Author Topic: The Nikkor NOCT 58mm, f/0.95 lens VS. the Nikkor “O” CRT  (Read 519 times)

Michael Erlewine

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Spending 8K on a lens is not something I do every day or ever have done. However, I made up my mind to somehow get the lens the moment I read through the specs. If it lived up to the specs, it could well be the one lens I have always yearned for but never had.

I have spent years fiddling with various exotic lenses, trying to find the right kind of bokeh and at the same time good sharpness and something approaching apochromatic correction, or some combination of all three.

It has been expensive and frustrating because, as those of you who know these exotic lenses, the range of coverage can be very small, while at the same time (since many are older), they often lack modern lens coatings, are very expensive, and on and on.

I have experimented with the Repro Nikkor, the APO El Nikkor, the Nikkor “O” (CRT), many Printing Nikkors, and other exotics, including many large-format lenses, as well.

Of these, the Nikkor “O,” often called the CRT-Nikkor has been one of the most successful of the bunch. I have not had the time to compare all these exotics to the new NOCT Nikkor 0.95, but I know these other lenses well already.

So, I wanted to compare a shot from the CRT Nikkor to the new NOCT95, just to see how the two come out.

What I find is that the bokeh from the CRT Nikkor is in the same (general) ballpark as the new NOCT95, but the range of the CRT Nikkor is so limited, even on the new Nikon Z7 (without the FTZ adapter) using special extensions that I am very limited, as I well know.

What all this adds up to, IMO, is that the very expensive NOCT95 is like a Swiss Army Knife in that it can do the job of many of the exotic lenses as well and usually better. Not that I will, but I probably could sell off a dozen lenses, except that you know I won’t. 😊

Also, many of the exotic lenses require special mounts, focus rails, and special treatment on top of that.

The long and the short of it is that the NOCT95 is the better lens for my work in every respect, aside from considerations of weight and the fact it is not a macro lens. I do find the NOCT95 heavy and awkward to use, but I keep reaching for it almost every time and, when I don’t, the results from other fine lenses show me that I should have used the new NOCT anyway.

I know. I could have figured this out from the specs alone, but I am old-fashioned enough to want to actually test the lenses, which is why I have purchased so many lenses over the years, just to be sure.

Here are a couple of photos, a little sloppy, but to give you and idea.

Side Note: The newish Voigtlander 65mm APO-Lanthar is IMO a must-have lens, much like its predecessor the 125mm CV APO Lanthar was and is.
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Akira

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Re: The Nikkor NOCT 58mm, f/0.95 lens VS. the Nikkor “O” CRT
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2019, 22:09:46 »
The rendering precision of the CRT is no match for the NOCT in all aspects like the color and the sharpness.

But the CRT image looks wet and atmospheric to me.
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Tristin

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Re: The Nikkor NOCT 58mm, f/0.95 lens VS. the Nikkor “O” CRT
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2019, 23:21:38 »
Practically a textbook example of the difference between Character and Corrected.  Both look excellent.
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dickb

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Re: The Nikkor NOCT 58mm, f/0.95 lens VS. the Nikkor “O” CRT
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2019, 15:00:23 »
Nice to see this comparison. The Nikkor-O is the earlier version, without M=1:5?

I am a bit confused about this observation:

What I find is that the bokeh from the CRT Nikkor is in the same (general) ballpark as the new NOCT95, but the range of the CRT Nikkor is so limited, even on the new Nikon Z7 (without the FTZ adapter) using special extensions that I am very limited, as I well know.

Do you mean the useful optical range of the CRT is limited? If so, I can see your point, even though I quite appreciate the rendering of the CRT outside its intended magnification range. If you mean you physically can't focus over a wide range than you may want to change your current setup. I use a M39/M42 stepup ring, a Pentax M42 helicoid variable extension tube and a flat M42 to Sony E mount adapter. This gives me focus from infinity to close up. For even more magnification I use a M52/M42 reverse ring. The things to consider here are the M42 helicoid must be wide enough to allow the M39 part of the Nikkor to be mounted in a recessed way. My Chinese M42 helicoid has an inner diameter too narrow to do so, the Pentax is wide enough. Alternatively you could go for M52, M58 or even M65 helicoids. And you need a flat adapter to mount that helicoid to your camera body, I don't know enough about the offerings for Nikon Z to say whether those are available.

For me the Nikkor-O is a small, lightweight lens with a huge focus range and a lot of character. 

Birna Rørslett

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Re: The Nikkor NOCT 58mm, f/0.95 lens VS. the Nikkor “O” CRT
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2019, 15:20:40 »
It is true that the Z system bodies allow the 55/1.2 CRT to focus to infinity. However, the image quality towards the periphery of the frame is horrible and just a tiny section on-axis is acceptable in terms of sharpness.

I don't hold the above against the CRT, by no means, as the lens is not designed for infinity applications. Just to temper any expectations of it being useful for the entire range infinity to close up.

Fons Baerken

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Re: The Nikkor NOCT 58mm, f/0.95 lens VS. the Nikkor “O” CRT
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2019, 15:32:54 »
BTW what helicoid or helicoids options to use on the nikkor "O" ?

Birna Rørslett

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Re: The Nikkor NOCT 58mm, f/0.95 lens VS. the Nikkor “O” CRT
« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2019, 17:34:05 »
Any cheap 42mm thread helicoid will do, provided there is internal space sufficient to push the rear end of the 55 CRT into it. You need the ubiquitous 39-42mm thread converter (usually a thin ring or "collar" for the 39mm threads) in front, and a basic Z mount at the rear. I have factory mounts available if any one is interested.

Do considerer the length of the helicoid with some care. It should be at most 17mm in the original condition, before adding the Z mount, to reach infinity. I think it's more prudent to have a slightly longer helicoid, say compressing to approx. 25mm, as this will keep the lens within a better performing focusing range from real  close-ups out to around 3-4m. Combine this with a DX type sensor and even the corners are almost tolerable. For use with an FX sensor, one should limit the range more as the corners otherwise will be painfully degraded in quality.

Birna Rørslett

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Re: The Nikkor NOCT 58mm, f/0.95 lens VS. the Nikkor “O” CRT
« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2019, 17:46:12 »
Here is a snapshot of the 55CRT on my Z50. A factory Z mount has been used.

Frank Fremerey

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Re: The Nikkor NOCT 58mm, f/0.95 lens VS. the Nikkor “O” CRT
« Reply #8 on: December 22, 2019, 00:15:29 »
Here is a snapshot of the 55CRT on my Z50. A factory Z mount has been used.

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dickb

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Re: The Nikkor NOCT 58mm, f/0.95 lens VS. the Nikkor “O” CRT
« Reply #9 on: December 22, 2019, 19:10:42 »
Any cheap 42mm thread helicoid will do, provided there is internal space sufficient to push the rear end of the 55 CRT into it. You need the ubiquitous 39-42mm thread converter (usually a thin ring or "collar" for the 39mm threads) in front, and a basic Z mount at the rear. I have factory mounts available if any one is interested.

Do considerer the length of the helicoid with some care. It should be at most 17mm in the original condition, before adding the Z mount, to reach infinity. I think it's more prudent to have a slightly longer helicoid, say compressing to approx. 25mm, as this will keep the lens within a better performing focusing range from real  close-ups out to around 3-4m. Combine this with a DX type sensor and even the corners are almost tolerable. For use with an FX sensor, one should limit the range more as the corners otherwise will be painfully degraded in quality.

WRT helicoids, some of the cheaper options have a lot of play in them. Some are advertised as having brass helicoids, they tend to be a bit smoother but still may have too much play for my liking. Shorter helicoids will have very short travel lengths, say 12-17mm, longer ones will have better travel lengths, say 17-31mm.

I highly recommend using this lens with a good quality M42 helicoid of say 17-31mm in length or perhaps one size longer if you don't like toying around near infinity. And get the matching M52-M42 reverse ring. If you use an APS-C camera you can leave that on the lens and use a short M42 extension tube as a lens hood, that will double as an extension ring when you want more magnification.

Dr Klaus Schmitt

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Re: The Nikkor NOCT 58mm, f/0.95 lens VS. the Nikkor “O” CRT
« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2019, 00:33:17 »

Superb and very happy to read this Michael, the NOCT really does the job for you it seems!! But the CRT Nikkor is no slouch either....
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