Nikon AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 40mm f/2.8G lens samples

I did not see a single preview of the new Nikkor DX Micro 40mm f/2.8G lens online, which is highly unusual compared to previous product releases. There were no YouTube videos, product shots or sample photos taken with the lens. As far as I know, there were no press events scheduled around the world where the major industry players could have a quick hands-on with the new product. My information is that nobody has seen or touched the new lens. I could only find some more sample images from Nikon AustraliaNikon India and Nikon France (on flickr):

and some more samples from the I am Nikon blog:

Amazon and Adorama are taking pre-orders for that lens.

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  • My theory is that Nikon changed the way they announce new products. Not sure if this was an exception to the rule or all future announcements will be done this way. I will know more in the next few days.

    • texajoe

      @admin. Was this lens predicted?

      • no, after the 85mm Micro DX I would never think they will come out with another Micro lens

        • Paul

          @Admin. I am just curious because I think you do a great job, but was there a patent for the optics on the radar at all? Did you search through the tips you were given over the last year or so to see if it was a rumor you dismissed?

    • The invisible man.

      Maybe that was a leak like for the Af-s 50mm f/1.8 ?
      Nikon French website took for ever to upload that new lens (or they are slow, or on strike !)
      Is Nikon announcements always worldwide ?

    • PTG

      Is that a consequence of your success? Nikon becoming more and more tight-lipped.

      • Steve

        It could be that even Nikon isn’t excited about this so no-one bothered to leak it. The equivalent to a minor redesign of the Nikon strap. Who’d bother to leak that, or even announce it ? The lack of fanfare around this lens indicates Nikon’s attitude to this product.

    • PHB

      Maybe, or maybe this is due to plans being in flux. Right now Nikon will be making what they can make, not necessarily what they planned to make. So a lens planned for next month might get pushed 12 months out till parts are ready, a lens planned for 12 months out might be made instead.

      It looks like a stunning decision though. I did wonder why Nikon would be doing this on top of the 35 f/1.8 DX. Its not that much difference in length. But the bokeh and the macro capability look like winners to me.

      Looks to me like Nikon are doing two things here. One is to make a lens that can sell in high volume. The 35 f/1.8 was a smash hit, this one should be as well. The other is to encourage the less serious amateur to make a start on a serious lens collection and become more serious.

      Looks like we can also tear up that loony lens list of a few days back as well. It was idiotic.

      • Roger

        Sure was loony, and that was obvious from day 1.

  • The invisible man.

    I can’t stand the wait until August, why July have so many days ?

  • Robert

    First the 35/1.8G, 50/1.8G, now a normal macro – they’re all the first a kit lens owner would buy when he/she wants to go dig deeper into the hobby. Easier to swap a single body kit than jumbing brands when you already have a good system built. Perfect business sense from Nikon, and once again they came out with something that took the photogeeks by complete surprise.

    This isn’t a race for technology anymore, digital SLR has been mature for years already. Which is why it makes perfect sense to launch volume sellers as opposed to flagships like most of the photogeeks here desire, but in reality few buy.

    • Steve

      So where is the fast standard dx zoom or fast telephoto dx zoom ? These are the staples of any system but so far we have only the extremely expensive and overweight 17-55. What about a true portrait dx prime – a 55 f/1.8 or something ? What about a fast dx wide angle – a 24 f/2 ? Any dx wide angle prime ? What about an f/1.4 dx lens ? What about….

      There are plenty of lenses that would outsell this one. If they had made it a 40mm f/2 1:2 macro it would have fitted their description of a dual purpose macro and portrait lens better and only cost a little more….and I would be interested.

      As it is, some ppl who don’t understand what they’re buying will get one, use it briefly, and then it will become a paperweight because it’s too short to be a useful macro and too short/not fast enough to be a useful portrait lens. There’ll be ton on Ebay second-hand and new sales will dry to a trickle because of this.

      The only chance it has is that it produces lovely images – but many ppl who buy this won’t be able to assess its image quality well enough to appreciate this and will just go back to using the kit zoom for convenience.

      • Alex

        Push the ISO up one stop, even on the D3100, and all the kit lenses (18-xxx’s) become f/2.8-4. 😉

        Remember, as the sensor gets better, so do the lenses. The results you can get with D3100’s ISO6400 is leaps and bounds better than any compact P&S or camera phone in the same setting.

        The only time when you need clean ISO12800 is when you shoot in complete darkness. Otherwise, even f/4 and ISO1600 (on the current generation of cameras) is acceptable to 95% of the DSLR population.

        Although the 35DX is great for general purpose lens, it doesn’t exactly excel at anything other than shooting f/1.8 in the dark. The 40DX, looks tack sharp even wide open, and the bokeh looks delicious. I can see these two lenses sell like hotcakes in pairs; half of my friends’ pictures posted on Facebook involves close ups of random stuff and/or food they eat, and the other half are all arm-length-self-portraits and sceneries.

        I think Nikon nailed it this time. It’s not always about the pros.

        • Stefan

          Not quite correct – your 18-55 will (@55 f/5.6) behave like a 85mm f/8 in terms of DOF and bokeh. That is, completely unusable for portraits.

        • Steve

          “Push the ISO up one stop, even on the D3100, and all the kit lenses (18-xxx’s) become f/2.8-4.”

          You’ve got to be kidding right ?

          • Bruce

            No, I think he was being serious!

            I mean why bother buying a 85/1.4 when you can just pump the ISO 3 stops on a 85/3.5 DX and get the same result!!


            • Steve

              Well I guess we all have to learn how lenses etc work. It is quite complicated as changing one setting can have several effects and it can be hard to learn to see what those differences are. I remember going to camera clubs back in the days of slide shows and feeling quite overwhelmed and very wary of the know-it-all snobs. These days I wonder if people are being sarcastic !

              Anyway, time to call this lens for what it really is – a product shot lens.

              I dunno why manuf. bother to get short focal length lenses to go to 1:1 when the working distance makes it so difficult to actually take well-lit pictures. Why not do 1:2 and push the max aperture a bit more ? Besides anything else, people can argue that an f/2.5 is faster…

            • abvw

              You guys honestly thinks any entry level consumer is going to give a rat’s ass over half a stop of light?

              Even wide open at f/4, you will still “wow” the said consumers consider majority of them come from sensors too small for DOF.

              Like I’ve said, general consumers are happy with f/4 and ISO1600. Its only us geeks that pixel peep at 100% searching for noise at ISO200

  • Jabs

    Nikon updated to a similar look for all their web sites and then perhaps will now do things there instead.
    Look here at Nikon’s USA web site – up from today or late last night.

  • Jabs
  • Interesting. Nice samples, but why? Honestly, what can this do better than a 50mm 1.4/1.8? (Other than superhuman 6″ min-focus distance compared to the 18″ min-focus for the 50mm 1.4g) Then again, the price isn’t a bank buster and it looks like it could come in handy for HDSLR users.

    • STRB

      It does 1:1 macro. The nifty fifties do about 1:6 or so.

    • Jabs

      @Jason – Have you ever used a Micro-Nikkor? If you have, it would be self-explanatory. Different glass for different purposes even when they have the same focal length.
      I used an 55mm F2.8 plus 50mm F1.4 and F1.8 for differing benefits. Depth of field and out of focus points plus WHAT you are shooting makes a difference. Macros work best for me for Product or Equipment shots of some equipment while ‘normal’ lenses work for isolation, the macro works best for inclusive shots where isolation would have only a part of the image in focus or even sharp – end of rant.
      50 F1.8 for lightness or street shooting
      50 F1.4 for speed and bright viewfinder and higher shutter speeds/better bokeh, eg
      55 F2.8 Macro for when I want the sharpest image with everything in focus or shooting smaller objects and don’t want them to look like toys or miniature things.

      • Do you think your 55 f2.8 is sharper than your 50 f1.4 at higher f-stops?

        • Jabs

          The answer is complex as it depends on what you are shooting plus that was with film but it also translates to digital.
          In sharpness I found the 50 1.8 AIS manual sharper than the 50 F1.4 for portraits or general use (though the 50 F1.2 and 1.4 had better or more pleasing bokeh) and such but for objects and flowers or such, the 55 F2.8 was the sharpest and surprised me. The 105 F2.5 was sharp and so was the cheap 75-150 F3.5 E series zoom which beat a lot of Nikon’s premium lenses. Each lens has a specific purpose for me and I had about 30+ lenses, all Nikon, so I shot with most of them except the very long ones (above 400mm) – had in longer lenses 180 F2.8ED-IF, 200 F3.5 ED-IF AF (from the F3AF) and 300 F4.0 ED-IF AF plus the old 50-300 ED-IF (huge 95mm filter size front element) zoom. I shot with filters (A2 Nikon) and polarizers a lot, so I do things differently. Macros are specific lenses that I use for fine details in equipment shots and not for people except young people – too sharp and you will see people’s wrinkles or such flaws.

        • Jabs

          @Lewis – almost lost your question – YUP at higher F-stops (above say F11) I thought that the 55 F2.8 was without peer in the Nikon lens line and thus sharper than any other 50mm Nikon to me – Macros are the opposite of fast glass as they are optimized for High F-stop use and also close up work as in CRC (close range or ratio correction) while fast glass is optimized for lower F-stops or wide open use. 60 F2.8 AF is different from 55 2.8 AIS, but still very sharp. I like both of them for different reasons though.

        • andi

          Do you think your 55 f2.8 is sharper than your 50 f1.4 at higher f-stops?

          Yes, definitely.

      • @Jabs – Yes, actually I have an older Tamron 90mm 2.8 Macro (the only non-Nikon lens I actually liked). Clearly the 40mm would be a nice addition to my bag for said work. I just wonder for non-macro type use, would the 50mm be a better bet if the f-stop difference wasn’t taken into consideration?

        • Jabs

          @Jason – I personally am thinking about this 40mm Macro but I would like to see how it works on FX for me. I have not used the lens so I cannot make a real comment – but I like any Nikon Micro-Nikkor for certain subjects no matter what other people say – I like things sharp all over and just not obsessed with only one side of the face being in focus and the rest gone blurry.

          Every lens choice depends on your shooting style and the subject matter. I once used several Nikon lens to shoot street shots in Manhattan (NY, NY) and used several bodies and including a 35-70 F2.8 Zoom plus a 55 F2.8 Micro-Nikkor. Since I was also filming store fronts with neon lights/signs, then I used the 55 F2.8 Macro on that and it was awesome. For people shots on that trek, the 50 1.8 was best, but for buildings – the 55 F2.8 was better (less curvature and buildings need more F-stop or depth of field – think (Flatiron building in NY).

          For certain non-Macro work, all of Nikon’s Micro-Nikkors act like well made regular lenses at that particular aperture (like a F2.8 will act like any F2.8 Nikon almost) to me. Are you asking would the 40mm Macro be better than a 55mm Macro or a 50mm Nikon lens? – Answer – depends on what you shoot.

  • santela

    It’s probably because no one gives a crap about a lens like this, and Nikon knows it.
    BTW this is one ugly piece of glass.

    • This is a part of the volume game. It rakes in the dough that Nikon uses to develop and build state of the art FF cameras that only pros buy in small numbers and geeks drool for!

  • Chris

    Our “friend” Ken Rockwell already reviewed the lens, including some images from Nikon-Asia. 🙂

    • IanZ28

      Wonder how much money he makes begging.

      • The invisible man.

        Maybe we should call him Ken Rumors.

    • broxibear

      I know you can change EXIF data but the data on those Rockwell images says April 3rd 2011…interesting, that’s quite a while ago ?

    • He actually really called it “review”, I though you were joking… the worst part is that some people believed it because they sent me the link as the first and only review of the new lens… shouldn’t this be illegal?

      • hexx

        aaah, so this is what you meant by your tweet 🙂 wasn’t sure if you mean Ken’s ‘review’ . the best bit are sample images which link to nikon site 😀

  • EvanK

    I saw a bunch of sample images on the Nikon International site.

  • Karlosak

    Even more secretive, way to go Nikon! 🙁

  • Nick
    • no more info than what is in the press release

  • broxibear

    “Not only is it ideal for macro, faithfully reproducing objects, subtle features and capturing hidden worlds of pattern, texture and details brilliantly, it’s also superb for portraits and general shots.”
    According to the Nikon UK Blog

  • The invisible man.

    I mostly do insects in macro and DX 40mm (60mm FX) is to short, 105mm FX keep a “safe” distance allowing the insects not to fly away before you can shoot.

    • abvw

      Isn’t that what the 85mm vr is for?

      • The invisible man.

        No, when I say “safe distance” mean that if you get to close to the insect, it fly away !

        I noticed that because I started macro with a 50mm and when I switched for the AF-s 105mm, it was much easier to catch insects.

        Also the VR is cool for flowers but for insects where you need to shoot at f11-f16 the VR is not usefull, I “freeze” the subject with the flash (SB-900)

        • Alex

          Care to explain?

          Micro 85/3.5VR and Micro 105/2.8VR both have a 1:1 reproduction at roughly 6″.

          85VR is also “longer” on DX than the 105VR on FX.

          • The invisible man.

            I thought you were talking about the 40mm, never mind, sorry Alex. (I still prefer the 105mm vs the 85mm).

  • Damon Widynowski
  • whether this would be a wonderful thing to look forward to ..

  • MB

    The only lens this new 40mm f/2.8 is going to compete with is actually 35mm f/1.8.
    This 40mm is kind of a macro but 35mm is great altogether … I do prefer the great one over kind of macro.
    If it is at least 60mm but than it would compete with 60mm f/2.8, or if 85mm f/3.5 was f/2.8 than this one would be totally pointless …

    • preston

      i don’t understand the “kind of macro” comment. 1:1 reproduction is the same macro performance that all the other Nikkor Micro lenses give you. The focal length doesn’t determine how “macro” it is.

  • NikonD80Still

    First time I see product announcement from Nikon FB page than NikonRumors!!

    Common, don’t sleep and bring us good rumors 😉

    • Canon User

      What’s the point of good rumors if you will not upgrade your equipment? Just blah blah blah, lol! Enjoy your D80!

  • Mock Kenwell

    Hmm. Not sure this lens was begging to be built.

  • A Photographer

    Here are some examples at:{625375253-76xhw5f2f5-76-7151015996}

  • Anonymus Maximus

    I am not surprised by all of this.

    Have commentators already forgotten the disaster in Japan?
    I find it quite logical that Nikon had to change the release schedule in order to bring some non Japan produced items out early to make up the drop in turn over figures that will be caused by lack or scarcity of Japan produced items.

    • ChrisC

      It is also likely to have caused a shake up in the information and product development chains.

      Imagine the source of leaks is a single person and he/she is not currently able to work?

    • Thank you. Glad not the entire world has forgotten that entire NE seaboard of Japan was completely destroyed (and has not, 4 months later, progressed much since 3/11).

  • fordstr

    Man, so much bickering over a sub $300 lens. Congrats for Nikon, better cash flow means better quality, more variety, and a higher frequency of release down the line.

  • Bob

    @admin–can you run a survey as to who would buy this 40mm lens or the 85mm DX macro?

    • preston

      I don’t think NikonRumors readers are the target audience for this lens, so doing a survey probably won’t mean much. This lens will be a smash hit compared to the DX 85mm micro VR for one reason and one reason only – PRICE! The 85 micro was a failure (about 11,000 sold per year in 2 years since release, compared to over 42,000 per year of 105mm micro VR) because it’s too expensive for the masses, while everybody else would prefer to get either a more expensive 105mm or a cheaper 3rd party lens. My guess is that this new 40mm macro will take a huge bite out of the Sigma and Tamron macro sales numbers. You can bring up all the downsides to a 40mm macro all day (see the dozens of posts above) but do you think that the Best Buy “saleman” is going to know what affect a 2″ working distance will have on the ability to have a properly lit subject without adding artificial light?

  • paf


  • PiXLPeeper

    A macro lens with only 40mm and DX? = useless!
    Get a Tokina 100mm f/2.8 Macro Pro, better than Nikon’s 105mm at half the price!

    • Jimmy

      Errrm….. don’t think so.

    • D-RiSe

      hello no, tried it.. abberations everywhere, not very accurate autofocus, and besides that, butt ugly piece of gear 🙂

      • PiXLPeeper

        You must have stumbled upon a bad copy, research the online forums…
        The 100mm Tokina FX Macro lens is great (as well as one of their wide lenses)…
        Are you complaining about slow autofocus? really?… FYI macro photography screams for MANUAL focusing!!

        • rearranged

          Well, the 105 vr is not only a macro lens but also a great general purpose lens for sports and portraits. With the focus limited it autofocuses as fast as the 2.8 nikkor zooms

  • Bryan

    Finally, we got that surprise that Nikon promised us! 😉

  • getanalogue

    this super-sharp general purpose standard lens with additional macro capability makes perfectly sense in light of a rumored 24MP D400, which would outresolve any actual Nikon DX glass

  • teddy

    did you see the bokeh on the rose picture? yuck … >.<

    • preston

      I thought the bokeh was very pleasant compared to my 35mm f/1.8.

  • Jason

    I love macro lenses, and I’ll consider this one if it performs well in IR. It might well do if it lacks nano-crystal coating – sadly, the 60mm/f2.8 and 105mm/f2.8, while being my two favourite visible light lenses, are terrible for IR hotspots.

  • broxibear
  • This stuff sells it self. No one needs a “hands-on preview/review” on a micro DX lens… It’s like a 60 on FX and is sharp… That’s about all anyone would say and that’s all we really get from these ridiculous “OMG HANDS ON FIRST LOOK” type things for any kind of product.

    It’s like let me read the spec sheet and take a couple pictures of the product or stand awkwardly in front of the camera reading off a spec sheet in a boring voice. The real interesting reviews are after people have put the product to practical use.

    • hexx

      big + for this one

      • Jabs

        YUP – keeping it real

  • R R

    I truly believe DX format can be a professional format and it can suffice the need of some professional fields, I respect that. Besides been a commercial photographer, I am a photography teacher and I see how my students most of them have DX format cameras (APS-C in other brands) and I love how Nikon responds (better than other brands) to the DX format users with great lenses like the 17-55mm f2.8 DX and the 35mm f1.8DX sure love to see some real wide angle and fast DX prime, and now this little jewel.

    And I imagine how lucrative the DX format is for Nikon, but I think its time for Nikon to invest on responding to the need of FF users as well, and we truly need a FF camera that is not crazy expensive like the D3x, with HD video like the D3s but with more than 12 MP, come on Nikon is it so hard to understand? doesn’t Nikon have marketing researchers that count us in? I mean the 5d mark II is selling like crazy , Im pretty sure a Nikon camera with pretty much the same features would sell incredible well, and would make our life easier competing with photographers that use the mark II without having to invest like crazy like in my case a D3x for a camera with a high MP count for clients who demand it, a D700 for most of my work so I don’t kill the shutter on my expensive D3x, and a D7000 for video! P L E A S E … Nikon give us a camera that can do all these 3 things in ONE CAMERA!!

    before I jump of a bridge! my shrink is getting rich over this 🙁

    #IAmNikon #IAmWaitingForEverNikon !

  • Mark

    Woah. The Bokeh looks GREAT with this lens. That’s great to see. But it’s a shame only one of the sample photos is an actual MACRO photo; thus far, that is.


  • Crocodilo

    I was one of those eager to get a low cost DX Micro, but 40mm??? I already have a 35 1.8G and a 50 1.8G…

    The 85 DX VR Micro could be great, if it wasn’t for the reports that it does not perform up to the usual macro optical standards, and being an f3.5 doesn’t help either for second role as portrait lens… price point colides with the 60 Micro 2.8, too…

    How about a W I D E and fast DX sub-$250 lens? That’s what I need!

  • Kaze kaze

    my memory tells me there was a tokina version AT-X M35 which is DX 35mm 2.8 Macro back a while ago? (minus the AF-S though, for those who care about “silent + fast autofocus, but you get the PRO treatment from tokina)

  • Jabs

    Simple talk
    When the specs of a Macro lens says that it can shoot up to 2 inches or whatever, it does not mean that you have to shoot at 2 inches ONLY. It is a measurement of the limits of HOW close you can get to your subject to get an IMAGE and not a limit as to your working distance. I have heard this same silly argument for 20+ years when the 55mm F2.8 was introduced to replace the older 55mm F3.5 and it still makes no sense. When Nikon introduced the 60mm F2.8AF, then new arguments popped up as it went 1:1 (a ratio) instead of how the previous Macro lenses got to a 1:1 ratio with bellows or tubes. People seem to not have much reading comprehension and are easily stirred into frenzies by others – spin doctoring sure works to make you an idiot because you fail to learn details or facts instead of relying on sound bites from uninformed people.

    Who shoots flies or small insects at 2 inches away from them unless they are slow moving or dead/tranquilized by YOU – maybe the fly needs to bite you into reality!

    • +1. Tired of hearing the same rediculous argument on this lens. This is a supurb lens and a very affordable one at that. I don’t have a “need” for this lens, but will probably pick one up to play with anyway(I have the 35 1.8G, 50 1.8D and G as well as lots of FX glass).

      Bravo to Nikon. They are not stupid. At least they actually give a damn about the APS-C format, unlike Canon.

  • James E. Donahue

    I Think this is Great that Nikon is coming out with new Fixed focal length lenses for DX. Now how about a 16mm 2,8 DX for the wide angle shooters. @ 279.95 or Less.

  • Q

    No VR, no FX. Why cant Nikon do a real Macro lens? I have the 105 VR. It nice, but not a real macro. Do something that can do magnify, And the autofocus is a joke. 0.5 to ∞ or full. Eh,it is a macro where is the 0 TO 0.75 or so?

    • that’s got to be one of the more useless comments. I also have the 105 VR and its a superb lens. It is a true macro 1:1. Macro at 1:1 has autofocus issues and should never be used because of the VERY shallow depth of field. So macro = VR Off and MANUAL focus, better yet, prefocus, if you can. The Canon 100 L IS, is actually WORSE than the nikon 105 in terms of autofocus. And Sigma’s and Tokina’s offerings as not as versatile with only Tokina’s 100mm coming even CLOSE to the nikon sharpness. I owned all of them and landed and stayed with the Nikon.

      I could go on but oh well. this 40mm looks interesting as an ultrasharp lens but it does have an awkward focal length so it’s purpose might still be discovered? What gets me is that it sits in a gap that makes little sense:
      weird focal length for a macro lens, the 35mm f1.8 is faster, the 60mm macro gives more working distance and, at least over here in europe, you can find them pretty close to the 40mm price range….

      Though I could see this as a general purpose “all rounder” lens actually…

  • MB

    Actually DX has smaller DOF than FX using the same focal length.

  • zen-tao

    Hi people from NR.
    Nikon Co. has scored you one point. That lense was announced in web site while you had no idea of its existence. You might are loosing strings with them to pull.

    • I don’t think so – I was looking to find this lens on the day of the announcement on and couldn’t.

  • Old Timer

    In my humble opinion the reason Nikon has built this lens is thry fold…1st to compete with the Sigma 35mm Macro; 2nd they must have realized that perhaps the 35mmG should have been a macro and 3rdly and must inportant since this is a DX only lens this is not really a 40mm lens but a 60mm in reality….you see old guys like me understand that what a true 85-90 mm lens on an FX camera does for people’s portraits is what a true 60mm lens on a DX does for flowers in reality is a portrait lens for flowers…this might sound weird but when photographing flowers with this lens since it offers a wider field of view that the 60 0r 105 you can cath more detail f what you are photographing with the lens….

  • Old Timer

    Correcting the above Tokina not Sigma makes the 35mm Macro and it is the heck of a lens…this is what Nikon is trying to do..compete against that lens as it is almost sold out everywhere and cost a lot more….I do agree with some of the guys here this lens is a gift at the introductory price and it will go up inprice as it becomes popular that is for sure…

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