AF-S Micro NIKKOR 60mm 2.8 G ED - An Apology.

March 05, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

My Lockdown Adventures with the AF-S Micro NIKKOR 60mm 2.8 G ED

....and an Apology.

Ellie J Photography

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One of the few good things to come out of lockdown has been the chance for me to try out different kinds of photography during my ‘down’ time.

I am grateful that I've had this opportunity to step out of my portrait comfort zone and flex some other (very well hidden) photography muscles.  However, as we near the end of what will hopefully be the UK's final Covid lockdown, I do find myself in the position of having to publish an apology. To one of my lenses.

One of the first things I did when lockdown hit was to dig out BOBOG (my big old bag of goodies), aka the huge camera bag I used years ago when photographing weddings.  This is where all the golden oldies of my photography career live, those items which I don't use much these days but just can’t bring myself to part with.  My Nikon D3 is in there for example, alongside my very first DSLR (Nikon D80) plus my first ‘nifty fifty’. 

After a mooch around and a few trips down memory lane, I picked out my prime Nikkor 60mm, a lens I'll admit to having used very infrequently. I'd never particularly liked or felt the need to fully utislise this lens and in a former blog about my gear I even said it was annoying to use (oh the shame!) Back when I was photographing weddings, my 60mm lived on a third camera body and was used very occasionally to capture detail shots such as close ups of rings, flowers and so on.  I then used it for a short time to photograph the little details we all love on newborn babies such as eyelashes and fingernails. To be honest, I was getting great results with my 24-70 f2.8 without the hassle of changing cameras mid session, so the 60mm was eventually allocated a slot in BOBOG, and there it had stayed. 

I thought it would be fun to set myself a little lockdown project, that being to use this lens, and only this lens, to document some of my beautiful surroundings during hours of lockdown walks.

Being a naturally lazy person, I had rebelled against hubby when he first cheerfully suggested long daily walks.  It was his suggestion that I take my camera out with us to soothe the pain. When he eventually got me outside, camera in hand, I did miss my zoom at first.  This prime lens may be as sharp as a needle, but you have to use your legs to ‘zoom’ in and out of your subject, which doesn’t suit those of us more inclined to sit on the sofa, binge watching Netflix and wallowing in misery over the closure of our studios. 

My reluctance didn’t last long however, I mean how could it?  I live in a beautiful area and I really enjoyed the challenge of finding different things to photograph. 

As a result, I've changed my mind.  This little lens is actually rather gorgeous.

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My workhorse lens (the Nikkor 24-70 f2.8 zoom) is a bit of a beast, so in comparison the 60mm f2.8 is light and convenient to walk around with.  On my full frame Nikon it is a standard length, very handy for general photography. (On one of Nikon’s DX cameras, it comes in at about 90mm, which would make it a great length for portraits).

First and foremost this is a macro lens, and I had great fun getting up close and personal with some flowers and textures (and parts of my dog).  Although I’m quite out of practice,  I do love a spot of macro photography and I think a lot of photographers do.  I have very fond memories of my late dad and I, with our matching Fuji S9500 bridge cameras,  focussing on coins, peppercorns and other bits and bobs.

I was actually quite amazed at just how good a macro lens this is, but it does sport a 1:1 reproduction ratio, which is pretty cool. (The ratio shows the reproduction dimensions which a macro lens is capable of producing.  For example, 1:1 means my lens can photograph objects life size, 1:2 would be at half-size).

The one thing I would say is that when photographing macro you do need to watch your light. The very act of getting up close and personal to your subject means of course that you often find yourself blocking your own light. If photographing macro indoors, I found the best light by putting the subject of my photograph on a well-lit windowsill if it was small enough, or as close to a well lit window as possible.


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The ultra close up of my dog's nose (above) shown as captured on my camera really confused some people when I asked them to guess what it was!

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Macro capability aside, I also used the lens during my adventures for a few landscapes.  Although I’ll never be a landscape photographer (far too many early morning 'perfect light' seeking starts for my liking) I have thoroughly enjoyed my short foray into this genre.

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If you’re interested in the technical bumph some of the main features of this lens are:

*Extra-low dispersion glass element which limits chromatic aberration and provides sharper contrast and higher resolution.
*Nikon has nailed great colour reproduction and reduction of flare/ghosting by their use of Nikon Super Integrated Coating and Nano Crystal Coat
*Use of a rounded 9-blade diaphragm opening means out of focus elements in your photo look more natural
*Nikon's Silent Wave Motor means speedy and quiet autofocus
*Internal focusing means you can focus without changing the lens barrel length.
*Lens aberration is minimised by the use of two aspherical lens elements.
*M/A mode means you can switch rapidly between manual and auto focus (I found this great when trying to nail focus on things such as raindrops on windows)
*Closest focus distance is approx 0.6 ft.

I hope you’ve found this blog entry interesting.  After my lockdown adventures I take back the aspersions I had previously cast upon the Nikkor 60mm f2.8.  It's my own fault, I never did find the time to properly get to know this little lens.  Suffice to say this little gem will be spending a lot more time out of BOBOG from now on.

Thanks for reading.


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