Opinions on Non-AI Nikkor Kogaku Lenses?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by derekh, Jun 16, 2007.

  1. derekh

    derekh Member

    Messages:
    18
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    parkdale
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    I'm thinking of buying an older Non-AI Nikkor Kogaku 35mm f2.8 "S" lens. The price is right, but I'm not sure about the quality. Has anyone used this lens? How good is it in terms of contrast, sharpness, chromatic aberration etc? Are these lenses multicoated or not? I am wondering how it would compare to the more modern Nikkor lenses.
     
  2. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

    Messages:
    4,679
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    Location:
    Italia
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Can your camera mount it?
     
  3. loman

    loman Subscriber

    Messages:
    563
    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2006
    Location:
    Denmark
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I personally prefer the non ai lenses to the ai versions. But I generally prefer a more old school look. Havn't tried the 35mm f2.8, but I can say that the 35mm f2 "0" lens, is absolutely amazing. I would definately spend the extra cash and go for that one instead.
    Just remember to have a body that will accept them (I use my nikon F3) and that metering is always stop down unless the lenses have been ai'd.
    Best Regards
    Mads Hartmann
     
  4. resummerfield

    resummerfield Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,361
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2005
    Location:
    Alaska
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I’ve used the 35mm f2.0 Nikkor-O of the same era, and it performed fine. Most non-AI lenses are single coated, not multi-coated. A multi-coated lens should have a “C” in the name, such as Nikkor-S-C. And like the others have said, check that your camera body can mount the non-AI lens.
     
  5. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

    Messages:
    4,134
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I bought a 50/1.4 new in 1970. There are better normal lenses in F mount, and the newer 50/1.4s are better too. I bought a 24/2.8 new in '72, since AI converted by Nikon, and am still happy with it.
     
  6. HerrBremerhaven

    HerrBremerhaven Member

    Messages:
    861
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2006
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I have a very old Nikkor 35mm f2.8 shift lens. Probably very different optically, though likely similar coating. When I have used it as a straight unshifted lens, the performance has been quite good. A lenshood is suggested for older lenses, to avoid flare intruding upon your results.

    Ciao!

    Gordon Moat
    A G Studio
     
  7. marsbars

    marsbars Member

    Messages:
    112
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2006
    Location:
    Spokane Wa.
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I have the 35-mm f2.8 and it is a nice lens but I will second the lens hood and making sure that the camera you have will mount it.
     
  8. snegron

    snegron Member

    Messages:
    808
    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2005
    Location:
    Hot, Muggy,
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I recently purchased a Nikon non-AI 50mm 1.4 S-C for an F I have and I must say I am impressed. The rest of my lenses are AIS versions or newer AF lenses. This older non AI is amazing. I now understand how Nikon acquired its reputation for superb optics! This has to be one of the sharpest lenses I have ever used.

    I also have a Nikon manual focus 35mm 2.0 AIS. I believe that it is a very sharp lens as well. Very comparable with a manual focus 24mm 2.8 AIS I have as well.

    As others have mentioned, make sure your Nikon body will accept the non AI version. Many non AI lenses have been modified or "AI'd" but you have to be sure before you mount it on your camera. If you have an old Nikon F there should be no problem.
     
  9. Uncle Bill

    Uncle Bill Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,380
    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2005
    Location:
    Oakville and
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I shoot with non-AI Nikons so all my Nikkors are pre-ai lenses. I have the Nikkor O 35 f2 and its a bad ass lens, one of my favourites along with the 24 f2.8. I too love the retro look of single coated lenses.

    Bill
     
  10. Moopheus

    Moopheus Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,083
    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2006
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I too use older Nikons that require the metering prong, so I have pre-AI lenses for them. I've been pretty happy with the results I've been getting from the 35mm f/2--in fact, it's essentially replaced the 50mm as my "normal" lens.
     
  11. Steve Bellayr

    Steve Bellayr Member

    Messages:
    106
    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2006
    Shooter:
    35mm
    f2.8 is a fairly slow lens by todays standards. A 35mm lens is pretty much a normal lens. Many people use it instead of the 50mm. When you compare it to the 50mm which is f1.4 that is two stops.
     
  12. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

    Messages:
    4,090
    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2006
    Location:
    NYC or Copak
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I am confused.

    If the lens is a Nikkor "S" mount then it is for a Nikon RF camera. So all of the references to AI etc. are confusing.

    The Nikkor 35mm/2.8 in "S" mount was the "best" 35mm lens for the Nikon RF's. There was also a f3.5 which was an earlier and less valued model.

    Now you can get into real minutae trying to figure out lens serial numbers to determine which "run" the lens came from - but if you are a shooter like me - if the glass is clean and blades "fungus free" then you should be okay.

    I always put UV (prophylactic) filters on my lenses and the Nikkor 35mm "S" lens will require a 43mm filter.

    Now, should you actually be looking for a F-mount lens (i.e. for one that will fit a Nikon SLR) then I refer you back to the above posts.
     
  13. Andrew A.

    Andrew A. Member

    Messages:
    35
    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2004
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I think the "S" in this case is the early designations for elements ( 7 elements).

    I have not used this lens but according to Bjørn Rørslett's comprehensive evaluations this lens is only average at best.

    Quoted from his web site "Once again, this is a lens that has been simplified in its optical formula throughout the years. The earliest version had 7 elements ("S" designation), big front and small rear elements, while the later models got 5 elements, a small front element and an enlarged rear element. The tendency to vignetting wide open declined by these optical changes, but so did the image quality. Prime, slow 35 mm lenses are not in the vogue today and this middle-of-the-road performer is not the one to reverse that trend."

    ....a
     
  14. Jersey Vic

    Jersey Vic Member

    Messages:
    3,924
    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2004
    Location:
    Columbia Cou
    Shooter:
    Holga
    I love my non-ai 50mm 1.4.It's my favorite lens wide open except maybe the non-ai 105mm. The 24mm is also very good. I have the 35mm but have rarely used it since I carry both the 24 and 50 most of the time and find the 35 unnecessary. Fine lenses for a great price.
     
  15. ehparis

    ehparis Member

    Messages:
    376
    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2006
    Location:
    U.S.A.
    Shooter:
    35mm
    The 35mm f2.8 provides good sharpness and contrast, about on par with the 35 f2. As elsewhere noted look for the "C" (coated) to appear after the lens name, i.e., S-C. Early lenses are more theoretically prone to flair, but in practice they often show no difference.

    The 35mm f2.8 is an ancient and honorable Nikkor lens. You'll like it.
     
  16. Mike Kovacs

    Mike Kovacs Member

    Messages:
    274
    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Location:
    Canada
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Actually, the lens you refer to is the 3.5cm f/2.5 in Nikon RF mount. It is a wicked lens, better IMO than the Contax RF mount 35mm f/2.8 Biogon (postwar) that I had. Its fits the postwar Contax cameras as well and is a great alternative to the collector-driven 2-3x more expensive postwar Biogon.
     
  17. Snapshot

    Snapshot Member

    Messages:
    913
    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2007
    Location:
    Toronto, Ont
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I've borrowed a friends 50mm non-Ai lens I thought it was quite a good lens. It made me wonder if all the "improvements" to lenses throughout the years were worth the added costs.