"parallel worlds" | 50 1.4 Nikkor-S.C | Leica M8.2

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Nov 11, 2008
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After shooting almost only Leica M lenses on the Leica bodies I use, I am now undergoing more and more explorations of classic Nikon rangefinder lenses - what a beautiful world this is!

I have now added two Nippon Kogaku LTM lenses - a 105mm f2.5 (the magic one, that started Nikons fame with this focal length) and a beautiful Nippon Kogaku Japan Nikkor-S.C 5cm 1:1.4 in LTM mount.

The 50mm is a very, very compact little lens, but extremely dense and heavy for it's size with a beautiful chrome on heavy brass construction. It is amazing, how the condition of this 60 year old lens is with beautiful, smooth mechanics and perfect feel - nothing like the newest, most expensive "pro grade" lenses, Nikon sells nowadays :biggrin:

This 50mm is an exceptional lens - a derivate of the classic Zeiss Sonnar design with the addition of Nikon's perfection of the design, optimizing it for close focus range with wide open use (up to 0.5m, while it is RF coupled up about 0.9m, which is exceptional for this vintage RF lenses - it can even modified, to be coupled up to 0.7m with Leica bodies, which I will consider :wink:). Leitz only offerer the slower 50 f2 DR lens with close coupling a few years later, which is in my view technically less impressive, although supposedly sharper.

For a 60 year old lens this is exceptionally sharp and detailed, while definitely better wide open than the (at the time contemporary) Leica designs.

Here is a shot, I did while on my first night out with the Nikkor-S.C 5cm 1.4 (click flickr for a bigger version):

5760962105_8055f47e05_b.jpg
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"parallel worlds" on flickr

This is a stitch of two consecutive handheld shots with the M8.2 (~f2 | 1/30 | ISO640).
It is part of a set, I am working on - I like the Nikkor a lot and will use it more for this.
 
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Joined
Feb 1, 2008
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Dirk, your opening up a whole new world to me! Although your pic isnt showing up here, i checked it out on your Flickr along with some others & it does show a retro nice glow! I love that unique feel! Congrats!:smile:
 
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@Andrew
Mmmh - I guess, something went wrong with the image size (posted a bigger image, saw a smaller embedded image, which was clickable).
Removed image and exchanged with standard 1024px link.

I hope, it works ;-)

@Steve
Thanks mate! How I came to that lens? Well, I always read about the famed Nikkor S rangefinder lenses of the 50s and how they turned the RF world upside down with a Japanese underdog maker kicking serious the established German makers ;-)

I was always pretty cold about the old lenses though, until Andrew infected me with his crazy cine lenses. When a friend then brought one of these Nikkors around, I saw one the first time and was quite surprised by how compact they are!

The next time, I browsed the shops, I stumbled over one sample by chance and could no other than buy it after a bit of research ;-)

THAT thing rocks! It indeed is an old, classic (improved) Sonnar design with some tricks, Nippon Kogaku (former company, later renamed "Nikon") pulled out of their sleeves - it does indeed focus extremely close (for any 35 lens then and for a rangefinder lens especially - still Today!).

It is a special effects lens with three entirely different faces:

- close focus lens with crazy thin DOF, when used up close (think Noct-Nikkor look, but more magic, less contrast and less detail … but M A G I C).
- standard, super sharp 50 f2 to f4 (beats the pants of then contemporary Leitz and Zeiss glass - amazing feat!)
- super dreamy, special effects, soft lens @ f1.4 for crazy scenes

I was heavy into getting a Canon 0.95 RF lens for this very feature, the Nikkor has caught me in surprise here ;-)

This lens has a reputation and quite some fame (not only because of D.D. Duncan's famous Korean war photographs, taken with the predecessor of this lens, the 85/2 and the 135/3.5).
It has been quite a high tech lens back then ;-)

Anyway - too much bla, more pictures ;-) (I have already the next two RF lenses on my bench, apart for cleaning and adjustment - a 105/2.5 and behold a Canon 100/2, both LTM, both … you guess it … magical :biggrin:).

Didn't get much out these days for work reasons, but I used the few minutes for shooting, will post more shortly - here is another more harmless Sonnar shot:

L1042686-Edit-lolli%20pop.jpg
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"lolli pop" Nikkor-S.C 5cm 1.4 | M8.2

I use the lens now on pushed film, can't wait the rolls - might even take it to Le Mans, so much I like it!
 
Joined
Jun 22, 2008
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Dirk, when you return from Le Mans next week, I will show you one of the Japanese Big Four. The Zunow 50/1.1, the other three are the Nikkor 50/1.1, Hexanon 60/1.2 and Fujinon 50//1.2. They are all available in LTM mount. You should post a photo of your lens, it is a beauty!! Totally different from the modern lens.
 
Joined
Nov 11, 2008
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@Steve
Seriously, once you enter this world, there is no way out - these lenses are crazy addictive!
the best of it all is, that most interesting ones are rather affordable, when talking Leica price terms ;-) , while it is at least as fun, to track a particular sample down or find a surprise sleeper in a basket, as actually shooting them!

The modern Leica lenses are top notch - optically and handling wise, there is nothing better, but these old things are like old cars - i'd take a 1969 911 R over a 2011 911 anytime.

@Bart
The symmetry actually stems form the shot being a panorama stitch, consisting of two consecutive handheld night shots with the M8.2, one of them being mirrored in photoshop.


@Tri
I lived with the assumption of always looking for the latest and greatest photographic gear until I had some nice people pushing my nose on old lenses.
For me, all of this started with the 1950's Leica 35mm Summaron and it's totally different imaging from all the modern plastic stuff.
The internet is a great huuge library, full of knowledge about these old gems - dug in, read, watch, search, buy, enjoy ;-) (and keep an eye on the bank account, while buying regularly enough perks for the wife, to not get ejected with packed suitcase).

"@Andrew"
Man, those mystical lenses are indeed a thing, to be experienced!
Next time around, we should in fact a bit more time, tech talking and bathing in old lens facts ;-)
First, I have to decide, how and with what I will do Le Mans. It is decided, that I won't bring a SLR - two or three Leicas it is, film and only a few lenses - excited - racing - holiday - yay!

"@ourabmen"
Thank you certainly ;-)
I am just a guy, having fun with old cameras and not to posh, to ask curiously and learn from great people around here.
Everything is possible, right!
 

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