Decision on Getting a Lens AI'd

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by waynecrider, Jul 3, 2013.

  1. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

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    So I have a late model, rubber focus ring 50mm F2 non-Ai lens that I'm considering getting AI'd to use on another camera at $35 + shipping. I've tested and like this lens as it has very good even resolution from F2.8 to F8 and is small and light. If I were to GAS Up, I'd be looking at a minimum of at least $115 for a F1.8 AI or more for a AIS at one of our favorite camera sellers. I don't need the world here, just a good lens which can sometimes be hard to find and may require going thru a few examples; And time, and shipping etc. So, if anyone had their lens AI'd maybe you can chime in with your thoughts. Money's moneys and it can always be used elsewhere, but.., a better lens is a better lens.
     
  2. newcan1

    newcan1 Subscriber

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    I just sent three lenses to John White (aiconversions.com) and should have them back by Friday. Can't wait! I'll let you know how they look, if interested. It would have cost quite a bit to replace the lenses with ai versions.
     
  3. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    If that's a late muticoated version of the 50mm Nikkor-H, and I think it is, I'd say go for it. Those are wonderful lenses - I have two of the earlier ones.

    It's a simple operation, just mill a notch at the right spot on the aperture ring. I've done it with files.
     
  4. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

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    Yeah drop a line and let me know how it looks.

     
  5. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    I've had John do a lens, been a while, came out nice.

    Many of the older lenes have a better feel on the focus ring than the later ones, AI vs say AF-D.

    The AF-D 50 1.8 is a great lens though and if your ability to focus is degrading like my ability to focus AF is going to be a future step.

    The other advantage of the AF is the resale value, it may cost a $115 but you could sell it for very close to that, done it 3 times now I think with that 50 1.8 AF-D for various reasons.
     
  6. newcan1

    newcan1 Subscriber

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    I just got the three lenses back from John White, and he did an awesome job! They look very neat, and all fitted nicely on my D200, so I am sure they will fit on the F100 and N90s. Metering worked, was accurate etc. In my case it was a good decision to get the Ai'd. The lenses were a 105mm f2.8, 80-200 f4.5, and 200mm f4.
     
  7. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

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    Well the eyes are definitely a problem at my age as I wear glasses but I still can get a pretty good focus depending on the camera and screen. For tripod work I can use a focus magnifier. I do use a 35mm F2 AF lens on the AF camera as well, just need a 50mm and I'm not partial to the new ones at all and don't need a F1.4. A new F1.8 D I bought was sent back on receipt, and on return and testing it was not up to my spec's. I don't like paying excessive shipping charges so once was enough.
     
  8. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

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    Did he put tape on for a aperture scale or is the aperture ring still on?
     
  9. newcan1

    newcan1 Subscriber

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    Well he put tape on the non-AI aperture ring. The aperture ring is there, as are the original aperture numbers, but the tape is to supply numbers closer to the end of the lens that can be seen through the viewfinder of an AI camera. Does that answer the question?
     
  10. Mark Feldstein

    Mark Feldstein Member

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    Personally, I'd save the $35 and put it towards buying a 35mm Nikkor f2.8. I have the 1.4 version that's constantly on my F2's or F2AS. Sometimes I wish I had two of them. They sweet for photojournalism, scenics, crowd scenes and even informal portraiture, more so, IMHO than the 50mm series lenses. It's really versatile.

    Here's what Rockwell says about the 35/f2.8 http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/35mm-28-ai.htm and which you can probably pick up for less than 100 bucks at the Bay, like this one:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/NIKON-NIKKO...28191551?pt=Camera_Lenses&hash=item4610b7cc3f
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 4, 2013
  11. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

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    Ok, I understand the tape now. I just don't have the aperture window on my Ai camera.
     
  12. John_Nikon_F

    John_Nikon_F Subscriber

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    The other option is to find a beater 50/2 AI. Take the aperture ring and the lens mount assembly, complete with rear element baffle (if the AI lens has five mount screws, otherwise, only the rear element baffle), and mount those on your pre-AI K version 50/2. Turns your pre-AI lens into an actual AI lens, except for the focusing ring grip and the serial number. Quite a few of the K-version Nikkors can be AI'd in this manner, making a more-complete AI conversion than what you can get anywhere else.

    That said, if the AI conversion is being done by the guy who I think it is (microbee on eBay), you'll be pretty satisfied with his work. Had him modify my 28/3.5 so it can be used on my F4 without breaking said camera.

    Re: 50/1.8 Nikkor prices, one of the local shops here in the Seattle area has a pretty nice long-nose AIS version for $89.50. Much less than what you're expecting to pay for one.

    -J
     
  13. damonff

    damonff Member

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    I'm not sure if this helps, but I would leave it alone and shoot it on a camera that does not require the modification, like a plain prism F2. On which camera are you planning on using it? Do you have a hand held meter? My 50 1.4 non-ai is a dreamboat and I use it on my very old F2 - works insanely well and is such a nice lens. Sorry, blah blah blah.
     
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  15. BourbonCowboy

    BourbonCowboy Member

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    I realize that I'm new to posting here, but I thought I'd weigh in on my experiences.

    First, I've never had an Ai conversion done by John White. I've heard his work is good.

    I have had some work done by "microbe" - Brian Williams. I had him perform an Ai conversion on my 135 2.8 K and 200/4K lenses - using the factory Ai conversion rings that I bought. Both lenses came back to me working flawlessly.

    I currently own the following Ai'd lenses (all K lenses that have been converted with factory rings):

    20/4
    28 3.5 (mostly used with my D200IR)
    35/2
    50 1.4
    55 3.5
    85 1.8
    105 2.5
    135 2.8
    200/4

    I'm not a big fan of the grind-and-tape method of Ai conversions. I always try to find the factory rings. But lately, these are becoming scarce. Check out Koh's camera, Pacific Rim Camera, and Crystal Camera Repair. They might have the correct rings you need. Best of luck with your search.
     
  16. clayne

    clayne Member

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    My recommendation is also to use an F2 rather than mess with the lenses. When you get an Ai or AiS model then you have the best of both I guess.
     
  17. mweintraub

    mweintraub Subscriber

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    I might trust this review more: http://www.naturfotograf.com/lens_wide.html
     
  18. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

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    Yeah that would be the smart way to go.
     
  19. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

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    I've got to say I'm a little over the older used stuff for now, especially in bodies. I also had to return a lens not long ago to a store and while the problem was reimbursed no problem, the quote "Ex" bargain I thought I was getting was not so Ex. Best to buy the best there is and figure old is old, so matter the appearance.

    I shoot a FT2 Nikkormat that the lenses are used on. I also shoot a N80 with AF lenses. My 35mm F2.5 ai shoots on that AF body with hand metering (big whoopee do) but the 50 does not. I just need a 50 lens for it and I'm basically set. My 50 blows the hell out of the F1.8 AFD btw. There may good ones and bad ones but my new one was dog dirt.
     
  20. damonff

    damonff Member

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    Totally agree. My 50 1.4 non-ai is a million times better (well, maybe not quite a million) than my now sold 50 1.8 afd.
     
  21. Mark Feldstein

    Mark Feldstein Member

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  22. LJSLATER

    LJSLATER Member

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    I too think non-AI lenses should be left alone, especially the hard-to-find ones.
     
  23. clayne

    clayne Member

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    There are lens bargains out there though with "problem" lenses though:

    * Sticky apertures
    * Haze inside the lens
    * Light fungus

    All are easily fixable for most typical designs.
     
  24. SafetyBob

    SafetyBob Member

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    If you don't have a non-ai camera, you need to get one to enjoy the non-ai era of Nikon. I know there are fewer good examples of those old cameras around but an F2 will last forever.

    I send an old, unloved 50-300 non-ai to John to have modified. He did a beautiful job and the lens is fun to break out and occasionally use as it is so much bigger than anything out there......yes, I use it for shock value.....not the best glass they made, but certainly acceptable for what I use it for.

    Find a good ai or ais lens to use with those "modern" cameras.

    Bob E.
     
  25. kitanikon

    kitanikon Member

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    I recently posted these at full frame as part of a comparison exposure test, but thought they might be relevant here as a contrast/color/sharpness test...
    All shot on Canon 30D @ ISO 1000 @ 2.8 jpegs out of camera @ max sharpness
    They are the 50mm F1.4 AIS, 50mm F1.4 S, and 50mm F2 H ("K" version with rubber focusing barrel)
    Results are very similar...a bit different in brightness/contrast at different parts of the spectrum (e.g. the "S" seems brighter on the near 18% gray in the background)
    ...and the "H" is stopped down only 1 F-stop whereas the 1.4 50s are down 2 stops...
    All pretty impressive I think...and any variation would be more a result of user technique, whether focusing or exposure...

    Nikkor 50ais1.4
    [​IMG]

    Nikkor 50ais1.4 100%Crop
    [​IMG]

    Nikkor 50s1.4
    [​IMG]

    Nikkor 50s1.4 100%Crop
    [​IMG]

    50H/2
    [​IMG]

    50H/2 100%Crop
    [​IMG]

    I have or had AI/NonAI versions of the 50/1.4, 105, 135, 180 and 200 and they are all quality lenses...varying in their size and mechanics more than in their results...to my eyes at least.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 9, 2013
  26. clayne

    clayne Member

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    30D? Get a rope.