This is a guide covering the best macro lenses for Nikon.
In this all-new guide you’ll learn about:
- Best overall macro lens for Nikon
- Best budget macro lens for Nikon
- Pros and cons
- Important features
- And more
Let’s dive in.
10 Best Macro Lenses for Nikon
Click/tap on each lens name to jump to that section. At the end of each section, there is also a link to jump back to this table to make it easy for you!
In a hurry? Check out our top pick!
Nikon is arguably the best when it comes to macro photography. The company has produced some of the best macro lenses that come in both zoom and prime lens versions.
For someone who is only starting macro photography, the best macro lenses for Nikon can be intimidating.
In this guide, you will have an idea not only about the best lens for a starting photographer with a small budget, you will also know the best Nikon macro lens for insects and other small objects.
|1. AF-S FX NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E|
BEST ALL-AROUND LENS
|– Sharp results|
– Great bokeh
– Superior colors
– Great for low-light conditions
– Quiet and fast to focus
|2. AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G|
BEST BUDGET LENS
|– Versatile lens|
– Great bokeh
– Can easily switch between AF and MF
– Wide aperture
|3. AF FX NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8D||– Superb colors|
– Easy to use even in low-light conditions
– Sharp results
|4. AF-S FX Micro-NIKKOR 60mm f/2.8G ||– The minimum focus distance in 8 inches|
– Easier to use than a 50mm prime lens
– With silent wave motor
– Great colors
– Sharp results
|5. AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G ||– With vibration reduction|
– Easy to use shooting small subjects
– Great realistic color
– Sharp image
|6. AF-S VR Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8G ||– Wide aperture|
– Sharp results
– Easy to use even without a tripod
|7. AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ||– Superb colors|
– Sharp images
– Great contrast
– With vibration reduction capability
– Great range
|8. AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ||– Great range|
– With vibration reduction
– Great quality shots
|9. AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3G ||– Great range|
– Vibrant colors
– With vibration reduction
|10. AF S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G ||– Accurate AF|
– Has the ability to shoot in low light situations
– Can produce great bokeh
What is the Best Nikon Macro Lens (Overall)?
1. AF-S FX NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E
The Nikon AF-S FX Nikkor 105mm F1.4E ED lens comes in as a favorite by many professional photographers.
Sharp results and stunning colors are some of the things that you can expect from this prime lens.
You also have the freedom to work from a distance as you shoot small details on your subject. It also comes in with a wide aperture allowing you to focus on one part of the subject and blur the rest.
If you are a serious photographer, this is something that you shouldn’t miss out on. Fast to focus, great colors, and superb bokeh, these are enough reasons to go for this lens.
You’d expect that it comes with a vibration reduction feature. If you have shaky hands, you might find yourself having a problem with this lens.
What is the Best Budget Nikon Macro Lens?
2. AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G
If you are on a budget, then you might want to consider the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm F1.8G lens.
This is a highly versatile lens. It comes as a good pick for those who love to shoot portraits, landscapes (check out the list of best Nikon lenses for landscape photography), and macro photography isn’t an exception.
It comes with a wide aperture that allows you to shoot even if you only have limited lighting. Also, you can get to create wonderful bokeh as you remove the background and just focus on the subject.
You can easily switch back and forth between using MF and AF without any worries. And for its AF, it makes use of a quiet and highly responsive silent wave motor.
Unfortunately, if you’ve tried other lenses, you might find the AF to be a bit slow.
You get an all-around lens that can also work as a macro lens. But like what we mentioned earlier, 50mm lenses make you shoot close.
This means that you also have to think of your lighting. It is possible to be casting a shadow over your subject ruining the results that you want to achieve.
3. AF FX NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8D
Another good pick for macro photography is the Nikon AF FX Nikkor 50mm F1.8D lens.
What makes it different from the earlier 50mm lens we’ve featured is the fact that the autofocus is not supported in some Nikon cameras such as the D3000 or the D5000 series.
If you love shooting macro photography using the manual focus ring, then this won’t be an issue at all.
But if you are using a camera that allows you to use its AF motor, you can easily track the subject. You get to use a silent wave motor known for its quiet performance.
It produces superb results. You can get great colors from the camera when you have this lens. Plus, just like any 50mm F1.8 prime lens, it can be used to accentuate parts of the product or the subject you are shooting.
It can blur the background well plus it can also be used even if you are dealing with limited lighting.
4. AF-S FX Micro-NIKKOR 60mm f/2.8G
The Nikon AF-S FX Micro Nikkor 60mm F2.8G macro lens is not something that’s commonly used by different photographers.
However, it provides an in-between for those who like 50mm and 85mm lenses. For many reasons, you can consider this as one of the best macro lenses for Nikon considering the color and the quality of the shots that you get.
It is known for producing sharp results and great contrast. Plus, it offers you the chance to shoot farther compared to using a 50mm lens.
The minimum focus distance is 8 inches.
The AF for this lens is also fast and quiet thanks to the silent wave motor. Some love to use this lens when they are shooting small insects that are moving.
The biggest downside to this lens is that you will need to be using a tripod.
5. AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G
An 85mm lens is a favorite by pros when it comes to shooting macro photographs.
Their reason is that they get to find the right distance. They get to enjoy the best in a 50mm lens and a 100mm lens.
The Nikon AF-S DX Micro Nikkor 85mm f3.5G ED lens is one of the best macro lenses for Nikon as far as not wasting shots is concerned.
It comes with a vibration reduction capability that makes it easier to shot insects and small subjects when you don’t have a tripod.
The colors are also great and realistic not to mention it produces sharp results. The only thing that you might not like about this lens is that you need to have a good amount of light for this to work well.
6. AF-S VR Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8G
The Nikon AF-S VR Micro Nikkor 105mm F2.8 IF-ED lens is not only one of the best macro lenses for Nikon but arguably the most popular for those who are serious about shooting macro photography and sports photography.
It is easy to use even if you don’t have a tripod. Plus, you get all the things that you expect from one of the best macro lenses for Nikon. It comes provides users with realistic results, great contrast, and superior sharpness.
And lastly, you get to enjoy a wide aperture.
The biggest drawback is that you will have to deal with slow focus. Other than that, it’s a great lens to have in your bag.
7. AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G
Prime lenses can be big investments. And sometimes, you also don’t want to be switching lenses every time you are shooting in a studio.
The Nikkor 18-105mm F3.5-5.6G ED VR Zoom Lens is a perfect solution to this problem. What makes it one of the best macro lenses for Nikon is the fact that it comes with a good range.
You get a wide-angle lens to a macro lens all wrapped in one package. And if you are someone who is trying to save some cash, this might be the way to do it. It is also easy to use as it comes with a vibration reduction capability.
It also produces great results—great contrast, colors, and sharp images.
Unfortunately, the only thing that you might not like about this is that it doesn’t give you a good aperture to work within low-light scenarios.
8. AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G
Another great pick for those who don’t have the money to buy all the prime lenses in the market is the Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-140mm F3.5-5.6G ED Vibration Reduction Zoom Lens.
The lens might be a bit short when it comes to its aperture, but it usually gets the job done when you are using strobes in a studio setting or when you are shooting in daylight.
Other than that, you will get superior results for non-moving objects. If you are shooting moving subjects, its focus is not exactly too great as well.
However, it comes with vibration reduction capability that helps lessen the shaky results.
9. AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3G
The Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-300mm F3.5-6.3G ED Vibration Reduction Zoom Lens is another great pick for those who are looking to shoot the smallest details in a subject.
It is one of the best macro lenses for Nikon as far as range is concerned. It is also easy to use even when you are shooting without a tripod.
It has a vibration reduction feature that lessens the number of wasted shots. Plus, the quality of the shots that you get is something that can satisfy even the pros. The colors are realistic and vibrant.
Unfortunately, other users find the results to be a bit soft. Plus, you will need to have the right amount of lighting if you want this lens to work for you.
Overall, you can still say that it is one of the best macro lenses for Nikon.
Though it comes with a few issues, it is still something that novice photographers can appreciate.
10. AF S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G
A Nikon AF S NIKKOR 85mm F1.8 lens might be the right combination of wide aperture, vibrant colors, and a good range for shooting macro photography.
This is the ideal lens if you have the money to invest in prime lenses. It comes with great bokeh plus it performs well in low light situations.
The silent wave motor also performs quietly as it finds the subject accurately.
However, the AF is a bit slow which can be a problem if you are shooting moving insects.
What Focal Length is Best for Macro?
For starters, what’s the best focal length for macro photography? Ask different photographers and you’ll get different answers. However, if you want something that you can use easily, you can start with a 50mm prime lens. The next best choice for the best focal length is an 85mm and a 100mm lens.
What is the difference between a 50mm and 100mm macro lens?
Let’s say that you need to pick one between a 50mm and a 100mm macro lens. What makes you choose one from the other? For starters, you are made to shoot closer if you are going to use the 50mm prime lens. However, it also offers a wider perspective, which is something that can’t be done with a 100mm macro lens. If you are dealing with artificial lighting, this can be a problem because your hand or the lens may cast a shadow blocking the light. If you are looking for the best Nikon macro lens for insects, then you’d want to stick to a 100mm lens. This allows you to shoot closer even at a distance. It is easier to play around when it comes to lighting compared to using a 50mm lens.
Macro photography requires lenses that can accentuate the smallest details in a subject.
And given the number of lenses for Nikon, it might be a bit confusing for a lot of people.
With these options, you can compare which lenses make sense for your budget and your needs.
Compare at least 3 and evaluate the pros and cons.
Also, check out the full list of best Nikon lenses.
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Nate Joaquin Torres is a portrait photographer based in Southern California. As a photographer, Nate loves testing different photography styles and gear to expand his skill set. Outside of photography, Nate enjoys learning about new digital marketing strategy and new ways to think creatively. Nate is also the founder of Imaginated.com, DEEP IN THE MIX, and Blue Hour Candle. Connect with him on Instagram.