The Nikon MC 105mm f2.8 VR S and Nikon MC 50mm f2.8 lenses are the first Z mount macro lenses.
The Nikon Z system continues to take shape to become more attractive to professional photographers. The latest innovations continuing their progress concern two new Macro lenses. Today they are announcing the Nikon Z MC 105mm f2.8 VR S and Nikon Z MC 50mm f2.8 macro lenses. The announcement fills a gap in coverage of the younger series lenses as the first lenses to offer macro capabilities for Z-series cameras without the use of an F-mount adapter.
Nikon has regularly released Z system lenses and cameras since the series launched over two years ago. The Z mount family now has 20 lenses native to the larger Z mount. We have reviewed most of these lenses, and you can follow our Nikon Z mount lens guide. Before today, the series had no special lenses without a macro, fisheye, or tilt-shift lens. The series (and most of the others) still lack the last two. The Z-mount also has a noticeable gap in telephoto lenses, with the longest full-frame Z-mount lens at 200mm. Currently, the system requires a teleconverter or mounting adapter to go further. (DX crop series lenses go up to a 250mm zoom). Maybe Nikon will tackle that afterwards.
Nikon Z macro lenses: Nikkor Z MC 105mm f2.8 VR S
The indispensable Nikon Z MC 105mm f2.8 VR S is attractive as a lens capable of taking both macros and portraits. The 105mm is an ideal focal length for portraits. Its F-mount predecessor was a favorite of many Nikon digital SLR users. While not the f1.8 or f1.2 of non-macro lenses, the ability to use the lens for more than one type of shooting might influence some photographers. Wedding photographers – like myself – may be tempted by a lens that can take both photos and portraits, freeing up space in the camera bag and costing less than $ 1,000.
The 105mm is part of the S series, which means it benefits from Nikon’s premium design. Think of it like Canon’s L line or Sony’s G Master line. The lens uses a nanocrystal coating and an ARNEO coating and is designed for edge-to-edge sharpness, Nikon says. Additionally, the lens offers 4.5 stops of 5-axis stabilization when paired with in-body systems.
STOP READING HERE AND THINK ABOUT THIS !!! If you look at your camera’s light meter, that means you can take photos at a very slow shutter speed and get up to 4.5 stops of additional camera shake compensation. Now apply the reciprocal adjustment of shutter speeds. You would essentially turn that lens down to 1 / 100th or 1 / 125th to compensate. However, with 4.5 stops of vibration compensation, you can go further. In fact, we reckon that Nikon claims you can shoot a bit slower than a quarter of a second. That’s quite a statement with a 105mm lens. If you are a wedding photographer shooting in a Macor range, this could be great. Of course, you have to have a lot of control. And most professionals will likely end up using a flash instead of using ambient light.
The lens houses Nikon’s dual STM motors, which the company claims improve both close focus and image quality. As a result, the lens can focus up to 0.29 meters. As you get closer, the objective will stop. At the closest focus distance, the lens will not stay at f2.8. Instead, it will become f4.5. Realistically, f4.5 at macro distance is pretty thin. But if you are using a flash you will of course need an additional power shutdown.
As part of the S-series, the 105mm also has more design features than the more minimalist lenses. The display panel at the top will show the macro reproduction ratio for the current focus – new for the Z series. It can also display the focal length or aperture like many other lenses with the top panel. Plus, it houses a focus limiter switch, AF to M switch, lens Fn button, and customizable control ring in addition to the manual focus ring.
The lens weighs 638 grams. Paired with the Z6 II or Z7 II, that’s 400g less than the equivalent F-mount lens associated with the D850.
But, perhaps one of the most exciting aspects of the ad is the price. At $ 999.95, this is one of Nikon’s more affordable lenses for the high-end S-series.
Nikkor Z MC 50mm f2.8
The 105mm was announced alongside the Nikon Z MC 50mm f2.8. (Nikon deviates a bit from the naming scheme of the F mount – MC denotes the macro). The 50mm is a $ 649.95 lens that doesn’t have the sharpness of the S-series or the LCD information panel. Instead, it’s designed to be both more affordable and more versatile, with the 50mm focal length that’s suitable for both portraits and snapshots. Nikon says the lens is designed to limit color bleeding and chromatic aberration, but it lacks the Nano Crystal coating and ARNEO 105mm coatings. Immediately it sounds better than the variant from Sony, which we really not appreciated. The Nikon 50mm f2.8 MC Z will have to rely on the camera’s image stabilization. This objective is completely lacking.
The design also lacks additional S-series controls, but Nikon has managed to squeeze in some form of focal length scale. The lens is a front lens, not an internal focus lens. As the lens length changes, a chart on top of the front moving part shows an approximate focal length and macro reproduction ratio. The lens weighs 250g, which is 40% lighter than the 50mm F-mount macro.
The Z 50mm series also has support for the ES-2, a previously announced adapter that allows Z users to scan movies with their digital cameras. The lens will work with the film adapter for 35mm film or mounted slides. This is a feature that is not included in the 105mm macro.
The Z series needed macro – the lenses are a welcome announcement for Z system users. The lenses aren’t very innovative; the only new features are the addition of the reproduction ratio on this LED information board and the 50mm film adapter capacity. But, my favorite part of the Z system is the lenses, especially the sharpness and color coming from the S series. If the 105mm can meet those same standards, it could be a great dual-purpose lens for macro and portraits. Both lenses are also weatherproof, which means the entire Z-series can shoot in the rain.
New goals are coming
Today, Nikon also announced the development of new 28mm and 40mm lenses with compact designs. Nikon did not provide further details. But, now that the macro is out of the way, Nikon’s next biggest gap is the telephoto lens, where I’d rather see more ads than more wide angles. (Even though some of their wide-angle prime numbers seem unnecessarily large). The Z System does not yet have a lens that will really appeal to wildlife photographers and others who rely on the most extreme focal lengths. Shooting beyond 200mm (250mm for DX) requires an F-mount adapter or Z-mount teleconverters.
The two Nikon Z mount macro lenses are expected to ship in late June. The Nikkor Z MC 105mm f2.8 VR S will retail for $ 999.95; the Nikkor Z MC 50mm f2.8 will retail for $ 649.95. For what it’s worth, it doesn’t seem like they’re doing anything to push the boundaries. Instead, they only fill a gap within the Nikon system.
Additional reports were produced by Chris Gampat.