The more I review my gear, the more I realize that manual focus telephoto lenses, especially good quality fast aperture ones, are just a waste of time. It's not due to the optical quality, its due to focusing. Using something like an 85mm f1.4 or 135mm f2, it is very difficult to get the focus spot on, especially if the object is moving or relatively close. If it is both, then forget even trying. If it is difficult to get an in focus shot, no matter how good the optics are, its very difficult to justify owning.
So, just recently I sold my Nikon 85mm f1.4 Ai-S and Nikon 105mm f1.8 Ai-S, and will sell the Nikon 135mm f2 Ai-S shortly. I've already purchased the Sigma 85mm f1.4 HSM recently to add to the Nikon 80-200mm f2.8 AF-S I already own. Both these lenses have fast AF, and the chances of missing a shot are much, much lower. My hit rate (ie perfect focus) is now about 70%, as opposed to 5-10%.
Wide angle lenses are a different kettle of fish. Even with a fast lens, like the Nikon 24mm f2 Ai-s, it is much harder to miss a shot as the depth of field is much greater. The Nikon 35mm f1.4 Ai-S though, is trickier, and so I have just replaced this the new Sigma 35mm f1.4.
|Sigma 85mm f1.4 HSM, Nikon D600|