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The New Nikon 105mm f/1.4 | The World’s Fastest 105mm Lens

By Kishore Sawh on July 25th 2016

We don’t too much go in for the churnings of the rumor mill on SLRL, but there are certain things, from certain sources, and leaks of a particular kind that draw us like moths to a halogen lamp – like this one: Next month, Nikon is set to ship a brand new 105mm f/1.4, which would be the first non-macro/micro 105 in a while, and the world’s fastest 105mm.

The leak as reported from NikonRumors came from Digicame-Info and actually gives us some decent information about the lens, given that we’ve been provided a shot of the lens itself (purportedly). It’s an AF-S Nikkor 105mm 1:1.4E ED, and what we can derive from that aside from the glaringly obvious, is that it doesn’t have any vibration reduction, and that omission would suggest it would be reflected in the price, but given the suggestion it will cost $2,200 USD in Japan, not too much.


Of course, it’s easy to think that with such speed and a focus on ‘bokeh’ there are many who will immediately jump to be in line for one of these, but that may not actually be the case, especially if the price point is that high, and that’s simply because Nikon has a lot of ‘fast’ 105mm lenses that are still being sold today. There’s the:

Nikon AF-S VR Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED

Nikon Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8

Nikon AF DC-NIKKOR 105mm f/2D


Each of these is offering some sort of benefit over the new 1.4. The 105mm 2.8 IF-ED has VR and costs $896; the Nikon Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8 non VR costs $799, and perhaps the strongest competitor is the Nikon AF DC-NIKKOR 105mm f/2D, which, while not as fast, has defocus control, and costs about $1,000 less than the 1.4 is set to, coming it at only $1,196. Keep in mind too, that besides being less expensive, Nikon’s two DC lenses, the 105 f/2 and the 135mm DC f/2 have been considered for a long time to be two of the utter best portrait lenses in existence.

[REWIND: The Most Popular Cameras, Lenses, & Settings On The Internet| ExploreCams]

Shooting around the 100mm is one of the nicest spots to be in for many portrait and headshot shooters, and our own Julia Kuzmenko recently reviewed two of the Canon variants as the 100mm Macro is a lens she most frequently uses for studio portraits, but how many really tend to shoot that focal length at f/2 or wider? Is it great to have the flexibility? Sure, but how much is it worth to you?

What do you think? what would you rather have, the 1.4, of the 105 f/2 DC?  I’d take the DC.

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A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Jesse Martin

    I will be comlletely honest here, for one, i would never use this lens in a studio environment, more than likely i will be reaching for a fast mid range zoom lens such as the 28-75mm f/2.8. Its tack sharp and flexible. Outdoors, more than likely i will be reaching for a 70-200 f/2.8 VR again, its flexible, sharp and produces appealing images. These 85/105mm primes are specialty lenses…meaning you will only have a need for these lenses on a few occasions…Mind you i currently own a 105 f/2 DC lens, i also own a 85 1.8g lens…have i used them? yes of course, but will i use them for specofic jobs…hardly ever. for this lens to be 2K, is not worth my time or money, i woud prefer to purchase the Zeiss Milvus 85mm 1.4, or patiently wait for the Sigma 85mm Art lens…if it EVER comes out lol..Goof luck Nikon not targeting the right client.

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  2. Simon Johannssen

    I would love to work with this beautiful piece of glass.. But $2000+? That’s expensive.. And for me, way too much, even it’s an aperture of f/1.4.

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    • Kishore Sawh

      Hey Simon, yeah $2000 is so crazy priced. BUT, it might give a look no one else can or will give anytime soon.

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    • Simon Johannssen

      Hey Kishore, thank you for replying!
      I think I will wait for its release and take a look at some sample shots. Maybe I will rent it for some tests. It seems like an really awesome lens, especially for me as a portraiture photographer.
      Anyway.. interesting article! Keep doing :)

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    • Kishore Sawh

      Anytime. I’d say, take a look at the 105mm f2 DC. Really. it’s utterly brilliant, and less money.

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  3. Mark Carpenter

    A 135mmf/1.4G would be a sweet lens, but how many will be returned because photographers either don’t know or have forgotten the fundamentals. Many photographers have enough trouble with the 135mm f/2D AF DC, not because it is a bad lens, it’s actually an extraordinary lens. They don’t understand that it is a 135mm lens and you need to keep the shutter speed up, along with the fact that if you shoot at f2 it will have paper thin DOF when shooting close in to your subject. So they get soft pictures and blame it on the lens, but that’s okay because those who understand the lens will be able to pick them up “OB” at B&H all day long.

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  4. William Dyer

    I own the 105 f2 DC, and aside from some color fringing, I love the lens. For me to switch to a 105 1.4, it would have to be amazingly sharp, and a reasonable price. $2000+ USD is too much for a 105, even a f 1.4, in my opinion. And I too am interested in the 19mm tilt/shift lens. I have the 24mm T/S and the 85mm T/S, and both are amazing once you get used to using them.

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  5. Robert Sheppard

    Actually more interested in the rumoured 19mm tilt/shift lens, but I guess the confidence level on that one is a bit lower ;)

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  6. Mircea Ciucă

    What about 105mm f/2.8 AF-D micro … you forget about this one. Also a cheap non AF lens is 105mm f/2.5 You can read Dante Stella old review . One of the best boken lens from Nikon.

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  7. Paul Wynn

    This one is a puzzle and seems a strange move for Nikon. As you rightly point out, they already have this focal length covered, what’s wrong with the f2.8 VR model? I do not see the advantage of an f1.4 non VR.

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  8. adam sanford

    So much for Nikon getting an 85mm f/1.2 lens someday.

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    • Kishore Sawh

      I really wonder how much desire there is for a 1.2 85. Of course everyone loves the idea of it, but I just can’t see the need if there can be a 1.4 that’s sharp as hell.

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    • Louis Amore

      I agree, I bought the 85 1.8 and honestly im so pleased the quality of this lens is beautiful

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    • Jason Inman

      85 1.2 is not possible… nikon elected to stay with their legacy mount when canon changed to the new E mount… means we have access to all of the lovely old Nikors… also means f1.4 is the absolute maximum possible. The mount is simply not wide enough for more.

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    • Jesse O’Leary

      I’m not sure that is entirely true Jason. As the physical size of the aperture is relative to the focal length. For example, a 50mm f2 would have an aperture opening (diameter) of 25mm, where as 100mm f2 would be a 50mm opening. The 200mm f2 aperture opening is 100mm across (hence the massive physical size of the lens). Therefore an 85mm f1.2 is roughly 70mm across.

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    • Ben Welland

      I’ve read elsewhere that this F-Mount limitation is simply not true. I think it was here, on B&H…

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    • Janick Millasson

      that (the “1.2 not possible”-myth) is pure bullshit…don’t believe everything u read on the internet…

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  9. Lauchlan Toal

    105mm is a fantastic focal length – I could easily see this being useful for portrait photographers, event/wedding photographers, and even sport photographers (indoors it would be perfect). Should be interesting to see if we get a 135mm later as well.

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    • adam sanford

      135 f/1.4? That’ll be the pickle jar to end all pickle jars. A third party made one recently, and it looks as ergonomically sound as a bazooka made of lead:

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    • Jason Inman

      tell me you wouldn’t want to play with it though… just a little…

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    • Lauchlan Toal

      Hahaha, not f1.4 – heck, I’d even expect f2 over f1.8. Yeah, that Mikaton’s a beast of a lens.

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