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  1. #1
    kivis's Avatar
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    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.
    Akiva S.

    Nikkormat FTN, Nikon F, Nikon FE, Leica M3

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/kshapero/

    My Blog



  2. #2
    CGW
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    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.

  3. #3
    kivis's Avatar
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    Bjørn Rørslett likes this batch:

    Normal lenses

    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)
    Akiva S.

    Nikkormat FTN, Nikon F, Nikon FE, Leica M3

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/kshapero/

    My Blog



  4. #4
    Richard Sintchak (rich815)'s Avatar
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    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.
    -----------------------

    "Well, my photos are actually much better than they look..."

    Richard S.
    Albany, CA (San Francisco bay area)

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  5. #5
    zsas's Avatar
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    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...
    http://www.apug.org/forums/forum52/9...n-f-mount.html

  6. #6

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    Hi,

    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.
    Thanks.

  7. #7
    Colin Corneau's Avatar
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    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.
    "Never criticize someone until you've walked a mile in their shoes. That way, you're a mile away and you've got their shoes."

    MY BLOG - www.reservedatalltimes.com
    YOU SHOULD LOOK AT THIS SITE - www.colincorneau.com
    INSTAGRAM: colincorneau

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by kivis View Post
    Just want the raw truth on the best manual focus 50mm lens I could get for my MF Nikons.
    Best in what way?
    2F/2F

    "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)

  9. #9
    Pumalite's Avatar
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    " A loving and caring heart is the beginning of all knowledge " ~ Thomas Carlyle ~

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by rich815 View Post
    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.
    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.

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