Having been always keen about photography, quite recently I got a good deal in acquiring an old Nikon lens for a third of its current trending price, roughly $160 (Rs 6,000) instead of $400 (Rs 18,000) from a Photography Studio. The lens was sitting there alone for quite some time and when I first saw it I was eager to be the next owner since I had some things in mind concerning its usage, even though I know this lens wouldn’t be sitting all the time on the camera. I’m writing about the Nikkor 105mm F1.8 AiS lens, a non-cpu lens with no autofocus feature, only manual focus and completely no electronics. This is a full frame lens but in my case I’ll be using it on a (DX) crop body. (more technical info here)
The Physical Appearance
Truth be said, it wasn’t really about what this lens could do or how it was set to use nor its performance, but rather about the physical appearance of it. It liked how it looked, the solid build quality and the feel when I held it in my hands and above all, the huge shiny coated piece of glass at the front element!! For an old lens, it would rather be a collection item, and of course, a from-time-to-time fun! This isn’t a lens review but rather a hands-on experience.
The Aperture Ring
The lens has only two rings; a manual aperture ring ranging from F1.8 and F22 and a focus ring. For those who have some experience with this kind of lens should know the difference in aperture steps it involves. Compared to recent AF-S lenses without aperture ring, it has a certain gap in between the apertures, that is, after F1.8 it goes to F2 and directly to F2.8. Recent electronic lenses will have F2.2 and F2.5 as well, and so on.
The Focus Ring
Compared to the AF-S 50mm 1.8G that I also have, the focus ring is rubberized and is very smooth and precise, a bit closer to those cinematic lenses where the focus rotation is longer for more precision. For a 105mm focal length (157mm on DX), I had some doubts concerning the manual focusing but after a few shots it becomes natural.
The image quality is excellent. It doesn’t differ much from the AF-S 50mm 1.8G I have, I found them to be on par. The out-of-focus (bokeh) wide open looks to be creamier. For those on a full-frame body can certainly make use of this 105mm lens for some nice portraits but on a Crop body, the 157mm (35mm equivalent) focal length makes it rather a fast telephoto lens, ideal for distant shots or close-up details. The minimum focus distance looks to be around 100cm and the filter diameter is 62mm. Any questions, do not hesitate to drop them in the comments or directly via the contact section.
Walk-Around in the City
I took the lens out for some tests in the vicinity of where I work on my Nikon D7200 body and it was great fun! I believe this lens can be used on most Nikon bodies but only those with a Non-CPU lens profile can benefit from the onboard metering.
Nikon DSLRs below the D7000 series (D5XXX & D3XXX) will have to work on their metering the manual way, that is, guessing the exposure or doing an external reading. Correction, after trying the lens on the lower end bodies it appears to be unusable as the body doesn’t detect any lens attached due to the lack of electronics on the lens… Those with a non-cpu lens profile can specify the parameters in the settings and can use the Manual (M) and Aperture Priority (A) settings on their bodies… well, enough of these technical brags, scroll below for a walk-around gallery in the city of Port Louis, Mauritius… and some others as well. EXIFs maintained.