Author Topic: Butchering a Noct-Nikkor 58 mm f/1.2 AI  (Read 10708 times)

Bjørn Rørslett

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Butchering a Noct-Nikkor 58 mm f/1.2 AI
« on: June 20, 2015, 10:36:30 »
[ Posted 29 November 2011 - 13:21 Modified and reposted by agreement ]

Today I flew down to Copenhagen, Denmark to team up with the Great Dane (Erik Lund, also known as Dr. Lens). With me, unable to object, was my Noct-Nikkor 58/1.2. It is slated to undergo CPU surgery ("chipping").

This is a documentation of a day in its life which might well be its last. Follow the sequel to learn what happens in near real time.











And, finally, the CPU assembly is completed, fitted into the mount, and checked to see that the read-out is correct.



This seems to come along nicely.


Bjørn Rørslett

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Re: Butchering a Noct-Nikkor 58 mm f/1.2 AI
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2015, 10:41:21 »
Now, ready for the gruelling Stage Two.

First, cleaning dirt off the assembly.



Then, split the optics at the iris.



Critical phase is trimming the rear lens group. Not only part of the casing has to go, the glass itself has to be cut into. Beer acts as the cooling substance to help complete this operation.



Almost there now .... and well into the two rear elements as well ....




Bjørn Rørslett

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Re: Butchering a Noct-Nikkor 58 mm f/1.2 AI
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2015, 10:43:42 »
A little later, all parts of the Noct had aggregated again, and only the CPU pins disclose its recent surgery :)



Here they are, the only two known Noct-Nikkor 58 mm f/1.2 Ai [P] lenses. Erik's to the left, mine to the right.



Now, time for doing something else.


Bjørn Rørslett

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Re: Butchering a Noct-Nikkor 58 mm f/1.2 AI
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2015, 10:48:04 »
In answer to many questions about the Noct:

It's too late in history to get good deals on Nocts now. Sad but basically true. It has turned into a legend deserved or not. Prices have escalated out of control as well.

When I purchased it many years ago, the situation was entirely different. What follows is a true story.

A local shop here in Oslo had a second-hand copy (pristine) sitting at the back of a shelf, collecting dust, for more than 1 year. Perhaps because it was AI in an age where everyone had a frenzy about AiS, who knows? Or too exotic for the lay photographer? One day I commented this and the clerk brightened up and asked if I was interested in buying it. To which I replied "Of course, but I won't pay much". He was pleased to get rid of it and he got what money I could muster that day, which amounted to about $150. Thus I became the owner of a Noct-Nikkor.

It should be added that the photo store later went bust... Maybe I made a small contribution to that outcome ?

Bjørn Rørslett

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Re: Butchering a Noct-Nikkor 58 mm f/1.2 AI
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2015, 10:53:49 »
After the Noct-Nikkor had been properly dealt with, we continued on other projects.

First out is "chipping" the 85/2 AI Nikkor, thereafter some updates on CPUs for 20/3.5 and a new CPU for the Macro-Nikkor 65/4.5.

Some time was spent modifying an Olympus 35 mm f/2.8 Shift from OM to "F" mount. In doing this lots of sparks flew,...



At a later stage, delicate handiwork was called for, as witnessed by the Lens Doctor at work,



No wonder refreshments were called for :D.



Thereafter, repairing my 28 mm f/3.5 Tilt/Shift Nikkor was a breeze !

Tomorrow we'll go scouting around Copenhagen and environs. List of remaining modifications is now empty (for the time being)

Here are the combined outputs from this "repair & shoot" workshop.

From left to right:

    28 PC-Nikkor Tilt/Shift, new focus assembly (old had worn-out parts)
    Leitz APO-Telyt 180 mm f/3.4, converted to "F" mount, CPU-modified, infinity calibrated
    Nikkor 85 mm f/2, CPU-modified
    Novoflex Noflexar 35 mm f/3.5 (original "F" mount, the rare version), CPU-modified, infinity calibrated
    Olympus OM 35 mm f/2.8 Double Shift, converted to "F" mount, CPU-modified, infinity calibrated
    Noct-Nikkor 58 mm f/1.2, CPU-modified
    BR-2 extension, CPU-modified (front right)
    E-2 extension, CPU-modified (front left)




Not bad for a few days (OK, so the working hours could be a "little" on the long side sometimes, but we had heaps of fun)

Erik & Bjørn

Erik Lund

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Re: Butchering a Noct-Nikkor 58 mm f/1.2 AI
« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2015, 11:38:09 »
I have very fond memories of that surgery.

The story started actually more than a year earlier when I did the first chipping of my own Noct-Nikkor, it took the most hours of a weekend to do it, I had to re assemble the lens many times to get the parts in the right place to avoid interference with the CPU contact block and screws...

When I showed the lens when we met he just took it out of my hands and played with it on and off the next days, he handed it back with a quick remark; It works...

First then was I satisfied, since I knew the performance was identical with Bjørn's untouched sample, the rear group is super important and it had been taken apart and reassembled several times...

That's also kudos to the Nikon design team to be able to make the tolerances tight enough for overhauling/repairs.

But then I had a new challenge; Bjørn started asking if I would 'Butcher' his Noct... Recalling the frighting feeling of grinding the rear elements with a Dremel grind, sparks and small glass particles flying... well in the end I gave in as you see above :) But only because Bjørn was willing to go all in :)

The performance of the old Noct-Nikkor is amazing, it's capable of creating some fantastic Bokeh and overall just a really nice tool.

The only real point of weakness is the lack of close up possibility that it shares with the new incarnation 58mm 1.4 AFS so you really need to have a short extension tube for it, it has unit focusing so no problem with the IQ as you get closer.
Erik Lund

Bjørn Rørslett

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Re: Butchering a Noct-Nikkor 58 mm f/1.2 AI
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2015, 12:57:51 »
To me, it was a nice lens for which I had paid $150 ... Had it perished due to the surgery, oh well, what is life but a sequence of miseries interspersed with a quick glimpse of sun rays?

Frank Fremerey

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Re: Butchering a Noct-Nikkor 58 mm f/1.2 AI
« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2015, 19:47:11 »
Impressive. I wish I had the eyes to use Manual focus at all.
You are out there. You and your camera. You can shoot or not shoot as you please. Discover the world, Your world. Show it to us. Or we might never see it.

Øivind Tøien

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Re: Butchering a Noct-Nikkor 58 mm f/1.2 AI
« Reply #8 on: June 21, 2015, 00:23:41 »
Nice to see that thread back here and hear more about the background behind it!
Øivind Tøien

Airy

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Re: Butchering a Noct-Nikkor 58 mm f/1.2 AI
« Reply #9 on: June 21, 2015, 11:02:50 »
The last one I saw was a relatively good deal... 3000€ and it won't go, then down to 2500€ and I passed. It was then quickly sold.
Airy Magnien

Jørgen Ramskov

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Re: Butchering a Noct-Nikkor 58 mm f/1.2 AI
« Reply #10 on: June 23, 2015, 09:29:27 »
"it works" :D
Jørgen Ramskov

Jethro Sang

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Re: Butchering a Noct-Nikkor 58 mm f/1.2 AI
« Reply #11 on: June 28, 2015, 05:19:27 »
I must say, these surgeries are not for the weak-hearted, both doctor and audience alike.
Jetty

Tristin

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Re: Butchering a Noct-Nikkor 58 mm f/1.2 AI
« Reply #12 on: November 28, 2015, 08:36:00 »
$150.  Wow.  I never noticed that Nocts do not have a stop for f/1.4, I wish the f/1.2 lacked it as well!
-Tristin

Erik Lund

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Re: Butchering a Noct-Nikkor 58 mm f/1.2 AI
« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2015, 08:43:21 »
The f/1.4 stop is there just not indicated on the aperture ring
I gave my lens an half stop notch between 2 and 2.8 since it's quite sweet spot for the lens if a little more uniform sharpness is required.
Erik Lund

Tristin

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Re: Butchering a Noct-Nikkor 58 mm f/1.2 AI
« Reply #14 on: November 28, 2015, 16:53:24 »
That sounds nifty.  I avoid f/2.8 as the bokeh really nosedives compared to f/2, and for sharpness I skip to f/4.  How difficul lt an operation is this "f/2.4"?
-Tristin