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Nikon Historical Society -- hosted by the founding member Bob Rotoloni and members of the society. The NHS, based the US, has a worldwide membership. Our "Nikon Journal," published four times a year, concentrates on the history of Japanese photo equipment from the perspective of the Nikon Camera Company. The Nikon Journal often includes Nikon information not published anywhere else in the world. This forum provides an opportunity for conversation between collectors and users of classic film Nikons. See forum “stickies” for more information about the Society. If you are a serious Nikon Collector, you MUST be a NHS member. Join at http://www.nikonhistoricalsociety.com/!

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Old 06-15-2016   #81
flavio81
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My favorite Nikkors are the pre-AI series and all the classics have already been mentioned. Particularly if you value "bokeh" and a look full of "character", Nikkor pre-AI is what you want.

Now, my selections for pre-AI would be:

Normal: the 50/2 "H" or "HC" might be the best normal nikon ever. It has everything you want in a normal lens.
I also have the 58/1.4 "S" and the look is amazingly beautiful...
The 50/1.4 "S" is a good all-around lens but the 50/2 is more practical.
None of these f1.4 lenses is really very sharp wide open, if you value sharpness at f1.4 you'll have to switch to the Canon FD system and get the 50/1.4.

Tele: I don't like the 105 focal length too much, the 105mm is a legend, but i like 135mm(and longer) lenses better. The 135/3.5 "Q" is excellent in all regards, and i owned the 200/4 "Nikkor-Q" and it has fantastic out-of-focus rendering. It is not the sharpest lens, though. The more modern 200/4 AI version is an extremely sharp lens.

Wides: The 24/2.8 Nikkor-N is a legend but i don't own it. I have the 35/3.5 PC-Nikkor which I like a lot. The 28/3.5 you might either like or hate. It is very hard to focus, has poor corners, strong vignetting (can be a good thing sometimes) but then it has great contrast, great flare resistance, low distortion, sharp center at all apertures, and nice sunstars.

Pre-AI nikkors probably have the best build quality of all lens systems except perhaps the Zeiss lenses for the Contarex. And i'm not even a Nikon fan.

If i had to sell all my Nikon lenses, i would keep the 35/3.5 PC-nikkor, because it's small and versatile, and the 58/1.4 because it has a strong character.
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Old 06-15-2016   #82
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I drafted the following then realized I have already responded extensively but as this is a more complete list of my thoughts specifically about lens options, I will post again anyway.

There are heaps of Nikon F lenses you can benefit from. I happen to own a number of early F lenses which have been AI converted either by using factory bought conversion kits back in the day or by myself. The process of doing this incidentally is quite easy for anyone with basic tool skills by following instructions readily available on the internet. The hardest but is reassembling the lens correctly once the job is finsihed but even this is not hard once you know the tricks.

The advantage is you can buy pre AI lenses crazy cheap then convert them if needed for use on later cameras. Not an issue for you I guess if you are using an F. There is no doubt that the later (AI and AI-s) lenses have better coating but in many cases I do not find this to be a major issue. BTW if you are using an F camera of course you will need to ensure the "ears" have not been removed from the lens as a few users do. Usually this is not an issue however.

Now some of my favourites (all pre AI unless otherwise specified):

Nikkor 28mm f2 Very sharp and in all respects good. Not overly expensive.
Nikkor 35mm f2 ditto but not quite as sharp as the 28mm but renders nicely.
Nikkor 50mm f2 This lens is a gem. As late as 6 years ago I found a factory conversion kit on eBay and converted this to AI for use on my later Nikon cameras. I renders beautifully.
Nikkor 50mm f1.4 A little soft wide open but who cares - if you need sharpness stop down a tad
Nikkor 55mm f2.8 Micro The early version comes as an f3.5 and many prefer it but I have always found the f2.8 one to be a favourtie. I have never shot a macro shot with this but always use it as a normal lens.
85mm f1.8 This is often regarded as a dream lens. I have been looking for a good one at a reasonable price for ages but keep missing out as they are always snapped up. There is a reason for this
85mm f2 This is only available in AI/AI-S. And its available quite inexpensively as most users compare it unfavourably with the f1.8. Despite this I find it sharp and very good in most uses. Apparently less good at close range although I have not really had an issue. IT is also physically smaller than the other model.
105mm f2.5 The early version renders beautifully. The later versions are a little sharper. I prefer the early ones but its a matter of choice.
105mm f4 micro. This lens I have found to be superb too and have taken some of my sharpest pics with it. I have never once used it for its designated purpose (ie as a macro lens). It is sharp at infinity and is too often over looked as many think its too slow and prefer the more expensive f2.8 version.
135mm f 2.8 I do not have a 235mm f3.5 but ended up with both an early (AI converted) and late (AI-S) version of this lens and both are great. I suspect the only reason these are generally not rated higher is that they are pretty common and quite cheap. Except for the early version which is dirt cheap and still about as good.
200mm f4 The last version of this is best and is physically smaller than the earlier one but the early version is no slouch either in performance. Worth owning and using

There are a few zooms worth owning too. One I have experience of is the 35-70mm f3.5 in AI. It really is good and is often regarded as the forerunner to the 35-70mm f2.8 AF lens which is a highly regarded pro zoom from the AF era. The earlier one is about as sharp so far as I can see and worth owning if you wish to have a zoom.


So there you go. A surfeit of choice. So many good and some great lenses to try and if you buy mainly older pre Ai ones, cheap too
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Old 06-16-2016   #83
flavio81
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peterm1 View Post
There are a few zooms worth owning too. One I have experience of is the 35-70mm f3.5 in AI.
Marco Cavina's website covers in detail some of the best Nikkor zooms and this one is featured as well, if i recall correctly. I heartily recommend his website, he has a very good analysis of the Nikon zooms of the seventies and eighties.

The 28-50mm/3.5 AIS zoom is also a very high performer.
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Old 06-16-2016   #84
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Originally Posted by flavio81 View Post
My favorite Nikkors are the pre-AI series and all the classics have already been mentioned. Particularly if you value "bokeh" and a look full of "character", Nikkor pre-AI is what you want.
Seriously though, there haven't been that many changes to Nikkor primes in the AI era (which only lasted four years) - and some changes they made were improvements (the return of the 20/3.5 after the K era 20/4 interlude), while most were invisible in the image quality. The notable one exception downward was the switch from 85/1.8 to 85/2 between K and AI (they only made up for that with the - more expensive - AI-S 85/1.4).

They upgraded more lens designs when they switched from F/C to K type (which probably went along with automating their assembling lines), but even there, it is hard to make out IQ changes between before and after. Overall, Nikon primes have been relatively static - the majority of them never were redesigned and only ever went through the series of coatings Nikon used as standard. Like most makers, Nikon usually introduced a faster lens rather than update their existing speed (but more of that happened in the much longer AI-S era) - the big roll-up of redesigns only happened when lenses were electronified for AF.
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Old 08-27-2016   #85
DanskDynamit
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hi guys, I'm new in the Nikon F system's world. I own a Nikon F from '64 and my doubt is if this camera only accepts non-AI lenses or I could also try AI lenses?
cheers
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Old 08-27-2016   #86
Waus
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Ai (and AIs) lenses will fit your 64 Nikon F.Nikon has a compability chart somewhere on the web
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Old 08-27-2016   #87
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Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by Waus View Post
Ai (and AIs) lenses will fit your 64 Nikon F.Nikon has a compability chart somewhere on the web
thank you very much! I have looked around the web but couldnt find info backwards, only forward on the lenses-mount relations.
cheers
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Old 08-30-2016   #88
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Did you come across this page. Has good summary charts.

http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/compatibility-lens.htm
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Old 08-30-2016   #89
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maryland_fotos View Post
Did you come across this page. Has good summary charts.

http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/compatibility-lens.htm
thank you!
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Old 08-30-2016   #90
Tom A
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G410 #3 Two classics by T&T and Mr B Abrahamsson, on Flickr

A bit of an unknown gem. The Voigtlander re-make of the classic Nokton 58mm f1.4. Very good - better than the regular Nikkor 50mm f1.4. Voigtlander made a small batch of them in 2012/13. They might still be available - not a bargain, but sometimes the image quality warrants the price. It has the contacts in the mount that allows it to "talk" to the digital Nikon SLRs. My somewhat battered F ignores the communication.
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Old 08-30-2016   #91
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My pre-Ai set includes four lenses, 24 f2.8, 50 f1.4, 105 f2.5, and 200 f4.0. The 50 is well used but the others were nearly mint and very inexpensive. Used with a pair of Fs, they cover anything I want to shoot most days and the whole thing is light enough to carry. They've brought me back to shooting SLRs more often.
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Old 08-30-2016   #92
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A three lens set, all originally non-AI, but all since converted, 50mm Nikkor-S Auto, 35mm Nikkor OC, and 105mm f2.5. Love all three on my two F bodies. Mostly using the 35 & 105 combo these days.
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Old 08-30-2016   #93
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G410 #3 Two classics by T&T and Mr B Abrahamsson, on Flickr

A bit of an unknown gem. The Voigtlander re-make of the classic Nokton 58mm f1.4. Very good - better than the regular Nikkor 50mm f1.4. Voigtlander made a small batch of them in 2012/13. They might still be available - not a bargain, but sometimes the image quality warrants the price. It has the contacts in the mount that allows it to "talk" to the digital Nikon SLR's. My somewhat battered F ignores the communication.
2nd'd. The Voigtlander 58/1.4 is a real gem. The close focus alone is amazing. It renders like a dream. If I was putting together a Nikon FMx kit it would be made up of Zeiss and Voigtlander lenses.
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Old 08-30-2016   #94
Ronald M
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50 1.8 35 2.8 105 2.5 gauss all ais

28 2.8 that has close range correction. 7 or 8 element lens that Nikon went all out on.
very low distortion sharp into corners does not flare MUST be the one that focuses to .2 meters
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Old 08-30-2016   #95
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Didn't see anyone mention the 55 1.2 S or SC. Quite a performer, even wide open where it can have dreamy bokeh in the background. Couple of samples:


RJL_2159 by Maryland Photos, on Flickr


RJL_2157 by Maryland Photos, on Flickr

Slightly closed down:

DSC_5452 by Maryland Photos, on Flickr
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Old 08-31-2016   #96
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All the greats have been mentioned here.
Not yet. The 105/2.8 Micro and the 300/4.5 ED IF are missing. Always wanted to try the 200 Micro as well.
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Old 10-19-2016   #97
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I recently rebuilt a Nikon F kit but my goal was to do so inexpensively. I looked for specific lenses as I had used them previously and one that I was just always curious about.

I'm using the 28mm f/3.5 (Chrome nose), 45mm f/2.8 GN Auto, 50mm f/2 (Chrome Nose), and 105mm f/2.5 (Sonnar version).

I always loved the look of the F, particularly with the plain prism. Now I just need a better focusing screen as mine is all hazy
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Old 11-03-2016   #98
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I have several Nikon bodies and lenses, when I found a chrome F that I forgot about I decided to put together an inexpensive system. For a total of $69 I picked up a 28mm F3.5, 50mm F2 and a 135mm F3.5. These are the cheapest Nikons you can get, it's a fun system to use!
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Old 12-05-2016   #99
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The Nikkor H Auto 50mm f/2. Sharp and a high contrast, very low distortion. Great effect on film.

Nikkormat FTn, Nikkor H Auto 50mm f/2, 400-2TMY.

Erik.

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