Nikon Micro-Nikkor 55mm 1:2.8 Ai-S Lens (f/2.8)

Review of the Nikon Micro-Nikkor 55mm 1:2.8 Ai-S Lens (f/2.8).

Overall Rating:

This lens was introduced in 1979 and therefore is 45 years old. Almost half a million copies have been produced.

Compared to the Nikon Zoom-Nikkor 28-85mm f/3.5-4.5 Ai-S
This lens extended to its minimum focus distance

This little lens is a great performer even for today's high resolution digital cameras.

this lens is great for photographing flowers & insects, 1:2 macro (detail)


Unlike its earlier cousin, this lens is quite sharp for both macro shots and distant shots near ∞ thanks to its close-range-correction (CRC). But becareful when using the PK-13 27.5mm extension tube to go to 1:1 because the lens must be extended/focused to its max to make sure that its [CRC] elements are aligned for maximum sharpness for near subjects. So do not use this extension tube and only focus to 1:2.

There is no vignetting.

There is practically no color fringing and the corners look great. Center and corner detail (f/5.6) at 3-to-1:

center at f/5.6
corner at f/5.6

There is no distortion

Flaring and ghosting are problems because there are lots of reflections between the elements. But, how much time do people spend shooting into the sun? Not a lot for most.


Diffraction has begun by f/8.

The lens does not exhibit focus breathing, so a depth of field calculator can be used with it.


This lens is NOT great for infrared photography as it demonstates a strong hotspot at smaller apertures.

infrared, f/32


The bokeh is fair. There does appear to be a very small amount of LoCA.



This lens stops at infinity (∞) focus, and the focus throw is a nice, long 310° (for critical-focusing).

The quality of this manual focus lens is something to behold. The focus has a nice fluid resistance and each click of the aperture ring is very positive. These copies have 744### and 729### serial numbers and feel great to use. This lens has a reputation for having oily diaphragm problems which cause the diaphragm to move slowly, too slowly to properly expose the digital camera sensor at the expected exposure. None of these copies exhibit this problem so there are good copies available, just be sure to check this problem before purchase. A Nikon Nikkor lens diaphragm should be described as "snappy" which indicates that there is no oil and it is functioning properly.

Using Teleconverters

Generally, this lens impresses when used with teleconverters

salt, using 52.5mm PN-11 extension tube with TC-300 teleconverter (detail)
sunflower, 1:1 reproduction ratio with TC-201 teleconverter (detail)
coins, using 27.5mm PK-13 extension tube with TC-14 teleconverter — DX mode (detail)
coins, using 27.5mm PK-13 extension tube with TC-14A teleconverter — DX mode (detail)
transformer, using TC-201 teleconverter (detail)


Focal length 55 mm
Maximum aperture f/2.8
Minimum aperture f/32
Lens construction 6 elements in 5 groups
Angle of view 43° (28°50' with Nikon DX format)
Minimum focus distance 0.25 meters / 9.8 inches (from focal plane)
Maximum reproduction ratio 1:2 (0.5×) and 1:1 (1×) with 27.5mm extension tube
No. of diaphragm blades 7
Filter-attachment size ø52 mm
Diameter × length Approximately 63.5 × 62 mm/2.5 × 2.4 in.
Weight Approximately 290 g/10.2 oz
Price $264 (USD) (1985)


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