Updated October 20, 2008
The Nikon Nikkor 50 2 Pre-AI dates back to 1972, and the HC dates back to 72-74. The Nikkor-H does not have a multi coating on the lens, but the later H.C version does. Hence the C part in the lens name. The 50mm f/2 lenses from Nikon have a rumor of being among the best performing 50mm's Nikon have produced. The Pre-AI Nikkor's needs to be converted to fit today's cameras. The latest camera these lenses can be used on without modification is the Nikon D40(x) D60. To convert a Pre-AI lens to AI' D is not a hard thing to do if you have the right tools. The question is, is it worth it to convert these lenses to fit today's cameras?
||6 elements in 4 groups
||46° ( (35mm/FX)
|Minimum focus distance:
||HN-5 or HS-2
||Front lens cap
Rear lens cap LF-1
63.5mm x 41mm
||6 straight blades.
- Price, both the AI and the Pre-AI version can be bought second hand for about $50 USD so unless you own one of these it doesn't make any sense to convert it.
- DOF/IR markings, as usual with most of the older Nikkor lenses both a depth of field and the infrared focusing marking is marked.
- IR performance.
- Build quality.
- Light falloff/vignetting wide open, Not the worst I've seen but there still is a bit of it.
- Needs to be converted to fit today's camera's (except Nikon D40(X) and D60
On the Nikon D3 this lens does lack a bit of contrast and sharpness wide open. The center sharpness is pretty good but the corners does not get great until f/2.8. From f/2.8 to f/11 this lens shows remarkable performance, @ f/16 image quality drops and results in a softer image. The IR performance of this lens is stunning, there is a slight drop of contrast wide open, stopping down to f/2.8 and the result is stellar. Do note that some of the 50mm f/2 H / HC I tested there was a hint of hot spot @ f/16. On the last one I tested here, there was none what so ever. The price difference between a used AI and a Pre-AI lens is minimal, so unless you already own this lens I can't say it's worth it to convert this lens to fit today's camera's.
The build quality of the lens is of usual Nikkor MF quality. It has been built really well.
Personally I prefer the Nikon 50mm 1.4 lenses over the f/2 lenses reviewed here, except for IR shooting.
Purchasing items through these links helps me adding more content to this website. The links on the prices takes you to B&H's website, which is my recommended store to get equipment from. I've used B&H personally since 2005, and I get all my equipment from them these days(including the lenses used for these reviews). Thanks for your support, Fredrik.
Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D From: $119.95 USD
Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D From: $289.95 USD
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G From: $429.95 USD
Nikon Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 AI-S Price From: $459.95 USD
Zeiss MF 50mm f/1.4 ZF Planar T* Price: $550.00 USD
Sigma AF 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM Price: $499.00 USD
Zeiss Macro 50mm f/2 ZF.2 Makro-Planar T* Price: $1,283.00 USD
For an equivalent normal lens on a DX camera:
Zeiss 35mm f/2 ZF Distagon T* Price: $826.00 USD
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G DX Price From: $194.95 USD
Nikon AF Nikkor 35mm f/2.0D From: $319.95 USD
Nikon Nikkor 35mm f/1.4 AI-S From $999.95 USD
Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM Price: $439.00 USD
** Prices are subject to change. Listed prices is from May 8, 2010
Images have been converted to .jpg in Capture NX 2, thus leaving the original image settings as shot, I. E white balance, sharpening, etc .etc. Full resolution sample images are in RGB color mode. Check out my copyright page for information about usage of these images. Note, lens is focused on the wheel in the middle of the picture.