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  1. #11
    eSPhotos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by msbarnes View Post
    I'm interested in these focal lengths: 28mm f2.0, 50mm f2.0, 105mm f2.5. Maybe a 20mm f3.5 or 20mm f4.0 too.
    I have them all (plus a lot more). 28mm f2.0 is great lens. Sharp and contrasty even wide open. But for wide Nikkor lenses, I prefer 24mm f2.8 over the 28mm.
    50mm f2.0 is probably the best 50's. I have a few faster 50's but f2.0 is the best.
    There needs no explanation about the legendary 105mm. I have both older Sonnar design and new DG design. The sonnar is tad softer but has smoother bokeh. Both are fantastic.
    Those 2 20mm you listed are not in the same league as other nikkors listed above. Except older 20mm f3.5 UD which is great lens. 20mm f2.8 is the best among 4 versions of the 20's.

    Other not expensive but good lenses are:
    35mm f2.0 AI - My go to lens. Always on my F3
    85mm f1.8 - All are non-AI. Brilliant.
    180mm f2.8 ED - legendary. Little pricy.
    200mm f4.0 AIS - if 180mm is too much for you go for this lens. It's as good.
    55mm and 105mm micro Nikkors are stellas too.

  2. #12

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    I have multiple copies of just about every lens you mentioned.

    As above, the 28mm 2.8 Ais with close focus really is excellent, Nikon took everything it learned from the 28mm f2 and put it into a cheaper smaller lighter closer focussing lens. That said, the 28mm f2 is still one of my very favorite. I'd look for this one first, even the old ones had the same optical formula and multicoating. The Ai 28mm 2.8 without CRC was an ok design, I had a few and yes it didn't fair very well against the F2 so those got sold. Not an awful lens, just doesn't compare to the better 28's.

    The 24mm 2.8 are all great. The early metal barrel (and some select K versions) had a different optical formula, very subtle changes to the look of each one but both are fine, I prefer the early version for B&W. The 24mm f2 is very interesting, decent at 5.6-8 like all Nikkors but the bokeh close in and wide open or near to it is compelling, nice if you're into that....

    OF the 20s, the one I carry the most NOW is the F4 version, only because its in the best condition and I don't need the speed of the 2.8 with the added weight. The 2.8 has more overall flare although quite contrasty and is very good close up. The 3.5 of mine is very worn, but is still sharp and despite a couple of nicks in the front element, still gives amazing images when shooting into the sun, F22 and an orange or red filter on B&W makes a very strong statement. I keep mine just for that look.

    Can't go wrong with a 105mm 2.5, epic design. Of the mid-tele's, I have had a couple of 85mm f/2's and sold a few, I keep one around because it is crazy light and small, a good 'throw it in the bag' lens. Yes, its not as Great as the others, and yes its a bit softer wide open and close in but that ends up being quite nice with the ladies. And yes, like others have mentioned on the internet, it does have a slightly more muted color, but in these digital days nothing a push on the Saturation slider won't fix. I prefer either the 85mm 1.4 Ais if I need the speed and can deal with the weight or more likely either the AF 85mm 1.8 or if I need to be Vintage then an 85mm 1.8 H.C which is well worn but still a great performer, both the 1.8 are lighter than the 1.4 enough that adding the 1.4 will mean taking out 1 or 2 other lenses from the bag. Horses for courses!

    I'm ever so slightly partial to the 50mm 1.8 Ai long nose, I feel its got the best balance of speed size weight bokeh and sharpness, as well as a delicate color rendition. But I am also very fond of the 50mm H.C, or Ai, brilliant color reproduction (really, does this have ED glass? amazing colors) and i very much like the bokeh at between f/2 and 2.8. THe H.C version doesn't focus that close but I carry a K1 Ring for those moments.

    Good luck with your search. Let us know what you get!

  3. #13
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    I love my 24mm f/2.8 AI on my F3 it's been a wonderful lens to shoot with. I also really like the 50mm f/2 I have the non-AI H version but I just ordered an AI version for a comparison. Something tells me I'm not going to find a world of difference. This lens is seriously impressive.

    I also recently got the 105mm and its every bit as good as people say. I have the older Sonnar type and it is quite nice.
    - Abram

    35mm / 120

  4. #14

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    I own the 50:1.4 AI, and the 135:2.8 Series E - I love them both, a lot. The 50 had been rebuilt and cost me $100 from a local analogue specialist. The 135 was handed down from the lens fairy - no joke.

  5. #15
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    Care to elaborate on that?

  6. #16

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    I like threads like these, in which we can all plug our favorite lenses with no pressure. I have enormous respect for my 24mm f/2.8 AI; it is a stellar performer. It has CRC and focuses down to 1’ by itself. Reversed, it achieves a 2.6X reproduction ratio (with a bellows, you can go up to 10X, but I’ve never tried it). The K1 extension tube works very well with the 24mm; you don’t often think of using a wide angle for close-ups, but it’s a trip when you first try it! I haven’t noticed any distortion with the 24, but I tend to want a wider lens for buildings and interiors anyway.

    My favorite telephoto is my Nikkor-Q 135mm f/3.5. It’s a beautiful lens and it kicks ass. I have a 200mm f/4 AIS, but I never really clicked with it; I get frustrated by its minimum focusing distance. The felt-lined hood is pretty bitchin though.

    All that said, the focal lengths I use the most are 18 and 50. My 18 is sort of my normal lens and I use 50mm lenses like short telephotos. It’s important to note that I shoot urban landscape and I avoid people like the plague. Everyone has different needs and everyone sees differently.

    Regarding the 28mm f/2.8 AI vs. 28mm f/2.8 AIS, Mike Johnston has stated that he prefers the AI version for its better bokeh; he shoots mostly B&W though. The only 28 I’ve personally used is the 28mm f/2.8D, which I always heard was a dog, but I like it just fine.

  7. #17
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    have the 24mm 2.8 AI and love it on film but as mentioned, its a little soft on a FF digital. have used a few of the 50's and the only one I kept/bought was the 1.8d. if you can look past the non-ai buttery focus its a great lens that you can still get new for around $110

    also look into the 85mm f2 Ai-s lens. great lens in a very small package.

  8. #18

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    agphotography: the difference is that the Ai version focusses closer, and has more multicoating so better in back light and stronger colors. The H is one of my favorites in B&W, very high contrast.

  9. #19
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    Well I thought I had ordered an AI but KEH informed me that it wasn't actually available so they refunded me. Oh well I'll continue to be happy with my H
    - Abram

    35mm / 120

  10. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by LJSLATER View Post
    The only 28 I've personally used is the 28mm f/2.8D, which I always heard was a dog, but I like it just fine.
    You might be thinking of the 28/2.8 AF, which IIRC used the optics from the 28/2.8 Series E, in a massively bone-headed move. I wasn't impressed with mine even on a D200. Nice FoV, but just blah in terms of IQ.

    The 28/2.8 AF-D is a completely different optical formula.

    (I love chewin' the rag about Nikkors.)

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