Nikon AF-S Nikkor 105mm f/1.4E ED lens tested at DxOMark: the best-performing lens in the lineup below 200mm

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DxOMark published their test results for the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 105mm f/1.4E ED lens ($2,196.95) and called it the best-performing lens in the lineup below 200mm:


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DxOMark's conclusion:

If you’re in the market for a high-speed short telephoto, you will have likely considered the AF-S Nikkor 85mm F1.4G, but you may unsure about that model’s slightly higher-than-expected chromatic aberration. The 105mm F1.4 makes an interesting alternative.

Older Nikon users may recall a similar dilemma during the 80’s, when the company had both a manual-focus 85mm F1.4 and a 105mm F1.8 in the lineup. Back then they were introduced side-by-side, but a few years separates the two models today, and the 105mm F1.4 has even higher optical performance and image quality. There are some trade-offs, though. One of the 85mm’s most attractive features is its more manageable size: the 105mm is significantly larger and heavier.

However, the new model has more uniform sharpness across the frame, even wide-open — useful if you’re composing away from the center; and it has far lower fringing than the 85mm. Although there’s little to choose from between the two focal lengths, the improved performance of the 105mm F1.4 could be enough to sway potential purchasers away from the 85mm F1.4.

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  • Eric Calabros

    D810 pixel size is 4.8, a likely 54mp upcoming replacement sensor would be 3.9. even that can’t reveal this lens CA.

    • Aldo

      105 with no VR is very limiting though… I don’t think this lens is for everyone like the 85mm focal length.

      • HF

        1/200 on the D810 should be fine and is what I would use anyway for portraits.

        • Aldo

          hand held? I don’t think so unless you plan to burst shoot at least 3 photos every time and still you aren’t guaranteed a tack sharp tripod-like photo

          • HF

            Sharp enough for a double sided print in a wedding book. I usually get excellent results with 1/2f shutter speed on the D810. But I have calm hands.

            • Aldo

              I guess it depends what kind of standards one has in regards to sharpness and don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe every picture has to be tack sharp… but what I can say from experience is that having calm hands has little to do with how steady you can hold a heavy camera with a heavy lens….. this has more to do with tension… which is unavoidable when you are holding something heavy, unless you are using a tree or something to rest against.

            • silmasan

              How about monopod then? Or tripod even… I bought a surprisingly good Sirui CF one that has a removable leg for use as a monopod. I like shooting Steve McCurry-style though (dim light, no strobes, slow shutter) so it’s not for everyone.

            • Aldo

              Oh yeah the monopod would solve this issue no doubt.. but I’m merely addressing the case of those who shoot like me… without any tripods.

            • HF

              Again, in my experience it turns out to be sharp enough for me that way, mostly tack sharp (remember, it is the slowest I use). Whenever possible you can calculate in a small safety factor or are at higher SS anyway.

            • Aldo

              Yeah I wouldn’t be comfortable personally shooting at 105 at 1/200… I would be to be too conscious about it and this would limit my agility to take shots and move to the next one. I’m not saying sharp photos aren’t possible..but the overall amount of photos that are tack sharp would greatly decrease for me, especially with the d800.

            • HF

              The situations where I reach the minimum SS are usually in the evening at weddings or in dimly lit rooms. Either ISO is higher then with noise taking away some acuity anyway, or I have bounce flash which freezes motion (then you can go down to 1/60s without problems).

            • Aldo

              For me portraits outdoors wouldn’t be an issue with this lens as there is usually plenty of light to kick up the shutter speed to at least 1/500… where I see myself bursting for a tack sharp photo is… ceremony and reception candids…. most of the reception ones and some of the ceremony shots would involve some form of tracking which makes it a little more difficult to get a tack sharp photo at lower speeds.

            • If that’s what you’re doing, you don’t need this lens. Save a lot of money and get the 85.

            • HF

              That is not the only thing I am doing.

            • I suppose. IMHO, you’ve got a lot of surplus resolution there. Unless you were comparing your book side-by-side with another at say 200dpi, you wouldn’t see the difference. There’s no way for the human eye to discern 300dpi vs. 200dpi at a normal viewing distance for that size print. If you get really close and have exceptional vision or a good pair of glasses, maybe. But, that’s not how your clients look at your work. Likewise, the difference between images shot with the 85 f/1.4 and the 105 f/1.4 are going to be pretty much the same…sharp. The bokeh might be the deal breaker, but really, by how much. Not sure there’s $600 of difference there. And, you gotta carry that baby around.
              The numbers on DxO are meaningless to picture viewers as are most mtf curves. You have to have a pretty significant jump from one sharpness value to the next to actually start seeing it in a print. That’s what makes these discussions so crazy. People are so hung up on buying a certain lens that “scored” a 33 on DxO’s test vs one that got “only” 30. I’ll buy you a new D5 if you can pick out the difference on 10 prints done with each lens that have values that compare like that.

            • HF

              I owned the 85/1.4g and found it not very sharp wide open with my D810, to the contrary (and we use those lenses wide open most of the time). Maybe I got a bad 85, but the 105/1.4 is visibly “sharper”. I want leeway for cropping, too, which often happens. When doing so, the image needs to be sharp for a double page print. Many wedding books are of excellent print quality (some clients pay 1000Euros for one, well, if they think so). So having done so in the past, I know what I want. Additionally, there is the consistency in a reportage. Some people like the rendering of the 58. But if you have these images mixed with Zeiss Batis, Sony 50/1.4 or 105/1.4 images, you really notice the softness. Not to my liking.

            • Agree, it all comes down to what you like. The D810 doesn’t flatter that 58mm f/1.4 very much. On the Df it’s a killer lens. Lots of character you don’t get with very many lenses.

            • El Aura

              It is worth repeating that the P-Mpix score is the ‘resolution’ at the optimal f-stop (f/5.6 to f/8 usually). The 85 mm f/1.4 G is known to be very sharp stopped down. Thus it having a fairly close P-Mpix score (30 vs 33) than the 105 mm f/1.4 is consistent and roughly expected.

              But wide-open at f/1.4, the 105 mm seems to have a clear edge over the 85 mm f/1.4 G according to all reports (incl. the DxO/DPreview chart showing the 105 mm to be very good at f/1.4 already).

            • Ann Arbor Nights

              P Mix score? What?! Can’t see the forest through the trees! Who cares about mili-fractions of a pixel? How close does it focus? Does the autofocus hunt? Just being a 1.4 isn’t near enough for the high price.

            • El Aura

              If looking at trees makes you unable to see the forest, that is your problem. Some people have no problems seeing both.

            • Ann Arbor Nights

              It must be human nature to fret over microscopic nuances on a lens. I’m more interested in how it actually performs (with regard to autofocus speed in low light, and minimum focusing distance, etc) when shooting with the lens. But these discussions about nano pixels and lab tests go on and on, which I don’t understand.

            • El Aura

              And comparing tested lens resolution is mutually exclusive with also reading reports on AF speed and looking up the minimum focus distance?

            • Ann Arbor Nights

              I made my point. Take it or leave it.

            • I respect your interest in all this and I mean no disrespect, but what you are talking about is all a bunch of crap. There are SO MANY variables, that relying on some (in the case of DxO, ill-conceived) laboratory numbers is a fool’s errand. Rent the lens, put it through its paces with the kind of shooting you intend it for, and look at the results. There are any number of characteristics for which one could not assign a numerical value. Hopefully you are making photographs of things that will illicit an emotional response from you and the audience for whom you made them. DxO scores will not matter, even in a comparative way. Trust me, you are doing yourself a disservice focusing on DxO numbers.

            • silmasan

              Pete, I agree with the gist of your post, but sometimes a photog does need the sharpest lens they can get for a specific task (definitely not for closeup portraits of 99.99999% humans I assure you that!).

              And in the risk of sample variation (which is very real-world), observing these test results might give them a good idea of what they can expect.

              Some people are bent on the technicalities due to what they do, while some others are far more into the subjective-artistic side of everything they perceive, and yet some others blend the two together. And I don’t see why they shouldn’t respect each other.

              FWIW, “Sharp” does give you a certain emotion as well. Sharp look/piercing stare, you get my drift… it’s not always the fuzzy/warm kind of emotion (well, unless one chooses to shoot wedding/children/family exclusively).

            • El Aura

              First, did I in any way say or imply that I use numerical lens ‘resolution’ numbers as my only or even just as my main yardstick? I merely pointed out which f-stop the P-Mpix numbers represent. I read numerical tests together with many other descriptions of the lens performance including visual tests like Marianne Oelund’s bokeh comparisons. And all lens tests contain information about aspects other than resolution, from distortion, vignetting, lateral and axial chromatic aberrations, coma, focus shift, flare, to bokeh evaluations. And on top of that, there are user reports and more verbal lens tests (eg, Thom Hogan’s) and sample images.

              If you read enough of those, you’ll see (a) that there is a lot of correlation between all those different sources even if their are some outliers but even those often make some sense and (b) you’ll see good correlations between numerical tests and descriptive comparisons. Claiming that numerical tests say little about lens performance is a very luddite thing. I don’t know where this I-am-better-at-this-than-everybody-else sentiment comes from, but almost anybody that thinks she or he can do a better job at evaluating lenses than people who do this for living (or least do photography for a living) is either deluding her- or himself or is foolishly repeating work to get the same results.

            • Ann Arbor Nights

              “Marianne Oelund’s bokeh comparisons.” L O L

            • El Aura

              Her comparisons are the most insightful illustrations as to why we like the bokeh from some lenses over that of others (of course, limited to green light, for some lenses there might be differences between different colours). And her findings are very much correlated with how the bokeh of the examined lenses are generally judged by most people (once you control for focal length and f-stop). And what can be better than a way to predict, from controlled tests, to how people will judge the bokeh of lenses?

            • I’ve done it for a living. I never said that I know better than anyone else. I said, you should trust your own judgment making actual photographs of things you normally work with. Your comment came across as supporting analytical tests as a primary tool, otherwise I wouldn’t have said what I did. Peace.

            • El Aura

              I trust selected other people’s judgement more than my own. They take a far greater number of pictures than I do. They have used a far greater number of different lenses than I have. They have better equipment (eg, lensrentals optical bench which can do infinity testing which with real-life pictures can be affected by atmospheric conditions) than I have. They have a track record of largely not screwing up things during their lens evaluations, I don’t have that.

              And these ‘selected people’ include conventional lens test sites as well as individuals like Thom Hogan, Marianne Oelund, Lloyd Chambers, and Ming Thein.

              Thinking I could do better they all them collectively would be hubris in my eyes.

      • Ann Arbor Nights

        The 85 isn’t for everyone either. It hunts, and doesn’t focus nearly close enough. Crappy autofocus and the minimum focus distance is very limiting for some.

        • Ann Arbor Nights

          And if you want close focus, then you have to get the 105 micro VR, and with that lens, the autofocus is unacceptably slow in low light.

  • Eric Duminil

    Very good article.
    Very good article.
    Thank you.
    Thank you.

  • The best-performing lens in the lineup below 135mm and above 100mm

    Just kidding. It’s the best lens ever, hands down.

    • Yoan

      You have to use the 200mm f/2.0 before saying that

  • HF

    So the 24-702.8E is quite good, showing consistent sharpness even to the borders. The new 70-200/2.8e seems to be stellar, as is this 105/1.4. The D500 and D5 showed to be excellent, too. Now if we just could translate that recent track record to the upcoming D750 and D810 successors…

    • Aldo

      I think when you factor in what’s out there and price… only the 70-200mm E qualifies as a remarkable lens (that’s 1/3). If nikon plans to keep charging more money for their lenses they have to be substantially better than the competition or ‘stellar’ as you said.

      • HF

        Regarding the prices of recent lens introductions (Canon 35/1.4ii, 11-24) or Sonys GM lenses, the 105/1.4 is o.k. in price, given that there is nothing similar in focal length and speed right now.

        • Aldo

          Build quality of the 105 1.4 is ‘questionable’ or controversial to put it differently… and if it is in fact a portrait lens speed isn’t a big deal as others have pointed out. Sigma is charging roughly half the price for their premium lenses and other third party lenses are also quickly improving in quality leaving a smaller margin for nikon to ‘screw up’. In the end it will be the units sold who will tell whether nikon is making the right moves or not.

          • HF

            Disagree. The plastic gears are no problem. There are numerous articles on the use of plastic gears in far more demanding areas. I have Sigma lenses and they show AF inconsistencies. I usually look over that due to the price/optical performance. But I am not happy with that. At Fred Miranda there are already several reports on problems with 85Art AF inconsistencies already.

            • Aldo

              You could be right… but like Thom Hogan said…. one can’t say either way for sure unless you have solid evidence… meaning we can’t really say nikon is using more plastic for the right reasons… and not just the motor gear… but the overall lens.

            • silmasan

              Is that with Canon or Nikon body? I think I have read far more complaints from the Canon side than Nikon (which is a bit surprising since I thought Sigma ‘copied’ EF mount for their own SA mount).

            • HF

              E.g. in “Anyone do any comparison shots nikon 105 1.4e to sigma 85…” forum thread.

            • silmasan

              I’ve just clicked that from google. Will read soon.

            • silmasan

              OK… I think I have several choices now:
              1. Try in store with my Nikons until I make sure I get one that focuses reliably (which I should do anyway)
              2. Wait a few months… (not sure this will make any difference — but some of the users there gave encouraging input about early issues with 58/1.4G)
              3. Consider going SA mount with the sd Quattro H altogether for full compatibility, though I guess I’ll have to put a special order on both items.
              Thanks for pointing this out anyway. 🙂

            • HF

              I could imagine firmware updates via the dock to sort things out. I found the newer bodies including the D750 to be much more reliable with the Sigmas than my D810, for example, where it is often a hit and miss.

            • silmasan

              Is that so? Hmm, the newest I have is D810, so.. will be interesting to see how the Sigmas fare with D5 and D500’s new AF.

            • decentrist

              It’s beyond the cheap plastic gears..it’s the way they are supported, the way they align, and their weakness against any sudden shock.

            • HF

              Please take some mechanics courses.

            • decentrist

              fits their history of sharp, but can’t hit the mark

      • silmasan

        The 70-200 seems to be a no-brainer all things considered I agree (you know you want it…); the 105 just is not as convincing in build — but it’s not what would stop me from buying (I’ll just baby it more than the 70-200); the 19 PC’s price is just mad. Edit: forget the last one, didn’t see the post above. I think the 24-70/2.8E is eh… okay.

        • Aldo

          I do want that 70-200mm… I think it gives much more for the money than the 105 1.4. I consider the PC a specialized lens… like buying a tank… if you need a tank… you will pay the money period… the 105 on the other hand seems to me like an overpriced portrait lens with little versatility.

    • El Aura

      Don’t forget the 19 mm f/4 PC-E, that looks to be also a clear winner.

    • bgbs

      Their has also been consistent track record on exponentially raising prices on these lenses.

      • HF

        Certainly not exponentially 😉

    • decentrist

      mo megapickles, mo sharp….that’s photography to you?

  • MB

    In comparison to 58/1.4 this 105 looks like a bargain …

    • Yoan

      the strength of the 58mm can’t be measured

      • MB

        Everything can be measured … the question is whether you choose to believe it or not …
        https://www.dxomark.com/var/ezwebin_site/storage/images/media/images/comp_1_scores/145968-1-eng-US/Comp_1_scores.jpg

        • Yoan

          I maintain : it can’t be measured.
          Sigma’s bokeh is quite absent on the 50mm art (owned it for more than a year).
          If you think the sigma is beating the 58mm then you have absolutely miss the point of the Nikon.
          Not everything is about sharpness… bokeh creamyness, rendering…

          • silmasan

            Well, then Laowa 105 STF has that in spades. The trick is in apodisation. Sharp lens + apodisation will give you the best of both worlds. Unless you’re specifically looking for a “soft focus” effect which is understandable (such filter was popular with portrait photographers).

          • MB

            So you have chosen not to believe … that is cool too …

            • Yoan

              Just choosed to not believe physics stuff when it comes to art.

            • silmasan

              That “physics stuff” is actually what will help you explain why one lens gives that creamy rendering while another doesn’t. If you understand spherical aberration well, then you can say you understand “bokeh” well.

            • decentrist

              subjective subject, no?

          • Brandon Nehus

            This is very true. I also had the sigma. While it performs a hell of a lot better near mfd (not to mention you can focus a lot closer than the 58) the quality of the bokeh is very unattractive. Even the 85mm 1.4g has rough bokeh when compared to the 58mm. But the resolution is better (hoping im using that term correctly).

          • bgbs

            At the end of the day the best lens is the one you have with you, he he.

        • decentrist

          you have much to learn

          • MB

            Of course … everybody does … unless dead … or irrecoverably brain damaged …

      • T.I.M

        The 58mm it is a good lens, but you have to try it to found out

        • Yoan

          Yep. Definitely not a lens made to be measure or to pass tests.
          You have to test it to understand. If you’re a dxo measures fan, you’ll completely miss it.

      • El Aura

        It can be measured, you just have to know what to measure:
        https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/58088963

      • faocisco

        I just bought the 58mm for 1399€ wjth a 100€ return,so in the end it will cost me 1299€.
        Not gray,it came with 5years warranty from Finikon(oficial).

    • HF

      Especially as the new price in 2017 will be 2069 Euros for the 58 in Germany, compared to 2400 for the 105.

      • Yoan

        Not the same range, not the same use

  • How can this be? I saw some angry people on youtube saying this is the worst lens ever. Furthermore, how can a lens made in China be good? (This is sarcasm, if it wasn’t clear).

    • Aldo

      “angry people” is really one person on youtube who sounds intellectual enough to convince people of what could be sometimes utter nonsense.

      • Eledeuh

        > who sounds intellectual enough

        “lol”

        (I know, *that* doesn’t sound intellectual at all)

        • Aldo

          ??

          • Eledeuh

            That’s not against you, I was just reacting to the “sounding intellectual” bit, which made me chuckle.

            I mean, the specific youtuber in case doesn’t sound intellectual, he *sounds* authoritative eventually. But it’s mostly a patchwork of void/bullshit/pseudo-science statements, it’s terrifying to see so many people fall for it and then defend it.

            • Aldo

              I see… yeah I mean I don’t know if you have ‘scanned’ through his other videos… not just about photography. This guy tries hard to make sure people believe that he knows something . For half the stuff he says there is no need for such intricate language for example… it’s a bit ridiculous imo. I’m not trying to discredit the stuff that in fact he knows, but rather the “authoritative” (as you say) rhetorical manner in which he attempts to persuade others… and how he says ‘he isn’t in it for the money’ but asks for donations is absurd. Like he is the God sent messiah of photography who has come to save us from mediocracy. Oh boy but does he have an audience and popularity… reminds me of some other fraud who just became POTUS.

            • CERO

              “sounding intellectual” could actually means that he hides behind a lot of tech words to hide his actual lack of knowledge. Its akin of those “experts” who browse forums and try to correct everyone while using wikipedia as main source of information.

      • decentrist

        you should talk…”nonsense”

  • silmasan

    I thought in terms of resolution the 105/1.4 was actually sharper than the 200mm f/2 VR, as Lenstip’s results suggest. Sample variation maybe.

    Anyway, will DXO test Sigma 85 Art any time soon? Because it might just surpise a lot of people…

  • New Yoko

    shooting Nikon 105E and Sigma 50 Art, sigma is slightly sharper but grayish dull colors, irritating bokeh especially body of waters and mis focus, 105E rendering of colors, bokeh and focus are better and addictive. I’m sure new 85mm art will be sharpest lens with similar characteristics as the 50 art.

    • Yoan

      Sigma’s rendering. Made for stat, “digital” rendering but there is no life into it

      • silmasan

        This is a false generalization. The Sigma 35 Art got a bad rep for its ‘bokeh rendering’, perhaps deservingly so. Though you should know that it has NOTHING to do with many of their tele lenses. Also the 35’s not even the only ‘crap bokeh’ wide lenses out there (there are too many out there from just about any maker).

        The 50 was better in terms of evenness of ‘bokeh circles’ but still has that more pronounced transition toward the outer circle. The 85 is already better on both. Though it’s not the “perfect” bokeh lens as is, out of the box, which goes to my next point:

        You have not responded to my post above about apodisation. You can, with a little DIY-spirit, modify the whole rendering of ANY lens so that the bokeh will be even smoother than the “best bokeh lens”. I’m planning to demonstrate this on both the 50 Art and 85 Art sometimes next year. Hopefully I can also borrow a 58G to make the comparison.

        This is coming from someone who’s addicted to the 105 DC which is known for that ‘magic’ rendering, akin to what you’ve been defending so fervently about your 58/1.4G.

        • Yoan

          I haven’t reply because I don’t have that DYI spirit that you mentionned. Probably not the skill or the willingness to modify my equipment. For the price of it… nah… i’m not here for the doing the brands job.
          I’m defending the 58mm not because I’m in love with that lens but I’m just saying if it’s the criteria to pick lens, you’re doing it wrong and especially with that lens.
          The 58mm got 30 while the sigma got a 43…
          A lot of users are looking at this and it’s terribly wrong.
          For having the 35 & 50mm Art for a while, they are sharp as hell but the color rendering, the bokeh are just bad.
          They are tailored to be good performers on DXO and every single scientifc measures you can made (sorry, I’m not an english native speaker so I have a lack of words here) but when it come to take a look at the picture itself… I just see no souls in them, just flatness.
          And the improvement on the bokeh you mentionned from 35 to 50 to 85mm… Isn’t just the focal length that help?

          • silmasan

            It’s quite a simple mod really, one way is to just fit a film/filter behind the rear element, since the aperture is usually near there. The tricky part is making something that doesn’t degrade the image in the center.

            As for the longer focal length, that’s another issue that helped muddied the water, in case of 58mm vs 50mm. Not many reviewers are putting it into account. That said, no… there’s already quite a distinguishable difference between the 50 Art and the 35 Art. The 85 is clearly better out-of-the-box, especially at widest apertures. I suggest you see dpreview’s 85mm Art image samples. It’s just that it’s still too sharp/bright into the corners.

            For that creamy bokeh you’ll want a fuzzy circle around the center. So less sharp and less bright corners will help — the 58 seems like it was designed for exactly that with its odd curvature (it resembles a “sombrero”). And on top of that the SA (spherical aberration) correction seems to be made so that it resembles an apodized lens. So we do have a grasp on where the 58 ‘magic’ comes from, and why it does that consistently.

            It actually makes more of an ‘onion ring’ _inside_ bright bokeh circles compared to the Sigma 50 A, but the _outer_ transition is smoother indeed (while the S50A has that slight outer rim) and this is what people perceive most of the time (see, those little bright circles give insight into how the whole frame is made). You are right, lenses that are ultrasharp corner-to-corner (incl. the Otus line) aren’t necessarily the most pleasing, especially if the outer transition is less gentle/gradual. This outer transition is what a lens maker seek to ‘smooth out’ either through SA correction or by using apodization filter.

            As for the ‘dull’ color, I’m not quite sure what you or the other poster meant, because that’s related to how the images were processed, color management, personal preferences etc. Maybe you got used to Nikon’s coating and noticed that the Sigma coating gives you a warmer tone? Funnily when it comes to colors, Sigma have Foveon type-sensor which has its distinct advantage over Bayer sensors.

            • silmasan

              woot. |||||||||| :-/ tallest wall I’ve made on disqus so far

            • vriesk

              Which makes me wonder, wouldn’t a simple screw-on filter with apodisation gradient applied (darker on the outside) do the job?

            • silmasan

              AFAIK it has to be done as close as possible to the aperture, otherwise you risk significantly vignetting the whole frame. But… yeah I did think the same at one point and apparently someone has done a”proof of concept” of exactly that!
              just google: junyeumah apodization-filter-for-photography

              And for the “more properly done” examples (involves unscrewing the rear element, getting at/very close to the iris):
              markus keinath Apodization-Filter

              OK, I made it sound so trivial in my above post… :p but I kind of have another idea that doesn’t involve gel or glass (though I would need a 3d printer that can output very fine structures!).
              I also noticed that the EF/SA mount version will make it much more convenient to fit something behind the rear element.

            • New Yoko

              i posted the original thread. i’m most impressed with 58G for its bokeh and 105E for its sharpness and subject isolation. I’m keeping Sigma 50 Art because it’s the sharpest 50mm lens, i usually shoot at above f/2 or smaller aperture to avoid bokeh. I have Sigma dp2 Quattro which i like its unique sharp rendering over bayer sensor.

  • Jellymoon Eldritch

    Anything about D810 successor?:

    • Jeffry De Meyer

      Only that it will cost $7000

  • TO-DOUG

    Admin, you have repeated each of the three paragraphs that you quoted from DxOMark.

    • No idea how did that happen

      • Allan

        Sampling the eggnog early?

  • TO-DOUG

    DxOMark says “If you’re in the market for a high-speed short telephoto, you will have likely considered the AF-S Nikkor 85mm F1.4G, but you may unsure about that model’s slightly higher-than-expected chromatic aberration. The 105mm F1.4 makes an interesting alternative.” Sure, but an even better alternative is the AF-S Nikkor 85mm F1.8G for a third of the price. It also has much lower chromatic aberration.

    • Eledeuh

      > an even better alternative […] for a third of the price

      That’s an.. interesting way to put it.

      The two f/1.4 lenses quoted and the 85 f/1.8 are in different leagues. I don’t deny that the f/1.8 one is a *very* good option if you’re on a budget, but the other two are just wonderful and produce much more pleasant results.

      There’s no need to always try to justify owning the cheaper alternative to something. Most of the time there is some correlation between price and quality, and the pricier item *does* bring things on the table that the entry-level version doesn’t.

      And sometimes, the cheaper version makes more sense to some people because [insert economical, practical, usage-related reasons], but often not because it’s objectively a better lens.

    • peter w

      There was a report here some time ago (weeks?) to some defocus control Chinese lens which – in neutral stand – was shown to blow away the bokeh of the 85 F1,8 AF-S. (I own the 85 F1,8 AF-S).

  • Is that other camera in the picture an FA? What lens is on it?

    • EnPassant

      It’s a Nikon FE and the lens look like a Nikkor Ai 35/2.8 New.

  • T.I.M

    My AF-S 200mm f/2 is still the king !
    :o)

    • Michiel953

      Good for you!

      ?

  • Adrian Wagner

    I own the 105 1.4E it is stellar. I also own the Samyang 135 f2, which is even more mind blowing. I know it will never be measured by DXOmark, but man, if they did, people would be surprised by that affordable gem.

    • Eledeuh

      I heard it has terrible sample variance problems, which in the case of DxO could be problematic (AFAIK they don’t review several versions of the same lens, which is part of the reason why it’s not trusted by many).

      • peter w

        “I heard…”, “… not trusted by many”

        Only yesterday someone made a comment in this forum about the value of anecdotal evidence. 😉

        • Eledeuh

          I suppose I should have expanded a bit :

          It’s not trusted by many *of the other people who do technical reviews*. Mainly because of their poor methodology, not accounting properly for sample variation is quite a bit of a problem : that has nothing to do with anecdotal evidence.

          Lenses having sample variation is nothing special, some have more than others, cheaper ones typically have more than more expensive ones. There’s nothing groundbreaking about that, and it so happens that this little gem of a lens has a bit of a reputation in that department. I’m just framing the assertion with a disclaimer because I didn’t verify the info.

          Do you really want to compare this with you telling that Nikon users are generally snobs who can’t think for themselves and just buy whatever is shoved down their throats, all of it backed by what someone you know told you ?

          • peter w

            Did you note my response on the intention of yesterdays comment?

            Sad things, misunderstandings caused by a reader feeling offended, taking things literally. There was no intention on my part to offend anybody, not you, not any Canon or Nikon user (I have used both, so I offended myself double). I could tell you now, I will not do it again, but I do tend to use something called ‘exageration’ in my responses. It could be worse, I fear. I will try to remember to let you alone, thought. Cheers.

            • Eledeuh

              I must admit, as a heavy user of sarcasm myself, and although I get the clarification, I still have trouble with the double reading of your initial message, maybe you should be a tad more gentle with the exaggerations 😉

              Well, anyway.

              Cheers !

            • Per Laursen

              This new 105/1,4 is unbelievably Sharp, CA-free, and equaly precise AF ! All Sigma arts I have tried have inconsistent AF. The best AF precise-wise from Sigma is my trusted 180/2,8macro.

            • Per Laursen

              At f/1,4 this 105mm is actualy a tiny bit sharper than my 200/2 at f/2 !

            • silmasan

              At f/2 through f/4 the new 105 looks clearly sharper than the 200, so why don’t they rate it higher… I don’t understand.

  • benjaminbutton

    I will be waiting for the new Tammy 115mm 1.8 VC

  • bgbs

    Does anybody know if I should buy this lens?

  • Focuspuller

    Shouldn’t the headline be “…best performing lens in the NIKKOR lineup below 200mm”?

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