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.
Best in what way?
Originally Posted by kivis
"Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."
- Rob Tyner (1944 - 1991)
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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