Review of the Nikon Micro-Nikkor 105mm 1:2.8 Ai-S Lens (f/2.8).
The first macro lens in this focal length was the 105mm f/4 bellows lens of 1970 which, in 1975, was introduced as a regular focusing F-mount lens in the pre-AI (K) variant. It was then made into an Ai F-mount version starting in 1977 and an Ai-S F-mount version in 1981. Then in 1983, this Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 Ai-S lens was introduced with at least 80,000 being made. It was discontinued in 2020, 3 years ago.
Unlike the Micro-Nikkor f/4 Ai-S lens, this lens features Close Range Correction (CRC) to maximize sharpness for both near and far subjects.
This lens goes to a 1:2 reproduction ratio on its own and then to 1:0.88 when used with the PN-11 extension tube (a necessary part). When focused to its 1:0.88 reproduction ratio, it is hard to see the subject when using a DSLR due to how dark the image is, but it is better than the Micro-Nikkor f/4 Ai-S lens. Focusing is much easier with mirrorless cameras.
This lens is Ai-S compatible so it will work with some Nikon bodies in program and aperture
priority mode and the front element does NOT rotate when focusing so using a polarizer is
easier. The hood for this lens is the Nikon HS-14.
This is an all-metal design with excellent manual focusing. There is no play in the focus
collar. The build quality is very high.
This lens has a focus and depth of field scale, and unlike newer lenses, the focus collar stops at infinity.
Why use a teleconverter with macro... To increase magnification!
The TC-14A and TC-201 teleconverters mount without issue. The TC-14 and TC-300 require extension tubes be mounted. For the TC-14, use the 14mm PK-12 extension tube. For the TC-300, use the 52.5mm PN-11 extension tube, or a combination of PK extension tubes, like the PK-13 + PK-11 as a minimum. Using extension tubes, and teleconverters for that matter, will darken the image considerably.
With the PN-11 extension tube and TC-300 mounted, a 2.2:1 reproduction ratio can be achieved, but depth of field will be quite shallow. The following images are full-frame / FX mode.
The resolution does not really improve with these teleconverters attached. Notice the hard vignetting occuring in the PN-11 + TC-300 + TC-14A in the last image. Otherwise, the image appears very similar to the PN-11 + TC-300 + TC-14 combination. This lens does not have vignetting when used without the TC-14A teleconverter.
Focal length: 105mm
Maximum aperture: f/2.8
Minimum aperture: f/32
ø52mm filter ring
Lens construction: 10 lens elements in 9 groups
Picture angle: 23°20'
Focus: 0.41m/1.34ft. to infinity with infrared focus index
1:2 (0.5×) reproduction ratio — 1:0.88 (1.14×) with optional PN-11 extension tube