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Nikon 105 2.5 AIS Thoughts ?

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by watsonD50, Jul 11, 2007.

  1. I am thinking about picking up this lens today for $100. I have seen some pictures and they literally blew me away. Anyone care to comment on this lens ?
  2. While I have not used this lens, I've seen plenty of images to say...grab it!
  3. nimix


    May 30, 2006
    Pick it! I have got it on my D200 and it is simply great. Of course you will miss AF sometimes, but the optics of 2/105 DC or 2,8/105 AFS Micro are not better.

    One great advantage of the 2,5/105 is its small size. I would never carry around a 2,8/105 AFS Micro monster ;) 
  4. Frank207be


    Mar 11, 2006
    Not impressed with mine

    I also have one, but it's performance wide open is not breathtaking on my recently calibrated D2x. Maybe it's defective, but green and red CA show up very fast in high contrast areas wide open. At f4 it improves very quickly though. My AF 85mm f1.4D does a far better job wide open and blows the Ais 105mm f2.5 away between f2-f5.6 :frown:
  5. it's an amazing lens!! sharp at 2.5 and so contrasty at f4 i simply can't see how it can get any better!!

    i got mine second hand in pristine condition for 90 pounds (about 180 dollars), and i think it's worth every penny, you should grab yourself that bargain as soon as you can!!

    (ohhh and it's a creamy lens too :wink::wink:, control rings, bokeh.......)
  6. ohhh just saw frank's post, i can confirm that this lens does suffer from red/green CA in high contrast areas, particularly in distances surrounding the DOF, so high contrast subjects just off the DOF will have some CA problems. It definitely is visible but yeah it disappears completely on my sample from f4.5 on
  7. Dennyd80

    Dennyd80 Guest

    I've had mine for about ten years and used it on both digital and film Nikon's. It's very compact and light. I use it on my D80 for both normal photgraphy and in combination with the PN-11 extension tube for macro shots. The sharpness is awesome from edge to edge. I haven't seen any objectionable CA when it's used with my D2H or D80... even wide open.

    Bjorn Rorslett has rated it as one of the best lenses Nikon has ever produced.
  8. whyhan


    Jun 14, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    $100 is a VERY VERY good deal for the lens.....if it's in good condition. You mentioned in another thread you would like to try out AIS lenses. This would definitely be the lens to try.
  9. eyelevel


    Jun 28, 2007
    Tulsa, OK
    105mm f2.5 ais in Black and White

    With a D200:

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
  10. lisantica


    Jul 4, 2006
    So. Calif.
    I agree that $100 is a GREAT price! I have one and love it. I just don't use it as much because I'm more of an auto-focus type. But when I use the 100 2.5 AIS lens it slows me down and I seem to take better photos once I have to think about things as opposed to just clicking away.

  11. Well

    i think i am going to purchase this lens tommorow. To be honest I was a little hesitant about using older lenses because of the lack of metering and the fact that manual focus via my D50 is a bit difficult, but then someone on another forum shared a few tips that makes focus and metering a no-brainer. Forgive me for my igonarance, but I learned that with manual focus lenses you can use the green dot in the viewfinder to determine focus-lock - just turn the focus ring and hold the shutter down in a pre-focus fashion - when the light is green, the shot is clean :)  Also manual metering turns out to be simple as well due to the over/under exposure indicators in the viewfinder. I tested out focusing and metering and found I could do both operations in a matter of seconds.
  12. Unfortunately ideal focus isn't always just "the green dot". You will probably need practice to use it effectively, as the green dot is a "range" and not just a single point of focus. At 105mm and f/2.5, you'll find that range can include the nose, eyes, and ears of a person. Figuring out WHERE in that range (through oscillation) the precise point of focus sets may be useful.

    AIS lenses are a bit inconvenient on many DSLRs, though not exceptionally so. The 105/2.5 is an amazing lens...for my film shooting I don't think there are any lenses that I'd desire more at that focal length.
  13. Lowolf


    Jan 26, 2006
    Had this lens for years best Lens Nikon ever made
  14. Rob, I have read your posts on dpreview and you seem to have high praise for this lens - will I be happy with this lens on my D50 ? I question whether or not I will grow tired of manual focusing or metering, but then again $100 isn't much to drop down on a lens and I do have the option of returning it should I not be satisfied (besides maybe this would be an excellant lesson in metering anyways). Some of the pictures I have seen taken with this lens (using a D40) were jaw-dropping (superb bokeh and detail as well as good color and contrast). I would assume that maybe PP had more to do with the output than the optic itself, but after looking at hundreds of samples taken with this lens it seems this look is rather consistent. It seems even on digital this lens still gives the current crop of pro glass on the market a run for it's money, but then again having not used the lens itself maybe I am wrong. Thoughts ???
  15. Daniel,

    I'd say that the majority of users of the 105/2.5 on DSLRs have grown tired of manual focus and metering without assistance. As a hobby lens, it can be rather fun, and if you are able to motivate yourself, the process can be more compelling than just zippy AF and auto metering (point-and-shoot) that most people use. Of course, if you're like most people, often you will find yourself not wanting to work at all for an image, and you may ultimately get tired of it.

    However, at $100, it's not a substantial investment. For another $50-150, you can get a nice manual film camera that will mate, focus, and meter with the 105 nicely (and take better advantage of the 105mm focal length), or you could possibly hook yourself up with a katz eye screen to at least help with the focusing.

    If you do get tired of it, you could probably resell it at little or no loss. In my opinion, optics alone are *never* reason enough to keep a lens I don't enjoy using.

    I say give it a shot and see how it feels and responds for you. It could just be a lackluster short telephoto, it could be a pain in the butt, or it could be some kind of miracle for you. Only one who *could* know is you.

    I thought it was worth giving a try, but used it relatively little on digital due to focusing and metering and the narrower-than-desired FOV. On film however, I can't put the thing down.

    *addendum* Oh I forgot to add...although the optics are very good...they don't transform your images into something else. You may notice subtleties if you look for them, but subtleties need to be understood for what they are. "Amazing" anything is usually a quality of a given composition, lighting, and processing to a point, and pretty much never an exclusive quality of a lens. All those buzz words like "pop" and "life" and "dimensionality" and "depth" and so on are usually just BS, or they're effects not of a lens, but of a given scene.
  16. See this is why

    I enjoy talking to your Rob, you are too the point and don't sugarcoat anything.

    I would say that I am not like most people however. I am technical by trade being a software developer and I tend to like things better when they are complicated, otherwise I grow bored very fast (unlike most people who just want one button to do it all). I have become fascinated with older optics after reading about Nikon's history and other information I digested online. Part of me loves everything new and high-tech, and part of me has an appreciation for things of the past (nostalgic I suppose). I also tend to be a bargain hunter feeling much better about a purchase knowing I got the most for my dollar. I could honestly go out tomorrow and pick-up the 17-55 and 70-200 and be done with it all, but what fun would that be, what would I have to look forward to next ? (See I told you I was a strange, complicated cat). It is funny you mention that the lens won't transform anything, I know this, yet I suppose part of me is always looking for something 'different', hoping for something better even if the appeal isn't the fact the IQ is worlds better but the fact that the focus ring feels good in hand. If you have any suggestions of MF lenses I would enjoy with digital please let me know.


    Oh I should mention that the 75-150 Series E is now on my short list. It's the same price as the 105 2.5.

    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 12, 2007
  17. Great portrait lens.
  18. Despite what Robert said, I never grew tired of it and often used it (with a D2X) because I love my shots from it (portraits). It was the sharpest lens I had (incl 85/1.4, 70-200/f2.8, 80-200/f2.8, 35-70/f2.8 and 300/f4). I sold it when I switched to Canon but hardly a week goes buy that I'm not tempted to purchase it again. It's that good!
  19. Bear in mind, Kevin, that the D2x has a substantially larger viewfinder and meters with the 105mm. The D50 on the other hand has a pretty scrawny VF and requires guess-metering or an external meter. I didn't mind it too much, but a lot of people find it inconvenient enough to turn them off after a while.

    I am also a proponent of the 75-150, though if you use filters like I do, it adds even one more nuisance to the process: a rotating front element, which makes using a polarizer a bit annoying. I got mine for $40 and didn't like it very much at first...but it grew on me really quickly after a bit of walking around with it and getting more photos.

    I still don't use it very much because it does feel a bit cheap compared to the 105mm and 50mm lenses I otherwise use, but the optics are good and the lens is pretty small.

    Have you looked at the 100mm f/2.8 Series E? Should get you 98% of the optical quality in an even more compact package...and they are reasonably well made and generally cheaper.
  20. Robert, I don't use filters so the rotating ring is not a problem. I am kinda back and forth on the 75-150. I like the constant apeture and the out of focus rendition seems to be pleasing, however at the same time I am leaning towards manual focus primes and looking for not only faster apetures, but also a good build and a nice feel to the focusing ring. I have been reading up on the Katz Eye Screens, but for some reason I can't seem to comprehend how the split screen works - is there any caveats to using these screens (i.e. exposure issues) ? I figure an investment in these older lenses is not a lost cause, later on I might upgrade (though I have no interest or immediate need) to a camera body that supports metering these older lenses - in fact it's kinda annoying this wasn't just a feature in the D50, afterall 90% of the tech to meter AI/AIS lenses is already built into the cam - they could do it via firmware, but that's a lost cause - all I need is the source code and I could hack it though :wink:

    I'll take a look at the 100 2.8 Series E, how does the out of focus rendition compare to the 105 2.5 AIS ?
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 13, 2007
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