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I'm thinking of buying a macro lens am considering the Nikon AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G ED VR.

Is this lens really good for portraits? Where can I find sample pictures taken with this lens? Is it a good choice for a "two in one lens", for both macro and portraits? Are there any specific things I should know about this particular lens?

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Similar, for but Canon: photo.stackexchange.com/questions/12539/… –  mattdm May 29 '11 at 20:49

1 Answer 1

There is a long tradition of using a medium tele macro lens as a portrait lens in the 35mm realm -- the Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 Micro probably being the best example. The 85mm focal length is just about right for a reduced-size sensor (it's more-or-less equivalent to the 105 on a full-frame camera), and macros tend to have very good corrections. The only real problem with this lens is that it's right at the edge of an acceptable speed for portraiture, so you may not be able to isolate the subject from foreground and background elements in quite the way you'd like to. (Macro photography usually demands smaller apertures to get even a substantial part of the subject in focus.) For a dual-purpose lens and staying within the Nikkor line, you'd probably be much more satisfied with the 105. If you don't mind straying off-brand, both Tamron and Sigma offer excellent lenses around the same price point as the Nikkor 85. Tamron's is the SP AF 90mm f/2.8 (I can personally vouch for this design) and Sigma has a 105mm f/2.8 that's within spitting distance price-wise. Either would be an excellent alternative, and you'll be thankful for the extra 2/3 stop wide-open for portraiture.

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