Which Nikkor 50 Do You Prefer?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by FilmOnly, Mar 2, 2010.

  1. FilmOnly

    FilmOnly Member

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    I know this subject has been tossed around here (even I have discussed it), but I am having a difficult time recalling some very informative opinions that were expressed here. Anyway, I do not mind using pre-AI lenses (I love their bulid quality), and AI lenses are fine, too. I tend to like a 50 that shows little or no distortion and that displays a good color range. I have used the Nippon Kogaku S 50/2, the pre-AI K 50/1.4, and the 50/1.8 AIS. Ultimately, speed is not of the essence, and so an F/2 lens is usually fine for most of my applications.
     
  2. darkosaric

    darkosaric Subscriber

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    I like the most: 50mm f1.8 AF D and micro nikkor 55 f3.5.
     
  3. rthomas

    rthomas Member

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    Early 50mm f/1.8 AI, with the longer barrel, not the smaller-barrel Nikkor lens that looks just like the Series E. The 50mm f/2 is also excellent.
     
  4. Jesper

    Jesper Subscriber

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    I've tried most of them and in my personal opinion the 50/1.8Ais is the best one together with 55/3.5 (which one you choose depends on your style for the day).
    There are however a lot of good 50mm Nikkor lenses.
     
  5. epatsellis

    epatsellis Member

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    I use my 55 3.5 micro the most, however I have a 55 1.2, a few flavors of 1.4 from early to late and a 1.8E and they're all good. From an image quality standpoint, however, I miss my 2.0 that I had years ago. About as resistant to flare and sharp as a tack, good combo if you don't need the speed.
     
  6. RidingWaves

    RidingWaves Member

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    As others have stated. Long nose Ai 1.8 is my pick for overall, but the S.C. 1.4 has nice color character and the H.C.f2 is excellent as well in color, plus works very well close up. If you just want one get the F2 or otherwise follow the above advice and get the 1.8 and the 3.5.
     
  7. Shawn Rahman

    Shawn Rahman Subscriber

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    Agreed on the 50/2.0 AI. If you can find this in good condition, buy it. I think it is the sharpest 50 Nikon has ever made, and what you give up in terms of speed is very small. How often do you shoot in 1.8 or 1.4 anyway?
     
  8. Smudger

    Smudger Member

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    I agree with Shawn. This lens is claimed to have a flatter focus field than the later 1.8 variants.
     
  9. Denis R

    Denis R Member

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    1.8D

    [​IMG]
     
  10. gamincurieux

    gamincurieux Subscriber

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    50mm f1.8 AF. Mine is without the D. I don't care that it's so plasticky-Chinesey, it is dirt-cheap and SUPER SHARP. I remember years ago in Europe I got a decent-sized print made of a frame done with this lens at a very good B&W lab. On picking it up I took the print out to look. The printer was looking over my shoulder and said more to himself 'Ah oui, Leica'.... I turned to him and said 'Mais non monsieur, it was a Nikon'. He really didn't believe me. I don't use it as much as I probably should, even though I do believe in the worth of 'exercising' with a 50mm every so often. :wink:

    PS - This is a while ago now, but for what it's worth, the shot was taken inside a lovely old cafe and was very likely wide open, yet it was still sharp sharp sharp sharp SHARP! If I was in front of my own computer right now I'd attach the pic. I'll see what I can do about that in 10 hours if I remember.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 2, 2010
  11. Fred Aspen

    Fred Aspen Member

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    Another vote for the 50/1.8/AI and the 50/2/AI. Great lenses! And I have used most of the 50s from the late 60s on.
     
  12. eSFotos

    eSFotos Member

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    I don't think there is any bad 50mm Nikkor.
    Micro Nikkor 55 f2.8 is bitingly sharp with good colours but I like 50 F1.4 Pre-AI for its buttery bokeh.
     
  13. Ralph Javins

    Ralph Javins Member

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    Good morning;

    An interesting question, and not easy to answer in a simple, straight forward manner. My thoughts are about the pre-AI, the AI, and the AIs series.

    Others have already indicated that the tests have shown that the 50mm f/2.0 and the f/1.8 are probably the best performing lenses when we consider lens resolution, with the f/2.0 having a slight lead. Then the f/1.4 has a brighter finder image and is a little easier to focus, especially with eyes that have an excessive accumulation of years. The f/1.4 does give up something in resolution for that improvement in brightness and focusing ability.

    Then we come to the f/1.2. This lens has the brightest viewfinder image and is the easiest to focus, especially in low light. If you are using a flashlight to read the dials on your light meter, this is the lens to have. It also has further compromises in the recorded image resolution, and there is the "minor problem" of what it will do to your wallet.

    The faster lenses do seem to be roughly equal to the f/2.0 and the f/1.8 when we stop down to about f/5.6 and smaller, as I recall from some lens testing done about 30 years ago. The f/1.2 was more difficult to control with flare, and it benefits the most from keeping a good lens hood on the front in normal daylight.

    For me and my eyes, I settled on the f/1.4 as the best compromise for a combination of ease of focusing and lens resolution in most of my selected apertures at an affordable price. In a studio where you have control of the lighting, the f/2.0 would be my choice. For something where you need the ability to focus sharply on a specific plane and have the rest of the image out in the "circle of confusion," then the f/1.2 Noct Nikkor may be worth the money for you. It all depends on what you want to emphasize for your style of photography, and the situations where you will be taking photographs.
     
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  15. André E.C.

    André E.C. Member

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    The 50mm f/2 HC auto.
     
  16. Colden

    Colden Member

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    I like this thread. :smile:

    I can't believe nobody mentioned the little pancake.

    My 50 stable: 50mm f/1.2 ais hunk of glass for shallow dof w/ light fall-off, a 45mm f/2.8 aip pancake for the awesome factor (it's got excellent contrast, by the way, colour pictures really shine) and of course a 55mm f/2.8 ais micro.

    (incidentally, did you notice I got 50 posts with this reply? I had to edit to point this out!)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 3, 2010
  17. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    Another vote for the pre- A1 50mm f2 HC auto, this is generally accepted to be aperture for aperture the best 50mm lens Nikon ever made .
     
  18. FRANOL

    FRANOL Member

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    Vote for 50/2.0 AI, micro 55/2.8 with Reala (not for portrait) it's something special.Printing on Agfa analog minilab there is some 3D feeling .......;-)
     
  19. ajuk

    ajuk Member

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    The 50 nikker I got for working knocking plaster off walls for a day.
     
  20. Ihmemies

    Ihmemies Member

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    Ai Nikkor 50/1.2 for the unique look it provides. Other 50mm's tend to look like each other.

    50/1.2 is not very sharp, flares easier than other 50mm's and has a good deal of barrel distortion. If you are shooting architecture on tripod maybe then a smaller and dimmer 50mm will do.. but for me the 35mm system is meant be used in situations other gear just won't work, so I like the speed.
     
  21. weldong

    weldong Member

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    I like the AF 50mm 1.8 (non-D) made in Japan.
     
  22. Pumal

    Pumal Member

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    Nikon 50mm 1:2 S/N 3311146
    Nipon Kogaku Japan No 843277 Nikkor-S Auto 1:1.4 f=50mm
    Nikon Nikkor-SC Auto 1:1.2 f=55mm S/N 286853
    I think the Micro-Nikkor f/3.5 is also excellent
     
  23. RidingWaves

    RidingWaves Member

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    I personally think that the Ai 1.8 has a higher resolution than the f2, plus the level of distortion of the 1.8 is really Really low, whereas the f2 has obvious more. The 1.8 has kind of a 'thin' clarity to the look of images, whereas I feel that the F2 has a denser 'robustness' that works well in high saturation color uses. Put it another way, for using with Fuji Astia in soft, low light, I choose the 1.8 and using Velvia with strong light heavy saturation I choose the F2. Horses for courses.
     
  24. gamincurieux

    gamincurieux Subscriber

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    Made in China, but like I said, it's a great lens, I love it :wink:
     
  25. Stephanie Brim

    Stephanie Brim Member

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    The AI F/1.4. I love it. It gave me great shots and it was the first lens I ever had for my Nikon FE.
     
  26. FilmOnly

    FilmOnly Member

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    I appreciate the great response here, and I am glad folks are enjoying this thread.

    Well, in addition to an F3 (standard prism), I have on the way the 55/3.5 Micro AI and the 50/1.8 AIS. I chose the the AIS 50 because I have used it before (and I have used the Micro, too), and I thought its compact size was just perfect for candids.

    I will now hunt for a 50/2 AI.

    PS: I agree with the positive comments in regard to the 50/1.8 D (I got great results with it when I had an F100); however, I have been strictly MF for the past few years.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 4, 2010