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Fun with older lenses on D850

D850 50mm f/1.4 Ai old lens manual

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#1 ericbowles

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Posted 22 August 2018 - 04:41 PM

I recently inherited eight older lenses and a couple of camera bodies from an uncle that was a pretty good photographer.  Seven of the eight lenses are older lenses dating from around 1970 to the mid-1980's.  All but the one modern lens are manual focus lenses, and five of the lenses are Ai, Ai-S, or non-Ai lenses that have been modified.  It's been interesting researching the lenses and getting a sense of what they can do.

 

The first I've tried is the 50mm f/1.4 Ai from around 1978.   The focus ring is smooth as silk, and it produces really nice images. It takes a bit of practice to manually focus, but with the shallow DOF, the backgrounds are very nice and the subject sharp.  Using the lens with the modern D850 works remarkably well.  Pixels or cheap so it's easy to practice and you get immediate feedback.  It's easy to enter the lens in the non-CPU list so Aperture priority works very nicely.  Low light photography works by simply increasing the ISO - something unheard of in the film days.

 

Here is an example - my dogs are getting a lot of modeling work.  It's probably going to cost me some treats later.

 

Attached File  Sisko and Braden_8-21-2018_280543.jpg   153.62KB   0 downloads

 

Next on the camera is the Nikon Nikkor-H 85mm f/1.8 - a 1967 model lens that was Ai'd at some point.  The first photos look really promising.

 

These lenses are almost as sharp as the latest versions - maybe better.  The colors are very nice and the backgrounds bring a nice character.  It's different - but  that's okay.

 

I'm considering taking one of these lenses to the PGA Tour Championship next month for some old school / old lens portraits of modern golf pros.


Edited by ericbowles, 22 August 2018 - 04:41 PM.

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#2 james23p

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Posted 22 August 2018 - 05:12 PM

Looks great Eric!!! Old Nikon glass is still fantastic and to be honest in many ways I prefer the look I can not put my finger on it and it may just be in my head but I love how old Nikon primes produce color and bokeh.

 

Excellent look dog by the way!


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#3 Gary Poole

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Posted 22 August 2018 - 06:38 PM

I've got a bunch of MF Nikon lenses.  I'm embarrassed to say that 105/2.8 Micro and 400/3.5 are the only ones I've ever tried on either my D800e or D810 .  Your post is going to shame me into trying several more.  In addition to sharpness I think it will be interesting to compare the bokeh with current zooms.

 

Here's my MF list:  20mm f:2.8 AI, 24mm f:2.8 AI, 28mm f:2 AI, 35mm f:1.4 AI-S, 45mm f:2.8P AI-S, 50mm f:1.4 AI-S, 55mm f:3.5 Micro AIed, 85mm f:1.8 H AIed, 105mm f:2.5 P AI, 105mm f:2.8 Micro AI-S, 200mm f:4 AI-S, 300mm f:4.5 H AIed, 400mm f:3.5 AI-S, 50cm (500mm) Reflex f:5


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#4 ericbowles

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Posted 23 August 2018 - 10:36 AM

Thanks, Jim and Gary.

 

The photo above is of our 10 year old German Shepherd rescue.  We've had him about 8.5 years.  He's very photogenic - just like all us older guys. :)

 

One of the interesting things about the Z6 and Z7 is they will bring VR to these old manual focus lenses though in-body stabilization. 

 

The lenses I received are as follows:

Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 Ai (approx 1978)
Nikkor-H Auto 28mm f/3.5 Ai'd (approx 1970)
Nikkor-H Auto 85mm f/1.8 Ai'd (approx 1967) 
Nikkor O-C Auto 35mm f/2.0 Ai'd (Approx 1974)
Nikkor Micro 55mm f/2.8 Ai-S (approx 1985)
Nikon AF Nikkor 28-80 f/3.5-5.6 D (approx 1996)
Nikon Zoom-Nikkor 43-86mm f/3.5 (approx 1978)
Nikon AF Nikkor 35-70mm f/3.3-4.5 (approx 1993)
Nikon Series E 75-150mm f/3.5 (approx 1984)

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#5 Gary Poole

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Posted 23 August 2018 - 12:33 PM

 

Thanks, Jim and Gary.

 

The photo above is of our 10 year old German Shepherd rescue.  We've had him about 8.5 years.  He's very photogenic - just like all us older guys. :)

 

One of the interesting things about the Z6 and Z7 is they will bring VR to these old manual focus lenses though in-body stabilization. 

 

The lenses I received are as follows:

Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 Ai (approx 1978)
Nikkor-H Auto 28mm f/3.5 Ai'd (approx 1970)
Nikkor-H Auto 85mm f/1.8 Ai'd (approx 1967) 
Nikkor O-C Auto 35mm f/2.0 Ai'd (Approx 1974)
Nikkor Micro 55mm f/2.8 Ai-S (approx 1985)
Nikon AF Nikkor 28-80 f/3.5-5.6 D (approx 1996)
Nikon Zoom-Nikkor 43-86mm f/3.5 (approx 1978)
Nikon AF Nikkor 35-70mm f/3.3-4.5 (approx 1993)
Nikon Series E 75-150mm f/3.5 (approx 1984)

 

I don't have a pet to try my MF lenses on.  The best I can do is a wooden dog carved with a chainsaw.  (My 75 year old wife doesn't see herself as a photogenic subject.}  I think my first experiments will be with my 105/2.5 on the wooden dog.

 

For the lenses in your list I don't think I'd bother with the zooms, but using the primes should be fun.  The smoothness and the long throw of the focus rings of the MF lenses is amazing.  I even had my 35/1.4 repaired in my D300 days because the ring was very stiff due to dried up lubricant and/or grit.

 

Interesting thought about image stabilization for MF lenses in the Z7 and Z6.  Unfortunately my retirement income will not allow even thinking about them.  Maybe if I increase my occasional paid shooting sessions.


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#6 Peter

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Posted 23 August 2018 - 04:47 PM

Nice acquisition Eric. Reminds me of when I obtained these from a relative of the original owner.

 

Attached File  DSC_5629.jpg   1.49MB   1 downloads

 

The beauty in there is the 55mm f1.2 but I seem to prefer using the 24mm f2.8 on my D200.

 

Peter



#7 Arlon

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Posted 24 August 2018 - 11:28 AM

The 43-86mm is an interesting lens. I find it to be the one of the worst lenses Nikon ever made (their first zoom). That said it's also one of the funnest to play with because the softness has an interesting appeal. It doesn't work everywhere but it can be pretty neat on the right subject. Sort of like the old 25-50mm F4. Loads of fun to be had with the old glass. 

 

There are a few of the old lenses that are just hard to beat with any of the latest and greatest. There were some stinkers and some middle of the road lenses but there were a number of seriously good ones too. Collecting them is sort of addicting. I have every lens mentioned so far except Gary's 35mm F1.4.. It's an addiction. 


Edited by Arlon, 24 August 2018 - 11:30 AM.

D50, D90, D100 IR, D700, D800E and a bunch of old manual lenses..
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#8 Gary Poole

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Posted 24 August 2018 - 01:54 PM

 

,,,

 

One of the interesting things about the Z6 and Z7 is they will bring VR to these old manual focus lenses though in-body stabilization. 

 

...

According to Thom Hogan there is no AI coupling mechanism on the FTZ.  This means that if MF lenses work with the adapter, we will have stop down metering instead of full aperture metering.  Or even worse, no effective metering if the FTZ leaves the aperture wide open until the time of exposure.  If a MF lens does stop down for exposure we may also be focusing at the picture taking aperture instead of wide open unless we do a lot of moving the aperture ring back and forth.


Edited by Gary Poole, 24 August 2018 - 02:03 PM.

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#9 Art

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Posted 26 August 2018 - 07:22 PM

Eric,

Congratulations on acquiring some old glass, lucky you. I am a huge fan of old Nikon glass.

That image is stunning. Look forward to seeing more, thanks for sharing.
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#10 Gary Poole

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Posted 04 September 2018 - 02:05 PM

I finally took the time to play with a couple of my MF lenses on my D810.  This is my dog.  I expect it is a bit more patient than Eric's.  That patience allowed me to shoot from a tripod using mirror up and electronic front curtain, so camera motion as well as subject motion should be nil.

  • The first of each pair of pictures was with a Nikkor-P 105mm f:2.5, SN 432xx.  This is a pre AI lens from 1971-1973 with a factory AI conversion kit.  The optical formula is 5 elements in 4 groups.  The first version of this lens was a 5/3 formula.  This appears to be the last version of the 105/2.5 prior to multi-coating.
  • The second of each pair of lenses was with a Nikkor-H 85mm f:1.8 SN 222xxx.  This is a pre AI lens from 1969-1971 that was converted to AI by Jon White of aiconversions.com .  Based on the date Eric posted this lens is one generation newer than his, but the specs are the same and I can't see any differences in the pictures of the lens.

These images were made with both lenses wide open.  I did minimal processing in Lightroom, sharpening with my normal D800e/D810 settings and used Remove Chromatic Aberration.  I adjusted the 85mm exposure slightly to match the 105mm exposure.

 

I am amazed at the smooth bokeh that I see from both lenses. 

 

 

These first 2 images are the complete frame from the 105mm and then the 85mm

Attached File  GTP_20180904_006.jpg   279.67KB   0 downloads  Attached File  GTP_20180904_007.jpg   268.9KB   0 downloads

 

These are 1:1 crops from the 105mm followed by the 85mm.  To me the 105 is a bit sharper, at least a maximum aperature.  Because the 105 is almost 1 stop slower, maybe the comparison isn't fair.  I should have also made f:2.5 exposures with the 85mm, but didn't think of it at the time.

Attached File  GTP_20180904_006-2.jpg   244.92KB   0 downloads  Attached File  GTP_20180904_007-2.jpg   239.1KB   0 downloads


Edited by Gary Poole, 04 September 2018 - 02:12 PM.

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#11 Art

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Posted 04 September 2018 - 08:27 PM

I like your dog, Gary.

 

I will bet he is the most well behaved, well trained, dog you have ever had! :lol:

 

Very nice.


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#12 Gary Poole

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Posted 04 September 2018 - 08:40 PM

I like your dog, Gary.

 

I will bet he is the most well behaved, well trained, dog you have ever had! :lol:

 

Very nice.

The food cost and vet bills are low too.  :) 


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#13 Art

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Posted 04 September 2018 - 10:37 PM

The food cost and vet bills are low too.  :)

 

I feel for you! I can send you some of mine, just to keep you in the game! ;)


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#14 ericbowles

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Posted 12 September 2018 - 06:01 AM

Great comments - thanks for sharing your thoughts on these lenses.  

 

Gary - I think you are right about the challenge of metering with the old lenses on the Z6 using the FTZ.  The good news is with the WYSIWYG from the EVF, you can see and adjust exposure pretty quickly and easily.  Focus peaking will also help.  So these lenses actually may be a bit easier to use even with limited communication.

 

I've seen several reports of people using the old lenses for video and for creative stills, so the character of the old lenses will be a positive.  It's nice having small, light lenses you can stick in a pocket.  


Edited by ericbowles, 13 September 2018 - 09:54 AM.

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#15 Dennis

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Posted 12 September 2018 - 08:51 AM

One thing about the Z bodies, I think it will better to focus on stars at night. The EVF is brighter, so I wouldn't think I would need live view. That will help to keep light levels around the camera down, and still be able to focus a lens. I have a 24/2.8 E series that I'm planning on using.


Thanks, Dennis.

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#16 ericbowles

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Posted 13 September 2018 - 09:51 AM

One thing about the Z bodies, I think it will better to focus on stars at night. The EVF is brighter, so I wouldn't think I would need live view. That will help to keep light levels around the camera down, and still be able to focus a lens. I have a 24/2.8 E series that I'm planning on using.

 

I'm actually not sure that is the case.  My understanding is you reach a point where low light is so low that it becomes noisy through the EVF.  It's brighter up until that point, but deteriorates as it gets darker and may not work for stars.  I do think some of the older lenses may be good for star photography but will need to focus based on distance or picking an alternate focus point that is brightly lit and a little larger.

 

I do understand that you may need to adjust viewfinder brightness for low light work.  It is likely to be too bright for star photography.

 

Marsel van Oosten's review includes some star photos and it may have been where I saw that comment.  He did love the Z7 for star photography.


Edited by ericbowles, 13 September 2018 - 09:55 AM.

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#17 Dennis

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Posted 13 September 2018 - 01:18 PM

Yes I seen one of his; https://www.flickr.c...ol-64181070@N00

 

However, your just verifying infinity focus. Using an AF lens, you have to really make sure infinity is in focus, and there isn't a stop for it. On manual focus lenses, especially the older ones, that is not particularly true. There is a stop at infinity. Pick any bright star and set to infinity, check out if it is truly in focus. I believe you can zoom the EVF, and if that is correct, then it really doesn't matter to pick the biggest brightest star. Get one of the older nock's, or buy the new one. Both are expensive.


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#18 Leaviathan

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Posted 18 September 2018 - 06:16 PM

Nice acquisition Eric. Reminds me of when I obtained these from a relative of the original owner.

 

attachicon.gifDSC_5629.jpg

 

The beauty in there is the 55mm f1.2 but I seem to prefer using the 24mm f2.8 on my D200.

 

Peter

I have the one on the right, Q-Auto 135 mm? I've taken nice pics with it on my D3300


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