Guest post: Nikkor 19mm f/2.8 Macro lens review

Today's guest post is from Fabrizio Belardetti ( who will review the rare Nikkor 19mm f/2.8 Macro lens (you can click on all images for larger view):

Macro-Nikkors comprises four lenses made for the Nikon Multiphot: 19mm, 35mm, 60mm, 120mm. Each lens is optimised for a restricted range of magnifications and together they cover the entire range from 1:1 up to 40:1. The optics are designed to yield top results wide-open and stopping down only serves to increase depth of field (and diffraction effects). Within their specified magnification range the lenses will cover up to 4x5" format with ease.

The 19 mm Nikkor comes in RMS microscope screw mount and you will need an adapters to convert RMS to Leica thread and then to Nikon mount. The 19 mm f/2.8 Macro-Nikkor has working optimum at 20x and should be used indoor only, as the focusing distance is about 20mm. It is designed to be mounted on a bellow, and it's range is from 15x to 40x at the maximum extension.

Macro-Nikkors are hard to find today and really expensive (my gem cost me over 1500 €). This lens was made in Japan almost 40 years ago. I usually mount this on a PB-6 with PB 6E, sometimes with PK rings too!

Here is the lens with the original case and Nikon RMS to Leica and Leica to F mount adapters:

Here's the back of the lens, with optimal magnification engraving (20x):

On the side of the lens there is an aperture ring, starting from f/1 to f/6:

Size comparison with Nikkor Micro lenses:

Next is aperture comparison, starting from f1 to f6, with the lens mounted only with adapters, no bellows:

Nikkor 19mm f/2.8 Macro lens at f/1

Nikkor 19mm f/2.8 Macro lens at f/1

Nikkor 19mm f/2.8 Macro lens at f/2

Nikkor 19mm f/2.8 Macro lens at f/2

Nikkor 19mm f/2.8 Macro lens at f/3

Nikkor 19mm f/2.8 Macro lens at f/3

Nikkor 19mm f/2.8 Macro lens at f/4

Nikkor 19mm f/2.8 Macro lens at f/4

Nikkor 19mm f/2.8 Macro lens at f/5

Nikkor 19mm f/2.8 Macro lens at f/5

Nikkor 19mm f/2.8 Macro lens at f/6

Nikkor 19mm f/2.8 Macro lens at f/6

and here's the 100% crop from each of the above pictures:

Nikkor 19mm f/2.8 Macro lens at f/1 (100% crop)

Nikkor 19mm f/2.8 Macro lens at f/1 (100% crop)

Nikkor 19mm f/2.8 Macro lens at f/2 (100% crop)

Nikkor 19mm f/2.8 Macro lens at f/2 (100% crop)

Nikkor 19mm f/2.8 Macro lens at f/3 (100% crop)

Nikkor 19mm f/2.8 Macro lens at f/3 (100% crop)

Nikkor 19mm f/2.8 Macro lens at f/4 (100% crop)

Nikkor 19mm f/2.8 Macro lens at f/4 (100% crop)

Nikkor 19mm f/2.8 Macro lens at f/5 (100% crop)

Nikkor 19mm f/2.8 Macro lens at f/5 (100% crop)

Nikkor 19mm f/2.8 Macro lens at f/6 (100% crop)

Nikkor 19mm f/2.8 Macro lens at f/6 (100% crop)

From f/1 to f/3 sharpness is outstanding. Diffraction is evident from f/5. Vignetting is little at f/1, almost gone at f/2 and absent at f/3.

This lens has no distortion, because was meant to reproduce reality as "real" as possible.

For magnification comparison you can see what the Nikkor 105mm VR Micro lens does at 1:1:

Thanks to Fabrizio Belardetti for the great review. There is not much additional information available online for this lens. I was only able to find a brief description on naturfotograf and savazzi. As mentioned already, this lens is hard to get even on eBay - I found one for $1,380.00.

Update: I posted some additional sample and setup images here.

If you want to write a guest post for NikonRumors, you can contact me here with your topic suggestions. I have already received over 200 emails and I am slowly going through them (so far I have responded to half of them).

This entry was posted in Nikon Lenses, [NR] Reviews and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.
  • mshi


  • Tim

    Another great guest post! Admin, this was an excellent idea – keep them coming!

    • Discontinued


  • Funduro

    Whoa that’s a unique lens.

    • Xscream

      I could really use this lens for my research! Now how to get my supervisor so far as to buy this?

      • Chris Lilley

        Unless your research is in antiques collecting, you can get the same magnification for much less money using a modern microscope lens mounted on bellows or on a 200mm lens (depending on whether its a finite or infinite objective).

  • Joseph

    wow, awesome!!

    I’m kinda disappointed there isn’t more info and example pictures. I’m assuming this lens is mostly for flat or mostly flat objects??

  • JorPet

    Another amazing guest post! Very interesting lens and pictures.

  • Theo

    Thanks for the Guest Post once again! 🙂

    Interesting to see some real-life pictures.

  • Mock Kenwell

    Wow. You have to be supremely secure in your manhood to attach this lens to your DSLR.

    • aetas

      I can already hear the questions: Do you attach your lens to that thing? or Is that to protect your camera with the lens off.

  • Nice post on an interesting optic I didn’t even know existed…
    …but this had me confused from the get-go.

    I spent the whole post wondering:
    1. Okay, what the heck is this for?
    2. Nikon calls this Macro, but their macros they call Micro… so does this take really large things and make them small?
    3. I can’t wait to see examples of what this puppy does.

    Well, Only point 2 was really answered. From what I gather it’s just an EXTREME macro with an EXTREME shallow depth of field? And i guess 3 was sorta answered… would have liked to see more.

    …Still don’t know what it’s for really… and I can tell this was written by someone who’s English isn’t extremely fluent. The structure of the writing was a bit… thrown together.

    • Okay, Bjørn Rørslett’s description answered my questions. This is a true Macro lens with 20x extreme magnification designed for lab use, but with adapters (I got this part) they can be used on SLRs.

    • Mock Kenwell

      Hmm. I thought the English was quite good, actually. There is certainly the bare minimum of information though, that’s for sure. Tell us more! If you want to see what this puppy can do, check out Fabrizio’s Web site and click the Macro tab. That lens gets crazy close. Looks like loads of fun.

    • @Sean Molin (and others who are confused about Nikon’s Macro/Micro)

      Macro=Greater than 1:1 (i.e. Greater than Life Size) Magnifications

      Micro=Up to 1:1 (i.e. Up to Life Size, but not to exceed) Magnifications

      Thus all Micro Nikkors are 1:1 or less.

  • preston

    Thanks for the interesting post.

  • cool post and pix! thanks!

    i’d like to see some outdoor shots or ‘normal’ shooting with this 😀

    • I’ve added some insects shots in macro section on my website, and posted to admin some setup pics.

      • thanks, I created another post with the images you sent me

  • CP

    How can a f2.8 lens shoot at f1? Something is amiss

    • Xscream

      That had me wondering as well…

      • Numbers on the barrel are just indexes for Multiphot system, it’s not an f/1.

        • Jason

          Can you elaborate a little more?

        • I think they are stops, 1=f2.8 2=f4 3=f5.6 and so on to 6=f16

  • n a

    say hello to my little friend

  • wow ..thanks admin for posting this .Shall be forwarding this to my friends 🙂

    what a lens 🙂

  • facebooked it! that’s a lot of fun for a tiny lens!

  • and i dont know how i missed it, but it can cover 4″x5″ ? at that size and aperture? that is a real miracle!

  • david leong

    Outstanding……. another lense i am sure many like me are UNAWARE off…. wonder what else is out there !

  • SZRimaging

    Hey, these guest posts have been awesome so far! Congrats to you, admin, on getting these going. And thanks to the guest posters as well for fun, interesting things to read.

  • george

    for all the digital newcomers….
    nikon used to be a kikcing ass company, they didnt made jokes like now !!!

  • Vlad

    I am just pointing out the obvious here, but it does look like a very small, stubbly penis on the thick D3s body.

    • 200

      Nice post…. I was just about to post a stubby penis comment too. You have to be very secure with yourself to use that lens in public. lol

  • Kingyo

    this is very cool, I like seeing these quirky unexpected Nikon setups 🙂

  • Chris Lilley

    The aperture ring is not, as stated in the review, marked from f/1 to f/6. It is marked from 1 to 6, where 1 corresponds to wide open (f/2.8) and thus, 2 to 6 correspond to f/4 to f/16.

    Also, even wide open, at the rated 20x the effective aperture would be (20 +1)*2.8 = f/58.8 which would be fine on the original multiphot but is severely diffraction limited on todays small sensors (full frame and dx).

    An interesting relic for collectors, but an impractically slow lens for the rated magnification on modern sensors.

  • big eater

    I’m waiting till the VRII version comes out. Anyone know when it’s scheduled for release?

  • Johan

    Here’s the device designed to use those lenses:

    Looks like it’s made for a very different conjugate ratio than what you get when mounted directly to the DSLR – is there another lens inside the adapters you use? magnifications is very useful to “zoom in” to the area you’re interested in.

  • Narna

    Another intersting and informative guest article. Thanks 🙂

  • Wow, I have two of these, a 19 and the 35 mm and i’ve had them kicking around for a while not knowing with to do with them except that they looked cool. I know that to do with them now, sell them!

    • And I bought one! Thank you, looking forward to it 🙂

  • Robertv

    Firefox report for this page:
    Content Encoding Error
    The page you are trying to view cannot be shown because it uses an invalid or unsupported form of compression.
    * Please contact the web site owners to inform them of this problem.

  • carlgo

    Awesome article. Appreciate the hard work that went into the presentation.

  • This lens has no…

    “This lens has no distortion, because was meant to reproduce reality as “real” as possible.”

    ROFL… yup… it’s also because it was made in a factory down a street called Real St. 😀

  • captaindash

    I don’t understand why macro lenses are for close-up details like the eye of a bug. I’m assuming macro comes from macroscopic, which refers to details on things that are easily visible to the naked eye and don’t require lens magnification. Most of what people refer to as macro photography is not that. Shouldn’t they (by definition since they are close up magnification lenses) all be called micro lenses if they help us see things we can’t easily see without magnification? (I guess any lens could technically be a macro lens if you had a high enough pixel count though)

    Can anybody shed some light on this for me please?

    • Brett R. Toomey

      Photomacrography = 1:1 to 50:1
      Photomicrography = 25:1 to 1500:1

  • Back to top