Short telephoto prime lenses have long been a favourite with portrait photographers, thanks in part to the working distance between model and photographer they provide, their field of view and, let’s not forget the fast maximum aperture that’s a common feature of this type of lens. The most common focal length in this area is 85mm, of which Nikon produce two. But if you’re looking for an extra 20mm of reach combined with a f/1.4 maximum aperture, the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 105mm f/1.4E ED offers something uniquely different.
Released in August 2016, the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 105mm f/1.4E ED is the only lens of its type on the market and replaces the ageing, and discontinued Nikkor 105mm f/2. The 105mm f/2.5 AI version was launched in 1977 and was subsequently replaced by the 105mm f/2.5 AI-S version in 1981. The AI-S version was produced until 2005 and was highly regarded by photographers for its ability to produce sharp images, across the frame, at all apertures. Equally at home in the studio or on location shooting portraits, the 105mm f/2.5 was a classic that has been dramatically improved and updated to work seamlessly with high-resolution Nikon DSLRs.
Working at a focal length of 105mm with the ability to open up the aperture to f/1.4 is a combination that guarantees beautiful bokeh in portraits. The nine rounded aperture blades certainly help in this department and are claimed to help decrease diffraction. Plus, the lens is capable of focusing at a minimum distance of 1m for frame-filling headshots. All these features and robust build quality make this unique lens a compelling proposition for landscape photographers working both in the studio and on location. Not to mention product and still-life photographers for whom this lens could be ideally suited.