Which 135mm non-AI?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by j-dogg, Nov 18, 2010.

  1. j-dogg

    j-dogg Subscriber

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    Wanting a couple portrait lenses for my Nikkormat, not sure if I should get the 135 2.8 or the 3.5? My system is almost complete I recently got a Nifty Fifty 1.4 Nikkor-S

    To complete the system I will need a 135, an 85, a 24, fisheye and 300 4.5 or other super telephoto. Right now I have three different 28's, a 3.5, Rokinon 2.8 and Albinar ADG 2.8 Macro, the 50 1.4, a 50 1.8 Series E that works in stop-down mode with the Nikkormat FTN, 35mm Nikkor 2.8, Vivitar 55-135 f3.5 and a 2x Kiron Teleconvertor.

    My dream system is coming to fruition. :D
     
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  2. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    I'd get the f/2.8 if I got a 135, but the lens I would actually get for portraiture would be the 105/2.5. Yum!
     
  3. CGW

    CGW Member

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    Get a 135/2.8, either NAI or AI. It became an unappealing focal length once 70-210 offbrand zooms became popular. It's a great long-ish portrait lens and really about the longest that's hand-holdable. If you corner a NAI 135/2.8, make sure it's the "QC" model with multi-coating. Check www.nikonlinks.com for reviews, serial #s and pix of the various models. As Jim noted, the 105/2.5 is sweet in all its iterations. The 85/1.8 is also nice but difficult to find in good shape at fair prices.
     
  4. j-dogg

    j-dogg Subscriber

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    Yeah I noticed all of the 85 1.8's cost as much as a brand-new Canon EF 85 1.4. That is ridiculous. Hell some of the lenses I use on my Nikkormat I bought originally to adapt to my digital Rebel. They make really neat vintaging effects at night or low light with a tripod, especially on long exposures.

    I'm thinking I might replace that with a 105/2.5 I noticed a lot of the portraits I have shot are in the 80-110mm range on my zooms. I have a few at 135 I really like. I've done a couple 50's.

    So it looks like I will have to find a 135 2.8 and a 300 f4.5, anyone shot the 300 4.5? How is it? I see them for pretty cheap usually. Would make for a good Christmas present and I don't have anything in that range for my FTN.

    Anything with a C on the end is multicoated though? I've seen 105/2.5 PC's also.
     
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  5. lns

    lns Member

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    +1 on the 105mm f2.5. A great lens, available at a great price.

    -Laura
     
  6. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    I agree with Laura, the 105mm f2.5 Nikkor is a much more useful short telephoto lens for portraiture and general photography, 135mm lenses have always seemed to me a compromise for people who couldn't decide between a 100 and a 200 and couldn't afford to own both focal lengths.
     
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  7. CGW

    CGW Member

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    PC's are multi-coated. Check the Nikonlinks lens lists for serial #s to sort them out. Another alternative to the venerated 85/105 is the teensy E series 100/2.8--a true sleeper lens that you'll have to use in stop-down mode(no NAI meter thingy)with your Nikkormat. Worth a look.
     
  8. Removed Account2

    Removed Account2 Inactive

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    Just start in one end..... and buy them all! These things are so damn cheap today, the quality (save for fungus and scratches) are just as good as new (i.e. top notch) and you need them all!

    These arguments are just as stoopid as Nikon vs Canon, Contax vs Leica.

    Why? Get them all and USE them all, both lenses and camera-systems, pretty soon you will find the best lens is the one you have on your camera right now.... and that the best camera is the one you have in the hand...........

    I just brought out my old Ferrania Lince 3 35mm camera, my very first 35mm, Vero shutter 1/30 to 250 B, Steinheil Cassar f:2,5/45mm. Thats it.

    It was a revelation to try to make meaningful pictures with just one fixed lens, yet thats what I did for the better part of 10 years.....
     
  9. Ihmemies

    Ihmemies Member

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  10. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    A 135 mm lens is a poor choice for portraiture. Faces will look rather flat. Something in the range 85 to 105 mm is a far better choice and will yield an image close to what the human eye sees.

    In fact 135mm is a rather poor choice for everything - too short to be a true telephoto and worthless for portrais.
     
  11. CGW

    CGW Member

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    It must have been just dumb luck that I got great portrait shots with a Nikkor 135/2.8 and 180/2.8. Yup, just luck...
     
  12. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    I quote from the Pentax Users website, "In 35mm terms the 85mm is the classic lens, 100mm is fine and 135mm just a bit too long."

    So I guess your right just dumb luck.
     
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  13. CGW

    CGW Member

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    LOL! Proof, I guess, of the old saw about a little bit of knowledge being dangerous, not to mention embarrassing.
     
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  14. CGW

    CGW Member

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    So the "Pentax Users" website is the acknowledged canonical source for advice on portraiture? Please...
     
  15. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    "A portrait lens is one that is used for taking pictures, usually of the head and shoulders, of a person. It may differ from a normal lens in a number of ways.

    1. Focal Length

    The traditional 35mm full-frame lens for portrait work was between roughly 75 mm to 105mm.

    While some people, I suspect ones with rather large noses :wink: , like longer lenses, the majority of photographers over the years have found too long lenses to flatten the face too much, while shorter lenses tend to bring out the size of the schnoz and other such features."

    I could find dozens of quotes that all say the same thing. But I have better things to do than argue. How can I say this as politely as possible. Do whatever you want for your own photography but kindly refrain from offering advice unless you have some real knowledge to offer. Your sarcasm is not appreciated.
     
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  16. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

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    I have the Nikkor 85 f/1.4, Nikkor 105 f2.5, Nikkor 135 f/2.8, Nikkor 180 f/2.8 all of them are either Ai or Ais and I use them on Nikon F3 bodies.

    Each and every one is slightly different; each and every one is a fantastic portrait lens, at times.

    Yesterday I went to a nephew’s wedding, I took and used the 135 for portraits, this was mainly for the distance away I will be, next Friday is another wedding, I will take the 105 and the 85 as well as a 24. Once again dictated by the working conditions, not what they can do.

    That said, my first choice is always the 105, followed by the 85, usually I take these together. Second choice is the 135 and 85. Third choice is the 105 and 180.

    If I had to choose which of only one, my recommendation would be the Nikkor f/2.5 105. It is far and away the best lens I own, be that for portraiture, landscape or anything if that length is suitable or possible to use.

    My second choice would be the 135 f/2.8, it is an extremely good lens, but not quite as good as the 105.

    With the exception of the 180, all of these lenses use a 52mm filter ring, the 180, 135 and 105 have built in lens hoods, which is extremely handy. The 85 1.4 requires it’s own lens hood and it needs one. The 180 2.8 and 85 1.4 use 72mm filters.

    Mick.
     
  17. mikebarger

    mikebarger Subscriber

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    If I could have only one Nikkor, the 105 2.5 would be it.

    Mike
     
  18. CGW

    CGW Member

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    Amen. I've shot portraits--whether environmental, full-length, 3/4, h&s, tight headshots, and close-ups--with everything from 28mm to 300. This dogged parochialism about "traditional" focal lengths is undoubtedly a comfort if you lack the imagination to conceive of portraiture as something other than a well-lit passport photo.
     
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  19. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    The present controversy seems based on one's definition of portrait. I personally do not consider a full length picture or even a 3/4 length representation to be a "portrait". To many people the word portrait denotes a picture of the head and shoulders of a person. In support of this view note the need to qualify the word portrait with phrases such as "full length" and "three quarter length."

    Certainly for a "full length portrait" a longer lens is not going have the perspective problem that would occur if the subject were closer to the camera as in a traditional (head and shoulders) portrait.

    If I misinterpreted the unqualified use of the word "portrait" then I must apologize.
     
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  20. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    It's interesting that no one has mentioned soft-focus lenses. They are good for portraits of women as they de-emphasize any imperfections.

    Nikon made an 85mm f/2 model.
     
  21. Pumalite

    Pumalite Subscriber

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    +1 for 85 or 105. I have a bunch of 135, but I almost never use them.
     
  22. dynachrome

    dynachrome Member

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    There is always some joke about the 85/2. I have the 85/2 AI and I find it quite good. Much has been written about the 135mm focal length. It was the longest lens generally available for regular focusing with RF cameras. For outdoor use where I have some room to work I prefer a 135 to a 100 or 105. I find that the 135better isolates the subject. There are too many photos talen with 100/105 lenses at distances of 20 or more feet where the subject is not well isolared from the background. Over the years I have used many 135s for portraits. The biggest problem with using most 135s for portraits is that they don't focus close enough. This is especially true when you try to shoot a tight portrait of a small child. My favorite 135s with close focusing include the 135/3.2 Konica Hexanon, 135/2.3 Vivitar Series 1, 135/2.8 Vivitar Close Focusing and Promaster 135/2.8 (1:5). If you are not making a very tight portrait then a 135/2.8 Nikkor Q/QC/K or a 135/2.5 Canon FD are both nice. They have very pleasant out of focus rendition. The 135/2.5 Canon FL also fits in to that category. Some people think a 135 flattens out a face to much. I don't agree.

    If I have enough light I prefer a 105 lens to an 85 for portraits. Sometimes a fast 85 is easier to focus than slower 105. The 105/2.5 Nikkors all have good out of focus rendition. At or near wide open I find the 100/2.8 Canon New FD and FD SSC sharper than the 105/2.5 Nikkors. It is easier to find 135s at a reasonable prices than lenses in the 85-105 range because more of them were sold. A person who bought an SLR in the 1960s or early 1970s would typically get a standard lens in the 50-58 range with it. For an amateur the extra reach of a 135 made it more appealing than a 100. This was a person who was going to buy only so many lenses. The same is true at the short end. There are more used 28s floating around than 35s. I find the 35mm focal length very useful but an amateur looking for more of a wide angle effect, a 28 was more popular.

    If I can remember all of them I have two 135/3.5 AI Nikkors, a 13.5CM/3.5 Nikkor and three 135/3.5 pre-AI Nikkors. All of these are very decent performers. I had the CM lens overhauled. It's not as good against the light as the other 135s but it still a good performer in all other circumstances. I recently added another 135/2.8 Nikkor so I now have two Qs, a QC and a K (1st version). The Qs both have factory AI conversion rings so I use them with pre-AI and AI bodies. If you want a Nikkor specifically for portraits get any 105/2.5 in good condition which works with the bodies you have. You can always add a 135 later.
     
  23. j-dogg

    j-dogg Subscriber

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    A 105 it is. Thanks guys.
     
  24. John_Nikon_F

    John_Nikon_F Subscriber

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    With respect to the 135's, the Nikkor-Q and QC 3.5 version is better than the 2.8, IMO. Has very similar bokeh to the 105/2.5. Alas, nowadays, my tele range is 85/1.8, 105/2.8 Micro, and 180/2.8.

    To answer the question about the 300, it's a decent lens. I'd hold out for an EDIF AIS version, though. Focuses closer and is a bit lighter than the Nikkor-H version.

    -J
     
  25. T42

    T42 Member

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    Ditto, Erik!

    My sentiments exactly, Erik. I didn't buy them recently, but I have kept all my old Nikkors while thinking the same thing as you.

    One can buy a bucket load of classic manual-focusing Nikkor primes for less than the price of one gee-whiz upscale zoom.

    Even so, and like others here, I generally gravitate towards the Nikkor 105 f2.5 for portraits, even with a 135 close at hand.

    :smile: