Nikon Announces Its First Z-Series Macro Lenses: a 50mm and 105mm
The newest Z-series lenses were announced today: a 50mm f/2.8 and 105mm f/2.8 lens, both of which are capable of 1:1 magnification macro photography. The lenses will cost $650 and $1000 respectively, and Nikon says they’ll ship by late June. Let’s take a look at them below.
Nikon Z MC 50mm f/2.8
At $650, the cheaper of the two macro lenses is a 50mm f/2.8. Nikon did not designate this as an “S-class” lens, which means it’s in the company of the Nikon Z 24-50mm f/4-6.3 and 24-200mm f/4-6.3 lenses (plus all the Z-series DX lenses so far). However, as a prime lens, we can expect it to outperform either of those zooms.
This is actually quite a tiny lens, weighing just 260 grams (0.57 lbs) and measuring only a bit longer than the two pancake primes (the development of which was also announced today). It has a minuscule filter thread diameter of just 46 mm. I can see this being a popular choice for photographers who want a portable, versatile midrange lens to complement the rest of their mirrorless kit.
You’ll notice that this lens (along with the Z 105mm) is the first that Nikon has ever released with the “MC” acronym in the lens name. This acronym just indicates that it’s a macro lens and has no other special significance. Not visible in the photo above is that the lens also has a focus limiter switch on the side, which allows you to limit autofocus to 0.3 meters (about a foot) and closer. Also, when focusing closely, the front barrel of the 50mm f/2.8 lens extends, and a focus distance scale / magnification scale is visible:
Although the MC 50mm f/2.8 can reach 1:1 or life-size magnification, a focal length of 50mm isn’t ideal for extreme close-up work. Specifically, it won’t have as much working distance as a telephoto macro lens, so you’ll have to get pretty close to your subject. This can block the light or potentially scare away whatever you’re photographing. Considering this, dedicated macro photographers are more likely to have their eye on the MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S instead.
Mount Type: Nikon Z Mount Focal Length: 50mm Maximum Aperture: f/2.8 Minimum Aperture: f/22 Format: FX Maximum Angle of View (DX format): 31°30′ Maximum Angle of View (FX format): 47° Maximum Reproduction Ratio: 1x Lens Elements: 10 Lens Groups: 7 VR (Vibration Reduction): No Diaphragm Blades: 9 ED Glass Elements: 1 Aspherical Elements: 1 Fluorine Coat: Yes AF Actuator: STM (stepping motor) Internal Focusing: No Minimum Focus Distance: 0.53 ft (0.16m) from focal plane Focus limit switch positions: FULL (∞ to 0.1m) and 0.3m to 0.16m Filter Size: 46mm Dimensions (Diameter x Length; from camera lens mount to end of lens): 3 in. (74.5 mm) x 2.6 in. (66 mm) Weight: 9.2 oz. (260 g)
Nikon Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S
By comparison to the 50mm f/2.8, the Nikon Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S is a more advanced lens in many ways. It has vibration reduction (which will work in tandem with the IBIS on Nikon Z-series cameras, though gives 4.5 stops of stabilization regardless of IBIS) as well as a custom function button, an OLED display, and a customizable command ring. Like the 50mm, it also has a focusing limiter switch on the side. Overall, it’s one of Nikon’s most advanced prime lenses yet, on par with lenses like the 24-70mm f/2.8 S or the 50mm f/1.2 S in terms of construction and handling features.
All of these features come at a bit of a cost, and I don’t just mean the higher MSRP of $1000. The MC 105mm f/2.8 VR is much larger than the 50mm version, and it weighs more at 630 grams / 1.39 lbs. It’s not going to be a “pack it and forget it” lens like the 50mm. That said, it’s still lighter than the F-mount 105mm f/2.8 VR, which weighs 720 grams (though has a metal construction).
Mount Type: Nikon Z Mount Focal Length: 105mm Maximum Aperture: f/2.8 Minimum Aperture: f 32 Format: FX Maximum Angle of View (DX-format): 15°20′ Maximum Angle of View (FX-format): 23°10′ Maximum Reproduction Ratio: 1x Lens Elements: 16 Lens Groups: 11 VR (Vibration Reduction): Yes Diaphragm Blades: 9 ARNEO Coat: Yes Nano Crystal Coat: Yes ED Glass Elements: 3 Aspherical Elements: 1 Fluorine Coat: Yes Super Integrated Coating: Yes AF Actuator: STM (stepping motor) Internal Focusing: Yes Minimum Focus Distance: 0.96 ft. ( 0.29m) Focus limit switch positions: FULL (∞ to 0.29m) and 0.5m to 0.29m Filter Size: 62mm Approx. Dimensions (Diameter x Length): 3.4 in. (85 mm) x 5.6 in. (140 mm) Weight: 22.3 oz. (630 g)
Nikon has never made a bad macro lens, even going back to the AI-S manual focus macro lenses made decades ago. I expect the MC 50mm f/2.8 and MC 105mm f/2.8 to continue this trend, with excellent performance at both macro and regular distances.
However, the biggest reason to get these lenses is not for their presumably high sharpness, but for their macro capabilities. Nikon already has fantastic Z-series 50mm f/1.8 and 85mm f/1.8 prime lenses which have some of the best optics we’ve ever tested, with lower prices and larger apertures than these new macro lenses as well. Photographers who don’t need to shoot macro will likely find those lenses a better fit.
Between the two new macro lenses, I think the 50mm f/2.8 is more compelling for general-purpose photography because of its extremely small size. Specialized macro photographers will prefer the 105mm, but the 50mm is basically a pancake and can be thrown in a camera bag without even noticing. It should make a great travel set alongside a lens like the Nikon Z 14-30mm f/4 and any future lightweight Nikon telephoto zoom. It also pairs well with the 28mm f/2.8 pancake that was released today. On the other hand, photographers who rely on longer macro lenses for their work will be happy to see Nikon putting so much effort and high-quality construction into the MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S.
Overall, they both look like good lenses.
You can read more about the two new macro lenses and see additional sample photos at Nikon’s official MC 50mm f/2.8 and MC 105mm f/2.8pages.
Below is Nikon’s full press release, which also includes a mention of the 28mm and 40mm pancake development announcement:
LOOK CLOSER: NIKON UNVEILS THE NEW NIKKOR Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S AND NIKKOR Z MC 50mm f/2.8, THE FIRST NIKON Z SERIES MICRO LENSES FOR MACRO PHOTOGRAPHY
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 – 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.
urthermore, 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.
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.
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.
Nikon Inc. is a world leader in digital imaging, precision optics and photo and video capture technologies; globally recognized for setting new standards in product design and performance for an award-winning array of equipment that enable visual storytelling and content creation. Nikon Inc. distributes consumer and professional digital SLR cameras, NIKKOR optics, Speedlights and system accessories, Nikon COOLPIX® compact digital cameras and Nikon software products, as well as the revolutionary Nikon Z series of mirrorless cameras and NIKKOR Z lenses, which achieve a new dimension in optical performance. In 2018, Nikon Corporation, the parent company of Nikon Inc., announced the production of 110 million NIKKOR lenses, creating a new milestone in Nikon’s heritage of superior optics. For more information, dial (800) NIKON-US or visit www.nikonusa.com, which links all levels of photographers and visual storytellers to the Web’s most comprehensive learning and sharing communities. Connect with Nikon on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Vimeo and Flickr.
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Specifications, equipment, and release dates are subject to change without any notice or obligation on the part of the manufacturer.
*SRP (Suggested Retail Price) listed only as a suggestion. Actual prices are set by dealers and are subject to change at any time.
The S-Line is a grade of NIKKOR Z lenses that demonstrate outstanding optical performance, adhering to a high standard of design principles and quality control.
Based on CIPA Standard: this value is achieved when attached an FX-format camera with the camera’s VR function set to “NORMAL,” and when zoom is set to the maximum telephoto position.