Photos Taken with a Nikon 105mm f/1.4E ED Lens

A collection of sample photos taken using the new Nikon 105mm f/1.4 lens with an emphasis on travel photography.

I recently had the chance to shoot with the Nikon’s new 105mm f/1.4 prime lens (or the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED, if you want to get technical). Their other 105mm, the f/2.8 micro, is a lens I use a lot, so I was interested to see how this one compared, especially with such a fast wide aperture.

I’ll be comparing them directly in a separate review. These sample images go along with that side-by-side review as well as give a sense of how the lens performs in real-world shooting. I’ve put the emphasis here on the large apertures that are the headline features of this lens, so there are a lot taken in low light as well as many that make use of the narrow depth of field at f/1.4. All of these were shot hand-held (there’s no VR on this lens, unlike the f/2.8 version).

This lens is aimed primarily at portrait photography. It’s squarely in the range of ideal focal lengths for portrait photography, and the wide maximum aperture makes it easy to blur the background. But I was intrigued by its possibilities for general travel photography, with using the combination of wide aperture and medium telephoto focal length to both draw out details and work well in low light.

As you’d expect from a high-end and, let’s face it, expensive lens like this, and especially coming from Nikon, the optical quality is excellent. As usual, it’s sharpest a few stops up from wide open, but even wide open at f/1.4 and f/1.8, it is very sharp. Auto focusing when mounted on a Nikon D810 was accurate and quick. And while the lens itself is a bit bigger and heavier than its f/2.8 sibling, it’s still very portable. Bokeh is one of those very subjective things, but I was very happy with what this lens delivered. I found nothing to complain about in terms of chromatic aberration or lens flare, even when pointing it right at the sun.

I was using it right around the time that I had several early mornings down near Washington DC’s Tidal Basin and Lincoln Memorial, so many of the shots were from there.

I’ve processed these lightly in Lightroom but have only adjusted things like exposure and contrast. I haven’t applied any lens corrections such as distortion correction or removing lens vignetting. I’ve included the aperture each was taken with in the captions below. You can click on each photo to open a full-size version if you want to take a closer look.

Sample Images taken with a Nikon 105mm f/1.4E

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED at ƒ / 2.2 on a Nikon D810

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED at ƒ / 2.0 on a Nikon D810. For this pre-dawn shot of the Jefferson Memorial reflected on the Tidal Basin, I was resting the lens on a railing. In this kind of lighting for this kind of shot I would normally use a tripod, but the very fast aperture increased the options.

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED at ƒ / 1.4 on a Nikon D810. It’s not the usual view of the statue of Dr. Martin Luther King at the MLK Memorial. I like the way that the focal length framed the image and using the wide open aperture brings focus attention on the eyes. It was moments after sunrise, which is why it has a soft golden glow on the statue.

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED at ƒ / 2.2 on a Nikon D810

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED at ƒ / 1.4 on a Nikon D810. A shot taken well before dawn at the Lincoln Memorial.

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED at ƒ / 1.4 on a Nikon D810

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED at ƒ / 1.4 on a Nikon D810

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED at ƒ / 4.5 on a Nikon D810

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED at ƒ / 2.8 on a Nikon D810

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED at ƒ / 2.2 on a Nikon D810. A pretty standard landscape-type shot that doesn’t make any special use of this lens’s strengths, but it still works well. You can notice that vignetting in the corners, though.

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED at ƒ / 2.2 on a Nikon D810

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED at ƒ / 1.4 on a Nikon D810

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED at ƒ / 1.4 on a Nikon D810. Taken in low light wide open, the individual branches on the trees in front of the Washington Monument are still sharp even at the edge of the frame.

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED at ƒ / 1.4 on a Nikon D810

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED at ƒ / 7.1 on a Nikon D810

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED at ƒ / 1.8 on a Nikon D810. It was much darker in real life than this photos makes it look–well before dawn.

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED at ƒ / 1.6 on a Nikon D810. This shot shows the kind of isolation that the fast apertures can bring out even at moderate distances.

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED at ƒ / 2.0 on a Nikon D810

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED at ƒ / 1.8 on a Nikon D810

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED at ƒ / 1.4 on a Nikon D810

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED at ƒ / 2.0 on a Nikon D810

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED at ƒ / 1.6 on a Nikon D810

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED at ƒ / 1.4 on a Nikon D810

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED at ƒ / 1.4 on a Nikon D810. Another example how the combination of wide aperture and medium telephoto can be used for selective focus even on scenes some distance away.

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED at ƒ / 2.0 on a Nikon D810

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED at ƒ / 2.0 on a Nikon D810

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED at ƒ / 1.8 on a Nikon D810

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED at ƒ / 1.4 on a Nikon D810

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED at ƒ / 1.4 on a Nikon D810. Nikon’s other 105mm, with macro, is better for flower photos, but you can still get some interesting effects with the wide apertures.

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED at ƒ / 4.5 on a Nikon D810

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED at ƒ / 1.8 on a Nikon D810

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED at ƒ / 1.6 on a Nikon D810

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED at ƒ / 2.8 on a Nikon D810

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED at ƒ / 1.4 on a Nikon D810

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED at ƒ / 2.0 on a Nikon D810

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED at ƒ / 1.4 on a Nikon D810

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED at ƒ / 1.4 on a Nikon D810

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED at ƒ / 1.4 on a Nikon D810

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED at ƒ / 1.8 on a Nikon D810

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED at ƒ / 1.4 on a Nikon D810

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED at ƒ / 1.8 on a Nikon D810

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED at ƒ / 2.0 on a Nikon D810

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED at ƒ / 1.4 on a Nikon D810

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED at ƒ / 1.8 on a Nikon D810

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED at ƒ / 1.4 on a Nikon D810

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED at ƒ / 1.4 on a Nikon D810. Like the shot of the statue of MLK, above, this one is taken from the base of the statue (Lincoln Memorial), with the sharpness of the face contrasted with the softness of the inscription behind him.

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED at ƒ / 2.2 on a Nikon D810. You can see some vignetting, but it’s not especially objectionable.

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED at ƒ / 11 on a Nikon D810. I found no issue with lens flare, even pointing it right at the sun with dark silhouettes in the frame.

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED at ƒ / 1.4 on a Nikon D810

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED at ƒ / 1.4 on a Nikon D810

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED at ƒ / 1.4 on a Nikon D810

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED at ƒ / 16 on a Nikon D810. There is a very slight barrel distortion, but it’s not really noticeable unless you side-by-side it with a corrected version.

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED at ƒ / 6.3 on a Nikon D810. Again, no issue with lens flare.

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED at ƒ / 1.4 on a Nikon D810

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED at ƒ / 1.4 on a Nikon D810. A night-time shot that wouldn’t normally work hand held.

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED at ƒ / 1.4 on a Nikon D810

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED at ƒ / 1.4 on a Nikon D810

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