Nikon Micro Nikkor 40mm F 2.8

By | 14/10/2022

This is an in-depth review of the new Nikon 40mm f/2.8G DX macro / micro prime lens that was appear in July of 2011. The Nikon 40mm f/ii.8G DX, too known as “AF-Southward DX Micro-NIKKOR 40mm f/2.8G” is a consumer-course lens for photo enthusiasts that need an affordable macro lens with good operation characteristics. In the current line of macro lens offerings from Nikon, this lens comes at the lowest price bespeak and shortest focal length. With the former being adept news, the latter can be a problem in some situations, specifically when budgeted subjects very closely (read more on this effect beneath).

With the electric current keen fast discontinuity prime lens line from Nikon such as Nikon 35mm f/1.8G and Nikon 50mm f/1.8G, one might wonder what the Nikon 40mm f/two.8G DX has to offer that the other primes cannot accomplish. How does it differ from other affordable primes? In this review, I will talk about the capabilities of the Nikon 40mm f/two.8G DX and provide a detailed report on its strengths and weaknesses, along with a summary of thoughts near the lens based on my two-calendar month experience with it.

Nikon 40mm f/2.8G DX

While the lens is limited to cameras similar Nikon D3100, D5100 and D7000 with a DX sensor and comes at a very bonny toll betoken of $279, information technology has Silent Wave Motor / AF-Due south, which allows the lens to silently autofocus on all modernistic Nikon DSLRs, and Super Integrated Blanket, which dramatically reduces lens flare and ghosting.

It is a small and relatively lightweight lens that weighs but 10 ounces (280 grams), which is roughly 4 ounces heavier than the super lightweight Nikon 50mm f/i.8G. Other notable features include 1.0x reproduction ratio (more on that later), 0.53 ft minimum focus distance (from the sensor, non the lens butt), seven semi-rounded diaphragm blades for pleasant-looking bokeh, a focus limiter switch to increase autofocus speed, 3 focus modes with autofocus override and a 52mm filter size. In short, a great list of features at a low toll.

Nikon 40mm f/2.8 Sample #9
NIKON D7000 + 40mm f/two.8 @ 40mm, ISO 100, i/200, f/8.0

One question I get asked a lot on DX lenses, is whether DX lenses have to be multiplied by the crop factor of i.5x to gets their true field of view or not. As I take explained in my “Equivalent Focal Length and Field of View” article, it does not matter if you use a DX or a full-frame lens – the focal length of a lens never changes when used on different size sensors – just the bending of view does. In other words, you encounter wider with full-frame sensors and narrower with crop-gene sensors. This means that the Nikon 40mm f/2.8G DX has a field of view equivalent to approximately 60mm in full-frame format. So recall of information technology as a cheaper and lighter culling to the Nikon 60mm f/2.8G ED (when the 60mm is mounted on a full-frame camera).

In this review, I will provide a thorough analysis of the Nikon 40mm f/ii.8G lens, along with image samples and comparisons against the Nikon 35mm f/one.8G DX and Nikon 50mm f/1.4G lenses.

Nikon 40mm f/2.8 Sample #12
NIKON D7000 + 40mm f/two.viii @ 40mm, ISO 100, 1/500, f/5.half dozen

Nikon 40mm f/2.8G DX Macro Specifications

  • Mount Blazon: Nikon F-Bayonet
  • Focal Length: 40mm
  • Maximum Discontinuity: f/ii.eight
  • Minimum Aperture: f/22
  • Format: DX
  • Maximum Bending of View (DX-format): 38°l′
  • Maximum Reproduction Ratio: 1.0x
  • Lens Elements: 9
  • Lens Groups: 7
  • Uniform Format(s): DX
  • Diaphragm Blades: 7
  • Distance Information: Yes
  • Super Integrated Coating: Yep
  • Autofocus: Yes
  • AF-S (Silent Wave Motor): Yeah
  • Minimum Focus Distance: 0.53ft (0.163m)
  • Focus Mode: Auto, Transmission, Auto/Manual
  • Thou-type: Yeah
  • Filter Size: 52mm
  • Accepts Filter Type: Screw-on
  • Dimensions: (Approx.) ii.7×2.5 in. (Bore x Length), 68.5×64.5mm (Diameter 10 Length)
  • Weight: (Approx.) 9.9 oz. (280g)
  • Supplied Accessories: LC-52 52mm Snap-on Front Lens Cap, LF-4 Rear Lens Cap, HB-61 Bayonet Hood, CL-0915 Flexible Lens Pouch

Detailed specifications for the lens, forth with MTF charts and other useful data can be found in our lens database.

Lens Use and Autofocus Speed / Accuracy

So, what would you use a lens like the Nikon 40mm f/2.8G DX for and how does it differ from other first-class Nikon primes like the Nikon 35mm f/1.8G or the Nikon 50mm f/1.8G? In Nikon’south official literature, the lens is listed as “AF-Southward DX Micro-NIKKOR 40mm f/ii.8G”. This might audio confusing, but Nikon’s “micro” term means the aforementioned thing as “macro”. As a macro lens, the Nikon 40mm f/two.8G can do something that regular primes commonly cannot, which is focus on a subject field from a very close distance.

You lot accept probably already seen beautiful images of flowers, insects and other small objects captured very closely with plenty of details – those images are typically shot with macro lenses. While most lenses can simply focus beyond the “minimum focus distance” due to their construction limitations, macro lenses are specifically engineered to extend optical elements abroad from the sensor in order to exist able to focus closer on subjects. The Nikon 40mm f/2.8G DX is a great example of this extension process – when the lens is focused at infinity, its lens barrel is at its shortest length, while focusing on a close field of study extends the lens barrel significantly, as can exist seen in this image:

Nikon 40mm short and full

Considering of this concrete extension of optical elements away from the sensor, some amount of light is lost earlier it reaches the sensor. To compensate for the low-cal loss, the lens automatically decreases its aperture. Therefore, you will notice that although the maximum lens aperture in lens specifications and literature states f/2.viii, the actual lens aperture will vary from f/2.8 to f/4.2, depending on how close you are to the subject. In addition, considering nearly modernistic macro lenses are designed to be able to focus both on far objects at infinity and very close objects with high precision, lens elements that control focus must move slowly in pocket-size increments.

In plough, this translates to many rotations of the focus ring that are required to get from closest focus to infinity, making these lenses rather ho-hum when trying to focus between close and far objects. To speed up autofocus, Nikon provided a close focus limiter switch that allows limiting focus from infinity to 0.2 meters (∞-0.2m). When photographing not-macro subjects, the Nikon 40mm f/2.8G autofocuses fairly fast, simply like many other Nikkor primes. When focusing on very close subjects, AF speed, reliability and accuracy can drop, especially in depression light situations. At times, you might find information technology easier to use manual focus when doing macro photography.

Nikon 40mm f/2.8 Sample #3
NIKON D7000 + 40mm f/2.8 @ 40mm, ISO 100, one/250, f/8.0

Despite these shortcomings, macro lenses are designed to exist extremely sharp from center to corner of the frame. Good sharpness is pretty much required when photographing objects at close distances for macro photography. Understanding this very well, lens manufacturers surely do brand them precipitous and the Nikon 40mm f/two.8G DX is no exception here. When subjects are captured at extremely close distances, depth of field and subject isolation are also equally important. This puts fifty-fifty more than stress on lens manufacturers to effort to engineer macro lenses that tin can render good looking bokeh.

Every bit a result, because of great image clarity, sharpness and colors, some photographers cull to use macro lenses for portraiture. The Nikon 105mm f/2.8G VR, a macro lens, is a very pop lens amid portrait and wedding photographers for the same reasons. Equally for 1:1 reproduction ratio language, it simply means that if you took an object that has the aforementioned size as the sensor of the camera and physically put it on the same camera sensor, it would cover up the entire surface of information technology. For example, a full-frame sensor has an imaging area of approximately 24x36mm, and then if you lot photographed an object as small equally 24x36mm in size, information technology would fill the frame when focused at the closest distance.

Nikon 40mm f/2.8 Sample #5
NIKON D7000 + 40mm f/2.8 @ 40mm, ISO 400, ane/640, f/5.6

Now that you sympathise the mechanical and optical differences between macro and regular lenses, let’s talk well-nigh what Nikon is trying to do with the 40mm f/2.8G DX. Existence a depression-cost alternative to full-frame macro lenses, Nikon is pushing the 40mm f/2.8G DX to be used for macro and portrait work. In their marketing cloth information technology clearly states “platonic for shooting general close-ups, delicate flowers, detailed collectables, copy photography, portraits, landscapes and more than”. Ignore the terminal word “landscapes”, because this lens would non be very practical for most landscape photography, except in cases when you need to focus on a small part of a landscape or when shooting panoramas.

So if we filter out “landscapes”, we are left with “shut-ups, delicate flowers, detailed collectables, copy photography” – all macro – and “portraits”. Conspicuously, trying to kill 2 rabbits with a single bullet. How well it can practise both is a dissimilar subject. Existence primarily a macro lens outset and portrait lens second, I wanted to detect out how it does with photographing pocket-size to large objects at extremely close and close distances. What I discovered, is that the Nikon 40mm f/two.8G is splendid for photographing flowers, food and other medium-size objects, simply non so suitable for photographing smaller subjects. As I take mentioned in the outset of this review, this has to do with the closest focus distance. Because this distance is so small, photographing tiny subjects at extremely short distances could become a trouble, simply considering the lens is physically as well close to the subject and might cake some or all of the light that reaches the discipline. Unless the lite is coming from the side of the subject area, it is too hard to photo subjects without casting a shadow.

Lens Handling and Build

Similar to the recently introduced Nikon prime lenses, the Nikon 40mm f/2.8G has a solid build, with a plastic trunk and a metal mount. Seems similar Nikon is not using the same cheap plastic mounts on prime lenses like on the Nikon 18-55mm, which is great news, especially given the price of the lens. Like to other Nikkor primes, the Nikon 40mm f/ii.8G DX also has a rubber gasket on the lens mount, which provides good sealing confronting dust making its way into the camera. The rubber gasket definitely helps non only in reducing sensor dust, merely also in reducing the amount of dust that could potentially cease up inside the lens. As I explained in my “what to do with dust inside lenses” article, it is quite normal for lenses to suck air in and out when focusing or zooming in/out.

Size-wise, it is a lilliputian narrower and taller than the Nikon 50mm f/one.8 / f/i.4G lenses. Hither is a comparing betwixt the Nikon 40mm f/ii.8G and Nikon 50mm f/one.4G:

Nikon 40mm f/2.8G vs Nikon 50mm f/1.4G

Like to other Nikon 35mm and 50mm lenses, the Nikon 40mm f/2.8G is not weather sealed. Nikon lenses without golden rings are not designed to withstand tough weather as professional lenses. That’southward why Nikon does not specifically mention weather-sealing in their marketing materials on cheaper prime lenses. If you lot take expert care of the lens, you should take no problems with using it in various weather conditions.

As for the focus ring (which operates very smoothly), information technology is conveniently located on the front of the barrel, making it easy to manually focus with a pollex and alphabetize fingers while shooting images or video. The lens comes with an “HB-61” bayonet lens hood, which sits tightly one time information technology is snapped on the front end of the lens. The G/A and M switch on the side of the lens allows autofocus with manual focus override and total manual focus operation. The latest Nikon DSLRs like Nikon D5100 immediately recognize the focus position and provide notifications on the information (“I” button) screen.