It seems like an eternity ago that I 'Pre-Ordered' my Nikon F4s along with two lenses- the 50mm f/1.4 and the Nikkor 105mm f/1.8. That was 1989. The Nikkor 105mm was introduced a few years before that, in March 1981 to be precise. I was cleaning out my camera bags and stumbled upon the lens 'wrapped' in a lens cloth tucked into a small pouch. I had actually forgotten all about it since switching to a rangefinder- it was a very happy reunion. I had recently purchased a Nikon D600 cheap from a friend and was using the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art Series lens (AWESOME best 50 I have ever had) so the addition of the 105 focal lens was much appreciated. Below is a couple of images of the lens, it is no Princess, it is a tank of a lens with some heft glass and a wonderful built-in metal lens hood for kicks. I thought I would do a quick review for WECC as it is not the most widely available lens and as time has shown, it is a highly sort after lens by Photographers and Videographers alike.
Just a reminder, this is just a quick few words about what I feel about the lens.... and so let's get started. Above is a couple of images of the lens and below few Technical specs by http://www.mir.com.my/ some might wish to know.
Specifications of Nikkor 105mm f/1.8s:
Focal length/Aperture: 105mm f/1.8
Lens construction: 5 elements in 5 groups; Picture angle: 23° 20'; Diaphragm: Automatic
Aperture scale: f/1.8 - f/22 on both standard and aperture-direct-readout scales
Maximum Reproduction ratio: 1:7.6
Exposure measurement: Via full aperture method with Ai cameras; via stop-down method with non-Ai Nikon SLR cameras
Distance scale: Graduated in meters and feet from from 1m (3.5 ft.) to infinity (oo)
Dimensions: 78.5mm dia. x 88.5mm long (overall); 80.5mm extension from lens flange
Filters: 62mm front screw-in; Lens hood: Built-in telescopic type
Front lens cap: Snap-On; Weight: 580g; Lens case: CL-15S hard leatherette, No.52 soft pouch, or CP-9 plastic; Usable teleconverter(s): TC-200*, TC-201s*,TC-14A; * When used with aperture smaller than f/11 with fast shutter speeds, there is occasional uneven exposure; Warning: Certain AE modes (Programmed AE and Shutter Priority AE) on selective Nikon SLRs will not work efficiently with older TC devices. Use an Ai-S version for better compatibility, read the respective Tele-Extender(s) sections. NOTE: Serial Numbers for this version of the 105mm telephoto lens was believed to have been started with 179091 for Ai-S-only Nikkor lense**(more information can be found here)
I took the lens to work and as usual had Hannah jump out the front of the shop so I could take some quick shots as well as a short video. The image above was taken into Lightroom for some basic adjustments (no sharpening) exported out and the Kodak Portra 400 preset was added using Alien Skin Exposure 7. Nothing else has been done other than converted to a .jpg for this article.
Being a manual focus lens, the 105 has caught the attention of many Videographers and has developed a well respected reputation, making it highly desirable. I quickly shot some video using the Nikon D600 at 24fps wide open at f/1.8. The above test renders beautifully and it really gives a good indication of its capabilities despite my noobie skill set (for optimum sharpness, shooting at f/5.6 is the way to go).
More (admittably cliche and pretty lame) images below taken in front yard and also walking to the city with friends.
Not the most riveting images but a good indication of what a 30 year old lens can do. Perform it does- the render is unique and amazing. You will not find another like it however it's not unlike the Leica Noctolux, just as dreamy with a very unique footprint all of there own. I was especially happy with the Video footage, bring on a Film Fest.
The video below breaks down the lens which was being serviced. It never stops to amaze me the complexity of their construction not to mention the technicians memory skills
Final Thoughts ... I LOVE this lens, Japan seems the best place to pick one up in good condition. As I write this article you should be able to grab one for about $900-$1300 AUS. It is a fabulous portrait lens and magic for video, if your into either of theses fields grab one you will NOT be disappointing. from us here at WECC we score this beauty a
Source (video mikeno62 Youtube) technical information http://www.mir.com.my/)