Author Topic: Pre-AI 55mm f/1.2 S ♦ C  (Read 1124 times)

Bruno Schroder

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Re: Pre-AI 55mm f/1.2 S ♦ C
« Reply #30 on: November 13, 2017, 22:30:45 »
Not that it significantly changes the discussion but two final prices on auction for the Noct on Ebay are 2020$ and 2850$, and 2 sold "buy it now" were at 2199$ and 2398$. https://www.befr.ebay.be/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_sacat=0&_nkw=noct%20nikkor&LH_PrefLoc=2&LH_Complete=1&LH_Sold=1&rt=nc&_trksid=p2045573.m1684

I just bought one, not on Ebay, for less than 2000$.
Bruno Schröder

Roland Vink

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Re: Pre-AI 55mm f/1.2 S ♦ C
« Reply #31 on: November 13, 2017, 23:10:26 »
The disparity from center-to-edge sharpness has more to do with the difficulty of designing a fast (f/1.4) lens with consistent rendering across the frame. It's only recently that massively engineered SLR lenses (such as the Sigma Art and Otus) have appeared on the market with more even sharpness at full aperture. Rangefinder lenses such as those from Leica don't have to deal with long back-focus distances, it's easier to design smaller lenses with more consistent performance across the frame.

I agree, it is shame the Lenstip article did not include bokeh tests. Most of the old Nikon standard lenses have rather busy background rendition, I suspect the 5.8cm is similar, perhaps not as bad as the others (I haven't tried this lens). It's certainly not a Noct however. The tulip closeup posted earlier taken with the 5.8cm has nice smooth rendition largely because fast aperture and close range gives very shallow DOF, any background will melt away...

David H. Hartman

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Re: Pre-AI 55mm f/1.2 S ♦ C
« Reply #32 on: November 14, 2017, 00:05:21 »


I have sold my Nikkor AI-S 50mm f/1.2 and am looking to replace it with an all-metal, pre-AI, version.

I understand the appeal of the old hill and dale focus ring. The feel of those all metal lenses. I own a few and I'd like to own a few more.

One of the first to have the neoprene focus grip was my first Micro-NIKKOR-P Auto 1:3.5 f=55mm, the lens I bought with my Nikkormat FTn back in August 1970. All of my other lenses that I bought in the early '70s were all metal. Then all the Nikkors start switching to the neoprene focus grip. I saw this as a lowering of Nikon's standards and a cheapening of the product. It saved Nikon the production cost of machining the most of the exterior of the focus ring.

However:

I think the lens performance should come first. That said I own a few of the old lenses for the nostalgia of both the product and image. I own both a NIKKOR-Q Auto 1:3.5 f=135mm and a Nikkor Ai 135mm f3.5. I owned both of these lenses back when and I own them again. I like having the early 135/3.5 Nikkor-Q. Other older style lenses include the NIKKOR-S Auto 1:1.4 f=50mm and a couple of Micro-NIKKOR Auto 1:3.5 f=55mm (I'm cheating and doing cut and paste from Rolland's site to get the names correct). I may have other hill and dale lenses and I sure want more.

I'm leading up to this...

I recommend not selling a good copy of an AI or AIS Nikkor to replace it but use it. Instead of switching I recommend buying the older style along with the newer style. Sure have a petting zoo but don't just leave those old beauties in their stalls. Take them out for a walk, romp with them in the pasture. Some of those lenses have a special rendering that endears them. Use them and enjoy the differences in feel and image rendering.

That's my 2 cents on this subject. If it doesn't work for you that's fine. Again I wish I had more of the oldest classic Nikkors.

Best,

Dave Hartman
Dave Hartman The Handy Tool Maker.™

JKoerner007

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Re: Pre-AI 55mm f/1.2 S ♦ C
« Reply #33 on: November 14, 2017, 12:01:52 »

I really have a hard time comparing second hand lens prices like that,,, ;) doesn't make sence imho,,,


Not going into figures, the Lanthar was much cheaper new which ever way you calculate.


Something relevant for users is the build quality, the Lanthar is no where near that of the Noct,,,

For me the sh prices are fairly ok,,, for both

Seems like, even here, there is disparity.

Based on Richard Haw's post, it appears the AI Noct is more robust than the AI-S:

  • a simple and broad generalisation from me from a teardown point of view.

    Ai:
    tougher construction
    heavier
    more screws
    Nikon loves using glues in this generation but not as much as the New-Nikkors
    tough,traditional construction with the lens barrel and optics separated

    Ai-S:
    lighter
    clever tricks used to simplify complicated assemblies
    cost-cutting on some parts (plastics, scotch tapes, plenty of brass shims)
    optics casing sometimes incorporated in the lens barrel as cost-cutting and making things more compact/simplification

    I personally like fixing the older Nikkors compared to Ai-S ones. it's like fixing a beetle compared to a ford focus  :o :o :o
If I were to buy one, I believe I would lean toward the AI version ...

JKoerner007

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Re: Pre-AI 55mm f/1.2 S ♦ C
« Reply #34 on: November 14, 2017, 12:04:46 »
Not that it significantly changes the discussion but two final prices on auction for the Noct on Ebay are 2020$ and 2850$, and 2 sold "buy it now" were at 2199$ and 2398$. https://www.befr.ebay.be/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_sacat=0&_nkw=noct%20nikkor&LH_PrefLoc=2&LH_Complete=1&LH_Sold=1&rt=nc&_trksid=p2045573.m1684

I just bought one, not on Ebay, for less than 2000$.


Hmmm, I would pay $1500 to $2K for a Noct, but is seems to me that the only $2,000 Nocts are bang-up discards, no box, no paperwork.

Their prices have actually jumped UP from last time I looked a couple of years ago ... the really clean ones are $4500 - (gulp) $6000+:

https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p3984.m570.l1312.R1.TR9.TRC1.A0.H0.Xnoct.TRS2&_nkw=NOCT+AI&_sacat=0

JKoerner007

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Re: Pre-AI 55mm f/1.2 S ♦ C
« Reply #35 on: November 14, 2017, 12:23:46 »
I understand the appeal of the old hill and dale focus ring. The feel of those all metal lenses. I own a few and I'd like to own a few more.

One of the first to have the neoprene focus grip was my first Micro-NIKKOR-P Auto 1:3.5 f=55mm, the lens I bought with my Nikkormat FTn back in August 1970. All of my other lenses that I bought in the early '70s were all metal. Then all the Nikkors start switching to the neoprene focus grip. I saw this as a lowering of Nikon's standards and a cheapening of the product. It saved Nikon the production cost of machining the most of the exterior of the focus ring.

However:

I think the lens performance should come first. That said I own a few of the old lenses for the nostalgia of both the product and image. I own both a NIKKOR-Q Auto 1:3.5 f=135mm and a Nikkor Ai 135mm f3.5. I owned both of these lenses back when and I own them again. I like having the early 135/3.5 Nikkor-Q. Other older style lenses include the NIKKOR-S Auto 1:1.4 f=50mm and a couple of Micro-NIKKOR Auto 1:3.5 f=55mm (I'm cheating and doing cut and paste from Rolland's site to get the names correct). I may have other hill and dale lenses and I sure want more.

I'm leading up to this...

I recommend not selling a good copy of an AI or AIS Nikkor to replace it but use it. Instead of switching I recommend buying the older style along with the newer style. Sure have a petting zoo but don't just leave those old beauties in their stalls. Take them out for a walk, romp with them in the pasture. Some of those lenses have a special rendering that endears them. Use them and enjoy the differences in feel and image rendering.

That's my 2 cents on this subject. If it doesn't work for you that's fine. Again I wish I had more of the oldest classic Nikkors.

Best,

Dave Hartman

Thanks for the thoughtful post.

I believe there really isn't enough of a difference from the pre-AI versions, and current AI-S versions, to justify a stable. I simply prefer the metal look.
When I stack, reversed, my preferred aperture is f/4, and even the pre-AI Nikkor 5.8cm f/1.4 is right there with Nikon's best today @ f/4.

Based on what Roland said, I will probably lean toward the pre-AI 55mm f/1.2, so I can just go with an AI Kit.

If I am going to keep two 50-ishmm lenses, and need top sharpness wide-open, I'll probably lean toward Zeiss ... although none of the 50-ish mm Zeisses are what the 135mm is wide-open.

For 1:1, I really don't need to reverse a 50mm anyway (as the CV 125 is 1:1), so I will just enjoy the Voigt and may pick up a pre-AI 55mm f/1.2 just for fun. Don't need more 50mm lenses than that ... unless Nikon comes out with a 50-55mm f/1.4 E ED AF lens ... which I think they will be doing sooner, rather than later.

I could use AF at that focal length.

Erik Lund

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Re: Pre-AI 55mm f/1.2 S ♦ C
« Reply #36 on: November 14, 2017, 13:23:20 »
Seems like, even here, there is disparity.

Based on Richard Haw's post, it appears the AI Noct is more robust than the AI-S:

  • a simple and broad generalisation from me from a teardown point of view.

    Ai:
    tougher construction
    heavier
    more screws
    Nikon loves using glues in this generation but not as much as the New-Nikkors
    tough,traditional construction with the lens barrel and optics separated

    Ai-S:
    lighter
    clever tricks used to simplify complicated assemblies
    cost-cutting on some parts (plastics, scotch tapes, plenty of brass shims)
    optics casing sometimes incorporated in the lens barrel as cost-cutting and making things more compact/simplification

    I personally like fixing the older Nikkors compared to Ai-S ones. it's like fixing a beetle compared to a ford focus  :o :o :o
If I were to buy one, I believe I would lean toward the AI version ...


In the above is a summary over AI vs. AIs so very general,,, and not Noct precise, no shortcuts in the Noct- Nikkor AIs! 
Almost all Nikkors are different in mechanical design one way or the other


Please replace glue in the above with thread lock.


The most significant difference for the Noct AI vs. AIs is the blade design! The number of blades and the shape of the blades. IMHO


Second, yes the old one is a bit more resistant to wear,,, longer threads, heavier to focus, unless you use really light grease.
Erik Lund

JKoerner007

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Re: Pre-AI 55mm f/1.2 S ♦ C
« Reply #37 on: November 14, 2017, 22:21:13 »
In the above is a summary over AI vs. AIs so very general,,, and not Noct precise, no shortcuts in the Noct- Nikkor AIs! 
Almost all Nikkors are different in mechanical design one way or the other

Understood.
True, but (therefore) aren't there some designs better/stronger/more robust than others?



Please replace glue in the above with thread lock.

Noted.



The most significant difference for the Noct AI vs. AIs is the blade design! The number of blades and the shape of the blades. IMHO

Noted.

The AI has only 7 blades, but they're curved.

Meanwhile, the AI-S has 9 blades which are straight.

Which lens renders a better bokeh, IYO?



Second, yes the old one is a bit more resistant to wear,,, longer threads, heavier to focus, unless you use really light grease.

So it seems unanimous the AI is the better-built item ... and it also has much longer focus throw (230° compared to a paltry 140° in the AI-S).

Curious as to some objective/subjective conclusions as to which is the better buy ... and why?

Roland Vink

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Re: Pre-AI 55mm f/1.2 S ♦ C
« Reply #38 on: November 14, 2017, 23:02:26 »
On 7 curved vs 9 straight blades, it's a matter of preference. If you are into star burst effects, go for the 9 straight, but for nicely rounded background bokeh (especially at wider apertures), I would lean towards the 7 curved blades of the AI.

On the focus throw, my AI 55/1.2 is similar to the AI Noct, and 230° is very long, the lens is very slow to focus. It's fine for static subjects but if you need to focus from near to far quickly, it can be frustrating, you can't do it in one movement. I wouldn't say the 140° focus throw of the AIS is paltry, it is much quicker to focus and still long enough to allow precise focusing. The focus throw of my AIS 55 micro over the same distance is much shorter, and I have no trouble focusing it accurately.

On build quality, don't worry about it, neither lens will fall apart in your hands and will last a life time with good care.

Akira

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Re: Pre-AI 55mm f/1.2 S ♦ C
« Reply #39 on: November 15, 2017, 00:49:02 »
I would rather prefer the longer focus throw of Ai and older versions.  As the modern digital cameras are unforgiving to the slightest focus error, the focus throw of Ais is too short to nail the focus, especially between 5m and infinity.

As for the aperture blades, neither 7- or 9-blade system of MF Nikkors (especially the fast ones) looks nice when stopped down by 1-2 stops...  The only exceptions I know for sure are the 7-blade systems of Ai and older 105/2.5 and 135/3.5.
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Roland Vink

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Re: Pre-AI 55mm f/1.2 S ♦ C
« Reply #40 on: November 15, 2017, 01:19:18 »
The aperture blades of the AI Noct are curved, similar to the AI 105/2.5.

Akira

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Re: Pre-AI 55mm f/1.2 S ♦ C
« Reply #41 on: November 15, 2017, 01:23:52 »
The aperture blades of the AI Noct are curved, similar to the AI 105/2.5.

Roland, my faint memory may coincide with that.  But the blades would still form the gear-like shape when the aperture was stopped down by half to 2 stops, if I remember correctly.  At f4.0 and smaller, the straight 9-blade aperture never bothered me.  The same went with Ais 105/1.8 I had.
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Roland Vink

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Re: Pre-AI 55mm f/1.2 S ♦ C
« Reply #42 on: November 16, 2017, 09:02:35 »
Getting back to the 55/1.2 (AI converted K version), I have put some out-of-camera jpgs and NEF files on dropbox for you to inspect. There are two pictures which show the funky background rendition and one with closeup performance. All all taken at f/2 so fairly wide, but closed down enough that the lens is quite sharp and with good contrast. The bronze ant sculptures were created by a friend, I took these pictures for her website:
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/771gxfcpw0hk6gi/AACyGggcSbtxNxDaQ2_GNTALa?dl=0


JKoerner007

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Re: Pre-AI 55mm f/1.2 S ♦ C
« Reply #43 on: November 16, 2017, 16:12:03 »
Getting back to the 55/1.2 (AI converted K version), I have put some out-of-camera jpgs and NEF files on dropbox for you to inspect. There are two pictures which show the funky background rendition and one with closeup performance. All all taken at f/2 so fairly wide, but closed down enough that the lens is quite sharp and with good contrast. The bronze ant sculptures were created by a friend, I took these pictures for her website:
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/771gxfcpw0hk6gi/AACyGggcSbtxNxDaQ2_GNTALa?dl=0

Thank you for your time in doing so.

F/2-4 is pretty much exactly where I kept my 50mm f/1.2 AI-S, properly-oriented as well as reversed.

Seems like there was a high-contrast/low-contrast version of each shot.

Roland Vink

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Re: Pre-AI 55mm f/1.2 S ♦ C
« Reply #44 on: November 16, 2017, 21:37:34 »
The jpg embedded in the NEF file does look a bit different from the separate jpg file, that is not intentional, just the way it turns out.