Nikon 135mm f/2.0D AF DC-Nikkor

Nikon has an interesting collection of different digital SLR cameras where some of them are multipurpose while others focus on a number of photography tasks that professional photographers can rely on. The good news is that it isn’t very hard to choose a Nikon digital SLR camera once all of the desired needs are straightened out and the kit lens that comes with selected models is a great start for aspiring photographers to practice on all areas of photography without going through the trouble in deciding which lens are best for them. Once these photographers gain enough experience and are willing to take the path of portrait photography, a good choice without the huge investment is the Nikon 135mm f/2.0D AF DC-NIKKOR Lens.

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Design & Construction

The Nikon 135mm f/2.0D AF shares a similar design to the DC-NIKKOR 105mm f/2D in terms of materials and because of the slightly increased length being the only difference, the price is nearly the same. There is a lot of metal built into this lens to prolong its life making it a great lens for traveling in addition to its base portraiture uses. It also sports nice finish along with a metallic 77mm filter ring and has a lens mount made of metal as well. Like the 105 model, the Defocus Image Control component is entirely made of plastic and the same plastic is used for the manual focus selector too.

The lens hood is built in and can extend up to 1.5 inches to protect the sensitive areas from unwanted light and the extra 1.5 inches shell layer contributes to additional protection. Well all of these design refinements, the weight isn’t affected that much so it is still a useful lens for amateur photographers that want to take better photos.

Features & Specifications

To achieve the best sharpness quality possible, the Nikon 135mm f/2.0D AF DC-NIKKOR Lens needs to be stopped down to f/2.8, but those that want to use it wide open shouldn’t be too disappointed with the 3 blur units found on the corners and minor uneven parts. Whether the camera is a DX or FX format camera, the sharpness is pretty good and the diffraction limiting contributes as well.

Although some people prefer not use it, the Defocus Image Control feature adds a level of customization to the final image output without the need of using computer software. This function allows portrait photographers to fine-tune the degree of focus in foreground areas and background areas. It can be used to work around the sharpness limitations, but it is generally better to use it at f/4 or f/5.6. Combined with the spherical aberration, this feature can be useful for beginner photographers to get some nice looking shots.

Chromatic aberrations are very well controlled no matter what type of camera is being used. While flagship cameras are the best in eliminating the chromatic aberration, the Nikon 135mm f/2.0D AF DC-NIKKOR Lens does fairly well in reducing it for the other lower-end models. The vignetting and distortion is equally controlled too with only a very minor presence of barrel distortion located around the corners.

Regarding the autofocus, it performance and quietness doesn’t really compare well to the better AF-S lenses and the precision varies depending on how the camera is being handled so it is important to pay attention to where the unit locks focus. It is also incompatible with screw-less design models including the D40, D60, and D5000 so the D70 is probably the best bet for starters, but expect a little bit of noise.

Bottom Line

The Nikon 135mm f/2.0D AF DC-NIKKOR Lens isn’t really a perfect camera especially when it comes to the autofocus, but the sharpness is just enough and the chromatic aberrations and low distortion make this a handy lens to have fun with in taking portraits. The defocus control isn’t for everyone, but it adds another layer of customization to the photo which beginners should like. For best results, it is best that this lens is used with flagship cameras to reduce the unwanted noise when using the autofocus. The sliding lens hood and decent design also contribute to the value of the lens.

Average User Rating:

  • “I have shot Nikon lenses and cameras since 1969. At that time I had the Non-AI Nikkor 135mm. Just a great lens for a short to medium Tele. with my old and venerable FTn. Bokeh was sweet. Some of the best shots I had taken were with this lens. A few months ago I needed a med. tele. for both machinery and portrait shots. As I researched the Nikon lens array I kept coming back to the 135mm f2 DC. This is a lens that is fantastic as to sharpness and does a marvelous portrait and is capable of scenics and interior architectural shots at the same time. I do not rate it as highly for portraits as I would the 85mm f1.4. This is one of the greatest lenses with this amazing speed that Nikon has come up with. It is equivalent to a 200mm lens on my D300 given the sensor crop (Cmos). It is full frame on my F5. It is superior in the field for landscapes or stationary subjects. It is a bit heavy at almost 2 pounds but I shoot with it in every aspect of my photography. So versatile.” – A.Crowe (CA,USA)
  • “An excellent lens. Wonderful bokeh for portraits and incredibly sharp. Maximum quality is generally at f 2.8 and down. Incredible bokeh can be achived at even f5.6. My only caution is that this lens is highly specialized and is designed for a large studio or outdoor. Definitely a must have for FX portaiture but keep in mind it’s a thousand dollars in the camera bag for a lens that isn’t going to get much playtime.” – R.A.Johns

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