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  1. #1

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    Nikon AF lens reccomendations

    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. #2
    darkosaric's Avatar
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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. #3

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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.
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  4. #4
    markbarendt's Avatar
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    Mark Barendt, Ignacio, CO

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by tkamiya View Post
    If you want "good enough", anything from Nikon will be good enough....
    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. #6
    Slixtiesix's Avatar
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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. #7
    Bruce Robbins's Avatar
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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.
    The Online Darkroom
    www.theonlinedarkroom.com

  8. #8

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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. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slixtiesix View Post
    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.
    I can confirm F100 does work well with G lens. That's what I have.
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by LJSLATER View Post
    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.

    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.
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

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