Friday, April 22, 2011

Great Old Glass - Micro-NIKKOR 105/2.8

Nikon has created a great close-up lens in the Micro-Nikkor f/4.0 back in November, 1975, it took them 11 years later to introduced in April, 1984 this Micro-Nikkor lens which is a full stop faster and replaced the decade-old earlier Nikkor classic.

When I was working with the newspaper in the 70-90s, 105 mm lens was my favorite glass for portraits and candid.

My Decisive Moment Classic, "Charities Begins At Home" was shot with a 105 mm lens. Notice the relatively shallow depth-of-field of this lens. Focusing is critical, lucky for you now that you got very efficient auto focus; unlike the time I took this shot!

Little Ming napping on Le General, the large aperture coupled with the medium tele-photo focal length resulted in shallow depth-of-field of this lens. Notice the pleasing out of focus background? That aesthetic quality of the blur we now acknowledge this lens have good bokeh!

For this exercise I decided to attach this 1986 lens on my 2010 Olympus E-P2 digital Pen with a F to M4/3 lens adapter.

The Voigtlander F adapter on the E-P2, it is three times thicker than the M adapter for the Leica lenses.

The Nikon Micro 105/2.8 on the E-P2, a rather front heavy set up; it is a HEAVY chunk of glass!

With a front heavy lens on the E-P2, notice how I hold the camera for a steady exposure; the camera is resting on my out stretch RIGHT thumb and at the same time the back of the camera is resting on my RIGHT palm.

The lens is supported by the LEFT index finger which focus with the thumb. The left side of the camera is partly supported by the LEFT palm.

You do not want to hold this heavy set up like you are holding a DSLR.

Bokeh, bokeh on the wall...

On Thursday, I took the Nikon 105 E-P2 setup to work.

We were having a hot-cross buns morning tea (next day is Good Friday) and most of us are wearing a red poppy for ANZAC Day (coming Monday) remembrance.

When you move in close, and shooting at full f2.8; the depth-of-field became extremely shallow. You got to know where your focus point is. In this case, I focus on the black "button" and let the rest faded into a pleasing blur.

Candid portrait of Margaret, one of my colleague. The E-P2 was firing away continuously at 3 frames per second, the shutter was so soft that my subject never notice!

A pensive shot of our HR boss, Sheryl. Lad she like the shot. A bit arty, you say? ;)

Colleague Martin, a Mitsubishi petrolhead like me :)

Did I not tell you this lens is wonderful for portraits?

Today, Good Friday; sleep really late last night and got up really really late this morning ;)... thought I will take a stroll in our "garden" (more like a jungle) and see what I can get with my venerable 105 micro.

What a lens! The translucent quality of it's optical rendering of this lens is unmatched for decades. I think only German optics came near :)

This shot was exposed at 1/80 sec, a rather slow speed for a close-up where any minute camera shakes are magnified. The in-built stabilizer of the E-P2 seems to be doing a good job. The I.S. was set to "1" and 105 mm.

A lesson in "selective focus", f5.6 was used to get a little more depth-of-field. Wikipedia have a great article on this subject!

I always wanted to get a big bumble bee approaching a flower, look like they are all gone; winter is in the neighbourhood ;)

Famous Last Words:

Last I check, Nikon is STILL making this lens!!

It is still the 10 elements, nine group design; just like mine! Did that tell you how good and timeless the design is?

Nikon has made nearly 100,000 of this f2.8 lens and yet last I check, there are only THREE used one for sale on eBay!! Why?

You can get a excellent, used; for about US$ 400 to 600.

If I were you, I will look for a clean example; it is a lens you wanna use and keep :)

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