Nikon 135MM F2 Nikkor
Autofocus - Nikon - f/2.0 - Prime - Telephoto
Professional photographers make Nikkor lenses their lenses of choice. Nikon is committed to every aspect of lens manufacturing, maintaining clarity, sharpness, focusing accuracy, range and reliability. Nikon offers this portrait lens with Nikon's exclusive Defocus Control. Its rounded diaphragm opening makes out-of-focus elements appear more natural. The lens also features rear focusing for fast AF operation and large maximum aperture for shooting in low light. [ Report abuse or wrong photo | Share your Nikon 135MM F2 Nikkor photo ]
Nikon 135MM F2 Nikkor - Brochure Digital Camera, size: 3.0 MB
Nikon 135MM F2 Nikkor
Nikon D7000 "The Collector" by Justin Ong
User reviews and opinions
|Alanson34J||5:00pm on Friday, August 20th, 2010|
|excellent low light lens, DC, extremely sharp, light weight makes it easy to use for long periods.|
|hfthomp||7:09pm on Friday, June 4th, 2010|
|A fine and sharp lens with a build quality superior to most modern equipment. Works well for portraits when using film or FX format. Great little lens. I have the famous 105mm f2.5 AI-S and the 135mm is equal in performance if not better.|
Comments posted on www.ps2netdrivers.net are solely the views and opinions of the people posting them and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of us.
Nikon 135mm f/2 DC
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The King of Bokeh (1990-)
2009 KenRockwell.com. All rights reserved. Intro Specs Performance Recommendations
Nikon AF DC-NIKKOR 135mm f/2 D (72mm filters, 28.9oz/818g, about $1,300). enlarge. I'd get it new or used at at Adorama or B&H Photo Video, new at Amazon, or used at eBay. The 135 DC is a limited-production lens, and therefore hard to find in stock; you have to order it and wait. It helps me keep adding this site when you get yours from these links, thanks! Ken.
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Intro Specs Performance Recommendations The Nikon AF 135mm f/2 DC is Nikon's, and arguably the world's, greatest portrait lens. It has a very similar smaller brother, the 105mm f/2 DC. The 135mm DC is also Nikon's sharpest 135mm lens, and an extraordinarily great lens for nature and landscape photography. It is worlds sharper and freer from spherical aberration than any of the the old manual focus 135mm f/2 lenses. The hood is the best built-in hood I've ever used. It is metal, and it locks into position so it doesn't shrivel down like most other built-in hoods. You have to move a ring to get to manual focus mode, and once you do, manual focus is fantastic.
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DC stands for Defocus Control. A lot got lost in the translation on the way from Japan. The key word is control, not defocus. This is not a soft-focus lens; it is a lens that has been specifically designed and patented both for superior bokeh (the softness of out-of-focus areas), and the ability to control this bokeh for optimum results under all conditions.
I personally buy from Adorama, Amazon, Ritz, B&H, Calumet and J&R. I can't vouch for ads below.
Defocus Image Control. bigger. How do you set this 135mm lens for optimum bokeh? Easy: set this ring to the same aperture at which you're shooting. Press the unlock button on the left in order to move it, otherwise it stays locked. Set it to the R side to make backgrounds go soft and disappear, or the F side if you want to optimize it for junk in the foreground. Hint: You should almost never have out-of-focus objects in front of your subject or in the foreground. It looks unnatural and weird. Our eyes naturally focus on the closest thing to us, so it's uncomfortable when a photo has a soft foreground or other distractions which our eyes can't bring into focus. The effects of this defocus control are very subtle. You won't see it through your viewfinder. When used properly, the 135 DC turns backgrounds into the softest, smoothest washes of color you've ever seen. Turn the ring in the wrong direction, and out-of-focus backgrounds get harsher. These are subtle effects. Computer people may not see these subtleties at all, but artists will. Leave the Defocus Image Control ring at zero, and the 135 DC simply acts as the sharpest 135mm lens you've ever used. The defocus control only controls defocus, or the parts of the image that are not in focus. If you set the control beyond the aperture you're using, like set to f/5.6 when shooiting at f/2, you can get a softer focus effect. The in-focus part of the image is always ultra sharp. This is not a soft-focus lens. It's only the unfocused parts of the image which are made softer. No one in the USA understands this lost-in-translation subtlety, and mistakenly thinks this is a soft focus lens. That's why this lens isn't popular in the USA. The 135 DC has a control for all of this. This is why Nikon has the patent on it. You can adjust the lens from normal to super bokeh to soft focus if you push it too far. You'll notice that dedicated soft-focus lenses have no separate defocus control; they are fixed one way and the only control you have is your shooting aperture.
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This lens is so unique that Nikon will probably discontinue it just around the time people start figuring out what it does, and then the used price will skyrocket to $4,000, just like it did with the 28mm f/1.4, for exactly the same reason.
Nikon 135mm DC Focus Controls. bigger. When you set the Defocus Image Control away from zero, the focus shifts. Be sure to focus after you set the Defocus Image Control (DIC). That's why the mark has a white band slopping off to the left: with the DIC set to optimize defocus behind the subject (R), infinity comes up along that bar. With the DIC set towards F, infinity comes up closer on-scale distances. Don't sweat this; this is how the optics recombobulate themselves for optimum performance. If your an engineer and aren't getting this, leave the DIC at zero. To switch between auto and manual focus, press the unlocking button on the left, and rotate the AF Mode selector between M or A. For use on most Nikons made since the 1980s where aperture is set or controlled on the camera, be sure to set the aperture ring to 16, otherwise you'll see a blinking " fEE" message. There's a sliding lock to keep it set at 16, just above the 2 in the photo above.
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Nikon 135/2 DC. bigger.
back to intro
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This 135 DC lens works incredibly well on FX, film and DX Nikons like the D700, D3X, D300s and F6. It works fantastically on manual-focus cameras like the F2AS, F3, FE and FA, since it has a real manual-focus ring that works exactly as it should. The 135mm f/2 DC AF works perfectly with almost every film and digital Nikon camera made since 1977. If you have a coupling prong added to the diaphragm ring, it's perfect with every Nikon back to the original Nikon F of 1959. The only incompatibility is that it will not autofocus with the cheapest D40, D40x, D60, D3000 or D5000, but if you focus manually, everything else works great. These cameras have in-finder focus confirmation dots to help you. See Nikon Lens Compatibility for details on your camera. Read down the "AF, AF-D (screw)" column for this lens.
Production and History
1990: This AF 135mm DC was introduced as an AF lens. 1995: It was updated to "D," meaning that focus distance is coupled to 3D Matrix meters, especially helpful for flash exposures. Nikon made about 15,000 of the first non-D version from 1990-1995, and has made about 15,000 of the current D version so far.
Intro Specs Performance Recommendations
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Nikon calls this the Nikon AF DC-Nikkor 135mm f/2 D. The earlier non-D version (1990-1995) skipped the D, and was called the Nikon AF DC-Nikkor 135mm f/2.
135mm. Used on a DX camera it gives angles of view similar to what a 200mm lens would give on an FX or 35mm film camera. See also Crop Factor.
7 elements in 6 groups. Multicoated. Newer D models have an extra rear optical flat to protect against dust. Rear Focusing. Haruo Sato of Nikon received US Patent 5,841,590 on Nov. 24, 1998 for the defocus control design. When an optical designer friend ran simulations and analyses on the design, he discovered another clever trick: Nikon designed the red end of the spectrum to focus in a slightly different plane to make skin look even better. Look ma, no lens! When the 135/2 opens up, it sucks in light. The entire front of the lens is glass, so this is what a photon sees as it head on in.
Front view, Nikon 135mm f/2 DC at f/2.
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Nikon 135/2 DC at f/4. bigger. 9 curved blades. Stops down to f/16. The diaphragm is an "outie," meaning the tail ends of each blade go in front of the diaphragm.
AF DC-Nikkor 135mm f/2D at f/16.
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Does not rotate.
3.6 feet (1.1 m).
Maximum Reproduction Ratio
Focus Distance Scale
Depth-of Field Scale
Almost; marked only at f/16.
Infra-Red Focus Index
Yes, white dot on depth-of-field scale.
4.7" (120mm) extension from flange x 3.1" (79mm) diameter.
28.850 oz. (817.8 g), measured, current D version. Nikon specifies 30.7 oz. (870g) for the original 1990-1995 model, and 28.6 oz/810g for today's D version.
Nikon suggests only the TC-14B. More at teleconverters.
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Nikon 135/2 DC with hood extended and locked. Built-in telescoping, locking metal hood. When you pull it out, rotate it to lock it into position.
Nikon Product Number
2009 December: $1,300, USA.
This lens does it all. It's fast, super-sharp, and designed for the best portraits you've ever taken.
Bokeh is extraordinary. It's the whole point of this lens. Defocus is Nikon's sloppy English translation of the Japanese word bokeh. Nikon really means that this is a lens with variable bokeh, or "bokeh control," thus the garbled English name "defocus control." Get the happy feeling.
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The 135 DC has no distortion.
Falloff (dark corners)
For real pictures, it's got just a tiny bit of falloff at full aperture. It's gone by f/2.8. I wouldn't even notice it at f/2 except by comparison to the same shot made at smaller apertures. I've gone out of my way to exaggerate this below. With real pictures, this is invisible.
Nikon AF DC 135mm f/2 falloff on FX and film at infinity. f/2 f/2.8
2009 KenRockwell.com. All rights reserved.
Flare and Ghosts
If you point it ito the sun and look in the shadows, you can get a couple of soft ghosts.
AF is fast. One full turn of the AF screw pulls it from infinity to 20 feet. One light fingertip is all that's required to focus manually, and the manual focus ring is a huge, solid, rubberized ring. Manual focus is the best of any AF lens. It's even better than most manual-focus Nikon lenses, especially the original 135mm f/2 manual focus lens. This is because the 135 DC uses internal focus, so most of the lens stays put as it's focused. Since not much is moving inside the lens, the 135 DC requires very little effort to focus manually. Autofocus accuracy is perfect on my D3. Every f/2 shot is dead-on.
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Use with Filters
The metal 72mm filter thread doesn't rotate. Use all the filters you want; you're not going to get any vignetting.
Lateral Color Fringes
None, on a D3.
Mechanics and Construction
Rear, Nikon 135 DC. bigger. The 135mm f/2 DC is made like it should be. It almost feels like a piece of American military equipment, except that it's not weather sealed. It's not textured plastic like most of the toy-store trash coming out of the Orient today. Everything you see in crinkle-coat is solid metal.
Filter Threads: Metal. Retraceable Hood: Metal, internally flocked, screw-thread locking. Barrel: Metal. Focus Ring: Metal, rubber covered. Aperture Ring: Plastic. Finish: Black crinkle-coat.
Mount: Chromed brass. Internals: Metal. Markings: Paint. Serial Number: Laser-engraved on bottom of aperture ring. USA Models: Designated by US prefix in serial number. Noises when Shaken: Assorted clunking from all the moving elements.
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Sharpness is extraordinary. On a 12MP D700 or D3, it's super sharp edge-to-edge at f/2, and doesn't get any softer even in the farthest corners. It's also super-sharp on the 24MP D3X. At this high resolution, it almost gets a tad softer at f/2.8 and f/2 compared to f/4 and f/5.6, but not enough to notice except in carefully controlled tests at infinity. It's sharp! Have no fear, I shoot this puppy at f/2 and get super-sharp, and perfectly in-focus images, edge-to-edge.
Like most fast long lenses, there is a little spherochromatism. This means that out-of-focus highlights may have slight green tinges behind the subject, and slight magenta tinges when in front of the subject.
Intro Specs Performance Recommendations Nikon's 135 DC is the best 135mm lens I've ever used. If you want an ultra-sharp 135mm lens, this is it. Canon users tell me that Canon's 135mm f/2 L is super-sharp, but I've not used it, and it has no bokeh control. If you want a superb portrait lens, optimized to let you control the look of your backgrounds, this is it. Get one while you still can. Nikon's 28mm f/1.4D came out at about the same time. It performed to the same extreme level, offered unique optics never seen before and was built to the same ultrahigh mechanical standard as the 135 DC. When Nikon discontinued the 28/1.4 in 2006, its used price quickly rose to over twice what the new price used to be. The same thing could happening with this 135 DC. The very similar 105mm f/2 DC is also a good choice, but not as good for portraits or for softening backgrounds because of its shorter focal length.
Help me help you
I support my growing family through this website, as crazy as it might seem. If you find this as helpful as a book you might have had to buy or a workshop you may have had to take, feel free to help me continue helping everyone. If you've gotten your gear through one of my links or helped otherwise, you're family. It's great people like you who allow me to keep adding to this site full-time. Thanks! If you haven't helped yet, please do, and consider helping me with a gift of $5.00. The biggest help is to use these links to Adorama, Amazon, Calumet, Ritz, J&R and eBay when you get your goodies. It costs you nothing and is a huge help to me. eBay is always a gamble, but all the other places have the best prices and service, which is why I've used them since before this website existed. I recommend them all personally.
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Thanks for reading!
Defocus Image Control - Nikon AF DC-Nikkor 135mm f/2D
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Defocus Image Control Nikon AF DC-Nikkor 135mm f/2D
Nikon lens line-up features two great Defocus Image Control lenses. The reviewed Nikon AF DCNikkor 135mm f/2D is the longer and a bit more expensive than its sibling Nikon AF DC-Nikkor 105mm f/2D. The lens was released in 1995 so it is one of the oldest Nikkors still in production today. It is a full format lens so on a DX (APS-C) dSLR its field of view is equivalent to 202 mm on the classical FX format. The build quality of the lens is superb and it handles great. It features rear focusing so the front element does not rotate and the length of the lens remains constant regardless of the focused distance. Specifications: Lens optical construction: Lens coating: Picture angle: Number of diaphragm blades: Minimum f/stop: Closest focusing distance: 7 elements in 6 groups SIC - Nikon Super Integrated Coating FX: 18; DX: rounded 16 1.1 m
Maximum reproduction ratio: 1:7.1 Weight (measured with lens 807 g +- 1g caps): Dimensions (approx.): External front filter thread: Aperture ring: Distance scale: Material of bayonet ring: Other features: 79x120 mm 72 mm Does have Does have metal Lens provides distance information to the camera. Defocus Image Control.
Sharpness: Testing this lens for sharpness was a joy. The resolution is good wide open (F2.0) even though the contrast is low. At F2.8 the resolution is very good and excellent beyond. At its best (F5.6, F8) the lens is sharper than the 10Mpix sensor of the D200 can measure.
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I didn't test for the boarder resolution since it's quite unimportant in portrait photography. The worst result someone could possibly find is that a portrait lens is too sharp in the edges. It is interesting to notice that other famous portrait lens Nikkor AF 85mm f/1.4D is pretty soft close to the edges until F4 and this softness with shallow depth of field (DOF) is the key to its success. The DC Nikkor 135 f/2D allow more: you may shift the DOF, which is stunning. I periodically test the sharpness of lenses but I have to point out that sharpness is generally an exaggerated parameter. Some people do study 10 or
12 MPix images magnified at 200% on their monitor screens. They are omitting the fact that the size of the whole picture at this magnification would be over 2 meters.
Distortion, vignetting and chromatic aberrations: According to other reliable tests, the lens shows extremely low barrel distortion and vignetting lower than 0.35 EV even wide open (on a DX format camera). The test also states that the chromatic aberrations are very low (0.014% of frame height at image boarders). These results are close to stellar, even for a prime lens and my general shooting experience is in accordance with that. But the most interesting and unique feature is the Defocus Image Control: It is accomplished by altering spherical aberration of the lens. The lens features a dedicated control ring similar to an aperture ring to alter the defocus effect (spherical aberration). The DC control ring has a neutral setting where the lens behaves just like a normal telephoto lens. The ring can be rotated to the right or to the left to emphasize the background (R letter for rear) or foreground (F letter for front) defocus. The ring locks at every full stop between f/2 and f/5.6. Turning the ring beyond the aperture
in use lets us create an overall soft-focus effect. Some say that the DC effect is only subtle and the defocus effect can be obtained cheaper with soft focus filters or via digital post processing. Although we can argue about the first statement, the other two are nonsense. The soft focus created by this lens gradually alter either background or foreground which is impossible to obtain with a filter or from a single 2D image in software post processing. In test setup I arranged 5 boxes at distances of 150, 170, 190, 210 and 230 cm from the camera (focal plane). At distance of 230 cm I also put a crystal vase lit by a Nikon portable speedlight to create out of focus highlites on some images. I used Nikon D200 camera, Bowens Esprit studio flashes and a Seconic flash meter. Lens had been focused at distance of 170 cm and refocused with every shot. In this setup I shot nearly every possible combination of aperture and defocus setting. To cut a long story short I will present you with only some of the pictures. F2.0 F4.0
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F2.8 As you can see the defocus effect
of this lens is obvious and perfectly under photographers control. The bokeh is kind of a dreamy-creamy one. The softfocus achieved by DC setting exceeding current aperture in use is also very pleasant. It lowers contrast but touch of sharpness is still present at the focus plane.
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Side effects of defocusing either foreground or background are light edged circles at spots of high contrast in the opposite side (background or foreground) - see in picture below (F2.0 DC DC F5.6). Even though it can be used 2.8 in a creative photography, it is a bit distracting. But don't worry. In normal photographic situations it won't be a big problem. If we try to defocus background (or foreground) of image it is mostly because it is busy and distracting. The other side ie. foreground (or background) is therefore less busy and in most portrait situations clear of any objects that could possibly cause these light edged circles. It's always possible not to use the DC at extreme situations. The out of focus highlites don't feature the bright edge at neutral DC setting. The colour transmission of this lens compared to standard Nikkor 50 F/1.8D is neutral. The AF Nikkor 85 F/1.8D is a bit cooler (bluer) and a fraction of an EV lighter but the colour difference is minimal (see picture below).
Conclusion: The Nikon AF DC Nikkor 135 F/2D is a masterpiece lens. Although the auto focus (which relies on the in-camera motor) is a bit dated, it works fast and accurately. Sharpness, CA, vignetting and distortions are showing very good to excellent values. The colour transmission is neutral. If we sum this up altogether, we get a very good telephoto lens. In addition to this the Defocus Control feature gives us unique control over the bokeh (out of focus blur). The Nikon AF DC Nikkor 135 F/2D is a fine jewel that is worth its price. But as other magnificent jewels it shines only at certain occasions and is
not intended as an all-purpose wear. I'm very satisfied owner of this lens and I do recommend it to every portrait photographer.
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Editor: Michele Cartwright
|Intended For||35mm SLR, digital SLR|
|Focal Length||135 mm|
|Magnification||1 / 7.1|
|Min Focus Range||3.6 ft|
|Focus Adjustment||Automatic, manual|
|Max View Angle||18 degrees|
|Lens Construction||6 group(s) / 7 element(s)|
|Filter Size||72 mm|
|Lens Coating||Nikon Super Integrated Coating|
|Mounting Type||Nikon AF|
|Compatible Mountings||Nikon F|
|Features||Built-in lens hood, rear focusing system|
|Included Accessories||Dust cap, lens cap|
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