During my two month journey with the Nikon 40mm f/2.8G DX Micro, I had a number of opportunities to use the lens for different types of photography. I tried it out for macro and landscapes during my trips to Yellowstone and Colorado mountains, shot an engagement along with Lola and took pictures of my kids and other people. So I can say that I have a pretty good understanding of its capabilities and shortcomings.
The focal length was the biggest problem for landscape photography when shooting on a DX camera, simply because I had a hard time fitting scenery into my frame; although, for distant scenery and panoramas (holding the camera vertically), it worked out quite well. I enjoyed shooting portraiture with it and despite being a macro lens, it snapped into focus rather quickly every time I pointed it at my subject. Using the focus limiter switch also helped to increase the AF speed quite a bit.
As for macro use, I was pleasantly surprised by the capabilities of this lens for shooting macro subjects. Its sharpness is very good from the center to corner and many of the images of flowers and other medium-size objects came out tack sharp with beautiful colors. The biggest weakness of the Nikon 40mm f/2.8G DX, in my opinion, is its short focal length when shooting macro. This sounds strange – too long for landscapes and too short for macro, but that’s kind of how I felt when photographing small subjects like insects. While I could approach them very closely, the lens would often cast a shadow and I had to either pull back or reframe my shot to exclude the shadow. In many cases, I had to block the light completely.
I know that there are some workarounds to this, like using a setup with speedlights or ringflashes, but I simply did not have the time or patience to set everything up. I have been using the Nikon 105mm f/2.8G VR for macro work for a while now and I have not experienced this kind of a problem, because I can fill the frame without getting too close. So if you are into photographing small insects, the Nikon 105mm f/2.8G VR or the Nikon 200mm f/4.0D would be better candidates for sure. In short, this lens is best suited for large to medium-size macro photography and some portraiture. Food photographers will love this lens.
Where to Buy
At the time of this article’s publication, B&H was selling the Nikon 40mm f/2.8G DX Micro lens for $279.95 (check current price).
Nikon 40mm f/2.8G DX
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