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Nikkor-P and Spiratone 105mm f/2.5 lenses


JDMvW
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<p>There's been some talk lately about both of these lenses, so I finally got around to digging them both out. Here's the result.<br>

<strong>Nikkor-P and Spiratone 105mm f/2.5 lenses</strong><br /><br />Nikkor-P 105mm f/2.5 Kadlubek Nr. NIK2780<br />Spiratone 105mm pre-set f/2.5 Kadlubek Nr. SPI0101 (Tc coating)<br /><br />This is not so much a "test" as it is a "review". No claims to rigid scientific testing are made here, but I am giving a comparison of the two lenses under the same conditions. Each lens was shot on the same 5D mark II camera body. The camera was mounted on a heavy-weight tripod and fired with a wired release. <br /><br />Here are the two lenses side by side:<br /><br /></p><div>00bgZc-539475584.jpg.314208c8ea1106a971a37d42844078f9.jpg</div>

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<p><strong>Nikkor-P 105mm f/2.5</strong><br /> The Nikkor-P 105mm f/2.5 was designed by WAKIMOTO, Zenji in 1949, released 1954, and later offered in the Nikon F mount and as an automatic aperture lens. It was redesigned in 1971 as a Xenotar type lens ( http://imaging.nikon.com/history/nikkor/5/ ). In the Nikon RF/Contax mount, it sold new in 1961 for about $80. The Nikkor-P for Nikon F sold for around $175 in 1967.<br /><br /><br /> The lens in any version is commonly described in superlatives.</p>

<blockquote>

<p>"The next in the line, the Nikkor 105mm,f/2.5, can rightfully be called a Nikon legend, and many photographers consider it to be the finest lens Nikon has ever produced." <em>Nikon Compendium</em><br /><br />"This popular 105mm f/2.5 Nikkor lens was easily one of the standout lenses in the Nikkor line during that period of time, offering a large number of features with top performance characteristics for outstanding versatility; this lens, in fact, is often the first choice of photographers when selecting a telephoto focal length." MIR Nikon site.<br /><br /></p>

</blockquote><div>00bgZe-539477584.jpg.b66615c151a51a7ec1a67b2c154e4899.jpg</div>

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<p><strong>Spiratone 105mm pre-set f/2.5</strong><br /> The Spiratone 105mm pre-set f/2.5 telephoto was a 1963 Four element design, so it was not by any means a clone of the similarly spec'd Nikkor. In 1969, a Spiratone 105mm f/2.5 as automatic lens for Nikon, Pentax, etc. was offered for $65-70, but Spiratone continued to sell the pre-set lens too for the earlier $35. Basically, these stopped being offered after 1971--Not offered at all in the 1977 Xmas catalog, for example. I does not seem to have been offered in "Pluracoat" form. In a 1979 Catalog, a Auto Pluracoast 100mm f/2 Minitel is offered for 140.</p>

<p>Here's and early ad from August, 1963, <em>Modern Photography:</em></p><div>00bgZi-539479584.jpg.6ccedf27fa7a2718c11023edfff2178b.jpg</div>

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<p><strong>Comparison</strong><br>

<strong><br /></strong>I set up a lens test chart and photographed it with each lens on a solid tripod, using a cable remote. For this test chart, I should have been about 4.3m away to actually try to read resolution, but in this case the distance was only 3m, so the targets shown below are only for relative comparison.<br /><br />First, here is the result with the Nikkor-P 105mm f/2.5:</p><div>00bgZn-539481684.jpg.ab517685fa3a87c54a2f4d51d45d0366.jpg</div>

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<p>I think that it's clear that there is a considerable difference between the Nikkor and the Spiratone, but as the images below illustrate, the out-classed Spiratone is still a very decent short telephoto.<br /><br /><br />Here is my by-now standard picture of the "Polyspheroid water tower" with the Nikkor at f/2.5<br /><br /></p><div>00bgZr-539485584.jpg.1cc3fcd8d6390cc1c65722e9f1dc1da3.jpg</div>
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<p>I also took shots with the lenses at f/5.6 and f/11 but nothing in the way of differences from "wide-open" that would show up much here at the reduced 700 pixel size.<br /><br />Here are 100% crops from the above (all on tripod, cable release):<br /><br /></p><div>00bgZv-539487584.jpg.a6e12d5a14b24962e2da76562efb3c6c.jpg</div>
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<p>Very interesting, <strong>JDM</strong>. With the two "portraits", was the same aperture selected for both lenses? The Nikkor sample seems to have considerably more DOF, while the Spiratone image has very little in focus, other than possibly the tip of the nose. I wonder where Spiratone sourced their lens...The pre-set version bears a resemblance to one of my favourites, the 105mm Sankyo Kohki Komura f/2.5, about which I posted a few words, here:</p>

<p><a href="/classic-cameras-forum/00YyVa">http://www.photo.net/classic-cameras-forum/00YyVa</a></p>

<p>Thanks for another informative post.</p>

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<p>Nobody said that low price made it usable, it only makes it surprising.</p>

<p>I think the results above for the Spiratone are credible, if not up to the standard of the better lens. "Worse", is not the same as "unusable".</p>

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<p>Those shots are very strange. The Nikon shots look great close up, but the Spiratone LOOKS sharper at first glance at the long distances. Looking a second time you see that it isn't.</p>

<p>I always wanted to live in one of those water towers. You scrabble up the ladder, pull it up w/ you, and shout "come and get me coppers", then relax on the sofa w/ a cold one while the flat foots try to figure out how to get up there. That was the old fantasy anyway. Now, I just figure they'd send in an unmanned drone and blow the tower and I sky high. National security risk and all that jive.</p>

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<p>JDM, thanks for another informative and interesting post. Do you have the latter version of the 105/2.5 as well? You've inspired me to at least haul out my two 105's. Perhaps if the stars are aligned properly I might even go shoot them side-by-side soon. The most obvious external difference between the two versions is in the size of the rear elements. (Please pardon the craptastic blur. Shot these by available light in the dining room, about 1/4 sec exposure. Frankly I'm amazed that the Panasonic "Power O.I.S." was able to compensate for my post-prandial -and post Trader Joe's cheap wine - shakiness as well as it did. Chilewich placemat, in case if anyone is wondering. Bought on closeout, as is usual in this household.)</p>

<p>Steve, I thought the same thing on first glance (Water tower by Spiratone looks somehow better), I wonder if it is due to the difference in exposure, with the Nikkor shot relatively underexposed. Perhaps there is a difference in T-stop between the two lenses?</p><div>00bgcX-539523584.JPG.b3b9bf8b11175f94b96809a4c4cb4933.JPG</div>

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