Nikkor 105mm f/2.5 AIS Lens / 3100

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by harmon, Nov 30, 2011.

  1. I bought this lens and I like it a lot. It was perhaps not the most logical purchase for the 3100 - but I have a Nikon EL2 I am going to try it with also. I may have read that the focal length of this lens is not actually 105mm on the 3100 - is that right? I would appreciate the experts telling me what this prime lens can do and how it fits (or does not) in a logical lens set for the 3100.
     
  2. The focal length always stays the same, the field of view changes, depending on the film/image sensor format.
     
  3. The focal length is still 105mm. Because your D3100 sensor is smaller than full-frame, the image will be slightly magnified. The 105mm lens on your D3100 will ACT LIKE a 158mm lens on your EL2, being slightly more zoomed in, but the focal length does not change. Give it a try, put the 105mm on your D3100 and take a test photo, perhaps when you are sitting in a chair. Then, put the 105mm on the EL2, and you will notice that the view through the viewfinder is noticeably zoomed out a bit more, you'll have more edges in the frame. That is because 35mm film is larger than an APS sensor, so it is capturing more of the image that the 105mm lens is projecting behind the lens mount. You'll notice that for portraits, you will have to stand a few steps further back, but nothing critical.
     
  4. Thank you! That is a very good explanation. I will try that experiment. It seems that this lens will serve a good purpose for me.
     
  5. This is one of the all-time classic lenses from Nikon. Some people go so far as to say it is the best Nikkor ever, but that may be hyperbole.
    Nikon's own story about it is now at http://imaging.nikon.com/history/nikkor/5/index.htm
    I have the older (and slightly different) non-AI version, but it is a wonderful lens. On a 35mm-sensor or 35mm film camera, especially, it is one of the nicest portrait and 'street' lenses.
     
  6. It's probably not the best Nikkor ever, but it's a lovely lens, especially as little as it costs.
    00Zg5V-420579584.jpg
     
  7. I totally adore mine on a D90, but when you have to capture movement and action, it can be too hard to deal with. Still... it's an awesome lens.
     
  8. John, that is a very very good photograph, a beautiful one. what kind of film? or is it digital and I'm misreading the caption?
    Franklin, it's a legendary lens, best or not. (Bjorn Rorslett, whose site you should study to learn abuot Nikkor lenses -- although, no, he's not always right, just usually and their qualities) calls it "truly one of the great lenses of all time", which is about the highest praise I've read him giving. It's certainly in the competition for Nikon's best AIS tele, how's that? Some like the later f/1.8 more. Not I. Neither of the 85s, as good as they are, compare. The expensive (still) 180 f//2.8 ED is a strong competitor though; as is the (extrememly expensive) 200 f/2 ED. But that's it.
    Here's a picture of my son taken with the Ai version, this summer:
     
  9. John, that is a very very good photograph, a beautiful one. what kind of film? or is it digital and I'm misreading the caption?
    Franklin, it's a legendary lens, best or not. (Bjorn Rorslett, whose site you should study to learn about Nikkor lenses and their qualities -- although, no, he's not always right, just usually) calls it "truly one of the great lenses of all time", which is about the highest praise I've read him giving. It's certainly in the competition for Nikon's best AIS tele, how's that? Some like the later f/1.8 more. Not I. Neither of the 85s, as good as they are, compare. The expensive (still) 180 f//2.8 ED is a strong competitor though; as is the (extremely expensive) 200 f/2 ED. But that's it.
    Here's a picture of my son taken with the Ai version, this summer, up at Boy Scout camp where he worked:
    00Zg64-420587584.jpg
     
  10. Hey, I don't actually make this stuff up.
    Here is the text from page 132 of Rudolf Hillebrand and Hans-Jochim Hauschild 1993 Nikon Compendium: Handbook of the Nikon System. Hove Press.
    00Zg6D-420593584.jpg
     
  11. Thank you do much, Vince. I like film, but I'm too lazy for it now. That's just a D700 shot.
     
  12. By the way, looking at that photograph carefully and remembering the light, which was strong in spots but not where he was standing, I think I was at about f/4 or f/5.6, which, with Ektar, would have had me at 1/60th most likely in that light -- anyway the plane of focus seems to extend from the top of his front shoulder to his hair somewhat back from his eyes -- a distance of half a meter or less but one would THINK it includes his actual face... But, as I recall, I took the picture just as he started to tell me to hurry up already, so I think that might explain why the eyes, nose and mouth are slightly blurred even though there's sharp focus behind that plane AND in front of it -- from what I can tell. In other words his face was just going into motion. However I'm a bit of a novice compared to many of you so I wonder if I'm seeing it correctly. Perhaps I just missed the focus.
     
  13. Hey JDMvW -- That's cool. They're bending truth a bit there, though, as it was not modified "slightly" in 1970; I believe a whole new element was added, taking it from a four-element Sonnar to a five-element something else. Someone correct me if I have that wrong. And was it 1970 or later? I.e., are there five element non Ai versions? Memory....
     
  14. I would like to have this one on my Olympus. What about border sharpness (Olympus has small sensor but still some lenses show problems with border sharpness)? What about wide-open shrpness?
    I use 50/1.4 AIS and this is a good lens.
     
  15. Vince, the original Sonnar was a five element lens, too (three glued).
    From what I know, you`re right; there are two versions. The first, original "Sonnar" one (5/3), typically asymmetrical (it reminds me the 85/2 for Nikon S/Contax) that changed to the a different "newer" Xenotar (5/4). The barrel was modified or updated several times (up to five times/six versions as I see in photosynthesis, -they could be wrong-).
    I think that, as usual, the "legends" and "myths" are based on topics that have little to do with "current reality". For sure, the original "Sonnar" was a great lens in its age, maybe because performance was outstanding, superior or even different to the competitor`s offer. The second design is completely different, for sure it was made to improve the other in many aspects.
    Since then, many other lenses has been released, surely with great improvements over the previous ones. But it`s also true that the "Xenotar" 105/2.5 is still "usable" with the current standards, and very appealing with its size and weight.
     
  16. The "new" type production starts in 1971 (Stoutz).
     
  17. I dunno if this is the finest lens produced by Nikon but it definitely is the best investment I ever did in glass. I am stunned to see how well it performs on the new sensor of D7000... It really rocks in available light, producing very pleasant images.
    [​IMG]
     
  18. Another pic, wide open on FX camera.
    [​IMG]
     
  19. In my opinion, the 105 gives you the impression of having a Zeiss lens. I have several contax lenses that I adapted to my nikon and the 105 ais gives you nearly the same picture quality as a planar or a sonnar from Zeiss. This feeling comes not only from the sharpness but also from the marvelous colors that hit the sensor. The 1.8 is supposed to be even better, but for a higher prize.
    That said, in order to use your 105 on the 3100, you will have to add a dandelion chip that will give the camera the informations it needs: I did it on my 105 and it works now as a "G" lens. You have to focus manually of course.
    Laurent
     
  20. I have the earlier pre-AI one too. I use it on my old Nikon F and my Nikkormat, but I've also used it on my D3000.
    Look, I'm not a big believer of the popular photography "this lens is better than that lens" stuff. Unless it's a toy camera lens or a cheap zoom, I've never been able to tell from a picture what lens it was taken with. But the 105 is widely-recognized as a great "portrait" lens, and I won't argue with that one.
    Keep in mind that it's designed for a frame of 35mm film. If used on a camera with smaller film or sensor, it's not going to use the entire image that comes through the lens. The focal length of any lens is what it is, but it's the equivalent of taking a picture with a 35mm or "full-frame" camera. and then cropping the edges off of it. That lessens its usefulness as a portrait lens somewhat, and I wouldn't consider it a walking around type of lens. It's too much of a telephoto for that. If I was starting fresh instead of 40 years ago, 105 wouldn't be the first I would get. But when you do need that focal length, it's a great one to have.
    I took this picture with it, mounted on my D3000. Not too bad for having been taken through a glass window.
    00ZgA8-420653584.jpg
     
  21. By the way, many of the Hove books were a little inclined to exaggeration, but-- as I said-- I didn't make it up on my own. ;)
    As for "improving" the Sonnars, it's pretty hard to improve near perfection. My old "Olympic" Sonnar 180mm f/2.8 (P6 mount covering a 6cm image) is one of the sharpest lenses I own, even when used on an APS-C crop, much less a 35mm-sensor body. That legendary design goes back to the 1936 Olympics (the Jesse Owens one). It's no wonder that Nikon was not the only one to adopt the basic design with considerable success. Perfectly legal, by the way, since the post-war Allied Control Commission had released all German patents, etc. for use by the world. Ironically, perhaps, that also included the Japanese manufacturers.
     
  22. What's the difference between this lens and the Ai version quality wise? And can both be used on my D300? There's one being sold near my place...
     
  23. There is no quality difference between the ai and the ais lens. In pre-AIS series lenses manufactured before 1981 the aperture control mechanism has a non-linear construction. When making pictures with such lens a slight expo correction may be needed, if you use a dandelion chip.
    http://filmprocess.ru/nikon_spec_en.htm
    Laurent
     
  24. I've had both the AI and AIS versions. The AI is a little larger and the focus ring turns at a greater angle from infinity to close up making it more precise but slower to focus. The AIS has quicker focus and is slightly lighter in weight, and prices are higher too. Both stop down to f22. The pre-AI version with rubber focus ring stopped down to f32. All are nice to use.
    00ZgSu-420967584.jpg
     
  25. dont click---pls see more pics on www.tulsiphotonews.com[​IMG]
     
  26. The several pictures posted are awesome. This lens is fun at close range still shots with light. I have noticed some problems with my efforts at low light moving subjects at distance. So much so that I have discarded the idea of using the lens except in closer range still shots.
     
  27. I have been using the 105 Sonnar (old one) since the 60's on film and now with my digital cameras. I did have it AI'd, but no chip. Here's two shots, the top one with DX format, and the bottom was 35mm full frame film.
    00Zgd4-421151584.jpg
     
  28. "Hey, I don't actually make this stuff up.
    Here is the text from page 132 of Rudolf Hillebrand and Hans-Jochim Hauschild 1993 Nikon Compendium: Handbook of the Nikon System. Hove Press."
    The opinion of the authors regarding the 105 f/2.5 nearly twenty years ago probably doesn't carry too much weight nowadays. It's a very fine lens and I've owned several of them. It lacks a little contrast compared to the more modern Nikkors but that's not a bad thing for a portarit lens. It's very sharp but not as sharp as some of Nikon's modern pro lenses i.e. the 60 f/2.8 G or even the 24-70 f/2.8 let alone the 200 f/2 and other super telephoto lenses that cost a small fortune.
     
  29. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    The 105mm/f2.5 has been the legendary portrait lens from Nikon. However, I question whether it is a good idea to use that on a D3100. First of all, with the DX "crop factor," 105mm is long for a typical portrait lens on DX. There is of course no AF and also no metering. Meanwhile, the D3100 does not exactly have the best viewfinder for manual focusing. It may work for you if you always shoot from a tripod and use live view to adjust your focus.
     
  30. nearly twenty years ago​
    Like they're not still copying and making the same prime lenses today? Look at the current offerings of both Nikon and Canon in primes and there really aren't a whole lot of "new" designs.
    I'd go so far as to say that the real advances in the last twenty years have been in the computer assisted design of zoom lenses.
    As I said, sometimes it's very hard to improve on a mature, time-tested standard of near perfection.
    I'm not bound to defend a position that I characterized as "hyperbole" in my initial mention of it, but neither do I think that the older positions are irrelevant solely because they are old. Hell, many of our members would be irrelevant by that measure. Hmmm....
     
  31. In my previous post I was referring to Nikon's newer professional lenses. However, I agree with you in some respects. My 28 f/2.8 AI-s Nikkor is outstanding and is easily superior to the Nikon 28 f/2.8 AF-D as an example, although the latter is not a pro lens.
    The modern professional lenses, primes included, such as the 24 f/1.4G, show a marked increase in micro contrast, probably due to Nano coating. Sharpness is also improved over the 24 f/2 AI-s Nikkor.
    I've been using Nikon cameras and lenses for well over thirty years and haved owned and still own several AI and AI-s lenses. I use my 105 f/2.5 AI lens now and again but prefer my Zeiss 100 MP for portraits as I personally find it a better all round lens.
    Time marches on, even in lens design and for anyone to claim the 105 f/2.5 as the finest Nikon lens ever produced in 2011 would be unrealistic. The reference to such a claim for the lens in 1993 may of had considerable merit back then but not now. As such, I think that this single older position is irrelevant today. Older positions (as you put it) in general are another matter entirely and I said nothing to that effect.
     
  32. What's the "MP" in Zeiss 100 MP? Is that the Cosina Zeiss lens, or an older one? The modern Zeiss seems marvelous,
    from what I've read and seen (without having used one), but it's twice the size and weight, and ten times the price, of the
    little old Nikkor.


    Is it fair to say that the 105/2.5 is one of the very best Nikkors that you can buy for under $200?
     
  33. "What's the "MP" in Zeiss 100 MP? Is that the Cosina Zeiss lens, or an older one?"
    The MP stands for Makro Planar, which means that it's a macro lens. The current Zeiss lenses are made by Cosina in Japan under supervision of Zeiss.
    "Is it fair to say that the 105/2.5 is one of the very best Nikkors that you can buy for under $200?"
    Absolutely! Even under $500 I'd say.
     
  34. This is a really nice lens. I have a pre-AI version with the indexing prong that was modified to work on AI cameras. I wouldn't shoot with this lens at f/2.5 or f/2.8, but at f/4, it magically becomes sharp with beautifully dreamy bokeh.
     
  35. I noted nobody took up on the Sonnar part and portrait values of the 105mmf2.5. It was meant for portraits not a MTF test that did not exist then. It's great for portraits used wide open,f4 and f5.6. Stopped down it is sharp. Really sharp. I used it with a diffusion filter in my fashion days and some weddings. The effects with halo/back-light pure magic. I have long ago stopped worrying about what lens is the sharpest,the best and value.My 105mm was purchased new in 1971, after trying out a Komura Zoom that jammed my new Nikon-F.
    The lens was way more fun to use than my Leica-M 90mm Tele-Elmarit f2.8. The results easier to see and evaluate. It also was better built. The Leica lens fell less than 15ins. onto a floor and it was away for repairs and counseling for over 1year. Parts were needed and the helicoid was damaged. The 105mm flew out of my backpack while I was cycling and landed on it's front. One filter deleted. I'm seeing my plastic mounts and helicoids wearing out and becoming useless. The "old" lenses may not fit all the "hype" of improvements but heck the photos,images and prints testify to what is good in usage and result. The 105mm has all it's numbers and engravings very visible. The Leica lens back in the seventies, when it traded owners, very suddenly, in an attack on my car, was used by feel and memory. All the paint had worn off. I never bothered to replace it.
    My 55mmf3.5 Micro-Nikkor is giving me some of the sharpest images I've ever done! At infinity. Something I'd not considered when I purchase a really well used one a few years ago. The 105 mm complements it admirably.
     

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