. 

Typically, the range limiter switch helps lock the focusing to macro, enhancing faster focusing without unnecessarily autofocus hunting. As the extended lens barrel doesn't rotate, it maintains its ability to work with graduated and polarizing filter types. 

It comes with a Multilayered coating on its elements to suppress ghosting and flare, as well as improve the contrast and color fidelity. 

It features a nine-blade aperture diaphragm that helps produce a better quality bokeh than Sigma 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3. It weighs 2.53 pounds, which is less impressive to shoot for an extended time or carry around as it may hurt your wrists.

Pros

  • The rendering is realistic without field curvature.
  • It offers a swift switch between autofocus and manual focus
  • It comes with a focus range limiter to enhance closeup focusing.

Cons

  • It's the heaviest on our list, unsuitable for carrying.
  • It has the largest minimum focus distance, unsuitable for nearby subjects.
Tokina ATX-i 100mm F/2.8 FF Macro Lens for Nikon F...
  • atx-i 100mm F/2.8 FF MACRO Lens - BH-551 Hood - Front Lens Cap - Rear Lens Cap - Instruction Manual...
  • Focal Distance: 3.93" (100mm)
  • Maximum Aperture: f/2.8

Best Zoom Macro Lens for Nikon: Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4

As a Contemporary-series lens, the Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4 features a sophisticated design with a useful zoom range, complemented by its lightweight and compact profile. 

Sigma Contemporary 17-70mm F2.8-4 DC Macro OS HSM...

The bright aperture range of f/2.8-4 pairs a short-telephoto zoom range to a wide-angle, making it ideal for everyday real estate photography needs. 

However, this zoom supports a minimum focusing distance of 8.7 inches and a maximum magnification of 1:2.8, which is less impressive than Venus Laowa 15mm f/4. It comes with a Hyper Sonic Motor, which provides a smooth and fast focusing experience. 

On top of that, the Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4 features a full-time manual override which allows you to fine-tune your focusing. You can also use the manual focusing in real estate videography or when shooting camera-sensitive subjects as it's noise-free. 

The optical construction consists of aspherical and low dispersion elements that help to suppress the distortions and color fringing to realize high image sharpness and clarity. 

Like the Sigma 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3, the elements also feature a Super Multi-Layer Coating. This helps reduce surface reflections and flare, improving the color accuracy and contrast even when shooting in strong lighting. 

It comes with a seven-blade aperture diaphragm which contributes to the good quality bokeh. Like the Sigma 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3, it comes with an Optical Stabilizer system which helps reduce the camera shaking effect to enhance the image sharpness. 

It is compatible with the USB optional Dock, allowing you to update the firmware and fine-tune the focusing attributes. It weighs 1.05 pounds, lightweight enough to carry around and shoot for extended periods.

Pros

  • It comes with an optical stabilizer system to reduce the camera shaking effect.
  • Unlike Venus Laowa 15mm f/4, the autofocus offers a better focusing experience.

Cons

  • It has the second-lowest magnification on our list.
  • The autofocus motors produce some noise, unlike Nikon AF-S 55mm f/2.8 motors.
Sigma Contemporary 17-70mm F2.8-4 DC Macro OS HSM...
  • 17-70mm focal length, 72mm filters
  • F2.8-4 maximum aperture; F22-22 minimum
  • Image stabilization, Compatible with Sigma's USB Dock

Best Low-light Macro Lens for Nikon: Rokinon 100mm f/2.8

The Rokinon 100mm f/2.8 comes with an excellent minimum focusing distance of one inch and a maximum magnification of 1:1. Typically, this makes it ideal for detailed shots of close subjects in low-light, similar to the Nikon AF-S 105mm f/2.8. 

Rokinon 100mm f/2.8 Macro Lens for Nikon F Mount,...

The optical design incorporates an extra-low dispersion element and one high refractive index element to suppress the chromatic distortions and aberrations over the focusing range, enhancing the image sharpness. 

However, unlike the Tokina ATX-i 100mm f/2.8, it comes with a manual focus only, which is unsuitable for fast and smooth focusing. Although the manual focus is slow, it's more realistic and offers precise focusing control. 

The manual focus is ideal for videography and shooting camera-shy subjects such as beautiful birds in a house, as it's noise-free. Besides, it features an internal focus design, allowing it to retain the overall length throughout the focus range, making it suitable for shooting camera-sensitive subjects at close-up. 

It features an Ultra Multi-Coating on the elements, which helps reduce ghosting and flare to improve color neutrality and contrast even when shooting in bright or backlit conditions. 

Unlike the Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4, it comes with a nine-blade aperture diaphragm which helps produce a high-quality bokeh as well as enhance the use of shallow depth of field and selective focus techniques. 

When focusing, the front filter mount doesn't rotate, allowing you to use graduated ND, polarizers, and other filters that need precise positioning. It weighs 1.6 pounds, one pound heavier than Nikon 55mm f/2.8, making it unsuitable for carrying around. 

Pros

  • Like the Nikon AF-S 105mm f/2.8, the minimum focusing distance is impressive.
  • The Ultra Multi-coating helps improve color neutrality even when shooting in backlit conditions.
  • The wide aperture performs well in low-light circumstances.

Cons

  • It's almost thrice heavier than Nikon AF-S 55mm f/2.8, making it unsuitable for carrying.
  • It has no optical stabilization to reduce the camera shake effect
Rokinon 100mm f/2.8 Macro Lens for Nikon F Mount,...
  • Rokinon 100mm f/2.8 Macro Lens, F Mount Lens/FX Format, Aperture Range: f/2.8 to f/32, One High...
  • One high refractive index element and one extra-low dispersion element help to control chromatic...
  • Featuring a macro design, this lens affords a 1:1 maximum magnification ratio along with a minimum...
Hand adjusting the macro lens in a Nikon camera

Conclusion

Keeping in mind the varying features and qualities of the macro lens for Nikon, knowing how to identify the right one is paramount. Although the best one mainly depends on your photography goals, you can't go wrong with any option from the above list.

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