Author Topic: Lens "porn" with the Df: The 105 mm Nikkors. Part 2  (Read 8563 times)

Bjørn Rørslett

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Lens "porn" with the Df: The 105 mm Nikkors. Part 2
« on: June 29, 2015, 17:06:21 »
[ Posted 10 January 2014 - 14:17 Edited and reposted by agreement ]

The legend amongst the 105 Nikkors are without doubt the f/2.5, a lens that in various incarnations (S-mount for rangefinders, then F-mount for [D]SLRs) have accompanied Nikon cameras nearly sixty years. The optical design changed from the earlier Sonnar- to a double Gauss-type around 1971. The Sonnar type was shared with the earlier rangefinder Nikons, but when the 105 should transfer from the "S" to the "F" mount in 1959, they had to tweak the rear element so the register distance was increased by 1 mm or so, in order to clear the reflex mirror.

One can easily discern these variations as the Sonnar has a rather small rear element whilst the newer models have a rear element extending all the way to the bayonet rim. The last incarnation, AIS, has a slide-out hood of the wobbling non-lockable kind. The others use either HS-4, HS-14  (snap-on), or HN-8 (screw-in). The older HS-4 is easily lost because the snap-on tabs extend a bit from the surface and can mistakenly be pushed either by yourself or objects it brushes into. If you epoxy them in place the HS-4 becomes a screw-in type so that'll be my recommended measure for it. The HS-14 has release tabs flush to the surface so stays put for a longer time. The safest bet is the HN-8 with locktite. Sissies will use a rubber hood but that is a true misfit with these lenses.



Here is an array of my 105/2.5 Nikkors. The AI had gone AWOL at the time. From left to right silver barrel "P" (Sonnar) with factory AI kit,  a badly beaten up "P" pre-AI from  '71 or '72 (Gauss, no multicoating), the first multicoated "P.C" version from '73 (Gauss, AI'd), and finally an early AIS. All except the beater have been CPU-modified. The beater copy reminds me of how much abuse these lenses can take and still be able to deliver outstanding images, plus it is a test lens for investigating the non-AI compatibility of new cameras. I have used mainly the '73 version of these 105 Nikkors on various Nikons since I originally purchased it in 1973 and it still focuses buttery smooth. It also has the advantage of aperture blades that are curved so its bokeh is softer than what the later AIS delivers. The oldest Sonnar-type had 6 blades with straight edges so bokeh could get less smooth if you stopped too far down and the background was problematic.

The AIs is the lightest and the early "P" the heaviest of these. The Sonnar-type is also slightly shorter in overall build length.
 
Note to self: find the AI sample (it turned up 1 week later)

tommiejeep

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Re: Lens "porn" with the Df: The 105 mm Nikkors. Part 2
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2015, 12:38:57 »
Bjorn, I am becoming a big fan of the Nikon 105's.  I have good copies of the Ai and Ais f2.5's.  I've been offered one of the last (last 300 serial numbers) 105 2.5 P-C (factory Ai'd) in Mint- at what seems to be a good price.  I will not be able to try out the lens .  I use the 105's for candid portraits and general walkabout for people.  Anything I should ask specific to this lens?
Cheers,
Tom
Tom Hardin, Goa, India

Bjørn Rørslett

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Re: Lens "porn" with the Df: The 105 mm Nikkors. Part 2
« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2015, 19:40:26 »
It has f/32?

The differences between the P.C and the later AI are slight, so apart from a change in the way the focusing ring looks (scalloped vs. rubber) and f/32 vs f/22 they are functionally identical.

Roland Vink

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Re: Lens "porn" with the Df: The 105 mm Nikkors. Part 2
« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2015, 07:02:29 »
If the 105/2.5 P.C is factory AI'd, it will stop down to f32. Strangely, when Nikon upgraded this model to AI it lost a stop and only closes down to f22 (possibly because early AI cameras couldn't reliably meter over such a large range), but the factory AI conversion ring preserves the minimum f32 setting! The missing stop makes little practical difference since this lens shines at wider and medium apertures. I don't think I ever stopped mine down past f11.

If you already have good copies of the AI version there may not be much point in getting the P.C version. The optics are the same, both have the nicely curved aperture blades, and I think the coatings didn’t change either. The only reason would be if you prefer the look of feel of the older scalloped focus ring.

tommiejeep

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Re: Lens "porn" with the Df: The 105 mm Nikkors. Part 2
« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2015, 10:32:48 »
Bjorn and Roland, many thanks.  In this instance I was tempted to buy as an investment.  Here, the new converts to the Sony a7 series, are actively looking for excellent examples of classic lenses  but  I  will save my money and not be a Speculator :) .  You, and some others, are very good at pointing out weaknesses of some of the older lens both in optics and build.
Cheers,
Tom   
Tom Hardin, Goa, India

David H. Hartman

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Re: Lens "porn" with the Df: The 105 mm Nikkors. Part 2
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2016, 11:38:23 »
Why doesn't the 105/2.5 AIS have a hood? I hate the built in one and use either an HS-8 or HS-14.

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Bjørn Rørslett

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Re: Lens "porn" with the Df: The 105 mm Nikkors. Part 2
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2016, 11:41:48 »
The 105/2.5 AIS does have a lens hood (built-in). You don't like it, which is a different matter.

HN-8 is the one I would recommend. I share your sentiments regarding the retractable hood. Poor design.

I much prefer the screw-in type of hood over the snap-on variety. The latter can too easily become disengaged.

Roland Vink

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Re: Lens "porn" with the Df: The 105 mm Nikkors. Part 2
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2016, 00:48:44 »
You can use the HS-4 snap-on hood which is the older style with opposing chrome buttons. Older copies (pre-1970 or so) are not labelled HS-4 but are marked 105/2.5 and 135/3.5.

The HS-4 was replaced by the HS-8 around the start of the AI era. It's the same hood except the method of attachment is slightly different - the opposing chrome buttons are replaced by a single plastic button which slides sideways to depress the spring-loaded retaining ring. I prefer the older style.

The HS-14 is for the AIS 105/2.8 micro. As far as I can tell it is the same as the HS-8 except with a newer matte finish. By the time the micro appeared the HS-8 was discontinued since the AIS 105/2.5 has a built-in hood instead, so it seems Nikon decided to release a new hood instead of resurrecting the old one.

There is also the rare HN-8 which is the screw-in version of the HS-4. If you prefer screw-in hoods the HN-7 for Nikkor-H 85/1.8 is more common, although it is a little short. There are also a number of third party screw-in hoods which are suitable.

Bjørn Rørslett

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Re: Lens "porn" with the Df: The 105 mm Nikkors. Part 2
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2016, 01:08:46 »
A few drops of epoxy glue judiciously applied to any of the snap-on hoods can cure them for their snappiness as it were :D ... An inside tip.

Didn't know the HN-8 is rare? It is by far the best option for any of these 105 mm lenses.

Roland Vink

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Re: Lens "porn" with the Df: The 105 mm Nikkors. Part 2
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2016, 01:31:01 »
I come across the snap-on hoods far more often, I have a small stash of them which came with various 105/2.5 and 135/3.5 lenses.
I believe they were supplied in the box with many of the older 105 and 135 lenses, probably because they can be reversed on the lens and are quicker to put on and off. I suspect the HN-8 was sold separately for those who wanted a more secure screw-in version, so is much less common.

richardHaw

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Re: Lens "porn" with the Df: The 105 mm Nikkors. Part 2
« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2016, 09:41:57 »
I love the 105! in fact, i own several (sonnars)!  :o :o :o

my question is, what are the noticeable differences between the gauss and sonnar in terms of image rendition? I read that the sonnar produces softer images but smoother bokeh and the gauss is the reverse of that, is this true? i actually find the sonnar sharp where it is in focus, but just like the 55 f/1.2 it is the uncontrolled levels of CA that is making the image appear not sharp. Thanks...

Bjørn Rørslett

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Re: Lens "porn" with the Df: The 105 mm Nikkors. Part 2
« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2016, 09:47:39 »
The Sonnar-types have lower contrast and more spherical aberrations as you already noticed. Perhaps they are best for moderate to distant motifs? I still remember the 'shock' when I got the first P.C Gauss version around '73 and observed the vividly saturated images with much higher contrast compared to my old 105.

Play around with them is my general recommendation. All of them, commencing from the 'S' model for the Nikon rangefinders in the '50s, are nice in their own manner-.

richardHaw

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Re: Lens "porn" with the Df: The 105 mm Nikkors. Part 2
« Reply #12 on: February 23, 2016, 09:42:11 »
The Sonnar-types have lower contrast and more spherical aberrations as you already noticed. Perhaps they are best for moderate to distant motifs? I still remember the 'shock' when I got the first P.C Gauss version around '73 and observed the vividly saturated images with much higher contrast compared to my old 105.

Play around with them is my general recommendation. All of them, commencing from the 'S' model for the Nikon rangefinders in the '50s, are nice in their own manner-.

i got the new-nikkor gauss lens, and yes it did indeed make my subject POP :o :o :o
but the transition from focus to bokeh was not as smooth as sonnar. so for portrait use, i will probably stick with the sonnar

Akira

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Re: Lens "porn" with the Df: The 105 mm Nikkors. Part 2
« Reply #13 on: March 07, 2016, 00:00:39 »
You may want to locate the rare 9-round-blade version of the early Sonnar type.  It has the best bokeh, IMO.
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the solitaire

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Re: Lens "porn" with the Df: The 105 mm Nikkors. Part 2
« Reply #14 on: April 27, 2016, 13:08:58 »
i got the new-nikkor gauss lens, and yes it did indeed make my subject POP :o :o :o
but the transition from focus to bokeh was not as smooth as sonnar. so for portrait use, i will probably stick with the sonnar

After owning a 105 f2,5 Ai-S for a few years, replaced a 105 f2,5 Nikkor-P.C which I used for 3 years and used parralel with a late model Sonnar (6 blades) Nikkor-P I decided to hold on to the Sonnar design lens because I use it mostly for portrait style photos close up or at medium distance where indeed the transition from in-focus to OoF is smoother where the Gauss design still occasionally tends to render double lines.

I would love to try out a 9 bladed version of the lens but since I use this lens wide open most of the time it would have little added value to me.

Regarding sharpness, Nikon 1001 nights stated that the Sonnar type 105 f2,5 renders sharper at the edges then in the image center when used wide open due to some uncorrected/residual abberation. I have only had the chance to try single copies of each lens but found my Nikkor-P.C to appear sharper across the entire frame.

That said, when shooting portraits most of the editing I do is reducing sharpness and detail rendered in the center of the frame by means of frequency seperation, which for me is an indication that sharpness of the Sonnar design 105mm f2,5 Nikkor-P is sufficient for my intended purpose. Add the smooth transition from in-focus to OoF and you could understand why I sold the Nikkor-P.C to someone who was looking for that particular lens.

Buddy