Nikon Mirrorless Macro (Micro) Lenses Announced | Nikkor Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S and MC 50mm f/2.8
So, Nikon announced two full-frame mirrorless macro lenses today, and they are the two most popular focal lengths for macro lenses. The classic 105mm f/2.8, and the super-compact, lightweight 50mm f/2.8.
Both lenses reach full 1:1 reproduction, and the 105mm has VR stabilization. (However, as far as I know this won’t work in conjunction with Nikon’s sensor-based stabilization.)
Both lenses are significantly lighter and smaller than their Nikon F-mount DSLR ancestors. Which reminds me; yes, apparently the Nikkor MC 50mm f/2.8 is intended to be an equivalent to Nikon’s 60mm micro Nikkor, for those who are wondering.
You may also notice that the 105mm lens is an S-line lens, which means it is one of their top-tier lenses, while the 50mm lens has no “S” in its name. In speaking with Nikon directly about this, I was assured that the 105mm has received the “S” because it is truly above and beyond all previous micro-nikkor lenses in terms of its image quality, as well as its Nikon mirrorless Z-mount features. (More on that in a minute!) The Nikon 50mm f/2.8 MC, on the other hand, I am still assured will deliver very impressive image quality, even though it lacks some of the additional features and a few of the fancier optical tricks.
Indeed, the Nikon Z 105mm f/2.8 Macro (Micro! More on that later) has virtually all the optical bells and whistles that Nikon technology can offer. In terms of (glass) moving parts, it has both VR stabilization and a twin-motor AF system, which should combine to produce extremely sharp results in terms of steadiness and focus. In terms of the glass elements themselves, Nikon has aspherical elements, and basically every coating they’ve ever come up with, from the ED and Nano Crystal coatings to Fluorine, ARNEO, and Super Integrated coatings. Apparently, even with the aperture wide-open, we will see a virtually flawless image quality. (I can’t wait to review this thing!)
Lastly, the Nikon 105mm f/2.8 has an LCD display, like some of the other flagship Nikkor lenses, and in this case, not only can it display focus distance, or aperture, but also your reproduction ratio (magnification) when shooting up-close!
Oh, and neither lens will be an investment that breaks the bank, with the flagship 105mm costing $999, and the respectable 50mm costing just $649. Both lenses will become available later this month!
Press Release | Nikkor Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S
The Powerful NIKKOR Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S and the Compact NIKKOR Z MC 50mm f/2.8 Lenses Add Creative Versatility to the Expanding NIKKOR Z Lineup; Nikon also Announces Upcoming Release of Compact Primes in 2021
MELVILLE, NY (June 2, 2021) – Today, Nikon Inc. announced the NIKKOR Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S and NIKKOR Z MC 50mm f/2.8, the latest additions to the rapidly growing NIKKOR Z lens lineup for Nikon’s high-performance Z series mirrorless cameras. The premium NIKKOR Z MC 105mm and the compact NIKKOR Z MC 50mm are the first NIKKOR Z lenses to feature a 1:1 reproduction ratio, allowing users to get close to their subjects and fill the frame with edge-to-edge sharpness and incredible details. Whether photographing subtle intricacies of wildlife, wedding details, food and jewelry or capturing striking portraits with gorgeous bokeh, these new macro lenses deliver a fantastic combination of versatility and precision.
“As the first native micro NIKKOR Z lenses, the NIKKOR Z MC 105mm and NIKKOR Z MC 50mm strengthen our expanding Z series lineup, adding yet another category of powerful optics,” said Jay Vannatter, Executive Vice President, Nikon Inc. “Together, both lenses represent a new category for the NIKKOR Z lineup, yet each have their own personalities and advantages that creators are bound to love.”
These new NIKKOR Z lenses benefit from the Nikon Z mount, which features a large diameter and short flange focal distance to deliver superior optical performance and abundant light-gathering abilities. The lenses render sharp images from edge-to-edge, suppress chromatic aberrations across the focusing range and virtually eliminate color bleeding and fringing typical of macro lenses. Users of either new lens can also take advantage of the focus peaking feature in the Z series cameras to easily acquire and maintain manual focus for macro shots with incredible depth of field.
NIKKOR Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S: Hidden Worlds Revealed
The NIKKOR Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S is a high-quality S-line lens engineered for a wide array of shooting styles and designed to deliver intense sharpness and beautiful bokeh. The lens’ 1:1 reproduction ratio resolves details missed by the human eye and can reproduce subjects at life size. With a versatile mid-telephoto focal length and fast f/2.8 maximum aperture, the NIKKOR Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S provides the benefits of two lenses in one, with the ability to capture elaborate details as well as striking portraits.
Constructed with an optical formula designed for macro photography, the NIKKOR Z MC 105mm features a larger rear aspherical lens element to reduce field curvature from infinity to close-up. Additionally, the lens’ short minimum focusing distance of 0.96 feet (0.29m) allows for sharp images with a heavily blurred background, drawing in the viewers’ attention and adding scale when photographing small details.
The NIKKOR Z MC 105mm’s Multi-Focus STM system affords consistently smooth, silent and accurate focus due to the customized autofocus algorithm, which accounts for minute distance changes that alter the effective aperture. The lens also includes a limiter switch to reduce the working range to a maximum of 1.6 feet (0.5m), in order to acquire focus efficiently and quickly. Furthermore, with a near-silent AF performance, the lens allows users to capture high-quality still images and videos without disturbing small creatures in the field.
Equipped with 4.52 stops of Vibration Reduction, the NIKKOR Z MC 105mm makes it easy to shoot handheld and allows users to confidently capture tack-sharp images or videos of products, food or animals. The lens is also compatible with the in-body stabilization feature in the full-frame Z series mirrorless cameras, providing 5-axis VR.
As part of the premium S-line, the NIKKOR Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S includes NANO Crystal and ARNEO Coatings to limit flare and ghosting effects, even with backlighting. This new lens combines useful controls, including a manual focus ring, lens function shortcut button, control ring and lens info panel with robust weather sealing for truly reliable performance in adverse conditions.
Professional commercial photographer and Nikon Ambassador Joey Terrill was tasked with evaluating the new lens and capturing content prior to its public release. He was thoroughly impressed with its performance, stating, “The NIKKOR Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S is unquestionably the most exceptional lens I’ve ever used. The clarity, color fidelity, and breathtaking sharpness are present in every image. Pictures feel textural and dimensional while maintaining stunning subject accuracy. It is the perfect match for the extraordinary resolution and expansive dynamic range of the Z camera sensors, and the nuance from tone to tone feels as pure as photography can be. It’s very likely this lens will be permanently affixed to my camera going forward.”
NIKKOR Z MC 50mm f/2.8: Wherever You Go, Get Closer
The NIKKOR Z MC 50mm f/2.8 is a small and lightweight micro lens designed for spontaneous street snapshots and capturing small details with stunning clarity. The lens sports a 1:1 reproduction ratio, and an extremely compact and lightweight design of merely 9.2 oz, making it a portable and comfortable option to carry around for all-day shooting.
With a natural 50mm focal length, the NIKKOR Z MC 50mm f/2.8 takes advantage of ambient light to deliver beautiful images with a wider field of view, which is ideal for photographing up-close scenes of food, flowers or everyday snapshots. The 0.53 ft (0.16m) minimum focusing distance enables users to get closer to the action and amplify the separation between the subject, background, and foreground. Meanwhile, the NIKKOR Z MC 50mm’s large f/2.8 aperture affords gorgeous bokeh, fast shutter speeds and superior flexibility for shooting handheld, especially when paired with full-frame Nikon Z series cameras that feature IBIS. Equipped with stepping motors (STM) and a focus limiter switch, the NIKKOR Z MC 50mm delivers fast and reliable autofocus when shooting photos or videos in the field, such as capturing butterflies or the petals of a flower blowing in the wind.
The NIKKOR Z MC 50mm f/2.8 sports a modern design with a variety of intuitive controls, including a lens barrel that integrates helpful visual indicators for focus distance and reproduction ratio. The lens also features a focus limiter switch to limit the AF search range for effortless capture, while the control ring can be assigned to a variety of functions. The lens is augmented with a fluorine-coated front element to resist dirt and smudges, as well as a dust and drip resistant build for rugged reliability, making it an ideal travel lens to take everywhere.
Furthermore, the NIKKOR Z MC 50mm is compatible with the ES-2 film digitizing adapter set, which can be screwed onto the front of the lens for digitizing 35mm film, expanding the creativity possibilities of the lens.
Development of Lightweight and Compact Prime Lenses
The NIKKOR Z lineup continues to expand at an unprecedented pace, with an evolving roadmap that includes a wide variety of planned lenses. To address consumer requests for small, sharp, high-quality prime lenses, Nikon is excited to announce the development of the NIKKOR Z 28mm f/2.8 and NIKKOR Z 40mm f/2, two compact and lightweight FX-format lenses. These lenses are scheduled for release within 2021.
The NIKKOR Z 28mm f/2.8 will be a wide-angle prime lens ideal for everyday snapshots and street photography, while the NIKKOR Z 40mm f/2 will allow users to enjoy a natural field of view and dramatic bokeh. Both primes are small, simple to use and great companions for both full-frame and DX-format Z series users.
Pricing and Availability
The NIKKOR Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S and NIKKOR Z MC 50mm f/2.8 will be available in late June 2021 for suggested retail prices (SRP) of $999.95 and $649.95, respectively. For more information about the latest Nikon products, including the new NIKKOR lenses and the entire Nikon Z series, please visit www.nikonusa.com.
Why Does Nikon Say “Micro” Nikkor Instead of “Macro”?
Although Nikon has gone with just “MC” in the official name of the lens, I noticed immediately that they do still use the word “micro” in their press info, which is something Nikon has always done for their F-mount SLR lenses that achieve up to a 1:1 reproduction ratio.
Finally, I was able to ask Nikon themselves and get an official answer, and it confirms what I always argued, but nobody else ever believed me.
In case you didn’t know, “macro” means large, and “micro” means small. Nikon decided to use the word “micro” to describe their lenses because, merely reach 1:1 reproduction, but do not actually “magnify” a small subject to be larger than it actually is.
In other words, 1:1 reproduction (or 1.0X “magnification”) means life-size, which is, technically speaking, not actually “magnified” at all. So, you’re photographing small things, but you’re not making them any bigger than they actually are, at least on your image sensor, that is.
So, now you know. Although everybody calls all close-up lenses “macro” lenses, they probably shouldn’t, because they’re not actually magnifying a subject to be larger than life. (Well, that’s not exactly true, there are one or two lenses on the market that actually magnify a subject, but such lenses are extremely rare!)
Either way, we are extremely excited to get our hands on these new Nikon full-frame mirrorless Z-mount lenses, both the macro (I mean micro!) lenses as well as the 28mm and 40mm ultra-compact lenses too! Stay tuned for in-depth reviews coming soon.