Nikkor AIS 35mm f1.4 - what to do

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by michael_r, Sep 22, 2010.

  1. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    In 2000, I bought a new F3HP and a new AIS 35mm f1.4 to go with it (my first lens for that body). It was an impressive piece of glass, and the contruction of the lens itself, how the focus/aperture rings move etc are as good as anything I ever saw from Leitz or Zeiss. However I really never used the lens. I worked mostly with shorter lenses at the time. Later I started to use that focal length alot, but used a Nikkor AF-D f2, and I now use a Zeiss ZF 35mm f2, which I love. I never use wide apertures in my work anyway, so the fast speed of the AIS Nikkor never did me much good (although the viewfinder image is obviously nice and bright).

    The AIS is a beautiful piece of equipment, so I never wanted to sell it even though I've probably used it only 5 times since I bought it. It's essentially unused, and other than exercising the focusing and aperture rings every few months, I have always kept it in its original box with a UV filter on the front and both lens caps on. Last time I looked at it, I did notice a couple of flecks of dust inside, which annoyed me, but I highly doubt image quality would be affected.

    So I don't know what to do with this thing. A new one is well over $1,000. But I don't know if it is worth selling, or if I should just keep it as a fine example of Nikkor craftsmanship. Seems like a waste to keep it around, but I wonder if I'd later regret parting with it.
     
  2. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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    I used to have this lens and like you was impressed with it but rarely used it. I traded mine along with a body for a Leica. Have a look into trading it for something else, I can't say I miss mine (nor the Leica which I traded it for, but that's another story).
     
  3. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    It is a nice lens to hold in your hand, but nothing special optically. So I can't imagine I'd ever really need it, but still not sure it is even valuable enough to trade for anything useful.
     
  4. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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    Sell it on ebay and with the funds you make buy film.
     
  5. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    Looking at completed auctions on ebay and KEH.com, it looks like you could expect at least $500.
     
  6. stillsilver

    stillsilver Member

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    The second you ship it to its new home you will find the perfect situation to use that lens. But, if you use the $$ to buy something you will use more than once every two years then you are way ahead of the game.

    Mike
     
  7. Brian Legge

    Brian Legge Member

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    Is there something you would use if you had $500+ dropped in your lap right now? Would that item have more value to you than the lens?
     
  8. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    Interesting. I could really use an archival print washer.
     
  9. nambun

    nambun Member

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    In Vietnam, 35mm 1.4 ais is Mint about 400-500 USD. I dont now price if it is likenew.

    I want buy the lens too. But the price?
     
  10. narsuitus

    narsuitus Member

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    The 35mm f/2 was the first Nikon lens I purchased and was my favorite lens until I replaced it with the 35mm f/1.4. I can understand adding a 35mm Nikkor AF-D f2 for the auto focus feature. However, I do not understand why you would get a Zeiss ZF 35mm f2 manual focus lens if the 35mm f/1.4 was meeting your needs.

    Since you have decided that you prefer the Zeiss f/2 to the Nikon f/1.4, list the 1.4 on eBay at a low starting bid and with no reserve.
     
  11. dynachrome

    dynachrome Member

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    My fastest 35mm Nikkor is the 35/2 Nikkor O. It doesn't have the most modern coating but is nice and sharp. I wouldn't mind having a 35/1.4 for low light shooting. I could also use it on my Konica and Canon cameras.
     
  12. CGW

    CGW Member

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    I'd keep it. Why? On a APS-C Nikon digital SLR, it's approximately a 50/1.4; on an FX Nikon digital, the 35/1.4 supposedly sings.

    http://www.naturfotograf.com/lens_wide.html

    It can even be hacked, via adapters, to work on micro 4/3 bodies. We're living on borrowed time with film bodies but not lenses. This is an extraordinary optic that will shine whatever it's stuck to, so hang on to it for now, for film, but also for the future.
     
  13. fotch

    fotch Member

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    You may want to hunker down and shoot nothing but that lens for a week or two, and see if that changes your mind. If not, sell it while it has value. JMHO
     
  14. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    I have periodically gone through bouts of lens buying. I got the AF-D lens shortly after the AIS because I had read various test reports and reviews concluding the much cheaper AF-D was actually slightly sharper and more contrasty/less prone to flare at smaller apertures. I've never even owned an AF body. I never observed any difference in performance between the two lenses myself, but once I had the AF-D I just kept using it.

    More recently I had the chance to try a few ZFs. I had no expectations either way, but it turned out to be a gem. I do find it to be a bit sharper around the edges/corners in 8x10" prints. So sensibly or not, I bought it, and it is one of my favourites.

    All this to say, yeah in the end it never really made much sense for me to not use the AIS lens, and to keep buying more lenses. But occasionally I can't help myself even though I know better. As John Sexton says about photographers, "we like stuff".
     
  15. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    If you barely used it in 10 years+, what are the chances of you using it again? If you treasure the lens for emotional reasons, then I understand and we all have an item or two like that, but for practical purposes, I'd imagine it'd be sitting for the next 10 years used even less. Personally, I'd sell it and buy something else that I'd actually use and enjoy.
     
  16. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    I have to admit I'm starting to lean in that direction.