The world of DSLR cameras is still very foreign to me. I’ve had a DSLR for less than a year and my brain is just barely clinging to the vast spread of terminology and techniques available. Heck, I only just recently learned what f-stop even does.
My hope when I purchased my Nikon D5000 was to find a “one-size-fits-all” lens so I could still take photos while learning what else was out there. Safe to say, an 18-55mm is NOT that lens. After some rushed research, I settled on the Micro Nikkor 60mm, mainly because it was in my price range and it had fairly good reviews everywhere I looked. Nobody was talking about how well it worked for toy photography though, so my purchase was a bit of a gamble. Did it pay off? (Spoiler Alert: The answer is yes, it definitely did.)
Meet the second subject of this review: Nendoroid Wind Waker (aka “Toon”) Link. I bought this little guy at the same time as my lens, so he was my first test subject. I mainly want to focus on the lens and its capabilities, but I’ll give you a quick rundown of Toon Link. He’s a Nendoroid which means, A: He’s very cute and has a big ol’ noggin; B: He utilizes a combination of joints and swappable parts for posing; C: He needs a stand or else his big head will tip him over; and D: He’s about four inches tall. Toon Link is by no means a perfect figure, but he’s a ton of fun and made an excellent subject for my new lens.
My initial few photos using the 60mm were poorly lit, unsteady snaps…but the lens performed far better than my 18-55mm ever did. So I grabbed Toon Link and headed outside. As you can see, the results were quite nice. When the lens’s limiter is turned off, you can get incredibly close to your subject. I can’t explain the ins and outs of the limiter because, to be honest, I have no idea why it’s even a thing. Basically, switching it off gives you a wider focus range.
Achieving a nice soft background is absurdly easy with this lens. Toy photography, or any photography for that matter, was super frustrating for me when I was using the 18-55mm. Now, it’s actually fun again. Plus, Toon Link and his many expressions are just a blast. The 60mm not only captures 4-inch Toon Link with ease, but also 2-inch LEGO and Mega Construx figures, and even my 12-plus-inch Cloud Strife figure.
On top of all that, this lens is typically under the $300 mark. The only downside I’m aware of is the fact that, though the lens is touted as auto-focus, it does not have an AF motor built in. If you use a D3000 or D5000 series camera as I do, AF is not an option. Honestly though, that is such a minor issue, and it has actually forced me to learn how to properly focus instead of relying on the AF feature.
So far, the Micro Nikkor 60mm has proven itself to be a perfect lens for a DSLR newbie like myself. I have no idea if it’s a good option for all you toy photography veterans, but in my opinion, it’s worth a try. I’ve heard it works well with landscape and portrait photos, too. I can’t speak to that though, as I haven’t tried shooting either yet.
The final verdict
This lens is a must-have for beginners (using Nikon, obviously). With its low price and excellent performance, the Micro Nikkor 60mm 1:2.8D does not disappoint. Toon Link is not a must-have unless you just like that cell-shaded style. Full points for cuteness though.
-Zee Fowler (aka @Demarcation_Media)