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  1. #1
    Ara Ghajanian's Avatar
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    Vignetting on a Nikkor 50mm f1.4 AIS Lens

    I was going through some recent photos that I shot with my Nikkor 50mm f1.4 AIS lens and I'm noticing vignetting. Is this something that is common with these lenses when they are shot at wide open aperatures? Is it because it is a f1.4? Could someone explain this phenomenon?

    I've never done a lens test to determine what the best aperature to shoot at is. Can someone recommend a basic test I can do to determine this?

    Thanks in advance,
    Ara
    Just because you're not paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you.

  2. #2
    laz
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    Something is definatly amiss with your lens! You should be able to shoot all the way to f1.4 without any trouble, I do.

    What would be the purpose of paying for a fast lens if you couldn't use it at it's fastest?

  3. #3

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    Ara, its been several centuries since I had a 50/1.4 Nikkor, but the one I had didn't vignette. And I've shot it wide open.

    Have you put filters in front of your lens? Lens hood other than the standard issue?

    Why do your own tests? These lenses are very well-known. Find a public library that has back issues of Modern Photography or MP on microfilm from the early '70s through about '85 and search for tests of 50/1.4 Nikkors. If that's not practical, they give best sharpness and contrast in the range f/5.6 - f/8.

    That said, the concept of "best aperture to shoot at" is pretty fuzzy. Other factors enter, e.g., DoF and shutter speed. FWIW, my practice is not to stop down too far unless max shutter speed available/film speed/illumination for me to or unless I need more DoF. And not to shoot too open unless I need selective focus or circumstances force me to.

    Cheers,

  4. #4
    Eric Rose's Avatar
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    You didn't mention if you were using a lenshade. If you were, I suspect that, if not your lens is malfunctioning.
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  5. #5
    laz
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    Begin back-peddling: I did a quick Google of this lens. I didn't get the AIS version, but I did find this very interesting review:

    Nikon actively developed their fast normal lenses throughout the '70s. The coatings were improved and the basic double-Gauss formula was trimmed to squeeze even better performance out of the 50/1.4. The last version before the AI epoch featured a shimmering red front element and sported a very capable performance. Wide open there is some softening in the corners that disappears by f/2.8, At f/4 it gives excellent images, and the quality stays basically the same up to f/8. Beyond that f-number the performance declines perceptibly. Flare levels are low, but ghosting can be provoked by pointing the lens towards bright light sources.

    Well shut my mouth!

    Link to the review:
    http://www.naturfotograf.com/lens_norm.htmlNikon

  6. #6
    Ara Ghajanian's Avatar
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    I'll post a few negs I scanned that exhibit this problem tomorrow. I didn't use a lens shade and I only used one filter at the most.
    Ara
    Just because you're not paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by laz127
    Begin back-peddling: I did a quick Google of this lens. I didn't get the AIS version, but I did find this very interesting review:

    Nikon actively developed their fast normal lenses throughout the '70s. The coatings were improved and the basic double-Gauss formula was trimmed to squeeze even better performance out of the 50/1.4. The last version before the AI epoch featured a shimmering red front element and sported a very capable performance. Wide open there is some softening in the corners that disappears by f/2.8, At f/4 it gives excellent images, and the quality stays basically the same up to f/8. Beyond that f-number the performance declines perceptibly. Flare levels are low, but ghosting can be provoked by pointing the lens towards bright light sources.

    Well shut my mouth!

    Link to the review:
    http://www.naturfotograf.com/lens_norm.htmlNikon
    "Softening in the corners" isn't what most of us think of as vignetting. Vignetting usually means dark corners. Here's an example. Very compressed, looks awful, should make the point anyway.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails pine barrens 511.jpg  

  8. #8
    Dave Parker's Avatar
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    Alot of lenses will show softening at the corners, depending on the aperture setting, Dan is right, vigetting is a dark corner with rounding showing the shadow of the aperture blades.

    Dave

  9. #9
    Ara Ghajanian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Fromm
    "Softening in the corners" isn't what most of us think of as vignetting. Vignetting usually means dark corners. Here's an example. Very compressed, looks awful, should make the point anyway.
    What was happening to my negs was a very very subtle version of this example. The only way I noticed it was because I photographed something on a very green lawn and the grass at the bottom corners of the frame (vertical orientation) was a bit darker.
    Ara
    Just because you're not paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you.

  10. #10
    laz
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Fromm
    "Softening in the corners" isn't what most of us think of as vignetting. Vignetting usually means dark corners. Here's an example. Very compressed, looks awful, should make the point anyway.
    I agree, I was just shocked that the lens had any wide open problems and thought maybe Ara was seeing softness and just mislabeling what he was seeing.

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