13 comments on “Lens Review: Nikon Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8 AI-s

  1. Thank you for this excellent review. Actually I bought a non-macro version of this lens, the 105mm f/2.5 ai-s few months ago and so far it’s my most loved lens along the SEL 35mm f/1.8, which, I believe, is one of your favorites too. These old lenses are real gems compared to the non-pro lenses of today. By the way, are you familiar with the 24mm ai-s?

    • Thanks, and I agree, there’s a certain character to these old lenses that don’t seem to be matched by many of the modern ones. That 105mm f/2.5 is a legend, and I almost got one before I found my f/1.8 version of the lens.

      I do know of the 24mm AI-s, though I have no plans to get one, at least for APS-C. The returns on the arbitrary image quality-to-price ratio diminish after using lenses wider than 50mm. I’d rather have modern lenses on anything wider (like that SLRMagic 35mm T0.95!). But 50mm and up, these old lenses are a great value.

  2. I bought this lens in the 90’s and it has been my go-to lens shooting slide film and now digital images. This lens’ versatility keeps it mounted on my camera. It’s useful in so many situations and it produces wonderful results. And it’s small (compared to most modern lenses) and uses 52mm filters. Thanks for showing this under-appreciated lens some love!

    • Glad you liked the review, Shimon. I can definitely see this lens being useful for slide reproduction at f/8, the amount of detail the lens can resolve is truly impressive. I’d say the Nikon isn’t the only old, under-appreciated macro lens out there. 😉

  3. I was looking to this lens especially for macro work, since it is cheaply available on ebay in my country. However, it seems, macro only works at 70mm?!
    By using extension tubes, do you think can we achieve better macro performance?

    • Hello Nitesh, sorry for the late response. I am not sure what you are referring to with 70mm, unless this lens reduces its focal length the closer it zooms in (I do not know if it does this one way or the other). All I know is that regardless of focal length, the lens can only achieve a 1:2 reproduction ratio without its dedicated PN-11 extension tube, but can reach a nice and close 1:0.88 ratio with the tube.

  4. Matthew,

    I recently bought a 105 AIS and find that the images are quite nice. Since the extension tube gives the lens a 1:.88 ratio, Would using the adapter for my Sony A72 or A6000 act in the same manner, since it’s in effect an extension tube and when attaching the Nikon tube drastically change the 1:.88 ratio, since the Fotodiox adapter has to be in place in order to mount the lens.

    • Not quite, Gary. The lens adapters that let you put Nikon/Canon/Leica/etc. lenses on your E-mount camera only increase the flange distance to the same that those lenses would have on their respective camera bodies. Literally speaking our adapters are extension tubes, but they only get them to extend to where the focus range is the same as it is on the native cameras. So, the reproduction ratio capabilities of the lens are exactly the same as they are on a Nikon camera.

  5. Hi Mathew,

    Thank you for an excellent and a detailed review. I have a quick question for you. Is PN-11 necessary or could we use a manual extension tube and achieve the same results. I have D5100 and planning to buy the lens but this is purely for my Macro Photography.

    Thanks and Regards

    • Hey there Siva, glad you liked the review. Any extension tube you use will increase the magnification, but the magnification will vary depending on how many millimeters long it is. If you can get one that is about the same as the PN-11, then you’ll be set. If you get one that’s longer, you’ll have an even greater magnification (though may have a bit more performance falloff).

      Good luck!

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