Nikon AF lens reccomendations

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by puketronic, Sep 8, 2012.

  1. puketronic

    puketronic Member

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    I'm interested in getting into a Nikon system. What are some lenses that you recommend?
    The focal lengths that I have in mind are 35mm, 50mm, 85mm or 105mm. I care about the usual stuff: build, bokeh, sharpness. But I'm not really into MTF's and test charts. I just want good-enough.

    35mm:
    From what I've read it seems that the only 35mm worth considering is the 35mm f1.4G unless you want to shoot at f2.8 / f4.0. Being a retrofocus design, it makes sense that the latest optics are going to perform much better at the wide end. I don't really need the stop advantage--just good f2.0 performance.

    50mm:
    Any thoughts on the G vs D and the f1.8 vs f1.4. If the G and D lenses are of the same formula then I would go with whichever is cheaper. f1.8 and f1.4 are fast enough for me. I'm not trying to pinch pennies but I don't need the extra advantage in speed.

    85mm/105mm:
    Any reccomendations here? I don't need super speed and I don't know if I like 85mm or 105mm better so I was thinking of going with the 105mm f2.8G because it is image stabilized and better priced. Well, if I do decide that I want speed then any thoughts on the G vs D lenses? Or the 85mm vs 105mm lenses outside the difference in focal length? I know that G doesn't necessarily mean better because it just means no aperture ring but I feel that they are newer designs, and in theory "better".
     
  2. darkosaric

    darkosaric Subscriber

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    50mm 1.8D and 105mm f2 DC would be my choice for AF lenses. 50/1.8D is cheap and excellent, 105 DC - best 105 lens ever, only minus is price.
     
  3. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    Your criteria does not seem to make much sense to me. If you want "good enough", anything from Nikon will be good enough.... I'm not sure where your cut-off is.

    As to 50mm, the current 50mm 1.8D is good. Actually great. Mine, purchased brand new and the best of 4 or 5 I tested (all brand new) were fuzzy wide open. I sent it into Nikon to have it re-calibrated. To my surprise, they replaced the front element and re-calibrated. Came back very sharp. The build is so-so but hey, it's about $120 new...

    I have a 105mm f/2.8G Macro. Great build, great sharpness, even from wide open. In fact, sharpness and contrast doesn't change appreciably from f/2.8 on. I love using this lens for portrait. A draw back is, it's HEAVY. It's very well built.

    Do you really need such a fast lens for 35mm? You are talking about different classes of lenses between f/1.4 and everything else.
     
  4. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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  5. LJSLATER

    LJSLATER Member

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    Yeah, even the low-end zooms can be coerced into making fine photos. With the high-end zooms and ANY Nikkor prime, I'm pretty sure you'd have to go out of your way to make them look bad. When I was looking for lenses (I currently have all I need!), I made my choices based on budget and features, not what people said about image quality.

    That said, my only autofocus lens is the 50mm f/1.8D. Image-wise, I honestly can't tell a huge difference bewteen the 1.8D and my 50mm f/1.2 AIS; obviously the latter is over a full stop faster, but I'd add that it is much more prone to ghosting and flare.
     
  6. Slixtiesix

    Slixtiesix Subscriber

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    Please be aware that you can´t use G-lenses on most older bodies. Nikon F100 and Nikon F5/F6 will work as far as I know.
    The 35/1,4G is amazing. A friend of mine uses it a lot and the look is really wonderful. Very sharp and superb bokeh. Unfortunately also very expensive.
    Concerning the 50mm lenses, I would recommend the 1,8G. It is much cheaper than the 1,4G version and is also supposed to have a faster AF! The G version also has better optics than the D version. The 85/1,8G also has a good price-value relation. I would make the choice between this one and the 105mm.
     
  7. Bruce Robbins

    Bruce Robbins Member

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    For an all round combination of size, weight, price and performance, I think the 35mm f2 and 85mm f1.8 AF-Ds are hard to beat. The AF is nice and zippy, too. I bought them to use with my D700 but I gave up digital a year ago and use them with an F90X now.
     
  8. kitanikon

    kitanikon Member

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    You should consider the 60mm F2.8 AF-D....very sharp, and has a nice MF feel if you decide you want to MF....
     
  9. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    I can confirm F100 does work well with G lens. That's what I have.
     
  10. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    This is VERY true and my experience as well. I bought lenses that were highly reviewed and found them to be highly disappointing. I also bought lenses someone called it a piece of junk and it is staying on my camera more than anything else I own.

    One thing I found is this. Except for high-end Nikkors (we are talking about lenses for a Nikon right?), there exist significant sample variations between pieces. Even on high-end Nikkors, there are sample variations but they are in very narrow range. I found this when I was trying to buy a 50mm 1.8D and 24-70mm f/2.8G, among others. This makes many lens reviews suspect.... Just what type of sample variations reviewer had? Was it on good end or bad end? Or just where?

    Out of my own experience, I had to go through 4 to 5 of 50mm 1.8D to find a good one, then send that piece to repair immediately.
    My local dealer let me try out some of their 24-70 in stock and I picked the one I liked. Variations were small but they were definitely there.
    One of my Tokina was sent back and they replaced the ENTIRE optical chain under warranty - now it's like a different lens.
    and so on, and so on....

    Which really boils down to... there's really no way to help the OP with his selections. I'd say buy what you like and be sure to secure a return privileged. If the criteria is "good enough" then really, anything is "good enough." As I mentioned earlier, 105mm 2.8GVR is a superb lens. I don't know about 35mm. I also like 24-70. It costs no more than buying 3 good/great prime in the same class/category.
     
  11. A really good general purpose lens is the 24-85mm AF-D. The newer G version is quite nice too and the latest with VR is showing itself to be quite sharp as well. These lenses are all still selling for high prices since Nikon introduced the D700, (resurrecting interest in the 35mm lens line). On the 105mm - I have the VR version - excellent bokeh and quite sharp.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 11, 2012
  12. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    My favorite Nikon Auto Focus lens is the 35mm f/2. It is compact, fast, and has no Zeiss or Yashica equivalent in my other systems.
     
  13. blockend

    blockend Member

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    The AF 28 - 80mm, 3.5 - 5.6D lens that came as a kit zoom, is a seriously good piece of kit that will give primes a run for their money. It's often attached to plastic fantastic consumer SLRs of the era, meaning few people want them so they're cheap - mine were around £20 -25 including an as new camera body.

    FWIW, here's Ken Rockwell's take on the lens:
    http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/2880.htm
     
  14. jochen

    jochen Member

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    Hello,
    has anybody experience how the 1.4/35 mm AF compares to the 1.4/35 mm AiS?
     
  15. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Personally I own several variable aperture lenses and they are really handy, light, and relatively inexpensive.

    I use these lenses where I can get away with the smaller aperture, like 5.6 for the lens in the quote here. I simply set aperture priority at 5.6 and go.

    I do find that variable aperture lenses really cramp my style most of the time. I'm more of an f/2.8 and be there guy.
     
  16. 2bits

    2bits Member

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    Quantaray makes a nice AF 28-80mm D for Nikon 3.5-5.6, that is a great grab and go lens.
     
  17. kitanikon

    kitanikon Member

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    In this mid-range zoom group don't overlook the 28-85/3.5-4.5 AF Nikkor...a very good performer for under $100

    (I'm not real sure what Nikon body it is designed for, but I took some shots in MF mode on my Canon dSLR and it was sharp)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 12, 2012
  18. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

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    The one thing I have found is to test your lenses. Not every aperture will be great. It's always a few that are great, some ok and the rest under performing. I got a 50mm F1.8 AF-D new and it was crap. Sent it back. I've got old Nikon lenses that are better.
     
  19. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Testing is important, not every lens works for every need.

    I have had 4 copies of the 50mm F1.8 AF-D (various camera trades) and they have all been stellar for my needs.

    The only place where some of the older 50's I've had felt better was in the feel of manual focusing.
     
  20. Kiron Kid

    Kiron Kid Member

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    Nikon 28-105AF lens.
     
  21. I agree, a very good lens for the money.