New lens on the way! Nikkormat 50mm 1.8 AIS Pancake from Japan

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Hopefully I'll see it soon! It's supposed to be one of the sharpest 50mm made by Nikon. Anyone have this sitting in their bag? Matt Bently-Walls on YouTube recommends it as a great walking around lens.
 

Steven Lee

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I have one and I love it. Happy to share full size samples. I never hesitate to shoot it wide open. There are plenty of high-performing 50mm primes out there, the most remarkable feature of this lens is, of course, its size.

The one drawback is that the focus right rotates with less resistance than I'd like. Other AI-S lenses I have (105mm and 28mm) are more damped. Maybe it's just my copy...
 

Moose22

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I had one. Have, actually, but it's buried in a storage and I haven't used it since about 1995.

That said, I carried it on an EM in my early days when I'd, literally, toss it in my flight bag before I headed to work. Tiny, so it fit in the side pocket of a very tight glider cockpit, and that rig was cheap enough I never worried about it getting beat up. It was close to as sharp as the non-pancake AF-50 I also used a lot.

Steven, I recall mine was pretty easy to rotate focus, but it was so long ago I can't really compare it now that I have a few other AI-S lenses. I just remember it was dirt cheap and being surprised at how nice some of my shots came out.

It IS a good walkin' around lens. I have a 1.8AI and a 1.4AI-S already, but I wouldn't hesitate to get one if I didn't have that base covered.
 
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SteveInConverse
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It's a very sharp lens that punches well above it's price tag. If it's coming from Japan hopefully it is the rarer version with the metal body (not plastic) and which focuses closer down to 1.5 feet.

It is the rarer version! Minimum focusing is .045ft and all metal body.
 
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Hopefully I'll see it soon! It's supposed to be one of the sharpest 50mm made by Nikon. Anyone have this sitting in their bag? Matt Bently-Walls on YouTube recommends it as a great walking around lens.

I have several and they're all spectacular. You are in for a treat!
 

Craig

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Is this the same as the Series E lens? That's a very small lens too.
 

dourbalistar

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Like @Steven Lee, I also have one and love it. In addition to its compact size, it's virtually distortion free, and the Japanese domestic market version (non-Series E version with a serial number starting with 2######) focuses down to 0.45m. Add an inexpensive close-up diopter lens and you can get to near macro distances. Lots of image samples taken with film in an album on my Flickr.

@Craig, according to Nikon's The Thousand and One Nights No.60, the Series E lens is a sister lens "designed with the same basic optics, but different outward appearance and coatings." Like the export version of the 50/1.8 pancake, it only focuses down to 0.6m. The MIR site has lots more details about the differences between the 50/1.8 pancakes.
 

Steven Lee

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Does anyone actually notice any difference between these lenses when they take pics?

My camera came with a regular US-based version (not the E, but a regular pancake which doesn't focus as close), but then I learned about the existence of a "Japanese version", and couldn't resist the GAS attack and ordered one from Japan. Zero difference in results. I compared images by mounting them onto my Sony A7R with an adapter.

Three other differences are: the minimal focusing distance, the US version used a harder plastic material for the focusing ring, and the US version had a different rear cap (solid black vs translucent white), although I don't know whether both caps were original.
 
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SteveInConverse
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Like @Steven Lee, I also have one and love it. In addition to its compact size, it's virtually distortion free, and the Japanese domestic market version (non-Series E version with a serial number starting with 2######) focuses down to 0.45m. Add an inexpensive close-up diopter lens and you can get to near macro distances. Lots of image samples taken with film in an album on my Flickr.

@Craig, according to Nikon's The Thousand and One Nights No.60, the Series E lens is a sister lens "designed with the same basic optics, but different outward appearance and coatings." Like the export version of the 50/1.8 pancake, it only focuses down to 0.6m. The MIR site has lots more details about the differences between the 50/1.8 pancakes.

Ah I hadn't thought about the close up lens addition, which would be awesome
 

dourbalistar

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Does anyone actually notice any difference between these lenses when they take pics?
I only have the JDM pancake so I can't compare, but I probably couldn't tell the difference in a blind test. In practical use though, I think the 0.45 vs. 0.6 minimum focus distance is an appreciable difference. Even with its modest f/1.8 max aperture, getting in closer can get EVEN MOAR BOKEH!!!

2022.07.13 Roll #313-07284-positive.jpg
by dourbalistar, on Flickr

That Mir site is amazing! Talk about a Nikon rabbit hole!
Yeah, it's a treasure trove of information!

Ah I hadn't thought about the close up lens addition, which would be awesome
I have an inexpensive screw in set made by Hoya, with +1, +2, and +4 diopter strengths. Here's one with the +4 lens:

2020.04.15 Roll #242-04622-positive.jpg
by dourbalistar, on Flickr


You can even stack the close up lenses, but stacking does degrade sharpness somewhat. Here's an example with +4 and +2 stacked:

2020.09.21 Roll #258-05271-positive.jpg
by dourbalistar, on Flickr
 
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SteveInConverse
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I only have the JDM pancake so I can't compare, but I probably couldn't tell the difference in a blind test. In practical use though, I think the 0.45 vs. 0.6 minimum focus distance is an appreciable difference. Even with its modest f/1.8 max aperture, getting in closer can get EVEN MOAR BOKEH!!!

2022.07.13 Roll #313-07284-positive.jpg by dourbalistar, on Flickr


Yeah, it's a treasure trove of information!


I have an inexpensive screw in set made by Hoya, with +1, +2, and +4 diopter strengths. Here's one with the +4 lens:

2020.04.15 Roll #242-04622-positive.jpg by dourbalistar, on Flickr


You can even stack the close up lenses, but stacking does degrade sharpness somewhat. Here's an example with +4 and +2 stacked:

2020.09.21 Roll #258-05271-positive.jpg by dourbalistar, on Flickr

If that's degraded sharpness, I'll take that all day lol
 

dourbalistar

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If that's degraded sharpness, I'll take that all day lol

Haha, thanks. In that photo, I tried to mitigate any sharpness loss by shooting on a tripod with a cable release and probably stopping down a bit. But honestly, the line between degraded sharpness and very shallow depth of field is (pardon the pun) a bit blurry. When you stack all three close up lenses, the loss in sharpness becomes a bit more apparent:

2020.10.13 Roll #261-05358-positive.jpg by dourbalistar, on Flickr
 

Cholentpot

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I only have the JDM pancake so I can't compare, but I probably couldn't tell the difference in a blind test. In practical use though, I think the 0.45 vs. 0.6 minimum focus distance is an appreciable difference. Even with its modest f/1.8 max aperture, getting in closer can get EVEN MOAR BOKEH!!!

2022.07.13 Roll #313-07284-positive.jpg by dourbalistar, on Flickr


Yeah, it's a treasure trove of information!


I have an inexpensive screw in set made by Hoya, with +1, +2, and +4 diopter strengths. Here's one with the +4 lens:

2020.04.15 Roll #242-04622-positive.jpg by dourbalistar, on Flickr


You can even stack the close up lenses, but stacking does degrade sharpness somewhat. Here's an example with +4 and +2 stacked:

2020.09.21 Roll #258-05271-positive.jpg by dourbalistar, on Flickr

This is some incredible work.
 

BradS

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Does anyone actually notice any difference between these lenses when they take pics?

I've had multiple of the 50mm f/1.8 Series E as well as both JDM and domestic versions. Aside from minimum focusing distance and minor cosmetic differences, they're all equally excellent in terms of optical performance. The optics are the same.
 

Huss

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I've had multiple of the 50mm f/1.8 Series E as well as both JDM and domestic versions. Aside from minimum focusing distance and minor cosmetic differences, they're all equally excellent in terms of optical performance. The optics are the same.

I had the series E with the nicer/more upmarket finish - I think that was the last model - and it was excellent. Paired so nicely with my N2000.
 

dourbalistar

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How does this compare to the AF-D version?

According to Nikon:
What's more the same basic optical design was reborn as the AI AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8S (coatings and such were modified), and is still available today (2016) in the AI AF NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8D. When this lens was reborn as an AF lens, it lost its slim, pancake design, but its rendering characteristics remain the same.
 
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SteveInConverse
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According to Nikon:
What's more the same basic optical design was reborn as the AI AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8S (coatings and such were modified), and is still available today (2016) in the AI AF NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8D. When this lens was reborn as an AF lens, it lost its slim, pancake design, but its rendering characteristics remain the same.

I have this lens, which is awesome!
 
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SteveInConverse
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Yay finally made it!
 

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