Nikkor 135mm f/2.0 (AI or AIS) - How Good Is It?

Joined
Jul 8, 2008
Messages
827
Location
Saint Joseph, Louisiana, USA
I'm thinking about getting a Nikkor 135mm f/2.0 (not DC) lens in the near future. Does anyone have experience using this lens?

I've read a couple of online reviews, and chromatic aberration seems to be a problem with this lens. However, one of the photos shot at F/2.8 in the review shows hardly any CA.

Thanks for any replies.
 
Joined
Jul 10, 2008
Messages
588
Location
Norway
I bought a used one on eBay a few years ago. I found it too soft wide open, and sold it. I basically bought it to use it wide open, so stopping down was not a solution for me.
 
Joined
Jun 5, 2008
Messages
6,091
Location
Alberta
The Nikkor 135 2.0 AIS is an amazing lens. Some of my best shots were taken with it. I found it totally usable wide open and in truth, I never stopped it down.

I hear the CA mantra repeated ad nauseam, but it never bothered me or got in the way of producing usable images.

I bought my copy of the Nikkor 135 2.0 AIS used and the lens was already beat and battered when I got it. The focus was so stiff I could barely turn it in the winter. I tried to replace it with an "ugly" copy from KEH but it had fungus and I got rid of it.

If you can get a copy of the Nikkor 135 2.0 AIS with a smooth/non-stiff focusing ring for a decent price, I say jump all over it. And if you get one and find it's not for you, PM me :smile:.












Nikkor 135 2.0 AIS on F2AS on 400/800/1600 @ 3200






Nikkor 135 2.0 AIS on Nikon F2AS on Kodachrome 25


Gregory
 
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Joined
Jun 27, 2007
Messages
6,727
Location
So Fla
I had one as well

CA was there , like alot of fast lenses

why I decided to sell it: heavy as a brick and very unbalanced feel to it, also pretty much unusable @f2
 
Joined
Feb 14, 2009
Messages
420
Location
Alabama
I had an excellent copy of this lens earlier this year. The focusing was a little stiff when I first received it, but after I cracked it open and regreased the helicoids, it became much smoother to focus.

It was very useable wide open - sharper at f/2 than my 105/1.8 AIS was, and on par with my old 85/1.4 AIS. If you find a good deal on the 135/2 AIS, I would not hesitate to pick one up. I know I regret selling mine...

f/2:
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f/2.8
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Joined
Sep 19, 2006
Messages
527
Location
Jupiter, FL
Vincent, I don't have the 135 AIS but I'm pretty sure I'll be getting one at some point. The reason is simple, I really like the 85 mm focal length on my DX bodies, so the natural progression will be the 135 2.0 on FX when I eventually buy an FX body.

As far as CA, I wouldn't worry about it since it is only a concern for very high contrast situations. In that case, go with B&W or stop down a bit... most fast lenses have the same "issue" which is really not much of an issue IMO.
 
Joined
Jan 25, 2009
Messages
1,496
I've had my copy of the 135/2.0 AIS for over 15 years, and recently I've been using it on my D700. I find it bright and contrasty, and it's sharper wide-open than my 105/1.8 and even my DC 105/2.0. My only complaint is that the lens is heavy, but since it is a shorter lens it doesn't feel too imbalanced on the heavier D700.
 
G

gorbuchul

Guest
It's a special design, that you should be aware of to know what to expect:

http://imaging.nikon.com/history/nikkor/30/index.htm

These threads inspired me way back to get one:

https://www.nikoncafe.com/vforums/showthread.php?t=153739

https://www.nikoncafe.com/vforums/showthread.php?t=155161

Some from me:

https://www.nikoncafe.com/vforums/showthread.php?t=222273

If I use a longer focal length for portraits I either favor the Zeiss ZF85 or the 135/2 AIS. It's a heavy monster, but it balances well on my D3. Great lens.

Kind regards,
Bernd
 
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Joined
Mar 1, 2010
Messages
102
Location
Finland
I got a beater pre-ai 135/2 for 200eur. Price was a bit too high but I just wanted to try it out. I have no problems shooting at f/2 and it seems to be my sharpest lens wide open (excluding 105/4 micro-nikkor).

A few old shots:

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Joined
May 31, 2008
Messages
449
Location
TP, IL
I was lucky enough to find a absolute mint copy on Craig's List few years ago and its really a special lens. Tried selling it but couldn't. I love it more than my Zeiss ZF 100/2 and CV 180/4.
 
Joined
Apr 15, 2008
Messages
181
Location
Santa Monica, CA usa
Ai and Ais appear to be identical optically. I had an Ai years ago, and got a newer Ais about 5 years ago. It is definitely one of those lenses(like the old 85/1.8K) that a lot of people regret getting rid of. I shall not make that mistake again.
 
Joined
Mar 15, 2009
Messages
14
Location
Germany
I like it very much on the D700. It's hard to focus, since the dof is tiny wide open, and my eyes are getting older. Would never sell it, though.
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Joined
Jan 14, 2011
Messages
56
Location
Hong Kong
How good is it???????? Chuck Norris owns one, nuff said.:cool:

Not only did he own one, but it auto-focused on his D40 !

Seriously though, I've been looking for one of these (AI-S) but they are quite pricey. Seems like such a nice lens though. Last week I bought my first two AI-S lenses, the 50mm 1.4 and the 105mm 2.5 - they are both so much fun to use.
 

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