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Reviews on digital imaging, Nikon Cameras, Canon Cameras, Macro, Micro, Telephoto and Super Telephoto lens and all things photo optics and equipment, such as the D5, D500 and D850. My ambition is to provide useful and solid photography tips and information with the best real world reviews of all the photographic gear and astronomy equipment - that I use.

Nikkor 200mm F4 Micro Macro Lens Review
TrueToad / Saturday, September 2, 2017 / Categories: Reviews

Nikkor 200mm F4 Micro Macro Lens Review

Long Macro - Field Review

The Nikkor 200mm F4 is one great example of extreme solid quality with a weighty 2.6 pounds (1185g) of mass.  This macro lens is nothing less than for serious business. Although Nikon has changed the exterior formula for most of it’s newer lens over the years, this is not to say Nikon is not building fine solid lens today; they are. technology advances over time allowing for more composites (a nice way of saying plastics) to replace metal reducing weight and in some cases drop survive-ability. 
Nikkor 200mm f/4

Nikkor 200mm f/4

The Lens: Bottom Line, this is the best, sharpest 200mm Macro lens your money can buy - let me say that again. There is nothing on the market equal to the sharpness of this lens in a macro offering.  This lens excels at close-up photography.  I managed to collect several macro lenses over the years, the 200mm remains my favorite for a number of reasons.  
  1. Extreme Sharpness - edge to edge pure optic performance
  2. Built like a tank - solid metal end to end.
  3. Long working distance, 1.6 feet 
  4. Internal Focus - filters stay put, as well as the barrow length
  5. 2.6 pounds of solid mass, use a common 62mm front Filter Size
  6. Incorporates 2 ED glass elements to ensure pinpoint sharpness
  7. 1:1 reproduction

My other Macro Lens: As comparisons for sharpness

  • Sigma 180mm HSM OS
  • Nikon 105mm 2.8 VR and older105mm D lens
  • Nikkor 60mm 2.8
  • Nikkor 45mm 2.8 PC-E
  • Sigma 150mm HSM

How could my macro work possibly get better? I use the Nikkor 200mm f4 and discovered the perfect macro gem. When I first mounted this lens on my camera I thought oh god what have I done, it was large and heavier than my other lens, then I ventured out and began to explore its capabilities. At first, I was not that impressed (see cons) but after a week and finally figuring out how to best use the lens; my mind is now set – this lens rocks! It is hard to explain why I love this lens, it is like a portal into the small world placing you close and personal with your subjects. 

With the 200mm you have greater working distance than shorter macro lens, this allows you to still fill the frame and acquire fantastic pictures with very sharp detail. This lens starts at F4 and when shooting at the closest 1.6” range your smallest available aperture is F45, YEPO F45. So, lighting will need to be available to use that aperture. For my macro flash system, I and use the R1C1 to light my subjects when needed. 

When the Nikon 200mm for macro work, I find the lens performs well at all apertures, however, I find F15 through F29 to be the sweet spot; depending on your subject.

What Some un-informed People Say: It’s Old Technology, I say It works. People say you have to turn a dial to move to autofocus, I say who cares – turn the freaking knob., I prefer manual focus when working close anyway.  People say it does not have vibration reduction, I say use a tripod.

Here is an example shot on location in natural sunlight using the R1C1 for fill light at F29. See the nice bokeh? Even if you don’t want to do Micro work the lens performs well and has great sharpness and detail as a general use telephoto.


  • A heavy lens; makes hand holding tiresome over time
  • Starting aperture a bit slow f/4 but for macro does not matter
  • Old School Focus with manually actuated switch M/A 
  • No V/R


  • Super Sharp, hard pressed to find a sharper macro
  • Fun to use and a great macro lens
  • Built like a tank

To see more photos shot with this lens visit the Portfolio - insects & flowers

This is an example of shooting in late available light at f5 at about 30 feet away from the bird.  Although I had to crank up the ISO the results are very pleasing, with sharp details shown in the feather area.  

I am still amazed at the sharpness of this lens and the distance it allows you to work and still get 1:1 macro shots - fantastic macro lens, nothing better!

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Photographer's Notes

The Nikkor 200mm F/4 Macro lens is a fine optical instrument with no visible distortion at any distance, incorporates coatings, and 13 elements in 8 groups, with specialize close focus correction.

Best Use Case is for general Macro work and especially great for inscets, spiders & other things you wish to stay at a distance from.

This lens is not for fast moving / action type scenarios due to its slower focus 

Camera Body
  • Nikon D810
  • Nikon D800
Flash Used
  • SU-800
  • SB-R200
Accessories Used
  • R1C1 Wireless Close-up system
  • WR-A10 Wireless Adapter
Original Date12/22/2015 12:01:00 AM


I live at the edge of the forest in semi-moist locations, I enjoy larva, and other delights. Although I am toothless and mostly warty, I am a sight to see.

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2 comments on article "Nikkor 200mm F4 Micro Macro Lens Review"


Bruce Fichelson

You mentioned the R1C1 used with the 200 micro. I'm surprised as I thought the length of the barrel would cause shadows with the flash. Could you comment further on using the lens with the dual flash system? Thanks.



I will add a link to the R1C1 review. Concerning your question on the lens lenght and shadows, the R1C1 system places the flashes at the end of the lens, thus no worries about the flash casting a shadow of the lens.

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