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  Reviews by: vitalishe  

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Nikon 105mm f/2D AF DC-Nikkor

Review Date: Feb 17, 2016 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: sharp throughout, superb build, actual size and weight are smaller than you think from pictures, fast AF
DC may shift AF micro-adjustment

I used to use 85 1.8G as a portrait lens, but was not too happy with in part due to shorter focal length (too close to my 50mm), in part due to long closest focusing distance.

After selling that I was looking into 105 focal length. I first tried 105 f/2.5 AI which I loved except I could not focus it reliably. I briefly tried Micro-Nikkor 105 VR, but almost immediately realized that it does not fit my needs as a portrait lens even though it is clearly a pro-grade lens.

Finally, I got a great deal on 105 DC. My first impressions were that it is actually much smaller and lighter than it appears on photos. On photos it looks almost the same size as 105 VR. In reality DC has deeply recessed front element whereas VR is full of glass all of the way to the front of the barrel. So, yes, the lens is not that big. It just has a permanent hood plus one additional retractable one.

I was lucky to have no need for AF adjustment in the neutral DC setting. The lens was dead on from the start. Unfortunately, turning DC in the R direction (backgRound more out of focus) makes the lens front focus (using AF after switching DC). This does not happen when switching into F direction. This is strange and unfortunate as R is the more common setting to use. So if I really want to use DC-R settings I either have to switch to manual focus or lean forward slightly after auto-focusing. Both methods are of course not very reliable.

On the other hand the DC effect is so small I may not be loosing much by only using the neutral setting.

The lens auto-focuses accurately and very fast. It focuses to about the same distance as 85 1.8G, which means it actually has a larger reproduction ratio. Overall I am enjoying the lens so far.

Nikon 35-70mm f/2.8D AF

Review Date: Feb 17, 2016 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $450.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Dirt cheap, great quality, built like a tank, has macro mode
heavy flare, a bit soft wide open, extends when zooming out, lacking 24-35 range

I was very excited when I bought this lens for the first time. It was a cheap way of getting a fast portrait lens for DX. When I switched to FX I felt the focal range became more appropriate for a walk-around lens rather than a portrait.

In the end I sold it because it was lacking the wide angle range 24-35 that is very useful for a walk-around lens.

If you are not into primes yet, this is a great way of getting a fast standard zoom range on a budget.

Nikon 50mm f/1.4D AF Nikkor

Review Date: Feb 12, 2016 Recommend? | Price paid: $220.00

Pros: Small, solid build, sharp at f2 and smaller, fast AF, well controlled flare for an older design
inconsistent AF (at wide apertures), quite soft wide open

This is a very pleasant lens to use. I used to have a newer 50mm 1.8G and did not particularly enjoy it on my FF bodies. It could have been psychological - the difference in light gathering between 24-70 f/2.8 and 1.8G is roughly a stop. The difference between 24-70 f/2.8 and 1.4 is two full stops. This is substantial. You just know that if you need to get more light you can.

The size of the lens is also appreciably smaller than 1.8G. It focuses at least as fast or faster. Around f/2 1.4D overexposes by 1/2-2/3 of a stop when compared to 1.8G. It seams that the aperture opens wider than it supposed to, as out of focus highlights look significantly larger (more blurred) than on 1.8G.

Wide open AF was inconsistent (shooting from a tripod) sometimes focusing a bit closer or a bit further. So when I shoot wide open I try to double number of shots to compensate for possible AF inconsistencies.

In general, in low light I prefer to use this lens between f/2 and f/2.8 where it AF reliably and is very sharp. Kepp in mind that at f/2 setting this lens already collects more light than 1.8G wide open. The f/1.4 setting is for situations where I need to catch every photon there is in the room, but I have to negotiate with AF.

Nikon 105mm f/2.8 ED-IF AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor

Review Date: Jan 25, 2016 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Very fast AF, very effective VR, weather sealing
SIZE, changing aperture

I have somewhat mixed filings about this lens. On one hand it is clear it is a professional grade lens with
- very fast AF
- effective VR and
- weather sealing.
If your priority are function and performance this lens is superb.

On the other hand it is BIG and its aperture is changing the closer you focus. As a result if you want to enjoy the process of using this lens there are drawbacks. I would much rather prefer a smaller lens that was extending for close focus (like the older Tamron or Nikon macro lenses). But this would sacrifice weather sealing. The changing aperture is a puzzle for me since typically this is due to changing length of the lens and this lens has a fixed length. So in low light conditions when used as a portrait lens it gets a little less light then you wold expect.

Bottom line: for professionals this lens should get 10-11, for amature and semi-amatures it should get 8-9.

Nikon 85mm AF-S NIKKOR f/1.8G

Review Date: Jan 25, 2016 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $450.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Fast, contrasty, cheap
Closest focusing distance is too big My lens exhibited significant back focusing

This is a nice alternative to the fast 85mm 1.4D and G lenses.
When I had a chance to compare it to 1.4D my conclusion was that 1.8G is actually a better choice overall. It has superb flare resistance (unlike 1.4D) and bokeh although possible is very hard to tell apart (unlike in the case 50mm 1.4D vs 1.8G where it was much more pronounced).

At some point my lens started exhibiting back-focusing that could not be corrected in camera. After sending it to Nikon the issue has been corrected under warranty.

Sold this lens for several reasons:
- it was too close to my 50mm 1.4 AF-D in focal length which is smaller and can use faster apertures (though at the expense of sharpness).
- it just did not focus close enough for tight portrait shots.
- it just got boring for me and I stopped using it.

Nikon 60mm f/2.8D AF Micro-Nikkor

Review Date: Jan 25, 2016 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $230.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very sharp, supreme bokeh, cheap
AF speed could be improved upon

I picked this lens over Tamron 90mm macro to take portraits of my newborn. This was a perfect focal length that I could use while holding the baby myself.
Since getting it I used it extensively for portraits and product photography and it proved to be excellent for both. When available light is at a premium I am reaching for 50mm 1.4, otherwise this is my standard lens.

Nikon 50mm f/1.4D AF Nikkor

Review Date: Aug 26, 2015 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $200.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Very compact, light gathering, fast AF, AF can be fine-tuned manually
A bit soft wide open

I switched to this lens from 50mm 1.8G. Although the G lens may have been sharper it did not have enough differences with some of my f/2.8 zooms (35-70, 24-70).
This lens on the other hand has much more compared to those f/2.8 zooms:
- faster by 2 spots vs 1
- quite a bit smaller than 1.8g
- at f/2 it is almost half a stop brighter than 1.8g is. Go figure why.

And it costs almost as much as 1.8g.I live this lens. At times I wish it was sharper wide open though.