Micro Nikkor Auto 55 f/3.5 for landscape shots?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by anta40, Oct 21, 2018.

  1. anta40

    anta40 Member
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    I consider 35mm as my 'default' lens, and will use 50mm for tighter shots, e.g portrait. Those 2 lens are always ready on my bag. While browsing a local online marketplace, I found someone selling a Micro Nikkor Auto 55/f 3.5 at a bargain price.

    Some Googling sessions revealed that these Micro Nikkor lenses (both f/3.5 and f/2.8) are excellent performers even at wide. Hmmm interesting, eh? I'm not interested in macro photography, though. I'm thinking of trying it as walkaway lens: usually for street photography, and ocasionally for portraits and landscapes.

    According to this table, the 55 f/3.5 auto is excellent for close up shots, and bad performer for distant shots (the f/2.8 version is better for this purpose). Maybe I should get the f/2.8 instead?
     
  2. RalphLambrecht

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    THIS LENS NEVER SEIZES TO AMAZE ME Nikon how do you do it so cheap so good?
     
  3. Jim Jones

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    My experience with both the f/2.8 and especially the f/3.5 have been good for both macro and distant photography. They are slightly more bulky than most 50 mm Nikkor lenses. In a lens test done between maybe 30 lenses for 35mm cameras done decades ago the f/3.5 version was one of the four best. Another in that group was the Nikkor GN 45mm f.2.8, an odd but very compact lens. The others were the EL-Nikkor 50mm f/2.8 enlarging lens and the Leica Elmar 50mm f.2,8.
     
  4. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    On the one hand, the late Norman Rothschild once told me that the reason Popular Photography never published a test of a 55/3.5 MicroNikkor is that on PP's tests all of the 55/3.5s they tested failed to meet PP's minimum standards at some apertures -- he didn't say which - at distance. On the other, after I got mine I retired my 50/1.4 Nikkor and used the 55/3.5 as an all 'round general purpose normal lens and was never disappointed by the results.
     
  5. Alan9940

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    I own and use the 60mm AF-D version and it's an excellent lens, but bulky as others have pointed out. If you don't plan on doing any macro work, why do you want one of these lenses? Wouldn't something like, say, the 50/1.8 fill your needs? It certainly would be more compact than the micro-style lens. Confession: I've never held or even seen a 55/3.5 so don't know how that compares size-wise to the 60mm micro or the standard 50mm lenses.
     
  6. OP
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    anta40

    anta40 Member
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    Well, mainly curiousity :D
    BTW, I found someone shoot with Micro Nikkor 55/2.8 AIS on his F2 (with Tri-X 400).

    I once had a Nikkor-HC 50/2, and pleased with it. Sold it because I needed some cash.
    Definitely will buy that lens again.
     

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  7. MattKing

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    The biggest downsides of using a "macro" lens as a "normal" lens are their slow speed, size and relatively long focus throw.
    If you are using one handheld, in most cases any tiny difference in quality at distance will be unimportant.
     
  8. Michael W

    Michael W Subscriber

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    I have a battered old 55mm f/3.5 and I love it for both close and distant work. Great lens.
     
  9. Theo Sulphate

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    The 55/2.8 AIS Micro-Nikkor is the only lens I have on my FM3a. Its rendition of landscapes, for example the resolution of a tree line on the crest of a hill miles away, is excellent.

    I've not observed any oil on the aperture blades of this lens, which I bought new in 2003.
     
  10. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber
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    I have used the 60mm 2.8 AF macro lens for landscapes and found it to be totally acceptable for my needs.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2018
  11. Montanawildlives

    Montanawildlives Member
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    I'm not sure but I think it was the non Ai and AI versions that were potentially weak at long distances. With the AIS version there was a new Optical formula which I think took care of any slight problems that respect. The 2.8 is a bit heavier and as some have alluded to can have problems with oily aperture blades.
     
  12. OP
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    anta40

    anta40 Member
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    Which model is your lens? Pre-AI? AI? AIS?
     
  13. vlasta

    vlasta Member
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    Mine cleaned 1 or 2 times and oil is back again.
    But it has no effect on operation of the lens.
     
  14. Michael W

    Michael W Subscriber

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  15. John Earley

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    I'm a bit late to this thread but since I love my 55mm f3.5 Micro P.C. Nikkor I thought I'd add my thoughts. The PC version was the first multicoated version of the 55 and it came out about 1973, about 2 years before Aperture Indexing (AI). It also was reformulated to give better results at distance. This may have hurt macro performance to a very slight degree though but this was corrected by the introduction of CRC on the new f2.8 AIs version in 1979. CRC was improved again on the 2.8/55 in 1986. All of the AI and AIs versions have been corrected for distance.
     
  16. RalphLambrecht

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    I can confirm that it is excellent for close-up work.my regular normal is the 50mm/f/1.8 off/1.4
     
  17. narsuitus

    narsuitus Member

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    When I shoot landscapes with my Nikon F2 or F4, I usually carry the following lenses:
    14mm f/2.8 (optional)
    18mm f/3.5 (optional)
    24mm f/2 (optional)
    28mm f/2.8
    55mm f/3.5 macro or 50mm f/1.8
    105mm f/2.8 macro or 105mm f/2.5
    180mm f/2.8 or 70-210mm f/3.5 Vivitar (optional)

    I like to carry the macro lenses because I often encounter close-ups or macro shots that I want to capture while I am shooting landscapes.
     
  18. Pieter12

    Pieter12 Member
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    It is a great lens, but heavy and at 3.5 a bit dim for street work.
     
  19. jim10219

    jim10219 Member
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    This has been my experience. I have a non AI 55mm 3.5 (first version) which is absolutely stunning for a macro copy lens, but only mediocre at distance. I wouldn't call it unusable though, but rather just not nearly as sharp as any of Nikon's 50mm lenses (that I've tried). And I believe it was just the earlier versions that acted this way. My understanding is that even the later non AI 55mm macros were corrected better at infinity, at the expense of a slight decrease in macro performance. It appears that what started off as a specialty lens was tweaked to become an all around good performer. And that would make sense from a marketing standpoint.
     
  20. Vincent Peri

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  21. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member
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    I can't comment on the older 3.5 version. But the 55/2.8 is very sharp and contrasty, and free from optical idiosyncrasies, all the way from macro usage to infinity. An exceptional landscape lens, but like many of these Nikkor mid-distance lenses, the out-of-focus background blur or "bokeh" is busy and objectionable. So it's not the best choice for "selective focus" work.
     
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