Nikkor-P 105/2.5 & Nikkor-P 180/2.8 - worth $300 a piece?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by russelharris, Jul 8, 2011.

  1. Tried both of these out on my D300 at a store today here in Jerusalem, Israel. Loved them both. Lot of cosmetic wear on both lenses but the glass appears clean and scratch free.
    Do you think they are worth the price? (I can probably haggle them down to about 275 each.)
    If you think they are worth it, which is the better of the two? I intend using it for candid street shots and some portrait work.
  2. $300 for a 105 f/2.5 sounds a bit steep, typically online they go for a lot less (paid €220 for an AiS 105 f/2.5 in excellent state about a year ago).
    The 180 f/2.8 is typically more expensive, the AI and AiS versions typically around 350 to 450 depending on state. But not quite sure if the older pre-AI 180 is the same design (via the same big auction site, found myself an AF 180 f/2.8 for ~€500, 6 months ago, it has minimal wear and tear).
    So, to me the prices do not seem super, to be honest. And made to choose between these 2..... yikes. Both are incredibly good lenses.
  3. They are both ery nice lenses but I think that they are asking to much for them.
  4. For older lenses, they are too expensive. The 105mm f/2.5 is a great lens, even for the older version, but there were a lot of them made, and they should be about half to quarter of the asking price. The 180mm was also a good lens, but the newer version with ED glass is far superior.
  5. I got the regular AI 105mm f2.5 and adore it. I paid about $125 US for it in pretty good condition.
  6. I bought an early '60s Nikkor-P 10.5cm f/2.5 (the original Sonnar-based design) for US $126 from KEH in EX condition about a year ago. As a portrait lens, this version is unsurpassed; the later Gaussian version is a little sharper, but lacks a certain special quality that the older version has.
  7. Thanks for the feedback guys. I must admit I wasn't looking to buy another lens - still looking for a bag, actually, and then I said to the woman whose photo I posted in this thread, "Ah, do you have a longer lens I can put on my camera? I just want to see how it would fit in this bag and my 35mm DX is too short..."
    And the rest they say is Nikon Gear Acquisition Syndrome :)
    B&H and KEH both offer the 105 AI for under $200. I will see if I can get a friend in the US consulate to ship it to me. If not, then I will have to factor in shipping and customs and ... well I may as well buy locally.
    The 180mm is available from around $450 and up for either the MF or AF versions.
  8. The 105, especially, is a great lens, but too high an asking price. Look on eBay for "completed listings" and you will see that they generally go for much less, especially the non-AI versions.
    The 105mm f/2.5 is an all-time classic.
  9. Agreed JDM, besides the price, I'm also attracted by the fact that it uses a 52mm filter like my 35 DX and 18-55 VR. Oh, and I don't know about you but I like being able to attach the lens to my camera, compose, focus and shoot. There is something about using these lenses that just feels right. I don;t get the same feeling when I MF my 35 DX or 60 G Micro.
    I must say it's been a while since I used an MF Nikon - I used to own an EM with 50 mm and 75-150mm E-series lenses and a Nikkor 24mm H - so I'm quite excited about this purchase!
    Quick question: is there anything I need to do to the D300 to ensure I get optimal performance from the 105? Or does the camera recognize the lens automatically as long as I have it in either M or A mode?
  10. The old Nikkor-P 105mm f/2.5 was only single-coated with a yellowy tinted coating IIRC. If the sample I had about 30 years ago was typical, then the modern version has better contrast, colour fidelity and maybe better sharpness too. The old scallop version is definitely not worth $300 US IMHO, unless it's mint and in the original box with the original instructions and receipt! Even then I wouldn't touch it personally. The multicoated Ai and AiS versions also take 52mm filters BTW, and no, your camera won't automatically recognise any MF lens. You need to add manual lenses under the "non-cpu" lens heading of the menu.
    If you can do a deal on the pair for around $400-450 then that would be closer to a realistic price.
  11. Thanks Rodeo Joe. I've made the adjustment. Now all I need is the lens :)
  12. Where the 180/2.8 is concerned, you'd want the ED versions of the lens, which are vastly superior. That formula was used in the AI/AIs versions and continued into the AF and AF-d versions. All are optically fantastic. I'd recommend staying away from the non ED versions entirely.
  13. With regards to the newer versions of the 105: I have a Nikkor-P (the later Gauss design) and an AiS version (optically identical) of the 105 f/2.5. The newer coatings do not make that much difference at all, in my experience. At f/2.5-2.8 the AiS may have marginally more contrast. Sharpness identical. Colour rendering, a wash, maybe the older is a tad cooler. Instead, the Nikkor-P is much nicer to focus, the ring runs heavier and has zero play in it, it feels very precise and under control; the AiS feels more fiddly in comparison.
    So, I would not let a good option go because it's the old version. But $200/€200 max. basically.
    (and yes, there is something incredibly right about these lenses, I love using them. If you still have the 75-150 Series E, try it too, I used one a few times and it is a really nice lens)
  14. Im looking at 105 F2.5 P AI for now - prices between $150 - $190.

    Wouter, unfortunately I dont have the Series E anymore; but I may buy one sometime soon!
  15. Luke, I have decided to not go the 180/2.8 route. It costs too much - from around $450 and up - and I do think it's a tad too heavy
  16. Russ. Shusshh! Don't shout too loud about the Series E 75-150mm f/3.5 until you've bought one. Once people cotton on to how great these lenses perform on a modern DSLR their prices will rocket. Buy now before they get cult status. I've only recently acquired one myself and I really can't praise it highly enough. Ooops. That's probably just raised the price another $5.
  17. Russ - the 180/2.8 AF/AF-d (with ED-IF) is a magical lens and is light and compact for that focal length. The bokeh is amazing. I think it's one of the best lenses Nikon ever made.
  18. And the rest they say is Nikon Gear Acquisition Syndrome :)
    Hardly. They are a must-have in your Nikon kit, as they are classics. As for the 105mm f/2.5, even the AIS version is not too contrasty. It is the most even-keel lens I own, giving spot-on, as-I-saw-it color and contrast.
    As for the D300, you do need an AI version of the lens. I'm also not so sold on the longer Series E lens, especially from a build standpoint. I also agree that these two lenses are among the best I've used from Nikon.
  19. How do these older lenses rate on modern Nikon dSlrs like the D7k? A recent thread on here discussed the flaws highlighted my MP counts higher than 12MP.
    Not that I plan to replace my D300 for a few years, it's a top-notch camera, but I am just curious? I imagine quite a few PN members use older lenses on their D700s and D7Ks.
  20. The 105mmf2.5 was designed as a portrait lens as was the Hasselblad 150mm Sonnar. They are not sharp at wide apertures! The image is beautiful though. I've owned one since 1971.Later models of the 105 are sharper, also not same lens formula. See Nikon site. My 105mm has twice come apart after a long air trip! Each time about 20 hours flying..I wasn't in much better shape.My Nikon-film-system no longer flies.Its memory cards and a few digicams. A Nikon can be borrowed or rented most everywhere. My daughter a few continents away lets me use her Nikon DSLR.
    The prices are way too high.
  21. Russ, I think resolution wise, they hold up. I have no scientific ways of measuring it (nor do I want to), but comparing the detail my AiS 35 f/1.4 can capture at f/4 versus the 16-85VR at 35mm with f/8 (both lenses should be optimal there), the older optic does not drop the ball at all. It seems to retain more detail, especially in textured walls/stone etc. Yes, the newer lens has more contrast and saturation, but whether that's really an advantage is another question (and one of taste).
    The only "modern" comparison I can make for the 105 is a Tokina 100mm macro - the 105 wins at medium and long distances. The Tokina I've had quite a bit longer, and it was sharp wide open on a D50 - not anymore on a D300; the 105 does better at wide apertures.
    All in all, I just like what the 105 and 180 bring into a photo. It's not only about resolution and sharpness. The photo you posted, shows all I love about this lens: the midtones are handled gently, the transition from in-focus to out of focus is great and the colour response is just really nice. There is to me more subtlety in these older designs than I see in my newer ones, but as said, it's a matter of taste.
  22. Wouter, thanks yeah I really do like the subtle way the image is rendered. From the dozen I took in the store and outside, I was happy with three.
    Now there is one other point I just noticed: the image has a subtle yellow cast to it (to me, at least) and that is a look I first saw on Nikon ads in American Photo magazine where they profiled a certain photographer. It's what got me into shooting Nikon in the first place - man, I wanted THAT tone. And I have yet to duplicate it. Until now.
  23. Rodeo Joe, I agree. Wish I still had mine. Here's a shot I took in Tel Aviv a few years back. It's taken from a scan of a negative.
  24. Jason, how did it fall apart? It looked pretty solid to me!
    Michael A, I don't recall the BQ of the 75-150. Does it have a plastic mount?
  25. So it's a 105 appreciation thread, eh? Here's one of my favorite images of my son. D90, 105mm, probably at f2.8 or f4. No metering, no autofocus... no problem...
  26. The 105 and 180 ED are both ready for high MP work, and they are great on my D3x. (Bjorn agrees with that assessment.) The character, including the bokeh, is hard to beat with any lens. Don't worry.
  27. I don't think that the differences in coating in any way disqualify the older Nikkor-P 105mm f/2.5 lenses from still being one of the all-time greats. Modern lens coatings are wonderful, but they do not make a portrait lens more useful for most shooting. I'm definitely with Wouter on this one.
  28. The series E 75-150 had plenty of plastic in its construction, but the bayonet was all metal. That fall from grace occurred later, during the DSLR era.
  29. It sounds like those prices are high. If you can get them down its great to have different classic lenses. I acquired my 105 f 2.5 sonnar in the late 1960's and have been in love with it ever since, now using it on my D80. I did have it "ai'd." I have many examples of its work in my folders with both film cameras and digital. Each of these unique lenses has a certain "character." I think of it as maybe a painter would think of using different brushes to achieve a certain look to their painting.

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