Author Topic: The Nikon “S” Series of Lenses and Nikon F-Mount Lenses  (Read 294 times)

Michael Erlewine

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The Nikon “S” Series of Lenses and Nikon F-Mount Lenses
« on: September 14, 2022, 22:17:02 »
The Nikon “S” Series of Lenses and Nikon FD Lenses

When I first bought my Nikon Z7, my entrance into the mirrorless realm, I told myself that I had all the lenses I needed and would not need to buy any of the new mirrorless lenses. I had the adapter and would just use that. It would save a lot of money, or so I thought.

The last thing I expected was that Nikon would start making much, much better lenses, although a thought or two would have set me straight. Of course, that wider flange makes all the difference, but nevertheless I thought Nikon will be Nikon and manage to make average lenses these years as they had been doing for some time.

Well, the long story short is that my Nikon Z7 came with a kit lens, the Z 24-70mm S f/4 lens, which I would on occasion use, but mostly I used my old standard lenses with the adapter.

Well, by chance I went to the performance of one of my good friends, a blues player. In fact, I had done my best to teach this fellow how to sing and play blues, and he learned. He moved to New Orleans and became one of the city’s top players. Anyway, I went to a show of his here in Michigan and I had my Z7 and that kit 24-70mm f/4 lens on it. I took some photos of my friend.

When I saw the results, I was a bit startled on how sharp and lifelike they were, and all this with a lowly kit lens. The last thing I imagined is that I would fall in love with these new Nikon “S” series lenses, but I sure did.

From then on, I tried more of the new Nikon mirrorless lenses, but I soon found out that for my purposes, only the “S” series were good enough for the photography that I liked to do. When the 105 MC “S” Macro came along, I was astounded at how good it was for my type of photography. Who needs my coveted Voigtlander 125mm APO-Lanthar f/2.5 when we have the Z 105mm “S” Macro, and at a 'lowish' price considered what the lens delivered. I hated to buy more lenses, but the lenses were so good that I had to.

And this was not just my imagination going on a binge, but DXOMark confirmed my experience. Here are some of the Nikon “S” lenses. The first number is the DXO total, the second in brackets the degree of sharpness.

DXO MARK RESULTS

Z 85mm “S” 49 [41 sharp]
Z 70-200 ”S” f/2.8 38 [38]
Z 50mm “S” 1.8 44 [37]
Z 58mm “S” 0.95 55 [35]
Z 24-70 “S” f/2.8 36 [26]
Z 24-70 “S” f/4 29 [19]

Some of my very best F-mount lenses came out like this:

Zeiss Otus 55mm 50 [33]
Zeiss 135mm 48 [41]   
Zeiss Otus 85mm 47 [41]

And so, I was not just dreaming. Nikon was actually kicking ass with these new "S" series lenses. The non-“S” mirrorless lenses, which I tried, were OK, just nothing to get too excited about. As of now I have all of the above listed Nikon Z “S” lenses, plus the 100-400mm S and the Z 24-120mm f/4 S:

I would like to buy more, but I have to sell some of my F-mount lenses to do that. I wonder if my experience is going to be echoed by others? Of course, I can mount my F-mount lenses on my Z9 using one of a couple of adapters, yet I am getting what I want out of the natural Z “S” lenses by themselves. And no need for an adapter.

I also took at a turn back into all of the small Nikon lenses I have such as the many versions of the 55mm Micro-Nikkors of which I have a bunch. And yes, these older lenses were ‘sharp” enough for me, but they were not well enough free of aberrations and the like, which most of the new Z “S” lenses actually were. I don’t see my spending a lot of time with lenses that are not close to APO quality in the future.

And then I got into looking at all my lenses, a wide variety, and came to a somewhat similar conclusion. Why mess with the adapters when I had lenses that were natural to the Z mirrorless cameras. And so, it went with me.

The result is that I am going to sell off a lot of my older lenses and invest in the new “S” mirrorless lenses unless they begin to disappoint me, yet so far they are great.

And, thinking that perhaps I am not the Lone Ranger here, the only one who comes to this tipping point. We may well be at a major inflection point. We shall see.

I am pretty conservative when it comes to the quality of lenses, so if I have come this far, so might others. So, I ask those of you who are experimenting with the new “S” lenses, what are you finding out? I just finished testing my “S” series lenses against lenses like the Zeiss Otus 28mm and 55mm. I can see that I don’t need the Otus 55mm, yet have questions about selling off the Otus 28mm. It is a very, very good lens, IMO, and the new Nikons don’t quite off the ‘3-D’ quality of the Otus 28mm lens, at least in my opinion.

So, if you have time, please let me know what you are finding out if you are testing out both sets of lenses.

Here is that first shot I took of my friend with the Z “S” series kit lens, the 24-70mm f/4 lens.                                                   
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Roland Vink

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Re: The Nikon “S” Series of Lenses and Nikon FD Lenses
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2022, 04:26:34 »
It is interesting to know the Nikon Z "S" lenses have surpassed your expectations and are delivering to the high standard that you have always sought. I can't comment on them in particular because I don't own any.

Just a comment about your use of the term "FD" lenses, I assume these refer to Nikon F lenses for Digital cameras. This was initially confusing, when talking about FD lenses I would normally think of the Canon FD mount which was used during the 1970s and 80s, later replaced by the Canon EOS mount in 1987 :o :)

Michael Erlewine

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Re: The Nikon “S” Series of Lenses and Nikon FD Lenses
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2022, 04:28:06 »
It is interesting to know the Nikon Z "S" lenses have surpassed your expectations and are delivering to the high standard that you have always sought. I can't comment on them in particular because I don't own any.

Just a comment about your use of the term "FD" lenses, I assume these refer to Nikon F lenses for Digital cameras. This was initially confusing, when talking about FD lenses I would normally think of the Canon FD mount which was used during the 1970s and 80s, later replaced by the Canon EOS mount in 1987 :o :)


Sorry Roland, I will try to be more clear.
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Snoogly

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Re: The Nikon “S” Series of Lenses and Nikon FD Lenses
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2022, 06:07:14 »
I love the S lenses too, but I loath the bland black tube design and silly screen. Just make it possible to keep the screen on already! Make it e-paper so it uses less battery power.

Modern lenses seem to be totall computer designed, even the aesthetics. Were Nikkor lenses before AF designed only by a slide rule, or was there some human interventions into aesthetics and tactile feel? I am sure there was.

But from AF onwards the lenses became gross and clumsy (though many D lenses retained their character). The S lenses are depressing :-(
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Erik Lund

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Re: The Nikon “S” Series of Lenses and Nikon F-Mount Lenses
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2022, 15:29:00 »
Some of the new Nikon Z mount lenses are relaying heavily on in camera corrections which can be troublesome in post processing for instance 24-70 f/4
 
Sharpness is not everything and sometimes some of us like character and diversity,,,


Different tool for different job ;)


Generally they are very impressive in sharpness and contrast but clearly that has given much larger lenses, so clearly mirror less is not small nor cheap.


The Z family is following a very strict design look very different from the old F mount Nikkors that where designed by small teams so there the design follows the team much more.
 
Over the years I have thinned out my inventory only keeping what I use regularly.


Did you try the 28mm f/1.4 AFS E quite impressive and very like the Z lenses performance but looking like lens ;)


Btw not huge fan of the focusing system of the Z family,,,

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Michael Erlewine

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Re: The Nikon “S” Series of Lenses and Nikon F-Mount Lenses
« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2022, 01:53:50 »


Did you try the 28mm f/1.4 AFS E quite impressive and very like the Z lenses performance but looking like lens ;)


I am not getting any more F-mount lenses if I can help it. I have scores of them. I am looking that the Nikon Z "S" 14-24mm f/2.8 lens as being one I might like to have, but expensive and have to sell some lenses to do that.
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