Nikon AF-S DX Micro 85mm f/3.5G VR review

The Nikon AF-S DX Micro 85mm f/3.5G VR is the longest of Nikon’s DX format macro lenses

Nikon AF-S DX Micro 85mm f/3.5G VR
(Image: © Nikon)

Digital Camera World Verdict

It’s two-thirds of an f/stop slower than Nikon’s AF-S DX Micro 40mm lens and not quite as sharp but, for macro photography, it’s a much more useful focal length, enabling a more comfortable working distance for extreme close-ups. It also adds Vibration Reduction, or optical image stabilization, but that’s more of a benefit for general shooting, using the lens as a short telephoto prime with an effective focal length of 127.5mm on APS-C format cameras.


  • +

    Internal focusing

  • +

    Useful focal length

  • +

    3-stop optical VR


  • -

    Mediocre wide-aperture sharpness

  • -

    Not full-frame compatible

  • -

    Quite pricey to buy

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As an ‘AF-S DX’ lens, the Nikon AF-S DX Micro 85mm f/3.5G VR is purpose built for APS-C format Nikon DSLRs. A bonus of this is that it’s smaller and less than half the weight of Nikon’s full-frame compatible AF-S 105mm f/2.8 G IF ED VR Micro. However, it’s not that much cheaper to buy and, naturally, if you upgrade to a full-frame camera at some point, you’d need to trade-in the lens for something else. For macro photography on a DX format Nikon, there’s a lot to be said for buying the full-frame compatible Sigma Macro 105mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM or the latest version of the Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Di VC USD Macro instead, which are around the same price.


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Matthew Richards

Matthew Richards is a photographer and journalist who has spent years using and reviewing all manner of photo gear. He is Digital Camera World's principal lens reviewer – and has tested more primes and zooms than most people have had hot dinners! 

His expertise with equipment doesn’t end there, though. He is also an encyclopedia  when it comes to all manner of cameras, camera holsters and bags, flashguns, tripods and heads, printers, papers and inks, and just about anything imaging-related. 

In an earlier life he was a broadcast engineer at the BBC, as well as a former editor of PC Guide.