Last year, I bought the Nikon 105mm micro VR to photograph my cocktails.
I wanted the superior bokeh of the 105mm, however, the focal length and zoom proved to be impractical on my DX format D7500 and I haven't got much use out of it for the purpose I had bought it for. Instead I have been using it for landscapes and shooting my kid's sports.

Go Wide and Close.

Instead of buying a full frame camera to use the 105mm I picked up Nikon’s 40mm micro / macro lens. It’s been getting a lot of use at work were I use it to shoot cocktails and food, it's a very practical set up to keep behind the bar and the head chef often asks me to shoot his experiments in the kitchen.

It's a fun and practical little lens that gives surprisingly solid results. At 300 euro it's an exceptional value. The cost is kept down is not because of non-professional image quality but because the elements telescope externally instead of moving internally as with a more expensive macro lenses.
It would work very well on a D5600.

The Nikon 40mm Micro is a practical lens for casual food photography on a DX format camera.

The Nikon 40mm micro is a pin sharp lens practical food and beverage or general macro photography on a DX format Nikon. Bokeh on the 40mm Micro is consistent with Nikon’s other Gelded (G) lenses, maybe better than some, and gives a better result than any current generation phone camera in this regard. That being said the bokeh is not as creamy as the 105mm micro nor is it as razor sharp, but it does produce some lovely results.

An After Eight cocktail shot handheld on the Nikon 40mm macro and Nikon D7500

The Nikon 105mm lens is the food photography lens - with an FX format Nikon. On a DX camera like my D7500 it is very hard to get the correct depth of field. The two images below illustrate how it is easy to miss the DOF, the slightest breath will throw off your focal point.

An example of missed focal point using the Nikon 105mm on a DX format camera.
The 105mm micro crop is just too tight on a DX format for most practical subjects.

Auto Focus


One area where the Nikon 105mm micro far exceeds the 40mm is auto focus capability and speed. If you were doing professional food and beverage photography the 40mm's somewhat sluggish auto focus would be an issue.

Cropping on the 105mm

On the other hand, if you were shooting professional food photos on a
DX format the crop on the 105mm would be a more serious issue.

In conclusion, the 105mm has next level bokeh, pin sharp focus and the VR is great. However on a DX format camera it is not practical for food and beverage photography. If you have a DX format and want to shoot your cocktails like me get either the 40mm micro or 60mm micro, or get them both for the same price as the 105mm. If you have a FX camera than by all means grab the 105mm.

Food and Beverage Photography Examples shot on the Nikon 40mm Micro