What are your favourite unique lenses for Nikon (Nikkor, vintage, adapted, or third party)

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White Buffalo Junior Member • Posts: 39
What are your favourite unique lenses for Nikon (Nikkor, vintage, adapted, or third party)
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Never was a gearhead, but recently after upgrading my D800 to a D850 got more into gear and started experimenting a bit with lenses. A Zeiss ZF2 135 2 APO-Sonnar really opened my eyes to what great glass can do for your images- frankly, it was a night-and-day difference to what I'd used up until that point (which was still very very good; the 85 1.8G and 28 1.8G... still use and adore both, but the Zeiss is just so much better in sharpness, contrast, bokeh...). I'd gotten the 105 1.4E ED just a week before the Zeiss, but sold the 105 yesterday as it simply didn't wow me the way the Zeiss did. Not to say the 105 wasn't great- it was-, but it just didn't blow my mind and I need my mind blown if I'm gonna keep a $2k lens around. The Zeiss cost me just $1200 CAD ($900 USD) fwiw. I did notice that the 105 seemed to strike a good balance between technical perfection and character- it had a very romantic rendering, while also retaining great sharpness even wide open (though I rarely, if ever, shoot such apertures- usually around 3.5-5.6). Was a cool and great lens, but just not for me- I must be in the minority though, because the famous 135 2DC was another lens I had years ago and hated... CA from hell, and nothing was sharp (and yes, I knew how to use it).

I just discovered the old Noct-Nikkor online a few days ago and am extremely intrigued by it, but it's of course a very expensive proposition, plus I'm not the biggest 50mm guy. Yeah, I know it's a 58mm and have read a couple reviews where people said the 8mm was noticeable and took it more into portrait territory. Anyways, I'm very interested in this lens... but also in the newer 58 1.4G, which I've read people cite as a Noct homage, though I don't see any resemblance beyond the focal length... Noct much sharper wide open and totally different rendering. Still, the newer 58 1.4G intrigues me as well due to the very unique character- it doesn't seem obsessed with high IQ/technical perfection, placing instead character ahead of everything... I shoot mostly fashion stuff and portraits, but not the super pleasing bokeh sunset light wedding/lifestyle portrait stuff which wide aperture lenses are generally favoured for. Some samples of my work: https://imgur.com/a/2Ux5ZUG

I'm very interested in getting more Zeiss glass down the line- perhaps a Milvus or two and an Otus at some point; the 100 specifically-, but in the meantime would love to hear your suggestions re: what your favourite 'unique' lenses for your Nikon setup are. While I'm shooting a D850 now, I'll likely also use them on an older film Nikon body at some point too.

Having never really been a gearhead, I honestly had no idea there was this whole world of unique vintage and third party lenses out there... I just assumed it was Nikon/Sigma/Tamron and that's it... Even the notion of Zeiss was/is relatively new to me. I'd been aware of their stuff for years, but it seemed so foreign/intimidating. Now I just want to absorb all the intel I can about this exciting new (to me) world! Would very much appreciate your opinions and feedback!

Oh, I should also mention that my 28 and 85 1.8G's will still remain with me. It's what I made my career with and have no reason to sell them or to upgrade to better/faster equivalents (i.e. the 1.4's). That said, I have been thinking about the 24 1.4G Nikon, though I realize it's not really a character lens... Thought about the 14-24/16-35 so that I can mess around and try different lengths in the wide end of the spectrum, but really am a prime guy so will stick to a fixed length. I'd like something more distorted than the 28... would the 24 be noticeably more distorted or should I look at a 20/21? The Zeiss 21 intrigues me (as does the Milvus 25), but I'm not so sure about wide angle MF for portrait stuff; worried about focus at such lengths.

Nikon D800 Nikon D850
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