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Nikkor 105mm f1.8 and other short and medium tele SLR "exotics"
Old 07-08-2018   #1
peterm1
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Nikkor 105mm f1.8 and other short and medium tele SLR "exotics"

I just picked up a lovely Nikkor 105mm f1.8, having had the chance to buy this or a 135mm f2 of similar vintage and in similar condition. It seems that those who know have decided the 105mm is sharper wide open while producing similar bokeh and hence I bought that one after researching it and mulling it over. I have read a few reviews which seem to be tending to the conclusion that at f2.8 and above it is indistinguishable from its more famous f2.5 sibling. Why buy this lens then? The short answer is that like most I am a sucker for fast glass and especially enjoy that oooey, gooey soft bokeh.

Anyone else had experience with the fast 105mm or 135mm either of Nikon or other marques? If so I would love to see some images and hear your views. The 105mm certainly has excellent bokeh and while it is not pin sharp wide open (who would expect it to be) it is certainly sharp enough and especially makes a good fist of portrait shooting. In use, it is of course affected somewhat by the normal problem of nailing focus in a lens like this though I should say it is not quite as bad as I thought it might be as it is very evident when it drops out of maximum focus.

BTW, As I walked out the door of the camera store, I spotted a lovely pre AI 85mm f1.8 in true mint condition for an excellent price due no doubt to it never having been converted (something I am comfortable in doing myself). I have been looking for a nice early Nikkor 85mm f1.8 for a while now and this nicely fits the bill Knowing I am unlikely to find another at this price, hence I pocketed this one too. Ah well, I can sell a few less used and less loved lenses to finance it, thereby keeping my wife in the dark and my banker compliant. I have only tried this lens on my Sony to date but will make the conversion soon and get it up and running on my D700. But the early signs are that this lens is every bit as good as its reputation suggests if not better. (I own the AF D versions in f1.8 and f1.4 and no doubt will have fun making comparison shots).

Two from the 105mm.



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Old 07-08-2018   #2
NickTrop
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Great stuff. I have the 85/1.8 G series. It's a great lens. However, I sometimes lament not going with the older D series of this lens. I toyed with the idea of trading it in for a D going so far as to fill out the online forms at a big reputable NYC camera retailer but I couldn't cost justify it as I would have lost out on the deal and would have been out (iirc) around $50 in the swap for a much older lens vs a brand new one which is technically supposed to be better. And it's a fine lens, lives up to its billing.

I am actually looking at older AI short-teles in this range, watching a few on eBay. Don't even ask me why. I have this thing against acquiring excessive gear. Cover your focal lengths, choose wisely, make your decision. Then that's it. But this lens thing -- It's like being an alcoholic. It's an addition. Must be what they use to dope the glass -- gets in your skin. Next thing you know you're tripping (literally -- over all these old lenses all over your flat).
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Old 07-08-2018   #3
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Congrats on the 105 Peter. The 135mm f2.0 has been a dream lens of mine for over a decade. A fashion photographer showed me some images he made with it and I thought the rendering of faces and the OOF backgrounds were incredible. But alas, haven't found one I could afford yet.

I think your 105 f1.8 renders really nicely.

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Old 07-08-2018   #4
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Good topic Peter! The classic Nikkor 105s are superb, I have a few and enjoy each one of them. In the 135mm length, the 135 AI (or AIS, or K for that matter), is indeed superb, if one doesn't mind the lack of auto focus.

A frame from a very recent roll with Velvia 50 loaded in a F601 QD.
000123320030 by Maryland Photos, on Flickr

The rest are with the 135 f2 Ai on the Df.

One of the favourites with this lens:

DSC_4201 by Maryland Photos, on Flickr

RJL_7473 by Maryland Photos, on Flickr

InFrontOfHagiaSophia by Maryland Photos, on Flickr

The last one is on a rainy day in Istanbul.
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Old 07-08-2018   #5
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Nikon 105/2.5 (Sonnar)













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Old 07-08-2018   #6
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I quite like the Nikkor-Q 135mm 2.8, which I have in ai'd form. Not that the 105mm 2.5 leaves anything to be desired (I believe mine is a non-sonnar version. There is something magical about the old quality Nikkor lenses.


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Old 07-08-2018   #7
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105mm Lenses by Narsuitus, on Flickr

The 105mm focal length is my favorite telephoto focal length. These are the 105mm focal length lenses I use on full-frame 35mmcameras and on APS-C digital cameras for portraits and reportage. Some I also use for macro and close-up photography. Some are primes and some are zooms. I also included two 100mm prime lenses in this group.

A. 105mm f/2.8 Takumar (M42 mount)
B. 100mm f/2.8 Nikon series E (Nikon F mount)
C. 105mm f/2.8 Nikon macro (Nikon F mount)
D. 105mm f/2.5 Nikon (Nikon F mount) - similar to the lens used by Steve McCurry to shoot the famous photo of the Afghan girl on the cover of the 1984 National Geographic.
E. 28-200mm f/3.8 to f/5.6 Tamron zoom (Nikon F mount)
F. 75-150mm f/3.5 Nikon series E zoom (Nikon F mount)
G. 105mm f/2.8 Dine macro (Nikon F mount)
H. 90-230mm f/4.5 Vivitar zoom (M42 mount) - easier to obtain close focus at the longer focal lengths
I. 50-140mm f/2.8 Fuji (Fuji X mount) - had to guess at the focal length because lens does not have a 105mm setting.
J. 80-200mm f/2.8 Nikon zoom (Nikon F mount)
K. 70-210mm f/3.5 Vivitar zoom (Nikon F mount) - had to put lens in macro mode to obtain close focus. In macro mode, I was unable to alter the magnification or the focal length. Plus, putting it in macro mode was not an easy task.
L. Tele-Sandmar 100mm f/4.5 - this is my oldest lens in this group; used on Argus C3 35mm rangefinder


105mm Lenses by Narsuitus, on Flickr
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Old 07-08-2018   #8
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100mm F2 Rokkor 4 by Nokton48, on Flickr


100mm F2 Rokkor 3 by Nokton48, on Flickr

A nice fellow RFFer -GAVE ME- this 100mm F2 Rokkor vintage 1962. It had some mechanical issues, several I fixed myself. The aperture ring isn't hooked up properly, but who uses this lens at other than F2???

The Bokeh King.
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Old 07-08-2018   #9
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When I used Canon FF digital I had a pretty nice set of lenses. My favorite was the 85 f1.2 and 200 f1.8. The 85 was impressive in rendering. Wide open it had razor thin DOF but was impressively sharp. Tones at 1.2 - 2 had an amazing smoothness.

The 200 1.8 was insanely sharp at 1.8 and only improved slightly down a stop or two. One of the best lenses I've ever used. With the 1.4x extender wide open it beat my 300 2.8 down a stop. Both were excellent but the 200 was in class a it's own.

I also had the 135 f2 which was stellar at f2.

I went back to Nikon due to improved dynamic range at the time. I purchased G series zooms and primes for them but sold the primes. As mentioned the G1.8 os fabulous but it's just too sharp to be flattering when shooting portraits. I found the G primes just to technical looking for my taste. I feel the same about Leica ASPH glass.

I now use my G zooms and AIS primes on my Df. My most used lens is my 85 1.4 AF D. It produces different images than the Canon 1.2 but they're equally as nice, just different. The Nikkor is a touch more dreamy wide open as is the 50 1.2.

Last year I bought a first generation 85 1.8 Nikkor that had been factory AId. I bought it to go on my F film body but put it on the Df for fun. While it's a great lens it not in the running with the 85 1.4 D. I do love it on film.
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Old 07-08-2018   #10
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I didn't understand a word from the OP, but here is a 90mm:

Tmax400 HC-110h by John Carter, on Flickr

I did understand the SLR part, and this is a screw mount.
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Old 07-08-2018   #11
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105/2 DC Nikkor
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Old 07-08-2018   #12
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My apologies for not getting back to this thread sooner. Wow there are some very nice images being posted. It is no wonder that people like these lenses so much. Still I have to say I have never been one to place too much emphasis on super high sharpness in general photography (though some of these shots do look pretty darn sharp) and much more on character of the image. Which these shots have lots.

I do have a few other "super fast" lenses like the Canon 50mm f1.2 in LTM and a Canon FL mount 58mm in f1.2 but no other longer fast lenses like the 105mm f1.8. But I can certainly see their attraction.

One longer lens I do have (though I would not classify it as super fast) is the Nikkor AF D 80-200mm f2.8. Shot wide open at the long end it certainly still produces pretty acceptable bokeh. This image was shot on last Sunday at my dojo where we practice Iaido. In this image while the bokeh is not extremely soft as with lenses that have a faster aperture, it is still quite smooth to my eye.

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Old 07-08-2018   #13
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PS Anyone shooting long Nikkor (or other) primes like the 200mm f2.8 in any of their manifestations?
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Old 07-08-2018   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NickTrop View Post
Great stuff. I have the 85/1.8 G series. It's a great lens. However, I sometimes lament not going with the older D series of this lens. I toyed with the idea of trading it in for a D going so far as to fill out the online forms at a big reputable NYC camera retailer but I couldn't cost justify it as I would have lost out on the deal and would have been out (iirc) around $50 in the swap for a much older lens vs a brand new one which is technically supposed to be better. And it's a fine lens, lives up to its billing.

I am actually looking at older AI short-teles in this range, watching a few on eBay. Don't even ask me why. I have this thing against acquiring excessive gear. Cover your focal lengths, choose wisely, make your decision. Then that's it. But this lens thing -- It's like being an alcoholic. It's an addition. Must be what they use to dope the glass -- gets in your skin. Next thing you know you're tripping (literally -- over all these old lenses all over your flat).
By the way I agree. Lenses are a drug. They should only be available on doctor's prescription and only if all natural remedies have first been tried and failed.
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Old 07-09-2018   #15
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Congrats, Peter, looks like you're enjoying the 105!
Here are a few shots from my "exotic" 77mm f/1.8 Pentax Limited. The first at f/2.2 is my special friend Cinnamon whom we lost to cancer in January...



Next at f/1.8 is an election campaign booth at a street market in Palm Springs CA.


Finally at f/5.6 a few planes at the Pima Air & Space Museum in Tucson.
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Old 07-09-2018   #16
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When I shot film at work, I used an 85 1.4, 105 1.8, 135 2.0, 200 2.0, and 400 2.8. Now they sit except for the 85. Sad.
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Old 07-09-2018   #17
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I never liked to get the long and fast lenses because of the size, weight, and cost. The fastest long lens was my Canon FD 200/2.8. I have the 85/1.2 and 50/1.2. My 300 lens was a 300/4.
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Old 07-09-2018   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug View Post
Congrats, Peter, looks like you're enjoying the 105!
Here are a few shots from my "exotic" 77mm f/1.8 Pentax Limited.
I didn't realize the 77mm limited counts, but I guess on an cropped body it does work out to 115.5mm equivalent.

I was glad to have one for a very compact telephoto capability on a recent trip...


K70_7168 by Ben Sandler, on Flickr
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Old 07-09-2018   #19
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I've used a Sigma-XQ 135/1.8 (82mm filter thread) a fair amount, mostly on digital. Mine came with an M42 mount (interchange-able) so it's easy to use on DSLRs.

It's not razor sharp or high contrast when wide open but it does make some very nice images. Very heavy and expensive for the extra stop over the super cheap and common 135/2.8 of which there are hundreds of competent makers.
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Great lenses
Old 07-11-2018   #20
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Great lenses

I'm partial to the 105/2.5 myself.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Image-1.jpg (27.0 KB, 6 views)
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Old 07-11-2018   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nokton48 View Post
[url="https://flic.kr/p/22KuuYY"]

100mm F2 Rokkor 3 by Nokton48, on Flickr

A nice fellow RFFer -GAVE ME- this 100mm F2 Rokkor vintage 1962. It had some mechanical issues, several I fixed myself. The aperture ring isn't hooked up properly, but who uses this lens at other than F2???

The Bokeh King.
Wow!, Nokton48, this shot is inspiring! Thank you for sharing.

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Old 07-11-2018   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nokton48 View Post

100mm F2 Rokkor 4 by Nokton48, on Flickr


100mm F2 Rokkor 3 by Nokton48, on Flickr

A nice fellow RFFer -GAVE ME- this 100mm F2 Rokkor vintage 1962. It had some mechanical issues, several I fixed myself. The aperture ring isn't hooked up properly, but who uses this lens at other than F2???

The Bokeh King.
Yes a truly nice image with lovely bokeh. I do not have this lens but a couple of years back I bought a nice Canon FD 100mm f2.8 which though slower renders OOF areas nicely too - 100mm seems to be a sweet spot.

Having said this the following was shot with the Voigtlander 75mm f1.8 classic and shows some nice rendering too.

Candid Portrait of a Stranger by Life in Shadows, on Flickr
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Old 07-12-2018   #23
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100mm F2 Rokkor 2 by Nokton48, on Flickr

Another look at a Minolta 1962 vintage 100mm F2 Rokkor
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Old 07-30-2018   #24
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If I found a mint, non factory ai modded 85 1.8 at this point, it's staying that way. A lot of them were well loved by their owners and it shows

Fast tele primes is the reason I enjoy shooting nikon

They do render skin a little too "plastic" for me, sometimes - missing microcontrast or something? I'm using to seeing every little capillary and pore on the face
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Old 07-30-2018   #25
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I'm probably one of the few people on the planet that doesn't care for the Nikkor 105 2.5 (too sharp for portraits, nor the best bokeh), and truthfully, I have had an almost impossible time getting Nikon lenses longer than an H 50 2 to have the attributes that I value. Somewhat softish IQ wide open, minimal CA and smooth bokeh. The 85 1.4 probably would work, but we're into Leica R 90 lens money at that point, and I'd rather shoot the Leica on an SLR.

Peter, in those first two photos, your 105 1.8 looks a LOT better to me in the bokeh and IQ department compared to a 105 2.5.

I've posted this shot before, but I like photos from my old R 90 2.8 Elmarit, which was used on a Nikkormat.

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