Wednesday, 13 July 2011

NIkon 40mm f/2.8 Macro… WHY?

Nikons just produced a very cheap macro lens, the 40mm f2.8.

Its a proper macro going to 1/1 magnification, that combined with its 40mm means you will have to be just a couple of cm away from the subject to get that form of mag.  Even with the 105mm macro the closest distance is only something like 32cm but that is not 32cm from the front of the lens.

This makes shooting very close up macro of bugs and insects a little bit more frightening!

Optically it is claiming great performances and I would not doubt that in anyway at all. All macro lenses are phenomenal in terms of optical performance.

This is a DX only Lens,
That means it is smaller and cheaper and lighter.

It is an AF-S so it will work on every camera, from the cheapest to the most expensive,
It will also have a fast and silent focusing.

Price … that is still to be seen but in america it is claiming under 300dolla.

But why go for this and not get a 100+-mm Macro and would I recommend this over getting something like the Nikon 50mm f/1.8 af-s or the 35mm f/1.8 which are both brighter by over a stop (meaning you can have a shutterspeed just over twice as fast, ie the 2.8 gives you a speed of 1/50th the 1.8 gives you a 1/120th)

Its a beginners lens…..
What the hell does that mean? what is beginner about it? its price? its DX only-ness?
The kit lens is a beginner lens but this is optically fantastic and could be use by any professional using a DX crop body.  The only thing that makes it a beginner lens is what I suspect professionals just wouldnt buy it no matter how cheap or optically good it is. That makes trying to sell this lens afterwards a touch difficult.

This lens is too close in focal distance to the 50mm, and the 35mm. Its not as bright as either.

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  1. Dear Dom
    Fantastic Blog.
    I used to photograph small fossils in the lab with a Nikkor 55mm and a FM2 (the old days).
    Today I would use this new 40 mm with a DSLR (tethered directly to a computer). It could be an economic lens for science-photography.
    Now I work as a field biologist, and photography is a documentary tool. I use the 35 mm 1.8 (DX) with a D300s as my main documentary combination. Mostly photographs of how man destroys nature. The new 40 mm would be useful in some situations.
    For fieldwork a small digital (compact) would be more practical. All my colleagues don’t understand why I carry a large DSLR. But sometimes the artist inspiration comes and you want your best tools.

    All the best

    Miguel (Spain)

  2. As a macro in my mind the focal length is too short and as an afordable low light lense there are better choices in the 50mm range that Nikon offer. I think Nikon has made a mistake with this lens.

  3. This lens would be super to use to do environmental portrait work.
    On the nikon web site, example images with the 35mm f1.8 DX are taken at f2.4 so pictures taken with the 40mm f2.8 wide open wouldn't be much of a different aperture that that setting. I would think of it this way: the 40mm DX lens offers improved bokeh and probably much less CA than the 35mm DX. It's very good normal lens with micro or macro capabilities.