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45mm f/2.8 P - what is it all about?

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by BostonRott, Jul 31, 2007.

  1. I know this is supposed to be a revered lens, but I have no idea for what reasons. I've seen pictures, I understand that's its tiny. But what is it's big attraction? Is it specially made like the 28/1.4 and NOCT (i.e. hand ground) ?

    Since there are 50mm lenses that are much faster, what would it's intended use be? I would think the 50/1.4 or even 50/1.8 would be much better suited towards low-light (natural light) work.

    Just curious and looking to learn! :smile:

  2. Thank you Paul, interesting info. :smile:
  3. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Gretchen :

    You might also read Ron Reznick's comments on the 45mm "P" lens : Ron's Take.

    I've shot one a couple of times, and it does have neat fun characteristics. I wouldn't mind having one to put on a D40x as a high quality "stealth DSLR", but the prices on the 45mm f2.8P are just too high at the moment for me to engage that thought...

    John P.
  4. The 45p is one of those overhyped lenses that is very good but not really anything special. It's expensive because it's well made and sells largely on novelty factor. The cult for it came a bit later.

    Some say the 45p has smoother boke-aji than the 50mm lenses, though this is false, and the idea is borne from the highly flawed notion that rounded aperture blades MUST mean smoother boke-aji. Some say the 45p is sharper than the 50mm lenses, and this too is generally false, at least in the center. Its strong points are flat field, negligible geometric distortion, good build, and tiny size. It has very good color saturation and a slightly cooler cast than many other Nikkor normals. It's also pretty effective with flare.

    However, there's no magic. I tricked myself into believing there was a magical set of intangibles that made the lens somehow subjectively better than the 50mm lenses, though I ultimately went back to 50mms which are optically superior at the expense of compactness (though I wouldn't call the 50/1.8 or 50/2 "bulky" lenses). You can delude yourself into seeing what you want to see in practically any lens...and it seems that this one is a cult favorite.

    I bought the lens based on reviews, and it's the reason that I never trust reviews anymore.
  5. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Robert :

    Cult ? Well, maybe...

    As for the results, I thought that it was quite a fine lens, even wide open, but I just couldn't get it based on the performance-to-price ratio. It's certainly not delivering unusual/unique results on a par with those of lenses like the 28mm f/1.4, but I thought it still a fine lens. "Special " is in the eye of the beholder, I'd say, but I'd not refuse a 45mm f/2.8P at a great price...

    I think, like so many other cases of highly rated lenses, that the manufacturing variability plays a substantial factor in specific results, not to mention the photographer's expectations for specific results. No slight at all intended to you here, Robert, I'm speaking in the generic about well-rated lenses and the results folks get. I've had some reasonable luck on getting good exemplars of some lenses, while friends have had dogs (I did get a completely lousy 28-105mm, right off the gate in DSLR for me, and it made me think the entire digital process was a scam for a bit...).

    As for reviews, I tend to give reviews from people I know and respect more weight (e.g., Ron Reznick's made recommendations to me that have proven solid and worthwhile, therefore I trust his reviews to reflect honest experience and reasoned opinions), and take other ones with the proverbial 0.06g of NaCl... :wink:

    John P.
  6. Look at this image by Ron Reznick to see why he thinks it is special.
  7. I'm not saying it's not a nice lens...I'm saying that there's nothing in it beyond the 50mm lenses really. I rather liked it and would get one again if I could pay the price I sold my last one for.
    At first, I believed a few people who told me my 45p must be defective...but I found out they were very wrong, and generally just protecting the integrity of something that they didn't really know about (but heard good things about).
    I've tried a number of copies...and while sample variation does play a part in some things...there are intrinsic factors as they relate to optical design that are apparent and easily predicted. Boke-aji for instance will not be noticeably different. After investing a lot of time and effort into figuring out the nature of the hype, I realized it was largely founded by ignorance. I will still call the reviewers ignorant about certain aspects of the lens and of the optical characteristics of it, even though those reviewers are worshipped by many a member of this forum.
    I have disagreed with Ron quite openly before. It's sad he hasn't shifted his opinion to reflect the facts. Neither has Bjorn though...so I don't suspect there will be much of a change in the "popular" opinion. And sure, I indeed have the audacity and arrogance to challenge their opinions.

    But I keep repeating that I like the lens. It's easy for people to ignore that part. It's a good lens. It's just not exactly what the cult claims it is.

    I was never much of a photographer...and when I owned this lens I spent much more time testing than trying to develop my creative eye, but here are some photos I took back when I had the lens:




    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 31, 2007
  8. What is it all about 45P ?
    Well, it is so... CUTE !!!
    ...and so small, and so well made...
    What else do you need from a lens anyway?!? :confused: 

    "Boke-aji" Robert? :confused:  Would you please explain the "aji" part?
  9. The only thing that attracts me to this lens is the size. I can't imagine that the image quality is significantly higher than most 50mm lenses, and you sacrifice up to two-plus stops. For a high quality walk-around camera, a FM2N and the 45P is hard to beat for portability though. I'm working on getting that combination in the future.
  10. randyr5


    Jan 14, 2006
    Agree. I have seen as good or better pictures taken with other lenses than the ones shown here with the 45p. The $500+ price that most are asking is ridiculous.
  11. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Robert :

    No problem on disagreeing with Ron - I've done that myself - but my comment was about giving weight to reviewers, not just agreeing with them. :rolleyes:  We all bring a different perspective to the discussion, and not all perspectives align. That's actually a good thing !

    I know what you mean about "liking" the lens, as that's much the same as I feel about the 45mm P. I will admit that the small form factor is one of the reasons for this, something that is relatively unusual about the lens in Nikon-mount lenses.

    I think that if this lens was as common and accessible as some of the 50mm lenses, not to mention priced about half or less of what it's going for these days, that it wouldn't have quite the "cult" that it does. It might instead be looked at as a fine Nikon lens, and appreciated for its qualities as just that.

    Which is much the way that I look at it, and from what you say, you as well. :smile:

    John P.

  12. Basically what he's saying is that the _Flavor_ or style of the boke will not be very different.
  13. Well relying on a few posted images for an assessment of the inherent quality of the lens is a bit unfair. I can find plenty of mediocre photos taken with some of the most highly revered lenses just by jumping on PBase. Furthermore, qualities such as high frequency contrast are undetectable at web view. A lens can have poor 50lp/mm and great 10lp/mm performance and appear superior to a lens that in fact resolves more detail if both are sized and sharpened for the web.

    Also, bear in mind that the user is a far greater limitation than the lens in the vast majority of photographs, and mine are of course no exception to this.

    You're right that the prices are outrageous. Many people thought they were outrageous when they were $250. Collectors like to spoil things for photographers a lot...just look at the Nikon rangefinders and their going rates these days.
  14. Donzo98


    Nov 10, 2005
    Merrick, NY
    I bought one today actually. I got a black one for a decent price (still crazy money for what it is). Why did I buy it... one reason... it is cool. :biggrin::biggrin:
  15. cwilt


    Apr 24, 2005
    Denver, CO
    I like the 45P for its color saturation and flare resistance. Nice lens for sunsets.
  16. Tosh


    May 6, 2005
    Hi Don,

    Congrats on the new addition to The Collection.

    Other than Nikon F era lenses, the 45P is the one Nikkor I still have after my switch to Canon.
    My black 45p makes me think about grabbing a D40, and I'm resisting Geno's D40X sale with all my strength.

    I'm looking forward to your coffee can tests.
    Until then, here's a couscous box for you. :smile:

    [Click for slightly larger size image without degradation.]
    45P mounted on a Canon XTi via adapter, f/2.8, no sharpening in camera or in PP, 100% crop of a handheld sample shot taken when I was going to sell it.

    Unlike the 50mm lenses, I find the 45P jumps right in and is pretty sharp at its widest aperture. And I think it has just the right touch of saturation.

    It's not a lens for everybody (e.g., those with poor vision and those raised on AF), but through a winning combination of design and performance it manages to cultivate a following of which I am a member.

    Have fun with it.
  17. Donzo98


    Nov 10, 2005
    Merrick, NY
    Thanks Buddy... hope things are good with you.
  18. nykonian


    May 4, 2007
    New York
    Don, don't feel bad about 45p. Mine is on the USPS truck at this moment :)  I just bought Ruben's copy last week.
  19. Donzo98


    Nov 10, 2005
    Merrick, NY
    Scary... we are thinking too much alike :eek: :eek: 
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