If you don't need the extra stops, the 50/2 is worth seeking out. It can be had for very cheap - I bought a nearly mint one for $40 two years ago - I think it is the sharpest 50 AI or AIS lens that Nikon made. I've used the 1.8 AIS and also have the 1.4 AIS, and think the 50/2 AI beats them both in sharpness.
Originally Posted by dynachrome
If you add two lenses to the the FM2 & 50 kit, I'd recommend the 28/2.8 AIS and the 105/2.5 AIS. This makes the perfect, life-long kit, IMHO.
I would recomend a threelens outfit. A 50mm f/1.8 AIS or a 55mm f/2.8 micro
a 24mm f/2.8 or the 28mm f/2.8 AIS (20cm focus limit for WA closups) and a 105mm, either a f/2.8 micro or the f/2,5 AIS.
kind regards Søren
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OK, for low-light interiors there is a f1.4 35mm which is highly rated (and highly priced) and an f1.4 85mm ditto.
Alternatively go for the f2 versions and use a faster film – I've had some reasonable results with Ilford Delta 3200 (rated at 1600 ISO). Lighting at gigs can be very variable depending on the stage lighting crew and effects the band want. My experience of recording studios (limited to Decca and Air, and a long time ago) was that light levels were not much different to any other interior and I didn't feel constrained by having only relatively slow wide angles.
I guess your budget will be the final arbiter...
richard - your experiences at decca and air is very interesting. in the studio i work at we have just changed all the light bulbs to environmental friendly ones which create fairly harsh light. to get the vibe back into the studio (essential for musicians) we put lots of coloured gels infront of the lights, so now the studio is bathed in reds, yellows, greens etc. and the light source isn't that strong anymore. so a fairly fast lense speed is certainly favourable, i'd think.
Originally Posted by dancing wayang
Ye Gods, things have changed!
Don't forget that if you're shooting an f1.4 lens at or near full aperture there will not be much depth of field available. Of course this could be an advantage!
On the whole I would suggest looking also at using faster films – do both then you give yourself options. Just don't do what I did once: George Martin (who was the Beatles arranger and boss of Air Records – for those of you under 30) was riding around the studio on a bike while I snapped away furiously...only to discover that in my haste to reload the film hadn't been taken up on the sprockets. Boy did I feel sick when I found out, though fortunately the stuff I was being paid to take was already safely in the can.
What studio(s) are you working in?
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i like a shallow depth of field generally, so that shouldn't cause me too much of a headache...
richard - i work at eastcote studios. and in fact we did a session with george martin's son giles only a few month's ago, which was great fun. it's precisely for those kinds of session that i want to build up my gear for.
I am new to this forum but not to Nikon and have been using an FT3 since 78 and added an FA about 10 years ago. I have used a wide range of Nikkors over the years and have finally settled on four lenses - 20 mm f2.8, 35 mm f1.4, 50 mm f2.0 and a 105 mm f2.5 - they are all excellent lenses. The 50 mm f2.0 was bought with the FT3 however my favourite is the 35 mm f1.4.
Hopefully the FA will go soon in favour of an FM3a
You have been given some very good advice on lens choice but as always the final decision is yours however have a look at this site. http://www.naturfotograf.com/lens_surv.html#top1 by Bjørn Rørslett is very helpful in giving an unbiased view on practically all Nikon / Nikkor lenses.
Originally Posted by Mick Fagan
I second this suggestion. I just purchased a few Nikon AIS manual focus lenses from KEH recently and I am very happy with them. One thing to watch for though when buying old lenses is how well they are functioning. Check to see if the aperture lever on the lens mount feels springy. If you close the lens down to f16 or f22 then open the aperture via the little lever near the lens mount to 1.4 or 1.8, it should spring back down to f22 instantly. Also check for play on the focusing element. Some Nikon 50mm 1.8 lenses (more so the newer ones) feel wobbly after much use. This is annoying when critical focusing is needed. Also check the condition of the interior and exterior glass elements by holding the lens up to the light. It should be as clear as possible with no spiderweb-like patterns inside.
The advantage of Nikon lenses is that they were built better to begin with. There is a better chance of finding a good sample. With KEH, go with the highest rated lens you can afford in the category you are looking for. For example, if there is a 50mm 1.4 listed in BGN condition, another in EX condition, I would go for the EX condition.
The lenses I have purchased from KEH have ben in EX, EX+ condition or LN- condition. I have been impressed every time and wondered to myself how someone could have kept these lenses in such perfect condition all these years!
If low light is a priority, the 50 mm f1.4 seems a likely candidate. You should find an example in good shape for your budget. One of the things about Nikkor lenses is that almost all the lenses of a similar generation offer comparable performance, so your choice of wide-angle lens is a matter of taste. You already know what angle a 35 mm lens covers, so you need to decide whether you would like this angle in a faster lens, or would prefer a lens that is a bit wider (28) or a lo wider (24). A fast example of any of these focal lengths will certainly be more than £100, although I did buy a nice 35 mm f2.8 about a year ago for £50.
Originally Posted by dancing wayang
All good advice so far that I can see. Also for what you can buy them for these days, add a Nikon micro to your collection. It will add an extra dimension to your photography. I've just recently bought the 55mm 3.5 for $65 in close to new condition. Unbelievable for one who used to dream about owning such a lens.