We put together this guide to the best macro lens for Nikon cameras in 2023 so you can get up close and personal to your photography subject.
Whether you want to discover the wonderful world of macro photography, or just want to experiment with close focusing for your next portrait, we’ve got you covered!
The best macro lenses offer features sure as image stabilization, a versatile aperture range, and above all, incredible image quality.
So grab your Nikon DSLR or mirrorless camera, and discover with us the lenses for macro shooting of the year.
1. Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Di VC USD Macro
The Tamron SP 90mm F/2.8 Di VC USD 1:1 Macro lens is a great choice for anyone with a full-frame Nikon DSLR.
Tamron produces high quality lenses for multiple different brands. This third-party option is one of the best macro lenses for Nikon bodies for multiple reasons.
It’s quite reasonably priced at around $649. This is a little more expensive than some of the other options on this list, but considering all of the features that this Tamron glass offers, it is well worth the cost and you will definitely get your use out of it.
Lenses like this one are very versatile. From portraiture to macro photography, you can shoot virtually anything you want.
The fast f/2.8 maximum aperture gives you much more control in low-light conditions, a quality already revered by any Nikon users and fans. The nine rounded aperture blades will also create beautifully circular bokeh blurring in your backgrounds, which creates a smooth backdrop to separate your subject.
The new and improved ultrasonic focus motor for this particular Tamron macro lens helps you to focus more quickly and accurately than previous models.
Fast focusing capabilities are important for most types of photography, but especially so for macro shooting. If your subject is a small insect, for example, or a delicate flower easily ruffled by a breeze, your focus needs to be perfectly in line with those tiny movements.
It is much more difficult, especially with shallower depth of fields, to focus on the subjects of your macro photography adventures, so having a reliably fast autofocus is important.
The Tamron SP 90mm F/2.8 Di VC USD 1:1 Macro lens is equipped with an excellent vibration compensation (VC) feature, which is made to reduce image shake for handheld photography. This macro lens also has XY-shift compensation to further enhance the vibration reduction abilities of the VC feature.
The dust-resistant and moisture-proof construction reinforce this lens’ sturdiness and durability. The advanced coatings do a great job of reducing flare and ghosting, which is especially difficult to control when you are shooting with wider apertures.
Although fluorine coatings are quite standard nowadays, the front element of this Tamron glass has a new type of durable fluorine coating to repel condensation from forming and the smudging often caused by fingerprints.
This reinforces the clarity of images and you won’t have to worry about cleaning your lenses as often, so it’s a small addition that will make a huge difference – especially for those of you who often take your work outdoors.
This macro lens will reproduce life size images of your subject because of the 1:1 maximum magnification of this focal length. It has a minimum focus distance of 30cm from the sensor, so you are technically able to focus a little closer than that.
This is a large, solidly built lens that feels really well-balanced on a full-frame Nikon body.
Though it is designed for use with full-frame sensors, you do have the option to use it on an APS-C sensor. If you do put this lens on a crop sensor body, take note that the focal length will change to become roughly 145mm.
Overall, it’s a durable lens with an excellent build quality. This lens is beautifully versatile and has incredible value for money, so you can rest assured it will live up to expectations.
2. Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro
This Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro lens has a beautiful focal length and subsequent versatility, which means it has excellent value for money given its affordable price tag and amazing performance.
Designed for use on full-frame Nikon DSLRs, this lens works really well on Canon and Nikon bodies. It can technically also be used on APS-C sensored bodies, which -for Nikon crop sensored bodies specifically- changes the focal length to roughly 158mm.
The performance of this Sigma lens is similar to that of the Canon and Nikon equivalents, but without the price tag.
Sigma has a reputation for producing high quality glass and this macro lens definitely lives up to those expectations.
The Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro lens has a 1:1 magnification ratio when used at its closest focusing distance of 12.3 inches. Because this lens produces life size images of the subjects, this lens does not produce any kind of distortion.
Without worrying about distortion, you can easily use this lens for close-ups, portraits, landscapes, and even some sports photography.
This lens is well known for being impressively sharp to all corners of the frame, but its sharpness peaks around f/2.8 to f/4.
This fast glass also has great colour correction and chromatic aberration control, the latter being controlled even better than the Nikon equivalent.
The only downside to this lens is the lack of any type of weather sealants, so be careful when going outdoors in damp or dusty situations. Aside from this, the build quality is quite good and it’s a solid, durable lens to carry around in your camera bag.
This Sigma macro lens has 62mm filter threads to support 62mm filters and lens hoods. The purchase of this lens comes with a hood adapter, lens hood, and front and rear lens caps.
Keep in mind that this lens can extend up to 1.8 inches when focusing, so for smaller, live subjects like insects, this could scare them off or otherwise disrupt your scene. As long as you’re aware of this moving component and make the appropriate adjustments though, it’s not the biggest deal and shouldn’t cause any problems.
This is a very reliable prime macro lens that you can literally use for any type of photography. Despite the lack of weather sealants, we strongly recommend looking into this more affordable third-party lens for your Nikon DSLRs.
3. Nikon AF-S 105mm f/2.8G VR IF-ED Micro
One of the reasons why this Nikon AF-S 105mm f/2.8G VR IF-ED Micro lens is one of the best macro lenses for Nikon is because Nikon lenses are designed specifically for use with Nikon bodies. This macro lens also has a great build quality.
It retails for just under $900, making it one of the more expensive options on this list, but given all the features and qualities that it has to offer, it has fantastic value for money.
Lenses like this one are great to have in your bag because you can use them for macro photography, closeups, and virtually anything else you want. With that kind of unrestricted versatility in mind, you can justify the higher price tag.
Its compact and lightweight design adds to the portability element. There is really no reason why not to bring this along on your macro shooting adventures – or any other photography adventures, since you can use it for anything.
The Nikon AF-S 105mm f/2.8G VR IF-ED Micro has a Nano-Crystal coating and ED glass element to reduce chromatic aberrations and flare.
It also has Vibration Reduction II (VR II) technology to enhance image stabilization and overall image quality.
The internal focusing element is a huge bonus because it’s fast, quiet, and doesn’t alter the length of the lens in any way. In addition to this, the optical stabilization is excellent.
This lens is among Nikon’s sharpest, and considering the cost, you really can’t get a sharper, quality lens for a price like this. It produces amazingly sharp images, even in low light conditions, thanks to the maximum aperture of f/2.8.
This lens also offers 1:1 magnification. It produces life-size images at the minimum focus distance, so you can shoot literally any subject without concerns of distortion.
This macro lens has a minimum focus distance of 12 inches.
Its front element supports 62mm front filters.
Made of a hard black composite material, the sleek black design also features gold text and accents as do the other Nikkor lenses. The rubberized grip on the manual focus ring helps with handling.
For its image sharpness, portability, and advanced coatings and image stabilization, this lens has an absolutely amazing value for money. If you have the budget to invest in this glass, you will have gained a lens without limits that you can use everywhere to shoot everything.
4. Nikon AF-S DX 85mm f/3.5G VR Micro
This lens is a more affordable option from Nikon’s range of macro lenses, designed specifically for the APS-C sensors used in Nikon DX DSLR bodies.
A DX body’s 15.8 by 23.6mm sensor is specific to this type of camera body. This lens is one of the best macro lenses for a Nikon camera because it was truly designed specifically for Nikon DX bodies.
This lens on a DX body sees the same angle of view as a 135mm lens on a full-frame body.
It autofocuses extremely well, even on the cheaper DX bodies, which is great for anyone who frequently uses autofocus in their macro shooting endeavours.
Many people with macro lenses choose to use manual focus because it gives them more control, but it varies from situation to situation; ultimately, it’s up to you to decide what will work best for you, taking into consideration what and where you’re shooting.
One of the best features of this lens is the manual focus override. To switch from AF to manual, all you need to do is turn the focus ring and the manual focus engages.
If you’re planning on switching often, or like the idea of that kind of flexibility between AF and manual focus, this could be the macro lens for you.
We recommend this macro lens for several reasons. The Vibration Reduction (VR) is impressive for a lens of this price range and really helps control image shake when you are shooting handheld.
The aperture is not as wide as the other options we have, but unless you have a specific need for a shallower depth of field or you plan on doing a lot of low-light shooting, the f/3.5 maximum aperture is still more than acceptable.
You will still see some soft, rounded bokeh in the background of your images thanks to the rounded aperture blades in this lens.
Macro lenses with 85mm focal lengths produce minimal distortion, but you can easily correct it in post-production so it’s not a big deal at all. This lens still works beautifully for portraiture and other closeups, and of course for macro shots.
You won’t lose any of the multifunctionality except for in the most specific, professional circumstances.
This Nikon lens shoots life-sized images at its closest focusing distance of 0.9 feet.
It also supports 52mm front filters.
One of the best aspects of this macro lens is its small, compact design. When combined with the easy manual focus override and affordable cost, this is a great lens for beginners or for those of you with a more limited budget.
5. Nikon AF-S DX 40mm f/2.8G Micro
This is another option for anyone with a Nikon DX body, the only huge differences being the lower cost and shorter focal length.
Since a DX body’s sensor is a 15.8 x 23.6mm sensor, this lens would not work on a full-frame 35mm sensor.
As the rule goes, a full-frame lens can be used on a crop sensor body. By doing so, the focal length is extended.
On the other hand, a crop sensor lens cannot be used on a full-frame body because it would not cover the sensor and would result in really dark vignetting that you could not fix in post-production.
This lens is very affordable and is a significantly more compact, lightweight lens than others on this list.
Despite having a shorter focal length than the other lenses mentioned above, the Nikon AF-S DX 40mm f/2.8G Micro still creates life-sized images of subjects when focused as close as possible.
This lens creates tack sharp images that focus from infinity and autofocuses to 64 inches.
The dust and waterproof rubber sealing mount for Nikon makes this a great, affordable choice for outdoor macro shooting.
The aspherical lenses and ED glass elements enhance the overall image quality. The amazing optical performance contributes to this macro lens’ good value for money.
You also have the convenience of a M/A mode for quick transitions between manual and autofocus.
This is the most affordable option on the list. It provides a wider field of view than the other options while still maintaining its status as a macro lens.