One of the lenses that I would not want to be without in my kit is a macro, and the Micro-Nikkor 105mm f2.8 is one of the finest I have ever used. I have the version that is the last one without VR (vibration reduction) and I am told that the latest redesign, which now has VR, is even better. I have always found it invaluable when I am shooting flowers or maybe fungus for stock because I can get in really tight when I want to. With its 14 elements in 12 groups (with 1 ED glass and 1 Nano Crystal coat glass element) you know it is going to be razor sharp. Used on the Nikon D300 like I do you get a 157mm lens that focuses down to just 0.31 meters (that is about a foot!)
What we tend to lose sight of though is what an excellent portrait lens this makes, giving you two lenses for the price of one.
I find when I am shooting at sound checks that the 105mm Micro gives me the right sort of distance between the subject and me, coupled with a depth of field which works well. This was put to good effect at the Turner Sims in Southampton last Friday when I was getting close and personal with the Denys Baptiste Quartet. This is a working time for the musicians, a time when they can often be stressed trying to get things just right. I don’t like to be too ‘in your face’ when guys like Denys (above) are working, but the Nikkor 70-200mm f2.8 just gets too heavy to use all the time (trust me!). On the 100% view of the above, which I processed from the original NEF using Aperture, you can see every bead of sweat on Denys’ brow as he works through his phrasing and every hair in his great plaits – that is the sort of detail I need.
If you get chance try using a macro lens as a portrait lens, I am sure you will not be disappointed!