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Morning ramblings (lenses: 85/1.4 and 105/2.5)

Discussion in 'People' started by Frits, Apr 17, 2007.

  1. I have been mulling over this since some time. Just some thoughts about portraits and lenses (85/1.4 and 105/2.5).
    I like shooting portraits of people around me, family, friends etc. Mostly candid, at times a bit of a CLS setup, nothing more serious than that.
    Over time, 2 Nikon lenses seem to stand out for portrait photography. Of course a number of others can do fine, but these two seem to stand above the rest:
    - Nikkor Ai-S 105mm f/2.5. A classic in its own time. The reference portrait lens since several decades.
    - AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.4D. Today's top rated portrait lens, more so with DSLR's, given the crop factor.

    I have both and find both to be outstanding lenses, but....

    I feel that I am more and more reaching for the 105. I particularly like the perspective with it, much more natural and pleasing then the 85. Quality wise it is at par with the 85/1.4 - period (I have said so many times and I'll say it again).
    Where the 85 has its moments is where you want to create an effect at or near wide open, which it does in a unique and beautiful way. But that is often not your everyday portrait, but more an artistic expression. The 85 also has a high "sexy factor" :smile: . Big, beautiful glass, expensive, desirable....wheras the 105 is a smallish, old Ai-S lens that you can still get for $150 (and often less) on eBay.
    I don't care, bottom line for me:
    Both great lenses, but my preference is for the 105 / 2.5. I'll keep using both, but if I were forced to keep only one it would be the little old lens - anytime!

    OK, time for my second coffee....:biggrin:
  2. Thanks for your "rambling" Frits.

    Makes me feel pretty good for choosing the 105DC over the 85....
  3. Why Nikon never made an AF of the 105 will remain a mystery to me. Perhaps they think they have too many "portrait" lenses in their inventory, but it's a shame nonetheless.

    The ONLY thing I don't like about the 105 is that it doesn't focus when I press the shutter button.
  4. No argument about that one Woody! :biggrin:
    Your observation is right on - one can only wonder why...
  5. 100% agreed.

    :smile: :smile: :smile:
  6. It doesn't? :eek:  That may explain why I have so many images out of focus with this lens (and the 85 AI-S, too)! :redface::rolleyes: :wink:

    The Katzeye screen and the viewfinder magnifier both help, but AF sure would be nice! At the same time, I like that I am forced to take my time and really think about the image taking process... :wink::smile:
  7. Gr8Tr1x

    Gr8Tr1x Guest

    How bout samples from the 105, Frits.
  8. Here's a recent one with the 105mm f/2.5
    In my opinion: mostly better perspective. The better like the available DOF at the respective distances also. But again, I'm talking about this kind of portrait (regular head portrait). The 85/1.4 is outstanding and you can do some amazing things with it - I love it for those other applications, but do less of those.

    D2x, Nikkor Ai-S 105mm f/2.5
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
  9. Gr8Tr1x

    Gr8Tr1x Guest

    Thanks Frits. Thats very nice also. By very nice, I mean awesome!
  10. Not having the 105 lens I can't comment on it but I do know that I used to take portraits with my 180mm on occasion. Nice picture of Anne.
  11. I agree 100% Frits! There is something special about the 105/f2.5 AIS. I found it to be exceptionally sharp and produced very pleasant images. I liked it better than my 85/1.4. It's the one lens I regret selling and still occasionally consider picking one up (along with an adaptor :wink: )
  12. I am putting it to good use Kevin so not to worry.
  13. Wow! That image definitely helps to prove your point. Nice shot of your lovely wife.
  14. Nuteshack

    Nuteshack Guest

    Frits, your wife makes any lens look fantastic .....;-))
  15. This -- the 105mm f/2.5 AI-S -- is a lens which has been on my "must-have" list for a long time....there was always some other lens ahead of it in line, though. Tonight I dropped into Penn Camera to show off that wonderful photo of me using Bertha -- everybody loved it -- and one sales guy asked which lens you'd used to take the shot; I didn't know for sure, but commented that you really like the oldies-and-goodies and that you prefer your AI-S classic lenses, including the 105mm f/2.5. We both agreed that this is one of Nikon's finest lenses. The sales guy said, "actually, we've got one for sale right now in our used lens section...." and I said, "well, uh...gee, I didn't come in to buy anything tonight, but hey, let's have a look!" It was pristine, in excellent condition. I didn't hesitate too long.....it's now a member of my little lens family! I can hardly wait to get out with it Sunday (have to work tomorrow) and put it through its paces on the D200 and the D2Xs!

    So look what you did, Frits: because you shot that great photo of me I was compelled to go into Penn Camera to show it off and then because you just happen to use some of Nikon's best classic lenses I got into a discussion about that and gee, they just happened to have one of those lenses and -- the rest is history! :biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin:

    I'm tickled, really, because I've been wanting this lens for quite a long while.... It was great to find it unexpectedly at a reputable dealer and at a good, fair price and in such wonderful condition. :smile: :smile: If I'd gone out specifically looking for one I wouldn't have found it, you know how that goes....
  16. Great going Connie, congratulations! Oh, and you're welcome - always glad to help someone spend some $$$$:smile:
    I hope to see some results of your new lens soon!
    Thanks all also for your input, I see that I am not alone being in love with this gorgeous piece of glass.
  17. Let me add:
    This is an image with the 105/2.5 that I don't like - awful lighting on my part: http://www.pbase.com/ripps22/image/75133748

    But...if you want a feel for this lens, check out the detail (100% crop - check out the reflex in the eye of the umbrella and speedlight...):

    D2x, Nikkor Ai-S 105mm f/2.5 (100% crop)
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
  18. JohnMueller

    JohnMueller Guest

    Never considered the 105 AF. Cheap version if I'm looking for a decent candid lens and/or indoor lens. Thanks for this.
  19. Lowolf


    Jan 26, 2006
    Having used the 105 2.5 for many years found it to be one of my fav lens and do miss not owning it any more and I agree why Nikon has not remade it is a mystery to us all
  20. You (and others above) make a very good point. Personally I am very pleased with the Ai-S version - but that is because I like to shoot with MF lenses, so I never really thought beyond that.
    The 105 / 2.5 is one of Nikon's longest running lenses with a long succession of updates. It obviously has done well for Nikon, plus look at the raving comments about this Ai-S version everywhere. Given all that it makes one wonder indeed why no newer version of it is being marketed (AF-S, maybe VR etc.). There is of course the excellent Micro version, but that is not the same. Unless Nikon feels that this one takes the place of the Ai-S 105 / 2.5....
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