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105- 1.8 vs 2.5 AIS

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by iShoot, Aug 6, 2009.

  1. iShoot


    Feb 1, 2008
    Man the examples I've seen from the threads are amazing! I'm seriously thinking about getting either. The only thing is, which is sharper wide open? The 2.5 looks like availability is greater, and the 1.8 version is the more expensive version from what I've seen. Help me figure out my dilemma.:biggrin: I would really like to see more shots, but with only portraits. The Dude's and Frits' captures are amazing. How do you focus with there things, do you use a focusing screen?


    Sorry if there is already a thread on this, but I'm really really about explode,lol. I WANT EITHER LENS! :biggrin:
  2. Average Joe

    Average Joe

    May 19, 2009
    unless u need/want the speed i'd go for f2.5 :) 
  3. c6530


    Aug 15, 2008
    I have the 1.8. Like other primes, it's not at its best wide open - detail is there, but there's a sort of blandness to the images. On the other hand, it's really getting going where others are just starting!
    Not sure this is worth posting, but here goes.... at 5.6 - the sweetest point for this lens, I think. No PP.

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    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 6, 2009
  4. I use my 105/2.5 more for street photography. The length of it is not as intimidating as a 70-200 lens. Also I can get it most venues without security giving me the evil eye. Strangers are more open to looking at me for a quick photo, as seen here.

    SOOC @ f/4

    105/2.5 AIS
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  5. Nikkor AIS

    Nikkor AIS

    Jun 5, 2008
    I respectfully disagree about the Nikkor 105 1.8 not being less than spectacular wide open. It's all that and more. Sure it gets sharper stopped down but is excellent at 1.8. The Nikkor 105 2.5 is also excellent. with the samples Iv tested the Nikkor 105 1.8 is clearly the sharper of the two. At least with the copy's Iv sampled. One fact that the tiny built in hood of the Nikkor 105 1.8 AIS which is clearly inadequate to shield the massive 62mm front element from stray light. It really needs another hood. Flare can really be a resolution killer. If you have P.K tubes the 105 1.8 can be used as super fast micro lens. Iv gotten some very interesting shots using this combo. Super fast , super close super this depth of field:biggrin:
  6. I don't have any experience with the 1.8 version, but I own and use both the rangefinder (which first appeared in 1954) and SLR versions of the 105 2.5. They are both wonderfully sharp, even wide open, and are among the best portrait lenses I've ever used. The SLR version is one of the few really fine Nikkor manual focus lenses that is still available relatively cheaply. One of the great bargains of photography.

    Nikon S3 rangefinder
    Nikkor 105 2.5 in Nikkor S mount
    Fuji Sensia II 100 ISO colour slide
    exposure 5.6 or f8 @ 1/1000th

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    motorized Nikon F2AS
    Nikkor 105 2.5 AI manual focus
    Fuji Sensia II 100 ISO colour slide
    exposure f4 @ 1/250

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    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 7, 2009
  7. Holy milk jugs!
  8. Nikkor AIS

    Nikkor AIS

    Jun 5, 2008
    rbsinto: I have a shot of the same guy(second photo) in my B+w portfolio It was taken several years ago. Anyways , nice shot.
  9. jimeast


    Mar 17, 2008
    Metrowest. MA

    It may be sharper, but IMO, it's not all that and more at f/1.8. For the money, the f/2.5 is a tremendous value. I'm still undecided on the f/1.8, and it usually comes at a premium price when I've seen one offered for sale. I have both, I've used the f/2.5 much more than the f/1.8, and have been able to form a really high opinion of the f/2.5, but I still have to spend a few days with the f/1.8 mounted and in use to get a feel for it.

  10. Nikkor AIS

    Nikkor AIS

    Jun 5, 2008
    Fair enough. But better value? I guess it depend on what you value. For me the added speed and brightness of the view finder combined with the more blurred bokkeh that the Nikkor 105 1.8 AIS make's it a better choice than the Nikkor 105 2.5 AIS. Don't get me wrong I feel the Nikkor 2.5 is one of the all time classic lenses ever made by Nikon. It's just the nikkor 105 1.8 AIS is more better:tongue:
  11. IQ wise they are both the same. the 105mm F/1.8 images are very soft wide open and by F/2.8 they both perform the same.

    The main advantage of the F/1.8 is that the viewfinder is brighter and the resale value holds up very well, mainly as a collector's item, I see some of these selling at $450
  12. Nikkor AIS

    Nikkor AIS

    Jun 5, 2008
    My copy of the Nikkor 105 1.8 AIS isn't soft wide open. Perhaps you have a bad copy, missed focus, sensor out of alinement...OO. I agree about the added view finder brightness being a "huge" factor especially in low light. And the extra speed give's faster shutter speeds. In any case you cant go wrong with either one. Unless you have a bad copy of the Nikkor AIS like Unique Portraits:tongue:. Just having some fun
  13. I don't own it anymore, but I can testify that it was quite sharp at F/2.8 but quite soft wide open. I sold it to a local fellow who paid premium for it and he tested it extensively ans was very happy with it. I used the $$ to get the 105mm F/2.0 DC.

    Great lens, got to use it for 4 years and then sell it at a profit
  14. Nikkor AIS

    Nikkor AIS

    Jun 5, 2008
    Unique Portraits : Like I said bad copy:tongue:. Im glad you got your monety out of it. It's amazing how these Nikkor hold there value even bad copys like yours. How do you like the 105 2.0 DC?
  15. My take on this:
    I have had the f/2.5 version for a few years and got my hands on a f/1.8 version last year.
    I was very happy with the 2.5 with several DX bodies (D1x, D2h and finally a D2x). On DX the perspective for portraits is very nice and its performance IQ wise awesome. I still loved my AF 85 / 1.4 for portraits also though.

    Enter the 1.8:
    In my opinion a notch superior to the 2.5. Mind you that I don't use them wide open. Each stopped down one click will make the 1.8 a faster lens at a usable f-stop. Physically it balances very well on the camera also. I had a focus screen in my D2x but found myself relying more on just my eyesight. Not easy with a 105mm on a DX body.

    Final update:
    Then I got an FX body (D700).
    A whole new world (for portraits). The perspective is now just where I like it for portraits - not too short and not too long. So the awesome IQ of the 105 / 1.8 combined with and FX body makes the perfect portrait match for me. The large FX viewfinder is a definite bonus. I did not bother to put a focus screen into the D700 and find it to be a breeze to focus.
    My preferred aperture for portraits with this lens is F/4 when shooting sweet natural light portraits. For top notch strobe shots at f/11 or f/16 is will also knock your socks off.

    I also have the AF 85/1.4 and the AF-S 200 / 2.0 VR but the Ai-S 105 / 1.8 is easily my favorite portrait lens (hey, at the end of the day it is the picture that counts).
  16. edtsui


    Jan 31, 2007
    New York
    Wow! Thanks for the detail comparison. A better lens than 85/1.4 and 200/2.0 VR - that is quite a statement.
  17. To be clear, I did not say that :smile:.
    What I did say is that (for me) it produces better portraits than those, especially on an FX body. This based on a combination of its perspective and of course its fantastic IQ.

    Lens for lens both the 85 and 200 are awesome pieces of glass and at least "as good".
  18. If I may give my 2 c: I just have the 105/1.8 AIS and the 105/2 DC, so I can't compare it to the 105/2.5 AIS. And I wouldn't call the 1.8 soft wide open, but it renders the focussed part of the picture in a certain way like the 50/1.2 AIS also renders it in a special way. Some might consider this soft, but IMHO it is sharp with a very slight minor softish aura, which is only something you will see when pixel peeping. Stopped down this aura disappears very fast (you can see it disappearing at 2). So, I very much like the 1.8 and don't regret getting it over the 2.5.

    OTOH, and this is OT, it can't rival the sharpness and clarity of the 200/2 VR wide open. Of the mid teles, there is and was not one lens in the Nikon line up that is "as good" as the 200. And I do have also the 85/1.4 to compare. That said, all the mentioned lenses here are awesome. And depending on the purpose and the preferred (or possible) FL, all mentioned lenses are very capable and I wouldn't give up any of these. So, whatever lens you finally get (1.8 or 2.5), you will get some wonderful tools ... just don't complain that the 2.5 is too slow :biggrin::biggrin:.

    Just my 2 c.

    PS: What I meant with "slight minor softish aura" is that the lens is sharp wide open, but not biting sharp. It has more of a smooth sharpness.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 7, 2009
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