Yes, there is something quite magical about the 85mm 1.4 AI-s. Many agree.
There are exceptions.
The AI-s 180 2.8 has different optics, adding an ED element. I haven't used the AI but lack of ED likely means it flares a little worse and has a little less contrast. Also the AI-s version actually has a slightly longer focus throw.
The AI-s 28 2.8 has different optics. I haven't used the AI but supposedly it's "just" very good whereas the AI-s is excellent. Also the loss of focus throw is slight.
I suspect the AI-s 28 2 has different optics because while it has the same number of elements the minimum focus distance differs. I haven't used either version, by the way.
Also, some may care that the AI-s 180 2.8 & 50 1.2 have 9-blade apertures whereas the AI versions have 7. Awesome stars are the best thing about the 50 1.2 (http://leesaxon.com/stars.jpg), and I can't say whether the AI version gives them to you.
For reasons that are just too painful to explain, I saw my beloved Nikon 85mm 1.4 bouncing across a concrete floor last night on a shoot ... I am getting another one.
I love old Nikkor glass! We are testing a set of Non-AI Nikkor primes right now.
Oh Bob, sorry to hear you lost a such a beloved family member. Our Nikon family sends condolences to yours.
Just bought a BRAND NEW 28mm F2 Zeiss ZE last week for $1283. This weekend I ran some tests with it up against my $400 Nikkon 28mm F2 AIS with adapter on my Canon 60D.
I thought I made a mistake with the marker cards. I couldn't figure out where the Zeiss shots ended and where the Nikons began. I thought the ID cards had been mixed up. I redid the test.
I was SHOCKED. SHOCKED I tell you. Twenty+ year old Nikon was as sharp and as contrasty as the Zeiss ZE at both 2 and 2.8. The 28MM is a real winner!
The 105mm's will kick ass forever.
Thanks Vance. There was total silence and kind of wrapped attention as we all just watched it ...
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