AF DC-Nikkor 105mm f/2.0D and AF DC-Nikkor 135mm f/2.0D lenses:

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by studio460, Nov 15, 2015.

  1. AF DC-Nikkor 105mm f/2.0D:
    I was initially quite ambivalent toward my AF DC-Nikkor 105mm f/2.0D, but have since gotten more accustomed to its idiosyncrasies, and have now concluded it's plenty sharp when used correctly, and an excellent lens for portraiture and other specialized applications:
    [​IMG]
    AF DC-Nikkor 105mm f/2.0D @ f/2.0; R-0
    [​IMG]
    [100% crop]

    Although I now shoot portraits and headshots exclusively with my Sigma 150mm f/2.8 OS (which is visibly sharper than either lens), I continued to pine for a longer version of a fast, f/2.0 lens, the DC-version of the 135mm . . .

    AF DC-Nikkor 135mm f/2.0D:
    So, I finally bought a mint-condition, used AF DC-Nikkor 135mm f/2.0D, but after some initial observations, compared to my AF DC-Nikkor 105mm f/2.0D, I see that it's not as sharp as my DC 105mm wide-open. It also front-focuses on all of my Nikon FX bodies by a fair amount. I had to set my Nikon D3s to +20 AF-correction which appears to correct most of the front-focus issue.
    [​IMG]
    AF DC-Nikkor 135mm f/2.0D @ f/2.0; R-0
    [​IMG]
    AF DC-Nikkor 135mm f/2.0D @ f/2.0; R-4
    [​IMG]
    AF DC-Nikkor 135mm f/2.0D @ f/2.0; R-2
    [​IMG]
    [100% crop]
    [​IMG]
    Sigma 150mm f/2.8 OS @ f/2.8
    [​IMG]
    [100% crop]
    After some casual tests on a Nikon Df, the DC 135mm clearly exhibits more CA than my Sigma 150mm (shown above, shot on a Nikon D3s for convenience). This renewed interest in the DC 135mm began as a quest to find a longer lens for my Nikon Df to shoot candids on some recent work trips (where my 85mm f/1.8G was too short, and my Sigma 150mm, too bulky). While the DC 135mm is a unique lens with specialized properties, it may not be the ideal solution for those looking for a longer, faster lens for general-purpose photography. I'm still deciding whether to return the DC 135mm to the seller or not.
     
  2. Hi Ralph. Well, I've been pretty vocal in complaining about the LoCA issues with the 135 DC (as seen in your close-up), and the 150mm Sigma's much better handling of this is one reason I got it (and my 200 f/2) and exchanged my 135mm. It did produce very smooth backgrounds, though. I'd say it depends whether the LoCA bothers you. I decided "never again" after a first dance at a wedding where the light/dark line pattern caused by the bride's blonde hair meant that the 135 DC turned it green (and the jewellery in front of the focal plane pink), and the LoCA was bad enough that the automated tools in Photoshop couldn't fix it. (Not that they were there at all in the days when I took the shot. My fix was to smudge the A and B channels in LAB mode.) I do a lot of shots with highlights and white/black transitions near the focal plane, and LoCA is particularly detrimental to me. Many may never even notice it, and for a lot of shots that other people take, I'd not notice it either unless i went looking. My 135 does seem to have been a bit more troublesome than those some others have owned, though.
    For what it's worth, the LoCA of the current 85mm f/1.8 AF-S G bothers me too (it's quite good at making all the books in the background of a shot look like they have green titles), but it may be a little less intrusive than the 135, and at least the AF is more reliable. It's just something I know I need to look out for - but it's a bit annoying because I want wider apertures and good bokeh partly so I can pay less attention to the background. Obviously the LoCA goes away as you stop down, but that's not why I buy fast lesnes.
    Good luck, whatever you choose. I think it's very subject dependent. No lens is perfect, after all.
     
  3. Hi Andrew. Over time I came to agree with you that the chromatic aberration of the 135f2 DC was too much when shot wide open. I sold it to finance other toys. So, one less person in the "plus" column for that lens. Stopped down I found it sharp and nice.
     
  4. I guess I will have to just be happy with my 135 f/2 DC. I had some softness wide open on my D100 but that was fixed by playing with the DC control. I believe it was -2R and then then it was nice and sharp wide open.
    Ralph you may want to play around with the 135 and the DC control ring and you might be able to pick up more sharpness shooting it wide open. I have also found that the color fringe on mine is easily handled in ACR
     
  5. MAybe I should mention that I use mine to shoot sports wide open at times but usually around f/3.2. Lens works great on my D4 and also looked just fine on a friends D810
     
  6. I have to say, having looked at the shots Michael has posted, I can't really explain the differences I saw from my own experience with the lens - unless the focus distance is having an effect (I was at portrait range) or I just had a bad sample, despite Nikon telling me it was okay. I can see why he's happy; all I can report is that I wasn't happy with mine.
     
  7. I also bought a second-hand DC-Nikkor 135mm f/2.0D and used it as a general purpose lens on my D7000 and V1 via FT-1 adaptor. Sharpness is all right for me even wipe open, but apart from the notorious CA, it glows easily. Both problems should not be an issue for shooting portraits particularly in controlled condition, where soft light is expected. It is actually a lens designed for specific usage and has very nice bokeh.
     
  8. Thanks for everyone's comments. As I said, I initially had a love-hate relationship with my DC-Nikkor 105mm, but now know it's capable of producing very sharp, technically-good images, and now I plan on shooting more often with it. The 105mm (orignially purchased when I only owned DX bodies) is actually a convenient length for the purpose I originally intended: shallow-focus, full-length shots (in an attempt to mimic the 200mm f/2.0). But for head-and-shoulders portraiture on a full-frame body, 105mm can sometimes feel a bit short.
    It's hard to justify yet another mid-tele in my inventory, but as many Nikon owners have experienced, the mythic allure of the DC 135mm remained strong. Over the years, I've had various copies of used DC 135s in my eBay shopping cart, and for whatever reason, this one put me over the edge, and a few nights ago, I "clicked." A fair price and a stellar seller reputation did it.
    By the way, does anyone know the significance of this '10' logo on the underside of the lens?
    [​IMG]
     
  9. The lens is supposed to be usable for 10 years, after which it may fail due to aging electronics. I believe this has to do with the tin whisker issue caused by post 2005 lead-free solder, but I'm not really up on this issue.
     
  10. I guess my question is, based on the limited sample images shown here, is this the normal level of sharpness I can expect from the DC 135? Is my copy performing about as well as everyone else's? I tried to simulate the lens' effects in software, unsuccessfully, so I'm now somewhat more inclined to keep it for its unique imaging properties (plus, the fact that the lens is in mint condition, and its external aesthetics and build quality are unfairly skewing my objectivity).
     
  11. Bill said:
    The lens is supposed to be usable for 10 years, after which it may fail due to aging electronics. I believe this has to do with the tin whisker issue caused by post 2005 lead-free solder, but I'm not really up on this issue.
    Thanks for your reply. Well, that makes sense (e.g., the "recycle" looking symbol). So, if true, a pre-'10' DC lens would actually be more preferable, yes?
     
  12. Here's what would solve the problem:
    1. Nikon releases a modern implementation of their patented 135mm f/1.8 AF lens with VR.
    2. Sigma releases a 135mm f/1.8 "Art" lens, with stabilization.
    Apparently, some here have posted they've been hoping for years that Nikon would soon productize their 135mm f/1.8 patent. However, I think the latter is more likely than the former (especially in light of Sigma's spate of recent releases), where a fast mid-tele with stabilization would be a hugely welcome addition to the cadre of F-mount lenses available today.
     
  13. Second test shoot with AF DC-Nikkor 135mm f/2.0D on a Nikon Df:
    [​IMG]
    f/2.0 @ R-0
    [​IMG]
    f/2.0 @ R-2
    [​IMG]
    f/2.0 @ R-4
    [​IMG]
    f/2.0 @ R-5.6
     
  14. If I hadn't dropped my AF Nikkor 180mm f/2.8D a few years ago, with these sample images now in hand, I would probably immediately decide to return the DC 135 (I dropped my 180mm on the F-mount and expect it to cost a fair amount to repair). I'll probably drop it off at Nikon and ask for an estimate. If reasonable, the DC 135 is likely to go back to the seller, and I'll have the 180mm as a compact, "vintage" tele for my traveling Nikon Df kit.
     
  15. [​IMG]
    Nikon Df @ ISO 50 + AF DC-Nikkor 135mm f/2.0D: f/2.0 @ R-2; +20 AF correction.
    [​IMG]
    [100% crop of above image]

    [​IMG]
    [Nikon D3s @ ISO 100 + AF DC-Nikkor 105mm f/2.0D: f/2.0 @ R-0; 100% crop]
    Well, I think that does it. This DC 135 is going back to its seller. Will drop my AF Nikkor 180mm f/2.8D for repair next week and see what they say.
     
  16. Ralph
    Are you focusing after you make the DC adjustment? It makes a difference
     
  17. Yes, I'm re-focusing after DC adjustment. Shot several hundred frames under short-duration strobes. Using the back AF button, AF-C, single-point, with the focus point hovering over the subject's eye. I think the D3s images are a bit sharper (also dialed in at +20), and that the lens is slightly further out of adjustment on my Df (also at +20).
     
  18. Well, the good news is, the seller is taking back the lens and paying all the return shipping fees. It's too bad, because I really wanted to like this lens--it's in mint-condition, and gorgeous, aesthetically (the bad news is, I have no idea where my AF Nikkor 180mm f/2.8D is).
    The upshot of this whole experience is that I've "re-discovered" my AF DC-Nikkor 105mm f/2.0D, and now plan on shooting with it a lot more. Plus, with its shorter focal length, I'll be closer to my subjects, which will be handy for shooting with my Elinchrom ECO RQ ringlight.
     
  19. I first bought the 135, and liked it so much that I got the 105 too, which I regret slightly, so I'm in the opposite situation as Ralph.
    The 105 is slightly sharper (when I can actually focus it on something) and less susceptible to flare (probably due to the more recessed front element), but focus is a hit or miss. I get much more consistent and reliable performance out of the 135, and the LoCA is less objectionable than the 85/1.8G, and easily corrected in Lightroom. I am considering selling the 105 DC and getting the Micro Nikkor 105/2.8 instead, while the 135 DC was one of my best purchases.
    The lens is supposed to be usable for 10 years, after which it may fail due to aging electronics.
    This is another one of Ken Rockwell's nonsense that he made up himself and spreads on his website as a fact. I suppose that's where you "learnt" this from. The truth is here:
    https://nikoneurope-en.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/21761
     
  20. Oliver, which camera are you using? I found the 105 DC would be extremely frustrating to focus on the D800 because of a strong distance-dependent focus offset, but since I moved to the D810 this characteristic disappeared (as it did on many other fast Nikon primes) and now it focuses quite well. I still need to apply a fine tune setting but it's constant across my usage conditions. I prefer the 105 DC over the 135 DC as the former is sharper and less prone to flare. I think it's mainly a body AF problem (something was misaligned or badly designed in the camera body) that's causing the distance dependent focus errors. It is possible that Nikon service can solve the problem if you explain what is going on. Of course, chasing bodies that will work well with certain lenses can be very expensive, so I would recommend trying the service option.
     
  21. I am using a D700, so it's not even one of the new high resolution bodies. When I miss the focus with the 105 (which is quite often), it doesn't look like something that would be corrected with any amount of AF fine tune, it is just way off. In a portrait, sometimes I see not a single point on my subject's head that appears to be in focus, but occasionally I nail it on the eye, so the results are very inconsistent. Once stopped down to around f/2.8, it gets much easier. I admit that it may be my technique, but what puzzles me is that I get much more shots in focus with the 135mm, which according to most people is harder to focus, and I have also never had such serous problems focusing the 85mm f/1.8 lenses.
     
  22. Well, the 105 VR does focus very consistently in my experience, in the portrait range of distances (at longer distances not so much), but I just don't much like the images from that lens (some others do love it). It may be worth giving a try if you need a 105mm. I prefer the 105 DC even though some images will occasionally be out of focus. Another lens that I use for studio portraits is the 70-200/4G AF-S VR. It gives freedom of framing which is nice if the lights get in my way of choosing my preferred position I can adjust the framing using the zoom. It's lightweight enough to use for long shoots. Before that lens came to the market I was basically never using a telezoom for portraits as I didn't want to intimidate my subject or handle the weight for hours on end.
    Once stopped down to around f/2.8, it gets much easier.

    A-ha! Now I get what you're referring to. If you need the large aperture then the 85mm f/1.4's, especially the AF-S G version (and probably the f/1.8's too) do focus better at equal apertures than the 105 DC. Then there is the 200/2 II, but again I don't use that lens for portrait sessions because of its weight. I mainly use it for concerts, theatre, dance, indoor sports and occasionally for events. The 200/2 does focus very precisely, after fine tuning. But still there are instances where the wide open image is a bit out of focus, especially if the subject is moving. I think imperfect focusing is just one of those facts of life for wide aperture shooters. I still love to use wide apertures for the images that result even if the percentages are lower than for those who mostly prefer to use smaller apertures. Still I find the images from the DC Nikkors at f/2.8 or f/4 very pleasing to the eye and I don't really feel the need to shoot them wide open to get excellent bokeh. I guess it could be said that they're from an era where few users expected to shoot them wide open most of the time - it was normal and expected that for good image quality a bit of stopping down was to be done. It has become a more common expectation recently that fast lenses should give excellent quality images wide open. But only some lenses will do that. I would not reject a lens because of its wide open characteristics if it produces unusually nice images stopped down and is not excessively heavy. For the 200/2 II I do use it wide open much of the time because otherwise it would be difficult to justify the considerable weight, and the Mk II does produce exceptionally nice image quality wide open. But again the bokeh characteristics and general character of the lens is very nice stopped down as well, so I think the idea of usign fast primes only wide open is a flawed way to think about it, unless the photographer really loves zooms. ;-)
    I personally would very much like to see the 105/2, 135/2, and 180/2.8 in AF-S versions for more precise focusing and perhaps with improved optics (reduced LoCA).
     
  23. This is another one of Ken Rockwell's nonsense that he made up himself and spreads on his website as a fact. I suppose that's where you "learnt" this from. The truth is here:
    https://nikoneurope-en.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/21761​

    You can't assume that's where I got this. I've certainly come to view KR's assertions with a jaundiced eye. Still, I have to thank you for the correction on the reason for the symbol. And despite that, the tin whisker problem is real: http://nepp.nasa.gov/whisker/reference/tech_papers/2011-kostic-pb-free.pdf.
     
  24. Could you show some pictures of tin whiskers in Nikkor lenses that use lead free soldier? If it's a real problem then it should be prevalent now. I would guess that since the entire electronics industry has had to convert to using lead free materials they'd have solved such problems by using improved materials, coatings, and manufacturing technology.
    If you do a search I'm sure you'll find articles saying that there are advantages from the use of lead free soldier as well as disadvantages.
     
  25. Ralph
    You do realize that as you make the DC affect stronger with out stopping the lens down it turns into a soft focus lens..
     
  26. That is another thing I meant to say. You are not supposed to select a DC value higher than your current aperture. If that's the look you're after, by all means, go for it, but that's not how the DC ring is meant to be used and Nikon says this in the manual of the lens as well. You will get a soft image, and it's not a malfunction of the lens. I actually notice that I can easily get a soft image even when the DC setting exactly matches my aperture, so I will not move the DC ring wide open. I might move it to 2 once I am stopped down, but will only move it to 4 once the aperture is stopped down beyond that. This is just my personal habit though, and according to Nikon, you are supposed to get the best results (probably meaning smoothest bokeh with a sharp image in the focal plane) when the setting on the DC ring matches your selected aperture.
    Bill, sorry if I offended you, it's just that that's where I first read this, and I find it unlikely that someone else would come up with the same incorrect explanation independent of him. To be fair, I almost believed his version too at first. Even though we know what that symbol is for, I am still curious what the number "10" signifies in it. I do live in China, and a lot (but not all) of my electonics have that symbol on them.
     
  27. Ilkka, it takes time for these whiskers to develop. No, I don't have any photos of Nikkor lenses with this problem but it's inherent in lead-free solder. Proper coatings are one solution and are discussed in the link I previously provided.
    What we don't know is to what extent manufacturers of consumer goods are taking preventive measures, nor can we rely upon manufacturer-affiliated repair shops to accurately report on this sort of problem when it crops up. On the other hand, after over 9 years there is certainly no epidemic of lens electronics failures to point to, which suggests the problem may be fairly limited in scope in that arena.
    All the sources I've seen (including the one I linked) state that the reason for lead-free solder is to keep lead out of landfills out of concern for possible groundwater contamination. Some of these sources also claim that concern is misplaced due to lead's relative insolubility, but such explanations that I've seen are relatively qualitative and don't actually work out likely consequent microdoses for a substance that poisons in subtle but harmful ways even in very small amounts.
    I apologize for my original post which was simplistic and inaccurate. I actually had done some online research on this issue years ago, but by the time I wrote that post I was operating mainly off memory and without adequate updated research.
     
  28. Michael said:
    You do realize that as you make the DC affect stronger with out stopping the lens down it turns into a soft focus lens.
    Yeah . . . I think it's a cool effect (especially when back-lit), one that's difficult to replicate in software. I also used to own the Mamiya soft-focus lens for my RB67, many years ago, which I really liked.
    Oliver said:
    That is another thing I meant to say. You are not supposed to select a DC value higher than your current aperture.
    Yes, I'm aware of that. I deliberately set the R-value past the aperture setting in the posted images to demonstrate the exaggerated spherical aberration possible with this lens. For normal photography with this lens, I typically match the R-value to the aperture value. According to my initial tests when I first bought my DC-105 several years ago, it's sharpest at R-2 when wide-open.
     
  29. By the way, that was the first time I mounted my DC-105 on my Df. I had to dial in a +15 AF correction on that body (now, it's spot-on). The DC-135 seemed to need an out-of-range +25 correction on my Df. Weird that you had the exact opposite experience with your 105/135, Oliver, but, I guess not all that surprising, given the idiosyncratic nature of these lenses. I do, however, also have a lower AF hit-rate on my DC-105 than, say, my AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.4G.
     
  30. Ralph, I shoot the 135 dc on a d700. Yes there is some CA. Post usually takes care of it. I can always convert to b&w. But the oof is worth it to me. Sharp, mine is sharp as a tack. For head/torso shots, I need to stop down to 2.8-3.2 to get both eyes sharp when head is turned. That corrects most of the CA. When I back up for full length, Like most lenses, it isn't at it's best wide open but the bokeh is spectacular and the dc ring goes to 5.6. Match the aperture with the dc ring. I don't feel I have to shoot it wide open to get the great bokeh and not alot of change as you move up to f/4. As Alton Brown of Good eats likes to say, your patience will be rewarded. If I have room to use this lens, I will use it. My other preference is the 85 1.4 G. I often add a vari nd to get wider apertures in full daylight. I also tend to shoot slower shutter speeds and light my subject and the bg's are stunning. When I up grade to a higher resolution body, I will keep the d700 for this lens and hopefully, before the d700 becomes a paper weight, Nikon will have updated this lens. VR, would be nice, coatings and sealing would be nice as well. Just recharged the dessicant tin I keep with it. But right now, it is my lens of choice. Shots with this lens consistently produce oohs and aahs from clients. Beauty is in the eye of the checkbook holder as Bambi Cantrell says. If it is acceptable with a d810 36mp, I would prefer to shoot this lens and crop than lug that 70-200 beast all day and zoom.
     
  31. Ralph, here's an example, f/4 hand held 1/20 sec. Shoot through umbrella right.
    00dadu-559277484.jpg
     
  32. Ralph, in the original the subject is tack sharp. Perhaps reduced this too much?
     
  33. Test #3: Nikon Df + AF DC-Nikkor 135mm f/2.0D +20 AF correction.
    [​IMG]
    Nikon Df + AF DC-Nikkor 135mm f/2.0D: f/2.0 @ R-0; +20 AF correction.
    [​IMG]
    [100% crop]
     
  34. Test #3: Nikon D800E + AF DC-Nikkor f/2.0D +15 AF correction.

    [​IMG]
    Nikon D800E + AF DC-Nikkor 135mm f/2.0D: f/2.0 @ R-0; +15 AF correction.
    [​IMG]
    [100%-crop]
     
  35. Shot this today with my D4 and 135 f/2 DC. No focus fine tune no DC adjustment. This was close to the minimum focus distance but in my experience this lens just works.
    Full image
    https://flic.kr/p/AFnvq2
    Crop
    https://flic.kr/p/BhcE8a
     
  36. Michael, those do look sharp. Does everyone agree that the above re-shot sample images from my DC-135 look about as sharp as it gets? I think my earlier DC-135 tests were flawed somehow.
     
  37. Ralph
    I think your second test looks better then the first test.
     
  38. AF DC-Nikkor 105mm f/2.0D + AF DC-Nikkor 135mm f/2.0D:
    More days of random tests, and after shooting static objects in my office, my DC-135 actually appears pretty darn sharp wide-open (LoCA issues aside), so it looks like I'll be keeping it. I've concluded that my initial tests suffered from poor AF-acquisition (for whatever reason), and not a deficiency in the lens' optics. As I said, cosmetically, the lens is really beautiful, and I'm not likely to get another copy in such pristine condition:
    [​IMG]
    As legend has it, the DC-series lenses have been credited with producing alluring images with unique character, so owning both focal lengths for someone who shoots a lot of people seems a good bet. I was at a 2016 Olympics promotional event last Friday, hoping to snap a pic of the gorgeous Alex Morgan on my set-up after our interview, but I could only manage a picture of my soundman (note that the background is only a few feet from the subject):
    [​IMG]
    Nikon Df + AF DC-Nikkor 105mm f/2.0D: f/2.0; DC ring @ neutral setting.
    Primary key: KinoFlo Diva-Lite 200 (3,200K) + 30° honeycomb.
    [​IMG]
    Nikon Df + AF DC-Nikkor 135mm f/2.0D: f/2.0; DC ring @ neutral setting.
    Primary key: Window light (indirect daylight).
    Above is a picture of my mom taken this afternoon. Although the source is super-soft (a large array of indirect sunlit-windows), the uber-shallow depth-of-field helped to effect a much kinder rendition to her skin. My Sigma 150mm f/2.8 was not so kind, revealing a razor-sharp field of unflattering texture. For young models with perfect make-up, it'll be my Sigma 150mm. For others, it'll be the AF DC-Nikkor 135mm f/2.0D.
     
  39. Goals and expectations:
    My original objective in getting the DC-series f/2.0 lenses was for their shallow depth-of-field capabilities. After some initial struggles with both my AF technique, and dialing in the proper amount of AF-correction, I'm now a bit more sure about their operation. I'm anxious to see the difference in background de-focus on the DC-135, compared with the DC-105, as soon as I can get a willing subject and a suitable exterior location. Short-focus distance tests look great, but the real test will be full-length shots with the lens a few dozen feet from the subject.
    As I said, my razor-sharp Sigma 150mm f/2.8 will be reserved for subjects with youthful skin and expertly applied make-up. Also, the Sigma's actual maximum aperture is f/3.0, so it's not as shallow-focus capable as the f/2.0 DC lenses. Although my AF-S Nikkor 70-200 f/2.8G VR I is an excellent portrait lens with beautiful bokeh, it's just too long and heavy for extended handheld work.
    While the DC-series may not offer the ultimate in sharpness wide-open, as I mentioned before, they offer other capabilities not easily replicated in software. And, while the LoCA is less noticeable (and sometimes non-existent) on human subjects (though, I have noticed the magenta/green fringes on eyelashes at times), these lenses offer unique capabilities, arguably worth their perceived weaknesses for some, if not most. As an added plus, the DC lenses "feel" right on the Nikon Df, their metal barrels and crinkle-finishes making for a highly pleasing aesthetic match.
    I just ordered a set of Tiffen 72mm ND filters for both DC lenses (0.6, 0.9, 1.2), so I'll be able to open up my DC-135 all the way to f/2.0 outside. I also recently bought 67mm and 58mm sets (for my 35mm f/1.4 and 50mm f/1.4 lenses), plus a Tiffen 77mm variable ND for my AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.4G (one of Adorama's PhotoPlus specials) for more f/wide-open photography.
     
  40. Ooo.. with these kind of threads, NAS rears it's ugly head again!
    Quickly grab my old-n-trusted tools to cure the ache.
    The 105/2.8 AIS micro, for example.
    Obviously, no (de-)focus control, other than the basic choices in point-of-view and aperture.
    Guess what.. At 2.8 I actually very much like the background unsharpness. Few double-edged objects.
    NAS cured..?
     
  41. NAS cured? Never. But at least I've finally cured my decades-long NAS for the DC-135 (having first purchased my DC-105 several years ago). I've never tried the much-lauded Nikkor 105mm f/2.5 AI, but I did buy a used Nikkor f/1.8 AI-S a while back for cine applications (though I've never actually shot stills with it). I do also love the DC-like spherical aberration of the Nikkor 50mm f/1.2 AI-S when shot wide-open, but since none of my bodies have a decent focusing screen for focusing manual lenses, I never use it.
    [​IMG]
    Nikkor 50mm f/1.2 AI-S
    Of course, with my luck, I'm guessing Sigma will announce the "perfect" mid-tele portrait lens any day now, and of course, that lens will become my new object of obsession (as has their new Sigma 24-35mm f/2.0 Art lens, which has bested both the AF-S Nikkor 24mm f/1.4G and AF-S Nikkor 35mm f/1.4G primes in recent tests).
    But what I've learned through the course of this thread is that sharpness and MTF is not the be-all, end-all of a lens' total assessment, as my tests with my mother proved (see previous page). And, that software alone cannot replicate the nuanced optical characteristics of either vintage lenses or certain "benchmark" optics such as the AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.4G (why exactly does that lens look so good on people?). That reminds me . . . I still need to set up a shoot to fully exploit the special qualities of Nikon's "worst lens," which I bought specifically for use with my Nikon Df: the pre-AI Nikkor 43-86mm f/3.5.
     
  42. "I still need to set up a shoot to fully exploit the special
    qualities of Nikon's "worst lens,"" funny!


    Just to let you know: it DOES work, fumbling your old
    tools. NAS under control for a while, for me. I love micro
    lenses .. would never really accept the minimum focus
    distances of the DF 105.. and 105/2.5.. Oooff! My
    humble 85/2.0 still is a favourite though .. even though
    it isn't as close focusing .. and overall quality of the
    105/2.8 is better. Back to the DC's..
     
  43. [​IMG]
    Test #4: Focus distance 7.4'
    Nikon D800E + AF DC-Nikkor 135mm f/2.0D: f/2.0 @ R- +20 AF-correction
    ISO: 50; Tiffen ND 0.6
    [​IMG]
    [100%-crop]
    [​IMG]
    [AF-point]
     
  44. [​IMG]
    Test #4: Focus distance 20'
    Nikon D800E + AF DC-Nikkor 135mm f/2.0D: f/2.0 @ R- +20 AF-correction
    ISO: 50; Tiffen ND 0.6

    [​IMG]
    [100%-crop]
     
  45. [​IMG]
    [65% enlargement; mild skin-smoothing]
     
  46. [​IMG]
    Nikon Df + AF DC-Nikkor 135mm f/2.0D: f/2.0 @ R-
    Focus distance: 12'

    [​IMG]
    [100%-crop]
    [​IMG]
    Nikon Df + AF DC-Nikkor 135mm f/2.0D: f/2.0 @ R-
    Focus distance: 4.9'
    [​IMG]
    [100%-crop]
     
  47. [​IMG]
    Nikon Df + AF DC-Nikkor 135mm f/2.0D: f/2.0 @ R-
    Focus distance: 9.8'
     
  48. First "real-world" DC-135 field test:
    I took my Nikon Df and AF DC-Nikkor 135mm f/2.0D to a simulated event this evening: A family Thanksgiving dinner. Focus accuracy was actually much better than in previous static tests for whatever reason, much better than the 50% hit-rate I was attaining in-studio (all images were taken with the Df at an AF-correction setting of +20). Focus was un-assisted since I was using off-center AF-points (even though I was using an SU-800 to control my pole-mounted Speedlight). I feel far more confident now in the lens' AF accuracy than I did prior to this "real-world" test. Due to these results, I now consider the DC-135 to be a viable part of my working lens inventory.
    [​IMG]
    Nikon Df + AF DC-Nikkor 135mm f/2.0D: f/2.0 @ R-
    Focus distance: 5.5'
    Source: Nikon SU-800/SB-600 + Chimera small pancake lantern + Lastolite pole.

    [​IMG]
    Nikon Df + AF DC-Nikkor 135mm f/2.0D: f/2.0 @ R-
    Focus distance: 8.2'
    Source: Available-light (mixed-ambient: incandescent, LED, fluorescent).
    [​IMG]
    Nikon Df + AF DC-Nikkor 135mm f/2.0D: f/2.0 @ R-
    Focus distance: 7.3'
    Source: Nikon SU-800/SB-600 + Chimera small pancake lantern + Lastolite pole.
     
  49. New DC-135 studio strobe test:
    [​IMG]
    Nikon Df + AF DC-Nikkor 135mm f/2.0D: f/2.0 @ R-
    Focus distance: 6.5'
    Source: Elinchrom ELC Pro HD 500 x2: 39" mini-octa (camera-right key)/24" x 31.5" softbox w/Rotagrid (3/4-kick).
     

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