Nikon 105mm f/1.8
Manual-Focus NIKKOR AI-S
Nikon 105mm f/1.8. (FX, DX and 35mm coverage, metal 62mm filter thread, 20 oz./520 g, 3'/1m close focus, about $400 used). enlarge. I'd get it at this link directly to them at eBay (see How to Win at eBay).
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This is a great chubby lens.
Personally I prefer the field of view of an 85mm lens, so after ten years I preferred to carry the far smaller 85mm f/2 AI-s that also takes my preferred 52mm filters. As you should know, I prefer small and light and standard sized filters.
This manual-focus Nikon 105mm f/1.8 AI-s works great with most Nikon cameras, 35mm and digital.
On DSLRs and the F6, use the "Non-CPU Lens Data" menu option to set 105mm and f/1.8 to get full color matrix metering, EXIF data and finder read-out of set aperture. It works great in aperture-preferred as well as manual modes on these cameras.
The meters of cheaper digital (D90, D5500 and below) and cheaper 35mm cameras (N80 and below) will not couple (or work at all) with this lens, so you'll be on your own guessing exposure using the rear LCD or an external meter, or get a tiny Gossen Digisix meter and hotshoe adapter, or the free Pocket Light Meter app to meter manually.
See Nikon Lens Compatibility for details on your camera. Read down the "AI, AI-s" column for this lens.
Five elements in five groups.
Straight 9-bladed diaphragm stopping down to f/22.
Built-in telescoping hood
Metal 62mm filter thread.
Close focus is 3 feet or 1m.
It is 3.1" (78mm) around by 3.5" (88mm) long.
Weighs 20 oz (580g).
The beauty of a great lens is that there isn't much to write about here. If you want it, buy it. There aren't any flaws to discuss.
It is sharp at all apertures all over.
It has the usual light falloff wide open that goes away entirely by f/4.
Oh, OK. The only problem you are likely to have is with your ability to focus manually to get all the sharpness that this lens can deliver at f/1.8. Many cameras are a little off in their focus calibration, so run tests to see if your images on film are really focussed where you thought you did. I often found cameras were a little bit off, so if you really wanted great sharp results at f/1.8 you had to tweak the offset-headed screw against which the camera mirror rests to bring everything into calibration.
How does the 105/2.5 compare to the 105 f/1.8?
I never have seen any difference between this 105 f1.8 and the 105mm f/2.5, even when making direct comparison tests. Therefore in real photography there will be no visible difference at all, save for the availability of maximum aperture and less vignetting at the same larger apertures with the f/1.8. At f/5.6 and smaller there is no difference at all. Photodo.com MTF tested slightly higher values for the f/1.8 on a machine, but these are too close to make any visible difference.
People always swooned about the 105/2.5 lens, and so I kept buying and trying the f/2.5 version to look for any difference. Humbug, the f/1.8 lens is at least as sharp at every aperture, and at f/2.5 the f/1.8 lens has far less light falloff than the the f/2.5 lens does. Photodo.com confirms that actually the f/1.8 is a hair sharper then the f/2.5 anyway.
I have not used this lens on an AF camera, so I can't report how accurately the electronic rangefinders work with it.
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28 July 2016, 2004