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Lens review

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 105 mm f/1.4E ED

26 November 2016
Szymon Starczewski

3. Build quality

The Nikkor AF-S 105 mm f/1.4E ED doesn’t have any direct rival with the same parameters so we have to compare it to a bit different instruments. Let’s consult the following chart. The tested Nikkor, despite a closed construction, is not a long device. Its slower rivals often have a similar length. Still its width sticks out and you shouldn’t be surprised by that, taking into account the huge entrance pupil. The Nikkor AF-S 105 mm f/1.4E ED also surpasses other lenses in this comparison in terms of weight and the optics complexity.

In this place you should mention the fact that during last several dozen years telephoto lenses got much more complex. The AI Nikkor 105 mm f/1.8S, presented in September 1981and featuring excellent fastness, consisted of just five elements positioned in five groups. What’s interesting, in 1993 it was replaced by a slower model, the AF DC Nikkor 105 mm f/2D, which had just one element more.

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 105 mm f/1.4E ED - Build quality
Optical construction of the AI Nikkor 105 mm f/1.8S designed in the second half of the seventies by Teruyoshi Tsunashima.

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In the photo below the Nikkor AF-S 105 mm f/1.4E ED is positioned between the Canon EF 100 mm f/2.8L Macro USM IS and the Nikkor AF-S 24–70 mm f/2.8G ED.

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 105 mm f/1.4E ED - Build quality


The tested lens starts with a metal mount surrounding contacts and a rear element which doesn’t move, 30 mm in diameter. The edge of the element and the area around it is very nicely blackened and matted – no problems from this side.

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 105 mm f/1.4E ED - Build quality


The proper body of the lens starts with a smooth, black ring covered by plastics and getting narrower after a while. On the ring you see a white dot, making the alignment with a camera easier. The ring turns smoothly into a plate with the name and parameters of the lens and a big “N” letter which means nanocrystal coatings were used. Inside the plate, behind a window, there is a distance scale expressed in meters and feet; right below you find not especially useful depth of field marks at f/16.

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 105 mm f/1.4E ED - Build quality


On the left side you see a focusing mechanism mode switch (M/A-M) and, on the opposite side of the lens, its serial number, information concerning the parameters of the lens and an inscription „Made in China”.

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 105 mm f/1.4E ED - Build quality


Further on there is a ribbed manual focus ring, as wide as 32 mm. It moves smoothly, is well damped and, what’s important, works without any slack. Running through the whole distance scale needs a turn through an angle of about 140 degrees. It is a quite sensible value for a lens equipped with an autofocus.

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 105 mm f/1.4E ED - Build quality


At the front of the lens you see an immobile front element, 74 mm in diameter. The element is surrounded by a hood mount and a filter thread which doesn’t rotate and is 82 mm in diameter.

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 105 mm f/1.4E ED - Build quality


When it comes to the optical construction you deal here with as many as 14 elements positioned in 9 groups. Three elements were made of low dispersion ED glass. Inside there is also a round aperture with nine diaphragm blades which can be closed down to a value of f/16 at the maximum.

Buyers get both caps, a hood and a soft pouch in the box.

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 105 mm f/1.4E ED - Build quality