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Question regarding this Nikkor 55mm F/1.2 AI

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by mike mac, Dec 18, 2005.

  1. Saw this on the for sale forum and was wondering if any one (Bjorn) has any info regarding this piece of glass
  2. nfoto

    nfoto Guest

    Quite soft at the wider apertures, so the newer 50/1.2 is the lens to get. However, the 55/1.2 is simply beautifully built and a delight to behold.

    I own (of course) both, so should know. Using the 55/1.2 mainly on a Nikon SP rangefinder, just for the fun of it :smile:
  3. Sorry Bjorn, have to dissagree with you on this one - it's sharp, but the contrast is low, and there's some flare. Sharpness depends very much on your focusing accuracy (DOF at 1.2 is bugger all), so I modified my D2H to take a split prism screen...

    Actually it's quite good for maximizing dynamic range on digital.

    Some samples:

    D2H, iso 3200, f1.4

    D2H, iso 200, f6.3

    D2H, iso 200, f3.2

    D2H, iso 200, f4.5

    D2H, iso 200, f2.2
  4. nfoto

    nfoto Guest

    Of course it is sharp when stopped down. My review of it states this clearly. But at f/1.2, don't tell me it's a good performer.
  5. Please tell me more about this modification! My eyes aren't what they used to be and I'd love either a split or a split/microprism combo in my D2x.

  6. Derrel

    Derrel Guest

    Low-contrast lens helps achieve wider DR

    I think what Bjorn said is that the 55/1.2 is "quite soft",while M.T. was talking about is that thje 55/1.2 is a lens which is somewhat low in contrast,which he feels helps achieve wider Dynamic Range on digital sensors. The best articles I've seen testing and measuring lens contrast as it relates to achievable DR on-sensor was on Luminous Landscape, where Sean Reid demonstrate that a lens with inherently _lower_ contrast can actually help, a bit, in achdeiving wider DR when using a sensor as the capture medium,when comapred against a _higher-contrast_ lens. Make sense to me, but the results were not hugely,hugely advantageous IMO.Tests were done by Sean Reid,found in this article,as well as another article. http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/cameras/e1-2nd.shtml
    Reid says, "As I discussed in my first test of lenses for the Epson R-D1, I believe that digital sensors work better with lenses that have slightly lower levels of macro contrast. I won’t repeat the reasons for this here but would strongly urge anyone interested in the subject to read my R-D1 lens test article to understand why I make this assertion." He's been able to compare Cosina-made as well as Leitz made lenses on the R-D1 rangefinder,as well as Olympus Zuikos in OM-mount against modern, 4/3 System lenses made for the Olympus E-1,and he's got some good comparison comments in the R-D1 article.
    I think slightly lowered contrast wide-open is the norm,compared with even a stop down, but whatever--if a lens has slightly lowered contrast, that's not a bad thing, just something to recognize and deal with. Sometimes that's good, sometimes it's bad. As long as you know your lenses and how they behave, you can work with them,and we can boost contrast,and saturation in PS sometimes to augment contrast. I have a couple lenses which have some slight veiling glare which,can at times, be quite beautiful and add an auro of mystique that a contrasty,super-saturated ED Nikkor doesn't yield. Reid's R-D1 and Voigtlander/Leitz lens comparisons are interesting...squeezing the last iota of highlight detail out was aided by the lower-contrast lenses...
  7. nfoto

    nfoto Guest

    I'm just restating the fact that 55/1.2 was discontinued and replaced by the 50/1.2 (which seems to be still in production), because Nikon themselves found they could improve the lens quality perceptably. This doesn't mean the 55/1.2 is useless (I do use it myself), but the 50/1.2 is undeniably much sharper at f/1.2. Still quite soft, but this is almost unavoidable because you have insane amounts of potential flare-provoking light rummaging around within the optics at f/1.2.

  8. Actually, mine's not that bad - might be a good copy or becuase it's on a D2H rather than D2x though. I would say subjectively it's at least as good as my 50/1.8AF at 1.8.


  9. The screens on the D2s are replaceable - and the type K screen for the FM3a happens to be the same thickness, as well as having a microprism ring and split prism section. You have to cut the screen to fit with a hacksaw; be very careful not to mark the screen during the process, and also make sure the center is aligned with the center bracket.

    Originally I used a screen from an F3; that required some considerable modification (had to file the edges to fit the screen holder frame, because the F3 screen is about twice the thickness of the D2 screens). I stopped using it becuase it's quite dark.

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