Best Nikon Macro Lenses (Updated for 2021)

Michael Sand
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Let’s say you’re on a budget and you’re looking to buy just one macro lens but you want the best you can get. What are your options?

In this post, I’ll be covering the best Nikon macro lenses available today. All of my selections include a table outlining their most important specs.

Some of these lenses are aimed at beginners and some are aimed at professional use. That being the case, most of them can be used in all but the most demanding circumstances.

Here are the best Nikon macro lenses and what makes them special.

NameCategoryProduct
Samyang 100mm F2.8 ED UMC Full Frame Telephoto Macro LensBest OverallSamyang 100mm F2.8 ED UMC Full Frame Telephoto Macro Lens
Nikon AF-S DX Micro-NIKKOR 40mm f/2.8G Close-up LensBudget PickNikon AF-S DX Micro-NIKKOR 40mm f/2.8G Close-up Lens
Sigma 180mm F2.8 EX APO DG HSM OS MacroUpgrade PickSigma 180mm F2.8 EX APO DG HSM OS Macro

1. Samyang 100mm F2.8 ED UMC Full Frame Telephoto Macro Lens

Our rating: 9 / 10

Samyang 100mm F2.8 ED UMC Full Frame Telephoto Macro Lens

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Pros:

  • Wide Aperture Is Ideal For Low Light Shooting
  • Excellent Clarity and Detail at F8 and F11
  • Ultra-String Focus Mechanism
  • Comes With Detachable Lens Hood

Cons:

  • Non-Continuous Focusing Mechanism
  • Takes Time and Practice to Get Used to
  • As Lens Is Full Frame, Aperure at the Telephoto End

The Samyang 100mm is my top pick for macro lenses as it has a wide aperture range and has plenty of zoom to create unique and interesting photos.

You can choose to focus manually to get the most out of this lens. However, you also have the option to use autofocus. This makes it ideal for photographers who use a tripod or like to view their photos on a larger screen as they can easily focus in.

It includes an aperture blade which you can adjust for better focus. Plus, you can also change the strength of the light with the aperture. There’s also an autofocus that is accurate and fast.

2. Tamron AFF017N700 SP 90mm F/2.8 Di VC USD 1:1 Macro

Our rating: 9 / 10

Tamron AFF017N700 SP 90mm F/2.8 Di VC USD 1:1 Macro

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Pros:

  • Great Price
  • High-quality Optics
  • Excellent build quality
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • A little slow to focus
  • Heavy
  • No Image Stabilization

The Tamron 90mm f/2.8 lens is an absolute steal. It’s a very high quality macro lens that’s excellent for both new and experienced photographers alike. It gives clear, accurate, and colorful images.

The SP 90mm has a near perfect 5 star rating on Amazon with over 1,200 reviews.

This lens has fast, quiet, and accurate focusing, and it works equally well in both automatic and manual focusing modes. On the downside, the focus is a little slower than most DSLRs, so advanced photographers may find the lens a bit sluggish.

3. Nikon AF-S DX Micro-NIKKOR 40mm f/2.8G Close-up Lens

Our rating: 8 / 10

Nikon AF-S DX Micro-NIKKOR 40mm f/2.8G Close-up Lens

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Pros:

  • Sharp image quality, super close up pictures
  • Lightweight for inspection of parts
  • Fast, silent sound during autofocus and auto exposure

Cons:

  • Slow autofocus on the Nikon D7000 camera
  • Zoom ring is hard to turn
  • Manual focus and macro mode are not reliable

This lens is light in weight, and the close up lens will allow you to capture sharp images of any tiny details in an impressive manner. You can even use it to inspect various parts for their faults and to create a snapshot of your arts.

Many professional reviewers have recommended using this lens with your DSLR camera. The photo produced by this lens is super sharp, and you will have the ability to zoom inside things without any trac.

This camera is compatible with DSLR cameras. You need to have a DX-sized sensor camera to support this lens. The compatible cameras include the Nikon D3100, Nikon D7000, and the Nikon D90. These types of cameras have a sensor size of 23.6 x 15.8 mm.

4. Nikon AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G ED Vibration Reduction Fixed Zoom Lens

Our rating: 8 / 10

Nikon AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G ED Vibration Reduction Fixed Zoom Lens

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Pros:

  • Extremely sharp macro lens
  • Five different focusing modes
  • Close focusing to 1cm

Cons:

  • Manual focus only
  • Front heavy
  • Big, bulky lens

If you want a low cost macro lens, the Nikon AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G ED Vibration Reduction Fixed Zoom Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras will be the best macro lens for you. This is a great lens for a casual macro photographer on a budget.

Despite being a budget macro lens, the Nikon AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G ED Vibration Reduction Fixed Zoom Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras has pretty good image quality. This is due to its meticulous design and construction, which allows for both sharpness and a high degree of detail in its photos.

This Nikon macro lens is very versatile, which is in part due to its short minimum focal distance of only a 1cm. The AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G ED Vibration Reduction Fixed Zoom Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras gives you plenty of options for shots. It also allows you to create detailed images of small objects, and the detail is comparable to any full-frame macro lens.

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

Our rating: 8 / 10

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

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Pros:

  • Sharp and fast lens
  • Good for both full frame and crop sensor cameras
  • High grade build quality, focusing ring, and overall feel
  • Effective image stabilization

Cons:

  • Expensive for a macro lens
  • Small focus ring/harder to focus

The Sigma 180mm F2.8 EX APO DG HSM OS Macro for Nikon SLR Cameras is one of the best macro ring lenses on the market today. It comes with a 2x teleconverter that gives you the ability to get up close to the subject and will easily allow you to capture both large and small objects, such as insects, plants, and more.

In the box, you will find a lens cap, a protective lens bag, instruction manual, a lens hood, a soft pouch that is designed to hold the lens, and a sturdy fiber carrying case. This will hold your lens well when you are ready to travel. Overall, this product can help you to take quality macro images from a distance, which is a nice feature for those who want to shoot objects both near and far.

6. Nikon AF-S FX Micro-NIKKOR 2177 60mm f/2.8G ED Standard Macro Lens

Our rating: 8 / 10

Nikon AF-S FX Micro-NIKKOR 2177 60mm f/2.8G ED Standard Macro Lens

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Pros:

  • Amazing image quality
  • Sharp
  • Autofocus works and is fast
  • The 2x macro extender works very well
  • Lens has produced great macro results without any hassles
  • Good as a portrait and travel lens
  • Small
  • Lightweight
  • Price

Cons:

  • Long focus distance without the extender
  • Micro-NIKKOR 2x TC is very expensive to buy from reputable seller (I recommend DIY)

The Micro-NIKKOR 2x TC was a bit of a surprise. Previously I had used a third party 2x TC from eBay for my Nikkor 105mm Micro lens, and did not like the results I obtained. Images were soft with the TC on, and overall poor quality. However, I decided to try a genuine Nikon 2x TC with the 60mm Micro, and the results from the results were incredible. The glass inside the TC is simply much better than the 3rd party or DIY models.

The Micro-NIKKOR 2x TC is such a great lens that it even works on the 35mm/normal Nikkor 85mm lens. This combo is a great all-purpose lens, excellent for travel, kids, hobbies, and portraits.

7. Sigma 105mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro Lens

Our rating: 7 / 10

Sigma 105mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro Lens

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Pros:

  • Macro photography aficionados will love how easy it is to bring their subject into focus with this lens
  • Equipped with a digital aperture ring for full-time manual override
  • Takes great pictures
  • Comes in a versatile size and weight for most camera needs

Cons:

  • Difficult to find
  • Slow, long lens

Sigma has come up with a versatile, lightweight macro lens that is great for most of your photography needs. Right away, you’ll notice how easy it is to bring your subject into focus. It’s designed for Nikon’s digital SLRs, but it can also be adapted for Sony and Canon cameras.

The internal focusing design makes it easy to use the lenses rear focusing system, along with its fly-by-wire system to obtain the perfect exposure, depending on the situation.

This lens is also equipped with a digital aperture ring for off-camera lighting control. Despite this ring being digital, the lens is fully compatible with all older film cameras.

8. Nikon AF-S VR Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED Lens

Our rating: 7 / 10

Nikon AF-S VR Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED Lens

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Built with Nikon’s Vibration Reduction system, this lens offers an extremely sharp, clear focus on the subject, regardless of how shaky your hands are. It also offers an internal focusing lens mechanism, which means that it never gets in your way when you’re focusing on your subject. This newly designed lens provides the sharpest images possible, even at 1:1 magnification. At 210g, this lens is also one of the lighter options in the Nikon line. However, it’s a tad more expensive than the other lenses on this list. If you’re a professional however, it’s definitely worth the extra investment.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Which is the best macro lens for Nikon?

The best macro lens for Nikon depends on your budget and intended use. At the top of the price scale is the very high-quality and versatile Nikon 200mm f2.0E ED VR lens. For those in the middle of our price scale, the Nikon 105mm f2.8G VR is an excellent choice. While not as adaptable, it’s very sharp and is a great choice for closeup portraits.

For those on the lower end of the budget scale, the Nikon 60mm f2.8G is a best value. It’s a good choice for those needing a lens for shooting photos of objects up close in detail or for those who shoot a lot of closeup portraits.

What is the best lens for macro photography?

The best macro lens depends a lot on your photography objectives. For most users, a macro lens in the 50mm range is a great choice because you can get very close to your subject without sacrificing the field of view. This is ideal for product photography, small-object photography, and landscape photography. If you want to get very close to your subject, however, you might need a shorter lens.

If you are a professional photographer interested in macro photography, then you likely want to optimize for maximum magnification. This goes against the grain of this list and there are a couple of reasons for it. First, maximum magnification is achieved with EXTREMELY SHORT focal length macro lenses, which are very difficult to focus. Second, even if you get a super-sharp photo, the image is going to be very small.

What is the best macro lens for Nikon d750?

If you'd like to have a little more freedom to zoom and move around while taking your macro shots, then the Nikon 60mm f/2.8G is a good choice for you. This lens is a little more expensive than similar options, but its superior optics make it a viable option for a serious macro photographer.

On the other hand, if you'd like to do macro photography primarily on your iPhone, then we'd recommend the Raynox [˜] 0.63X or 0.37X. These lenses allow you to take images with the same depth of field as a true macro lens, but they're a more affordable and easier to use solution.

What are the sharpest Nikon lenses?

The intriguing, often complex, optics inside our lenses can produce images sharper than almost any other type of camera equipment. However, manufacturers do not always advertise sharpness because it is a difficult thing to quantify. In order to choose the highest resolution lenses available today, we have compared lens sharpness data from various Nikon photographers. What we found is, without doubt, the sharpest lenses.

Conclusion

If you do close-up or macro photography, then selecting the right macro lens is crucial. We hope this article will help you figure out which is the best lens for you to purchase. Also, see our tips on How to Take Macro Photos for some useful information and advice.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Samyang 100mm F2.8 ED UMC Full Frame Telephoto Macro LensBest OverallSamyang 100mm F2.8 ED UMC Full Frame Telephoto Macro Lens
Nikon AF-S DX Micro-NIKKOR 40mm f/2.8G Close-up LensBudget PickNikon AF-S DX Micro-NIKKOR 40mm f/2.8G Close-up Lens
Sigma 180mm F2.8 EX APO DG HSM OS MacroUpgrade PickSigma 180mm F2.8 EX APO DG HSM OS Macro