Nikon 135mm f/3.5 Ai-s

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by Ian Rance, Jun 2, 2016.

  1. Yesterday I picked up a boxed/as new Nikon 135mm f/3.5 Ai-s lens for £40 at my local camera shop. While I wait for the dense grey claggy cloud and high winds to ease I thought I would ask if anyone else here has and uses this lens.
    I see mention of the Ai, but not the Ai-s - so was wondering if there were any optical differences, coatings etc - or is it just the Ai in new clothes?
    It seems a compact and well built lens (quite heavy) - and the pull out hood is a bonus. I tried it on my Df and set up the non-CPU lens in the menu - and it seems easy to focus despite not being f/2.8.
    Thanks for any input - not had a new lens for quite a while and I am looking forward to using it.
  2. Ian
    I purchased a Nikkor 135mm f/3.5 AIS from KEH some time ago as a lightweight travel lens. It is in near near condition. I have not had the opportunity to try it out as yet. It will be interesting to compare it with the 135mm f/2 AI that I have and the 135mm f/2.8E that I have been given.
    The inspiration for the 135mm f/3.5 lens came from the gear shift pattern on my van that I just happened to notice more particularly when I was stuck in traffic. That is, 135 over 24; the 135 being focal length and 1:3.5 being maximum aperture.
    The 24 being the focal length being a Tamron 24mm f/2.5, as I am extremely disappointed with the Nikkor 24mm f2.8 AI that I have.
  3. I just looked up the specs of the 135mm f/3.5 versus the f/2.8 version, and there's only 15 grams difference in weight. Plus they both take a 52mm filter, which makes me wonder why Nikon ever produced the f/3.5 version, and why anyone ever bought it, unless it was on cost grounds alone.
    Anyhow, a 1/2 stop difference in aperture is negligible in practise and the f/2.8 version doesn't perform at its best wide open IIRC. So I hope your new acquisition lives up to your expectations and anticipation Ian. Good luck with it!
    My 135mm bargain was an f/2.5 SP Tamron Adaptall bought for a few pounds at a charity shop. It turned out to be optically excellent once stopped down to f/2.8 and beyond. I suspect the f/2.5 aperture was a selling-point only feature since it doesn't perform at all well wide open. It's really just a bog-standard f/2.8 design "stretched" by 1/3rd of a stop. Samyang's 135mm f/2 lens OTOH is optically stunning if you get a taste for that focal length and want something faster.
  4. I've been pretty happy on the occasions I used my 135 f/2.8 AI - although admittedly they were more on my D700 than on my D810. Other than mild pain with manual focus, it seemed better-behaved than my DC lens. F/2.8 wasn't all that sharp, but it got pretty good quite quickly on stopping down. For the size and weight, it's a good option; I'd hope the same is true of the f/3.5 version. Good luck with it!
  5. I don't have a 135/3.5 AIS but I have two 135/3.5 AI lenses. Optically the AI and AIS have the same design. The AIS has a shorter focusing throw. I find the 135/3.5 AI lenses to be good performers. Mine have been used only with film. How they might perform on digital cameras is another matter. It's like asking which lens and teleconverter combination is good. You have to try them to find out. I do not have a 135/2.8 AI or AIS. My 138/2.8 Nikkors are all of the old style, up to and including the first 'K' version. They all have very nice out of focus rendition. I am surprised to read the comment about the 24/2.8 AI. Is the observation made based on using the lens with a digital camera? My 24/2.8 Nikkor is an earlier NC which has non-factory AI conversion. It's sharp with film. I have read that the 24/2.8i AI is slightly better than the NC. None of my Nikkors has been used with a digital camera because my DSLR is a Pentax. My Tamron 24/2.8 in an 01B. It works well with the Yashica FX-3 cameras it is usually on. The 135/2.5, if I remember correctly, is not an SP lens. It is an Adaptall II lens. I have two of them and I agree that, with film at least, they sharpen up with a little stopping down. The 200/3.5 Adaptall II is a nice lens and I recently got a 300/5.6 SP which I am just starting to use.
  6. I've an AI, which as Jeff says is optically the same as the AIS. It's sharp (not bad wide open), light and has good oof character. It's also good for close-ups with a 3T or 4T. Not a lens I'd part with. Because it's light it's very tripod-friendly.
  7. Thanks for the input. Despite the leaden gloom I tried a few test shots and I must say that I am quite pleased with it - sharp at f/4 and all across the frame too. Its a keeper I think! I will use it for the next Wednesday picture here.
  8. The 135/3.5 works very well with extension tubes too. Great little lens (I have the Ai-version). Comparing it to my other 135mm-Nikkors (135/2 Ais and 135/2.8QC) the 135/3.5 AI seems to be the less flare-prone lens.
  9. Comparing it to my other 135mm-Nikkors (135/2 Ais and 135/2.8QC) the 135/3.5 AI seems to be the less flare-prone lens.
    What I remember, any lense is less flare- prone than the 135/2^^
  10. Jeff
    Apologies to Ian as this is his thread.
    As you asked about the Nikkor 24mm f/2.8m AI being used on a digital camera, I am sorry to say this is not the case. The lens was attached to a Nikon FM2N camera, with no filter and a HN-1 lens hood. The photographs that I took of Akaroa, New Zealand were the most disappointing that I have ever taken. I am extremely disappointed with this lens.
  11. The 24/2.8, from the original model to the AIS, has a floating element (CRC) design. It needs to be working properly with no oil from helicoids migrating to the aperture blades and/or glass. Now you have me curious about finding an AI and testing it against my NC. Did you buy the AI new? Is infinity focus set properly?
  12. Concerning the 24mm, many I have seen have what looks like bad polishing or possibly haze on the inner elements - which reduces contrast. I bought a brand new one one last year and even this showed the 'haze' very faintly - but not enough to cause a problem. I'll take it out this weened and see what I get and I will post the 135mm and 24mm on the Wednesday photo post.
  13. Central contrast and resolution of my 24mm f/2.8 Ai-S Nikkor are as good as that of my 14-24mm AF-S Zoom-Nikkor. It's only the very far corners that let it down; showing some smearing and higher vignetting than the Zoom-Nikkor. A few millimetres in from the corners and all comes good, especially when stopped down to f/5.6 and beyond.
    See examples below.
  14. And now the corners...
  15. Jeff
    Further apologies to Ian. The lens was bought sight unseen but based on the description in used condition from New York.

Share This Page