Nikon 50mm manual focus lenses

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Stephanie Brim, Jan 20, 2009.

  1. Stephanie Brim

    Stephanie Brim Member

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    Before I decide completely on one, I figured that people may want to help.

    I put up a want to buy ad in the classifieds that I have a $90 budget for a normal 50mm lens for my Nikon FE that's on its way to me now. It was a spur-of-the-moment purchase...and I no longer have any F glass.

    So here's the thing. I had an AI 50mm f/1.4 before. Twice. I loved that lens and was able to do some very nice things with it. My $90 budget, however, may not allow for that. I've been looking more and more into the older versions of the lenses and also the slower f/1.8 and f/2 versions. I don't know a lot about the other lenses. I've also been looking into the possibility of finding an older f/1.4 lens that's been AI'd.

    If you were wanting the best normal lens for your $90, what would you get?
     
  2. Smudger

    Smudger Member

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    Stephanie,from my experience with various Nikkor 50's,
    my favourite is the 50/f2 Ai.
    My sample is better than my previous 50/1.4 at all wide f/stops.
     
  3. Vilk

    Vilk Member

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  4. brofkand

    brofkand Member

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    You should be able to get the lens that Vilk linked to on eBay for $30 or less.
     
  5. firecracker

    firecracker Member

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    I always make the same comment on Nikkor 50mm lens that the AiS version of 50mm F1.8 pancake Japanese model is a real good one. If not, I bet the U.S version is as good if the price is good.

    I had a non Ai 50mm F1.4 lens once. I liked it but it was heavy and not pretty on my FM body at that time. And when I accidentally dropped it on the concrete surface, that was the end of the story...

    I also had a 50m F2 non Ai but looked more like an early Ai version once also. It simply came with a camera body (Nikkormat FT2) I bought at Ritz in the U.S. in 2000 or 2001 I think, and the price I paid was only for the body I thought. So, the lens was almost a giveaway, but it was still good.

    Anyway, for an Ai or AiS, 50mm F1.8 is good. For non Ai in case you change your mind, get 50mm F2 with "C" for multi coating. 50mm F2 H.C is a good one, and I have it as a backup for my 50mm F1.8 AiS pancake. Whichever you pick, it shouldn't cost that much and should fit in your budget, I think.
     
  6. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    No.. I'm sure you can get the concrete repaired!


    Steve.
     
  7. Mike Kennedy

    Mike Kennedy Member

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    Hi Stephanie,
    I'm using a Nikon series E 1.8/50mm on my FE2 and really like it.The lens has some good reviews on the web.They are going fairly cheep on "the auction site".

    Mike
     
  8. Excalibur2

    Excalibur2 Member

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    ***Anyway, for an Ai or AiS, 50mm F1.8 is good***

    HUH! just "good"? The Nikkor is a first class lens.
     
  9. firecracker

    firecracker Member

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    Well, I would've thought so, but in my case, the lens that weighed over 300grams(?) and it landed first before the camera body did. So, when I picked it up and saw the focus ring being totally bent and out of alignment, I had to let it go.

    I was on a date and I think I had a little too much beer before that incident I must admit.

    Anyway, to tell you more of the same kind of story, there was a time, again I was on a date with another girl, and this time I had a non Ai 35mm F2 Nikkor lens on my FM. And I dropped my camera again on the sidewalk, on asphalt, on the way out of the bar where I had a bit too much drink. I remember I thught I did it again, but the next day I checked the camera and the lens, the only damage I found was the UV filter (cheap Tiffen) that cracked in half, which absorbed the shock and protected the lens so perfectly! And that was a miracle.

    Maybe the asphalt on the sidewalk had more damage than the filter, but I didn't go back there so I don't know. It was too dark to see anyway...
     
  10. firecracker

    firecracker Member

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    Yes, first class. But compared to the F2 or F1.4 lenses, F1.8 pancake lenses tend to flare more because of their designs in my own experience. I don't know about the non-pancake version of F1.8 lens, but because it looks more like the F2 version where the front element is not as big and not as closely showing, it's probably better and flare-resistant in a way.
     
  11. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    Be careful about the 50/1.8 AI-S. There are three versions:

    1) Original. Has the shoe that couples to the metering pin on meter-equipped non-AI cameras. Widely considered to be the best, other than...
    2) Japanese pancake lens. Hard to find, and expensive for a 50/1.8. I've never used one, but I read a lot of positive reviews about it.
    3) Last version. No meter coupling shoe. It's the same as the Series E lens, but with improved multicoating. It's a good lens, but not as good as the other two.

    Most 50/1.8 AI-S lenses on the market are version 3.

    I don't think there was a 50/1.8 AI. The slow 50 in the AI world was the 50/2, which is a fantastic lens.
     
  12. Ralph Javins

    Ralph Javins Member

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    Good morning, Stephanie;

    If you can find the old reviews of the Nikkor lenses, you might notice that the f 1.4 and f 1.2 lenses are praised for their bright vewfinder image that really helps in low light focusing. The f 1.8 and f 2.0 lenses do seem to have better resolution qualities when we stop down to our normal picture taking aperture. This difference becomes apparent when we look at the data in the test charts.

    If you want to "look good," get the f 1.4 or the f 1.2. If you want to take good photographs, seriously think about the f 1.8 or the f 2.0. Even Nikon found that there are limits to how far you can stretch the laws of optical physics.
     
  13. Richard Kelham

    Richard Kelham Member

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    I wasn't aware that non-AI lenses would fit on an FM/FE...
     
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  15. Fred Aspen

    Fred Aspen Member

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    The Auto-Indexing tab folds up on the FM/FE/F4. There may be other models as well.

    -Fred
     
  16. rthomas

    rthomas Member

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    There was an AI version of the 50/1.8, I used to have one and KEH usually has it in stock for about $100. Here is a link to a very nice database of Nikkor lenses: http://www.photosynthesis.co.nz/nikon/lenses.html#50slow

    The F3 series also had the folding tab, and I believe you could have Nikon add this to the F5.
     
  17. André E.C.

    André E.C. Member

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    Stephanie,

    This is my suggestion for you, dirty cheap and top performance!:smile:


    [​IMG]


    Remember, it's the HC you want, not the H.:wink:


    Cheers



    André
     
  18. Stephanie Brim

    Stephanie Brim Member

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    I think I'm going to end up shopping KEH for a bargain-grade AI 1.4. Either that or the SC-1.4, which is also apparently good. I really do need the speed with my kid, I think, and it can't hurt to have it even if I don't end up needing it right away.

    At the moment, she's stacking plastic cups on the top of my salt container. Who needs toys, anyway?
     
  19. cooltouch

    cooltouch Member

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    I have a 50/1.4 AI lens and have been very happy with it. As others here have stated, the old 50/2 is well worth considering. When I first began acquiring Nikon gear about 20 years ago, more than a few old-time Nikon users told me that the 50/2 was the finest Nikkor made. I owned one for a while -- it came with a body I bought -- but I was enamored by the 1.4 speed of my current lens and sold the 50/2. Probaby should have kept it. Also, because it's "only" an f/2, they can typically be had for a song.

    Here's one on eBay with no bids. Looks to be an AI:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/NIKKOR-50-MM-LE...oryZ3323QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem


    Best,

    Michael
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 22, 2009
  20. Excalibur2

    Excalibur2 Member

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    ...b, bu, but can you see the difference in say a 8X10" print. Likewise the 50/2 compared to 50/1.8 stopped down to f2 or any other f stop.
     
  21. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    I'm not sure if you could tell on an 8x10... probably. But on an 11x14, the difference would be much more pronounced.

    8x10 isn't all that big! 35mm is easily capable of quality 11x14 enlargements.
     
  22. katphood

    katphood Member

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    I have used three Nikkor / Nikon 50s. Not sure of the first cuz I was young and didn't think about such things. I believe it was the short throw, rabbit eared version of the 1.8 AIS. I have also used the Series E and I now have the 1.8 AIS early, long throw version. The latter is the sharpest and most resistant to flare of those I've had. The Series E is single coated and varies from sample to sample. My copy didn't handle flare well, though I include the sun in quite a few of my photos.

    I've recently compared my 50 1.8 AIS to the famous Pentax SMC TAKUMAR 50 f1.4 m42 mount. It's sharper than the Pentax in the center at larger apertures, but softer in the corners. The Nikkor has much better flare resistance and, perhaps a touch better contrast, and, subjectively for me, slightly better bokeh.

    As PhotoJim said, there are three versions of the 1.8. The AI version or the early AIS version (with serial numbers that begin with 3) are the ones to get. The production history for the 50mm f1.8 is Ai, AIS (serial numbers 3135429 - 3304551 made between Jul81 - Sep85), then three batches of Series E, then two batches of AIS again, and finally the AF versions. The details are here:

    http://www.photosynthesis.co.nz/nikon/serialno.html#50slow.

    I also have the 55mm f3.5 Micro AI -- sweet!
     
  23. dynachrome

    dynachrome Member

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    If I can remember all of them I have two 50/2 H lenses, two 50/2 HCs, a 50/2 AI, three 50/2 'K' lenses, a 50/1.8 AI and a 50/1.8 AIS - last model. My faster 50s are a pointy prong 50/1.4 Nikkor S, a Nikkor 50/1.4 Nikkor SC, a first version 50/1.4 'K', a second version 50/1.4 'K', a 50/1.4 AI and a 50/1.4 AIS. From the 50/2 HC and 50/1.4 SC on they all have very nice coating. My favorites are the 50/2 'K' and the 50/1.4 'K' first version. There was a round prong 50/1.4 Nikkor S which I would like to get and there were sub-versions of either or both of the 50/1.4 AI and AIS lenses. These sub-versions were not different optically or mechanically. They just had slightly different cosmetics. A pre-AI lens will fit on an FE but you must flip up the AI tab on the camera first and then you're left with stop-down metering. For about $30 you can get an E3 focusing screen which should brighten things up. With the other $60 I would look for a 50/1.8 AI or a 50/2 AI. I actually like the 50/2 AI better but it is something of a collector's item so you might have to look for a while. The 50 I use mosty is the old f/1.4 Nikkor S with the pointy prong. This is the 50 which made Nikon's reputation for f/1.4 SLR lenses. The E3 screen will require an exposure adjustment.
     
  24. Stephanie Brim

    Stephanie Brim Member

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    Well...I ended up doing a BIN on Epay for a 35mm AIS pancake f/1.8. May also be picking up the 135mm f/2.8 AIS...that one hasn't ended yet. We'll see. I think I made the right choice. We'll see.
     
  25. Joe Grodis

    Joe Grodis Member

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    I picked up a 50mm F1.4 Non-Ai for my F4 at KEH for $89, it is a super nice lens with original metal clip-on hood, caps, & case.
     
  26. Stephanie Brim

    Stephanie Brim Member

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    I can't edit my post...

    But anyway, I mean 50mm f/1.8, not 35mm f/1.8. I was tired. :tongue:

    I'm happy with the purchase and will at least have a lens to use with the Nikon when it comes.