NIKKOR Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S Underwater Performance

NIKKOR Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S Underwater Performance

We recently got sent a Nikkor Z MC 105mm Macro lens to test underwater. So we grabbed our Nikon Z6, threw it inside our Isotta Housing with the correct ports and extension to jump in the water at one of our local dive sites Shiprock. 

When it hits.... It is super sharp! 

Lets start positive, when this lens focuses on the subject it is amazingly sharp! No question one of the best 1:1 macro lens on the market. And when I say sharp I mean it! 

Close Focusing

According to the specs this lens will focus to 0.29cm. Testing this underwater it seemed about right. The above photo was taken around 30cm from the subject. 


Slow to focus... Extreme Hunting

So now for the not so good news, unfortunately the Auto Focus on this lens is crazy slow. We also found that it seemed to always hunt to the extreme ends of the focus range. It would sort of get stuck like this, the only way to pull focus was to move the camera away from the subject find something a bit easier for the camera to focus on (eg high contrast) and then go back to the subject. Even at one point we had to turn the camera off and back on again to get it to pull any sort of focus. 

There is a limiter switch on the lens, something that I wish switched on before the dive.... This will stop the extreme hunting, however not any underwater housings will be able to offer a control for this switch. So limited application 

Now to be fair the conditions weren't the best and many people keep their 105mm only for Lembeh Strait but I think there is always a place for shooting with a 105mm. 

I am hoping with a few firmware releases that Nikon will be able to improve the performance of the Auto Focus. 

Should you buy it? 

If you don't already have a 105mm macro lens for your Nikon Z Mirrorless camera that you could use with an FTZ adaptor... YES, the image quality is amazing when the focus hits!  You might also want to consider adding a manual focus ring to your kit bag for this lens. 




Leave a comment