Nikon 105mm differences

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by constantin_milea, Jan 3, 2014.

  1. Hi.Sorry if the question was here before could not find the answer.I am looking to get the Nikon 105 mm 2.5 manual focus for my D600.
    Researching a little the serial numbers I saw that the serial numbers greater than 104xxxxxx have something called SIC coating.While is
    obvious that better coating always help i was wondering if the difference is significant in actual images or if anybody observed any kind of
    improvement.Otherwise I will just pick one in mint condition.Many thanks,Mihail
  2. Here's a read on the 105 2.5 AIS:
  3. I used one a lot back in the 1980s along with an 85mm f2 of the same generation. They were both excellent, but it's hard
    to say how they will behave on the digital sensor. I primarily worked in black and white with it, it was a long time favorite of
    PJs and had a certain "look" to i that was very desireable. I would try to get one from the 80s, they were a standard
    equipment for many. Some had aperture flake though where the black coating from the blades would come off and land
    on the internal elements. They are one of the easiest to remove the front group from, there is a little set screw under the
    built in hood, remove it, unscrew the whole front, mark the position of the front group on the side with a black Sharpie for
    registration for reassembly, then unscrew the whole front group, blow out the junk with a hand bulb with the aperture
    open/close a few times and reassemble. Cheers!
  4. I have had an older, pre-Ai Sonnar version of the 105 f 2.5 lens, ser # 219489. I had it "Ai'd" a few years ago and I have used it on film since the 1960's, then on the D70, D80 and now my D7100. I love this lens for portraits. See some of my shots in my folders. It is sharp at f2.8. Mine must have the older coatings, but it still is a very useable lens. On full format it is a perfect portrait lens too. Get one and have fun!
  5. 104xxxxxx​
    1043xxx to be exact - that's the Ai-S version towards the end of its production run. For manual focusing on a DSLR, I would rather get the older Ai version - the focus throw is a bit longer (170 degrees vs 140 degrees) but on the Ai version the lens hood is not build in. I use(d) the 105 Ai on a D200, D300 and D700 and its been fine.
  6. also information on the older versions at
    I have the Nikkor-P 105mm f/2.5 (non-AI) and it is one of my favorite lenses. I did a rough comparison to the Spiratone 105mm f/2.5 at where there are some charts, etc with the Nikkor.
  7. Constatin, I have 2 models of the later ("Gauss") model 105mm f/2.5: one a ~1973 Pre-AI Nikkor-P Auto (Ai converted), one a much later AiS version. The first one lacks the more advanced coating that was introduced around 1975 (and lenses were labelled Nikkor-P.C. instead, for the pre-AI versions); otherwise these two lenses are supposed to be optically identical.
    The AiS with the better coating is somewhat sharper and has a bit more contrast at the widest apertures (f/2.5 and f/2.8), otherwise they perform identical as far as I can tell. It does seem the older one I have actually has more rounded aperture-blades, as the out-of-focus rendering is slightly better - but I never found any information on such a change. Otherwise - I prefer the heavier but more precise focussing of the older lens, but prefer the built-in hood and lighter weight of the AiS lens. In the end, I tend to carry the AiS more. Frankly, if I'd had to buy one again, I'd buy whichever one I could find cheaper, as long as it is an Ai lens.
    I've used both on digital (D300/D700) without any issues. Absolutely top performers.
  8. The Nikon Integrated Coatings (NIC) found on AIS 105/2.5 lenses before 1043xxx is already very good. I have not done any side by side comparison between a lens with NIC and SIC coatings, but I would guess any difference is very small. Using a hood is likely to make more difference.
  9. I have the Older Sonnar version that I bought with the AI kit already installed. It's pretty darn sharp on my D300. The only thing I don't like about mine is that it only has 6 blades in the diaphragm and out of focus highlights become hexagonal at fairly wide open apertures.
  10. I have to agree with Wouter. I have an older copy from the early 80's and it is spectacular on my d7100. It is a lens I will never part with.
  11. You'll find dozens of threads in the archives on the various 105mm Nikkors. Popular topic hereabouts.
    I have the 105/2.5 AI and 85/2 AIS Nikkors. Both are very good. Heck, the 105/2.5 AI is great - best lens I've ever owned, regardless of manufacturer and cost. It's the last Nikkor I'd sell because I'd never find another lens to match it for all around sharpness, and the low prices don't come close to indicating the optical quality.
    But my copy of the 85/2 AIS isn't far behind. The 105/2.5 AI is sharper wide open, but the 85/2 AIS matches it after one stop down from wide open. Surprisingly, the 85/2 AIS has retained very good used market value and I did considered selling mine before I got the Nikon V1. But with the Fotodiox adapter the 85/2 AIS has earned a second life as a fast, compact tele for the 2.7x factor CX sensor.
    I haven't seen any differences that might be attributed to better coatings or optical designs. Both are uncommonly good on my dSLR and Nikon V1 with adapter. No problems with flare, chromatic aberration or any other problems.
    The 105/2.5 AI has a leisurely focus throw, as others have noted, which makes it slightly slower to focus but more precise. Mine came with the original reversible clip-on hood, which also works without vignetting on my 85/2 AIS on the DX dSLR. The later 105/2.5 Nikkors came with an attached sliding lens hood, like most (or all?) of the 180/2.8 and 300/4.5 pre-AI, AI and AIS Nikkors.
  12. I too got mine new in 1985, and I love this lens. I also have heard the criticism throughout various threads, on the 105 f2.5 AIS, and I think I know why! I know...the lens is sharp on focus, but the graduation to the out of focus areas is so soft, and depending on the way the elements of the scene are arranged, it might include important information that falls away and not emphasized. Another way of saying this is, if there are forward elements in the frame that are significant, and out of focus, it becomes a struggle to the eye. So, this might be a lens to use with discretion, and many know that when everything falls in right, its great. I usually try to use f5.6-f11, and stay there, otherwise if shooting wide open, its best to have a backdrop of vertical proportions.
  13. I've the 105 f2.5 silver nosed 5 elements 3 groups "sonar version".
    It's a great lens.
    One from my 105 f2.5
  14. I really wish Nikon would bring back the 105/2.5 in AF-S form (or even the 105/1.8, I can hardly tell the output from the two apart but a 105/1.8 AF-S might easily cost three times as much).
  15. My fav is an AI'd P.C. version, which has the AI optics in the older, slightly heavier mechanical package.
    Second Nikkor I bought was a 105/2.5AI(stolen!) All are great lenses. Future fun project would be to compare the early small rear element to the later gauss version on digital.
  16. I bought a used Nikkor 105mm f/1.8 Ais specifically for filmmaking applications a few years ago, but I don't think I've taken a single still image with it. I'm getting into this weird habit of mounting one of my Mamiya 645 bellows lens shades on old Ais and AF-D Nikkors to make 'em all cool-looking, so maybe I'll dress it up and give it whirl on a modern FX body soon. Any opinions on this particular 105mm?
  17. I have several of them, old NON Ai, AI'd AI & AI-S. All of them very sharp lenses. People and portrait shots and also using sometime for landscape too. I like, and using most of the time the old, Nikkor-P, scalloped black, factory AI'd copy. A beautiful lens.
  18. Thank you so much for all the great answers.Looks like indeed it is a fantastic lens ,I will get one as soon as I can,not obsessing much about the latest version .Cheers
  19. Hi Constantin, after seeing your post, I made a couple of completely unscientific exposures with the two older 105 AIS lens I have, serial no. 1051XXX and serial no. 965XXX. I can email you the two jpg's if you like. Shot them with my D3s at F2.5, ISO1600, tungsten lighting and I'm trying the NX2 software so I converted the raw files to jpg with no additional PP. There is a difference, but it is minute. I may try some daylight shots tomorrow and see if they look different.
  20. Disregard previous post, for those interested, I've uploaded them to a flickr page for viewing.
  21. Ralph wrote: "I bought a used Nikkor 105mm f/1.8 Ais specifically for filmmaking applications a few years ago, but I don't think I've taken a single still image with it."
    - I think you're missing out there Ralph, it's a great lens for stills.
    Comparing my copies of Ai-S 105mm f/2.5 and Ai-S 105mm f/1.8 Nikkors, I'd have to come down in favour of the f/1.8 version. At portrait distances it has very slightly better edge and corner definition at like-for-like apertures; however this could be a field curvature thing.
    Central IQ is a very close call between the two and I don't think there'd be any point in getting the f/2.5 version if you already have the faster lens. There's also a small difference in LoCA behaviour, but again you have to really pixel peep to notice it.
    In short, both lenses are superb performers, but the clincher for me is the extra stop of aperture - despite the weight and bulk being practically doubled.
  22. When making a personal discovery of something without any influence of others, like the impression I had when discovering the 105mm focal length, its amazing to think that any Photographer is missing out on the 105 focal length. So useful, and practical when considering the inherent distance from the subject, and the look of how the in focus to out of focus areas relate in the scene, and compression of elements. The 105 came along when I was ramping up my Photographic chops, and at that time I was depending on focal lengths 55mm and shorter. With the 105 attached, it seemed to open up another world of possibilities! That was a feeling of elation I'll never forget. With so much emphasis on the 50mm focal length being the natural human way of seeing, I wonder sometimes with the 105. This of course comes down to ones own personal impression, but wow, the 105 is Photography so often. Yet to my own puzzlement, if asked..if there was only one lens? What would you prefer? I can't answer that.
  23. I have both the AI and AIS 105 f2.5's and I use the AIS on my D800 with the AI hood attached because it is longer and gives better protection than the sliding hood. I can get handheld sharp results at1/60th and f4.

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