Lenses for a Nikon F5

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by bluedog, Dec 2, 2011.

  1. bluedog

    bluedog Member

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    Recently I did a beach shoot with my DSLR and just for fun took along an old Minolta Maxxum loaded with Kodak Portra 160VC. When I got my high res film scans back from the lab I was blown away with the image quality. When compared with the hours in front of a PC spent editing with a digital workflow I know what I prefer. As a result, I am seriously thinking of going back to film for my professional work. In my previous film days I was a huge Olympus fan but now would like something autofocus and was thinking of an F5. The F6 would be great but it is a big expense and could always upgrade later if the F5 works out. But, I am completely in the dark about Nikkor lenses and what would be a good combination of prime lenses to get for portrait work. I was thinking of something in the 85 or 105mm range and maybe a 50mm or 35mm. Can anyone provide a recommendation(s) as Nikon have so many models and I am not sure what lens designation I need to integrate fully with an F5 or F6?
    Thanks in advance.
    Greg
     
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  2. CGW

    CGW Restricted Access

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    Starting with bodies, I'm tempted to recommend an F100, AKA "F5 Lite." They're almost as good but smaller, cheaper and often in better shape for being a popular prosumer model that usually didn't see the hard use many F5s did--a decidedly pro camera, pro priced, that often saw pro bashing. You can find low-mileage F5s but be prepared for some hunting. The F6 remains very pricey since it's still in production.

    For lenses, the 80-200/2.8AF is a classic in its various incarnations. The 85/1.8AFD is another. The 105 AF models are limited to the pricey 105/2 DC and 105/2.8 micros. The lowly 50/1.8AF is cheap and wonderful for full lenth shots. Just steer clear of DX lenses suited only for APS-C sensor DSLRs.

    The lens reviews here are helpful: www.nikonlinks.com
     
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  3. tony lockerbie

    tony lockerbie Subscriber

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    The F5 is a great camera, but don't discount the F4 as well. They can be had for chips and still have great metering that works with the older non Ai lenses (albeit in stop down mode), The AF on the F4 is a bit "yesterday" but I never use AF anyway. If you go for the F5 I would stick with AF lenses as they will give you all the metering functions that make the F5 special.
    Agree that the F5 is a much better buy than the F6 which has already become collector status.
    I have the Af 85mm 1.4 which is about as good as it gets for portrait lenses. The 105mm 1.8 is special as well, but not in AF. If you like zooms then the 80-200 2.8 is the business too.
    BTW, welcome back to film....we never really leave it do we!
    Tony
     
  4. Colin Corneau

    Colin Corneau Subscriber

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    Agree mostly with Tony's post above...the 85 1.4 is a beautiful prime (which is what you say you're after). The 1.8 version is cheaper and I'm not sure how important that extra little bit of speed/bokeh is for you.

    I love the classic 105/2.5 - razor sharp and inexpensively had these days. The 1.8 version is nice too, and I've seen great results from a fast 135mm although never used one myself.

    I'd consider a 50mm 1.2 (or 1.4) just for the different focal length.

    Best of luck! I loved my F5.
     
  5. j-dogg

    j-dogg Subscriber

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    Nikkor 105mm f2.5 /thread
     
  6. BradleyK

    BradleyK Subscriber

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    Nikon lens recommendations? As a few have already suggested, you cannot go wrong with the 80-200mm F2.8D ED; it is simply an astonishing piece of glass. If you prefer manual focus, the 80-200 F4 Ais is also a solid performer. I also am keen on the AFS 28-70mm F2.8 ED. In terms of prime lenses, I can only offer advice on Nikon's manual focus offerings (all my primes are manual focus Ais lenses). So...for telephotos, kudos to the 85mm F1.4 Ais, the 105mm F1.8Ais or 105mm F2.5Ais (I also have a 135mm F2 that I picked up for a song that is a first-rate performer). As far as wide angles go (again mine are manual focus), I would give a thumbs up to the 24mm F2 Ais, the 28mm F2 Ais or (especially) the 35mm F1.4 Ais. For standard lenses, I own both a 50mm F1.4 Ais as well as a 50mm F1.2 Ais (the former too cheap to let slip); both are excellent. I have used both the AF 50mm F1.4 as well as the AF 50mm F1.8 and cannot really tell a difference between the two; the choice, in my view, is basically a dollar issue.:munch:
     
  7. Morituri

    Morituri Member

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    Nikkor 105mm f2.5 Ai-S
    or
    Nikkor 105mm f1.8 AI-S

    If you want to try some of the best telephotos ever manufactured.
     
  8. OddE

    OddE Member

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    -For head+shoulder portraits, I am very pleased with the AF 105mm f/2 DC - razor sharp, built like a tank, fast - as well as being my favourite focal length for portraits. It is compatible with any film AF body (Except, I think, the F3AF) -and will work just fine on any DSLR body except the D40 and its motorless (That is, AF-S only) siblings.
     
  9. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    As far as designations: Non AI, AI, AIs, AF, AFG. All the three earliest are non autofocus.
    In the AF lineup there are also lenses with image stabilization(VR) and G which has no manual aperture ring.
     
  10. bluedog

    bluedog Member

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    Thanks guys. It sounds like I can't go too far wrong with a AF-S 105 mm.
    With earlier lenses in manual mode is there any indication in the viewfinder when the lens is in focus?
     
  11. CGW

    CGW Restricted Access

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    Yup. Dot appears in the viewfinder with over/under indicators, e.g., >0<
     
  12. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    The 105 most mentioned is the AIS 105. It's ugly and works great.

    I have the 105/dc; expensive but as good as it gets for nice blur in the background and clean sharp in-focus area.

    I only have an f4s, and it has arrows to tell you which way to rotate the lens, and a green light to show acceptable focus.
     
  13. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

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    Fine, if you're happy with over half of your photos being in less than perfect focus...
     
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  15. CGW

    CGW Restricted Access

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    That's just so untrue. Point us toward the voluminous complaints about this feature apart from your own. Show us the evidence if being regarded as something other than a crank matters to you, OK? Just adding the YMMV disclaimer would help.
     
  16. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

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    A recent German magazine published tests of the AF accuracy of the current crop of DSLRs (OT - but they are likely to be at least as accurate as an F4, hopfully some progress has been made in AF since c. 1988), using many different lenses,focusing distances, subject types, etc. Different results according to brand: Canon was worst, with only something like 30% perfectly in focus, 20% acceptably in focus and 50% out of focus (going from memory here). Nikon did better with about 50% in focus.

    This fits my own (fairly extensive) experience of AF usually not being as accurate as manual focus (at least with a decent viewfinder).

    I'll get hold of of a copy the magazine sometime soon (I quickly read the test in a library): it really was interesting.

    But if you find 100% perfect focus using the focus indicator light, then YMMV (and your quality standards too)...
     
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  17. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    OK Rol_Lei Nut, now the OP at least knows how you arrived at your one line comment but it would have been helpful if you'd said from the start that you believe that all AF systems are faulty in more than 50% of cases and this is based on your experience and an article on DSLRs.

    If APUG is going to be useful in threads where the OP is seeking information then we all need to know why someone has said what he/she has said.

    pentaxuser
     
  18. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

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    Dear Pentaxuser,

    Thanks, I'll keep that in mind...

    Cheers!
     
  19. CGW

    CGW Restricted Access

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    Agree. Without documentation it's just hot air.
     
  20. CGW

    CGW Restricted Access

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    Better eye sight, perhaps? No one nails focus 100% of the time.

    Sony's new NEX 5n and NEX 7 have a "focus peaking" function made for manual lenses that leaves little doubt about focus accuracy--a feature that should become common since Sony makes a large percentage of today's sensors.
     
  21. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    The old Nikon N90s had the same thing. Nothing new there.
     
  22. CGW

    CGW Restricted Access

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    Yours does that? Wow! None of mine do. Don't think we're on the same page. Better check out how Sony does it on the NEX 5n and NEX 7.
     
  23. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    The ability of AF to deliver accurate focusing v MF is interesting. When sports photographers used analogue cameras, such as the F5, my impression was that nearly all the pics they took were in focus. If it was less than 50% then the photographers were wasting 50% of their films and presumably the hight burst rate of shooting that the F5 was capable of would not have helped.

    So it seems that out of focus sports shots in newspaper and magazines should have been much more common than they seemed to be. I have never seen any articles saying that the likes of the F5 had only at best a 50% reliablilty and that a lot of film was wasted but that whereas the digital AFs were no better, the ability to shoot in a virtual unlimited fashion with a high MB card now saved them from having to settle for an out of focus picture

    Anecdotally and turning now to my own system( Pentax) I rely on the green signal that appears in the viewfinder to tell me that I have my target in focus. I have frequently tried the same AF lens in the MF setting first then thrown the switch to AF and in every case the AF focusing was accurate.

    What I have found is that occasionally I have allowed the AF system to focus on the wrong part of the scenes so what I wanted to be in sharp focus wasn't but this was a combination of a system that had a very limited range of focus points compared to the likes of the much more sophisticated F5 and my not paying enough attention to what the focus point had settled on.

    pentaxuser
     
  24. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    I get a focus confirmation in the viewfinder even when in manual focus mode.
     
  25. CGW

    CGW Restricted Access

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  26. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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