Best 50mm lens for my Nikons
Just want the raw truth on the best manual focus 50mm lens I could get for my MF Nikons.
The plain vanilla 50/2 AI punches way above its weight on film(or<<gasp>>digital)bodies. For the money, probably at or near the top of the Nikon 50mm heap.
Bjørn Rørslett likes this batch:
50 mm f/2 Nikkor-H (AI)
50 mm f/1.8 Nikkor
58 mm f/1.2 Noct-Nikkor
50 mm f/1.4 Nikkor (latest versions, including AF-D)
As usual "best" is very subjective. Most weenies want the sharpest, most contrasty, fastest lens they can get so they can take photos of their Corvettes using TechPan film stand-developed with Rodinal diluted 1:10,000 for the best acutance. Personally I like the older ones like the 50 mm f/2 Nikkor-H (AI) because of it's moderate contrast because that's what I want in my B&W work.
FWIW, some Apug'ers were discussing the virtues of the Nikon f 1.2 recently, although it doest answer your question directly, you might find some benefits of this thread...
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I have a few older 50 and 55mm lenses for manual focus bodies.
50 /1.4 AI, 1977, Dreamy at 1.4, sharpness increases after f/4, very sharp at f/8 and 11.
50/2 AI, 1979, Sharpness increases when closed down but it is sharp from corner to corner from f/2 to f/11, but never sharp as 50/1.4 AI at f/8.
50/1.8 AF-D, 2009, plastic made in China, basically this is an AIS lens, dreamy at f/1.8, sharp at f/2 to f/4, very sharp at f/8, this is the sharpest lens I have, however sharpness decreases at the corners compared to 50/2 AI.
55/3.5 compensating micro Nikkor, non-AI, 1967, extremely sharp macro lens, even not worse than 50/2 at distance. Mine is AI’d by #63 kit.
55/3.5 PC, micro Nikkor, non-AI, 1974, Very sharp macro lens, can be used as an overall standard lens, and very good at distance.
Micro-Nikkors (55mm's) are razor sharp if that what constitutes "best" to you.
If price is what's best, overall quality is just great on a standard 1.8
1.2 or 1.4's are best if speed is what's "best" to you.
al5256's comments above are pretty spot on, from my observations.
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Best in what way?
Originally Posted by kivis
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I have a 2.8cm F/3.5 Nikkor-H with most of the coating "cleaned" off the rear element. It is an excellent performer, gives great tones with proper development and is fun to shoot. I get the OP's take on <performance=resolution> but you can always compensate for that, work against it, if that's what you want. But it's nice to have the lp/mm when you really need them. When is that? Who knows. Film choice is a bigger factor here. That and camera shake. And atmospheric turbulence.
Originally Posted by rich815