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10 Best Macro Lens For Nikon in 2022 (Updated Weekly)

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If you’re thinking about getting into macro photography, read our guide to the best macro lens for Nikon owners.

As a wildlife photographer, I tend to shoot big animals like lions, gorillas, and elephants. But until recently, I did own a Nikon 105mm macro lens. And I experimented with flower and insect close-ups both abroad and in my back garden.

After taking a range of factors into consideration, we have decided the Sigma 105mm f/2.8 is the best macro lens for Nikon cameras. Its great price and high-performance abilities solidify its place at the top of the list. The Sigma 105mm also functions amazingly as a short, fast telephoto lens! It excels in portraiture, wildlife, and sports photography.

Sigma 105mm f/2.8 APO EX DG OS HSM Prime Lens for Nikon F-Mount
Sigma 105mm f/2.8 APO EX DG OS HSM Prime Lens for Nikon F-Mount
A low-cost all-rounder macro lens with great optical stabilization. This lens will work superbly in a number of situations, but it excels in macro photography.
Price from $545.00
Buy from Amazon

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10 Best Nikon Macro Lenses

Lens Name
Why We Love It
Price
Sigma 105mm f/2.8 APO EX DG OS HSM Prime Lens for Nikon F-Mount
Our Top Choice
  • Excellent correction for all forms of distortion
  • Amazing stabilization abilities
  • Durable construction
from $545.00
Nikon AF-S FX 105mm f/2.8 IF-ED VR Prime Lens
Best Nikkor Macro
  • Fast and precise autofocus
  • The world's first macro lens featuring Nikon's exclusive Silent Wave Motor
  • High-resolution and high optical performance
from $459.00
Nikon Z 105mm f/2.8 VR Prime Lens
Best Mirrorless Option
  • Professional f/2.8 mid-telephoto macro lens
  • Sharpness is superb from close-up to infinity
  • Remarkable depth
from $946.95
Laowa 100mm f/2.8 Prime Lens For Nikon F-Mount
Greatest Magnification
  • World's first 1:2 100mm lens
  • Fully manual lens for extra attention
  • Handles chromatic aberration well
from $499.00
Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2 Prime Lens for Nikon F-Mount
Amazing Sharpness
  • Super sharp from edge to edge
  • Outstanding bokeh
  • Moisture-proof and dust-resistant construction
from $960.77
Sigma 180mm f/2.8 APO EX DG OS HSM Prime Lens for Nikon F-Mount
Longest Focal Range
  • World's first 180mm macro lens
  • Excellent sharpness
  • Amazing vibration reduction abilities
from $1,431.78
Nikon AF-S DX 85mm f/3.5 ED VR Prime Lens
Best 85mm Option
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Great vibration reduction
  • Extremely sharp for its price
from $451.98
Nikon AF-S DX 40mm f/2.8 Prime Lens
Best Wide Angle Option
  • Close-Range-Correction system
  • Wide angle macro lens
  • Small and lightweight
from $276.95
Irix 150mm f/2.8 ED Prime Lens for Nikon F-Mount
Great Value Long Lens
  • No color fringing
  • Minimal chromatic aberration, flare, and distortion
  • Easy-to-grip focus ring
from $494.95
Tokina 100mm f/2.8 Prime Lens for Nikon F-Mount
Best Value 100mm Option
  • Excellent bokeh
  • Convenient Focus Clutch mechanism
  • Smaller and lighter than Nikon equivalents
from $379.00

Here’s our list of the best macro lenses for Nikon users.

1. Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro

from $545.00
Sigma 105mm f/2.8 APO EX DG OS HSM Prime Lens for Nikon F-Mount
Brand Sigma
Dimensions 12.7 x 7.8 x 7.8 cm
Weight 725 g
Maximum Aperture f/ 2.8
Image Stabilization Yes
Lens Mount F-Mount
Magnification Ratio 1x
Best For Third-party lens, all-rounder

This third-generation medium telephoto macro lens is an overhaul of the previous version. And the working distance of 14.6 cm (6.9″) is decent enough.

It features internal focusing and an extra blade in the diaphragm to improve bokeh and reduce vignetting. And it has an Optical Stabilizer (OS) to facilitate handheld close-ups. The image quality is also improved.

Special Low Dispersion (SLD) and High Refractive index (HR) glass corrects field curvature and chromatic and spherical aberration. At the same time, the Super Multi-Layer Coating improves contrast by reducing flare and ghosting.

The floating inner focusing system moves two lens groups around independently to achieve internal focus. That means the lens stays the same length at all times.

The Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM) makes sure that the autofocus system is fast, accurate, and quiet. However, there is still a full-time manual override.

2. Nikon 105mm f/2.8G AF-S VR Macro

from $459.00
Nikon AF-S FX 105mm f/2.8 IF-ED VR Prime Lens
Brand Nikon
Dimensions 11.6 x 8.3 x 8.3 cm
Weight 790 g
Maximum Aperture f/ 2.8
Image Stabilization Yes
Lens Mount F-Mount
Magnification Ratio 1x
Best For Nikon brand lens, all-rounder

This was the macro and portrait lens I had in my camera bag until recently. As well as offering a reasonable working distance, it comes packed with features. These include Internal Focusing (IF), second-generation Vibration Reduction (VR II) to help with handheld shooting, and a Silent Wave Motor (SWM) for fast and quiet autofocus (with full manual override).

The lens also contains Extra-low Dispersion (ED) glass to minimize chromatic aberration, nano-crystal coating to improve contrast by reducing flare, and a 9-bladed diaphragm to improve bokeh.

3. Nikon Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S

from $946.95
Nikon Z 105mm f/2.8 VR Prime Lens
Brand Nikon
Dimensions 14.2 x 8.6 x 14.2 cm
Weight 630 g
Maximum Aperture f/ 2.8
Image Stabilization Yes
Lens Mount Z-Mount
Magnification Ratio 1x
Best For Nikon mirrorless cameras, sharp image quality

This has an enormous “zoom” range for a macro lens, boasting a maximum of 2x magnification. The resolution and quality of the bokeh are excellent.

It’s also an apochromatic (APO) lens. That means zero chromatic aberration in both in-focus or out-of-focus areas of the image.

The lack of autofocus might be a problem for some. The short “focus throw” makes focusing a bit fiddly because even a slight turn of the focus ring will dramatically change the focus point.

So, you might need a macro focusing rail. However, the two biggest problems are the short working distance and the fact that it’s an entirely manual lens.

5. Tamron 90mm f/2.8 Di VC USD

from $960.77
Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2 Prime Lens for Nikon F-Mount
Brand Tamron
Dimensions 11.7 x 6.3 x 7.3 cm
Weight 610 g
Maximum Aperture f/ 2.8
Image Stabilization Yes
Lens Mount F-Mount
Magnification Ratio 1x (actually 1.02x)
Best For Beautiful bokeh, handling different types of aberration and distortion

This macro lens upgrades the previous version and offers a working distance of 5.5″ at 1:1. It also provides excellent sharpness, electronic autofocus, internal focusing, weather sealing, and a Vibration Compensation (VC) system with XY-Shift compensation that dramatically reduces camera shake.

It is powered by an Ultrasonic Silent Drive (USD), making autofocus a lot quieter. The Digitally Integrated (Di) design brings an improved coating, reducing reflections to a minimum in digital cameras. There is also a fluorine coating to prevent condensation and smudging.

Like the Tokina 100mm lens, you can switch between manual and automatic focus by sliding the focus ring forward or back. The lens is also compatible with the TAP-in Console, which allows you to customize the autofocus and adjust other preferences.

6. Sigma 180mm F2.8 EX APO DG HSM OS Macro

from $1,431.78
Sigma 180mm f/2.8 APO EX DG OS HSM Prime Lens for Nikon F-Mount
Brand Sigma
Dimensions 20.4 x 9.5 x 9.5 cm
Weight 1640 g
Maximum Aperture f/ 2.8
Image Stabilization Yes
Lens Mount F-Mount
Magnification Ratio 1x
Best For Fast focusing, telephoto macro photography

This is the world’s first 180mm macro lens. It offers a wide maximum aperture and a comfortable working distance. It also boasts a Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM) to ensure fast, accurate, and quiet focusing with full-time manual override.

There’s also an Optical Stabilizer (OS) to minimize camera shake when shooting handheld. The “floating lens” internal focusing system and three “F” Low Dispersion (FLD) glass elements help eliminate color aberration. And the nine-blade diaphragm creates a beautifully smooth blur.

7. Nikon AF-S DX 85mm f/3.5G ED

from $451.98
Nikon AF-S DX 85mm f/3.5 ED VR Prime Lens
Brand Nikon
Dimensions 9.9 x 7.3 x 7.3 cm
Weight 355 g
Maximum Aperture f/ 3.5
Image Stabilization Yes
Lens Mount F-Mount
Magnification Ratio 1x
Best For DX range of lenses, amazing results for its size and weight

The Nikon 35mm f/3.5 is another great macro lens for Nikon cameras. It features the second rendition of Nikon’s Vibration Reduction so you can shoot handheld images with confidence. You will also notice there is a wide focus ring on this lens. This makes manual focusing a breeze in any environment.

You can pick up this lens for a great price, making it powerful and affordable. It is also extremely light. It won’t weigh you down throughout a long day of shooting.

8. Nikon AF-S DX 40mm f/2.8 Prime Lens

from $276.95
Nikon AF-S DX 40mm f/2.8 Prime Lens
Brand Nikon
Dimensions 6.5 x 6.9 x 6.9 cm
Weight 235 g
Maximum Aperture f/ 2.8
Image Stabilization No
Lens Mount F-Mount
Magnification Ratio 1x
Best For Wide-angle macro shots, making your camera as light as possible

Do you want to get close to your subject but still need a wide-angle view? The Nikon 40mm f/2.8 is the macro lens for you. It allows you to get the standard 1:1 reproduction ratio needed for macro lenses while also providing a high level of sharpness and clarity.

You may also want to choose this lens if you want a small and light macro lens for Nikon cameras. This lens comes in as the smallest and most lightweight lens on this list.

9. Irix 150mm f/2.8 ED Prime Lens

from $494.95
Irix 150mm f/2.8 ED Prime Lens for Nikon F-Mount
Brand Irix
Dimensions 23.7 x 20.3 x 13.6 cm
Weight 1610 g
Maximum Aperture f/ 2.8
Image Stabilization No
Lens Mount F-Mount
Magnification Ratio 1.05x
Best For Easy manual focusing, price for performance

This macro lens is a bit of a mixed bag. It offers good bokeh and the working distance at 1:1 is longer than most other lenses. Plus, it eliminates vignetting, distortion, and color fringing in the background.

But it’s a big, heavy lens without autofocus or optical stabilization. So it’s not ideal if you want to shoot handheld.

10. Tokina 100mm f/2.8 Prime Lens

from $379.00
Tokina 100mm f/2.8 Prime Lens for Nikon F-Mount
Brand Tokina
Dimensions 7.3 x 7.3 x 9.5 cm
Weight 525 g
Maximum Aperture f/ 2.8
Image Stabilization No
Lens Mount F-Mount
Magnification Ratio 1.01x
Best For Quick swap between manual and autofocus, accurate focusing

This lens’ “flat-field” optical design means zero field-of-view curvature. That means images are sharp from edge to edge, and the multi-coatings improve contrast by eliminating flare and ghosting.

In a neat feature, the One-touch Focus Clutch mechanism lets you switch between autofocus and manual focus by snapping the focus ring forward and back. However, the working distance at 1:1 of 4.5″ is a little too close for comfort. (ATX-I FF stands for Advanced Technology eXtra-Interactive Full-Frame.)

What to Look for in Macro Lenses

Macro photography creates the most beautiful images of the natural world with maximum convenience. However, most macro lenses’ sharpness and wide maximum apertures mean they’re also suited to portrait work—if you can find one that focuses fast enough!

Here are eight factors to consider when choosing a macro lens:

  • Image quality
  • Magnification (1:1 reproduction ratio or better)
  • Working distance at 1:1 (i.e., the distance from the front of the lens to the subject, which is confusingly less than the minimum focusing distance, measured from the sensor plane)
  • Maximum aperture (for low-light conditions)
  • Smooth, circular bokeh
  • Quiet autofocus
  • Image stabilization (if you shoot handheld)
  • Internal focusing

Picking Between Macro Lens Features

Unfortunately, some of these features conflict. So you’ll have to make a few trade-offs.

For example, longer lenses allow you a greater working distance from your subject. That means you’re more likely to get smooth bokeh and less likely to frighten off any shy insects or block natural light—especially when using a lens hood or if your lens doesn’t have internal focusing.

However, they tend to be heavier with a narrower maximum aperture. If you’re working handheld or in low light, that can be a pain.

It’s also true that a shorter lens is fine if you have an APS-C sensor camera. That’s because it multiplies the effective focal length by the crop factor (1.5 in the case of the DX range of Nikon cameras).

Determining Your Personal Preferences

It also depends on your personal preferences. For instance, autofocus and stabilization are vital if you’re shooting handheld, but much less so if you’re a “serious” macro photographer using a tripod and strobes.

In that case, you might be more interested in a lens that supports Nikon’s “focus shift” method of focus stacking. It allows you to take dozens or even hundreds of images at different focus settings. Then you can combine them later to get front-to-back sharpness in your subject.

It’s also important to point out that third-party lenses often flatter to deceive, offering what looks like better specifications at a lower price than Nikon’s range of lenses. But they disappoint in terms of what matters, which is image quality.

Conclusion

To misquote the old saying, “Nobody ever got fired for buying Nikon.” In the same way that IBM was a byword for quality and reliability in the ’70s, Nikon lenses are known for macro photography. The same saying now seems to apply to Sigma lenses for Nikon cameras! The choice between the first two options is a tough one, so make sure you understand what you are looking for before purchasing.

Remember that all macro photographers are unique and have their own ways of working. If you like shooting shy insects, you’re better off with a longer focal length macro lens. However, if you’re a “serious” macro shooter and always use a tripod and a strobe, you might consider sharpness far more critical than stabilization.

Sigma 105mm f/2.8 APO EX DG OS HSM Prime Lens for Nikon F-Mount
Sigma 105mm f/2.8 APO EX DG OS HSM Prime Lens for Nikon F-Mount
A low-cost all-rounder macro lens with great optical stabilization. This lens will work superbly in a number of situations, but it excels in macro photography.
Price from $545.00
Buy from Amazon

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