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  1. #1

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    Nikkor 1.2 Focusing Throw

    I currently own a 50mm f/1.2 AIS. I've seen pictures of the AIS version side-by-side with the older AI, and the latter (like most if not all AI and pre-AI lenses) seems to have a longer focusing throw, meaning the distances are more spread out, facilitating more accurate but slower focusing. Has anyone used both the AIS and AI versions? Is there a noticable difference in the ease of focusing accurately?

    I ask because I get frustrated when trying to critically focus with my sample; the focusing ring doesn't feel precise enough. There's also a little bit of play when focusing back and forth, meaning when I switch directions, I can turn the focusing ring a fraction of a rotation before the helicoids move.

  2. #2

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    Older ai lenses typically have more "throw," quicker focusing was one of the upgrades of the newer lenses.

    As for the play, my 1.2 ais has no play--from my experience only well used lenses develop a bit of play.

  3. #3

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    I have and use an Ai version. Mine has had extensive use and has excessive play, I've adjusted what I can but some parts are just plain worn out and parts are NLA. But I stress, it took a long time and a lot of shooting for it to get this way. It was pretty worn when I got it and then I put 12 years of regular wedding shooting on it.
    I have the shell of a Ais that I got of #bay ages ago for cheap, the throw is nicer, shorter. The size and weight of the elements in regards to the construction of the barrel assembly means that it puts pressure on parts when its used a lot, and if yours has that little wiggle then it most probably needs a bit of adjustment. I'd give it a good relube as well, the helicoid on the Ai is quite narrow and mine seems to work well with a bit more damping from the grease. Treat it well and it will last a really long time.

  4. #4

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    I have and use an Ai version. Mine has had extensive use and has excessive play, I've adjusted what I can but some parts are just plain worn out and parts are NLA. But I stress, it took a long time and a lot of shooting for it to get this way. It was pretty worn when I got it and then I put 12 years of regular wedding shooting on it.
    I have the shell of a Ais that I got of #bay ages ago for cheap, the throw is nicer, shorter. The size and weight of the elements in regards to the construction of the barrel assembly means that it puts pressure on parts when its used a lot, and if yours has that little wiggle then it most probably needs a bit of adjustment. I'd give it a good relube as well, the helicoid on the Ai is quite narrow and mine seems to work well with a bit more damping from the grease. Treat it well and it will last a really long time.

  5. #5

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    Thanks for the insight!

    I also wonder if keeping the hood attached during transport has contributed to its wonkiness?

  6. #6

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    Well, it depends. Is it the hard hood or the rubber one?

  7. #7

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    I wouldn't say so. The filter thread ring attaches to the front barrel and generally does not put any excessive pressure on the helicoid assembly, which is further back in the barrel. I'm doing a mild cleaning and slight lube on my Ai, your post made me look over the lens.

  8. #8

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    I use an HS-12.

    I don't trust myself to make my own adjustments, but I'm not a heavy user so I think I'll just rock it the way it is for now. I have been known to be a bit of an "equipment hypochondriac" anyway. I'm also compulsive; I can't use split-prism focusing screens because I'll stand there all day focusing back and forth until the image is PERFECTLY aligned, unless I just fire a shot out of desperation.

  9. #9
    Newt_on_Swings's Avatar
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    I think that it has less to do with focus shift from a loose helicoid than it has to do with the fact that a 1.2 lens has very narrow dof wide open on anything other than at infinity.

    If you are having focusing problems on smaller apertures then it could be something else, but at its widest, expect to have things not always perfect. Why not try a roll aimed at a tape measure or newspaper and see if it is lens, focusing screen, or user.

    A simple upgrade in focusing screens will help a lot. I use a combination of G2, H2, and P screens for maximum brightness and speed on the 50 1.2. I have the AIS version that is very well dampened and smooth through out, probably one of the best feeling lenses I have.

  10. #10
    JLP
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    My 50 1.2 Ais is about two years old and is rock solid but smooth. Have not used it much yet but have picked up 35mm again so it will see some use in the future. Great lens it is.
    _______________
    Jan Pedersen
    http://janlpedersen.com

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