Another classic: pre-AI 135 f/2
/forum/topic/925349/2

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jhinkey
Registered: Jan 08, 2010
Total Posts: 5994
Country: United States

Todd Adamson wrote:
Thanks for posting those, John. It's always good to know what a lens is capable of at a more technical level. But you're right, this lens shines for portraits, where we usually try hard to control the contrast in the scene, so get out and shoot some people!!

I think if I blew my headshots up to 100% and found some CA, etc., it wouldn't bother me one bit at this point.


Well, here's one of my girls taken with the 135/2 AIS at f/2.8 while at the playground - can't beat that background blur. I'm slowly getting better with this lens and hope the move to FX makes it much easier to focus at f/2.8 or f/2.

John



Todd Adamson
Registered: Mar 03, 2005
Total Posts: 5209
Country: United States

Nice pic, John. The blur is awesome. I think you just need a little bit more time with the lens to up the keeper rate....although I have no idea how low my own keeper rate would go if I were shooting without a tripod!



jhinkey
Registered: Jan 08, 2010
Total Posts: 5994
Country: United States

Here's another one with the 135/2 AIS - hand held, f/2, ISO 200 1/100s (yes that's right):






This lens + D300 is heavy enough to hand hold to fairly low shutter speeds considering the focal length. Some EC, 20,20,0 USM in NX2.

I could have done better with a tripod, but you have to make due with what you have.
My daughters put this flower in the driftwood and I could not resist!

I can't wait to use this on a FX sensor body so that I can actually successfully focus it at f/2 or f/2.8.

John


edl415
Registered: Aug 28, 2009
Total Posts: 487
Country: United States

jhinkey wrote:
I gave the 135/2 AIS another go this evening with my D300 shooting my girls at the playground in the late evening. F/2 or f/2.8 sure comes in handy and the weight of the 135/2 surely helps to keep things steady for lower shutter speeds.

Anyway, my manual focus hit rate:
@f/4.0: 80%-100%
@f/2.8 50%-75%
@f/2.0 <25% (or even 10%).

Like with my other MF Nikkors I've been experimenting with the KatzEye and the focus indicator - my fast shorter focal length lenses I've gotten pretty good at, but I'm having troubles with the 135/2 trying to get decent focus using the split screen, microprisms, and/or the AF indicator dot.
Anyone have any suggestions on how to get a better chance at using f/2 or f/2.8 with this lens and a D300+Katzeye screen? Has anyone had to get their AF system and/or focus screen calibrated to be able to reliably focus this lens at f/2?

Thanks -

John

BTW when I do nail the focus at f/2.8 or f/2 the results can be quite impressive!


Hey John,

Did you read Todd's thread in the alt forum? Ignore the angry guy, there is some really good information in there.

http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/931392/0

I've been lucky, my D700 is pretty spot on with the green dot method for the 50/1.2, 105/2.5, and 75-150 E that I have, but if you're down to under 20% wide open maybe you should try some of the testing mentioned in that thread to increase your hit rate?

ie. have you mounted the D300 to a tripod and verified it's in focus with the split screen, green dot, and live view, all at once? If it isn't spot on, you probably need to adjust the shim on the Katzeye. It took me about 10 tries with shims of various sizes and combinations before I got it about right on my D40. I didn't want to deal with "shim" testing my D700 so I stuck with the factory screen.

Hope this helps -
Edmund

PS - great shot of your girls, love the bokeh. I think I'll find a 135/2.8 for those days when I don't want to carry the 70-200.



Todd Adamson
Registered: Mar 03, 2005
Total Posts: 5209
Country: United States

edl415 wrote:
Hey John,

Did you read Todd's thread in the alt forum? Ignore the angry guy, there is some really good information in there.

http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/931392/0


I was pretty happy with that thread. Took me a bit to get my head around what some folks were saying, but it was very helpful once I did.

edl415 wrote:
PS - great shot of your girls, love the bokeh. I think I'll find a 135/2.8 for those days when I don't want to carry the 70-200.


Probably you know this, but just in case, to be clear: these shots are with the 135 f/2, not the 135 f/2.8. Two entirely different beasts. The 135/2 is HEAVY. But in a good way, I love the balance. I have not had any experience with the 135/2.8, but I know Curtis G recently picked one up, and I'm sure he has probably posted some shots with it.



jhinkey
Registered: Jan 08, 2010
Total Posts: 5994
Country: United States

Thanks Todd - I read through that thread pretty quickly and it definitely has some good ideas.
I need to do a couple of things on my D300:
(1) Get my AF and focusing screen calibrated to make sure they are as good as they can be.
(2) Do the live view vs. AF Dot vs. focusing screen comparison using my 135/2 AND my 50/1.2 - I have the same focusing problems with the 50/1.2.
(3) Inquire about getting a non-optibrite KatzEye screen (I have the optibrite option ) replacement
(3) Rent a D700 and see if things improve and/or are easier to focus with these lenses.


And yes, the 135/2.8 and the 135/2 are VERY different beasts.

Anyone know of any place here in Seattle that can calibrate my AF system AND my focusing screen (i.e, adjust the shims) of my D300?

- John



jhinkey
Registered: Jan 08, 2010
Total Posts: 5994
Country: United States

I am also waiting/hoping for Nikon to come out with their EVIL system that is capable of using AIS glass and having the feature of zoom viewing during focusing so that it will be a lot easier to nail the focus with these lenses. The Panasonic GH-1 has this kind of feature and the EVF is really very very good. I'd rather not go to a m43 body if I didn't have to in order to more effectively use my fast AIS glass wide open.
I've been told that Nikon will announce such a system at Photokina in a few weeks, but will not be shipping such a beast for a while.
In the mean time I'll also be working on a scheme to get a D700 since it's replacement is going to be next year some time by all accounts.

John



edl415
Registered: Aug 28, 2009
Total Posts: 487
Country: United States

Todd Adamson wrote:

Probably you know this, but just in case, to be clear: these shots are with the 135 f/2, not the 135 f/2.8. Two entirely different beasts. The 135/2 is HEAVY. But in a good way, I love the balance. I have not had any experience with the 135/2.8, but I know Curtis G recently picked one up, and I'm sure he has probably posted some shots with it.


Hey Todd, thanks for pointing that out. I read 135/2.8 somewhere on the forum and my mind wanted John's shots to be with it, since that lens is so cheap. Hrmm, time to check 135/2's out...



Todd Adamson
Registered: Mar 03, 2005
Total Posts: 5209
Country: United States

edl415 wrote:
Hey Todd, thanks for pointing that out. I read 135/2.8 somewhere on the forum and my mind wanted John's shots to be with it, since that lens is so cheap. Hrmm, time to check 135/2's out...


I paid $550 for mine, in pristine condition. I feel like I got a bargain.



edl415
Registered: Aug 28, 2009
Total Posts: 487
Country: United States

jhinkey wrote:
Thanks Todd - I read through that thread pretty quickly and it definitely has some good ideas.
I need to do a couple of things on my D300:
(1) Get my AF and focusing screen calibrated to make sure they are as good as they can be.
(2) Do the live view vs. AF Dot vs. focusing screen comparison using my 135/2 AND my 50/1.2 - I have the same focusing problems with the 50/1.2.
(3) Inquire about getting a non-optibrite KatzEye screen (I have the optibrite option ) replacement
(3) Rent a D700 and see if things improve and/or are easier to focus with these lenses.


And yes, the 135/2.8 and the 135/2 are VERY different beasts.

Anyone know of any place here in Seattle that can calibrate my AF system AND my focusing screen (i.e, adjust the shims) of my D300?

- John


John,

I can help with #2 if you've never done it before - here's a link to a focus test chart page. Instructions are about 2/3rds down on the link. Use a tripod, tape the paper to the desk, etc. You'll be able to figure #2 out in a few minutes, especially since you're testing a MF lens.

http://focustestchart.com/chart.html

For AF system adjustment, here's another link you may have seen - I personally wouldn't do this myself, but at least it helped me understand how the AF system works.

http://www.leongoodman.com/d70focus.html

Edmund



edl415
Registered: Aug 28, 2009
Total Posts: 487
Country: United States

Todd Adamson wrote:
edl415 wrote:
Hey Todd, thanks for pointing that out. I read 135/2.8 somewhere on the forum and my mind wanted John's shots to be with it, since that lens is so cheap. Hrmm, time to check 135/2's out...


I paid $550 for mine, in pristine condition. I feel like I got a bargain.


How much was the Zeiss 100? If you had to keep only one, which would it be?



Todd Adamson
Registered: Mar 03, 2005
Total Posts: 5209
Country: United States

edl415 wrote:
How much was the Zeiss 100?


New, the ZF.2 version is ~$1850. I picked up a ZF version (no chip) used for $1200. I think the ZF version is still manufactured, but I haven't found one available new, and I have no idea what the price would be.

edl415 wrote:
If you had to keep only one, which would it be?


Ha! THAT is dooozy of a question. I LOVE this 135/2, and recently proclaimed it my favorite lens. But the 100mm focal length is generally better for me, especially for indoor portraits.

With the 135, I am using green dot focusing, and I am nailing my shots quickly and easily. Like 95% keepers. With the Zeiss, it's lower, but still reasonable. See my recent thread on the Alt Gear forum for info about that and some really great posts from others.

I also love the way the 135 feels. It's a hefty, beautiful, awesome hunk of glass. People go on about the build quality and beauty of Zeiss lenses, and they are indeed impressive. But I'd put my 1976-built 135 up against the new Zeiss in those respects any time.

I short, I don't know. If I could use the green dot, and nail my shots with the Zeiss with the same frequency, I think the Nikkor would go. Fortunately, it's a decision I don't have to make.



jhinkey
Registered: Jan 08, 2010
Total Posts: 5994
Country: United States

edl415 wrote:

John,

I can help with #2 if you've never done it before - here's a link to a focus test chart page. Instructions are about 2/3rds down on the link. Use a tripod, tape the paper to the desk, etc. You'll be able to figure #2 out in a few minutes, especially since you're testing a MF lens.

http://focustestchart.com/chart.html

For AF system adjustment, here's another link you may have seen - I personally wouldn't do this myself, but at least it helped me understand how the AF system works.

http://www.leongoodman.com/d70focus.html

Edmund


Thanks Edmund - I've done this many times before and have my own system (I'm not a fan of the technique/targets used in the links you provided).
Heck I've only ten things to do tonight - I'll add this to the list - it will definitely be the most fun though!

- John



edl415
Registered: Aug 28, 2009
Total Posts: 487
Country: United States

Cheers John - look forward to seeing what comes out of your tests.

Edmund



jhinkey
Registered: Jan 08, 2010
Total Posts: 5994
Country: United States

I haven't done any tests/adjustments just yet, but my girls were itching to go the park again tonight and I brought the D300 + 135/2 along.
For some reason I was on my game tonight as I got 4/5 shots in focus at f/2.
Here's a couple. Her eyelashes are very sharp when viewed at 100%, even before any sharpening.

Wow, if you have a low contrast subject and you can nail the focus, the 135/2 AIS can certainly reward you with some nice images when shot at f/2.

John



Gunzorro
Registered: Aug 28, 2010
Total Posts: 6583
Country: United States

Regarding the focusing difficulties:

My situation is even more demanding, using Nikon AIS on Canon Digital without any "green" OK light or an focusing aid on the matte screen. I thought it was just me finding my inner bad photographer!

I've actually gotten quite a bit better at manual focusing handheld, and find tripod mounted not all that hard if I have time to critically adjust. Still, it is a bit scary to consider trying these wonderful lenses on an assignment, where I'm used to near 100% bankable results without out-or-focus ruining the Money Shot.

Regarding that magenta fringing -- coming from Canon lenses, this is just something I've never encountered, even starting back when these AIS lenses were developed in the 80s. And the Nikon lack of flatness of field -- astounding for me to work with on the wide to normal lenses! I'm used to really flat with little spherical aberration. But I'm liking these Nikon quirks along with the brilliant central sharpness and color balance. Win some, lose some, eh? Regarding the fringing -- my recent 180 ED is free of this defect. Not so with my 28 2.0, 35 2.0 , or 55 1.2 lenses wide open! I'll certainly have to look into removing this, as you folks do.

Thanks for all the info!



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