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Nikon 135mm f2 DC Lens Review | The Ferrari of Lenses

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JJones_default
24 Aug 2010

Wow… I can’t believe it ever shipped! I ordered a Nikon 135mm f/2 DC lens back in FEBRUARY from Adorama and after the 6th “I’m sorry we are still awaiting inventory from our supplier” letter I had just about given up hope.

Ironically, the DAY after I sold my (mediocre) Nikon 18-200mm VR lens I received an email that my order had been shipped. I remember the first thought that went through my mind… “what order!” and after doing a little digging through past emails I figured out it was, in fact, the Nikon 135mm f/2 DC Lens I ordered!

I had given up on it. Especially after I read the production quantities on the lens…. under 1,000 a year! There is a reason this lens is sold out anywhere you look.

There are over 6 times more Ferrari’s made a year than this lens!

Well since I’ll probably never own a ferrari I figure this is the next best thing.

Nikon 135mm DC f/2 Lens Review PhotosNikon 135mm Defocus f/2 Lens Review Photos

Nikon 135mm DC f/2 Lens Review Photos

Pretty isn’t it!?
Nikon 135mm DC f/2 Lens Review Photos
So hows the build quality?
Awesome! This thing is built out of SOLID metal. Sure that does make it heavy but its worth it for the durability. This is a pro lens and its built as such. It’s got Nikon’s awesome crinkle finish which looks great and will help the lens look new over time. The aperture, defocus control, and manual focus rings feel excellent.
What’s DC stand for?
 
DC = Defocus Control. Basically this lens allows you to control the out of focus areas (bokeh) of the lens by shifting the internal glass elements. Nikon has the patent on this technology so look up US Patent 5,841,590 if you want to know more.
Nikon also did another interesting thing with this lens, they designed the lens elements so that red wavelength light focused on a different plane, which yielded better skin tones. Brilliance! This is why this lens is widely accepted as the best portrait lens in the world
 

Nikon 135mm DC f/2 Lens Review Photos 



The aperture is an “outie” the blades curve toward the front element


So how are the photos out of it?

 

Excellent from what I can tell. I tested the lens wide open at f/2.0 and there was plenty of sharpness in the few areas that were actually in focus. You REALLY have to be careful with this lens, the depth of field is absolutely minuscule. This also happens to be one of the reasons I bought this lens!


 


Nikon 135mm DC f/2 Lens Review Photos
Built in expendable metal lens hood!
Nikon 135mm DC f/2 Lens Review Photos
Wide open at f/2

 

So I finally mounted it up on my camera…

Nikon 135mm DC f/2 Lens Review Photos
Nikon 135mm DC f/2 Lens Review Photos
Great balance on a D300 body

Nikon 135mm DC f/2 Lens Review Photos
72mm front opening

Here’s what it looks like through the view finder!

 


Nikon 135mm DC f/2 Lens Sample Photos
A shot of one my of palm trees, wide open at f/2… beautiful!
Nikon 135mm DC f/2 Lens Sample Photos

Nikon 135mm DC f/2 Lens Sample Photos
One of the shots I was editing when the UPS man came and distracted me

Nikon 135mm DC f/2 Lens Sample Photos
Even the fish approve!

Nikon 135mm DC f/2 Lens Sample Photos
This lens turns just about anything into beautiful lighting… this was taken in full sun

Nikon 135mm DC f/2 Lens Sample Photos
With no Defocus control at f/2 (there was a car 25 feet behind the plant… now it is beautiful mush)

Nikon 135mm DC f/2 Lens Sample Photos
Same settings at f/2 but with Defocus control set to Rear f/2.8… slightly softer bokeh and a light glow from the out of focus areas but still in focus, this works a lot better on pictures of people

Overall opinion?
 
Excellent. Sharp at all apertures. Provides excellent control over the overall image. Excellent build quality, I don’t see this thing ever having issues. Beautiful out of focus area’s and great color reproduction.
This lens is just like a Ferrari.
It’s fast, beautiful, rare, expensive, holds nothing back on performance, and it takes time in the drivers seat to learn all it has to offer.

 

To see some more samples taken with the Nikon 135mm f2 DC Lens please check out my latest wedding shots.

Update 8/15/12:

Since this post has been getting tons of traffic, I figured I’d update it with some fresh wedding photos taken with my Nikon 135mm f2.

Nikon 135mm DC f/2 Lens Sample Photos Nikon 135mm DC f/2 Lens Sample Photos Nikon 135mm DC f/2 Lens Sample Photos Nikon 135mm DC f/2 Lens Sample Photos Nikon 135mm DC f/2 Lens Sample Photos Nikon 135mm DC f/2 Lens Sample Photos

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