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Old 06-15-2016   #82
peterm1
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I drafted the following then realized I have already responded extensively but as this is a more complete list of my thoughts specifically about lens options, I will post again anyway.

There are heaps of Nikon F lenses you can benefit from. I happen to own a number of early F lenses which have been AI converted either by using factory bought conversion kits back in the day or by myself. The process of doing this incidentally is quite easy for anyone with basic tool skills by following instructions readily available on the internet. The hardest but is reassembling the lens correctly once the job is finsihed but even this is not hard once you know the tricks.

The advantage is you can buy pre AI lenses crazy cheap then convert them if needed for use on later cameras. Not an issue for you I guess if you are using an F. There is no doubt that the later (AI and AI-s) lenses have better coating but in many cases I do not find this to be a major issue. BTW if you are using an F camera of course you will need to ensure the "ears" have not been removed from the lens as a few users do. Usually this is not an issue however.

Now some of my favourites (all pre AI unless otherwise specified):

Nikkor 28mm f2 Very sharp and in all respects good. Not overly expensive.
Nikkor 35mm f2 ditto but not quite as sharp as the 28mm but renders nicely.
Nikkor 50mm f2 This lens is a gem. As late as 6 years ago I found a factory conversion kit on eBay and converted this to AI for use on my later Nikon cameras. I renders beautifully.
Nikkor 50mm f1.4 A little soft wide open but who cares - if you need sharpness stop down a tad
Nikkor 55mm f2.8 Micro The early version comes as an f3.5 and many prefer it but I have always found the f2.8 one to be a favourtie. I have never shot a macro shot with this but always use it as a normal lens.
85mm f1.8 This is often regarded as a dream lens. I have been looking for a good one at a reasonable price for ages but keep missing out as they are always snapped up. There is a reason for this
85mm f2 This is only available in AI/AI-S. And its available quite inexpensively as most users compare it unfavourably with the f1.8. Despite this I find it sharp and very good in most uses. Apparently less good at close range although I have not really had an issue. IT is also physically smaller than the other model.
105mm f2.5 The early version renders beautifully. The later versions are a little sharper. I prefer the early ones but its a matter of choice.
105mm f4 micro. This lens I have found to be superb too and have taken some of my sharpest pics with it. I have never once used it for its designated purpose (ie as a macro lens). It is sharp at infinity and is too often over looked as many think its too slow and prefer the more expensive f2.8 version.
135mm f 2.8 I do not have a 235mm f3.5 but ended up with both an early (AI converted) and late (AI-S) version of this lens and both are great. I suspect the only reason these are generally not rated higher is that they are pretty common and quite cheap. Except for the early version which is dirt cheap and still about as good.
200mm f4 The last version of this is best and is physically smaller than the earlier one but the early version is no slouch either in performance. Worth owning and using

There are a few zooms worth owning too. One I have experience of is the 35-70mm f3.5 in AI. It really is good and is often regarded as the forerunner to the 35-70mm f2.8 AF lens which is a highly regarded pro zoom from the AF era. The earlier one is about as sharp so far as I can see and worth owning if you wish to have a zoom.


So there you go. A surfeit of choice. So many good and some great lenses to try and if you buy mainly older pre Ai ones, cheap too
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