Used 105mm f/2.5...AI-s v. pre AI-s...opinions

May 1, 2005
San Antonio TX
My local used shop has two 105mm 2.5 lenses both in pristine condition.

One, the newer is an AI-s with the little built in sliding hood. It's focus is silky smooth and offers almost too little resistance to turning. I played with it on an F5 and it seems a joy.

The older lens (?? non-AI-s, anybody?) has a bit of a taper to the barrel and no hood built in. It's focus is silky and offers what seem almost a bit too much resistance to turning the focus.

Both are 9+ outside, clean inside with a couple dust specks. Both come with a free-checkup at the Nikon service center up the street so no risk.
Both should function just fine on a D2X, right?

200 v. 150 $

Anybody got an opinion as to which is the more desirable lens. $50 difference is of no consequence considering the alternative is a much more costly 105DC.

I really like the retro-feel, think-before-I-shoot functionality, and for portraiture MF is something I want to get back to, I think.

I suspect that worst case is I get it, don't use it and get it snapped up here on the for-sale board for $100 in a heartbeat.

OK manual to me.
May 8, 2005
Vermont, USA
Hi Vernon,

What is the serial number of the "pre-AIS" lens? You can check it (along with other attributes, such as where the DOF markings are located on the barrel), here:

It may be the AI version, which is optically the same as the AIS, but has a longer focus throw and no sliding hood.

Or, it may truly be a pre-AI version, which I've never used, but have a fine reputation as well.

I think it's true that a pre-AI lens is not necessarily safe to mount on the D2x, unless it's been converted to AI.

Confused yet?

The answer I would give you is......go with the AIS version. For $50 more you're getting a known beast, and one that will put smiles on your face for a long time to come. (I have two of the AIS version.)

Best wishes,

May 5, 2005
Orlando, Florida
Vernon, I only have the AIS version and it is a joy to use. I used it on the S2 that I borrowed and use it on my D2X as well. No problems. It is one sharp lens! I think the focusing is smooth as buttah! ;)

I got mine off of eBay for $145. No matter what other lenses I may buy, I'll always keep this one. Portraiture is what I plan to specialize in, btw.

For the price, you can't go wrong!
May 4, 2005
Thousand Oaks
The AIS is the way to go - sliding hood is v useful. Optically they should be the sam, but if the other one is a pre-AI it could well be different optically (they did change the structure of the lens) and it will almost certainly damage the D2X. This is one of the best lenses ever made by Nikon and is an absolute delight to use. You will not regret it. BTW - check out Bjorn Rorslett's site at for his review.
May 1, 2005
San Antonio TX
OK, I went back today to re-consider the 105mm2.5's
Apparently the "Gauss-type design (5 elements in 4 groups) has been made without optical change from 1972 to today.
About '77 they redesigned the barrel to include the sliding lens shade.
I got the older style because it was, sharper and cheaper and in "like new" condition.
A thirty year old "like new' lens sounds a fantasy, but it still had the little oval glue on the barrel from the Japanese inspection stickers we see no more.

I tripod tested it shooting the old Zeiss resolution test card hanging on the wall in the used shop. It was a tiny-tiny hair better than the newer absolutely made my 24-120 looked pitifull and, actually a tiny bit better than my thought-of-as-invincible 85.1.4...but at a level akin to picking my top favorite Victoria's Secret models. (hey I can dream).

Anyway I now have a like new old MF 105.2.5.
The thing is a dream to use from a mechanical sense.
For portraits AF can be a liability. I may go back and re-consider the old 50.1.4 MF they have.

The only shooting I did today was in hideous sodium vapor/incandescent mix indoor light, but I had fun with it. I can tell it is razor sharp and contrasty.

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