Nikon AF-S DX Micro Nikkor 40mm f/2.8G Lens – Mini Review

The AF-S DX Micro Nikkor 40mm f/2.8G Lens is an affordable macro lens for Nikon DX users. It has a suggested retail price of US$279.00. Of course, street prices will often be lower than suggested retail.

The AF-S Micro Nikkor 40mm is a small-sized lens with a nice fast aperture and a normal angle of view on DX cameras. In fact, since it is an AF-S lens (silent wave motor) with built-in autofocus, it will work with all the smaller Nikon cameras, such as the Nikon D7100, D7000, D300S, D90, D5200, D5100, D5000, D3200, D3100, and D3000, some of which have no autofocus motor in the camera body and depend on the lens to provide an autofocus motor. This lens has one built in!

In a recent blog about shooting macro inexpensively, I discuss various ways to keep the costs down while making excellent closeup pictures. The Nikkor 40mm is a low cost way to acquire a true macro lens for your DX (APS-C) Nikon.


It is able to do 1:1 reproduction without any attachments, which means that you can take high quality stills and close up movies at life-size ratios. If you would like to shoot extreme close ups of things like flowers and collectibles such as coins and stamps, this lens is perfect. It has continuous auto or manual focus from 6.4 inches to infinity. At its closest setting it is shooting at a 1X or 1:1 (life-size) ratio. It can also be used for copying old photographs because of its flat-field design (low distortion).

Nikon even recommends the lens for portraits and landscapes. With the large available aperture you have the ability to blur the background for those isolated-subject shots that are so appealing to us all. The lens has a “rounded” seven-bladed aperture, so it should produce natural-looking bokeh (blurred highlights). In fact, you could even carry the lens as a normal everyday lens for that extreme sharpness and beautiful depth of field only available from the best prime (single focal length) lenses. Since it is a normal lens, it sees approximately what the human eye considers normally-sized subjects on a DX camera.

Here are some of its detailed features:

  • CRC, or Close Range Focusing – The lens uses a floating element design, allowing each lens group to move independently, achieving superior performance when shooting at macro (up close) distances.
  • SWM, or Silent Wave Motor – The lens uses inaudible ultrasonic vibrations to autofocus the lens—providing very smooth and quiet, yet precise, autofocus.
  • SIC, or Super Integrated Coating – The coating on the lens reduces flare and ghosting, helps keeps color consistent, and enhances light transmission.
  • M/A, or Manual/Auto switch – With a macro lens it is very important to have manual focusing ability. Often when focusing at micro distances the depth of field will be so shallow that the focus can only cover a few millimeters of the subject. In extreme close up shooting you may want to use manual focus. All you have to do is flip the M/A switch to M and the lens is ready for your manual focusing. Flip it back to A and autofocus is re-enabled.

Here are the technical specs on the lens:

  • Mount Type: Nikon F-Bayonet
  • Focal Length: 40mm
  • Maximum Aperture: f/2.8
  • Minimum Aperture: f/22
  • Format: DX
  • Maximum Angle of View (DX-format): 38°50′
  • Maximum Reproduction Ratio: 1.0x
  • Lens Elements: 9
  • Lens Groups: 7
  • Compatible Format(s): DX
  • Diaphragm Blades: 7
  • Distance Information: Yes
  • Super Integrated Coating: Yes
  • Autofocus: Yes
  • AF-S (Silent Wave Motor): Yes
  • Minimum Focus Distance: .53ft.(0.163m)
  • Focus Modes: Auto, Manual, and Manual/Auto
  • G-type: Yes
  • Filter Size: 52mm
  • Accepts Filter Type: Screw-on
  • Dimensions: (Approx.)2.7×2.5 in. (Diameter x Length), 68.5×64.5mm (Diameter x Length)
  • Weight: (Approx.)9.9 oz. (280g)
  • Supplied Accessories: LC-52 52mm Snap-on Front Lens Cap, LF-4 Rear Lens Cap, HB-61 Bayonet Hood, CL-0915 Flexible Lens Pouch

This lens seems to be the answer for those among us who like a small, quiet, very portable macro lens for DX-sensored cameras. Since it can be used as a normal lens, constantly on the camera instead of a zoom lens, it is certainly good for students of photography that want to make great portraits, landscapes, and close up images with one low-cost, yet high-quality lens.

Sample Images and a Video

Nikon provides several sample images taken with the 40mm Micro Nikkor. Why not go download a few of them to your computer and check out the quality. It’s quite impressive!

DigitalRevTV did a video on this lens on YouTube:

If you were thinking of buying the AF-S Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G lens as a light walk-around normal lens, maybe you should look twice at this 40mm micro nikkor instead. It is almost as fast, extremely sharp, and gives you 1:1 macro when you need it. Hmmm, this could be a great lens for street shooting DX’rs.

If you’re on a budget, but want superior macro and normal photography, get yourself an AF-S DX Micro Nikkor 40mm f/2.8G lens. Your friends and family will wonder how you make such beautiful standard and closeup images!

Keep on capturing time…
Darrell Young
See my Nikon books here:

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