Shots with the Nikkor 105mm f2.5 (Sonnar)

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by frederick_muller, Jun 27, 2010.

  1. Dusted off the older version of the 105mm f2.5 and took some shots at a heritage fair yesterday. If you have photos taken with the venerable Sonnar version of the 105mm f2.5 Nikkor, please post them!
  2. Almost all the above were shot at f5.6 and 1/500 to 1/1000.
  3. Your nice shots with the old Nikon 105/2.5 Sonnar prompted me to pull mine out (S/N 2050xx - c. 1967 ) and compare it to the most modern Nikon 105, the 2.8 VR macro.
    I took both test shots hand-held out my front door at 1/4000 sec - f/4, manual mode, WB=sunny using my D700. The shutter speed is fast enough to negate the benefits of VR, and since f/4 is almost wide open for both lenses, any significant optical differences should show up. I used AF on the newer lens and MF (using the focus confirmation dot) on the older lens.
    Both images were processed almost exactly the same way except for needing to nudge one of the images about 20 pixels (out of ~4000) because my (hand-held) framing varied slightly between the two shots. The other difference between the two shots is that in the couple of minutes it took me to switch lenses, the sun & clouds moved slightly and changed the shadows.
    I can see two differences between the two images: (a) the older lens is a bit cooler, and (b), for some strange reason, the DOF seems slightly greater with the new lens even though both were taken with the same f-number. That being said, the IQ of the 43 year old lens is striking. It almost makes me wonder why I upgraded. ;-)
    In the interest of full disclosure, the first set of comparison shots that I took were indoors, ie, much lower light, at a distance of a few feet. The benefit of VR and autofocusing that is more accurate than I can do by eye became immediately obvious.
    Tom M.
  4. ... and the most modern Nikon 105 ...
    PS - Ignore the EXIF data. I stacked both images as layers in one PS file, so the same EXIF data shows up for both images.
  5. PS - I just noticed a similar thread on the Sonnar from a couple of weeks ago:
  6. Sonnar with 35mm film
  7. Sonnar with D1h
  8. Something like this?
    Taken with the D90 and NIKKOR-P Auto 1:2.5 f=105mm Nippon Kogaku Japan No.2847xx.
    I regreased it myself and it is perfectly smooth again.
    The lens is originally from my parents and I believe they bought it new.
    Too bad I don't have a D300, then I would use it much more often.
  9. I prefer the background out-of-focus rendition of the Sonnar to the Gauss design. Stuart and Sjoerd, those are great Sonnar portraits!
    Tom, I'm not surprised that you have noticed somewhat less apparent depth of field with the newer formula than the older one. That phenomenon has been noted with other lenses and other lens lines. It may have something to do with newer designs being designed with a flatter field.
    I do find the newer Gauss design to be sharper than the Sonnar, but the Sonnar has that really nice oof look to it. As the shots on this page show, it is also plenty sharp enough ...
  10. One more from the sonnar and D1h
  11. Camera Olympus Evolt-500 with Fotodiox adapter Nikon F to Oly DSLR, lens used for this photo: ca. 1962 Nikkor 105mm f2.5 ser. # 1676xx Nippon Kogaku (at f5.6) 2x crop factor, aperture preferred, ISO 400.
  12. Stuart, awesome renditions of those shots. Do you mind sharing a bit of your digi workflow to get results like that from the older Nikkors. If it's a "trade secret" I understand.... :)
  13. Photo did not appear so I will try again!
  14. I've had my 105 Sonnar since the late 1960's. Here's the shot I get the most complements on. Its done on film.
  15. Here's one taken with the 105 with a D70.
  16. Yeah No problem I just open the D1h NEF files in Nikon Capture 4. I usualy shoot RAW with the D1h with what ever the camera was set to last time. Then I adjust setting in Nikon Capture 4 to taste. There is nothing special done it's just the way the D1h seems to be. That raspberry shot had sharpening medium low, tonecomp normal, color mode IIIa, white balance cloudy -3. the tone comp and the white balance were as shot. ISO was 800 for some reason.
  17. Steve, I can see why you get complements on those portraits. However, you've got my curiosity going about them. You say the 1st one was done on film, and it looks like it probably was shot quite some time ago. However, the 2nd one (which looks like it could be the same woman) was shot with a d70, so it had to be in the past few years. Let me guess: The 1st one is your wife (shot in the 70's), and the 2nd is your daughter ... hence the similarity?
    Tom M.
  18. I too would be curious to know what film type you have used in the first image. surely those two images are of the one and the same lady. both great portraits, however that first one is really special. I had a Leica Elamrit 2.8/90mm that rendered the colours in the same muted fashion as your image above. it did make the images look as though they were from another era. Other examples here though, don't have the same look.
  19. This is my sunburned brother-in-law at a family picnic in 1986.
    Nikon F, 105 f/2.5 ser. no. 199xxx, Kodachrome II.
  20. An artist at work at the next table from me at a coffee house
  21. Thanks for sharing everyone. One can see why this lens built up such a reputation! Darn it is sharp where it needs to be and smooth where you want it to be!
  22. To Tom and Ty, it is my daughter, Jennifer, in both shots. The first one was her high school graduation photo, done in about 2002, before I had a digital camera. It was shot with a Nikkormat with Fuji color film from the drug store. The lighting is evening, after sundown, outdoors on the lawn. This is always nice light and is a bit cool, but very soft. The second shot is on our porch a few years later when I had the D70. Evening light again in the shade of the porch, but with some fill light coming from houses across the street bouncing some sunlight. If you look at my folders you will see shots of Jenny from birth until more recent. Thanks for the compliments as well. The 105 is still one of my favorite lenses for portraits. Here's another "portrait" done of a neighbor cat sitting on our back steps, done with the 105.
  23. Steve - Thanks for the info. I would make a horrible detective. It never even occurred to me to look in your gallery to see if there was more info on those images.
    The 1st shot is so wonderfully timeless looking, it could easily have been decades ago. They're both great shots.
    Tom M.
  24. Thanks Stuart for following up :) I knew it was just me, my digi skills are inadequate..... gotta' keep figuring it out.
  25. My 105/2.5 AI is the Gauss design, but my pawn shop puppy 135/3.5 Lentar preset T-mount appears to be closer to the Sonnar optical design, at least as far as I can tell from looking at the innards. And, yup, it does have delightful bokeh. While not as sharp, contrasty or saturated as the Nikkor, it may be slightly "better" as a portrait lens. Best $10-$15 I've ever spent on camera gear.

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