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  1. #1
    bluedog's Avatar
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    Lenses for a Nikon F5

    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
    Last edited by bluedog; 12-02-2011 at 06:37 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: addition

  2. #2
    CGW
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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
    Last edited by CGW; 12-02-2011 at 07:04 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  3. #3
    tony lockerbie's Avatar
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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. #4
    Colin Corneau's Avatar
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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.
    "Never criticize someone until you've walked a mile in their shoes. That way, you're a mile away and you've got their shoes."

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  5. #5

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    Nikkor 105mm f2.5 /thread
    5x7 Eastman-Kodak kit / B+M 135mm Zeiss Tessar + Compur Deckel
    RB67 Pro S / 90 3.8 / WLF / prism finder / polaback
    FED-2 / 50 2.8 Industar 26m / 85 f2 Jupiter-9
    Canon 300v / 5D d*****l / L lenses

  6. #6

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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.

  7. #7

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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. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by bluedog View Post
    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?
    -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. #9

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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.
    Heavily sedated for your protection.

  10. #10
    bluedog's Avatar
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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?

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