Nikon's New AF-S Nikkor 105mm f/1.4E ED Lens Is Probably the New Bokeh King

Nikon's New AF-S Nikkor 105mm f/1.4E ED Lens Is Probably the New Bokeh King

Nikon has announced the AF-S 105mm f/1.4E ED. Yes, that wide aperture is real. And yes, at $2,196.95, it's as expensive as anyone thought it might be. The good news is that optical quality is supposed to be at the top of its segment. With a relatively long focal length of 105mm, the f/1.4 maximum aperture is impressive regardless of the price. Also featuring Nikon's latest nano and fluorine coatings, this is bound to be a new favorite lens for many portrait and wedding photographers.

The fluorine coating on the front of the lens helps protect that expensive front element from unwanted oil, dust, and dirt. Meanwhile, nano coating and ED glass elements keep lens flare and chromatic aberration to a minimum. The new 105mm also features Nikon's latest electromagnetic aperture (nine-bladed, in this case) for fast and accurate exposures even at high exposure rates.

Excellent sharpness and superb color rendition are promised even at the maximum aperture and into the corners, which Nikon claims will remain free of sagittal coma flare when reproducing point light sources. Given the lack of vibration reduction in this model (which was featured in Nikon's last 105mm lens), one would expect these specifications to hold true when considering the high price point. It features 14 elements in 9 groups, a minimum focusing distance of 3.3 ft for a maximum magnification of 0.13x, and a weight of 985 g (2.2 lbs). Meanwhile, its MTF chart shows good sharpness into the corners, even at f/1.4: 

nikon-105mm-portrait-lens-mtf

The new AF-S 105mm f/1.4E features an 82mm filter thread and will be available starting August 26th. Pre-orders for the lens are now open.

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26 Comments

fred lefeuvre's picture

Please, samples please :)

Kornel Kabaja's picture

There is no bokeh king other than the Kodak Aero Ektar 178/2.5 on a medium format camera :P
It's not only about how shallow the DOF is, but also about the background rendition easthetics :)

Dan Howell's picture

I'll stand by my Zeiss 85mm Otus. Super sharp and smooth transition to OOF. Also superior coating to any of that old glass, so less prone to flare.

Bill Larkin's picture

the DOF, is one of the many reasons I shoot medium format. :)

Hans Rosemond's picture

Hehe...have you ever shot large format?

Kornel Kabaja's picture

Yup, a bunch of times. But the Aero Ektar becomes a 47mm f/0.6, so not too portraity anymore. On 6x7 it's more like an 85mm f/1.2 with amazing bokeh and separation. A lot of people nowadays focus on contrast/sharpness/aberration correction/coating etc., and not really on the actual aesthetics of the image the lens renders. Most lenses are too similar in my taste and we split hairs too much.

Michael Kormos's picture

Preordered!
So excited and happy that Nikon is refreshing the 105mm focal length with a portrait prime. It's been forever.

Dave Kavanagh's picture

My every instinct is telling me I already have more then enough lenses and that I dont need this but..... I neeeeeeed this lens.

Usman Dawood's picture

Someone needs to make a 90mm f1.4 Tilt shift lens

Fritz Asuro's picture

35, 58, 85.... and now this! Oh my D810 will be enjoying all these lenses!

Nissor Abdourazakov's picture

Just preodered! Nice addition to my prime collection lenses: 24 1,4G, 58 1,4G, 85 1,4G, 200 2,0 VRII

Kornel Kabaja's picture

Or a Nikkor 300mm f2.0, or a Noritar 135mm f1.4, or a Noctilux 50mm f/0.95 ;)
Still, I hold a strong opinion that "king of shallow DOF" =/= "king of bokeh"

Aleksey Leonov's picture

Sold my second kidney! Want!

I have seriously been torn between Sigma and Nikon lenses lately... Nikon used to be known as the optical KING (ok, maybe that was just me, but back in 1980 something it's why I made the decision to start using Nikon), it was all about the glass. But here comes Sigma, a brand we used to (and again, back in the 80's and 90's and even 00's) not even consider a competitor with incredible glass. So why am I posting this here? Because at $2,200 for something that is going to be incredible, to be sure, but was the 58 better than Sigma's 50? And yes, I'm still using the Nikon 50 1.4, shot mainly at 5.6 or thereabouts, so again... why? And yes, I'm probably going to end up getting this damned lens, because I'm a dumbass Nikon guy, and even though I have a Zeiss 135 2.0 that I just LOVE, but do I care about VR? No, but I'd love some auto focus. Was there a question in there? I think there was... Maybe a larger question... Maybe stream of conscious... more than likely the later. Damn I'm bored, time to get out shooting with that 50 1.4 and make pretty pictures despite what the MTF says about the lens. :)

Kornel Kabaja's picture

The Nikkor 58/1.4 wasn't "better" than the Sigma 50/1.4. It was "different". I'm tired of people trying to constantly judge everything only as better/worse. If money was no issue, I'd take the Nikkor 58, cause the images from it look more like from an old analog-era lens, and have more character, more "soul". If you're striving for optical perfection, you could still sell the Zeiss 135/2.0, buy a Zeiss 135/1.8 and a Sony A7 with an adapter to maintain autofocus, maybe then a vision of owning an autofocus 105/1.4 as well wouldn't bother you that much :P

Mr Hogwallop's picture

Looks pretty nice, I use Sony and own this lense's grandpa, a vintage 105mm 1.8 Nikkor. It has none of the bells and whistles of the modern one but a similar look.

I've been waiting for this lens to be made for 30 years. To me, the 85mm 1.4 that everyone PRAISES was not long enough for my taste (35mm more than a 50mm lens). And when doing head shots, I felt WAY TOO close to the subject. Because I shoot Canon, I wanted a combo of the 85mm f/stop and the length of the 100mm. That way, I could have the best of both worlds. Man, I would give an arm and a leg if Canon came out with this lens. I'd sell my 85mm f/1.2L and my 100mm f/2.8L Macro and get this in a HEARTBEAT!!!! LUCKY NIKON SHOOTERS.....

Will Gavillan's picture

Sorry, bokeh king is still Sony 135 STF

K G's picture

Guaranteed nobody will be able to tell the difference between shots taken with this, or the 105mm macro ... but do throw your money at it ...

Adam Ottke's picture

I would be interested to see the difference, as I'm sure there must be something visible. Maybe not as much at f/2.8 (although I would expect it to still be way sharper), but certainly because of the fact that this can open up to f/1.4. That shallow depth of field would be instantly noticeable...

Jozef Povazan's picture

If it renders foreground and background like 58 f1.4 then it is great news and tempting... I do not care about f1.4 that much but the 3D look in portraits of couples I am getting from 58 is awesome...

Norbert Tukora's picture

Nikon is finally innovating just like Sigma did! with the Art series Everyone loves 1.4 primes. ^^

Michael Durant's picture

The Price made me cry all the way to the portrait shoot.... and then i saw the image's boy and girls can you spell Bokeh...