Nikkor AIS 105mm f/1.8
The fastest Nikkor telephoto lens!
This is the fastest lens in Nikon telephoto range. I have been wanting this lens, or should I say the more popular brother, the Nikkor Ai/AiS 105mm f/2.5 for very long time, not that I don't want this f/1.8 version but the price that I have seen in the 2nd hand market is just too high for me to afford and it is also quite a rare lens that is hard to come by in the 2nd hand market, especially one that is worth the collecting value.
John, someone I met in the net from Thailand has one of this germ. The price he wanted for this lens was out of my budget initially, and after many months, he was still selling. I met John personally in Singapore for the 2nd time (first time was in Kuala Lumpur, Sunway Piramid shopping center for other deal), and we strike a deal for this lens together with some other stuff, and now I am the proud owner of this rare lens in near new condition!
I have a couple of cameras, and I wonder which one would look best couple with the f/1.8. Finally I take out my Dragon and mount it together with the f/1.8. The perfect combo that I have!
This lens has a built in hood, which is the same as the AiS 105mm f/2.5 but not the Ai 105mm f/2.5 (no built in hood). The hood pull out and push in with ease.
The filter diameter of the lens is 62mm, standard Nikon size.
I am...still am amazed by the way how the lens was designed. View from rear, the diameter of the lens J U M P almost 2cm! That huge and sudden change of diameter means the huge elements used in the lens. I am totally attracted to this lens!
Ok, how about the optical quality of this lens? I did some test shots with my previous Fujifilm S2 Pro digital SLR, targeted at table cloth with some fur on it, mounted on a tripod of course, a Gitzo G1410. At f/1.8, DOF is really shallow, less than 1cm back and for. However, you can still detect sharp and clear spot of the fur and cloth. When stop down, sharpness increase. I must admit that I don't have a proper testing technique, and what I care is if I use this lens to shoot portrait, can I count the hair of the eyebrows and get sharp and impact eyes catching? I shot a few more test shots of my wife's face close-up and my simple test reviewed that this lens is sharp even wide open and live up to its name ~ The PERFECT PORTRAIT LENS!
Initially I plan to show and upload some some test photos of the lens at various apertures, later I decided not too as it will take up too much bandwidth and doesn't really mean anything by seeing some sharp fur of the table cloth. All I can say is that if you want a manual best portrait lens for available light photography, buy this lens and you will not regret it! If you can find this lens in the 2nd hand market, grab it! Price of manual AiS Nikkor has gone more and more expensive. Rumor is that Nikon has stop producing manual lenses and all the manual lenses in the market are just available old stock. Meaning that it will run out one day...
Now I have the fastest 105mm f/1.8 and 135mm f/2, my next dream lens is the 85mm f/1.4. 85mm is a very popular focal length among photographers (though I personally prefer the longer focal length for portrait), popular means one have to fight among each other (read pay more $$$) to get the lens in the 2nd hand market. Many say 85mm is the best portrait focal length lens, yet for me to find out....
Still looking...dreaming... :)