Tokina 100mm Macro – Best Nikon Lens!?

Tokina 100mm Macro – Best Nikon Lens!?

Tokina 100mm Macro f2.8 AF lens

Tokina 100mm macro

Qu. Is the Tokina 100/f2.8 Macro the Best Nikon Lens?
>>  Here I explain why I use the Tokina 100mm Macro lens more than any other lens on my Nikon cameras (Portraits)

 

Best Nikon lenses

When I used a digital Nikon D800 DSLR I enjoyed using the typical dreamy lenses like everyone else, giving that super shallow depth of field.  Some of my best Nikon lenses / favourites were the Nikkor 50mm f1.2, Nikkor 200mm f2 and Samyang 85mm f1.4 (I prefer it to the Nikkor 85mm f1.4 D that I also have).  All these lenses were manual focus but that was fine as most of my Nikon D800 photography was done with manual focus only.  I just preferred having full control.

Nikon film cameras

One of my earliest film cameras was a Nikon FM.  I then bought a newer Nikon F4 camera and more recently a Nikon F5.  35mm film to my eyes renders much softer than the 36MP Nikon D800 digital files.  As such lenses like the Nikkor 50mm f1.2 wide open was now too soft for my taste on film.  Perhaps it was because I had got used to the sharp Leica lens look now that I had moved to Leica.  Regardless, I needed “better” lenses for the Nikon SLR film cameras if I was to use them.  Macro lenses are usually regarded as some of the sharpest in a lens lineup so that is where I looked first.  My first Nikon camera macro lens was a Nikkor 60mm f2.8 Micro and I was really impressed.

Tokina 100mm Macro f2.8

The Nikkor 60mm is nice but I liked the idea of a longer focal length to use for portraits.  I settled on a Tokina 100mm macro f2.8 AF lens.  It has been one of my most used Nikon lenses ever since.  I love it and I highly recommend it to any Nikon (& Canon) users.  Rather than try to praise the Tokina 100mm macro lens in words I think it is easier to show it with real photos.  See below.

 

Grab yourself one before the price goes up!

I guess what I can do with the Tokina 100mm Macro lens, being a current product (unlike nearly everything else I review!) is give you a direct link so you can go and treat yourself to one.  An absolute bargain when you consider that this lens seems to out perform nearly every other Nikon mount lens I use and seems easily on a par with my best Leica lenses.  Get one before they put the price up!  Amazon UK / Amazon US 🙂

Tokina 100mm Portrait Photos

Sorry if you have seen some of the images before, perhaps in film reviews.  I use the Tokina 100mm lens a lot!  Click any photo to see more details.

 

Tokina 100mm Portraits – 35mm Film Photos

 

Kodak Double-X Portrait

35mm Kodak T-Max 100

Nikon F4 + Kentmere 100

Nikon F5 Fashion

Ilford Pan 100 Portrait

Nikon F4 Portrait

Tokina 100mm Macro Bokeh

35mm Kodak T-Max 100

35mm Kodak T-Max 400

Fuji Acros 100 + Nikon F4

Nikon F4 Studio

Nikon F5 Camera Review

Tokina 100mm f2.8 Portraits – Digital

Nikon D800 Fashion

Tokina 100mm Macro

Tokina 100mm f2.8 Macro

Summer Fun

Tokina 100mm Wedding Film Photography

Kodak Ektar Film Wedding

Film Wedding Photography

Related Nikon Posts

More Nikon Lens / Film Camera Reviews!

 

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Voigtlander Ultron 40mm f2 (Best Nikon Pancake Lens!)

Voigtlander Ultron 40mm f2 SL II

– My Favourite Nikon Pancake Lensbe + 40mm Portraits

 

Nikon mount Voigtlander Ultron 40mm f2

Voigtlander Ultron 40mm f2 SL II lens photos - Nikon mount - pancake lens

Qu.  Looking for the ultimate small lens for your Nikon camera?
>>  Here I recommend my Voiglander 40mm f/2 pancake lens & share some 40mm portraits

 

My Favourite Nikon Pancake Lens

As “Mr Leica” I use Leica cameras for my photography but I also enjoy other film camera brands too.  For each camera I try to discover the best lenses I can and here I cover my favourite Nikon pancake lens.  The Voigtlander Ultron 40mm f2 SL II that I bought to use on my Nikon film cameras.

Small Lenses for Nikon Cameras

Are you looking for a small lens for your Nikon camera?  Previously I used Nikon cameras before moving to Leica so I have collected quite a few nice Nikon F mount lenses, both Nikkor brand and other from other manufacturers.  After getting used to the often very compact Leica M mount lenses, when I came to packing lightweight for a Nikon camera it was not so easy.  My smallest Nikon F mount lens at the time was the Nikkor 50mm f1.4D. When I bought this Nikkor lens in my Nikon D800 period I liked the lens and used it a lot for wedding photography.

Leica M Mount Lens Effect

A few years later I bought my first Leica camera, a Leica M9. Having got accustomed to using various Leica M mount lenses and at the time none of the lenses were actually Leica brand I as couldn’t afford Leica glass!  Instead I opted for Voigtlander and Zeiss Leica M lenses and loved the results. Coming from these lenses back to the Nikkor 50/1.4D lens, the 50mm Nikon lens on the D800 suddenly seemed too soft to use at f1.4.

The Voigtlander Ultron 40mm f2 Pancake Lens

After wanting to find a replacement for my 50mm f1.4 Nikkor I started my online research.  I was looking for a small form decent optics Nikon mount lens in the ‘normal’ focal length range (usually around 50mm).  After much reading I discovered the Nikon mount Voigtlander Ultron 40mm f2 SL II prime lens. It is a pancake lens so makes a Nikon DSLR / SLR look very compact when compared to standard lenses. I had a Nikkor 35mm f1.4 G lens which I had bought for wedding photography but it was huge in comparison.  From day one I loved the super sharp results of the Voigtlander Ultron 40mm f2 lens, even at f2.  The poor 50mm f1.4D has never been used since!  Please note that Voigtlander lenses like the Zeiss lenses for Nikon are manual focus.  Don’t buy a Voigtlander 40f2 Ultron if you are hoping to use autofocus mode.

Nikon Film Cameras

Although I rarely use the digital Nikon D800 camera now I do enjoy the Nikon film cameras. My oldest is a Nikon FM SLR followed by the more automated Nikon F4. My most recent purchase is the later Nikon F5 model (see F5 review posted yesterday).  Owning these cameras means I still get to enjoy the Voigtlander Ultron 40mm f2 pancake lens.  It is great if I want to pack light or perhaps want that slightly wider 40mm focal length.

Voigtlander Ultron 40mm Portraits

Digital Photos – Voigtlander Ultron 40mm f2

 

Voigtlander Ultron 40mm f2 SL

Voigtlander 40mm f/2 SLII

Voigtlander 40mm f/2.0 Ultron SL II

Nikon D800 + Voigtlander 40mm

Voigtlander Ultron 40mm f2 SL Flare

Film Photos – Voigtlander Ultron 40mm f2

Kodak Vision3 50D Fashion

BMA Models

Kodak Vision3 50D / Cinestill 50D

Nikon FM Portrait

Dusty Film Scan

Voigtlander Ultron 40mm F2 SL II

Film Scan Portrait

Nikon F4 Portrait

Nikon F5 Fashion

Recommended!

If you are a Nikon photographer happy with manual focus and are on the market for a compact sharp lens, look no further!  I rate the Voigtlander Ultron 40mm f2 SL II lens (and I use nice lenses from the likes of Leica APO/ ASPH, Zeiss, Fujion and others)

Related Posts

Nikon F5 Review (Best Nikon Film Camera?)

Nikon F5 Review (Best Nikon Film Camera?)

Qu. Is the Nikon F5 the Best Nikon Film camera?
>>  In this review I explain why I bought the Nikon F5 & why it is the Best Nikon Film Camera for me

Nikon F5 Photographer

Nikon F5 SLR Camera

I bought the Nikon F5 35mm film camera last (2017) year but I didn’t get a chance to write about it. I won’t write a detailed Nikon F5 review here as I will only be duplicting the work of others before me.  (Check Ken Rockwell’s website if you want camera specifications).  Instead I will focus on a few key facts, some of my thoughts so far and finish off with a few of my Nikon F5 Flickr photos to show what the Nikon F5 can do.

1996 Nikon F5 – Brief History

The Nikon F5 SLR (“Single lens reflex”) camera was released in 1996 and replaced my Nikon F4 that was first released 8 years earlier.  The Nikon F5 was one of the last professional spec Nikon film bodies (the last was the Nikon F6 I believe) before they switched to digital. When I look at the Nikon F5 it always reminds me of a Nikon D4 or something of a similar pro level today.

Nikon F5 Pro Level SLR

The Nikon F5 oozes quality and is a fine-looking camera I think, even coming from the Leica camp (where people think we can only appreciate other Leica cameras)(Not me). The Nikon F5 is very different to a Leica but still built well build.  I would say a Leica is more of a precision tool, which is built to last but needs more care.  I think the Nikon F5 could survive a drop down a flight of stairs and still work (my Nikon F4 survived this and it is less rugged than the F5).

Nikon before Leica (My history with Nikon)

I used digital Nikon cameras before I discovered Leica cameras and owned first a crop sensor Nikon D90, then a full frame Nikon D700 camera and finally a Nikon D800 that I bought on pre-release. It was not until a few years later that I bought my  first Leica, a Leica M9.  Having come from having digital Nikon cameras I still own some very nice Nikon F mount lenses.  I can now use all of these lenses on the Nikon F5 so I’m glad I kept them. I also own two other Nikon film bodies, a Nikon FM and the aforementioned Nikon F4.  I will compare my three Nikon film cameras in a separate article.

Nikon F5 Camera Review

Nikon F5 Review – Top 3 features (for me)

1. Nikon F5 – Well built

As mentioned above it feels like the Nikon F5 is built to last and feels less fragile than a Leica.  (By this I mean the Leica  rangefinder calibration can be knocked out of alignment if easily if the camera is knocked). The Nikon F5 is not a light camera with the camera body alone weighing 1.2kg (without the 8 AA batteries) A Leica M3 bodies weighs less than half that of the F5 at 580g (and it still feels quiet weighty for it’s compact size). The added weight of the Nikon F5 gives a good solid sturdy feel but doesn’t suit packing light for overseas trips and model shoots!

2. Nikon F5 – Fast autofocus

I bought the Nikon F5 specifically as the Nikon F4 auto focus is unusable for moving subjects (for me). The F4 is so slow I missed almost every photo. I can focus a manual focus Leica much faster than the F4 autofocus. In addition to this, I wanted to enjoy using telephoto autofocus lenses on the F5.  One example lens is the Nikkor 180mm f2.8 AFD which I bought in my Leica ‘era’.  Using an SLR camera and long lenses is a different photography experience to using a Leica camera. With a Leica I tend to use shorter focal length lenses, often 21mm-90mm.  My eyesight is not good enough to use a long lens without AF at a distance on an SLR camera so I appreciate the fast auto focusing of the Nikon F5.

3. Nikon F5 – Bright viewfinder

Lastly I enjoy the modern looking big bright viewfinder with focus confirmation. I use manual focus lenses on the Nikon F5 too so it is great to confirm if I have a subject in focus and can see accurately enough with just my eyesight.

So.. Is the Nikon F5 the Best Nikon Film Camera?

The answer is it depends on what camera features are most important to you when you think of the best Nikon film camera.  If for you the smallest lightest Nikon SLR is best then you would prefer the Nikon FM (from the cameras I use).  Perhaps you want your Nikon SLR camera to have autofocus and you mostly photograph static subjects then the Nikon F4 SLR offers autofocus in a smaller lighter camera body (vs the F5).  If however you need a film camera to photograph fast action photography such as motorsport then the Nikon F5 could well be the best Nikon film camera for you.   It is not small nor lightwight but it the Nikon F5 shoots 8fps vs only 4fps for my Nikon F4.  Not only that the Nikon F5 focus seems much advanced that the Nikon F4, focusing faster, hunting less and seems to nail focus regularly.  So for me yes the Nikon F5 is the best Nikon film camera when size is not an issue (even though I shoot portraits, fashion and weddings and not motorsport!).

Nikon vs Leica

I wrote a lot more for this review (over double the length) but it was going off topic comparing Nikon to Leica rather than the F5.  Instead I have cut this post here and will share the less Nikon F5 specific part another time. On to the Nikon F5 photos!

Nikon F5 Flickr photos

*(Click any photo to see the lens/ film used)

B&W Portraits

B&W Film Developing

Nikon F5 Studio Shoot

Nikon F5 Portrait

Voigtlander Ultron 40mm F2 SL II

Kodak Eastman 5222 Double-X

Nikon F5 Camera Review

Tenerife Photoshoot

Nikon F5 B&W Fashion

End of the film

Nikon F5 Colour film

Nikon F5 Camera

Kodak Portra 400 Portrait

Note – Nikon F5 Review

I appreciate you probably didn’t learn anything new from this Nikon F5 review and I only cover perhaps 1% of the Nikon F5 features. Hopefully the sample images will give a taster of what the F5 can do using the most basic F5 camera setting.  For me the final image is the reason I buy a camera.

The 2 comparison posts to follow will help cover more of the specifics and will help when deciding between buying a Leica or a Nikon and a Nikon F4 vs Nikon F5 (for example).

Related Posts

 

More Film photography posts

Nikon F5 Test Photo

The National Gallery, London

Petzval 85 Art lens (Petzval 85mm Nikon Portraits)

Petzval 85 Art lens (Petzval 85mm Nikon Portraits)

 

Petzval 85 Art lens review and sample photos/ portraits using a Nikon D800 DSLR camera

 

Petzval 85 Art Lens – Nikon F Mount

The lovely people at Lomography.com kindly got in touch and lent me their Nikon mount brass Petzval 85 Art lens to try.  Below is a link describing how I got on and here are some example images with Sophie and Charlotte (also included in link).  All photos taken with my old Nikon D800.

..I have to say, the Petzval 85 Art makes Nikon D800 photos interesting so it’s good! (I say that as I struggled to get excited with my Nikon D800 photos on the whole hence my move to film and Leicas).

Petzval 85 Art

Sophie
Nikon D800 + Petzval 85
Petzval 85 Art
Nikon D800 + Petzval 85 Art Lens Brass
Petzval Bokeh
Nikon D800 + Petzval 85
Nikon D800 + Petzval 85 Art

Charlotte
Petzval 85
Petzval 85 Art Lens
Nikon D800 + Petzval 85
New Petzval 85 Art Lens Brass

Lomography.com Magazine – MrLeica.com

Link – https://www.lomography.com/magazine/323494-matt-osbourne-portraits-with-the-petzval-85

Petzval 85 vs. Other Nikon Mount Fast Lenses

When using the Petzval 85 lens it reminded me of the overly soft photos captured from my Nikkor 50mm f1.2 Ai-s lens when shooting at f1.2. Here are a few examples as a comparison. I think the Petzval 85 is sharper wide open at f2.2 and has ‘better’ bokeh (meaning more character).

Nikkor 50mm f1.2 Ai-s

Nikon D800 Headshot
Alice with Nikkor 50/1.2 AIS
Katie SOOC with 50/1.2 AIS @f1.2

I then thought perhaps the Samyang 85mm f1.4 would be more comparable so here are a few samples. The Samyang 85 is pretty sharp wide open at f1.4 and a great lens but I think again the Petzval 85 lens bokeh has more character.

Samyang 85mm f1.4

Innocence?
2012 REPOST: Nikon D800 + Samyang 85mm f1.4 Fashion
Harriett
Nikon FM

Petzval 85 vs Leica M Fast Lenses

Finally, as a Leica photographer it seems only right to include a few example photos with fast Leica lenses that are also soft(ish) focus shot wide open.  The obvious lenses that spring to mind that I own are the Leica Noctilux 50mm f1 and Leica Summarit 50mm f1.5.

Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0 v2

Leica M9 Skin Tones
Leica M9 + Noctilux
Leica M9 + Noctilux
Leica M Typ 240 + Noctilux
Leica Noctilux Bokeh

Leica Summarit 50mm f1.5

Leica Summarit 50mm f1.5
Street Portrait
Leica Summarit 50mm f1.5
Retro Leica

Nikkor 200mm f2 Review (Ai-s lens)(& Photos)

Nikkor 200mm f2 Review (Ai-s lens)(& Photos)

Mini review of the amazing / legendary / often unknown Nikkor 200mm f2 ai-s lens.  Photos shot with a Nikon D800 during an engagement shoot.

 

Nikkor 200mm f2 AI-s

Part 1: Nikkor 200mm f2 ai-s lens

The mighty Nikkor 200mm f2 AI-s lens is probably both the sharpest 35mm format lens I own (even shot wide open at f2) and creates one of the smoothest bokeh.  Used at f2 it provides an unbeatable combination of both a very shallow depth of field and super sharp detail. The lens lets you separate your subject from the background and renders backdrop as a smooth creamy OOF area that is pleasing to the eye.

 

Nikkor-200mm-f2-review AI-s lens photo

 

Nikkor 200mm f2 lens

Handheld vs Monopod

Despite the size of the Nikkor 200mm f2 AI-s lens I shoot the lens handheld as both a model photographer and wedding photographer.  Carrying the lens around all day on my Nikon D800 body saves me having to go to the gym!  For periods of non-movement such as covering event photography or wildlife photography I have found using the lens on my Manfrotto 680B monopod to be very useful.  It has a 10kg capacity and takes the strain off your arms. I use it with a Vanguard ballhead and by mounting the quick release plate to the rotating lens tripod collar I can switch from portrait to landscape orientation in seconds.  The second big advantage of using the lens with a monopod is I can use a slower shutter speed in low light situations and still get blur-free images.

 

Moskva-5 - Model Photography

Nikkor AI-S 200mm f2 sample photos

Digital photos with the Nikon D800 DSLR + Nikkor 200mm f2 ai-s:

Nikkor 200mm f2 Wedding Photography

Coventry Wedding Photographer
Manny on his Wedding Day
200/f2 AIS on Wedding Day
B&W Wedding 3
Sikh Wedding Photography

 

Nikkor 200mm f2 Portraits

Sadie SOOC with 200/f2 AIS
Sadie SOOC with ...Nikkor 200mm f2 AIS!! :)
Nosey Neighbours :)
Dan with Nikkor 200/f2 AIS
Stacey SOOC, 200/f2 AIS
Nikkor 200mm f2 AIS
Katie with Nikkor 200 f2 AIS

 

35mm Film photography – New Nikon FM Camera!

Black and white film photography is my passion. I use a variety of medium format film camera such as a Contax 645 and Mamiya RZ67 ProII but I wanted to be able to make us of all the nice Nikkor glass I own. I bought a little Nikon FM 35mm format film camera from eBay and it has been brilliant.

Nikon FM SLR  + Nikkor 200mm f2 ai-s sample photos

Example images using the Nikkor AI-S 200mm f2 lens on the Nikon FM body: 35mm Film Scans

Film is NOT Dead - Model Photogaphy
Andra with Nikon FM
Gina with Nikkor 200mm f2 AI-s
Andra with Nikon FM & Nikkor 200/f2 AIS @f2
Devon with Nikon FM & Nikkor 200mm f2 AI-s

 

Would I recommend the Nikkor 200mm f2 ai-s lens?

For photographers who are happy to invest in a serious piece of glass and are able to shoot without auto focus I would not hesitate.  The images it produces are unmatched from any of my other Nikkor primes and it gives clients something unique and special.  The wide aperture makes the lens very useful in low light wedding situations.

Nikkor 80-200mm f2.8 AF vs Nikkor 200mm f2

I would always select the Nikkor ai-s 200mm f2 over my Nikkor 80-200 f2.8 AF lens.  It is big, it is heavy and it is expensive but it does command respect when in use.  In a wedding environment where many guests now have DSLR cameras it is not difficult to spot the designated photographer when the 200mm is in use.   On the flip side it is definitely not the lens for you if you don’t like drawing attention to yourself!  It is also not for you if you have a back problem or don’t want to lug around a heavy camera-lens setup all day.

Nikon Lens Trio

The Nikkor 200mm f2 AI-s prime lens together with the Samyang 85mm f1.4 (Nikon mount) and Nikkor AI-S 50mm f1.2 completes the trio of my top 3 favourite portrait lenses for a 35mm Nikon camera.

*2018 update – since writing this post I have discovered more amazing Nikon mount lenses including the Tokina 100mm f2.8 macro and Voigtlander 40mm f2 SL

The Nikkor 200mm ai-s f2 is famous!

My 200mm lens featured in two UK photography magazine articles:

 

Part 2: Engagement Shoot with the Nikon D800 + Nikkor 200mm f2 ai-s lens

 

Coventry Wedding Photographer

 

Following my Leica M9 engagement shoot post yesterday, here are some of the photos taken from the same shoot but with a Nikon D800 + Nikkor 200mm f2 AI-s. I was interested to see if the 200f2 could offer anything extra to what my Leica lenses give me to make it worth while carrying the extra bulk and weight.

I arranged this shoot with Harriett and Ashley as I wanted to showcase to couples who are looking to have an engagement shoot or book a wedding photographer what is possible for you. I aim to provide wedding couples with a mix of relaxed reportage style candid photos throughout the day plus some posed high fashion wedding portraits as seen here. This is my style of wedding photography.

Yesterday we took a trip to Kenilworth Castle. Harriett and Ashley modelled for me and Donna kindly came along as my lighting assistant. I used the same lighting and equipment that I use on a wedding day and going forward I plan to take an assistant with me for every shoot (feel free to get in touch if you would like to get involved) to help hold my light so I can achieve the look I desire.

Lighting was fully portable using speedlights.

Photos shot as Nikon D800 black and white JPEGs in camera and finished in Lightroom 3. I prefer the rendering of the Leica images but the 200m f2 can produce some stunning photos that are both sharp and have a very shallow depth of field.

Gallery:

Let me know which you prefer.. the Leica M9 images or the Nikon D800 ones. I like them both but I feel the Leica has the edge for my taste.

 

Related Posts

  • Engagement Shoot – Part 1 (Leica M9 Engagement Photography)