Behold! The Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED. What a mouthful. And what a lens. Bought almost a year ago today, I don't regret for a second this rather extravagant purchase.
Absurdly expensive? Check. Specialty lens? Perhaps. Not that long ago, supercars used to be one trick ponies. Incredibly capable on a track, but entirely useless for daily driving. That's how I initially viewed this lens. Time would ultimately change my perspective.
This lens, combined with the NIKKOR 28mm f/1.4E ED, is my 'holy trinity' or whatever you want to call it. I can happily travel the world knowing these two lenses are there for me. With that said, the 28mm focal length is my go to. It get's 60% of the attention (which I would have never thought, until I started using that lens), leaving the rest to this incredible beauty.
You see, the thing about this lens is how it makes you feel. Sure, my trusty AF-S NIKKOR 70-200 f/2.8G VRII is an incredible lens, but it is soulless. It takes images that get the job done. It can go nine tenths, every day. It's just that the 105 f/1.4E goes to 10.
"The bokeh is in a different league"
The bokeh is in a different league. The sharpness wide open becomes evident when you get back to your 5k iMac, zoom in on 46MP, and unwittingly gawk, jaw dropped at the level of detail.
Cropped to 100%. Look at that detail!
"It's not all rainbows and ponies"
It's true. This lens is not for everyone. Being a mid-telephoto lens, and not having VR means you're going to need to watch your shutter speed more frequently, and make sure it stays above a level you are comfortable with. I find I can shoot down to 1/100th, but it requires a very steady hand.
Likewise, working with such a shallow depth of field means your keeper rate will drop. Take a look at how shallow the DOF is in the above photo, (working at minimum focus distance).
Conclusion: It's for me
I can't tell you what works for you. All I can say is that this lens makes me want to pick up my camera and explore the world. To see what's out there, and find magic. Very few lenses do this for me. If you have the chance to rent or purchase this lens, you will not be disappointed.
|Mount Type||Nikon F-Bayonet|
|Maximum Angle of View (DX-format)||15°20'|
|Maximum Angle of View (FX-format)||23°10′|
|Maximum Reproduction Ratio||0.13x|
|Compatible Format(s)||FX, DX, FX in DX Crop Mode|
|Nano Crystal Coat||Yes|
|ED Glass Elements||3|
|AF-S (Silent Wave Motor)||Yes|
|Minimum Focus Distance||1.0 m from focal plane|
|Focus Mode||AF, Manual|
|Accepts Filter Type||Screw-on|
|Approx. Dimensions (Diameter x Length)||94.5mm x 106mm|