On Tuesday, I found two particularly beautiful and rare lenses. I felt I was in la-la land. Or at least Fantasy Island. Or a really cool camera shop with lots of goodies.
When I went to Cameraworks in Colorado Springs to look for a 5 or 6 stop Graduated Neutral Density filter. It’s one of those filters that’s really necessary if you want to shoot landscapes.
While waiting for one of the counter people to help me, I noticed some Nikkor lenses I’ve always admired, but never saw in person: the Noct Nikkor 58 f/1.2 AIS and the Nikkor 85 f/1.4 AIS manual focus lenses.
The 58 is selling for $2500 and the 85 for $550. A hefty price to fit the hefty glass. Both are worth it.
As I was just shopping for a filter, I didn’t bring in my camera body. But the lenses have this heavy metal feeling that sits perfect in your hand. As I drooled over this rare prime glass, I could only imagine the images I could take with it. Mostly night shots of street life. Portraits with only the eye in focus.
The next day, I stopped by with my girlfriend Heidi Rae. She understands why I would want such an incredible piece of glass. Yeah, it ain’t no autofocus, but the focus is smooth and precise, and the images to be rendered beautiful.
The glass for both lenses is immaculate, clean, and crisp. The bodies themselves are in excellent shape with no marks. The lenses look new. It really looks as if the previous owner hardly used them, or took incredibly great care to keep them new.
I was more interested in the 85 than the 58. I would use it so much more. Portraits, landscapes, product shots.
So I threw the 85 on my D300s, set the camera to read the aperture (you can do that with Nikon bodies) and voila, played with it for about ten minutes.
The focus was easy to use, smooth, and kept the point well. The aperture ring made the distinguishable click for each full f/stop. Something newer lenses don’t have but it was also nice to “feel” the change.
It has only one drawback, which in my opinion is incredibly minor, a very narrow depth of field at f/1.4. With that being said, it is also why it is such a great lens. To create such a wide aperture and keep the quality, the elements must be ground nearly perfect.
Edge to edge sharpness was wonderful. The weight of the lens helped you keep it stable. Overall, the lens was a dream.
Nikon guru Ken Rockwell rated the 85 f/1.4 as one of the 10 best Nikon lenses ever made. And in my humble opinion, I believe it is.
And now they have a new 85 f/1.4 AF S G with special Nano crystal coating for better anti-reflection control. Does it get any better? Unfortunately, it’s a little out of my price range at $1700 list. For now at least it is.
And not to worry, my birthday is coming up.
For clarification, I’m not a techie and this was mainly written out of excitement.
Thanks for Reading