You may wonder why a review on such an old(er) lens? Well
toad new is not always better. I have had the pleasure of using the newer 105 mm VR model and I can say the older lens is just as sharp and the newer 105. The biggest benefits of the newer model are the speed of focus and VR, other than that this lens is still a great lens.
Nikon got it right when they made this lens for the macro enthusiast and also did a great job with the newer release, nothing is perfect but as far as sharpness goes, this lens is SHARP and easily gets great results out in the field where you use it. In the world of Micro Photography sharpness counts and this lens has it. 105mm Speaking of not being perfect, this lens uses an old push button to engage manual or automatic focus, a bit annoying but I don't care, does not bother me too much since I am not the kind of person who goes from manual focus to automatic that I don't have time to push a button and rotate a dial. The lens does an acceptable job of "automatically" focusing when engaged, it is not the fastest in my bag, and does at time "hunt" for the focus. I use the "limit" feature which helps. All things considered - This lens is near the top of the Micro heap and one of my favorite lens of all times. I have gotten my money's worth, and it is still going strong.
- If I lost this lens or had to replace this lens would I buy the newer model or find a used 105mm older style? Yes, I would probably opt for the newer, only because of the updated VR and no switches to engage the focus mode and faster focus, but not because the newer is sharper; it is because I am like that. That said, I am not looking to replace this little jewel of the bag.
This is a recommended lens for any serious Micro/Macro Nut! You can find them used at very reasonable prices, so check out e bay and begin exploring the world of Macro Photography!
2017 Update: I went ahead and purchased a new 105mm VR lens, it is a good lens. This older 105 is my first love.