105 Macro VR or 200mm Macro

Started Apr 22, 2006 | Discussions
Dennis Shouldice New Member • Posts: 5
105 Macro VR or 200mm Macro

Aside from the zoom range, what are the pros and cons of these two lenses for Macro work? I am tempted by the VR capabilities but have no experience with either lens.

stephen99 Regular Member • Posts: 320
Re: 105 Macro VR or 200mm Macro

I have the 200mm Micro and know absolutely nothing about the 105 Macro VR. I always use a tripod with the 200 since slow shutter speeds are a fact of life to get any kind of depth of field. From what I understand the VR function is not of much use for a tripod mounted lens since it is pretty much rock solid anyway. Perhaps the addition of the VR function to the 105 is to allow handholding while shooting macro. Just a guess.

jfriend00 Forum Pro • Posts: 12,912
Re: 105 Macro VR or 200mm Macro

I have more experience with the 105 since I own it, but both lenses are considered good ones.

Attributes of the 200:

o f/4 lens.

o Longer working distance when shooting max magnification. Useful for bugs and other skittish things, not really needed for flowers or other inanimate objects.

o Will require a tripod or very fast shutter speeds pretty much all the time, even when not shooting close-up macro.
o Considered a very sharp prime.

Attributes of the 105VR:

o f/2.8 lens.

o VR allows you to handhold in good light for some close-ups though true 1:1 will still require a tripod.

o A nice complementary focal length for a bunch of common lenses (18-70, 17-55, 28-70) for non-macro use.

o Can be used as a nice portrait lens and VR can be very useful there, especially in low light.
o Smaller than the 200 (easier to lug around)

o I own the 105VR, so here are some handheld flower shots with VR and the 105: http://jfriend.smugmug.com/gallery/1326864 .
o Here's an example of how sharp the 105 can be:

o Costs almost $500 less than the 200.

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--harvey Regular Member • Posts: 408
Re: 105 Macro VR or 200mm Macro

Aside from the zoom range, what are the pros and cons of these two
lenses for Macro work? I am tempted by the VR capabilities but have
no experience with either lens.

If this is your first macro lens, I would get the lens in the 100 mm range. IMHO It is the most universal focal length.

Cannot comment on the usefullness of VR for macro.

Harvey

(gallery at harvey.pr41.sk)

OP Dennis Shouldice New Member • Posts: 5
Re: 105 Macro VR or 200mm Macro

thank you that is very helpful. I like the hand held flower shots!

Livio Spallone Regular Member • Posts: 369
Re: 105 Macro VR or 200mm Macro

I have the 105 VR and a Tamron 90.

Frankly I am not impressed by the new lens :
bulkier and heavvier than any other 100 macro
VR and AFS not so useful in macro
internal focusing complicates optical scheme and reduces sharpness

My opinion : try it in macro shots before buying.

I think to change the 105 for a 85 f1.4 and keep the Tamron.
--
Lisper

 Livio Spallone's gear list:Livio Spallone's gear list
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fraserj1 Senior Member • Posts: 2,565
Re: 105 Macro VR or 200mm Macro

Livio Spallone wrote:

I have the 105 VR and a Tamron 90.

Frankly I am not impressed by the new lens :
bulkier and heavvier than any other 100 macro
VR and AFS not so useful in macro
internal focusing complicates optical scheme and reduces sharpness

My opinion : try it in macro shots before buying.

I think to change the 105 for a 85 f1.4 and keep the Tamron.
--
Lisper

Exactly as I have said in other posts - VR in a macro lens is useless.

With that said, I would get the 200mm or 105mm non VR. Don't waste your money on the VR lens.

yunfat Contributing Member • Posts: 878
Re: 105 Macro VR or 200mm Macro

fraserj1 wrote:

Livio Spallone wrote:

I have the 105 VR and a Tamron 90.

Frankly I am not impressed by the new lens :
bulkier and heavvier than any other 100 macro
VR and AFS not so useful in macro
internal focusing complicates optical scheme and reduces sharpness

My opinion : try it in macro shots before buying.

I think to change the 105 for a 85 f1.4 and keep the Tamron.
--
Lisper

Exactly as I have said in other posts - VR in a macro lens is useless.

With that said, I would get the 200mm or 105mm non VR. Don't waste
your money on the VR lens.

I find the AF-s and VR very useful for macro, I find both very helpful at macro distances. I would even go so far to say that I will never use a tripod again for macro work, the VR and af-s work that well.

Livio Spallone Regular Member • Posts: 369
Re: 105 Macro VR or 200mm Macro

Different shooting stiles , different opinions.

I use manual focusing , DK-17M to view better the screen of my D2X and like extreme sharpness and silence (I do not like VR buzzing and AFS hunting for any wind genrated flower movents).
RC1 macro flash set if I need great DOF.
--
Lisperit

 Livio Spallone's gear list:Livio Spallone's gear list
Nikon D500 Nikon Z7 II Nikon AF-S Micro-Nikkor 60mm F2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-20E III Sigma 150mm F2.8 EX DG Macro HSM +10 more
maljo@inreach.com Veteran Member • Posts: 7,979
Get the 105 VR

The VR seems useful in hand held macro shooting.
Doesn't replace a tripod, of course, but if the winds
blowing a tripod isn't too helpful. I use a tripod and manual
focus whenever possible, but sometimes a tripod is prohibited
or not helpful due to wind or moving creatures.
The AF-S focuses faster than the old mechanical 105 micro,
and is silent. The VR doesn't make any appreciable noise.
This new lens seems to be the best macro available and
the state of the art.
Recommended.
maljo

Nikon D2X + 105 VR + R1C1 flash:

 maljo@inreach.com's gear list:maljo@inreach.com's gear list
Olympus E-M1 Nikon D500 Nikon D850 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm F4-5.6 R
jb_va2001 Veteran Member • Posts: 7,741
read these...

Hi Dennis,

Read this http://www.digital-images.net/Lenses/lenses.html
and the lens reviews here http://www.naturfotograf.com/lens_surv.html

Ron Reznick & Bjørn Rørslett are my go-to sources for lens opinions.

I own the 60, 105 & 200 Micro's. IMHO if you only buy -one- micro, the 105 is your best choice due to it's flexibility. But, the 200 is optically without question the better lens, I believe among the best Nikkors ever produced.

Cheers,
JB

Dennis Shouldice wrote:

Aside from the zoom range, what are the pros and cons of these two
lenses for Macro work? I am tempted by the VR capabilities but have
no experience with either lens.

wackybit Senior Member • Posts: 1,058
I'd take the 200mm

Dennis Shouldice wrote:

Aside from the zoom range, what are the pros and cons of these two
lenses for Macro work? I am tempted by the VR capabilities but have
no experience with either lens.

The 105VR only have two advantages over the 200mm: AF-S and VR. But in real macro work, AF-S is useless, you normally focus manually, and the VR does not help either, the lens is too close to the subject. The 200mm on the other hand gives you more working distance, and for me that is the determining factor. All this is assuming that you will be willing to spend for either one, but if you're on a budget or want to save money, then the 105VR is a bargain.....

Hope this helps

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Matt F Senior Member • Posts: 1,655
VR not useless, but...

fraserj1 wrote:

Exactly as I have said in other posts - VR in a macro lens is useless.

The VR is definitely not useless -- even at 1:1 you get a significant boost with it on vs. with it off. That being said, you don't get nearly as much a boost as you do at longer distances. In fact, you get more hand-holdability by switching to the 60mm Micro because of the shorter focal length than you do by turning on the VR. Here is a thread with some tests I did on it...
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1030&message=17935001

The AFS is definitely useful, shooting hand-held in AF-C to compensate for camera movement works pretty well.

All in all, if you want to shoot hand-held, get the 105 VR over the 200. If you plan on using a tripod most of the time, the 200 will probably be better because of the working distance.

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-- Pmatt
Gallery - http://www.silentcolor.com

AlbieSky Veteran Member • Posts: 3,338
Re: 105 Macro VR or 200mm Macro

I am enjoying my 105 vr.

Handheld with VR and AF-C is a great combo.

I don't have much exp with macro and that's why I bought the lens so I would get into. It works nice as a portrait lens too.

It's my favorite lens at the moment. The only time it's off the D70 is when I need wide angle.
--
D 7 0 + 1 8 - 7 0, 5 0 f 1.4, 1 0 5 mm VR, S B 6 0 0
P S E 4, N C 4.4, N V

 AlbieSky's gear list:AlbieSky's gear list
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AlbieSky Veteran Member • Posts: 3,338
Hope this pic posts ok

Example:

I was standing on a chair with my SB600 in my left hand and my D70/105vr (AF-C) in my right hand.

The camera lens was about 2 or 3 inches away from the bug. I did not sharpen the pic as much as I could have. Resized to server's limit of pics needing to be less than 150k

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D 7 0 + 1 8 - 7 0, 5 0 f 1.4, 1 0 5 mm VR, S B 6 0 0
P S E 4, N C 4.4, N V

 AlbieSky's gear list:AlbieSky's gear list
Nikon 1 J1 Nikon 1 V2 Fujifilm X-T1 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 85mm F1.4G Nikon AF-S Nikkor 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR +10 more
--harvey Regular Member • Posts: 408
Re: I'd take the 200mm

The 105VR only have two advantages over the 200mm: AF-S and VR.

It depends on what you do. When you shoot not at 1:1 but for example larger flowers or mushrooms on the ground, then can be the working distance of 200mm too large, there is twice as much grass between you and the mushroom.

Harvey

Kaj E Veteran Member • Posts: 9,817
Re: 105 Macro VR or 200mm Macro

The 105VR is not the a very sharp lens, according to the tests I have seen.
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brokenz Veteran Member • Posts: 9,098
Re: 105 Macro VR or 200mm Macro

Dennis Shouldice wrote:

Aside from the zoom range, what are the pros and cons of these two
lenses for Macro work? I am tempted by the VR capabilities but have
no experience with either lens.

Keep in mind I don't own either.

What do you consider macro? Handheld as well as you can do? Off of a tripod? Static objects only? Insects?

My experience with macro is limited to the Vivitar Series 1 90mm 2.5 (and I really haven't played with it as much as I'd like), a Nikon 60mm 2.8D Micro, a Nikon 120mm f/4.5 (fixed apeture and 1:2 max) some old Nikon 55mm's (I've got one in the closet I should dig out and try with my D200 actually), and a pile of high speed lenses I've converted for various reproduction ratios.

I agree that anything over 100mm becomes really tough to handhold. Even at 60mm I'm usually shooting at 1600ISO and wide open to get useable shutter speeds even in decent light. Is that what you really want? I like abstract but most folks don't. The 200mm you are looking at with f/4 and considering the focal length I just can't imagine using handheld at anywhere near 1:1 even with a flash.

The 105mm seems interesting for the addition of VR although I still question it's usefullness for the type of macro and flower photography I like to do. AFS should be a non-issue. If someone finds AFS useful then they really aren't doing high magnification probably IMO.

Honestly I wouldn't choose either. Like others I've been generally unimpressed with the image samples I've seen of the 105mm VR. Additionally I hate tripods (although I do use when I absolutely have to) so for how steady I am anything over about 120mm (I'm slightly past my steadyness limit wide open with my Nikon 120mm at only 1:2 even!) is out of the question for what I want to do.

If I wasn't having to gear up for the wedding season I'd already have a Voigtlander 125mm f/2.5 Macro. For someone starting out I'd recommend either the Nikon 60mm 2.8D Micro or Tamron 90mm 2.8. Do a search and you'll find some stunning image samples get posted regularly with folks using the Tamron. I do mean stunning in color, bokeh, contrast, you name it. I think I actually might have been served better with one myself over the Nikon 60mm. I love the sharpness and to the edge contrast I see with my Nikon but would love to directly compare it to the Tamron wide open. I do believe the Tamron has better bokeh.
--

Fit for release from a mental institution but banned from the 3-0-0-D forum since 6-2005.

Jeremy Broookfield Forum Member • Posts: 74
Re: 105 Macro VR or 200mm Macro

I own the 60, 105 (both the old and new models) and the 200.

All the lenses have their advantages (and are all excellent lenses).

If you are looking to do close-ups (but not necessarily at 1:1) and you don't like to carry a tripod / or your sbject is not willing to sit still whislt you setup the tripod then the 105 AFS/VR is the way to go. The VR is surprisngly effective at macro distances and I find that I can hand hold at 1/15th (and I'm normally not good at hand holding lenses).

If you like to do 1:1 (or more) and think you will be able to use a tripod then the 200 is a better choice.

The 200 is reputed to be optically sharper (but I have to admit that I can't see the difference unless I photographing resolution charts - I prefer insects and flowers) but is very slow to AF and too heavy to hand hold. The 200 really requires MF and a tripod (with macro rail). Having said that, I have had some success with a monopod and the new 200 macro flash units. The built-in focusing lights allowed AF to work at night.

The increased working distance of the 200 allows for more scope with lighting and composition (you might also be able to avoid scaring the insect away).

Which one would I buy ? Easy - both of them (and the 60 as well).

If I could only take one of them on a trip then it would be the 105 AFS/VR.

Jeremy Brookfield

Escaping Senior Member • Posts: 1,247
How about the 70-180 Micro?

I have the 60 and the 105 (old non-VR) as well as the 70-180, but not the 200. I have found that the 70-180 is the most convenient and most of the times, I only use manual focusing so I dont think AFS in the macro range is that critical although nice to have. I do agree with many posters here that the extra range is useful. Most of the times, I am stopping down to F:8.0 to F:16 so the 2.8 speed is also nice for critical focusing instead of being used for most of the shots.

What I have also learned is we often use these macro lenses as normal lenses in non close-up situations (mainly portraiture and nature for me) and these are the times when AFS, VR and a fast 2.8 aperture come in handy. Because of this, I am considering getting the 105VR, not because my current 105 Micro is not suitable for close ups.

I hope this helps, cheers.

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