One really nice thing about Nikon is how much native glass you can mount and use. I don't have a huge issue with manually focusing and old non-AF Nikon glass is plentiful. In some cases I prefer older lenses to their newer counter parts. In some ways the fact that a lot of old Nikon glass is really really good is actually a hinderance. I wrote a while back how my beast of a mid-range zoom has stopped me in my tracks of acquiring a lot of lenses that I may actually prefer using. In other cases it really does help me to not spend money on things I already have. Take the main subject of today's post - the venerable Nikkor 135 f/2 AIS.
This thing was made before I was in high-school. I bought it used so long ago I cannot remember exactly when but it was for sure while I was using pre-AF bodies. At some point in the late 80's or early '90's. All of the wear you see actually happened via the previous owner - probably a real PJ considering they are almost the only ones that actually bought stuff like this way way back. Nikon didn't make a boat load of them and actually stopped importing them long before they ceased production.
This lens looks fantastic used close up. No need for the extra "DC-ness" of the 135DC. They are actually still cheap used on flea-bay. If I didn't have this one I would probably spend the whopping price for a DC just because I could it's really not any better unless you must have AF. Fact is this hasen't got a lot of use in the last decade from me. Mostly because I haven't used anything over 85mm in such a long long time. I do have to have it serviced. Somehow in storage it has developed a sticky focus ring - probably the deterioration of the lube. Who knows. I am sure it just needs taken apart, cleaned, re-lubed and it will be as good as new. The marks on the front element have absolutely no effect on IQ. Hihgly recommended if you are a Nikon shooter on a tight budget and want some of the best OOF rendition in the business. This lens just has that look to it that so many modern lenses don't - something organic while being crazy sharp where it is in focus. Check it out.
Anyone know where I can get this thing CLA'd in the US for a reasonable price? Last lens I had "CLA'd" was a really bad experience. I swear the internal dirt was more than when I sent it in and it now had oil on some of the internal elements.