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

March 8, 2010
By Dan Havlik

PRod Reviews Nikon DX Macro

Nikon’s DX Micro 85mm f/3.5G VR is a good quality close-up lens for budget-minded photographers.
It's easy to become a bit spoiled while reviewing products for PDN. Case in point, take the other two reviews in this section—a $5,000 digital SLR and a $5,000+ lighting system. And those aren't even near the top of the luxury list of gear that passes through my office on a regular basis.

I'm not trying to brag especially when you consider I'm only able to hang onto these test products for a week or two at a time before shipping them back to the manufacturers. ("Hello, I must be going.") So when something arrives here that I could actually conceivably afford to buy on my, ahem, meager freelance journalist's salary, it presents an interesting dilemma.

Do I review this product on a "curve" or do I compare it to similar products two to three times its price? Such was my predicament while checking out the new Nikon AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G ED VR lens. If you're not familiar with the Nikon nomenclature, this "Micro" is a Macro lens for capturing close-up images of minute subject matter such as insects, small animals, and flowers. It also retails for a relatively microscopic price of $500.

Compare that to the $2,500 Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II lens I reviewed in January or even the $889 Micro NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8, and the new 85mm Micro looks like a great piece of glass for the Great Recession.

While reviewing it however, I couldn't help but match it up against another low-priced Macro lens I looked at last year, Tamron's 60mm f/2.0 Macro Lens, which we picked as "Lens of the Year" for 2009 and is currently retailing for as low as $539.

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