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Nikon 50mm f/1.2 (AI, AIS)


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34 replies to this topic

Poll: Rate this lens (55 member(s) have cast votes)

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#1 Dallas

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Posted 17 April 2008 - 18:49

What is your experience with this lens? This topic will be indexed on our LENSES page. Please keep your comments centered on your experiences with this lens so that others may draw value from them.

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#2 dpowell

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Posted 17 April 2008 - 20:12

I really like this lens.  Wide open, it's quite unique, a bit tricky to use, but once stopped down past f/2, it's superb.
"Man cannot discover new oceans, until he has courage to lose sight of the shore."

#3 arthurking83

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Posted 23 April 2008 - 03:23

Exactly as dpowell said! (makes it so much easier to post a reply!)



#4 percafluvialitis

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Posted 05 May 2008 - 20:05

Bought the lens new in Tokyo March 2008, and I've only used it on D3 so far. Thin to non-existent DoF, you know if you want a superfast prime like this.

Focusing feel is perfect, I would say it's as good as that of the Leica Summicron 35mm. Stiff in the right way, smooth and not at all "touchy" like my old 60/2.8 Micro. Clearly designed so that it enables very accurate manual focusing with ease. Build quality is excellent like you'd expect from an AI-S lens.

Sharpness is not the reason why I buy an f/1.2 lens, but I would still rate this a 4 out of 5, depending on aperture. Stopping it down to f/2 starts yielding good results, but it's perfectly usable at f/1.2 for a dreamy low contrast feel.

f/2.8 to f/5.6 it's at its best I think. Haven't used it at smaller apertures at all so far, as I just love to make bokeh shots with it. The ability to shoot hand-held at low ISO even at dark is wonderful. For shots taken with this lens click here Nikkor 50mm f/1.2 AIS photoset
Vilhelm

#5 bronto48

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Posted 16 December 2008 - 20:20

Acceptable performer wide open, decent when stopped down--but what is the point of that--you buy an f1.2 lens to use at full throttle, right???  This is one of the "available darkness" freaks (me) dream lenses.  It re-establishes the reason that primes exist, especially for those of you lost in the world of slow, variable aperature (ugh!) zoom-lens purgatory.

Having said that, this one is NOT my normal lens.  I would never use it as a permanent replacement for either my 50 f2 or 55 f3.5 macro, but when it comes to sheer joy of ease of focus and bringing home an image under available darkness conditions, this is the ticket.  The other posts have already touched on the wonderful selective focus aspect.
Still a B&W and slide film shooter and lovin it.....large format and numerous Nikon F's, F2's, and F3's in use with a 40+ year accumulation of lenses from 7.5 to 1250mm.

#6 netr

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Posted 02 January 2009 - 07:03

I was lucky to be able to pick one up cheaply after the D100 made manual lenses unwanted but before the D200 made manual lenses worth having once more.  It is a beautifully made lens and although I haven't shot with it at f1.2 very much, I appreciate the amount of light it lets in to enable sharp focus in relatively poor light.

#7 radux

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Posted 26 May 2009 - 09:13

I chance upon this lens one lazy sunday afternoon when most of the stores at Hidalgo (a street in Manila, Philippines which is famous for camera shops). There were a couple of camera repair shops that were open and had used lenses for sale. I checked on them and lo and behold a Nikkor 50mm 1.2. He sold it to me. Never been happier.  ;D f/2 ROCKS!

Edited by radux, 15 July 2011 - 15:31 .

>>
>>
>> "...Son of man, mark well, see with your eyes and hear with your ears all that I say unto thee..." EZ44-5
>>
>> radux.multiply.com
>>
>> Nikon D40x, Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6g IF-ED AF-S DX VR,
>> Nikkor 50mm f/1.2 AI-S MF, Nikon 50mm f/1.8 Series E MF, SB600
>>
>>

#8 stenrasmussen

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Posted 26 May 2009 - 10:08

I am on the fence whether to get this one or not. Having three 50's already (G, AF1.8 and the E). But the thin DOF and soft expression is appealing.
Machina fotografica necesse est

#9 radux

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Posted 26 May 2009 - 10:26

I had 3 50mms...the 50 1.2, Ser E and a Sigma 50 2.8 macro 1:1.

I had to give up the sigma...the 50 1.2 is nothing like the 50s you own...
>>
>>
>> "...Son of man, mark well, see with your eyes and hear with your ears all that I say unto thee..." EZ44-5
>>
>> radux.multiply.com
>>
>> Nikon D40x, Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6g IF-ED AF-S DX VR,
>> Nikkor 50mm f/1.2 AI-S MF, Nikon 50mm f/1.8 Series E MF, SB600
>>
>>

#10 TGB

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Posted 28 May 2009 - 22:01

Just received a brand new sample of the AIS 50mm f/1.2. It's actually pretty sharp wide open if you manage to focus right. Expensive, but worth the steep price tag after all. It's a different world when shooting with only a single candlelight as light source without maxing out the ISO scale (hand held)

Think my collection in the non-tele area is completed, managed to get a new sample of the 17-35mm f/2.8 about a month ago as well :) (Still considering the 28mm f/1.4).

#11 yy

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Posted 02 July 2009 - 13:10

This lens is superb on my D700  :)

#12 Old Walt

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Posted 03 July 2009 - 16:49

It's actually pretty sharp wide open if you manage to focus right.


I agree.  It has a dream like aura wide open, but at the center of the aura it is sharp indeed.  I don't know how to explain it, but the wide open lens produces sharpness within its limited DOF surrounded by an aura.  The difference between wide open and stopped down is, IMHO, that the aura disappears and, of course, DOF changes.

#13 nfoto

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Posted 03 July 2009 - 18:44

I think I described this as "veiling flare" om my review of the 50/1.2. And yes, it is an endearing characteristic of this lens - if one looks into what the lens delivers and don't get hung up on MTF curves.

The core of sharpness at f/1.2 is even more evident on the D3X, by the way. Perhaps I'll take my f/1.2 sample to task to see how I can implant a CPU in it.
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#14 nfoto

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Posted 03 July 2009 - 20:30

Sometimes you do get a pleasant surprise when an old, familiar lens is tested on a newer DSLR. This was very much the case with D3X and the 50/1.2. Could it be the pixel density alone? I'm not entirely convinced since the D2X in theory should be on par with the D3X for this parameter. So frankly, I can't answer your question.

On the other hand, unpleasant surprises also occur. A point in case is the 50-300 ED that was my preferred travel lens with the D2X, but is nothing special to write home about on the D3X.
Bjørn

#15 stenrasmussen

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Posted 11 August 2009 - 10:58

Still in love with this thing.
Shot wide open.

Attached Images

  • _DSC5585.jpg

Machina fotografica necesse est

#16 stenrasmussen

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Posted 08 September 2009 - 07:17

Here's a in-camera jpeg with only resize and sharpening applied.
ISO 6400, f/1.2, 1/200s, 0.33EV. Noise reduction set to H.

(I intentionally did not remove the flare "pollution").

Attached Images

  • _DSC7897.jpg

Machina fotografica necesse est

#17 Guest_hmzimelka_*

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Posted 08 September 2009 - 08:23

I find this lens fascinating, and really awesome.

I find it creates a very unique look and feel compared to my current lens line up and those lenses I've tested. I suppose its a lens I use mainly for what it does at /1.2.
For everything else, I have my 28-70 /2.8...

I haven't used the lens as much as I wanted to since the day I bought it.
However, I find myself more often taking only this lens with me when I go out, and focusing only on shooting at /1.2.

It is hard to focus on DX cameras, but it's not a problem I'm frustrated with because I take my time using this lens. I'd love the instant gratification of using this on a FX camera, but I have a F5 on the shelf and I should stop being so bloody lazy when it comes to 35mm film

Here are some recent samples...

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  • New small leaves.jpg
  • still sharp.jpg
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#18 jd1566

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Posted 19 January 2010 - 21:58

Favourite lens in my arsenal.  I have had numerious 50mm lenses but the creaminess and dreaminess of this f1.2 version wide open is very special and sets this lens apart from sharper optics.  Stopped down to 2.8/4 the depth of field increases and sharpness becomes amazing.  However If you wanted a sharp  image then any 50mm lens will do stopped down, and many will do more (such as AF).

Manual focus is difficult with this lens, but maybe because I'm shooting at night in dimly lit scenarios. I look at the eyes and wait for the reflection to become sharp, and I'm generally where I want to be. Bracket-focus as more often than not critical focus at f1.2 will be off.. But when you get the eyes in focus and everything else melting away.. it's beautiful.  I use this lens with a D700, and the focus confirmation light sometimes helps to achieve focus.

I don't use this lens as often as I should (cheaper zooms are more practical for fast-moving people and scenes) but when I do and then look through my collection of images, I know immediately which one I shot with this lens, and the shot is generally among my better ones.  Practice your manual focus, get onto ebay and hunt around, and find one of these lenses.  You will enjouy your photographs all the more for it. And it's not a lens you're going to want to "upgrade" anytime soon.. Makes me wonder why so many are appearing on e-bay though..

#19 smhese

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Posted 21 February 2010 - 10:23

This lens is one of these little jewels in the Nikon lens catalog that survived the change of time since the 80s. Its very good usable wide open at the f1.2 setting as long as you get focusing right. The depth of field is so shallow that one easily gets the focus point wrong. If focus is right you are rewarded with wonderful shallow/selective focus images that create new opportunities for creative visualisations.
Build quality is outstanding - the focus ring moves extremely smooth. The focus ring is large and has a nice diameter that supports the precise focusing. The original lens hood is a slip-on type. But the HN-23 can be used with a step-up ring (52-62). The lens creates wonderful star reflections of point light sources when stopped down due to its 9-bladed diaphragm. Bokeh is soso at f1.2. Occasionally the non-perfect round shape/diameter of the circles of confusion is visible at f1.2. For me this is a drawback of the construction that I dont like too much. Also sagittal coma is strong with wide open night shots of point light sources. Obviously not the best lens for those situations.
Autofocus would be nice with f1.2 sometimes (thinking of weddings etc.). The other issue: If you want an extremley clean and sharp image: go to f2 with this lens. On the other hand: the lens creates a soft veil at f1.2 that can be used directly to support special visual intentions.
As others have said - this lens creates a very unique look and I would only part with it if a new AFS 1.2 version appears. Who knows - sometimes lens lust visions come true :)

[img alt="Nikkor 50 mm f1.2 @f4"]http://www.fotozones.com/ngallery/main.php?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=28557&g2_GALLERYSID=90fd78095d239e1c3b54be15b3d79998[/img]

[img alt="Nikkor 50 mm f1.2 @f1.2"]http://www.fotozones.com/ngallery/main.php?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=28551&g2_GALLERYSID=90fd78095d239e1c3b54be15b3d79998[/img]

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#20 gugs

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Posted 28 February 2010 - 16:56

The 50 1.2 is a wonderful piece of glass. IQ is excellent and I like the bokeh, but focusing fully open is kind of tricky. I had problems to get sharp pictures (where I wanted them to be sharp) on DX bodies. On the D3, however, the results are much easier to get.

An example (I was bored in a hotel room, shot fully open)
Posted Image
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