Photography - Nikon 105VR

Overview

I've heard so many great things about this lens - many internet forums are littered with posts about it... "It's a macro lens, with VR that can do double duties as a portrait lens, and is super sharp." So, when I had an opportunity to rent the lens for a weekend (for $25), and try it out, I couldn't pass it up.

Sharpness

There are no questions about the sharpness of this lens. Neither the 18-105VR, 70-300VR, nor the 35mm1.8 can touch this lens, in terms of sharpness. Razor sharp, would be the best way to describe it. This is a great thing for macro, but some may consider the lens "too sharp for portrait" - any imperfections on the subject will come through, and may need to be touched up in post.

Focusing and Other Notable Attributes

Auto focus speed is good, but not as great as I was expecting. As the lighting gets dimmer, I found the AF was hunting far more than I expected for a f/2.5 lens. With bright light, however, the focus speed is very fast (far better than the 18-105VR, 70-300VR, or the 35mm1.8). Not too sure what to say about the low light AF speed - might be a one-off issue, might be a actual characteristic of the lens, or you could chalk it up to an abused rental...

The variable aperture thing really threw me - the closer the subject is, the more the aperture goes up. You have to be quite far away from the subject to get to f/2.8. Otherwise, wide open is really more like f/3.5. Still, at 105mm, this is sufficient to isolate the subject in portraiture.

Handling and Use

The 105VR is a stumpy lens, and is surprisingly heavy for it's size.

The Vibration Reduction works well, though you wouldn't use it too much on true macro work - the depth of field is so narrow, you really HAVE to use a tripod. On close-up work, however, VR will come in handy, just as it will also benefit portrait work.

Sample Photos

Here are a few samples I have taken with this lens:

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Frosty the Snowman

Alexis Portrait2