Review of Nikon AF DC-Nikkor 105mm 1: 2 D Defocus Image Control

According provided by lens Nikon AF DC-Nikkor 105mm 1: 2 D Defocus Image Control many thanks to Alexander Fetisov.

Review of Nikon AF DC-Nikkor 105mm 1: 2 D Defocus Image Control

Review of Nikon AF DC-Nikkor 105mm 1: 2 D Defocus Image Control

Nikon AF DC-Nikkor 105mm 1: 2 D Defocus Image Control is a unique lens that is highly regarded by many photographers as a good tool for creating portraits. In the review, I will refer to it for short as 'DC-Nikkor 105 / 2D'. This lens belongs to the DC-Nikkor lens line, which contains only three lenses:

  • Nikon AF DC-Nikkor 105mm 1: 2 D Defocus Image Control, presented in this review. It was produced from September 1993 to August 2016.
  • Nikon AF DC-Nikkor 135mm 1: 2 Defocus Image Control (MKI), a longer telephoto version of the previous model. It was produced from October 1990 to December 1995.
  • Nikon AF DC-Nikkor 135mm 1: 2 D Defocus Image Control (MKII), version updated to 'D' type. Produced from November 1995 to the present day.

The prefix 'DC' stands for 'Defocus Control' - 'Control of the out of focus', or 'Control of defocused image'. Translated into a more modern language, this is the function that is partially responsible for controlling the bokeh.

Rumor has it that after the huge success of the Nikon AF DC-Nikkor 135mm 1: 2 Defocus Image Control (MKI) lens, Nikon decided to release a simpler model of the super-legendary 'portrait lens' and introduced the DC-Nikkor 1993 / 105D in 2 ... In any case, the DC-Nikkor 105 / 2D, like its 'big brother', is a top-level professional lens, it's just 3 cm “shorter” :).

On youtube.com once there was a wonderful channel NHHC (Nikon Help Hotline Center), which in great detail and clearly described the capabilities of Nikon lenses and rare subtleties and techniques when working with lenses and Nikon cameras. The channel was closed, and all videos from there were 'cut'. Each lens NHHC gave a brief description, I remember exactly that for 'DC-Nikkor 105 / 2D' it was said 'poor man's 135/2 DC-Nikkor'-' DC-Nikkor lens for those on a limited budget ':).

View of the Nikon AF DC-Nikkor 105mm 1: 2 D Defocus Image Control from the bayonet side

View of the Nikon AF DC-Nikkor 105mm 1: 2 D Defocus Image Control from the bayonet side (the rear lens is almost invisible)

DC-Nikkor 105 / 2D has been assembled for centuries, almost all of metal, including with a metal hood and metal thread for filters. Only the aperture ring and the installation ring focus mode are made of plastic, and this is a bit upsetting. DC-Nikkor 105 / 2D has a metal mount with one black screw, which serves as a kind of mark for quick installation of the lens on the camera. The lens weighs 640 grams and looks great on any camera.

Aperture blades and lens illumination Nikon AF DC-Nikkor 105mm 1: 2 D Defocus Image Control

Aperture blades and lens illumination Nikon AF DC-Nikkor 105mm 1: 2 D Defocus Image Control

Auto focus is fast. Focus time from infinity and back (tested on camera Nikon D700) exactly the same as the lens Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm 1: 1.8G SWM Aspherical... When focusing, of course, noise is heard from the running engine and gears. A lot of time has passed, and many very interesting lenses have not yet been updated to versions with a built-in focusing motor. For example, this DC-Nikkor 105 / 2D is released 'as is' and has not been updated for over 20 years!

The lens has an internal focusing type (neither the front nor the rear lenses move during focusing). The front filter diameter is 72 mm.

The focus switch is made in the form of a ring and has its own lock, preventing accidental transition to another mode. When switching to manual focus mode, it is enough to use only the switch on the lens, you can leave the switch near the camera mount (do not Nikon 180mm 1: 2.8D ED AF Nikkor it was also necessary to switch near the bayonet). The focus ring remains fixed during autofocus. In manual focus mode 'M', the focus ring rotates approximately 100 degrees. Focusing manually is convenient, the focus ring is rubberized, although I would like it to be a little wider. The minimum focusing distance is 90 cm and the maximum zoom ratio is 1: 7.7.

There is a window on the lens with a focus distance scale. IPIG Scale is for F / 16 only. There is also a tag for working in the infrared spectrum.

The infinity label is strongly stretched. This is due to the fact that the Defocus Image Control system affects the focus and produces the so-called 'focus shift', in order to compensate for it, the mark with the '∞' sign was specially stretched.

Enlightenment of the front lens Nikon AF DC-Nikkor 105mm 1: 2 D Defocus Image Control

Enlightenment of the front lens Nikon AF DC-Nikkor 105mm 1: 2 D Defocus Image Control

To control the degree of blurring of the far and foreground background, there is a special ring on the lens, which is responsible for Defocus Image Control. The ring is equipped with a blocking button - you must press this button before turning the ring. In order to blur the background more strongly, you should rotate the ring towards the white 'R' mark (from the English 'REAR' - 'back'). In order to blur the foreground more strongly, rotate the ring towards the white label 'F' (from the English 'FRONT' - 'front').

The numbers on the Defocus Image Control ring correspond to the aperture number F on which the survey is taking. It is recommended to set the ring shift to a number not exceeding the set aperture value F. For example, if shooting at the aperture value F / 4, it is recommended to set the values ​​R2, R2.8, R4, F2, F2.8 using the Defocus Image Control ring. 4, FXNUMX. If set to a higher value, the image in focus may become blurry. For the best effect, it is recommended that you use the Defocus Image Control number equal to the number of aperture on which you are shooting.

Important: you can not use the Defocus Image Control ring, in which case the lens turns into a regular fast fix. Just leave the Defocus Image Control ring at zero (neutral) mark.

Optical Designs for DC-Nikkor Lenses

Optical Designs for DC-Nikkor Lenses

In essence, Defocus Image Control simply allows you to control the level of spherical aberration. If you carefully look at what happens when the Defocus Image Control ring rotates, you can see that in the middle of the lens a group of lenses is located just behind the front lens (the group is visible on the optical diagram of the lens in the image above). It is noticeable that the optical circuits of DC-Nikkor 105 / 2D and DC-Nikkor 135 / 2D very similar.

The Defocus Image Control ring rotates a little further than the R / F 5.6 values.

Nikon AF DC-Nikkor 105mm 1: 2 D Defocus Image Control Defocus Image Control Ring

Nikon AF DC-Nikkor 105mm 1: 2 D Defocus Image Control Defocus Image Control Ring

Very important: when the Defocus Image Control ring rotates, focusing fails. You need to focus after a value has been set using the Defocus Image Control ring.

Very important: the Defocus Image Control function does not make the subject in focus less sharp, this function only controls the degree and nature of blurring of the far or near plan (if you do not set the R / F number more than the number of the aperture on which the picture is taken).

Feature: Defocus Image Control function is creative, therefore, you can still rotate the Defocus Image Control ring more than the aperture requires, while the image in the sharpness zone becomes 'soft' and thus the 'Soft Focus' effect can be achieved. But this is more a consequence than the main task of this function. For example, you can set it to R5.6 using the Defocus Image Control ring and shoot at F / 2.0 :). This is very useful because the lens is very 'sharp' and sometimes oversharpening is very negative when shooting portraits.

Feature: when you rotate the Defocus Image Control ring towards 'F', the foreground blurs more, but the background becomes the opposite - harder. That is, we treat one thing and cripple the other. But, based on the fact that in 99% of cases it is necessary to blur the background, and defocused objects in the foreground are rare, then the 'hard' blurring of the foreground when you rotate the Defocus Image Control ring towards the 'R' side can be neglected.

Focusing Distance Scale Nikon AF DC-Nikkor 105mm 1: 2 D Defocus Image Control

Focusing Distance Scale Nikon AF DC-Nikkor 105mm 1: 2 D Defocus Image Control

It's important: auto focus with this lens is available only when using him on cameras with built-in motor focusing.

Exact list Nikon DSLR cameras with a built-in focus motor, on which this lens will focus automatically:

Exact list Nikon DSLR cameras without a built-in focus motor, on which this lens will not focus automatically:

Only auto focus and sound confirmation of focus will not work with these cameras, all other important functions, such as automatic exposure metering and automatic iris control, will work well.

You will find a lot of useful information on the types of cameras and lenses Nikon here.

The lens has a manual aperture ring. To be able to control the value aperture from camera or for automatic installation aperture on modern central control valves, you need to turn the control ring to F / 16 and fix it with a special lever, which is located to the right of the marks aperture. If this is not done, then on a number of cameras, the display will display an error - 'fEE' (ring is not installed aperture) Some cameras having diaphragm rheostatallow you to control the aperture using the ring aperturebut only in metering modes exposure 'M' and 'A'. You can read more about this issue in the section on Non-G Lenses. Ring aperture rotates with clicks, the values ​​F / 2, 2.8, 4, 5.6, 8, 11, 16 are plotted on it, it is impossible to establish an intermediate value between pairs of numbers. The presence of the aperture control ring allowed me to use the lens with a Canon EOS M camera.

Diaphragm comprises nine petals. On covered diaphragms, circles in the blur zone look very nice, without the effect of nuts or notches (closed diaphragm example).

Nikon AF DC-Nikkor 105mm 1: 2 D Defocus Image Control

Nikon AF DC-Nikkor 105mm 1: 2 D Defocus Image Control

The built-in hood is easy to set in the active position. In the raised state, the hood is easily fixed and does not spontaneously fall back. The inside of the hood is covered in black velor (how nice!). You can shoot almost always without a hood, since the lenses of the lens are pretty deeply seated in the lens barrel. Installing a light filter does not interfere with raising the hood.

Nikon AF DC-Nikkor 105mm 1: 2 D Defocus Image Control with raised hood

Nikon AF DC-Nikkor 105mm 1: 2 D Defocus Image Control with raised hood

The rear lens of the lens is almost completely transparent and you may not even notice it. Perhaps this is not even a special lens, but an ordinary multi-brightened glass that simply serves as protection for the inside of the lens. During focusing, this lens remains stationary.

Nikon AF DC-Nikkor 105mm 1: 2 D Defocus Image Control Rear Lens

Nikon AF DC-Nikkor 105mm 1: 2 D Defocus Image Control Rear Lens

Anyway, the DC-Nikkor 105 / 2D is one of the best portrait lenses for Nikon cameras. If you are looking for a good lens for this genre, then my article will help you with this'Nikon portrait lens'. Question '135 or 105 ′ difficult, but if there is no limitation in funds, then I recommend looking at 135 mm :). In addition, Nikon has two more very interesting 'stacks': Nikon Nikkor 105mm 1: 1.8 AI-S и Nikon AF-S Nikkor 105mm f / 1.4E ED.

Nikon AF DC-Nikkor 105mm 1: 2 D Defocus Image Control on Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro Camera

Nikon AF DC-Nikkor 105mm 1: 2 D Defocus Image Control on the camera Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro

Of course, with a focal length of 105 mm and a huge (for such a focal length) maximum aperture of F / 2.0 it is easy to achieve a narrow GRIP и shoot with blurry background.

Nikon DX AF-S Nikkor 18-200mm 1: 3.5-5.6GII ED SWM VR IF Aspherical and Nikon AF DC-Nikkor 105mm 1: 2 D Defocus Image Control

dimensions Nikon DX AF-S Nikkor 18-200mm 1: 3.5-5.6GII ED SWM VR IF and Nikon AF DC-Nikkor 105mm 1: 2 D Defocus Image Control

The lens is very sharp, even at F / 2.0 and even around the edges of the frame (only the corners are slightly sagging). Sharpness at F / 2.0 is no worse than macro lenses, such as Tokina Macro 100 F2.8 D AT-X PRO N / AIS. On my Nikon D700 sharpness at f / 2.8-f / 5.6 just breaks the sensor! No distortion, normal vignetting at F / 2.0, weak chromatic aberration at F / 2.0. The only frustrating thing is freezing (aberrations, due to which the contrasting details in the out of focus areas are colored purple and green). On open diaphragms, frigging can be very noticeable in the eyes; when the diaphragm is closed, it decreases. Friging is common in fast and super fast optics, only true apochromatic lenses like the Voigtlander APO-Lanthar 125mm f2.5 (and other APO-Lanthar) can really fight it.

Here link to the archive with the originals - 728 MB, 44 photos in .NEF format (RAW) from the camera Nikon D700. When shooting was used protective filter L37c 72mm Nikon Japan and various Defocus Image Control settings. On Nikon DX cameras EGF lens will be 157,5mm, which will require you to move away from the subject a little further.

Nikon AF DC-Nikkor 105mm 1: 2 D Defocus Image Control on Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro Camera

Nikon AF DC-Nikkor 105mm 1: 2 D Defocus Image Control on the camera Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro

Personal experience

You need to get used to the lens. When I took test shots, I noticed that on my camera Nikon D700 focusing errors periodically appear, they are not systematic, but they are enough to draw serious attention to this. I noticed that when using Defocus Image Control the focus is blurred more often (perhaps just a subjective opinion), perhaps focusing errors are simply related to the small depth of field at 105 mm focal length and F / 2.0. I was pleased with the excellent sharpness at F / 2.0, and especially with the smooth tonal transitions from the sharp-to-unsharp zone, the overall 'volume' of the images and pleasant bokeh. At the edges of the frame, the glowing points in the out-of-focus area turn into lemons, visually twisting the background. I'm still not used to the Defocus Image Control system, it is a rather subtle tool that you need to know how to use. A bit annoying in the lens is the freezing and 72 mm filters instead of 77 mm.

Price

The current prices for the Nikon 105mm f / 2.0D AF DC-Nikkor lens in popular online stores can be viewed hereor in the price block:

Comments on this post do not require registration. Anyone can leave a comment. A wide variety of photographic equipment can be found on AliExpress, The Amazon и B&H Photo.

Results

Like it or not, the Nikon AF DC-Nikkor 105mm 1: 2 D Defocus Image Control remains a unique lens. His creative potential is very great. The image and build quality are top notch. Passing by near such a lens is very difficult.

Update: In August 2016, it became known that the lens was discontinued and is an archive model among Nikon Nikkor lenses. This does not mean that the lens cannot be bought new, but only means that it will no longer be available. To replace him in the summer of 2016 came a faster and more modern Nikon AF-S Nikkor 105mm 1: 1.4E ED N.

Update 2: there was a review of a very cheap alternative to this lens in the face YONGNUO 100 / 2.

Material prepared Arkady Shapoval... Look for me on Youtube | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter.

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Comments: 140, on the topic: Review of the Nikon AF DC-Nikkor 105mm 1: 2 D Defocus Image Control

  • Andrey

    Who cares, I sell this lens)) It is certainly beautiful, but I think 105mm 1.4 is more beautiful)

  • Stanislas

    Arkady, good afternoon. Have you tried shooting with aperture 5.6 and shifting the defocus control ring to R2.0? In theory, bokeh should be blurry like at f / 2.0, and sharpness, contrast and depth of field (in the place where you focus) like at f / 5.6.
    I understand correctly? (have there been bokeh comparisons f/5.6 + DC R2.0 vs f/5.6 + DC R5.6)

    • Arkady Shapoval

      this is not so, the principle of operation is described in the review

      • Stanislas

        I understand that with aperture 5.6 setting the ring to R2.0 there will be a minimal change in bokeh, with R2.8 more and so on up to R5.6 the strongest change?
        To be honest, I have already gone through a dozen YouTube videos and about the same number of articles. There are no intelligible tests anywhere, everyone bypasses the topic of defocus control by the tenth road. In tests, it usually goes like this: f / 2 + DC R2 vs f / 2 + no DC or f / 4 + DC R4 vs f / 4 + no DC (in all these examples there is no difference at all, only with a bottle of vodka you can see something ). There are these: f / 2 + DC R4 (there is naturally “72% laundry soap” in the focus area, but I don’t think that Nikon is idiots and this is the main feature of an expensive lens with defocus control). But there was no comparison anywhere: f/5.6 + DC R2 vs f/5.6 + DC R5.6. There is no comparison as with the same aperture (for example 5.6), each “R” value (2, 2.8, 4, 5.6) changes the picture.
        I apologize in advance for distracting from business with a similar question.

        • Arkady Shapoval

          Because it's just a toy, it's not very useful for real work.

          • Stanislas

            it’s a pity that I don’t have such a lens on my hands, so I would double-check all the nuances myself. It’s hard for me to believe that Nikon would produce such a lens with a built-in “toy” function.
            Okay, thanks for the answers, I have been reading your site for a long time, most of the articles are of good quality.

            • Kirill

              If he gave great advantages when filming, everyone would film him. Don't you think?

              • Stanislas

                “big advantages when shooting” are loose and abstract concepts, “everyone would be filmed on it” if there was a really (without a bottle of vodka) difference, but the price tag was $ 6000, then it is unlikely that “everyone” would be filmed on it.
                I'm interested in the nature of the bokeh at 5.6 and 8 (more precisely, how the defocus control affects it). The fact that this 135 is doing very well at 2.0 and 2.8 is clear to me, but I don’t always shoot open, especially at focal lengths 135, 180, 200 (due to the very narrow depth of field).
                Okay, I already guess that I won’t find a normal analysis and practical application anywhere on the Internet.

            • Kirill

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Le5wlbsd0RQ
              Here is a video where they compare with different DC values. If it exceeds the aperture value, then something like a soft focus effect appears. At 5,6 and 8 you are unlikely to find examples, the lens is f2, everyone wants to see what will happen on the open.

              Just as I understand it, if you set the dc value to less than the aperture, then there will be no effect at all. But here I can be wrong.

            • Kirill

              https://www.stacken.kth.se/~maxz/defocuscontrol/
              Here I found a test with 5,6 and 8. The images are small of course, I think if you look, you can find large ones. I think there is a group on flickr with DC lenses

            • Kirill

              I think for the purpose of softening bokeh on covered apertures, lenses with an apodization filter are suitable. For example, https://www.venuslens.net/product/laowa-105mm-f2/ this role is played by the second diaphragm. There is also a Canon 85 1.2 version with coating on one of the lenses for a similar effect, I still know Fuji has it. But the range of this effect must be specified for each lens. For laowa, it probably works in a wide range, after all, this is the second aperture, for Canon I don’t know, depending on where the coated lens is

              • Stanislas

                Thanks for the links, they really helped clear things up.

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