Yet another fast, dependable portrait lens from the older times of photography. Typically, old AI-S lenses are characterized by superb image quality, stunning build quality, a weight penalty, and great prices. Does the Nikon Nikkor AIS 105mm f/1.8 deliver? Read on to find out.
|When it comes to portraits, this lens is in its element.|
+ I'm sorry, there just isn't a comparison. Modern lenses feel like toys when it comes to comparing build quality...
+ ...and manual focus feel. Perhaps understandably, since it's a manual-focus lens.
+ unsurprisingly, optical quality is super, with one tiny footnote (read below)
- again unsurprisingly, there is falloff that goes away by f/4
- heavy, it will feel a bit out of balance with a small and light camera.
- prices can be high, even used.
- Looking for a >100mm and <f/2 lens? You don't have many options, and this is probably the cheapest.
- Portraits are a very obvious application of this lens.
- I've found it surprisingly sharp at close distances. If you put an extension right behind it, it would be a reasonably good macro lens.
- Anything moving. Manual focus can be frustrating in that case.
- Entry-level cameras. No metering and small viewfinders will increase your frustration.
- Ideally, you should use a lens like this with a split-screen viewfinder. It's usable on your standard FX viewfinder, but remember that these are optimized for f/2.8 lenses (in other words, you will have focus issues)
It's about value (have you gotten bored of me saying this yet?) in the end. Even though the Nikon Nikkor AI-S 105mm f/1.8 is an old lens, it still sells (used, of course) for quite high prices - certainly compared to something like the E Series 100mm f/2.8. Then again, it's far cheaper than the new Nikon Nikkor AF-S 105mm f/1.4.Considering the intended application (portraiture), perhaps this old AI-S workhorse deserves at least a look.