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Lens recommendation for Nikon SLR camera
Old 06-26-2018   #1
Steve M.
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Lens recommendation for Nikon SLR camera

I had a Leica R Summicron 90 2 lens that had been used on my Nikon N8008S almost solely for portraits, but sold it tonight. Any ideas on what I could buy for cheap that would still make decent portraits? Using an adapter with the lens would be OK, like I did with the Leica lens. Third party is good too.

I also have a Canon FT QL, but the Nikon has a neat self timer that fires the shutter 5 or 10 seconds after the first shot fires, which is a neat feature, so Nikon mount would be better.
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Old 06-26-2018   #2
Timmyjoe
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Nikon 85mm f1.4 AIS lens
Nikon 85mm f1.8 AF-D lens
Nikon 85mm f1.4 AF-D lens
Nikon 85mm f1.8 AI lens
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Old 06-26-2018   #3
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Nikon 105 f2.5 AIS or 85mm f2 AIS
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Old 06-26-2018   #4
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Nikkor 105, early Sonnar or the AIS.
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Old 06-26-2018   #5
trisberg
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For a Nikon 8008s I'd go for a "Nikon 85mm f1.8 AF-D" lens, a bit on the plasticy side but a beautiful lens. It just seems like a good fit and it is a very nice lens.



-Thomas
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Old 06-27-2018   #6
pvdhaar
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Sure, the Nikon 85mm lenses are the obvious candidates, but don't forget the Tamron 90/2.8. Yes, I know, it's a macro lens, but the way it renders makes it an excellent choice for portraiture.. In my view it earns extra bonus points for having a long focus throw, allowing very precise manual focusing.

Another lens with a long focus throw is the Samyang 85/1.4. On paper that would be the better portrait lens because of its 1.4 maximum aperture, but in real life, I prefer the Tamron over the Samyang for portraits. The out of focus rendering of Samyang can be a bit gnarly, close focus is only 1 meter, and the focus mechanism isn't nearly as smooth as the Tamron.
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Old 06-27-2018   #7
peterm1
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Depends on your preferred focal length. Nikon has a large range of excellent lenses suited to portraits and many of them quite inexpensive these days especially if you are willing to go MF and even more especially if you are willing to buy an early lens (though bear in mind if it is non AI it will need converting (easily done by a home handy man with average skills) for use on later bodies. I would speak well of any 85mm f1.8 and even the 85mm f2 which is generally regarded as inferior (though my sample is still very good). Any 105mm Nikkor lens is excellent for portraits though some think them a little too long. They are legends in fact and this range of lenses is just about synonymous with Nikon. The earlier ones are Sonnar design lenses and the later ones Gauss - take your pick but I kind of like the early Sonnar design for portraits though both are great. And all 135mm Nikkor lenses are just about as excellent (the f3.5 version is under valued and like the 105mm was redesigned from Sonnar to Gauss at some stage - Again make your pick) The 2.8 versions of this lens (early or late) are equally superb in my view and the last (AIS version) is perhaps best of all.

I recently pulled the trigger on a more expensive version of the 105mm - the 105mm f1.8 AIS which is a somewhat rare and super lens. I am still awaiting the arrival though. This lens is regarded as being perhaps the best of the bunch for those who don't mind the weight .

As noted in other posts on this thread, the AF 85mm f1.8 is also excellent (the f1.4 version is even better for portraits but not for general work and is considerably more expensive so may not be in your ball park.

Another option out of left field is one of the other AF zooms which were contemporaneous with your N8008s (I still have one of these incidentally and will not sell it as it is my go to film camera for those relatively few occasions when I need one.) I use the 35-70mm AF f2.8 which is superb and was widely used back in the day by professionals due to its optical and physical qualities. These days they are dirt cheap. Another lens I regularly use is the 70-210mm AF D f4 -5.6. As a consumer lens it "should" be ordinary but it is not. It happens to be very good. And also damn cheap to buy. I regularly use it as it is much much lighter than pro lenses in this range.

85mm f1.8

Corona of flowers by Life in Shadows, on Flickr

70-210mm f4-5.6 AF D

Life on a Hong Kong Street 8 by Life in Shadows, on Flickr

35-70mm f2.8 AF


Ferryman by Life in Shadows, on Flickr
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Old 06-27-2018   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trisberg View Post
For a Nikon 8008s I'd go for a "Nikon 85mm f1.8 AF-D" lens, a bit on the plasticy side but a beautiful lens. It just seems like a good fit and it is a very nice lens.



-Thomas
+1 I own this lens. It's excellent. $475 new.

If you have some dosh, the 105/2 DC (Defocus Control) ($8-900 used, $1200 new) along with the 135/2 DC are supposedly the ne plus ultra of portrait lenses available by any manufacturer.

The Tokina 100mm f/2.8 AT-X PRO 1:1 Macro also gets raves and is supposed to be an excellent portrait/short tele and macro lens. $400 new.
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Old 06-27-2018   #9
Larry Cloetta
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peterm1 View Post


85mm f1.8

Corona of flowers by Life in Shadows, on Flickr
Nicely done examples Peter, especially like the first one.
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Old 06-27-2018   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Cloetta View Post
Nicely done examples Peter, especially like the first one.

Thanks Larry. I must put it all down to the lens I am afraid.
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Old 06-27-2018   #11
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For paid work, I would go for an AF lens to be on the safe side.
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Old 06-27-2018   #12
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Old Nikkors seem to be great values on the used market these days.
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Old 06-27-2018   #13
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The 105mm f/2.5 Ai or AiS are excellent. 85mm f/1.4 of any version are also just as good. Even the 85mm f/1.8 is a fantastic lens. The build quality of all these is outstanding as well and you really can't go wrong with any of them.

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Old 06-27-2018   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huss View Post
Nikon 105 f2.5 AIS or 85mm f2 AIS
For me it's the Nikon 105 f2.5 AI (not the AiS, the built in hood is too fiddly)
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Old 06-27-2018   #15
Ronald M
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105 2.5 Ai is superb.

The original 105 is same quality at distance, but not as sharp at near min focus. This lens has a rear element the size of a dime. Ai and AiS have rear elements as big as will fit. They are Sonnar and Gauss designs respectively.

Nothing wrong with 85 2.0 or 1.8, any one.

Any one Ai or AiS or converted will go on Nikon DSLR
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Old 06-27-2018   #16
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I would suggest a Series E 100mm 2.8 might be a good alternative to the heavy Nikkors.
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Old 06-27-2018   #17
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the two i use most are the 105 2.5 ai and the 85 f2 ai-s. both give great results
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Old 06-27-2018   #18
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When we shot Nikon AF, we used the 85 1.8 and it's a wonderful lens. Now we've morphed to Canon EOS digital but I still shoot, and love, Nikon film cameras. I have both pre-ai and AIS lenses and my favorite is the 85 1.4. If you can find a good one and don't mind manual focus, it's a winner. The 105s are also good but perhaps a bit too long for portraits.
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Old 06-27-2018   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peterm1 View Post
I use the 35-70mm AF f2.8 which is superb and was widely used back in the day by professionals due to its optical and physical qualities. These days they are dirt cheap. Another lens I regularly use is the 70-210mm AF D f4 -5.6. As a consumer lens it "should" be ordinary but it is not. It happens to be very good. And also damn cheap to buy. I regularly use it as it is much much lighter than pro lenses in this range.[
70-210mm f4-5.6 AF D

Life on a Hong Kong Street 8 by Life in Shadows, on Flickr

35-70mm f2.8 AF


Ferryman by Life in Shadows, on Flickr
Wow -- verrry nice. I was torn between the 80-200/4.5 AI and the 70-210 AF-D. I went with the 80-200, and it's a great lens but rather heavy. I prefer to shoot with a 50 rather than a mid-range zoom, but I gotta tell ya... these images look terrific. I can see myself picking up both.
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Nikon 105 f2.0 DC
Old 06-27-2018   #20
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Nikon 105 f2.0 DC

This is a superb lens. Very sharp, but with gorgeous (and adjustable) bokeh. One of my favorite lenses.
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Old 06-27-2018   #21
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I love using my Nikon 105/2.5 Sonnar. Another great tele is the Tamron 90/2.5.
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Old 06-27-2018   #22
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The 70-210 AF-D is quite good. There is one for sale today on fb for $60. The D version is quick focus too!
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Old 06-27-2018   #23
peterm1
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A couple of further samples and options........

Nikkor 70-210 f4-5.6 AF D
By the way I forgot to add in my earlier post that the D version of this lens is superior to the earlier AF version only in one sense - its AF gearing is higher, thus ensuring faster focusing which was a bit slow with the earlier version. Hence people pay a small premium for the D version - though it is still cheap. For a portrait lens I do not know if I would worry about distinguishing between these lens versions - either are good.

Belle Hauteur by Life in Shadows, on Flickr

Nikkor 85mm f1.4
This is a superb lens for people shots if your budget can stretch to it otherwise the f1.8 version is still excellent either in MF or AF form)

Watching the show by Life in Shadows, on Flickr

and

Lost in his reflections by Life in Shadows, on Flickr

Nikkor 50mm f1.8 AF

Either the AF D version or the later G version perform superbly as portrait lenses if you want something a tiny bit wider. (For your film camera of course select the AF D version) As modeled here by my cat substituting for a human.............

Her Royal Highness - the Cat by Life in Shadows, on Flickr

Nikkor 80-200mm f2.8 AF

And one further option is the AF 80-200mm F2.8. While this may be a bit more expensive than some options, the early push pull version of this lens which is a contemporary of your F8008s is relatively inexpensive compared with later versions and is equally good optically. The main disadvantage of this version is its slower focusing - which need not be a deficit for portraits. They can be had for as little as $250. For a lens that was widely used by fashion catwalk photographers because of its reach and quality, that is a bargain. The shot below was made with the AF D (3rd version) but optically they are either identical or so similar you are unlikely to see differences in practice.

Evening time out by Life in Shadows, on Flickr
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Old 06-27-2018   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huss View Post
Nikon 105 f2.5 AIS or 85mm f2 AIS
l would recommend these to gems as well
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Old 06-28-2018   #25
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105/2.5 is a legend for good reason The 85/1.8 and 85/1.4 as well

I think in terms of system rather than one lens. Good portrait kit for me is something along the lines of 28, 35, 50, 85, 105, 135, 180 Any of them are decent
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