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REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
NikonAF DC-NIKKOR 135mm f/2D Lens
 
4.7

(based on 107 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (92)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (8)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (4)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (3)

97%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Strong construction (88)
  • Nice bokeh (74)
  • Durable (64)
  • Fast / accurate auto-focus (63)
  • Rugged (52)

Cons

  • Heavy (26)
  • Slow focus (7)
  • Poor in low light (4)
  • Blurry focus (3)

Best Uses

  • Weddings (51)
  • Low light (45)
  • Night photography (29)
  • Portraits (28)
  • Landscape/scenery (21)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Photo enthusiast (33), Semi-pro photographer (28), Pro photographer (21), Enthusiast (4), Professional (4)
    • Was this a gift?:
    • No (76)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

If you shoot portraits, it's a MUST have

I bought this lens to shoot portraits, I already have a 50 1.4 and 85mm 1.8 but I wanted something with some more compression and even smoother bokeh. Paired up with my D800 the...Read complete review

I bought this lens to shoot portraits, I already have a 50 1.4 and 85mm 1.8 but I wanted something with some more compression and even smoother bokeh. Paired up with my D800 the photos are spectacular. This lens is tac sharp even at F/2 (as long as you get the focus right, takes some practice even with AF i.e choosing a focusing point) and has beautiful bokeh. I personally love shooting this lens at F/2.8 and F/4, even then the bokeh is like butter on warm bread. In the studio this lens is phenomenal especially at F/11 with everything crazy sharp especially with the D800's 36 MegaPixel Sensor. The built in lens hood and metal body make this lens very rugged and it has a lot of soul but unfortunately it isn't weather sealed so I'd be worried to shoot with it in light drizzle.

Since this lens has so much glass the motor has to work a lot to move it and nail focus, I wouldn't recommend it for sports or fast moving event photos but for portraits it is perfect.

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

So disappointed !

I write this review with extreme sadness. Today I am sending the SECOND one of these lenses back to B&H, in the same week. I learned of this supposed legendary lens all...Read complete review

I write this review with extreme sadness. Today I am sending the SECOND one of these lenses back to B&H, in the same week. I learned of this supposed legendary lens all over the internet. Everyone praises it as one of the sharpest lenses in Nikons line up. Thats why when I ordered the first copy a week ago, I was surprised at how soft and non-sharp the lens was. I did test shots on tripod, in great outdoor light. The lens wasn't even close to as sharp as my 85mm 1.4D or my 50mm 1.4G! Not until f/4-f/8 did it create sharp images. But, who wants this lens for f/4-f/8??

I sent it back, and right away ordered a new one. It came yesterday, and I had the same experience. I wanted to LOVE this lens, but sadly it was nothing as described by others online.

I have to say, if you are lucky to get a cherry picked copy, like the ones you "hear" about, then the bokeh is simply unbeatable. But, who cares how the bokeh looks when the subject is softer than a baby's bottom, and not in sharp-focus.

This lens in my opinion is is a 1:10 lens, or a 1 in 10 lens. 1 out of 10 are so amazing that it has developed a reputation. The other 9 are average joe lenses needing a lot of work.

Reviewed by 107 customers

Displaying reviews 1-20

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5.0

Great lense

By Nedim

from Utica, NY

Verified Buyer

Comments about Nikon AF DC-NIKKOR 135mm f/2D Lens:

Sharpest lens i ever used. LOVE it. Money well spent.

(4 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Incredible and versatile 135 prime...

By John

from Undisclosed

See all my reviews

Site Member

Comments about Nikon AF DC-NIKKOR 135mm f/2D Lens:

I own a series of Nikkor AF-D lenses that span the 50-180mm spectrum and allow me to capture excellent portraits in a variety of scenarios (50/1.4, 60/2.8, 85/1.4, 105/2, 135/2, and 180/2.8). Among these, the 105 and 135 DC-Nikkors are my favorite. The DC (Bokeh control) is just too much fun, if you're a fan of bokeh then this nifty toy provides a lifetime of shooting fun, and also opens up a range of creative possibilities that cannot be found in any other lens.

There is a learning curve with the DC-Nikkors and it may take a while before you will get the best potential from these lenses. In a few scattered negative reviews of this lens, the problem is the inexperienced nut behind the viewfinder mis-focusing or mis-using the lens in ways they don't understand. But the learning will be rewarded by fantastic results, and more creative possibilities than you could ever imagine.

Note that, even if you don't use the DC ring to manipulate bokeh, the lens still produces awesome bokeh, and is worth every penny of its already low price point.

So everyone knows this lens is very sharp even wide open (assuming you know how to focus it properly), has superb bokeh and bokeh transition, has no distortion, etc.. These are already well-described elsewhere.

Here I would like to show an example of a capture I could get with this lens, that I would not have been able to get with other lenses (see attached photo). In fact I did try doing this with a non-DC lens and it didn't work. I wanted to capture the subject and his reflection, but the reflection was from a clear window and was relatively weak compared to the bright and busy outdoor scene outside the window (behind the reflection from the viewpoint of the camera). So, what do I do? Simply open up to f/2, twist the DC control ring to R2, and magically the outdoor scene obscuring the reflection is transformed into a wash of blur. Really, without the ability to blur backgrounds like this lens does, the reflection itself would have been severely muted and over-printed.

(2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Incredible lens!

By John

from Undisclosed

See all my reviews

Site Member

Comments about Nikon AF DC-NIKKOR 135mm f/2D Lens:

I already owned the 105mm f/2D DC-Nikkor, my favorite lens for a very long time, which I have used in every way possible on every camera body ever made by Nikon (up through the D5/D500). I used it for portrait, street, kids, and landscape. But I often wanted something that could get a little closer, especially for head shots and street, and there is nothing else I would like more than to own another of these incredible DC lenses...even if it is just a bit longer than my 105. I also want to send in my 105 for repairs of the focus, which hangs up sometimes after an unfortunate collision, and I didn't want to be without a DC in the mean time.

Of course the lens is pixel-to-pixel sharp and contrasty on every camera body, even at f/2. And no distortion. And no detectable falloff in real shooting. And of course, the bokeh renders absolutely dreamy creamy. The transition from in focus to out of focus objects is subtly smooth and natural, there isn't any bad bokeh in-between sharpness and creaminess. The color rendering is perfect for skin tones of all kinds. AF is plenty fast, it could even be used for indoor sports (which is far easier than shooting kids indoors).

Since I am already an experienced user of the 105/2DC, I had no problem instantly producing perfect and totally gorgeous images with the 135. If you have never used the DC-Nikkors before, please take the time to learn before posting any reviews...shoot 1000 frames in different situations, know how to use the DC control ring, etc.. I've seen some of the most ridiculous reviews of these lenses written by people who clearly knew nothing about how they work. And plenty of supposed test images that missed focus (the depth of field is thin at f/2...it is easy to miss!).

 
5.0

Nikon De Focus 135 mm F-2.0

By Douglas

from undisclosed

Verified Buyer

Comments about Nikon AF DC-NIKKOR 135mm f/2D Lens:

This is a excellent lens sharp as a tack and F 2.0 fast making it a perfect portrait lens D-Focus is very good.

(0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

The best for potrait

By Walter

from Medellín, Colombia

Verified Buyer

Comments about Nikon AF DC-NIKKOR 135mm f/2D Lens:

The best lens for potrait on Nikon D700.
I have the 85mm f1.4 too.
Is a mistake compare these two lens. Both are excelent but different in terms of result in potrait pictures. Boke, color and sharp, both are excelent lens but DC f2 is in my opinion more dedicate to potrait.
DC is really simple to understand and use. I don't understand some bad comments about DC system.
I will wait for the rumorred Nikon "D850" with maybe 54mega. Maybe the result will be not so good and probably the new 105mm f1.4 or rumored 135mm f1.8 will work better, but on my D700, it is the best lens for potrait.

(5 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

 
4.0

135 or 105 Micro?

By thomb

from davis ca

Verified Reviewer

Comments about Nikon AF DC-NIKKOR 135mm f/2D Lens:

I have a real conundrum with this lens. I already own the 85 1.4 wanted a bit longer focal length for getting candid shots of the grandkids. I also have the 105 2.8 macro and wasn't sure how the 135 would compare. I've taken 50-60 shots at identical settings with each lens and there seems to be a consistent difference. Both focus quickly but at the same settings (1/400 and 2.8 iso100) the 135 provides a distinctly better bokeh every single time, but it is also less sharp and detailed than the macro lens, every single time. I did leave the VR on with the 105 but at 1/400 I did not think it would be an unfair advantage over the 135, perhaps I'm wrong. I've attached representative images as examples. They were taken in RAW and not processed in any way other than to downsize a bit and save as JPEG so they could be attached (not sure if we can attach huge RAW files to these evals, happy to send the original images to anyone interested). I was standing about 20 feet away from the tree with the 105 and about 25 feet away with the 135. I'm not a professional just an enthusiastic amateur and would love to have feedback to make sure I've come to the correct conclusion. My suspicion is that the 105 macro is just a superlative lens when it comes to sharpness but does not provide the dramatic bokeh of the 135, perhaps just because it cannot go past 2.8. The 135 is an older lens design and it appears that it cannot create the sharpness of the macro lens. I will say that the wonderful bokeh of the 135 only becomes more dramatic at 2.0, where the macro cannot go. I'm still debating but I believe I'll keep the 135 as a portrait lens to support my 85 1.4. I enjoy photographing the grandkids and I find it useful to be a bit further away so as to get them as candid as possible. Thanks for reading through this, let me know what you think.

(1 of 19 customers found this review helpful)

 
3.0

Nothing exciting

By Reza

from Atlabta

Comments about Nikon AF DC-NIKKOR 135mm f/2D Lens:

Same performance as my 105 micro

(2 of 8 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Just Got It!

By Northern IL Boy

from Duh!

About Me Photo Enthusiast

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Consistent Output
  • Nice Bokeh
  • Rugged
  • Strong Construction

Cons

  • Slow Focus

Best Uses

  • Weddings/Events

Comments about Nikon AF DC-NIKKOR 135mm f/2D Lens:

Clearly (really?) a bokeh winner. I have the 105 2.0 and a pre-AIS 2.5 version of the 105, and the 135 F/2 is a decisive winner. If narrow DOF portraits are your focal (ish) point of success; this is an artistic fulcrum for financial reward and artistic consideration!

(9 of 16 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Love it!

By Rob

from Massachusetts

About Me Photo Enthusiast

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Easily Interchangeable
  • Fast / accurate auto-focus
  • Nice Bokeh

Cons

  • Heavy

Best Uses

  • Indoors/Low Light

Comments about Nikon AF DC-NIKKOR 135mm f/2D Lens:

To fully realize the capability of this lens requires more than normal directions as it is a "Direct Coupled" (DC) lens, a design to facilitate increasing boken behind or in front of the focal point. This feature can effectively be disabled by placing one of the len controls in the F16 position. The B&H salesman was careful to explain how and when to place the particular lens control in the F16 position. If you do not the results is not good! I use the lens on Nikon D7100 (as a 200mm lens) and Nikon D750 (as a 135mm lens) cameras, primarily for "shooting" stage productions during rehearsals and actual performances when the F2 len is most valuable.

  • Was this a gift?:
  • No

(44 of 44 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

JUST BUY IT. Then read below...

By J.R.

from Los Angeles, CA

About Me Pro Photographer

Verified Reviewer

Pros

  • Beautiful images
  • Consistent Output
  • Durable
  • Easily Interchangeable
  • Nice Bokeh
  • Rugged
  • Strong Construction

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Fashion
    • Glamour
    • Indoors/Low Light
    • Night Photography
    • Portraits
    • Weddings/Events

    Comments about Nikon AF DC-NIKKOR 135mm f/2D Lens:

    I was a big fan of the look of an 85mm on DX, so after going full frame, I set my sights (and savings plan) on this optical triumph.

    I've been putting this lens through the paces for the past two weeks since I've got it, and it's done nothing but exceed my expectations. Seeing more than a handful of people having bad experiences with the lens, I want to address common complaints by comparing them with my experiences.
    SHARPNESS: This is thing is stupidly sharp. Even at F/2, and it only gets sharper. At f/2 at 12 feet, I can see the texture of bubble wrap and grip tape clearly. Regarding blur/softness issues - figure this - 1. You better be shooting at a high shutter speed or on a tripod, to off-set the focal length. 2. If you're shooting a subject 10 feet or closer, your depth of field is probably an inch, maybe two, depending on your aperture. This is a situation where focusing and recomposing could very likely mess up your shots, as the DoF will be TINY. I would bet a LOT of money most of the people having problems are shooting wide open up close, not understanding that they have basically no depth of field to work with. Check your DoF with a meter when you're setting up, and you should be fine.
    CA/FRINGING - Fast lenses do this when wide open, especially older ones without modern coatings. This is an easy fix in PS or LR, though, so it kind of blows my mind that people still complain about this.
    DC Control - Honestly, this feature is a novelty. It's not hard to use - set it to your aperture, boom your done. So far, I can confirm its not a dramatic effect. In fact, if you didn't have photos to compare, you probably wouldn't be able to tell the difference. It smudges out hard lines just a little bit more, but it's subtle. Still, results are superb without it.
    WEIGHT - Yes, it's heavy. It's entirely metal and glass. Honestly, I like that, coming from all the plastic primes lately. For all you gun nuts, it's like holding a Sig or a big revolver after you've been running a Glock.
    FOCUS ACCURACY/SPEED - I know this is totally not common, but this is my only lens that was perfect out of the box! No fine tuning was needed. Focus is good, but not snappy. It could work at weddings and events, or concerts, but sports would be pushing it. Portraiture of course, is where this thing excels.

    IMAGE QUALITY - Dreamy. Less punchy than Nikon's recent offerings. Saturation seems a little less than all the G lenses, but I think that neutral vibe is good. Gives you more room to work with lights and in post. Definitely far more flattering on skin tones than other lens.

    BOKEH - BEST BOKEH EVER. EVER. Seriously. EVER. Want the eyes in focus and the nose not? Or back of the head fading into mush? Done!

    It really is everything its said to be. Again, there's probably lemons floating around out there, but that's what warranties are for. Just buy it. You'll find yourself going out of your way to use it!

    • Was this a gift?:
    • No

    (31 of 34 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    If you shoot portraits, it's a MUST have

    By Ben Revzin

    from San Jose, CA

    About Me Pro Photographer

    Verified Reviewer

    Pros

    • Durable
    • Nice Bokeh
    • Rugged
    • Strong Construction

    Cons

    • Heavy
    • Slower focus

    Best Uses

    • Indoors/Low Light
    • Portraits

    Comments about Nikon AF DC-NIKKOR 135mm f/2D Lens:

    I bought this lens to shoot portraits, I already have a 50 1.4 and 85mm 1.8 but I wanted something with some more compression and even smoother bokeh. Paired up with my D800 the photos are spectacular. This lens is tac sharp even at F/2 (as long as you get the focus right, takes some practice even with AF i.e choosing a focusing point) and has beautiful bokeh. I personally love shooting this lens at F/2.8 and F/4, even then the bokeh is like butter on warm bread. In the studio this lens is phenomenal especially at F/11 with everything crazy sharp especially with the D800's 36 MegaPixel Sensor. The built in lens hood and metal body make this lens very rugged and it has a lot of soul but unfortunately it isn't weather sealed so I'd be worried to shoot with it in light drizzle.

    Since this lens has so much glass the motor has to work a lot to move it and nail focus, I wouldn't recommend it for sports or fast moving event photos but for portraits it is perfect.

    • Was this a gift?:
    • No

    (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    why Nikon is the portrait choice in 35

    By k75

    from minnesota

    About Me Semi-pro Photographer

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Awsome Bokeh
    • Sharp
    • Strong Construction

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Portrait

      Comments about Nikon AF DC-NIKKOR 135mm f/2D Lens:

      This lens is sharp and the DC feature is wonderful. The lens focuses well on my 800. I have always been one to use little to no depth of field in portrait work. this lens goes even further bringing the attention to the subject. This lens is worth every penny and then some.

      • Was this a gift?:
      • No

      (0 of 7 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Best portrait lens

      By Rodrigo Jardon

      from New York

      About Me Pro Photographer

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Lightweight
      • Nice Bokeh
      • Strong Construction

      Cons

      • Slow Focus

      Best Uses

      • Indoors/Low Light
      • Portrait
      • Video
      • Weddings/Events

      Comments about Nikon AF DC-NIKKOR 135mm f/2D Lens:

      Fast, prime, incredibly sharp lens and with Defocus Control feature.

      • Was this a gift?:
      • No

      (9 of 9 customers found this review helpful)

       
      4.0

      Great for all types of Portraits!

      By Justin

      from Alaska

      About Me Photo Enthusiast

      Verified Reviewer

      Pros

      • Consistent Output
      • Durable
      • Easily Interchangeable
      • Fast / accurate auto-focus
      • Nice Bokeh
      • Strong Construction

      Cons

      • Heavy

      Best Uses

      • Weddings/Events

      Comments about Nikon AF DC-NIKKOR 135mm f/2D Lens:

      I love this lens! If done right, the background will simply melt away. I've used this lens for birthday parties, head shots and outdoor functions. There is not much of a learning curve for this lens like some have said. Even without the de-focus capability, this lens is worth the money! It is sharp and produces beautiful photos!The only thing that seems odd about this lens is the hood. It's easy to slide forward and tighten into place but when I unscrew it to slide back down, it will sometimes make this grinding noise that will make me cringe! No scratches or damage, just that odd noise.

      • Was this a gift?:
      • No

      (8 of 11 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      A Remarkable Lens

      By SEAROBIN

      from Massachusetts

      Comments about Nikon AF DC-NIKKOR 135mm f/2D Lens:

      I have owned and used a manual Nikon 135mm f2 lens for more than twenty years and relied on it for many types of my photography. I recently purchased a Nikon Df body and, while the MF lens worked very well with the Df, I wanted to try a AF version . After receiving and using the AF 135mm F2, I am convinced I made a good decision. Nothing of the sharpness has been lost in the AF version. In fact, it may be even sharper. The controllable bokah is a real asset and not just a gimmick. The lens is built with the heft and strength expected of a serious lens (think ZEISS or LEICA).I have used the new 135 with my Df body and with my F3 body with great results. On the Df it is fat to focus and provides access to all of the exposure and communications applications of the Df. On the the F3, it provides beautifully sharp B&W images.It is the best photo purchase I have made in a few years. RECOMMENDED!

      (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Great lens!

      By Alan

      from Rome, GA

      About Me Semi-pro Photographer

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Durable
      • Fast / accurate auto-focus
      • Nice Bokeh
      • Strong Construction

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Indoors/Low Light
        • Portraits
        • Weddings/Events

        Comments about Nikon AF DC-NIKKOR 135mm f/2D Lens:

        It's sharp and a beautifully constructed. It is perfect for portraits.

        • Was this a gift?:
        • No

        (5 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        one of Nikon's best lens

        By Michael C

        from Laguna Beach CA

        About Me Pro Photographer

        Pros

        • 85 14d
        • Consistent Output
        • Durable
        • Nice Bokeh
        • Strong Construction

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Indoors/Low Light
          • Weddings/Events

          Comments about Nikon AF DC-NIKKOR 135mm f/2D Lens:

          I use this lens for head and shoulder portraits. I own 58mm 1.4g, 85 1.4d, 70-200VR II, this old lens seemed not very necessary for me but it turned out I am very happy to get one. I think the rendering look/color of this lens is unique compare to the others. The bokeh is really smooth and beautiful. The building construction is the best out of all the other I ever have. The lens hood on it is a cleaver design and I hope other Nikon lens could have the same hood.

          • Was this a gift?:
          • No

          (8 of 8 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          Buttery bokeh

          By The Prints of Monico

          from Arvada, CO

          About Me Pro Photographer

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Consistent Output
          • Durable
          • Easily Interchangeable
          • Fast / accurate auto-focus
          • Nice Bokeh
          • Rugged
          • Strong Construction

          Cons

          • Poor in Low Light

          Best Uses

          • people
          • Video
          • Weddings/Events

          Comments about Nikon AF DC-NIKKOR 135mm f/2D Lens:

          I'm a professional and got the lens to compliment my 85m 1.8.
          Just looking thru the lens you can see how well it's gonna be. The background even at f/4 is wonderful. f2.0 is even better, but be careful to hold steady and get a lock on the focus because you might miss it.
          I knew I wanted this lens and the more I use it the more I'm in love.

          • Was this a gift?:
          • No

          (3 of 7 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          There is no better lens!!

          By JGD

          from NYC

          About Me Semi-pro Photographer

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Consistent Output
          • Durable
          • Easily Interchangeable
          • Fast / accurate auto-focus
          • Lightweight
          • Nice Bokeh
          • Rugged
          • Strong Construction

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Indoors/Low Light
            • Landscape/Scenery
            • Macro Photography
            • Night Photography
            • Sports/Action
            • Weddings/Events
            • Wildlife Photos

            Comments about Nikon AF DC-NIKKOR 135mm f/2D Lens:

            You just have to try it!

            • Was this a gift?:
            • No

            (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

             
            5.0

            Super portrait lens

            By cal

            from New Jersey

            About Me Photo Enthusiast

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Built in lens hood
            • Exquisite Bokeh
            • Sharp
            • Strong Construction

            Cons

            • Heavy

            Best Uses

            • Indoors/Low Light
            • Portraits

            Comments about Nikon AF DC-NIKKOR 135mm f/2D Lens:

            This is a well built, sharp, terrific portrait lens. It's not a light weight carry around all day lens, but that's the trade off for a fast tele with a solid build quality. Definitely not an all purpose lens and missing the latest in lens technolgy such as vibration reduction as it was designed about 20 years ago. Not sure how much longer Nikon will be offereing this lens but wanted to get one while still readily available.

            • Was this a gift?:
            • No

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