Legacy macro lens recommendation: 105/4 AIS Micro Nikkor


Mu-43 Regular
Jun 10, 2010
I am happy to report that the AIS Micro Nikkor 105/4 shines on the E-PL1 in terms of contrast and sharpness.

Of all the macro lenses I have/know of -- this one has the least number of glass elements -- 5 elements in 3 groups (closely followed by the Kiron 105/2.8 lens'es 6 elements in 6 groups) and it shows in the edge acuity and overall "bite" of the results.

I have not used this lens much in my SLR days because it only goes to 1:2 life-size. But now with the 2x crop factor, I think this will be a staple lens in my arsenal. Am glad that I have two of them -- one AI and the other AIS with minor mechanical differences but optically identical to each other.

Do yourself a favor and grab one from KEH/the onlineauction site, you won't be disappointed!


Black damselfly: E-PL1 + 105mm f4 AIS Micro Nikkor
A little less than 1:2 life-size, no cropping

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Mu-43 Top Veteran
Jun 26, 2010
Key West FL
Of all the macro lenses I have/know of -- this one has the least number of glass elements -- 5 elements in 3 groups ...

The old SMC Pentax-M 100mm f/4 used a very similar design, also 5 elements in 3 groups. I've only recently been using it on m43, but so far its been very good.

I used one of the Micro-Nikkor 105 f/4 lenses for quite a number of years, back when I shot film in the waning decades of the previous millennium. It proved to be a stellar lens. It's good to see it works well on digital.

The design is such that it should pose no difficulties for the sensor. Both the Pentax and the Nikkor f/4's are not true telephoto designs. They are, instead, merely long focus designs with the optics a long distance, roughly equal to their focal lengths, from the film/sensor. In fact, if you cut the barrel of the Micro-Nikkor it will easily cover the largest 120 negative, 6x9, and possibly larger. In fact, the original version of this lens was the Bellow-Nikkor 105mm f/4. That lens had exactly the same optics, though none were multicoated, mounted in a "short mount" barrel for use on a bellow only. It would focus to infinity when mounted on Nikon's PB-4.

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