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Nikkor 8.5cm f2?
Old 01-18-2016   #1
darinwc
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Nikkor 8.5cm f2?

Hi guys! What are your thoughts on the Nikkor 8.5cm f2?

People seem to like it for portraits. Has some sort of 'magic'.
But usually I'm a disbeliever in this sort of talk. Usually means its just an overall bad lens until its stopped down to f16, where it looks like every other lens out there.

Does anyone have some side-by side samples?
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Old 01-19-2016   #2
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I don't know about "magic", but the 8.5cm/2 Nikkor-P is an excellent lens, even at f/2 & even today. It's a variant of the 8.5cm/2 Zeiss Sonnar.
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Old 01-19-2016   #3
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Magic = Sonnar design.

ALso for a short pudgy lens, it's heavy.
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Old 01-19-2016   #4
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I've had two of them. The first one was in Leica Thread Mount. I loved it but sold it around 2005 as I bought the Olympus OM 85mm f/2 to use with my SLR Olympus cameras.

In 2008 I bought a Nikon SP 2005 with the 35mm f/1.8. I decided to get the Nikkor 85mm f/2 to pair with it. I found one and still have it. It's just a excellent lens and pairs nicely with the 35mm. It was the last item that Pete Smith serviced for me before he died. I'll keep the 85mm 'forever'.
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Old 01-19-2016   #5
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Cracking lens, a bit heavy for travel purposes but as above a good combination with a 35mm. I shoot it on the Bessa R2S with the 85mm frame!!
Sorry I don't shoot comparisons of the same scene, and I have no other 85mm anyway.



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Old 01-19-2016   #6
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I don't have any side by side examples but I have several images taken with this lens in the following gallery:

http://www.pbase.com/ornate_wrasse/nikkor_85cm_f2_

The first four images were shot on film and the last two images (Steens Mountain) were shot on my M9.

I think the lens is a very good one, the only negative being that it is very heavy and I wouldn't take it if I was going to be carrying it around all day. I've thought about selling it due to this reason but I've always decided in the end to keep it, it's that good.

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Old 01-19-2016   #7
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I love that lens. Over-corrected and optimized for resolution wide open, which shows in the bokeh. Corners come up very fast, already at f2.8 it is usable for landscapes. I have two LTM copies, a black one (calibrated for my 240) and a chrome one for my IIIG. The black one is lighter than the chrome one. Note also that younger chrome copies are lighter than older ones, due to more aluminum, I guess.

BTW, the 10.5 is under-corrected, has prettier bokeh wide open, is bigger and heavier, but is probably the best RF portrait lens ever (for me). But not sharp enough for landscapes until f5.6 or more.

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Old 01-19-2016   #8
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Glad to read all the comments, as I just got one last week. Still don't have a camera to put it on though. I'm hoping to fix that situation by summer.

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Old 01-19-2016   #9
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220,000 made I think. Some huge number like that. You would think they would be cheap, but not really


Menus by unoh7, on Flickr

It's a copy of the CZJ 85/2. Wonderful Sonnar.
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Old 01-19-2016   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uhoh7 View Post
220,000 made I think. Some huge number like that. You would think they would be cheap, but not really
Woah, you've got one too many zeros there! More like about 25,000 made in all mounts (S, C, LTM, maybe others?) and variations.

http://www.pacificrimcamera.com/pp/nikonrf85f2.htm
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Old 01-19-2016   #11
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Are the early 85mm F mount lenses also Sonnar designs?
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Old 01-19-2016   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darinwc View Post
Hi guys! What are your thoughts on the Nikkor 8.5cm f2?

People seem to like it for portraits. Has some sort of 'magic'.
But usually I'm a disbeliever in this sort of talk. Usually means its just an overall bad lens until its stopped down to f16, where it looks like every other lens out there.

Does anyone have some side-by side samples?
They said it wrong, it doesn't have magic, just legend!

http://www.nikkor.com/story/0036/

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Old 01-19-2016   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by splitimageview View Post
Are the early 85mm F mount lenses also Sonnar designs?
Nope, but the early SLR 105mm F2.5 lenses share the same sonnar formula as the rangefinder lens.
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Old 01-20-2016   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonmanjiro View Post
Woah, you've got one too many zeros there! More like about 25,000 made in all mounts (S, C, LTM, maybe others?) and variations.
Rotoloni estimates 22000 with less than 45% in S mount, Jon. The factory recorded 20077 lenses.

Quote:
Originally Posted by uhoh7 View Post
It's a copy of the CZJ 85/2.
I wouldn't call it copy. It shares a similar diagram but is optimized very differently.
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Old 01-20-2016   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ferider View Post
Rotoloni estimates 22000 with less than 45% in S mount, Jon. The factory recorded 20077 lenses.
I was actually quoting Rotoloni (latest book) too, Roland

The 25,000 number is the approximate total of the quantities listed at the top of each section for Nikkor-P 8.5cm f2 variations from April/May 1949 through to the final variation from 1953, which is recorded at 20,077 lenses. I'll refrain from listing all the variations and quantities here, and instead recommend that interested parties buy Rotoloni's latest book if they want to see the details!

Edit: ahh I see the text you're quoting is at the end of the section on the lenses from 1953. I wonder if the 20,077 number is for all lenses from the start of production or only lenses from 1953... a bit unclear!
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Old 01-20-2016   #16
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Its a great lens - I have a black one in LTM and would really have hard time parting with it if I ever had to. I had 3 - 2 black and one chrome - all were great, black is smaller/lighter, so thats the one I kept. Between Nikon 85/2 and Hexanon 85/2.8 I really dont feel a need for another 85/90mm lens. I do have a Nikon 135 in ltm which is also a very good lens, BTW. Most of those old Nikon RF lenses are very very good IMO.
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Old 01-20-2016   #17
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I too have one in Nikon s mount. It was the very first rangefinder lens I bought after I got my first S3.
Mine is silver in colour and based on it's weight likely made from either Lead or perhaps depleted Uranium. I think it weighs more than the camera!
It takes nice pictures, but I use my 105 2.5 most of the time if for no other reason than it is much lighter.
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Old 01-20-2016   #18
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Thanks for the correction, though the number still seems unclear. 22,000 makes more sense, I could never see how they made so many LOL

However, I think there were something like 50,000 Canon LTM 50/1.2s, or did I get that wrong too?
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Old 01-20-2016   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rbsinto View Post
It takes nice pictures, but I use my 105 2.5 most of the time if for no other reason than it is much lighter.
Lighter than the 85? That 85 must be a porker. I need to get one just for the exercise I'll get!

Coincidently, or maybe not, I have the 10.5 and the 13.5 (but not the 8.5) but I mostly use the 135 for the same reason - its lighter. And it has a tripod mount.
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Old 01-26-2016   #20
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Thanks for all the advice guys! I've been on a bit of a buying spree as of late. So I have a 3rd 85mm f2 on the way and also a 100mm f2.5. I'll post back later with results.
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Old 10-20-2018   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NIKON KIU View Post
They said it wrong, it doesn't have magic, just legend!

http://www.nikkor.com/story/0036/

Kiu
Too bad the link has expired and what Nikon only has is new lenses in their line-up.
Ah, a history forgone
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Old 10-20-2018   #22
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I read about this lens for years before I finally got one. Ended up with two in a fairly short period of time. One in LTM, one in Nikon S mount. Love them both. With B&W film, I prefer the Nikon 8.5cm f2 to the Leica 90mm Elmarit-M as the Leica is higher contrast and renders too "modern" for my taste.


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Old 10-20-2018   #23
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A very popular lens in both mounts until the introduction of the 105 f2.5 Nikkor which uses a similar formula. It is heavy. While a "Sonnar" type design, having seen the formulas for both the 85mm Zeiss Sonnar and the 85mm f2 Nikkor, I would say they are not really that close in design. This is the lens that convinced David Douglas Duncan to visit the Ohi factory and test the Nikkor lenses.
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Old 10-20-2018   #24
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I wonder if the SLR version is the same design? I had one of those and really liked it. It was a small and light lens in F mount. Wide open it was 85% of my Leica R 90 lens for portraits (the Leica was my gold standard for portraits at the time), and stopped down it was nice and sharp.

I think that at F16 every lens is going to be very similar to the next one.
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Old 10-20-2018   #25
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SLR 85mm is a very different retrofocal formulation.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve M. View Post
I wonder if the SLR version is the same design? I had one of those and really liked it. It was a small and light lens in F mount. Wide open it was 85% of my Leica R 90 lens for portraits (the Leica was my gold standard for portraits at the time), and stopped down it was nice and sharp.

I think that at F16 every lens is going to be very similar to the next one.
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Old 10-20-2018   #26
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The high image quality produced by the 85mm f2 lens was the Nikkor lens that sparked David Douglas Duncan's interest in Nikkor lenses in 1950, and what eventually caused big interest in the USA in all things Nikkor and Nikon.

http://blog.iamnikon.com/en_GB/pro-p...-duncan-nikon/
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Old 10-30-2018   #27
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It is a lovely lens. I just took it apart and gave it a nice clean and relube. The aperture blades were oily (no haze yet). Now it's nice, clean and smooth again. A great lens to work with because of its simlpe but sturdy construction!

But even before the cleaning it took lovely images on my M2 & Canon P.

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Old 12-11-2018   #28
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I tried the 8.5cm Nikkor F2 out with an Xpro2 (with Amadeo adapter). It’s 128mm with an X Pro2

[IMG]test by bonn aure, on Flickr[/IMG]
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Old 12-11-2018   #29
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I purchased the Nikkor 85/2 in a C version, when I got my first RF camera, Contax IIA.
Always had read of it's Life Mag legend, which propelled Nikon and the Nikkor lenses throughout the 50's, along with a bit of help from Joe Ehrenreich. Great images from that lens but sold it in favor of the Carl Zeiss 85/2 Opton, which seemed a bit better for portraiture but not as "sharp" as the Nikkor. Ended up inheriting another Nikkor in LTM from a ex Vietnam Navy vet friend, who always said it was his favorite lens. I'll hold onto that one forever, especially when I feel the need "to pump some iron"!
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Old 12-11-2018   #30
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I find it a fabulous lens. Here's an example of how sharp it is using on a Sony A7RII. It's a black Nikon S version thgat I bought from an RFF member. It's as good if not better than my Leica M 90's. Although I sold all my Nikon RF stuff - this is one lens I have kept.
Overall image

100% crop
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Old 12-11-2018   #31
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that lens has something special in its rendering. i love mine a lot.
i did an overhaul article of it and its very well built.
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Old 12-11-2018   #32
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Thanks for reminding me to use my Nikon 85/2 again. The 105/2.5 is a first class contender.
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Old 12-11-2018   #33
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For me, the black version of the 85 is much lighter and easier to handle that its 105 cousin. The latter I prefer in the SLR version - but of course YMMV
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Old 12-11-2018   #34
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Haven't had the pleasure of working with the S-mount 8.5cm f2 on one of my RF cameras, but it is on my wish list! Have just recently introduced myself (just over a year) to the Nikon RF system. The 8.5cm lens seems to command a bit more value than the 10.5cm.



As for SLR, have had my AIS 85mm f1.4 lens for many years and refuse to let it go even thought it's a beast. The front element is such an impressive piece. The 85mm seems to be a great focal length for Nikkor lenses in any mount.
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Old 12-12-2018   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richardHaw View Post
that lens has something special in its rendering. i love mine a lot.
i did an overhaul article of it and its very well built.

I loved your article. Although you did it with an S-mount lens, it helped me greatly with taking apart, cleaning and re-greasing my LTM version. So thanks a lot for taking the time and documenting the process. I also enjoy this lens a lot, especially on black and white film.
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Old 12-12-2018   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lukx View Post
I loved your article. Although you did it with an S-mount lens, it helped me greatly with taking apart, cleaning and re-greasing my LTM version. So thanks a lot for taking the time and documenting the process. I also enjoy this lens a lot, especially on black and white film.
looking for an LTM mount...but for a cheap price

glad you liked it!
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Old 12-12-2018   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hilltime View Post
I purchased the Nikkor 85/2 in a C version, when I got my first RF camera, Contax IIA.
Always had read of it's Life Mag legend, which propelled Nikon and the Nikkor lenses throughout the 50's, along with a bit of help from Joe Ehrenreich. Great images from that lens but sold it in favor of the Carl Zeiss 85/2 Opton, which seemed a bit better for portraiture but not as "sharp" as the Nikkor. Ended up inheriting another Nikkor in LTM from a ex Vietnam Navy vet friend, who always said it was his favorite lens. I'll hold onto that one forever, especially when I feel the need "to pump some iron"!
Pump some iron and kick some brass!

I have a lovely Nikkor-P.C LTM lens, Nippon Kogaku Tokyo version. Judging from the serial number, it's part of the 3rd series totaling less than 1,000 units. Very happy to have found one at the end of last year at KEH for a reasonable price.

Some good info on all the different versions here:
http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography...85mm/index.htm
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Old 12-12-2018   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richardHaw View Post
looking for an LTM mount...but for a cheap price

glad you liked it!
I got mine last year for 170€/$190 in rather nice condition. And that included an original Leitz LTM adapter. A very competitive price it seems.
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Old 12-12-2018   #39
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I like using an 85 for full body shots and landscape where I am looking for compression as a main element. I do not own anything Nikon/Nikkor RF but I do have a factory ai'd 85/1.8 K which is a very powerful and important part of my kit. I have always heard the 85 Nikkor was the fashion lens of the 60s. The movie Blow Up comes to mind albeit the later slr version which I imagine is a similar if not the same formula
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Old 12-24-2018   #40
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Recent acquisition. Have had several of the 85/2 chrome, and many black 105 and 135 Nikkors, but this is the first black 85 I've ever seen.

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