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Thanks Michael, Gary, Adam and Joe!
Gary, yes there is some decent subject/background separation and the lens's long focus throw makes it pretty easy to focus accurately. These would have been much more hit or miss with my 90 Summarit. And the Nikkor is quite sharp centrally from wide open. Definitely a notch above the Zeiss-Opton at mid distances. I've thought about going down there with my Canon and a telephoto lens, but then I'd end up with typical animal 'portraits' and deer are so common anyway. I mean, it would be fun, but I get more of a kick out of doing this with a camera system you're not supposed to shoot wildlife with, particularly the challenge of seeing how close I can get for a reasonable photo within both my and the animal's comfort zones. I guess it helps they're semi-used to people, though still skittish.
The Nikkor is decent wide open at infinity, though stopping down helps a lot. But I like it best for near MFD shooting where a nicely complementary touch of SA adds subtle smoothness. Obviously, with it being a 105mm, it's going to look a lot different from a 50.
At MFD of ~4 feet:
This is the Zeiss-Opton 50/1.5 Sonnar of the same branch at MFD of ~1m, at around f/2, but on a sunny day:
The Nikkor again, at around MFD:
And a bit farther away: