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nikkor 25-50/f4 question
Old 05-28-2013   #1
maitani
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nikkor 25-50/f4 question

http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography...sMF/2550mm.htm

The odd 25mm initial focal length make this kind of unique and interesting, besides the Nikon RF 25mm primes, few lenses were made with this FL,
the tanklike built, and internal focusing with continuous f4 aperture, makes this lens rather interesting,
anybody here has (had) one? any experience on Nikon F's or FF digital with it? how does it hold up optically?

looks like a handy and polyvalent travel zoom to me
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Old 05-28-2013   #2
sevo
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It was one of the things I was yearning after when I started working as a PJ during student days. But one which I could rarely lay hands on - as a young part-timer, I mostly got the (outdated) F2AS with a bag of primes, while the staff photographers snatched the F3s which came with the 25-50 and a 80-200 2.8.

Even in retrospect my images were mostly better than those from the zoom-wielding old-time staffers assigned to similar subjects, and my desire for zooms soon cooled. But the reasons probably were less a matter of optical quality, and more me, as a cinematography student, being more conscious and deliberate about matters of aesthetics (taking political receptions not at face value but photographing them as the staged events they are), and wasting as much time on a tedious city council meeting as they'd have on a visit of the pope.

I recently got me a dirt cheap Canon 28-105 FD (another PJ's dream lens from that age) - and it is quite surprisingly good, almost indistinguishable from primes in everything but speed and distortion. So the 25-50 might be better than I remember it.
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Old 05-28-2013   #3
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I also don't expect it to beat a prime lens, few zooms do, my nikkor line-up is pretty complete in fast primes from 35 to 105 mm, but this one looks kind of compelling on/for the wide-end mainly, where I have few to no choices. as I would use it only occasionally i wouldn't mind manual focus either.

I'm mainly interested in character, and distortion correction in lenses, sharpnes would be secondary in such a lens, as i could stop it down to f11 on a tripod anytime.
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Old 05-28-2013   #4
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The 35 -70 f3.5 AIS in this era was a great lens too - a sister to this 25-50mm lens. It was the pro quality MF precursor to the later 35-70mm f2.8 AF lens which is still widely used today.
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Old 05-28-2013   #5
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Check Bjorn Rorslett's comments about this lens. "Excellent choice for landscape photography." But, also, he says on FX "near subjects probably will come out better than landscapes."
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Old 05-28-2013   #6
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I have this lens, and I am impressed by it. It is more or less permanently attached to my F3. It is not light or compact, but in the case of this zoom, those are good points. The large focusing ring and the overall size and weight of the lens makes it fast-handling, and it balances out well on motordriven cameras.

As for the optical quality, it is quite good. The example I have performs as well as some of the primes I use. I find this lens a great choice in crowds or tight places where there is a lot of activity, and little time to change lenses.
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Old 05-28-2013   #7
maitani
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thanks guys, exactly the input i was after, might look out for one.
bests
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Old 05-28-2013   #8
1joel1
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I currently have one and it is one of Nikon's most underrated lenses ever. I used to use it on an F3, but now use it on my D2X where is excels. I have a friend that used one on his D800E and also sang praise. I rank it up there or perhaps a very small notch below, my Contax Zeiss 35-70.

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Old 05-28-2013   #9
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I have one and have had it for at least 12 years. Superlative lens; very sharp and its found a new home doing video on the D600.
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Old 05-28-2013   #10
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I used to have one. Excellent sharpness and contrast, if a little clinical. Only used it on film. Size and weight combined with limited range eventually made me sell it.
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Old 10-03-2013   #11
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Had one and eventually sold it. Superb build quality back in the day of MF lenses and by todays standards it's built quality and IQ is as good or better than the very best Nikon zooms. As you zoom from 25-50, the front element retracts into the barrel giving it a sort of built-in lens shade effect. Think of how the original MF 80-200/2.8 AI compared later AF versions, no comparison mechanically and optically but a beast to handle. Optically when I tested the 25-50, it's IQ exceeded any wide angle to normal FL zoom or for that matter any prime in that CA was quite low and resolution was uniformly high from center to corner at every focal length even wide open. Optimal aperture was f/5.6-8. Also, IQ has a special quality I can't describe but it is unique (in a good way). I can't comment on digital performance as I was using film back then. Drawbacks were size, rotating front filter thread when focusing, minimum focus of 2 feet, limited focal range, "slow" maximum aperture of f/4 but they all helped to make it a top notch performer. The 24-70/2.8 AFS is a good lens in build quality comparison but has significantly greater CA compared to the 25-50.
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Old 10-03-2013   #12
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^^^^^ +1 with respect to the 25-50. Big mistake when I sold it
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Old 10-03-2013   #13
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I've owned all 3 wide-normal Nikon AI(s) zooms:L the 28-45, 28-50 and 25-50mm and the 25-50mm was my favorite of the 3. Heavy, solid, no zoom creep, color rendering a little on the warm side (like a lot of Nikon Ai(s) lenses).
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Old 12-30-2015   #14
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Just purchased another 25-50/4 AIS at a great price that had a Dandelion "chip" installed by the previous owner. IQ is still tops in digital when tested on my D750 having sold all my film gear a few years ago. It's size is now quit compact compared to the 24-70/2.8 AFS and even more so compared to the 24-70/2.8 AFS VR. I doubt will ever sell this lens now as it remains as classic in legendary performance like my 105/2.5 AIS or 55/3.5 PC Ai'd Micro.
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Old 12-30-2015   #15
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Not discussed Nikon, but I have Tokina 25-50/4 for P/K mount and absolutely like idea of small, light zoom with two useful focal lengths. It also keeps focus during zooming so at close distances I focus at 50mm and throw into 25mm. At longer distances it's not so important, of course.
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Old 12-30-2015   #16
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The 25 - 50 zoom is a Nikkor classic. It established Nikon as the pre-eminent manufacturer of wide angle zooms, which has only recently been challenged. I only stopped using it when I switched to the 24 -70 f2.8 AF lens.
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Old 12-30-2015   #17
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A great lens that I should use more. Every time I take it out, the performance is better than I have any right to expect. Since I only shoot film Nikons, the f 4.0 is limited to decent light, something that's missing in southern Pennsylvania these past few weeks.
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