50mm f/2 AI meets expectations

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

  1. I've had the 50/1.8 AIS for a while now and find it to be a great lens. The only downside to it was the loose focus ring, which I cannot get remedied. SO...eventually I broke down and got a 50/2 AI to replace it as "full time" normal on my F3, while the 50/1.8 AIS will sit on my FG as a secondary rig (I occasionally go out with other people and lend them the FG).

    So I snagged one from ebay and got a pretty good deal on it. Contacted the seller about my concerns about the focus ring and they assured me that I would be happy. I got the lens pretty quickly and I can say that indeed I am a happy camper. The thing is nearly mint! Yet that concerned me, since a mint 30 year old lens must have gone relatively unused. Why? Was it perhaps a dud with poor alignment? I decided to do a quick center test (I had no time to do a corner test).

    Although it shouldn't be too surprising, the 50/2 AI fared similarly to the 50/1.8 AIS in most optical terms. I do not consider either superior to the other in terms of overt or subtle optical characteristics. They're both excellent lenses.

    Of course that doesn't really matter, since optical nuances don't affect the quality of my photographs anyway. However, it's nice to know that the 50/2 is roughly the equal of the 50/1.8. The 50/1.8 appears a bit sharper wide-open, but that was to be expected, as the 50/1.8 AIS I have is very crunchy on the focal plane even wide-open. By f/8, the 50/2 seems to resolve marginally more than the 50/1.8, which is no slouch itself! High frequency detail is roughly equal between the two, while low-frequency contrast is stronger with the 50/1.8 most of the time. Not a "better-worse" kind of thing, just a *very* slightly different character...nothing really noticeable in the real world.

    Test was with tripod and MLU, Nikon F3 + Reala (may have chosen provia/velvia but did not have any handy), focus bracketed for each combination. It's a bit boring, but I haven't finished my roll of real-world shots with the 50mm yet to give a real-world report. I took shots at wide-open, f/2.8, f/5.6, and f/8 for comparison. Here are some web views of the wide-open and f/8 shots.
    50/1.8 @ f/1.8
    50/2 @ f/2.0
    View attachment 108825
    50/1.8 @ f/8
    View attachment 108826
    50/2 @ f/8
    View attachment 108827

    Some enlarged center crops:
    50/1.8 @ f/1.8
    View attachment 108828
    50/2 @ f/2
    View attachment 108829
    50/1.8 @ f/8
    View attachment 108830
    50/2 @ f/8
    View attachment 108831
  2. Looks good, center sharpness seems to be about the same, its the corners where you can see the 50mm/2 excels.

    Congrats seems like you got a excellent copy.