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105mm f/2.5 AI-S is a killer!

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by TMR Design, Aug 14, 2008.

  1. I'll be posting some images from 2 recent shoots within a few days but I just wanted to chime in and say how much I love this lens.

    I've gotten to the point where I dislike auto focus for portraiture. To me it gets in the way. AF point? Why bother? The AF point is where I want it to be by turning the focus ring :smile: and looking through the viewfinder. It doesn't get easier than that and it opens up a whole world of creativity that I feel is not there with auto focus.

    After manually focusing for a while now I've finally gotten to the point where my keeper rate is insanely high and at times even my soft focus shots are sharper than those I was getting with auto focus. Yes, really!

    Another thing about the 105mm f/2.5 AI-S is the color and depth to the images. Granted, I don't own a 24-70mm or a 70-200mm or a 17-55mm so I can't compare but I can see the clear difference between images from the 105mm and my 35-70mm f/2.8 which I love to death, and of course there is no comparison to the 18-70mm.

    In my space with my D300 (1.5x crop body) the 105mm focal length and field of view is perfect for upper body, head and shoulder, head shots, and super tight head shots. An 85mm would actually be a little wide for my taste but would also be amazing. 70mm is already too wide for the way I like to do tight shots and have some distance between camera and subject.

    I'm now convinced that at some point I'll be adding a 50mm MF lens and more than likely it will either be a Zeiss or Voigtlander, although I am very interested in the Nikkor 50mm f/1.2 AI-S but don't know much about it.
  2. AndyE


    May 2, 2005
    Vienna, Austria
    Good to hear. FX guys might also like that this lens performs VERY well on FX bodies. (as the AiS 135mm/2.8)

    rgds, Andy
  3. prowicz

    prowicz Guest

    Its a shame really that Nikon sticks that stupid DF ring on it - what a gimmick and a total waste of time.

  4. atoronto


    Jun 16, 2008
    I love this lens too, here is a sample wide open.
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  5. Beautiful shot Alex. Love it!
  6. atoronto


    Jun 16, 2008
    Thanks Rob, I don't shoot too often, still learning.
  7. Hi Mark,

    Not sure what you mean. What is a waste of time? Can you explain?
  8. gvk


    Jun 17, 2005
    Mystic, CT
    105 mm f/2.5 old and new

    The 105 mm f/2.5 has always been one of my favorites. However, I found its FOV less useful with a DX sensor, so I am happy again now when using it on a D3. I currently have 2 copies, a pre-AI version purchased in the early 1970's for use on my F2, and an AIS model that I got sometime in the 1990's.

    Here is a shot of my older son taken with the 105 mm f/2.5 in 1981 (Nikon F2 and Tri-X).

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    This photo, taken a couple of weeks ago using the 105 mm f/2.5 on a D3, shows the Lighthouse at Montauk Point from a Piper Warrior, flown by my younger son.

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    Detail in the full size image is excellent, even compared to modern lenses. The older coatings are probably less flare resistant, but the lighthouse shot was taken through the cockpit window, that itself contributed considerable reflections and flare at some sun angles as we circled the point.
  9. HI Gerry,

    Certainly, if I were doing infant or newborn work I would need and want wider. My purpose for getting this lens was strictly for adult portraiture, going from half body to tight head shots. It's a real gem.
  10. I just purchased an AI-S here on the Cafe, and I am impatiently waiting for it to arrive in order to put it through its paces .... the lens has a great reputation .... and I love my 135/2 and my 85/1.8, so I am anticipaing that I will love this one as well. So far my interest has been mainly available light portraits, but I am setting up a small studio now that I have an available bedroom and we shall see.....
  11. gvk


    Jun 17, 2005
    Mystic, CT
    Yes, I agree. Over the years my use of the 105 mm included lots of portraits, both children and adults. For tight head shots it was ok on a DX camera. However, for half body shots I prefer the slightly closer working distance of the 85 mm on DX.

    On 35 mm film (or now FX), I almost always had the 105 mm mounted on one of my bodies, no matter what else I was shooting. I was so accustomed to the 105 mm FOV that I could compose even before lifting the camera to look through the viewfinder. I have that feeling back now with FX!
  12. Very cool. I bet it's incredible on full frame. :biggrin:
  13. fixed point

    fixed point

    Jan 24, 2007
    Yes, I love it on FX. It is so good that I'm planning on selling my AF 85mm f/1.4 and keeping the 105mm f/2.5 Ai.
  14. I love this lens too.

    I like most to use it on my film camera. On DX the 85 f1.8 fits my style better and I can't wait to get a D700 to use 105mm more. I'm gonna upgrade my gear on december when I'm gonna get a D700+105mm DC (but I'm gonna keep my f2.5, I love it's size and weight to carry anywhere)
  15. rvink


    Mar 21, 2006
    New Zealand
    I assume you are talking about the 105/2 DC. This thread is about the AIS 105/2.5, a different lens.
    I don't regard the DC ring as a gimmick, sure, it's use is not well understood and the effects can be subtle, but being able to smooth out the bokeh is a feature I'd definitely use if I had the lens.
  16. Hey Gerry,

    I didn't even realize that was the Montauk lighthouse. Been there many times but have never seen it from that vantage point. Very cool.

    I love going out to the eastern parts of Long Island. It's beautiful there.

  17. Let me share a couple of shots

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    *Wide open and I missed the focus point as you can see above :biggrin:

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  18. gvk


    Jun 17, 2005
    Mystic, CT
    Yes, I have enjoyed spending some time over the years at the eastern end of LI, or sailing in eastern LI Sound. However, this was the first time I had the opportunity to fly there in a small plane. My son talked me into taking a Friday afternoon off from work for this flight. The weather was great. After circling the lighthouse, we landed at Montauk Airport, took a walk on the beach, had dinner at a restaurant near the airport, and flew back over the Connecticut and Westchester side of LI Sound, landing just after sunset. It was a lot of fun. A few more shots from this trip are in the gallery at http://www.gvk.smugmug.com/gallery/5601886_AbRTs#343773047_ZaoJb
  19. Nice shots Gerry. Thanks for sharing.
  20. One thing I like about this lens is that even when you don't nail the focus perfectly there is still a very pleasing quality to the images.
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