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Hi and welcome back.

The Nikon 105 f/2 DC or Defocus Control Lens is a lens that’s been sitting on my shelf for quite a while gathering dust.  My favorite lens, the 70-200 vr, dominates my work and gives me fabulous results.

But, with traveling so much now, I decided to dust off the 105, remove the 70-200, and lighten my bag a bit.  The 70-200 is a monster, but the tiny 105 is so much smaller and lighter that it really helped out when lifting my Tenba roller into an airplane’s overhead compartment.

The 105 is a specialty lens designed specifically for portrait work.  The Defocus control allows you to control the Bokeh or out-of-focus areas in the background and the foreground or creating a soft focus effect on the foreground it you want.  I usually keep the defocus ring set to Zero, for no effect, or f/2 on the Rear, so I can shoot at any aperture and get a background that looks like f/2.

If you don’t shoot a great deal of portraits or headshots, then the lens is not worth the expense.

It is brutally sharp, like macro sharp, and renders out-of-focus backgrounds perfectly.  From f/2 on, it is the perfect portrait lens.  It has an bigger brother, the 135 DC, but I find the 105 to be just right.

You have to remember, though, that as a prime lens, you need to zoom with your feet!

In this corporate shot, my aperture was f/11 in camera but the DC ring was set to f/2.  With my subject only about 3 feet from the blue paper backdrop, the foreground is perfectly sharp and the background falls out of focus immediately, eliminating the need for any softening in post process.

Abi Smith Headshots 8 26 20131030 copyThe lens really shines as a natural light lens.

I dug through my archive to pull these proof shots out.  Shot at f/4.5 at ISO 800 and with the DC control set to f/2, Stacey’s eyes are perfectly sharp and yet the falloff from the Defocus control is perfect.  She was sitting in an alcove at my studio only 2-3 feet from the walls and yet they fell right out of focus immediately.

_RVH8369I did a quick zoom with my feet, that is I stepped closer, and got this tight headshot.


BH Link: Nikon 105 f/2 DC

This is an awesome lens!  As I rarely do gear posts, you can Google it for copious reviews online.

I think the reason it stayed on the shelf is the fact that I got lazy.  Why move when you can just zoom a lens?

That’s it for now.  Till next time, happy zooming!