The Best Macro Lens for Nikon Cameras in Australia [2019]

cheap macro lens for nikon

Choosing the best macro lens for your Nikon can easily turn out to be quite a difficult task.  There are a lot of options available on the market and the listed specs are sometimes confusingly similar.

These kinds of lenses are specifically designed to capture small subjects such as insects, plants, water drops and many others. If you’re in need of a tool to express your attention to detail – a macro lens may be your new best friend!

After the summary table below we discuss what you should consider when choosing a Nikon macro lens, followed by reviews of the best products currently on the market in Australia.


iMAGE
PRODUCT
OUR #1 RATED
OUR #1 RATED

Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro 

  • Maximum aperture f2.8
  • Optical Stabilizer
  • Very sharp images + outstanding bokeh
  • Great value      


Nikon AF-S VR Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED 

  • Maximum aperture f2.8
  • Image Stabilization
  • Very Sharp


Sigma 180mm F/2.8 APO Macro EX DG OS HSM  

  • Maximum aperture f2.8
  • Image Stabilization
  • Good autofocus performance 


Nikon AF-S Micro-Nikkor 60mm f/2.8G ED 

  • Maximum aperture f2.8
  • Very light: only 425g
  • Relatively good autofocus for a macro lens 


Nikon AF Micro-Nikkor 200mm f/4D IF-ED 

  • Sharp images
  • Great image quality and bokeh

How to Choose Your Macro Lens 

Before we dive deeper into the subject let’s clarify what exactly makes a lens macro. It’s a common mistake to interchange macro with close-up, but these two are definitely not the same.

It’s true that macro images are usually created at a short distance from the subject itself, but what makes the photograph categorise as macro is actually the magnification.

The lens needs to have what’s called a life-sized magnification (1:1) or even larger in order to be labeled as macro.

When it comes to choosing the most suitable macro lenses for your needs, there are a few things that you should keep an eye on in order to make the best decision for your particular situation. Have a look at the short list below and make sure you’re well prepared to decide!

Minimum Focus Distance

Minimum focus distance is always listed in the technical specs of the lens and it’s a major feature you should keep in mind. It simply indicates how close you can get to your subject when shooting and still be able to focus.

Focal Length 

In terms of focal length macro lenses are typically divided into three categories:

  • Short (35 – 60 mm)
  • Mid-range (90 – 105 mm)
  • Long (150 – 200)

The ones which fall into the first category are usually less expensive and lighter and they have shorter working distance. This means you’ll have to get really close to your subject – this can be both a good and a bad thing depending on the situation.

The mid-range macro lenses are a bit more expensive and they have a larger working distance to offer. They’re a wise choice if you’re into photographing plants and especially flowers.

The long macro lenses are the cream of the crop when it comes to working distance and image quality as a whole. But they also have a couple of significant disadvantages: they’re quite expensive and heavier than the other options.

Vibration reduction

Vibration reduction is the technology which helps your lenses ignore the movement that comes from your hand shake. Having vibration reduction is crucial if you tend to use lower shutter speed (below 1/60) – without it your images may become blurry.


Nikon Macro Lens Reviews 

#1 ​Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro  

TOP PICK

best value

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The focal length of this lens is 105mm and the maximum aperture f/2.8 which will give you the freedom to work in a variety of light conditions. It also has to offer a life-size maximum magnification of 1:1 and a minimum focus distance of 1m which instantly makes it great for creating macro images.

The Sigma 105mm Macro is also stabilised and thus suited to minimize blurriness when shooting handheld.

Pros
  • Maximum aperture f2.8
  • Optical Stabiliser
  • Very sharp images + outstanding bokeh
  • Great value                                              
cons
  • The autofocus is a bit slow compared to Nikon lenses                                                    

#2 ​​​​Nikon AF-S VR Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED 

BUY AT Camera Pro

Nikon AF-S VR Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED has very similar specs to the Sigma lens discussed above. It has a focal length of 105mm and the same maximum aperture of f/2.8. It’s able to focus on a subject at a minimum focus distance of 1m.

Overall it’s almost identical to the Sigma 105 mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro with one major difference: the price. The Nikon lenses are more expensive in comparison to Sigma.

Pros
  • Maximum aperture f2.8
  • Image Stabilisation
  • Very Sharp                                               
cons
  • It’s more expensive in comparison to the Sigma 105 mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro
  • Autofocus hunts a lot/difficult to focus                                                        

#3 ​Sigma 180mm F/2.8 APO Macro EX DG OS HSM  

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Sigma 180mm F/2.8 APO Macro EX DG OS HSM  is a great medium telephoto lens, it also has a bright f/2.8 maximum aperture. Its minimum focus distance is 47mm which is pretty close.

This lens is stabilized just like the previous two lenses we mentioned above. One of the disadvantages is that the lens weighs 1640g which is really heavy. It’s well suited for shooting animals and live subjects.

Pros
  • Maximum aperture f2.8
  • Image Stabilisation
  • Good autofocus performance              
cons
  • Very heavy:  1640g
  • Quite expensive                                      

#4 ​​Nikon AF-S Micro-Nikkor 60mm f/2.8G ED 

BUY AT Camera Pro

Nikon AF-S Micro-Nikkor 60mm f/2.8G ED has a focal length of 60 mm and maximum aperture of f/2.8. The minimum focus distance is 18.5 which gets you closer to your subject than any of the lenses included so far on this list.

It doesn’t have image stabilisation, but it’s quite light for a macro lens: only 425g. In addition to macro photography, this lens is also suitable for portraiture.

Pros
  • Maximum aperture f2.8
  • Very light: only 425g
  • Relatively good autofocus for a macro lens                                               
cons
  • No image stabilisation                           

#5 ​​Nikon AF Micro-Nikkor 200mm f/4D IF-ED 

BUY AT amazon

Nikon AF Micro-Nikkor 200mm f/4D IF-ED has a maximum aperture which can be a bit limiting if you mainly work with the light that you have available at the moment.

Its focal length is 200mm and the minimum focus distance is 48.77cm which gives you the opportunity to photograph close-ups at a comfortable distance. Aside from macro this lens is also suitable for portraits and landscapes.

Pros
  • Sharp images
  • Great image quality and bokeh           
cons
  • No image stabilisation
  • Maximum aperture f/4
  • Expensive                                                    

verdict

Having in mind all the details and pieces of information that were mentioned above, our top pick would definitely be the Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro. It delivers crisp images of outstanding quality at a very reasonable price.

It’s also equipped with an optical stabilizer and the fact that its autofocus tends to be a bit slow can be easily neglected especially considering that it’s a kind of problem which more or less all macro lenses have.

Whichever is your personal top pick, simply try to make sure it really meets your needs. Consider which is your main field of interest, what kind of subjects you’ll be mostly shooting and you’ll be bound to make the right decision!

About THE AUTHOR:

Polina Raynova


Polina is a freelance photographer, always on the lookout for creating simple images with deep impact.


She loves observing the details around her and giving everyday scenes and objects a touch of cinematic feel.


Check out her work at www.polinaraynova.com.