D700 with AIS primes

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by jochenresch, May 5, 2009.

  1. I have a question to all professional photographers: I recently baught a Nikon D700. Has anyone experience wiht the D700 and the old AIS prime lenses for professional use? Or do I have to buy some new lenses for my work (Primarely portraits and street life). I own the 24/2.8, 28/2.8, 85/1.4, 105/1.8 and the 200/4. Thanks for your help!
  2. When you start using them now, you have the experience your self very soon.
  3. I'm not a professional but I have 24/2.8 and 200/4 and they perform very well on D700. I have compared them with 14-24 and 70-200 and my findings are: at f/8 the 24/2.8 is as good as the 14-24 and the 200 f/4 is as good as the 70-200 in the center and much better at the extreme corners.
  4. Jochen Jochen what stops you from using the lenses you have?
    Nothing beats first hand experience :)
    The lenses you have are nice lenses. For many one of the main reasons to get a full frame sensor is the good use of older lenses.
    A D300 plus a few new lenses are more money than a bunch good old AIS lenses and a new D700.
  5. Jochen Jochen, visit Bjorn's venerable website here:
    and click "Lenses" in the left frame. This is one of the most reliable database for Nikkor lenses on the Internet. His assessments of the lenses on D3 will directly apply to those on D700. According to his assessments, most of Ai-s lenses you own should work superbly.
    Walter, thank you for your kind comment on my recent post. Nice to read your post, too. :)
  6. You have some excellent lenses.
    The D700 works very well with MF lenses, you just have to to set the max aperture and focal length the first time you use each, and then remember to change to the right one when you change lenses.
  7. The lenses you have will work beautifully on a D700 - the only annoyance I find is that manual focussing on the D700 is not always as precise as you would like without a split image/microprism focussing screen. Even the electronic rangefinder, which is a help, has some margin of acceptable focus in it which means that if you rely on that you won't always get pin sharp results.
    I use manual focus lenses primarily for landscapes where using Live View and zooming in establishes perfect focus. For street shooting you may find yourself at a disadvantage compared to what you were probably used to on a film SLR like an FM2 etc.
  8. I am not a pro but I have a D700 and several old AIS primes. I enjoy using them and some are the best. If you don't need AF then use them to your hearts content. If your client can not tell then they are perfect.
  9. I'm also not a pro, but I used my D700 with many different AI and AIS primes, and loved every minute of it. Nikon made excellent lenses 40 years ago and continue to today. I don't believe I need to spend $1800 on a new Nikon zoom lens to feel that I am a good photographer. I also do not have the desire to carry such a large and heavy lens with me in my bag. Small MF Nikkor primes worked well for me on the D700, and made some very lovely photos.
    Snow on Orcas Island, January 2009, D700 with Nikon 105mm f2.5 at f5.6 ISO 200 (this is a JPG straight out of the camera with no post-processing other than slight sharpening added to this cutdown by Smugmug)
  10. The 105mm f/1.8 is outstanding on a D700, but IMHO the 24mm f/2.8 is a so-so lens on film or digital, and if my sample is typical you should drop the 28mm f/2.8 like a hot potato. It's been my experience that if a lens performs well on film then, with a few exceptions, it'll perform just as well on full-frame digital. Among those exceptions are some AiS variants of the 50mm f/1.4, but then Nikon brought out at least two different optical designs of 50mm f/1.4, so it's probably a case of "suck it and see".
  11. I get excellent results with the 20/3.5 ais, 28/2.8 ais, 105/2.5 ais, and 80-200/4. (compared to my 20-35/2.8, 35/2 af, 50/1.4 af, 24-85 /3.5-4.5, and 180/2.8 af. Manual focussing has not been a problem.
  12. I have and use a brace of AIS lenses on my D700 and they are all fine. The pick of the bunch is the 105/2,5 in my opinion.
  13. I have used the 28mm F2,8 which I found superb, also the 55mm F2,8 Micro the 105mm F2,5 is very good the 85mm F2 was OK but I feel better on film.
    The one I wish I could use but can't because of the AI issue is my 50mm F2 Nikkor H has anyone tried an AI'd one on a digicam?
  14. I won't recommend those AiS-youngsters for the use with a D700. I would exchange them for even older Ai- or Ai-converted Nikkors.
    Joking aside - I'm using a lot of older manual-focus Nikkors for my work and don't feel handicapped. Sometimes I'm having trouble to focus the fast 50s (50/1.2 and 50/1.4) to the spot but even AF is not foolproof with superfast lenses. I shoot a lot of sports and prefer a good modern AF-S Nikkor for this kind of photography.
    Your portfolio is impressive and I don't see the need for a more recent lens for your type of work.
  15. Thanks for all your help! Finally, of course, I will make my own ecperiences with my good old lenses, but nothing wrong with asking some experienced photographers in advance. I am happy that the discussion about pro/amateurs didn't pop up, but I had my reasons to adress this questions to the professional photographers. Again, thanks a lot!
  16. Jochen there is nothing wrong with asking around. I do this all the time. My personal comment was just to tickle your own experiments. Sorry that I overlooked the professional photographer part^^. I am just an amateur.
    Now looking at your portfolio I think you will have no problem to put the old glass to proper use.
    I noticed that many of your images really live from the eye and understanding of the photographer and your relation to the people rather than from the technical details of the equipment. A manual focus lens that lets you look more closely and longer at someone face might be your best bet anyway.
    For technical comments I guess you will be more after good bokeh or special rendition rather than "sharpness". You might want to trade in your 24mm f2.8 for a 28mm f2.0 or just add it to your range of tools. What I see missing is the 84mm f1.4 and the 105 f2.5 , both classical portrait lenses. If you made a lot of money you could think about the Zeiss 100mm f.0 Macro lens (from your portfolio I guess this Zeiss would be a dream lens for you). All these would add a little more speed to shoot in darker conditions and separate subjects more from background if needed.
    Anyway you got an interesting start and good progress in photography so keep in touch and report from you next project :)

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