Wedding season is over now, and I’ve got the next month off, so I thought I’d go back and look at some of the new equipment I bought this year mainly for weddings and how they performed. Today I’ve got the Nikon 105mm f2.8 VR review.
Details are a big deal for weddings. Brides spend so much time searching and planning for all the little things to make the wedding special. The majority of those details are large enough for me to capture with my Nikon 24-75mm, but the rings in particular are troublesome. Lenses have a minimum focusing distance that in most cases won’t get close enough to a ring to see the details. That’s where the Nikon 105mm lens comes into play. It’s what’s called a micro or macro lens and it is made specifically for getting close and focusing on smaller items. It’s popular with nature people because they can get up and personal with all types of bugs. I, on the other hand, really just use it for rings.
Nikon 105mm vs. extension tubes
Before I purchased the Nikon 105mm for my micro shots, I used extension tubes for my ring shots. Extension tube connect to a lens and basically allow them to get closer to an object and still focus.
The extension tubes worked pretty well overall, but there were a few problems. One, there is no auto focus. This isn’t the biggest deal in the world, but it left me having to carefully adjust the focus because with micro photographer, the slightest shift will put things out of focus. The second issue was being able to look through the viewfinder. I’m not sure the exact reasoning but as I adjusted the aperture, it got really dark looking through the viewfinder. To get around this, I used live view on the back of the camera. To fix some of these issues, I always had to use a tripod to get a good shot. Overall, the major issue I found was that it took a decent chunk of time to get a good shot, and with weddings, you don’t always have time.
The Nikon 105mm has fixed most of those problems. It does have auto focus, but there is still some trouble getting everything in focus. I’ve found that I can either tweak the focus manually or I just take a ton of photo quickly and a few of them will be perfect. There is no issue with looking through the viewfinder, and because the lens has VR (vibration reduction) I can shoot at a low shutter speed and skip the tripod. With all of these things together, shooting photos with the Nikon 105mm is much faster.
The only real situation where the extension tubes when is the cost. I believe I spent around $40 on the extension tubes while the Nikon 105mm VR was around $1000. Yes, there are cheaper versions out there, either older versions or the Sigma version, so you could go that route as well. With all this info, I guess we’ll get to the main point.
Nikon 105mm f2.8 VR review: Worth it?
After using this lens at probably 15 weddings over the past year, I’d say it is worth the $1000. Ring shots are important to get as a wedding photographer. Brides expect them and they help book future weddings. Time is also key on a wedding day. Sometimes I’m given only 10 minutes to shoot all the details, and without this lens, it’d take me 10 minutes to just get set up. Plus, I don’t want to carry a tripod around with me for the majority of the day. Like I said, I’ve only used this lens for around 6 months, so I’m sure I will get better with it as I go. I might even start using it for portraits and see how that fits into my workflow. If you’re looking to do micro photography for either bugs or in my case for wedding rings, I’d highly suggest the Nkon 105mm VR if you can afford it. If you liked this Nikon 105mm f2.8 review, check out some of my other reviews, where I talk about all the things I use on a wedding day.