Your favorite Nikon AIS Lens?

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BradS

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If you had to limit yourself to just two or, at most, three current model Manual Focus, Nikon AIS lenses - which would you choose and why? Just to make it interesting, let's say you have to stay under $1200 at current retail prices.
 

titrisol

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Micro Nikkor 55
28/2.8
135/2.8
and if there's some money left
50mm /1.4
 

Canuck

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24F2.8, 35F2, 105F2.5 - Just the classic ones. I tend to look at the world from the wider side, therefore the 24 and 35. On ocassion, the portrait opp comes up so the 105 is useful. If shooting sports, the 180F2.8 and 300F4.5 would be on my list of within budget teles but if budget is no problem, then thats another dream :smile:
 

harveyje

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24,50,105, and an older 300/4.5 if you can find it. These seem to be my sharpest lenses and they fill the gaps nicely. (Mine are all the older non AI versions but I have no complaints as the go with my somewhat ancient cameras.)
 

Lee Shively

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John, you have an older 300/4.5 that is sharp? That may be a collector's item. The one I had was pretty poor.

I don't shoot Nikons anymore but I loved the 24/2.8 when I did. I wore out two of them over a twenty year period. Great lens with a great look. I also loved the old 85/1.8 and the 180/2.8.
 

Mongo

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If you limit this to currently available manual focus lenses, a lot of the classics are out. For example, the 28/2.8 and 50/1.4 & 1.8 are no longer available in MF, only AF.

Given what's available in MF these days, I'd take the 105/2.5, then either take AF versions of the 28/2.8 and 50/1.8, or buy MF versions used. (I've never been much of one for low-light work, so the 50/1.8 is fine for me...light, sharp as a tack, and great at all apertures.)

On the Nikon web site, only the following lenses are listed in manual focus:
24mm f/2 Nikkor AI-S
28mm f/3.5 PC Nikkor AI-S
28mm f/2 Nikkor AI-S
35mm f/1.4 Nikkor AI-S
45mm f/2.8P Nikkor AI-S
50mm f/1.2 Nikkor AI-S
85mm f/1.4 Nikkor AI-S
85mm f/2.8 PC Micro-Nikkor - REBATE!
105mm f/2.5 Nikkor AI-S
135mm f/2.8 Nikkor AI-S
200mm f/4 Micro-Nikkor IF AI-S
500mm f/8N Reflex Nikkor
35-200mm f/3.5-4.5 Zoom-Nikkor AI-S
70-210mm f/4.5-5.6 Zoom-Nikkor (For FM-10)

It's disheartening that these are all of the lenses that Nikon lists in MF...every time I mount an AF lens on my camera it feels like the lens will fall apart if I handle it too much. (Of course, the last time I bought a new Nikon lens was in the 1980's, so it's not like they're losing my business by limiting their MF lens line.)
 

luvmydogs

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Hi Brad,

The 105 f/2.5, the 45 pancake lens, and the 28 f/2.8 would be my three. In fact, these are the three I currently use on my FM3A. The 45 is a really compact lens and very sharp, and the 105 is legendary.
 

eric

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GaussianNoise said:
I received this friendly input via a PM....just thought I'd share with the rest of the group. Surely everybody can benefit from this valuable information.

I like my Rokkor lenses better than my Nikkor lenses. There are many Leica lenses made by Minolta.
 

bobfowler

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GaussianNoise said:
If you had to limit yourself to just two or, at most, three current model Manual Focus, Nikon AIS lenses - which would you choose and why? Just to make it interesting, let's say you have to stay under $1200 at current retail prices.

Current manual focus models? Yikes! You really narrowed down the available field...

I haven't looked at the Nikon catalog for 2005 yet, but if it's still available as a manual focus lens, I'd take a 24mm f/2.8.

Not limiting myself to "current models", if I could ONLY have 2 lenses for my Nikons, they would be the 25-50mm f/4 AIs and the 50-135mm f/3.5 AIs. Luckily, I'm not limited to 2 lenses... (I have 16 Nikon lenses in the arsenal)
 

Akkorn

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24 f2.8 AI, 50 f1.4AI & 75-150 series E zoom. With this trio I can cover most situations.
 

Tom Duffy

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I've only owned one Nikon, a FM2n, I believe, and one lens the 35 f1.4. It was actually a fairly awesome combination. Having used a Leica M since 1974, I couldn't get used to the noisy shutter. But again, what a lens!
 
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BradS

BradS

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Thanks all for your input (and please keep it coming). I'm very late coming to the Nikon party. After shooting mainly Pentax since about 1978, I bought an FM3a with the 50mm, f/1.8 AIS about a year ago. I've recently decided to treat myself to some brand new glass. Something of a luxury for me. Have lots of lenses but have only ever purchased two new....and both of those were relatively un-interesting (50mm, f/1.8).

Just glancing at the responses so far, the 24/2.8, 28/2.8 and the 105/2.5 look well favored. I must say, I am tempted by the 35/1.4 and the 85/2 too.

Decisions, decisions.....
 

Mongo

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Brad-

Nikkor wide angle lenses tend to have a family trait...they all exhibit mild pincushion distortion, especially wide open. The reason so many of us mentioned the 28/2.8 AiS lens is that it's the Nikkor that comes closest to the ideal regarding distortion, while also being an extremely sharp lens. Luckily, the current AF version (28/2.8D - note the D) uses the same optical formula as the old 28/2.8 AiS lens, so it's equally excellent. Given that it's a wide angle lens, using the AF version as a manual focus lens is easy enough. If you decide to buy new, this would be the very first Nikkor I'd recommend. (Unless low-light shooting is your thing, in which case you'll have to put up with some distortion with a faster Nikkor wide angle lens.)

In the portrait focal lengths, you really can't go wrong with a Nikkor prime lens. They're all good, so it's more a matter of what length you like. I personally prefer the 105mm length, but Nikon has plenty of lenses to choose from in the 85 - 135mm range. I got great images with both the 105/2.5 and the 85/1.4, but I found myself reaching for the 105 most of the time so I eventually got rid of the 85 (and replaced it with a micro-Nikkor 105/4).

Best of luck with your decisions. Nikon makes some great glass.

Be well.
Dave
 

Marc Leest

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My favorite MF lenses are 50/1.4 AIS for lowlight and 180/2.8 AI (i hope that counts too) very nice portraitlens with shallow DOF wide open.

M.
 

sterioma

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And here're are my favourites (in order of preference):
1. 105 f/2.5 (AIS): what can I say about this lens that hasn't been said already? :smile:
2. 200 f/4 (AI): good sharpness, I use it a lot for tightening the field and for portraits also sometimes
3. 50 f/2 (AI). Cheap and so versatile (I don't do too many low light shots...).
 
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BradS

BradS

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Placed an order for the 105/2.5 and the 28/2.8 this morning :D

Athough, I've never so much as fondled one, I like the 180/2.8 ED too. Boyd Norton seems to have made good use of one of these (see for example: The Art of Outdoor Photography). Maybe I can find a good used example of this one at KEH....

Thanks all!
 

Claire Senft

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easy choice

24mm 2.8, 55mm 2.8 and 105 mm 2.8 Micro Nikkors. Easy choice for me. In fact for $1200.00 I could probably but all three kenses and a very nice Nikon F2 on ebay.
 

Ara Ghajanian

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I have a 50mm f1.4 that I love to death. The shallow depth of field has been the biggest creative advantage of this lens and I've utilized it plenty. I've had a 105mm f2.5 for years and I love that lens also. In fact, those are the only 2 lenses I own at the moment. I'm looking at a 24mm f2.8 right now and I think I'm sold on it. I wish I could justify buying the f2 version of that lens, but it's a little out of my range price-wise. Can anyone recommend the f2 over the f2.8 and why?
Ara
 

pelerin

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Ara Ghajanian said:
I wish I could justify buying the f2 version of that lens, but it's a little out of my range price-wise. Can anyone recommend the f2 over the f2.8 and why?
Ara

Hi Ara,
I think that the extra stop makes the viewfinder image much crisper. This might not mean much outside in the glare of midday, but pays dividends when you are trying to focus precisely in low illumination situations. 24 is wide, but not so wide that inaccurate focus will not be noticed. This is especially true if you wish to make decent sized prints. I also felt that the f2 was a better lens overall than the 2.8 it replaced. (but that might simply have been my inner gear justification mechanism at work).

I just took a look at KEH. It looks like there an 24F2 is worth about 100.00$ more than a 2.8. That seems like a smaller difference than what separated them new. (I can't remember what they cost when I got the lens as that was c. '88) I remember the last new price on the 24F2 as being in excess of 800.00$. My feeling is that all this cool stuff seems to good to pass up. If I had scraped together the cash to by an "old" M2 20 years ago I would be quite pleased today. Perhaps if we snap up all this great gear we will have the last laugh when this pixel thing goes into the dustbin.

Hmm... well OK, perhaps that sounds nuts but stop and consider turntables for a moment. If you traded in your excellent, but not esoteric TT towards the purchase of brand spankin' new CD player in somewhere in the 80's that CD player is now a landfill problem and the turntable... well, it is for sale in the classified section of the audio equivalent of APUG and going to make someone very happy.
Celac.

Who really (really) only wants a few more lenses. Really.
 

Dave Wooten

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For years the only lens on my F3 HP was the 35 1.4 I feel it is an incredible lens, have not noticed any distortion, on this camera it has become my normal.....it is mainly used for black and white and street and bar scene documentary etc. I also have the above mentioned 105 and the 24 2.8. all classics in my estimation. I recently bought from Christian Olivet another F3 so on one I carry the 35 and the other the 105 and the 24 rides in my pocket, by the way-those old Pentax lenses are a good bargain and quite awesome and can be had on e bay for a song. I still use a 50 1.4 I purchased in the 70's and still use it on my original spotmatic I bought at that time.....you can get some rare earth glass....put a geiger counter on those lenses and tell me what you hear!

Dave in Vegas
 

Ara Ghajanian

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Pelerin,
You're probably right about the 24mm f2. My friend has a 50mm f2 on his F2a and I have the 50mm f1.4 on my F3 and the difference in brightness is well worth the extra cost. I'll save up for the 24 f2. By the way, you never told us your favorites.

Dave Wooten,
I was also thinking about a 35mm. Maybe that will be the following purchase.
Ara
 
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BradS

BradS

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Dave Wooten said:
For years the only lens on my F3 HP was the 35 1.4 I feel it is an incredible lens, have not noticed any distortion, on this camera it has become my normal.....it is mainly used for black and white and street and bar scene documentary etc. I also have the above mentioned 105 and the 24 2.8. all classics in my estimation. I recently bought from Christian Olivet another F3 so on one I carry the 35 and the other the 105 and the 24 rides in my pocket, by the way-those old Pentax lenses are a good bargain and quite awesome and can be had on e bay for a song. I still use a 50 1.4 I purchased in the 70's and still use it on my original spotmatic I bought at that time.....you can get some rare earth glass....put a geiger counter on those lenses and tell me what you hear!

Dave in Vegas

Dave, I agree with you about the older Pentax lenes. I have a few and have always thought them to be a very well kept secret. I bought the Nikon in a moment of panic when my well loved Pentax KX was in for an overhaul and the technician's initial prognosis was less than heartning. The KX survived and is as good as new...
 

Dave Wooten

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I have always coonsidered the Pentax spotmatic and the Mx to be classics....the spotmatic was my first good camera and I used in in the streets of Chicago for many years in the early 70's....Got a Nikon F and it was actually to tiring to hold .... when the MX came out I bought one and still have it....I find those lenses very sharp and excellent for color...when the F3 came out I got it and love it...I still use the pentax and the Nikon weekly for street stuff and for some model portfolios etc... I agree the Pentax stuff is a well kept secret...I believe they were in the forfront in pioneering rare earth glass...some of the Russian lenses also, i believe the ones with L/D on the lenses, maybe the professor can give the cyrillic on that or an update. I like finding and using these old lenses...many of them are pristine and I feel Image quality is unsurpassed. Just got a 50 1.8 for 27.00..

Hey Dave shut up..this is about Nikon...which I will never part with..would

Hey Jim it is 80 degrees down here, Mom is putting in her tomatoes.
 

Joe Brugger

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Nobody's going very wide. If you count "currently available" as being in the KEH listing, try the 20 (2.8 or 3.5), 35/1.4, 85/2 and 180/2.8. Ought to squeeze in under the $1200 barrier and leave room for a backup FE.
 
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