Micro.Nikkor 55 F3.5 macro or Nikkor 50 F 1.4

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by peters8, Jan 17, 2013.

  1. peters8

    peters8 Member

    Messages:
    105
    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2012
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Hi guys? is the first lens (micro-Nikkor) better than second lens?...I don't like mcaro-photography but i'm searching for a very good 50 mm lens.
    Could you give me some advice or opinions.Thanks!
    Regards:smile:
     
  2. jochen

    jochen Member

    Messages:
    352
    Joined:
    May 13, 2008
    Location:
    Germany
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Hello,
    macro lenses are also very well suited for common photography as long as their poorer speed is not an obstacle. But with f/3.5 it can be a problem to focus on your viewing screen. Some focussing helps like microprisms or split-image rangefinders do not work at f/3.5. Its easier to focus a f/1.4 lens. The second problem is the gradient of the focussing thread. Since macro lenses are especially designed for close up work focussing at normal distances is very sensitive. Together with the darker viewfinder, the larger depth of field and the steeper thread it is more difficult to focus in darker light situations than with the f/1.4.
     
  3. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

    Messages:
    3,879
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2011
    Location:
    Adirondacks
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    For general photography the 50/2 Nikkor H is better than either. I've had all three, and no longer own a 50/1.4 Nikkor. The 55/3.5 is good at infinity and is self-shading, and has the versatility of focussing to 1/2 lifesize with no tubes or other add-ons, it's really a great lens.

    The 1.4 is also a great lens, but IMHO the f:2 is better. It's also smaller, lighter, and cheap. Performs like a Summicron-R with a tiny bit of barrel distortion.
     
  4. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,801
    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2003
    Location:
    San Francisc
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I wholeheartedly agree with this!
     
  5. dynachrome

    dynachrome Member

    Messages:
    974
    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2006
    Shooter:
    35mm
    All of the Nikon 50mm lenses are very good. I have eleven 55/3.5 Micro Nikkors and two 55/2.8 Micro Nikkors. I also have seven different 50/1.4 Nikkors: pointy prong S, round prong S, SC, early 'K', late 'K', AI and AIS. The Micro Nikkors are not realy suited to low light photography and the 50/1.4 lenses aren't nearly as good close up. The 50/2 H and later models and the 50/1.8 lenses are good with close-up lenses attached, good with some extension and very good reversed with extension.
     
  6. fotch

    fotch Member

    Messages:
    4,822
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2005
    Location:
    SE WI- USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The macro lens is a flat field lens which is important for close up work, a regular lens, used at normal shooting distance does not need to be the flat field design, and used wide open, the center will be in focus, and the outer area a softer image. I own both and see no advantage to the macro unless shooting very close up.
     
  7. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

    Messages:
    3,979
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The 50/1.4's vintage matters a lot. In 1970 I bought a Nikkormat and a 50/1.4 and some Nikon diopters so that I could shoot closeup with the 50/1.4. The 50's speed was very useful but it wasn't that sharp or contrasty, even stopped down. I used to go out shooting with a friend who had a Konica AR and a 58/1.2 Hexanon. His slides were always sharper than mine.

    Later in the year I decided that the 50/1.4 + Nikon diopter wasn't good enough to use closeup -- massive curvature of field -- so I bought a 55/3.5 MicroNikkor. By the end of '71 I'd retired the 50/1.4 and used the 55/3.5 when I needed that focal length. I understand that later (redesigned) 50/1.4 Nikkors are better than the one I bought.

    This is not to say that the 55/3.5 MicroNikkor is the best lens for general out-and-about shooting. Modern Photography and Popular Photography never published tests of any of the various vintages of 55/3.5 MicroNikkor. I once asked Norman Rothschild why not. He explained that the lenses had been testing and found wanting. Both magazines published only "good" test reports to avoid losing advertising.

    I now have a couple of 50/1.8 Nikkors, one a type E, the other a regular Nikkor. Same optics, same faint red hot spot in the center of the frame at some apertures.

    The 55/2.8 MicroNikkor is a better lens than the 55/3.5 and than the 50/1.4. If you want just one generally useful normalish lens for a Nikon, get a 55/2.8 MicroNikkor.
     
  8. dorff

    dorff Member

    Messages:
    460
    Joined:
    May 31, 2011
    Location:
    South Africa
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The 55/3.5 comes in a few different versions. Which one are you talking about? The one marked Auto is probably the best optically, and one of the sharpest of all the Nikons in the 1:10 to 1:2 magnification range. The older (non-AFD or AFS) 50/1.4 is a good lens stopped down to f/2.8 or thereabouts. Below f/2 it has very low contrast and looks mushy. The viewfinders of Nikon SLRs do not really show the benefit of any aperture wider than f/2.8. So a 50/2 will focus as easily as a 50/1.4. But the 55/3.5 will be more difficult to focus. If you are going to do close-up often, then get the macro. If you are going to do nightlife, then the 50/1.4. Anything else, the 50/2 is a nice compromise speed-wise and optically great.
     
  9. fotch

    fotch Member

    Messages:
    4,822
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2005
    Location:
    SE WI- USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Unless you actually need to focus as close as a couple of inches a lot of the time, it is easy to put a close up lens on a regular lens. On the other hand. You cannot increase the lens speed itself, with any attachment and may not want to bring in additional lights. Starting with a normal lens and adding a macro lens, if needing extreme close focusing is probably what most do. The normal lens is usually less expensive also.

    However, different strokes for different folks.
     
  10. Mark Crabtree

    Mark Crabtree Member

    Messages:
    678
    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2009
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    I second (or third) the recommendation for the 50 f2 Nikkor, though I wouldn't compare it to a Summicron unless you always stop down. The 1.4 is a decent lens if you need the speed, but suffers a bit more from focus shift, which is aggravated a bit more since you are focusing at 1.4.

    The 1.8's are very good also, but zingier image quality; some people may prefer that.
     
  11. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,120
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2005
    Location:
    U.K.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I've been into photography for more than fifty years and have never had any need or desire for a macro lens, I.M.O. for general photography the 50mm f1.4 lens is much more useful.
     
  12. Jonathan R

    Jonathan R Member

    Messages:
    78
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    I have never had a 50mm Nikon prime, but I bought the 55mm (non AF) because I thought it could serve both as a normal lens and a macro. I used it to document stuff for work for about 15 years. As a short macro it is superb. As a normal lens I found it rather disappointing: not sharp and (obviously) not terribly fast either. A practical irritation is that the front element is very difficult to clean (because it is so deeply recessed). Of course that also means it doesn't ordinarily need a lens hood, but then again you have no choice but to add filters in front of that deep hood, and you need an extra hood to shield the filters.... I'm afraid that lens contributed to me moving from Nikon to Leica, something I shall never regret.
     
  13. narsuitus

    narsuitus Member

    Messages:
    734
    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I own and use the Nikon 55mm f/3.5 macro and the 50mm f/1.4. Many times when I have been shooting close-ups and macro with the 55, I also needed to use it for general shooting. As long as there was enough light, the 55 has performed very well as a general-purpose lens; even at infinity focus.

    On the other hand, the last two times I was in extended travel status, I carried my 50mm f/1.4 and not my 55mm macro because I thought I would be doing a lot of low-light shooting and no close-up and/or macro shooting. I was wrong. I did need the fast 1.4 for low-light shooting but I also needed to shoot macro and close-up subjects that the 50mm was able to handle.

    Next time, I will carry both lenses or at least carry a set of supplemental close-up lenses with the 50mm f/1.4.

    However, in answer to your request for advice or opinions, here is what I recommend (in order of priority) for your situation:

    1. 50mm f/1.8 or f/2 (great low-cost normal lens for general shooting)
    2. 50mm f/1.4 (if needed for shooting under dimly lit conditions)
    3. 55mm f/3.5 (if primarily needed for macro and close-up shooting)

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/11336821@N00/5535954258/

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/11336821@N00/5535954258/
     

    Attached Files:

  14. ksa66

    ksa66 Member

    Messages:
    37
    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2012
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I would recomend nikkor 55/f2.8. Great allrounder lens for naturephotography.