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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 04-17-2014   #41
De_Corday
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reiterating that the 50 f/2 you have is a real gem.
Throwing in another vote for the 28 f/2 -- its not stellar at anything, but its a solid workhorse. In addition to using it as intended, there was a time I threw it on my D200 as a low-light work-lens before I got my hands on the DX 35mm, and it rarely disappointed in that capacity.
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Old 04-18-2014   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peterm1 View Post
I had a love affair with non AI glass (which to some extent I now regret as I need AI glass for my digital cameras, - you may wish to consider getting AI converted ones as they offer more choices (you can for example use them more readily on later bodies including digital ones).
You should note that the recently introduced Nikon digital Df will accept Non Ai glass, it has the moveable tab last seen as standard on the F4, was optional on the F5 and F6.

Can I add a vote for the 200mm f4 ? a "best buy", I even found an Ai kit for mine last year.
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Old 04-18-2014   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisLivsey View Post
You should note that the recently introduced Nikon digital Df will accept Non Ai glass, it has the moveable tab last seen as standard on the F4, was optional on the F5 and F6.

Can I add a vote for the 200mm f4 ? a "best buy", I even found an Ai kit for mine last year.
Thanks that's useful to know. I have never been tempted by the Df but this is one reason to rethink that position.
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http://www.rangefinderforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=141781
Old 04-18-2014   #44
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http://www.rangefinderforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=141781

Quote:
Originally Posted by Corran View Post
My pre-AI F and F2 kit is:



I prefer the F2 for its easy mirror lock-up, with no wasted frames like the F.
My Nikon FTn, a fairly late model, does not loose a frame!
Turn the small button and mirror comes down.
The 52mm standard filter size a big plus!
The older lenses with scalloped helicoids better than the
rubber grips that are now rotting and falling off.
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Old 04-18-2014   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peterm1 View Post
Thanks that's useful to know. I have never been tempted by the Df but this is one reason to rethink that position.
Indeed that ability and the sensor from the D4 is a tempting proposition. 760g as well (F3 762g, M240 680g) Mmmm
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Old 04-18-2014   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisLivsey View Post
Indeed that ability and the sensor from the D4 is a tempting proposition. 760g as well (F3 762g, M240 680g) Mmmm
I use my non-AI Nikkors on my D5200. It works perfect in M-mode. You have to guess exposure in the first shot. The histograms tells if exposure is ok (an advanced handheld meter). It is easy to take pictures this way. The D3100, 3200, 3300, 5200, 5300 etc. has no interface for the AI/AIS lenses so no aperture simulator ring to interfere with the non-AI mount. Even the built-in flash or ext. flash can be used if switched from TTL to manual mode (1/1, 1/2, 1/4 etc. flash output).
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Old 04-18-2014   #47
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I said earlier that unlike Raid I prefered the 2.0/50 to the newer 1.8. After a day's research, I can see why the 1.8/50 is the fave of Raid, along with nearly everyone on the interwebs. I'm definitely in the market for one now! Here's a site that speaks very well of this little lens.
http://www.naturfotograf.com/lens_surv.html
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Old 04-18-2014   #48
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I think Tom had it covered. My kit is currently a Nikkor-S 50/1.4 (pre-AI), 28/2.8 AI-s, and 105/2.5 AI. All but the first I use with an AF body, since my F has been sort of relegated as a mantle display. It was my first camera, after all.
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Old 04-18-2014   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vics View Post
I said earlier that unlike Raid I prefered the 2.0/50 to the newer 1.8. After a day's research, I can see why the 1.8/50 is the fave of Raid, along with nearly everyone on the interwebe. I'm definitely in the market for one now! Here's a site that speaks very well of this little lens.
http://www.naturfotograf.com/lens_surv.html
I have both (at least so far as I know... I have the AF-D /1.8, pretty sure the optical formula is identical), and they draw differently. I don't know if its the spherical aberration, but the /2 has a more vintagey feel to my eye. I love them both and both can be had for peanuts. The 1.8 is awesomely sharp, and on a crop-sensor camera like my D200 makes for an excellent portrait lens (though the Bokeh is a little on the weak side)
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Old 04-18-2014   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vics View Post
I said earlier that unlike Raid I prefered the 2.0/50 to the newer 1.8. After a day's research, I can see why the 1.8/50 is the fave of Raid, along with nearly everyone on the interwebs. I'm definitely in the market for one now! Here's a site that speaks very well of this little lens.
http://www.naturfotograf.com/lens_surv.html
I also have the old 50/2. It is a very sharp lens, Vic.
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Old 04-18-2014   #51
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Wanna shoot those old non-AI lenses on a digital? Get a D3100! No aperture coupling so all non-AI lenses fit, the APS-C sensor is 14MP.

I just received a 2.0/135mm AI lens, to use on the D700. It weighs in at 860 grammes and takes 77mm filters. But I love it already!
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Old 04-18-2014   #52
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Some great suggestions here already!

There have been several threads like this over the years. You'll find some good info there by searching.

FWIW, my favorites from my news photo days:

24/2.8
35/2
85/1.8
180/2.8

Add the 300/4.5 (the black barrel model has higher contrast and a better tripod socket than the old chrome barrel model) to round out the kit and give yourself a little reach. Find yourself an F36 motor and you'll be set to take news pictures!

And as someone else has noted, there are some very inexpensive non-AI lenses out there in the slower models of certain focal lengths:

28/3.5
35/2.8
135/3.5

If you just want to fiddle around outdoors during the day, a kit like that added to your existing 50 will take you a long way very inexpensively. (Omit the 35 and save $50 if you're a dyed-in-the-wool 50mm guy.)

Have fun!
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Old 04-18-2014   #53
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Ok some corrections:
The 135mm f/2 has a filter size of 72mm
The Non-Ai and Ai'd, and K versions of the 180mm f/2.8's are the same optical formula; the P.C versions as well as the K version has the full modern multicoating.
The ED 180mm f/2.8 is a different optical formula as is the AF 180's.
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Old 04-18-2014   #54
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A few people here are commenting on the 85mm f1.8.

I do not own one of the MF ones and never have but I have seen what it can do (on the web) and I am very impressed. My favourite, needless to say is the older non AI one which both looks extremely handsome with its scalloped focusing ring and performs superbly optically. I am pretty sure this lenses optical formula did not change at least during its MF era and maybe when Nikon moved to AF although later lenses benefited from newer coatings. If "benefiting" is the correct description. In some ways I prefer the way the older coating's render - a little bit of flare when shooting against the sun does not always hurt and can add character to an image. It depends on what you are looking for in the image. (I often prefer character in an image to technical perfection).

I do own an 85mm f1.8 AF D lens and confirm that is a beauty. So much so that when the opportunity came along to buy an AF 85mm f1.4 lens and I sold the f1.8 to help pay for it I eventually went back and bought another f1.8. Now I own both and have no desire to do other wise. In my view the f1.4 is perfection for portraits and the f1.8 is likewise for general work - sharper than its faster sibling and more "technically" perfect for that kind of work when its needed.

Oh and I do own an AIS 85mm f2. While some people disrespect this lens it is no slouch. While I prefer the rendering of its 1.8 sibling, it is never the less sharp and by no means an inadequate lens. Well worth owning particularly considering it can be picked up quite inexpensively. Interestingly when preparing this post I went to eBay and found that all versions of the 85mm lens seems to be lower priced than I recall. Maybe they have fallen somewhat recently?

One final thought. For many years I have owned a 50mm f2. The early scalloped ring pre AI version of course. At some point I bought on eBay an original Nikon AI conversion ring for my lens - one of the last ones to be found on that site I think. These are hard to find for obvious reasons and also because a different ring was needed for every iteration of each lens. Every time the lens physically changed a different ring was needed. Even when relatively minor changes were made like a change to the minimum aperture. (Obvious when you think about it).

I have used this from time to time on my digital Nikons and have to say that it renders beautifully. It really is a lovely lens. And very cheap being able to be purchased for less that $100. Here are samples of images made with it.



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Old 04-18-2014   #55
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Wow.., the respons to this thread is just unbelievably, thank you each and everyone for sharing of your wisdom and knowledge, I really, really appreciate every single post here! I“ve learned things that I didn“t know before regarding Nikon lenses, which will make it (or not!) easier to look for great, classic lenses.

As mention before, I got a nice 50 f2 (K-version I“ve now learned) and the outstanding 105 f2.5 Ai, so I will start looking for lenses between 21mm and 35mm, another 50mm and a 85, then some telelens later on. I do own the big tank of a 80-200 f2.8, but I prefere fixed lenses.

Ebay next, I guess there will be some exciting hours and days there looking and bidding on lenses! Still waiting for the F to arrive, but I will post some updates and pictures when I get some lenses to go with it.

Thanks again gentlemen, feel free to keep posting and discussing classic lenses here, I“m probably not the only one enjoying it
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Old 04-19-2014   #56
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Some of my favorites...first the D5000 and a non Ai 50/2 and then the horse shot is a Fuji S5 Pro and the 105/2.5. Sadly my F2 and FE have fallen by the wayside...

I would like to have a 200/4...



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Old 04-20-2014   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peterm1 View Post
I am pretty sure this lenses optical formula did not change at least during its MF era and maybe when Nikon moved to AF although later lenses benefited from newer coatings. If "benefiting" is the correct description. In some ways I prefer the way the older coating's render - a little bit of flare when shooting against the sun does not always hurt and can add character to an image. It depends on what you are looking for in the image. (I often prefer character in an image to technical perfection).
One of my shooting buddies owns the AF-S 85/1.8, and I have an Ai'd Nikkor-H. One evening we were snowed in and so we swapped them back and forth on his Nikon D800E. It being his camera, I don't have the images, but I remember the only real difference being a softer contrast on the old H. (which to me was very pleasing)
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Old 04-26-2014   #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johannielscom View Post
Wanna shoot those old non-AI lenses on a digital? Get a D3100!
Just did, for son No.2, but I may borrow it

Thanks for the tip.
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Old 04-26-2014   #59
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The standard format in the 1960's when the Nikon F & Nikkormat (which is what you are inquiring about) came out was a 24mm f.28, 50mm f2.0, & 135mm f3.5. That was what a serious amateur carried. Since then the 135mm has fall out as a standard lens. The VF lenses of the 1960's were not high quality as they are now. Some of the lenses that you might look into are the 50mm f1.4, which IMHO is better than the 50mm f2.0. Also, the 28mm f3.5 and the wonderful 105mm f2.5. The 35mm f2.0 was not popular. I don't know why. Maybe it is because most people went to the 24mm for wider images, the 35mm being too close to the 50mm. There is also a 180mm lens. Remember you are using non-Ai lenses and again IMHO, their optics are not as good as the later Ai & Ai-S lenses. I do not want to imply that they are bad lenses and they will provide you with excellent results. Also review naturfotograf.com He has some nice evaulation of the lenses in question.
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Old 04-26-2014   #60
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For slower lenses (above 2.8) its useful to buy F2-era screen. After swapping type A to type F I can finally use 28/3.5 easily (no darkening of the microprism).
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Old 05-04-2014   #61
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28mm Ai'd Nikkor-H f3.5 on its way, £45, better be as good as you all say for that outlay
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Old 05-04-2014   #62
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Though I sold off my Nikons years ago when I went Pentax,
lately I'd been missing the Nikon FTN I used in the 1980's.

Recent giveaway prices at KEH enticed me to take the plunge with Nikon again.
I'd rather not deal with mercury battery issues so I went with a nice Nikon F2 Photomic.

I prefer the last generation of pre-AI Nikkors. Though modern they just reek quality.
I now own 50/2.0, 105/2.5 and 200/4 Nikkor, all late pre-AI with rubber grips.

I'm not a purist; my most often used lens is a 35/2.0 AI Nikkor, and
I'm looking for a good deal on an 85/2.0 AI like I had years ago.

Enjoy your old Nikon manual focus gear. It's very special indeed!

Chris
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Old 06-24-2014   #63
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This is a slow process, but I got a very nice 35mm f/1.4 ais today to keep the 50mm & 105mm in company.

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Old 06-24-2014   #64
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Great thread on classic Nikkors. I have a few that go very well with the D800. One of my favorite of these though is the earliest version 10.5cm f2.5 P, produced about 1960.

Here's my flickr page with some pics with the lens:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/106861...7637254489645/
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Old 06-24-2014   #65
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Everyone has his favorite but for me some of the best pre-AI are:

35mm f2.0
50mm f2.0 (in my opinion better than the f1.8, f1.4 and even the f1.2)
85mm H f1.8 (ihmo better than the later f1.8).

(All easy to find and cheapish.)

In the "newer" AI family the 105mm f2.5 is very nice (very nice on digital too).

If you have money and time to look for it I wouldn't miss the Noct-Nikkor.

GLF
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Old 06-24-2014   #66
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For the 105mm f 2.5 family of manual Nikkors, there's 20 variants, you couldn't go wrong with any of them:

http://www.photosynthesis.co.nz/nikon/serialno.html#105

The 85 1.8 H or HC are very nice lenses too.

So is the 35mm f2 OC. Very nice sharpness, contrast and color.

CivilWarTrain by maryland_photos, on Flickr

MuseumNaturalHistoryTrees by maryland_photos, on Flickr

Last edited by maryland_fotos : 06-24-2014 at 14:17. Reason: Added info about the 35 f2 OC.
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Old 06-24-2014   #67
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Melancholy--a 35/1.4! Ahhhhh---- a dream lens for me--supposed to be super.
Congrats!
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Old 06-24-2014   #68
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From what I remember the classic three lens kit for the F/FTn was a 24/2.8, 50/1.4, and 105/2.5. I think of the classic F2 kit being 35/1.4, 85/1.8, 180/2.8. Those are from when lenses were surrounded by metal and plastic was for self-timer covers and electronic flash bodies (way too much voltage around there).

Your kit has three stellar chunks of glass that will serve you well. There are other wonderful Nikkors, the only other one I might recommend is a newer version, a 300/4.5 ED-IF. Raid's recommendation of a 50/2.8 is spot on if your need to get up close. I think that the three you have is a wonderful kit.

Pick up a good light meter and learn to shoot without it.

Good luck, enjoy and share your results and thoughts.

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Old 06-24-2014   #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johannielscom View Post
Wanna shoot those old non-AI lenses on a digital? Get a D3100! No aperture coupling so all non-AI lenses fit, the APS-C sensor is 14MP......
Way cool, thanks for the heads up JN!


Quote:
Originally Posted by peterm1 View Post
......Oh and I do own an AIS 85mm f2. While some people disrespect this lens it is no slouch. While I prefer the rendering of its 1.8 sibling, it is never the less sharp and by no means an inadequate lens. Well worth owning particularly considering it can be picked up quite inexpensively. Interestingly when preparing this post I went to eBay and found that all versions of the 85mm lens seems to be lower priced than I recall. Maybe they have fallen somewhat recently?

.........
Another point about the 85/2 is the size is much smaller than the 85/1.8. That and a 35/2 would be a great carry around two lens kit. Hmmmmmm.....

Those two on an F with a plain prism might be a lot of fun.

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Old 06-24-2014   #70
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maryland_fotos View Post
Here's my flickr page with some pics with the lens:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/106861...7637254489645/
You got a very nice collection of classic lenses, Maryland!

Quote:
Originally Posted by giellaleafapmu View Post
If you have money and time to look for it I wouldn't miss the Noct-Nikkor.

GLF
The Noct-Nikkor is on my most wanted list GLF

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paulbe View Post
Melancholy--a 35/1.4! Ahhhhh---- a dream lens for me--supposed to be super.
Congrats!
Paul
Thanks Paul, this is a lens I“ve wanted for a very long time, some days ago I found this one in very good condition and a good price. Tried it on my D700 yesterday, beautiful - today it“s going out with me, delta 100 and the F2!

Quote:
Originally Posted by BillBingham2 View Post

Your kit has three stellar chunks of glass that will serve you well. There are other wonderful Nikkors, the only other one I might recommend is a newer version, a 300/4.5 ED-IF. Raid's recommendation of a 50/2.8 is spot on if your need to get up close. I think that the three you have is a wonderful kit.

Pick up a good light meter and learn to shoot without it.

Good luck, enjoy and share your results and thoughts.

B2
Thanks B2, Imainly use lenses within 24mm and 135mm, so that“s my main focus at the moment. I also have the 80-200mm f/2.8 D/ED, a tank of a zoomlens that performs very good, heavy as hell. Also, my Seconic 308-L has been with me the last 5-6 years, mostly to confirm my sunny16 guesstimation, the way I prefere to photograph.

Thanks everyone for sharing thoughts and tips, I really appreciate it as always!
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135mm f2.8 E Series
Old 06-25-2014   #71
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135mm f2.8 E Series

Surprising gem - the 135mm f2.8 E Series.

I use the 105mm f2.8 Micro Nikkor AI-S as my medium telephoto lens - which performs superbly even at infinity but is heavy and huge, especially with its hood (I always use hoods). Also, I find it a bit short as I use an 80mm Arax tilt-shift-rotate lens a lot.

Anyway, I popped into my local camera shop (Clocktower Cameras in Brighton) for a chat, and they loaned me the aforementioned 135mm lens. I took it, as who can resist playing with a lens for free for a few days! I wasn't intending to buy it, and said so!

Examining it, it was built far better than expected. I've seen a 50mm E Series lens, and its barrel and rings were plastic and it felt cheap - I prefer metal lenses because they feel better and are more robust. However, against expectations, the 135mm lens was very well constructed, mostly of metal excepting the aperture ring (plastic, but well made and operates smoothly). It's also tiny and light and has a convenient built-in hood. I think it's as well designed as my AI-S lenses, possibly better than some! So, build quality = excellent.

I then tested it against my 105mm Micro Nikkor, which I know to be an exceptional performer. I used my Nikon D800E, which with its massive 36 MP is ruthless at showing optical flaws in a lens (and in its user!), and did some quick tests on a tripod. At f2.8 the 135mm is somewhat sharper and has fewer aberrations, but at f4 the differences between the lenses are minimal. By f5.6 I can't separate images from the lenses. I was astonished that the two lenses are equally sharp (except wide open, and even then the 135mm is acceptable) with identical colour rendition. I wasn't expecting that!

So, I'm keeping the 135mm. Clocktower Cameras always cuts me a deal, so I think it'll cost me about £75 - a bargain. They're even cheaper on eBay!

The 105mm macro is definitely going as I can't see why I'd ever want to use it again - anyone want to buy a mint copy!?
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Old 06-26-2014   #72
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The standard format in the 1960's when the Nikon F & Nikkormat (which is what you are inquiring about) came out was a 24mm f.28, 50mm f2.0, & 135mm f3.5. That was what a serious amateur carried....
That's more of an early '70s kit as the 24/2.8 didn't come on the market until 1971.

In the early '60s the serious amateur kit would be 35/50/135 and in the mid to later '60s the kit would be 28/50/135 with the occasional switch to the 105 instead of a 135. By the end of the decade most of the not-quite-so-serious would have a 28/50/85-205 kit, or something similar, with a non-Nikkor tele-zoom..
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Old 06-26-2014   #73
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Originally Posted by RichC View Post
Surprising gem - the 135mm f2.8 E Series. .......
The 75-150 Series E was said to be most excellent.

The 50 was so small it had a place if you didn't drop it. There are better built sharper Nikkors in 50mm that are almost as small. If speed is not an issue, the 45/2.8 GN was a fun lens cap.

I was looking at the 100/2.8 at one point because of size, but went a different way. The 70-210 I heard was a dog, when I held it I was amazed at how plastic it felt. The 28/2.8 was better than the Nikkor of the same ilk but that wasn't hard.

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Old 06-26-2014   #74
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillBingham2 View Post
I was looking at the 100/2.8 at one point because of size, but went a different way.
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The 100mm f/2.8E came along with the 35mm f/2.5E when I got my FE2, very plastic feeling and not in any optical league like my 105mm f/2.5, but it did a good job before I got any other lenses. I still got it, collecting dust on my shelf.




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Indoor with Paolo Pellegrin
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Old 06-26-2014   #75
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I recently was given a 55mm 3.5 Micro for my birthday. I had it AI'd so it would fit my D7000. I'd been wanting a macro lens for sometime so reading this thread and seeing that it is a well respected lens is reassuring. It is wicked sharp close up.
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Old 07-05-2014   #76
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Originally Posted by Highway 61 View Post
The problem that I see is that every RFFer will advise you to get the Nikkors he owns and likes, so at the end of the day you will be advised to get about all the Nikkors produced ever.
My thoughts exactly! haha

I've been fortunate over the last few years to build up a nice kit with the super-low prices on pre-AI lenses. My collection includes 28/3.5, 35/2, 50/1.4 and 55/3.5. My others: 20/2.8, 24/2.8, 50/1.4D, 50/1.8, 60/2.8, 85/2, 105/2.5, 135/2 DC and 180/2.8 ED are all AI or AI-s. As has been said, no one can choose your focal lengths for you. Some folks like to shoot wide, some more tele. Some like to collect every variation of the 50s, 55s and 58s. Thankfully with the prices for non-AI being what they are, the costs of experimentation are quite agreeable!
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Old 07-05-2014   #77
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Its interesting. From time to time I go through periods when I fall in love all over again with my manual focus Nikkors. Early on in my photographic career I decided that I liked the earlier non AI lenses best of all, I think because I had already fallen for Pentax Takumar lenses in M42 mount and wanted something of a similar vintage in a Nikon mount. I have seldom been disappointed. For example as posted below, I have both an early 35mm f2 (AI converted) and a D model AF one. Of the two I think I prefer the early one which renders in a very classic manner.

While most of my shooting these days is done with an AF Nikkor of some type (its just easier) I do so love capturing images with the above mentioned 35mm lens, my 50mm f1.4 (and f2) of the same vintage, my 105mm f2.5, my 200mm f4 and so on . And I have just bought a 180mm f2.8 (badly in need of a service but otherwise beautiful) and have just adapted a 135mm f2.8 to AI spec. I also have a range of later native AI lenses and while many of these are excellent, for some reason I dont necessarily get the same kick from them.

Whats the expression.....ahhhhh they done make nostalgia like they used to!
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Old 07-11-2014   #78
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I have my original set of Nikkors since around 1970 culled down to my absolute favorites: 20/3.5UD, 24/2.8, 35/2, 50/2, 50/1.4, 55/3.5 Micro, 85/1.8, 105/2.5, 180/2.8 and 300/4.5. All were originally non-ai which were factory converted except the 85 which was converted by the late, great Pete Smith. I have enjoyed using these lenses occasionally on my Canon 5D (as a matter of fact I bought a non-AI 20/4 specifically for the 5D because the EF20mm is huge and not that great), and recently got a Nikon adapter for the new Leica M. I had intended to pick up a used D700 but now that I see the DF I think I'll hold out till they're down in the $1000-1200 range. Love those old Nikkors.
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Old 10-03-2014   #79
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A new lens to my collection/bag, a very nice Nikkor-S Auto 24mm f/2.8 on my F.
Still more to get, so far I got the Nikkor-S Auto 35mm f/2.8, Nikkor 35mm f/1.4 ais, Nikkor 50mm f2 and the Nikkor 105mm f/2.5



Later this weekend I“m going out with a sailboat along with the 24mm on the F.
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Old 01-28-2016   #80
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Don't overlook the 25-50 f/4, preferably the AiS version. Meters will all older bodies through AiS and digital bodies too. It's my favorite all purpose zoom, very sharp, low distortion with IQ equal to primes. I'll never sell mine as Nikon has yet to make a zoom that equals it's quality in similar focal lengths.
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