Showcase Nikon 135mm f/3.5 Ai and Ais

Joined
Mar 15, 2017
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498
Location
Virginia
The 135/3.5 is as far as I know- the last true Sonnar formula lens that Nikon produced in F-Mount. The original 105/2.5 is also a Sonnar, but it was replaced by a Planar in the early 1970s. The 135/3.5 made its debut in 1950 to replace the 13.5cm F4 Nikkor-QC. The Japanese lens manufacturers were in competition with their German counterparts, and Nikon "upped-the-ante" with the 13.5cm F3.5 and 5cm F1.4 to take on the German 13.5cm F4 and F4.5 and German 5cm F1.5's.

This picture is with the original 13.5cm F3.5 Nikkor-QC from 1950, carries the "Made in Occupied Japan" markings, wide-open:

Spring 2016 by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr
It was a big hit, available in S-Mount, Contax RF Mount, Leica Mount, and Exakta Mount.

All versions with the "Rubber Inset Focus Ring" are close enough in construction and coating to give similar results. The Ais, Ai, and Ai'd "K" Series lens are equivalent operation on most modern Nikon SLRs.

Nikkor 135 F3.5 and Sonnar by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr

The F-Mount 135/3.5 was introduced with the Nikon F, single-coated. The optical formula is identical to the Rangefinder lens. Nikon even made a very rare adapter to unscrew the lens from the RF focus mount and use it directly on the Nikon F. Why- RF lenses have more aperture blades, smoother Out-Of-Focus areas compared with the SLR lens.

But- shoot wide-open, it makes no difference.

Wide-Open, on the Nikon Df

DSC_0972 by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr

DSC_0973 by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr

At F5.6,

DSC_0974 by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr
 
Last edited:
Joined
Mar 15, 2017
Messages
498
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Virginia
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Wide-Open, minimum focus.

DSC_0968 by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr

Sonnar formula lenses have a lot of field-curvature, and typically little astigmatism. Out-of-focus areas tend to be circles and not ovals.

DSC_0960 by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr

DSC_0959 by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr

The contrast is higher than the single-coated version, and the multi-coated version is much easier to find for an Ai camera. This lens was under $100, well worth having.
 
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Joined
Sep 5, 2019
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69
Location
Copenhagen
I know the 135 f3.5 well, with the scalloped metal ring , I`ve got one and the 135 f2.0 as well, which is a good bit better wide-open, but for a sunday walk I do not hesitate to take the f3.5, and at f8.0 the difference in image quality is virtually non-existent.
 

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