Registered: Nov 29, 2011
Total Posts: 2974
There seems to be a few people asking about/adding different MF lenses here from time to time. I only have two so far, but plan on more eventually.
For all the "regulars" here, what is the lens you are most happy you acquired....
.... and which (if any) do you wished you hadn't?
Jim S, I will comment briefly every lens I possessed since late 1980s.
Some I acquired recently due to the NMFAS which infected me last couple of years, guilt of the devil and his adjutants over here Take care!!!
Too many lenses, too little time to shoot... who knows after my retirement?
My subjective lens evaluations is from one (*) to (five (*****) stars.
Be warned that my main shooting is for wildlife, landscapes and macro, mostly biased for scientific purposes - I am not, by any means, an artist or street photographer. Except when indicated, most experiences are with D3, D300 and D7000 cameras. No D600/800 experiences yet.
Excuses for my truly bad English.
16mm f/3.5 F ai'd - newcomer to my collection, not enough time to evaluate, but already feeling the impressive sharpness others have experienced here.
20mm f/2.8 ais **** - I use it for landscapes, so closed down to f/5.6-f/11 it is sharp enough for me (beleive it or not similar to my ex 14-24mm f/2.8). Wide open not impressive. For border to border good performance it needs at least f/5.6.
24mm f/2 ais ***1/2 - Often maligned over internet, I liked the dreamy bokeh at f/2-2.8; needs at least f/8 for a good border to border performance (landscapes). I need to explore more this lens though. Excellent when reversed for extreme macros.
28mm f/2.8 ai (not the ais with CRC for close focus) ** - I had one in the late 1990s. Never impressed by the sharpness of this lens. Truly not in the same league as the 28/2 and the newer 28/2.8 ais.
28mm f/2 ai ****1/2 - As the other wide angles, use it for landscapes; interesting dreamy bokeh at f/2, performance from f/2.8-5.6 is better than the previous wide angles. Excellent when reversed for extreme macros.
35mm f/2.8 ai ** - I had one in the late 1990s. As for the 28/2.8 ai, never impressed by the sharpness of this lens..
50mm f/1.8 ai & ais (early version - long or stepped nose) ***** - excellent all around lens, exceptional for landscapes and good with tubes or close up lenses.
50mm f/2 ai ***** - same comments as for f/1.8; this lens, however, has only 6 blades rendering just 6 sun star rays. Sold my copy recently, because the complete overlap with the f/1.8 version.
50mm f/1.2 ais ****1/2 - a lot of solid glass, excellent for landscapes and with the bonus of dreamy effects at f/1.2-2. Unbelievably sharp already at f/2! In some circunstances (night lights), even with hood prone to ghosts. More than usable with tubes and close up lenses, but for that the f/1.8 is better.
55mm f/2.8 ais Micro ***** - phenomenal lens, almost a "zoom", since it is evenly good both at macro and infinity ranges! Excellent and flat field for macros including tubes.
55mm f/3.5 ai Micro ***** - same comments as for the f/2.8 - I saw no difference between these lenses except for the 1/3 slower stop.
85mm f/1.8 K ai'd **** - I like this lens a lot, since it is lighter (good for travel) than the f/1.4 and just as sharp with perhaps a slightly worse bokeh wide open to f/2. It has just 6 blades, so only 6 sun star rays.
85mm f/1.4 ais ****1/2 - another lot of solid glass, it feels good in the hand, better bokeh than the f/1.8 and 9 blades to deliver 18 sun stars rays. However, due to weight, not appropriate to travel light. I need to use more this lens.
105mm f/2.5 ai &ais ****1/2 - the legend, I had several ai & ais copies, finally deciding on an ai version, since focus throw of the ais is too short and built in hood too sloop. Excellent for landscapes and general photography.
105mm f/4 Micro ai *** - I possessed one in the 1990s and my general impression is that it was good for close ups and macros, but not so for landscapes.
105mm f/2.8 Micro ais ****1/2 - to my amazement I discovered that this lens is as good for macros as for landscapes; it feels more solid in the hands than the f/4 version and the extra f/2.8 stop is useful when we use teleconverters.
135mm f/3.5 ai & ais ****1/2 - excellent sharpness (perhaps better tan the f/2 version !) all around and excellent to travel light. It suffers from ghosts in certains circunstances (night lights) however.
135mm f/2 ais - not enough time to evaluate, but already feeling the great bokeh and it appears to work well with teleconverters. Its weight is a concern when we need travel light.
180mm f/2.8 ED ais ****1/2 - another legend, feels good in the hand, but not appropriate to travel light. Good with tubes & TCs and excellent bokeh. I need more shooting with this lens.
200mm f/4 ais **** - very good all around performer, already very sharp at f/5.6; good with tubes and for lanscapes. Good weight to travel light and good with tubes.
300mm f/4.5 EDIF ais *** - good all around, accepts very well tubes for macro, but contrary to the old 400mm, the sharpness is actually worse than the 300mm f/4 af-s I have (I beg you Curtis, don't bane me for this!!) It could be my copy.
400mm f/5.6 K ED non IF ai'd ****1/2 - Unbelievably sharp and contrasty for a 40 years old lens. As already reported here by John, this lens is sharper wide open in comparison with the 400mm f/5.6 EDIF. I noted also a little bit less CA than the EDIF version. The main drawabacks are the longer MFD (5m !) and the slower focusing of the helicoidal design (no problem for landscapes though).
400mm f/5.6 ai (narrow tripod collar) EDIF **** - good lens with a similar performance to the older 400/5.6 EE non IF at f/8-16, but worse wide open. However it has better handling and faster foscusing than its older companion. It worked very well with the Canon 500D close up lens.
500mm f/4 P ais **** - I possessed one shortly and decide to sell because similar performance with the 600/5.6. Now I regret my decision, because perhaps this lens would be slightly better with TCs.
600mm f/5.6 ais EDIF N **** - All around very good telephoto, excellent from f/8 to f11. CA can be a concern in some harsh lights wide open, but PP can fix it. I made sometime ago a comparison with the 600mm f/4 AF-S II and the older lens performed more than decently, just slightly less sharp than the newer design, but with less focus breathing. A tripod/monopod is mandatory
800mm f/5.6 ais EDIF *****- my preferred lens for birding, better than the 600/5,6 wide open (3 ED elements vs. 2ED of the 600 could be a reason for that). I feel this 800 works better than the 600/5.6 with all TCs (TC14EII, 16A, 17EII, 20EIII). Tripod is mandatory.
50-135mm f/3.5 ais & 75-150mm f/3.5 E ais (chrome ring version)
Probably **** (not enough time shooting both) - both excellent zooms, the first has better construction, but the second is lighter and accepts 52mm filters. I am impressed by image quality of both zooms, confirming their legendary reputation.
Some lenses I would like to acquire:
15mm f/5.6 f/5.6 (supposed to be better than the newer 15/3.5?!);
25-50mm f/4 (would be a perfect companion to the 50-135mm);
50-300mm f/4.5 ED (not only for shooting, but also to become a "de luxe" 5-30x spoting scope with a Nikon Lens Scope Converter);
a mint copy of the 400mm f/5.6 ED non IF to replace my battered one;
500mm f/4 ais P (I regretted having sold this lens ). Perhaps it would work better with TCs than the 600/5.6;
Rafael's 80-200mm f/2.8 ais ED
Well that is it Jim. I am sorry for the gigantic post with my atrocious English.