User opinions on the Nikon 105 mm f/1.8 AI-S

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by michael_bradtke, Jul 17, 2008.

  1. Hey Folks

    In my horse show photography I sometimes shoot at night in way under lit arenas.
    I have the ISO cranked up to 3200 and I usually end up shooting with my 85 f/1.8 wide open.
    The 85 is a little short to get the angle I want. When its bright enough I usually shoot with my 80-200 f/2.8 at around
    100 mm

    So I have seen a copy of the 105 f/1.8. I know the focal length will work. I am just wondering if any one on this site
    has used it.
  2. I think you'll find that all of the 105mm lenses will get very good reviews.
  3. A friend of mine has one, and we swap lenses a lot. It's very sharp and reminds me very much of my 85mm f/1.8. Like that lens, it shoots a little cooler than my 105mm f/2.5, but like John says, I think all the 105mm are great.
  4. I used to have a 105mm f/1.8. I loved it but it does have problems with backlit subjects. I think the newer 105mm f/2DC AF Nikkor will work better for you -- if nothing else it is an auto-focus lens and is very very sharp. Sharper perhaps than the lens you asked about.
  5. John, MIchael, Ellis

    Thanks for your input.


    I have the 135 f/2 DC. I have tried it its not fast enough. With my D300 and the 85 f/1.8 AI-S I am at 3200 ISO a shutter speed of 1/160th @ f/1.8 motion blur is already a problem.
    The MF is not a big problem because I know where the subject is going to be and I can pre focus
  6. The 105mm f/1.8 is grand! I like to use it on rock shows, which must be close to your situation.
    Check my review of this incredible lens on my website:
  7. I shot the 105/1.8 AIS with film on an F3, and it always produced pleasing results. Never used it on a digital camera.
    Capable of razer sharpness stopped down, and razor thin depth of filed at maximum aperture. I'm just not sure how much a
    diffrerence you will realize between the 85mm and 105mm focal length. Might want ot reach out to 135/2.0.
  8. Since f/1.8 is just 1/3 stop faster than f/2 I'd try to borrow one before buying. Some f/1.8 lenses are close to f/1.9 (my 50 mm f/1.8 for example). If that is the case then the gain over an f/2 will be hardly worth it.
  9. Romulo

    I would love to read your review. But the link does not work


    I have the 135 f/2 it is not fast enough


    Even 1/10th of a stop can make a difference.
    The nice thing about where I bought it from is that they have a 14 day return policy.

    Thanks for your thought folks.
  10. Ditto, re: pure speed. Even a fraction of a stop can mean the difference between a recognizable photo and mere blur. For Michael's situation, and many of my own, it's not about getting maximum photo quality. It's about getting the shot.

    There have been plenty of times when I've switched from my 85/2 AI-S to 50/1.8D AF for the fractional gain in speed. Sure, I have to crop to isolate the subject. But at least I got the shot. If I had the budget I'd swap every lens I have for the fastest variation, regardless of the naysayers claims that such and such lens is useless wide open.
  11. The 105/1.8 on digital shows its age in my experience. Purple/blue fringing on the highlights, significantly lower contrast wide open, etc. That said, it's a beautiful lens that can make some fine images. Indeed, these characteristics/flaws can make images kind of ethereal and more compelling. The built-in telescoping hood is inadequate however. I gaffer-taped a longer one on and was much happier afterward about images shot into bright light and shot wide-open in general.

    If you think you're up to the MF challenge, I would say go for it (if the price is good; you shouldn't have to pay very much).

    On a completely different note, can you use flash with horses? Panning and dragging the shutter with flash could lead to some cool effects. Or just panning for that matter. In that case you could have the flexibility of your 80-200.
  12. Andy

    Shooting into bright lights is not going to be a problem. I get to pre focus so the MF is not a problem either (BTW my favorite lens on my D300 is a 50 mm f/1.2)
    I don't think I will be using the hood much if at all.

    I will be shooting in 14 bit NEF so boosting the contrast is not a issue

    Flash is not a option at these shows for me.
  13. This is quite interesting. I wonder if something like the 85/1.4 or even the 50/1.2 cropped to yield 100mm effective focal
    length would produce better images for you.
  14. Hi Michael, unfortunately I had some momentary trouble with the server right after I write that message.
    I uploaded a comparison review between the current Nikkor 50mm's and it was insane! a lot of people visiting it at the same time and the pour server went mad.

    but now everything is ok
    Here it is:
  15. I used the 105mm f1,8 as a travel lens on slide film with my F4 in the 90s. Sadly, it hit something without my noticing and now the focusing is way too stiff.

    At maximum aperture it was rather soft suffering from internal flare. I preferred using it in aperture priority mode at f2,8 most of the time. Closed down 1,3 steps it was very sharp though with a little lower contrast which made portraits very pleasing. I always felt it was ahead of the f2,5 lens in performance by about one stop.
  16. I'd go with the 85mm f1.4 like Dan suggested.

  17. Another vote for the 85/1.4

    You need speed not an extra 20mm of focal length. The 105 is also much harder to find and sells for about the same amount as the 85 because of this. The 85 is legendary and is likely the better lens, even if a bit shorter. A 50/1.2, previously mentioned, may also be a good idea to try.
  18. Thanks for all you folks who posted answers.

    For those of you suggesting the 85 f/1.4 thanks but it will not work. I am already using that focal length (85mm f/1.8). Its not long enough to get the angle that I want / need. Also the price is prohibitive. Yes this is a business expense but I still have a budget to live with.

    The issue with using my 50 f/1.2 and doing a crop is noise. I am shooting at 3200 ISO. Even with a D300 shooting 14 bit NEF with the high ISO noise reduction turned on I would not want to crop that much..

    Once again I want to thank every one who took the time to answer.

  19. I using one, fast and incredible sharp, solid build, metal, nothing negative to add. To bad, nikon not manufacturing this lens, instead the new f2 DC version.

Share This Page