MATTHEW NORDHAGEN :: BLOG

Nikon 55mm Micro f 3.5

May 13th, 2018

Alexandria, Virginia

Despite the trend towards mirrorless cameras replacing the traditional DSLR, part of the reason why I have stayed within the Nikon ecosystem are the choices of high-quality glass at affordable prices. While it is slowly changing in favor of the consumer, mirrorless camera lenses are still expensive with limited variety. This will no doubt change as technology begins to close that price-to-quality gap, but for now DSLR's still have an edge over their mirrorless counterparts. Regardless of system, the cliché still holds true that it is not so much the camera, but the glass that you have in front of it. This is where the Nikon ecosystem of lenses excel and a good example is the Nikon 55mm f 3.5.

I have always been interested in exploring macro photography, but I did not want to invest a lot money. It is generally accepted that the most useful macro lenses are those with longer focal lengths, such as 100mm. This gives you extra distance between you and your subject without interfering with the subject itself or potential light. Focal lengths of 55mm will require you to be considerably closer, which may not be ideal depending on the scenario. Despite its focal length, the Nikkor 55mm f 3.5 is still considered a quality lens at bargain prices. It is not uncommon to find these lenses for $50 and you get massive value for the money. I managed to snag mine for $50 off of Craigslist and I am not disappointed in my purchase. I was aware that the plane of focus in macro photography is quite small, which either requires high f-stops to maintain focus across the entire image, which isn't particularly ideal due to diffraction at higher f-stops, or focus stacking. Rather than deal with focus stacking, I opted to have fun with the small depth-of-field instead. I can certainly see the value of a macro lens of longer focal length, but for $50, or even double that price, you would be hard pressed to find a better lens that can also double as a 'normal' lens for everyday photography.

Huntley Meadows Park, Alexandria, Virginia
Huntley Meadows Park, Alexandria, Virginia
Huntley Meadows Park, Alexandria, Virginia