10 out of 10 points and recommendedFast autofocus, VR is great, SHARP SHARP SHARP!!!VR useless at 1:1 magnification, sometimes AF hunts a bit if not limited
As said in the previous review, the lens stops down to f/4.8 when focusing at 1:1 magnification, but that is not all bad. I don't notice much the change in focal length, but I do notice the VR stop working the closer I get to the maximum magnification - that's okay, because at that magnification you really want to be using a tripod, perhaps in the future VR III will take care of this issue? ;)reviewed October 9th, 2006 (purchased for $829)
The autofocus may hunt a bit if you don't limit it. This lens has a focus ring that has increments that go around a full revolution, instead of what a lot of non macro lenses have, perhaps 1/5 or 1/4 of a revolution. Very fine increments, which is excellent for what this lens was made for. Limiting the AF will reduce it to half a revolution, which cuts down on AF hunting.
Image quality is awesome, I can't think of better words to describe it. The bokeh is really comparable to the 85 f/1.4 (which I used and still use a lot of), contrast is excellent, as are the colors. It does have a bit of flare shooting against bright backgrounds, but it's limited to f/2.8, and sometimes it's not very noticeable. This lens is really SHARP!!! I thought the 85 f/1.4 was sharp, but this 105 VR beats it, and has a wider sweet spot too.
It's a bit bulky in appearance, lighter than you'd expect, yet is very well built. On my D100 the lens' bulk leaves a bit less room for my fingers to confortably hold the camera, but on my D2x it's a match made in heaven ;^) Overall, it's a excellent lens for portrait and macro work.
10/15/06 Update: I no longer have a D100, and replaced it with a D200. It's another perfect match in the handling department, very well balanced, and my fingers don't feel cramped at all.
11/03/06 Update: This lens is permanently mounted on my D200, they just work so well together, and I LOVE the image quality from this lens! I've now given it a perfect score, its advantages far outweigh the few niggles I had. A must buy in my opinion! :)
10 out of 10 points and recommendedfun, really wide, sharpbe careful with the front element!
I initially had read Ross_Alford's review (down below), among others from around the web and decided to get the lens. It definitely is a fun lens, allowing me to capture shots that would otherwise be impossible in tight quarters, like this shot I took of a photo booth at a wedding:reviewed December 15th, 2006 (purchased for $580)
Distortion be damned, fun shots like that wouldn't be as fun if this lens was rectilinear :)
Image quality is great, contrast, saturation, chromatic aberration can be minimized shooting at smaller apertures (and most CA can be further corrected in Nikon Capture or ACR as previously mentioned), virtually no ghosting or flaring as all incoming light is image forming.
As I've stated in the con for this lens, you have to be careful when using this lens. I've already got a very tiny nick on the lens coating - have no idea how or where that happened. I keep the cap handy everytime I use it, so as soon as I my eye is no longer on the viewfinder I place the cap back on.
In my D2x I can use this lens for group shots if in a pinch - I change to HSC mode and get a view slightly wider than I'd get shooting with my 17-35. A bit more distortion, but again, only in a pinch.
I guess my only regret is not getting this lens sooner! :)
10 out of 10 points and recommendedvery nice bokeh, bright, sharp, contrasty, rugged constructionnot AF-S
I love this lens for all the reasons in my list of pros, as well as what people have already said. It's the lens I reach for when in low light environments, awesome for portraits, but equally as good for landscpe creativity. I bought this lens cheap from a friend who was switching to Canon - he now regrets that switch :p Anyway, the lens was like new, immaculate glass and AF operation, just a few scuffles on the outside. Being spoiled by all AF-S lenses in my kit, I wished this lens was also AF-S but the image quality makes me forget all that. Here are a few examples of the wonderful bokeh of this lens:reviewed December 15th, 2006 (purchased for $700)
Being a mechanical lens (not AF-S that is), the 85 f/1.4 depends on the built-in motor of the camera it's mounted to. I used to have problems with this lens on my D100, as the motor wasn't as fast and snappy as it is on the D2x or the D200. On an F5 body this lens is faster still! Nowadays I switch back and forth between this 85 and my 105 VR, but in low light locales, f/1.4 beats f/2.8 + VR :)
8 out of 10 points and recommendedbright, cheap, lightweightplastic construction, bokeh is not the best
It's one of those lenses that one must get - it's relatively dirt cheap compared to other pro glass out there. It was my first fast lens, allowing me to get more available light shots as opposed to using so much flash. It's like a stepping stone towards faster and better lenses, but I still carry this lens in my case. Sometimes when I want to use something very light, I'll take this lens out and shoot a few images with it.reviewed December 15th, 2006 (purchased for $95)
10 out of 10 points and recommendedsharp wide open, nice bokeh, close focuspricey, but worth it
I initially had focusing problems with the lens. Sent it to Nikon along with my D3 and the lens tested fine - the D3 got a new AF module and a new mirror. The lens still didn't focus right under wedding pressure. I fine tuned the AF in my body to +15 and now everything is perfect. The lens now focuses as well as my f/2.8 zooms and I couldn't be happier! :)reviewed October 4th, 2010 (purchased for $2,200)
I have put up a gallery with a few samples taken with this lens on two different bodies, and all at f/1.4:
The nano coating helps prevent loss of contrast when shooting against bright backgrounds, something I always had a problem with shooting with any of my zooms, and my 85/1.4. The lens can keep up with moderately fast moving subjects in AF-C, and in AF-S it's by far the quietest of my lenses - that will help should I ever decide to shoot video on DSLRs. Overall, after tuning the AF to my specific lens, I find the 24/1.4 is perfect for environmental portraits and other wide compositions.