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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Speculative Reviews: Nikon Nikkor AF-S VR 135mm f/2 DC

Introduction

Another article for the Speculative 'Reviews' series for today. Once again, to state the obvious: This lens does not exist as I'm writing this (August 2015), and it may never appear, either. I have no sources in Nikon (or elsewhere). This article is a product of my knowledge and experience, so, in other words, it is an educated guess. The purpose of these articles is to make us all think, what would this lens mean for Nikon photographers, how would it affect our shooting, and in which way would it affect the market.

This one is taken with the AFD 105mm f/2 DC. And AF-S VR version of either the 105mm or the 135mm would be a very, very desirable offer for a lot of photographers.

General

Unlike my previous speculative reviews, I admit that this one is more of wishful thinking rather than educated guess. In other words, this is a lens many of us would like to see, but, alas, it's not very probable. It's a bit ironic, that a lens as successful as the venerable Nikon Nikkor AF-D 135mm f/2 DC hasn't received an update to AF-S & VR status. Probably Nikon doesn't believe there is a potential market for this one, which is rather puzzling. Then again, Nikon has always been a bit puzzling in their decisions.


Scope

The old Nikkor DC 135mm f/2 (just like its shorter brother, the 105mm f/2) is one of the most coveted Nikkor portrait lenses. Together with the 85mm f/1.4 (which has received an update) they are the go-to portrait lens for the professional or the serious amateur. Needless to say, an AF-S VR version of the Nikkor 135mm f/2 DC would be even more awesome. The reason? Simple: it would enhance its deployment as a candid, all-around portrait lens. For example, if the light was such that it would require 1/80 (at a given aperture and ISO combination), that would mean a tripod with the old lens. Not so with a VR version. Of course, the AF-S motor would also mean silent, fast, easy-to-override operation.


Price

The old lens costs a bit less than $1400 (new). Let's start from the fact that this price is, in my opinion, absolutely worth it. It's not cheap, but it's very reasonable for such a lens. So, how much would an AF-S VR version cost? I'd say somewhere around 2k, with a nice-looking $1999 feeling about right.

Conclusion

Will there be a Nikon Nikkor AFS VR 135mm f/2 DC? I have to admit, it sadly doesn't look very probable. The DC initials stand for "defocus control", which might scare some amateurs off. The lens should have been called BC, for bokeh control. In any case, despite the venerable status of the AFD 135mm f/2 DC, unfortunately this technology seems to be going away. Which also means, if you buy now an old AF-D 135mm f/2 DC (or an AF-D 105mm f/2 DC), you're making a very good investment. Their value is certain to rise!

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