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  1. #1

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    Micro.Nikkor 55 F3.5 macro or Nikkor 50 F 1.4

    Hi guys? is the first lens (micro-Nikkor) better than second lens?...I don't like mcaro-photography but i'm searching for a very good 50 mm lens.
    Could you give me some advice or opinions.Thanks!
    Regards

  2. #2

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    Hello,
    macro lenses are also very well suited for common photography as long as their poorer speed is not an obstacle. But with f/3.5 it can be a problem to focus on your viewing screen. Some focussing helps like microprisms or split-image rangefinders do not work at f/3.5. Its easier to focus a f/1.4 lens. The second problem is the gradient of the focussing thread. Since macro lenses are especially designed for close up work focussing at normal distances is very sensitive. Together with the darker viewfinder, the larger depth of field and the steeper thread it is more difficult to focus in darker light situations than with the f/1.4.

  3. #3

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    For general photography the 50/2 Nikkor H is better than either. I've had all three, and no longer own a 50/1.4 Nikkor. The 55/3.5 is good at infinity and is self-shading, and has the versatility of focussing to 1/2 lifesize with no tubes or other add-ons, it's really a great lens.

    The 1.4 is also a great lens, but IMHO the f:2 is better. It's also smaller, lighter, and cheap. Performs like a Summicron-R with a tiny bit of barrel distortion.

  4. #4
    Richard Sintchak (rich815)'s Avatar
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    Micro.Nikkor 55 F3.5 macro or Nikkor 50 F 1.4

    Quote Originally Posted by E. von Hoegh View Post
    For general photography the 50/2 Nikkor H is better than either. I've had all three, and no longer own a 50/1.4 Nikkor. The 55/3.5 is good at infinity and is self-shading, and has the versatility of focussing to 1/2 lifesize with no tubes or other add-ons, it's really a great lens.

    The 1.4 is also a great lens, but IMHO the f:2 is better. It's also smaller, lighter, and cheap. Performs like a Summicron-R with a tiny bit of barrel distortion.
    I wholeheartedly agree with this!
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  5. #5

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    All of the Nikon 50mm lenses are very good. I have eleven 55/3.5 Micro Nikkors and two 55/2.8 Micro Nikkors. I also have seven different 50/1.4 Nikkors: pointy prong S, round prong S, SC, early 'K', late 'K', AI and AIS. The Micro Nikkors are not realy suited to low light photography and the 50/1.4 lenses aren't nearly as good close up. The 50/2 H and later models and the 50/1.8 lenses are good with close-up lenses attached, good with some extension and very good reversed with extension.

  6. #6
    fotch's Avatar
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    The macro lens is a flat field lens which is important for close up work, a regular lens, used at normal shooting distance does not need to be the flat field design, and used wide open, the center will be in focus, and the outer area a softer image. I own both and see no advantage to the macro unless shooting very close up.
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  7. #7

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    The 50/1.4's vintage matters a lot. In 1970 I bought a Nikkormat and a 50/1.4 and some Nikon diopters so that I could shoot closeup with the 50/1.4. The 50's speed was very useful but it wasn't that sharp or contrasty, even stopped down. I used to go out shooting with a friend who had a Konica AR and a 58/1.2 Hexanon. His slides were always sharper than mine.

    Later in the year I decided that the 50/1.4 + Nikon diopter wasn't good enough to use closeup -- massive curvature of field -- so I bought a 55/3.5 MicroNikkor. By the end of '71 I'd retired the 50/1.4 and used the 55/3.5 when I needed that focal length. I understand that later (redesigned) 50/1.4 Nikkors are better than the one I bought.

    This is not to say that the 55/3.5 MicroNikkor is the best lens for general out-and-about shooting. Modern Photography and Popular Photography never published tests of any of the various vintages of 55/3.5 MicroNikkor. I once asked Norman Rothschild why not. He explained that the lenses had been testing and found wanting. Both magazines published only "good" test reports to avoid losing advertising.

    I now have a couple of 50/1.8 Nikkors, one a type E, the other a regular Nikkor. Same optics, same faint red hot spot in the center of the frame at some apertures.

    The 55/2.8 MicroNikkor is a better lens than the 55/3.5 and than the 50/1.4. If you want just one generally useful normalish lens for a Nikon, get a 55/2.8 MicroNikkor.

  8. #8

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    The 55/3.5 comes in a few different versions. Which one are you talking about? The one marked Auto is probably the best optically, and one of the sharpest of all the Nikons in the 1:10 to 1:2 magnification range. The older (non-AFD or AFS) 50/1.4 is a good lens stopped down to f/2.8 or thereabouts. Below f/2 it has very low contrast and looks mushy. The viewfinders of Nikon SLRs do not really show the benefit of any aperture wider than f/2.8. So a 50/2 will focus as easily as a 50/1.4. But the 55/3.5 will be more difficult to focus. If you are going to do close-up often, then get the macro. If you are going to do nightlife, then the 50/1.4. Anything else, the 50/2 is a nice compromise speed-wise and optically great.

  9. #9
    fotch's Avatar
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    Unless you actually need to focus as close as a couple of inches a lot of the time, it is easy to put a close up lens on a regular lens. On the other hand. You cannot increase the lens speed itself, with any attachment and may not want to bring in additional lights. Starting with a normal lens and adding a macro lens, if needing extreme close focusing is probably what most do. The normal lens is usually less expensive also.

    However, different strokes for different folks.
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  10. #10

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    I second (or third) the recommendation for the 50 f2 Nikkor, though I wouldn't compare it to a Summicron unless you always stop down. The 1.4 is a decent lens if you need the speed, but suffers a bit more from focus shift, which is aggravated a bit more since you are focusing at 1.4.

    The 1.8's are very good also, but zingier image quality; some people may prefer that.

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