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Nikon 70-180mm
Micro-NIKKOR (1997-
© 2008-2013 KenRockwell.com. All rights reserved.

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Intro   Specifications   Performance   Recommendations

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Nikon 70-180mm

Nikon 70-180mm f/4.5-5.6 AF-D Micro-NIKKOR (FX, DX and 35mm coverage, 62mm filters, 35 oz./990 g, 1.2'/0.37m close focus, about $1,400 used).enlarge. I'd get it at this link directly to them at eBay (see How to Win at eBay).

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June 2013   Nikon Reviews   Nikon Lenses    All Reviews


Introduction       top

Intro   Specifications   Performance   Recommendations

Adorama pays top dollar for your used gear.

B&H Photo - Video - Pro Audio
I use these stores. I can't vouch for ads below.

This lens is a sleeper. No one ever bought it when it was available new, and like the AF 28mm f/1.4, people pay more for it used than they could have when it was new.

It's much smaller than the 80-200 f/2.8, even though it's made with the same quality.

You may want to consider this to use both as a macro lens and medium tele zoom, saving room in your bag.

I use this now for all my product shots. It is handier than the 105mm Micro AF because I can zoom to frame, instead of having to move back and forth and then refocus to frame.


Specifications         top

Intro   Specifications   Performance   Recommendations



Nikon calls this the Nikon AF Zoom-Micro Nikkor 70-180mm f/4.5-5.6D ED.



18 elements in 14 groups, which is an awful lot. One ED element.



Nine circular blades stopping down to f/32-40.


Close Focus

14 inches (0.37m) from the image plane; which is the back of the camera.


Maximum Reproduction Ratio

1:1.32 at 180mm (Use a 6T close-up lens for 1:1)

1:3.20 at 70mm.


Filter Thread




6.9" (175mm) long by 3.0" (75mm) diameter.



35 oz (990g).

It's small, compared to the f/2.8 zooms.


Tripod Collar


Rotates 300 degrees.



HB-14 plastic bayonet, included.


AF System

Old-style mechanical AF linkage, requiring you to unlock and rotate a ring on the lens to switch from AF to MF action, just like the AF 28/1.4 and AF 20-35/2.8.


Nikon Product Number




27 August 1997.



Made through about 2004.

Nikon made less than 20,000 of these.


Nikon 70-180mm

Nikon 70-180mm Focus and Zoom Rings


Performance       top

Intro   Specifications   Performance   Recommendations




There is no lateral color fringing on my D300 or D3, so product lettering never grows rainbows as it does with the 200mm f/4 Micro manual focus lens.



AF speed is slow, but remember that it focuses a lot closer than any other 80-200 zoom. I use this for macro, and I usually focus manually in macro.

It focuses almost to life-size at 180mm, but only a third life size at 70mm.



The nine-bladed diaphragm gives round out-of-focus highlights, unlike the septagonal 7-bladed diaphragm of the 105mm AF.


Distortion       performance     top

The Nikon 70-180mm Micro-NIKKOR has some pincushion distortion, and it goes away at 70mm.

This can be corrected for critical use by plugging these figures into Photoshop's lens distortion filter. These aren't facts or specifications, they are the results of my research that requires hours of photography and calculations on the resulting data.

FX and Film at 3m (10')

© 2010 KenRockwell.com. All rights reserved.


Ergonomics       performance     top

Nikon 70-180mm macro

Nikon 70-180mm macro.

It's a screw-focus lens.

The front moves in and out as focused



I doubt this f/5.6 lens would work very well with a TC, since it would get too dark to view. I use my TC-200 teleconverter with my AF 105mm F/2.8D all the time for easy 2x magnification. I focus manually and get great results, but that lens is two stops faster.

Nikon 70-180mm

Nikon 70-180mm Identity Plate, on tripod collar.


Recommendations       top

Intro   Specifications   Performance   Recommendations

Nikon 70-180mm

Nikon AF 70-180mm Micro

This lens exists to allow you to change macro image size without moving your camera. This is very, very handy, especially for anyone chasing little animals around or any kind of macro work.

Consider this little lens if you need both a 105 macro and an 80-200 zoom. It's much smaller than you think from looking at the catalog.

This one lens can replace both these lenses in your bag. It's not fast in AF or aperture, but it is as small as either one of the others. This way you'd effectively have the function of both lenses while only carrying one.


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