What are the virtues of Pre-AI Nikkor glass?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by chip j, Nov 25, 2018.

  1. darinwc

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    nonsense.. Ray tracing was one of the first applications of computers. Though at the time, these were analog computers designed for the task.. Not general purpose computers. Engineers were pretty smart back then.

    I am probably reiterating fairy tales, but I remember reading that Nikon designed its first lens using an army of abacuses. But in the early 1950s, electronic computers became available and lens design departments could rent time on them or larger companies bought their own. I think fuji bought the first computer in Japan and voigtlander in Germany. And of course kodak in the usa.

    For a real treat, check out this film on Rochester optical:
     
  2. Kiron Kid

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    The Vivitar Series 1, 70-210 was the first lens designed with the aid of computers. Vivitar hired Ellis Betensky (NASA optical engineer) to design it. This was the first, high quality zoom on the market. The one that forced Nikon, Canon, Pentax, etc, to get off their collective arses, and start designing and building quality zooms.

    Russ
     
  3. markjwyatt

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    I would venture to guess a slide rule or two were involved.

    Very cool video- thanks!
     
  4. Kawaiithulhu

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    If you look at the mainstream primes, some of those designs hadn't changed for decades with only minor tweaks and new coatings and mounts updated every few years.
    I'm totally not a "Lomo" guy, but I also do not pray at the altar of ultimate sharpness and fidelity either, and think that how a lens renders the scene is an important of the process.

    I also like history. So for me the virtue of an older lens is partly in the subtle differences of its rendering from a highly corrected lens and partly in its place in time.
     
  5. Luckless

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    Computer aided design for lens manufacture is far more about creating lenses by far more cost effective measures than it is about improved optics. It is about easing the grunt work in calculations, and being able to apply optimization passes to a finer degree than would be practical to do by hand. However it should be kept in mind that one of the impacts that computer aided ray tracing had on the optics industry was to enable manufactures to test more variations on designs and potential combinations with the goal of getting an 'equally good' lens that could be produced more reliably and/or with cheaper processes and materials.

    The light doesn't care if a human crunched the numbers, or if a machine did it. The only one who is really going to care is the accounting department...
     
  6. gorbas

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    Thank you darinwc for sharing this! Priceless!
     
  7. John Earley

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    Thanks to all who contributed to this thread. As a long time user of Nikon lenses from pre-AI to G, I really appreciate them all for many different reasons. It's as nice to see where we've come from as it is to see where we are now.
     
  8. OP
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    chip j

    chip j Member
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    Where we are NOW is at the END of Nikon film lenses.
     
  9. Theo Sulphate

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    At the end or very close to it. Nikon is likely to reduce or stop production of F mount lenses in favor of the Z mount; that is where their future lies. I would expect Canon to discontinue the EF mount in favor of RF as well; they have traditionally been more aggressive than Nikon in this area.
     
  10. Peter Schrager

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    Thanks the film is a hoot!! Really labor intensive
     
  11. RalphLambrecht

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    low price but moder4n optical design, common filter thread, smooth rendition and contrasty sharpness.
     
  12. OP
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    chip j

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    Smooth rendition sounds good to me; like old Leica, perhaps?
     
  13. Kiron Kid

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  15. Kiron Kid

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    What do you all think of the pre-AI, Nikkor 35 f/2 glass?
     
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    chip j

    chip j Member
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  17. gorbas

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    Ai version got WAY better multi coating. Non AI was very prone to flare even with proper hood. That was only reason why did I eventually replaced it
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2018
  18. John Earley

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    Very true. I have a 24mm f2.8 pre AI, one of the first 1500 produced, that will flare if there's a point light source within 2 parsecs. I like the lens but would like it more if it had a good lens coating.
     
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