Nikon 135mm 2.8 ai vs NIkon 135mm 2.8 ais?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by dannyw, Oct 30, 2017.

  1. Hey this is my first posting, but I wanted to know besides the ais version being to work in shutter priority mode if theres a difference in the optical formula used or the number of elements in the lens?

    Reason being is i'm trying to get into manual lens use on my D7100 camera and I wasn't sure which of these 2 were better.
  2. Same optical formula, but I think the AIS version exhibits slightly higher contrast. True in general of AIS lenses when compared to the AI versions?
  3. The only real world difference is that the AI-s version is newer. There are arguments about higher contrast on AI-s lenses, but I personally see more sample to sample variation than I see wholesale difference between AI and AI-s optics.

    BTW, functionally the two work will work the same on your D7100. Both versions will only allow aperture priority and manual exposure mode.

    Shutter priority with non-CPU manual lenses is only available on a limited number of film bodies. Offhand, the FA is the only one I know of, and it works in shutter priority and program with both AI and AI-s lenses(the only difference is that it will stop down the lens and then re-meter the shutter speed with an AI lens attached).

    Your D71000 doesn't have the ability to determine whether or not an AI-S lens is even mounted.
  4. I got the 135 f2.8 AI a few months back. It is a beautiful lens, with a smooth focus throw of 270 degrees. A little chromatic aberration that is easily corrected. I haven't used the AIS, but the AI is a gem.
  5. the Ai-S has a throw of 180 degrees only - faster but potentially less accurate focusing?
  6. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Moderator Staff Member

    My old old AI converted 135 / 2.8 and 180 / 2.8, also converted by John White will stand up to dam' near anything Nikon I have used. I have run both on one camera vs. current lenses on the other and preferred the results, regardless of which camera the old lens was on.
  7. Not entirely.. ther have been multiple versions ofthe 135mm AI as wel as of the AI-S versions , with both different lens formula's ( versions build of 4/4 and 5/4 elements of both..)
    For just the numbers check Roland Vink's :
    Nikon Lens Specifications
    for mor explanations you can also check the "Mir" website example :
    135mm f2.0, f2.8 and f3.5 Nikkor
  8. The higher contrast - subtle difference anyway - has more to do with improvements in coating, than the change from AI to AiS. So it's more "later lenses may show higher contrast". But as long as optical formulas are otherwise identical, I wouldn't let it be a deciding factor.

    For roughly the same money, I would go for a 105mm f/2.5 though.
  9. I've forgotten whether mine is AI or AI-S, but I can vouch for the manual 135mm f/2.8 as a convenient and small lens. Sadly mine is a bit mouldy - it spent too long in my study before I got a dehumidifier. I can vouch that it'll autofocus with a modified TC-16A, although that won't do wonders for the optics. It does have a bit of LoCA at f/2.8, but it's pretty good by f/4. I kept mine when I got rid of my 135 f/2 DC, on the basis that the DC lens had LoCA until at least the same point, and the AF wasn't reliable at wide apertures for me anyway. It helpfully takes the same filter size as the 200mm f/4, and they're both the largest size I could buy a nebula filter in for long-exposure astronomy... not that I've had the chance to try yet.

    My "portable" kit used to be a mid-range zoom (actually a 28-200 on a D700, but the optics aren't up to the D8x0 series), a 50mm f/1.8 for low light, and the 135 f/2.8 for any time I'd need a portrait with a bit of background blur. It might be a little on the long side for that on a DX body, but it's much smaller than the 85mm f/1.8 AF-S or 85mm f/1.4 Samyang (or the 90mm f/2.8 Tamron macro) which have been my alternative short portrait lenses.
  10. One 135/2.8 Ai, one 135/2.8 Ai-S, and one Series E 135/2.8 (technically an Ai-S lens). The latter is the one with a different optical formula. The OP was asking about the f/2.8 lenses, not the f/3.5 or f/2 versions (for which there were optically identical Ai and Ai-S versions).
    Which is the one I've got and why I never bothered with a 135mm.
  11. Portrait lenses have conventionally been around 85mm for a short portrait and 135mm for a long portrait (tight crop). 105mm splits the difference. There's an argument that some people tend to prefer a lens set something like:

    • 14mm
    • 24mm
    • 35mm
    • 50mm
    • 85mm
    • 135mm
    • 200mm
    ...and others prefer a set that looks like:
    • 17mm
    • 28mm
    • 40mm
    • 65mm
    • 105mm
    • 150mm
    ...or some such. I may be slightly mixing the groups (and, indeed, I don't stick to them myself). In any case, 105mm is close enough to the 85mm and 135mm lenses that I own that I don't feel the need for a 105mm prime. If my nearest lenses were farther away from that focal length, I may be keener. The DX crop factor messes with this theory, to some extent - I'd already be thinking of an 85mm lens as a long portrait lens on DX. Not that this stops me using a 200mm as a "portrait lens", so there's no reason to stick to convention.
  12. Andrew, count me in the first group. Most used in declining order, 85, 135 and 50. Would use a 35 for environmental. If I have the room, I would reach for the 135. The 105 is covered with a step or so back or forward from 85 or 105, but 105 is a bit short for a headshot for my taste so I don't own one. I also like the 135 2.0 on a crop, effective 200mm if I can back up for more compression and have 2.0 with bokeh that dusts a zoom.
  13. One of the beauties of 35mm and its derived formats is the fact that we can HAVE this argument over preferred portrait lenses.

    I shoot medium format also, and the "standard" portrait lens you'll find for many folks is 150mm. Since 75 or 80mm is considered "normal" for 645 or 6x6, you can think of the typical portrait lens as being somewhere in the 100mm equivalent range in medium format. In 6x7, I have 127mm, 150mm, and 250mm available and I tend to use them, respectively, for full body, 3/4, and head shots. Even 250mm in 6x7, though, is still a bit wider than 135mm in 35mm. Mamiya evidently considered the 150mm their portrait lens, though, as it is labeled "soft focus." It has terribly uncorrected spherical abberation up to about f/8(beyond which it's more or less as sharp as other lenses) and also interchangeable diffusion disks to change the character of the OOF areas.

    For me at least, I tend toward a 135mm on 35mm film/FX or an 85mm if it's more than one person or a full body. I can certainly understand the logic of "compromising" at a 100/105mm, though. I have both a 105 2.5(AI converted) and an AF 105 2.8D Micro, and the 2.8 gets used mostly for macro work whether on full frame or DX.
  14. The point why I mentioned a 105mm is not so much the focal length selection as such, but rather the specific lens itself. If I understand the OP correctly, it's a first test with manual focus lenses, so why not start with a lens that by many is considered a true classic (while not costing a lot, and not a lot more than the 135mm f/2.8's) ? Just offered the thought for consideration, I can understand people prefer one focal length over another, but that wasn't the point I tried to make actually.
  15. Traditionally, that would have been without the 50, i.e. just the 35 and the 85. Nowadays I start to see the need for a 35, 50, 85 trio but most of the time, it's still 2 out of 3.
    That probably would have looked more like 28, 50, 105. I am not aware of a 40 or 65 made by Nikon back in the film days (or ever actually). Leica preferred the 90/135 focal lengths (never had an 85 but came up with the rather odd 75mm at some point).

    I did mix that up when I started: 35, 105, 200; later augmented by a 24 but never with a 50. Had I known better at the time (and had the money to spend), I would probably have chose a 28 instead of the 35 and a 20 instead of the 24. And added a 50.

    Recently, I owned 15, 21, 40, 90, (180) (obviously not Nikon) and that worked fairly well. For Nikon, I currently have 35, 50, 85, 150, 300; a 24 has just been sold and there's obviously something missing at the short end if I where to have a more complete set of primes (20 would be an obvious choice but I am not convinced that I actually need a wide or super-wide prime at this time).

    That's when I reach for the 150. Or the 85 on a DX body. If I was more into portraits, I'd probably own the Sigma 50-100/1.8 to cover the useful portrait range (even if it means shooting on a DX body).
  16. Fair enough-the 105 2.5 was considered a reference lens for quite a while.

    I have both a pre-AI and an AI-converted one. They're both single coated(amber) and although a newer one probably has more contrast the relatively simple design performs well with single coating. They're a 5 element lens(mine are both marked Nikkor-P for Penta) in four groups-I think this is true of all the 2.5s although Ken Rockwell says that they got multi-coating in 1973. If I'm not mistaken, that would have been around the same time as the focusing ring switching from flutes to knurls.

    In any case, there's no questioning that it's an excellent lens. I think I paid right around $100 for my AI-converted one.
  17. I spent a long time really not liking the 35mm focal length. I've warmed up to it a bit and it's what I keep on my Leica most of the time(although having to use the external finder is a pain). Also, my most used lens on my Speed Graphic is a 135mm, which gives about the same field of view. My AI-S 35mm 1.4 has helped me like it some also.

    28mm is a focal length that I really don't like, though. It's not wide enough to really feel like a wide angle to me, but at the same time it gets in too much when I'm trying to isolate a subject.

    I have to be honest, though, and say that my 14-24 has more or less been glued to my D800 since getting it, and all I've really carried beyond it is a 50mm 1.4. I'm sure the newness will wear off, and I'll go back to using the 24-85 more often.

    With that said, I shot a LOT of film(easily thousands of frames) with a 50mm 1.8 on my Canon A-1 back when I first took on photography as a hobby, and I still find 50mm lenses to be incredibly useful. On DX, it makes a great full body or 3/4 portrait lens, and of course on full frame it's just great all around. That's just what I'm use to using, though. I've been a Nikon user less than a year, and I'd honestly be afraid to count how many 50mm range lenses I have. It's probably around a dozen. Of course, I'm including 45mms(the 2.8P and 2.8GN), various 50mm 1.4 and 1.8 in pre-AI, AI, AI-s, series E, and AF, a couple of 55mm Macros, a 55mm 1.2, and a 5.8cm 1.4(that's a fun lens that will actually mount on most cameras un-modified, but you didn't hear it from me and I'm not liable if you break your aperture tab).
  18. I've always had a 50mm (I got one pretty much as soon as I switched systems, along with the 14-24 and a superzoom), but mostly because it was cheap. I've never been a fan of what the Nikon 50mm designs do. I now have a Sigma 50mm Art, and I'm a little more willing to shoot at that length (when I can get it to nail focus), but I still tend to think of 50mm as the "boring medium" between interestingly wide and interestingly long; that makes it a bit embarrassing that I ended up with a 50mm f/1.8E, a 50mm f/1.8 AF-D, a 50mm f/1.8 AF-S and the f/1.4 Sigma (plus the Canon 50mm f/1.8) - but at least all but the Sigma were cheap. It took me a long time to get a 24-70 by the same argument, and even that I mostly use at the ends of its range. 35mm is a little more interesting to me for perspective.

    I'd tended to see the jumps as being 24mm/35mm/50mm/85mm/135mm and 28mm/45mm/58-65mm/105mm. For the 65mm I was thinking of the micro, although the 58mm Nikkor is probably the more specific group portrait lens. Or 55mm if you like Zeiss, of course. Not that it's exactly a strict science, and it's not like a 70-200 isn't capable of some decent portraits. I use my 200mm f/2 for candids where I really want to get rid of the background, and my 150mm macro or the 70-200 when I'm feeling less in need of exercise. (It's been a while since I used the 200mm, and my back did feel it a bit at the weekend.)

    Once you get into long (and non-candid) portrait lenses, it does get a bit harder to communicate with the subject. I was taking candids at a friend's wedding with a 135mm f/2, and someone asked me to take a photo of her kids in their finery. That was fine, but I did have to walk half way across the churchyard to frame them... Still, these are fairly unobtrusive lenses if you're trying to do some street photography.
  19. That would be the 50 for me. A 50/1.4 Ai-S I purchased for some low-light photography with the F4 was a big disappointment. 55mm macro sat in the bag for ages virtually unused. Eventually got a 50/1.8 AF-D but barely used it (on DX at the time). Upgraded to the G version nonetheless (still on DX) but no joy most of the time and I eventually sold it. Repurchased it this year when I wanted to fill the gap between 35 and 70 (in lieu of a mid-range zoom); returned and traded for the Sigma 50/1.4 Art (to do things right). Now that I have a mid-range zoom again it remains to be seen whether the Sigma 50mm will see much use (chances looking fair at the moment).

    Other call it "natural":)

    I shared that sentiment for some time but have two now (18mm on APS-C Ricoh GR, 28/2 for Sony A7ii). Seem to favor it over the 35 for "environmental candids". On other occasions, it does feel like an "in-between" though.

    Which would make it 60.
  20. Darn it. And I was going to say "maybe I'm thinking of the Costal Optics", but that's 60mm too. I tend to think of the Tamron 60mm f/2 as a portrait lens (on DX) - but, again, not 65mm. I had a crisis of confidence beforehand and searched for "Nikon 65mm macro" and actually found things, but clearly didn't look too closely.

    Have I mentioned that I tend to be in the 35mm/50mm(occasionally)/85mm camp? :)

    Yes... but except for documentary work, I consider the point of photography to capture what people don't see every day. That means different subjects, different perspectives. A 50mm shows you roughly what you see if you looked at the subject directly. For that to work, the subject itself has to be, by my argument, exceptionally interesting. That puts it in the minority for me.

    At least, that's my argument and I'm sticking with it. :)

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