105mm f/1.4 versus 200mm f/2 (for FF)

Started Sep 6, 2016 | Discussions
H o g n e
H o g n e Regular Member • Posts: 321
105mm f/1.4 versus 200mm f/2 (for FF)
19

Some similar discussion threads exists already but I thought this might be of interest for those that consider the 105mm f/1,4 as a lightweight alternative to the 200mm f/2 (for full frame).

What these first photos show is the 105mm at f/1.4 versus the 200mm at f/2 with approximately the same angle of view. This means the camera position using the 200mm is almost double the distance compared to the 105mm.

105mm f/1.4 at f/1.4

200mm f/2 at f/2

All images are captured hand held in poor light and are not pin sharp. However, for the purpose of bokeh comparison it should give you some rough idea.

105mm f/1.4 at f/1.4

200mm f/2 at f/2

The following 4 images highlight some of the differences between the two: LoCa and cat eye bokeh:

105mm f/1.4 at f/1.4

200mm f/2 at f/2

The 200mm does not seem to have the cat eyes bokeh balls as much as the 105mm has (see upper left corner in the first image above).

105mm f/1.4 at f/1.4

200mm f/2 at f/2

The 200mm seems to be a better corrected lens for LoCa (check eyelashes above).

In terms of "melting the background" the two lenses show similar characteristics for the same angle of view. The bigger tele effect of the 200mm increases the size of background objects compared to the 105mm.

All images are adjusted somewhat in Lightroom level differences in exposure and view angle.

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jopezu
jopezu Contributing Member • Posts: 584
thank you

yes, i'm sure lots of people are wondering about this comparison.

to me so far, the biggest trade off of the 105mm is the darn lemon-shaped bokeh vs the portability and more moderate shooting distances vs the 200mm.

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"it would help to have photo samples with exif"

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Todd Jones
Todd Jones Senior Member • Posts: 1,120
Re: 105mm f/1.4 versus 200mm f/2 (for FF)
1

I'd take either one

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Todd
"There's no quote that will make my photos look any better" -Todd

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Lance B Forum Pro • Posts: 30,471
Re: 105mm f/1.4 versus 200mm f/2 (for FF)
3

Good comparison. The 105 holds up very well in the comparo. Looks to be a very impressive lens.

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GlobalGuyUSA Senior Member • Posts: 2,016
Re: thank you

jopezu wrote:

yes, i'm sure lots of people are wondering about this comparison.

to me so far, the biggest trade off of the 105mm is the darn lemon-shaped bokeh vs the portability and more moderate shooting distances vs the 200mm.

Not only that, but the Cat's-Eye Bokeh is slightly "nervous" whereas the 200mm's is certainly a bit more "buttery" at times. I'm convinced Nikon designed the lens this way on purpose to protect sales of the 200/2, because it'd be such an obvious consideration for a bokeh lens (and from the same designer of the 58/1.4, he'd be aware of it).

That said, they did their homework, because its certainly not worth rejecting the lens over! Very, very close for many applications. In fact, the 105 almost needs to be f/1.6 or f/1.8 to render as the 200/2, where the f/2 gives too much DOF to make an exact comparison.  In other cases, the 200/2's bokeh is just too beautiful, nevertheless.

I feel this lens is a gateway drug.... into the 200/2 and 300/2.8.......

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Sincerely,
GlobalGuy

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Marianne Oelund Veteran Member • Posts: 7,057
Re: 105mm f/1.4 versus 200mm f/2 (for FF)
10

H o g n e wrote:

Some similar discussion threads exists already but I thought this might be of interest for those that consider the 105mm f/1,4 as a lightweight alternative to the 200mm f/2 (for full frame).

What these first photos show is the 105mm at f/1.4 versus the 200mm at f/2 with approximately the same angle of view. This means the camera position using the 200mm is almost double the distance compared to the 105mm.

This actually gives the 105 some advantage in the transition zone, as its bokeh circles will be about 1.4x larger.  But even without that, the 200 does have a little harshness in near backgrounds which the 105 does not.

All images are captured hand held in poor light and are not pin sharp. However, for the purpose of bokeh comparison it should give you some rough idea.

105mm f/1.4 at f/1.4

200mm f/2 at f/2

The following 4 images highlight some of the differences between the two: LoCa and cat eye bokeh:

105mm f/1.4 at f/1.4

200mm f/2 at f/2

The 200mm does not seem to have the cat eyes bokeh balls as much as the 105mm has (see upper left corner in the first image above).

The extreme corner bokeh circles at issue in the 105 image, are not present in the 200 image due to its narrower background field of view.  In general, an f/2 lens will have rounder blur circles than an f/1.4 lens, as its smaller (in angular measure) exit pupil is not as easily obstructed.

105mm f/1.4 at f/1.4

200mm f/2 at f/2

The 200mm seems to be a better corrected lens for LoCa (check eyelashes above).

Yes the 200 is exceptional in this regard and does not even have a single dominant color tinge in foreground and background - although the 105 is focused a little to the front here, which exaggerates its green background LoCA.  The 105 does have low LoCA compared to most fast medium-long lenses and is in fact close to what the Zeiss 135/2 Apo achieves.  Perhaps more noteworthy, is the better contrast of the 200 which favorably affects the in-focus areas.

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Source credit: Prov 2:6
- Marianne

GlobalGuyUSA Senior Member • Posts: 2,016
Re: 105mm f/1.4 versus 200mm f/2 (for FF)

H o g n e wrote:

105mm f/1.4 at f/1.4

200mm f/2 at f/2

The extreme corner bokeh circles at issue in the 105 image, are not present in the 200 image due to its narrower background field of view.

Good point.

At first I thought the upper left-hand circles in the extreme corner of the 105 were part of the band of line running through the top of the image.

But its clear now that its coming from a secondary source.  In that case, we can't really look at that, if comparing... er.... apples.. to.. apples.. as it were.

A note about the "harshness" of the 200/2 bokeh.  I think it can be at times, a bit more defined -- but, oh man, how is it defined?  Quite painterly, I think!  Not harsh.  But more like a brush stroke.

At least in these examples.

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Sincerely,
GlobalGuy

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Nexu1 Senior Member • Posts: 2,746
Re: 105mm f/1.4 versus 200mm f/2 (for FF)
5

Here's an interesting comparison of the 200mm vs 58mm where the 58 clearly has smoother background bokeh: http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1430318/0

The 200mm is an amazing lens and deserves all the praise it gets but IMO there are times where the hairs we are splitting are so ridiculously small that's it's completely irrelevant.  But there's also a lot of portrait photography that I've seen where it feels like the 200mm is the only lens that can get that shot.  It'll be interesting to see how well the 105 does a similar job.  IMO it's going to be very close and absolutely a "mini 200".

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GlobalGuyUSA Senior Member • Posts: 2,016
Re: 105mm f/1.4 versus 200mm f/2 (for FF)
1

Nexu1 wrote:

Here's an interesting comparison of the 200mm vs 58mm where the 58 clearly has smoother background bokeh: http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1430318/0

The 200mm is an amazing lens and deserves all the praise it gets but IMO there are times where the hairs we are splitting are so ridiculously small that's it's completely irrelevant. But there's also a lot of portrait photography that I've seen where it feels like the 200mm is the only lens that can get that shot. It'll be interesting to see how well the 105 does a similar job. IMO it's going to be very close and absolutely a "mini 200".

True. Interesting, that review wasn't quite representative, because like the author said, "The 200mm F2 also has some twigs in the foreground so the bokeh get's a bit nervous due to that."  If you look carefully at the images, there are branches in the foreground -- everything is just so blurred, you'd think those nervous parts were the background, but you can just barely distinguish that they are foreground elements (not represented in the 58mm image, because, obviously the camera was much closer to the 58mm, so no branches got in the way).

That said, I wouldn't compare the 105/1.4 to the 58/1.4 by way of the 200/2.

And I think the 105/1.4 is probably better regarded as a "big 85/1.4". Sorta like the 135/DC and the 105/DC. Only, now, we have the 105/1.4 and the 85/1.4.

Basically same story.

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Sincerely,
GlobalGuy

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Nexu1 Senior Member • Posts: 2,746
Re: 105mm f/1.4 versus 200mm f/2 (for FF)

GlobalGuyUSA wrote:

And I think the 105/1.4 is probably better regarded as a "big 85/1.4". Sorta like the 135/DC and the 105/DC. Only, now, we have the 105/1.4 and the 85/1.4.

I dunno.  I think the 105 will stand out for being sharp wide open, which the 85G doesn't really get that reputation.  Many think the 105 is a big brother to the 58 due to the swirly bokeh (and Nikon essentially saying as much).  I think that's a good comparison... except it appears to be tack sharp wide open (which is something it does have in common with the 200).

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Keith Aitken Veteran Member • Posts: 6,574
Hogne - thanks

Thanks for spending time on this interesting comparison !

One must not forget the other attribute of the 200 f/2 : its lightning-quick AF,

something that the 105 f/1.4 does not have in same measure . . .

. . .

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GlobalGuyUSA Senior Member • Posts: 2,016
Re: 105mm f/1.4 versus 200mm f/2 (for FF)

Nexu1 wrote:

GlobalGuyUSA wrote:

And I think the 105/1.4 is probably better regarded as a "big 85/1.4". Sorta like the 135/DC and the 105/DC. Only, now, we have the 105/1.4 and the 85/1.4.

I dunno. I think the 105 will stand out for being sharp wide open, which the 85G doesn't really get that reputation. Many think the 105 is a big brother to the 58 due to the swirly bokeh (and Nikon essentially saying as much). I think that's a good comparison... except it appears to be tack sharp wide open (which is something it does have in common with the 200).

If you read what you wrote, straight out, it just sorta points to have a lineage in all these lenses.  It doesn't really clearly link to one.  But I would still say the 58/1.4 is a stretch by far.  The irony is they are siblings of the same father.  

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Sincerely,
GlobalGuy

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Nexu1 Senior Member • Posts: 2,746
Re: 105mm f/1.4 versus 200mm f/2 (for FF)

Just curious, why do you think the 58 is a stretch by far (compared to the 105?)?

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H o g n e
OP H o g n e Regular Member • Posts: 321
Re: 105mm f/1.4 versus 200mm f/2 (for FF)
6

105mm f/1.4 at f/1.4

200mm f/2 at f/2

I am happy to have such a patient model! Getting somewhat old but still in great shape. Thanks Babuschka.

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GlobalGuyUSA Senior Member • Posts: 2,016
Re: 105mm f/1.4 versus 200mm f/2 (for FF)
3

Nexu1 wrote:

Just curious, why do you think the 58 is a stretch by far (compared to the 105?)?

- The bokeh characteristics are not even close, except hand-selected images (which, by the way, is not to say one is "bad" bokeh -- just that its very different -- just as the 135/2 isn't "bad" either, its also different in another way);

- The 58 is incredibly poorly corrected (by design);

- The 105 seems fairly well-corrected;

- The tremendous field curvature of the 58;

- I haven't had any issue that I've noticed with field curvature with the 105;

- The 105 is sharper at f/1.4 than the 58 at f/2, which is smudgy as heck at f/1.4;

- The focal lengths are ridiculously different, totally different compression, etc, etc;

- The 58/1.4 has CA aberration all over it wide-open, but the 105/1.4 is pretty well-controlled, in my humble opinion;

- There is something "magical"(??) about the 58, AT TIMES, and at other times seems as ho-hum as the 50/1.4 -- but not so with the 105, which presents a rather really incredibly consistent feeling;

- The 58 hates you using different f/stops -- please choose "fine-tune" for f/2 and wider open, or for f/2.8 and more closed down.... otherwise your focus points will be all over the place -- or just use live-view, and pretend you have a Mirrorless, because that nails it;

- The 105/1.4 focuses exactly where I want it to focus, every time through the prism.

I really feel the 105/1.4 is an UPGRADED/evolved 85/1.4, where lots of things have been improved, but incrementally, but with the additional of an internal vignette that produces cat's eyes in your bokeh dots.  Yes, it belongs in the "lovely bokeh" clan.  But its not the big brother of the 58/1.4.  These two lenses may have the same father -- but one of them is a redheaded step child..  The 58/1.4 is rather unique.  I don't know what its related to.  Mine doesn't seem to have any real coma-controlling Noct super powers or anything.  Its not f/1.2.  And its totally unrelated to the 85/1.4 or 200/2.  But the 105/1.4 does seem related to those two lenses.  And could easily appear as a (happy) middle child in that family.

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Sincerely,
GlobalGuy

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Marianne Oelund Veteran Member • Posts: 7,057
Re: 105mm f/1.4 versus 200mm f/2 (for FF)
4

GlobalGuyUSA wrote:

The 58/1.4 is rather unique. I don't know what its related to. Mine doesn't seem to have any real coma-controlling Noct super powers or anything.

Actually, it does, but that seems to be a well-kept secret.  One just needs to find a situation such as night city-scapes or astrophotography, which would provoke coma in ordinary lenses, to see what those two aspherical elements are accomplishing.

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Source credit: Prov 2:6
- Marianne

GlobalGuyUSA Senior Member • Posts: 2,016
Re: 105mm f/1.4 versus 200mm f/2 (for FF)

Marianne Oelund wrote:

GlobalGuyUSA wrote:

The 58/1.4 is rather unique. I don't know what its related to. Mine doesn't seem to have any real coma-controlling Noct super powers or anything.

Actually, it does, but that seems to be a well-kept secret. One just needs to find a situation such as night city-scapes or astrophotography, which would provoke coma in ordinary lenses, to see what those two aspherical elements are accomplishing.

Hmm... I thought my stars looked better with the 50/1.4 ART... and not much different from the 50/1.4 G Nikon.  But I'm forgetting now.  Certainly there are worse lenses.

Will give it a few more chances before I write it off, based on your advice.  Maybe I shouldn't be thinking of it in terms of stars anyway.  Maybe regular city lights is the main thing to consider.

Do you know or have any practical comparison, which shows this trait, by any chance?

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Sincerely,
GlobalGuy

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HSway
HSway Veteran Member • Posts: 3,147
Re: 105mm f/1.4 versus 200mm f/2 (for FF)

The 105’s bokeh is smoother, the 200 a tad more jittery. In the use typical for the 200/2 this seldom is visible as the blur intensity is too great and overrides the bokeh characteristics. That’s where the quality of my 70-200/4 OOF areas comes from, the bokeh is good but with a tendency to the jittery edge on features of a certain contrast/size - unless the blur (favourable distances in the shot, often 200mm end) helps it or masks it. Quite often even with this lens.

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H o g n e
OP H o g n e Regular Member • Posts: 321
Re: thank you

jopezu wrote:

yes, i'm sure lots of people are wondering about this comparison.

to me so far, the biggest trade off of the 105mm is the darn lemon-shaped bokeh vs the portability and more moderate shooting distances vs the 200mm.

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"it would help to have photo samples with exif"

In my experience you do also get the lemon-shaped bokeh with the 200mm so I think some more investigation here is in order before concluding.

Another big tradeoff is focus speed which is significantly faster for the 200mm.

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H o g n e
OP H o g n e Regular Member • Posts: 321
Re: Hogne - thanks

Keith Aitken wrote:

Thanks for spending time on this interesting comparison !

One must not forget the other attribute of the 200 f/2 : its lightning-quick AF,

something that the 105 f/1.4 does not have in same measure . . .

. . .

You are welcome.

Yes, I think you bring up a very important difference: the speed of autofocus. The 200mm is much faster than the 105mm. For sports/action the 200mm is an obvious choice.

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