I will start out here saying that I don’t do a whole lot of macro or close up photography so I don’t reach for this lens all that often. That being said, this lens is probably the sharpest lens in my camera bag. I have the older, non AF-S VR model, but it works wonderfully whenever I choose to do some macro work.
Over the past two years, I have used this lens a lot while working in Costa Rica on Canopy in the Clouds. I carried it and used it almost daily during the project. As a side project while working in the forest, we started a photographic series that was quickly coined “Bugs on White.” It is essentially what it sounds like, photographing insects, spiders, and other creepy crawly things on a totally white background. The 105mm macro got a great work out during this project and we had a lot of fun looking at the world of insects up close.
For photographing small objects at 1:1 magnification (or higher with the use of extension tubes or closeup filters), this lens is hard to beat. Unfortunately, due to the 105mm focal length, you need to get pretty close to your subject to make the image. A macro with longer reach like the 200mm would be better for live subjects that spook easily like butterflies or dragonflies. However, if you can get close then this is the lens you need.