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Who is rallying the flag for Nikon RF these days?
Old 09-25-2017   #1
Vickko
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Who is rallying the flag for Nikon RF these days?

Who is rallying the flag for Nikon RF these days?

I miss Tom A.

And what about the collectors? i.e. news, photos, lusting for things like the 21/4, 50/1.1 and 85/1.5 lenses.

Any current sales, or lenses available, or current valuations?

Were there any at Westlicht this year?

regards
Vick
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Old 09-25-2017   #2
css9450
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I enjoy shooting with mine, if that counts. I just loaded a new roll of film!
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Old 09-25-2017   #3
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I took a hiatus from shooting my Nikon SP for a while when I got my M6. I do like having a meter in my 35mm cameras...but I use mostly my Nikkor RF lenses with Amedeo adapters. Anyway I have been shooting the SP (and my Bessa R2S) more lately, but really mostly shoot larger formats.

I still think the Nikon SP is just about the best 35mm rangefinder ever made, with 6 different framelines in camera, great looks, and perfect control layouts IMO. If they got a meter in there it would be perfect (preferably not the M5-style probe like the prototype SP2 camera supposedly had).
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Old 09-25-2017   #4
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I love them because Nikon SLRs and their lenses move the same direction. So when I make manual adjustments as I am raising the camera to my eye I don't have to think which camera am I using.

The speed of focusing internal and wide lenses, the SP's 1:1 finder for the 50....

B2 (;->
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Old 09-25-2017   #5
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I use my S2 regularly. Shot a wedding with it last week, took it to Florida on vacation in August, even shot a couple rolls at a political event I was covering for work. Love the viewfinder almost as much as the one on my M3. Great little camera.

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Old 09-26-2017   #6
Alpsman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Corran View Post
.......

I still think the Nikon SP is just about the best 35mm rangefinder ever made, .
It is.
No doubt about it.
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Old 09-26-2017   #7
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trying what I can through my blog but it's a small effort compared to what others did
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Old 10-02-2017   #8
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Really hard in the uk as there is just nothing available, especially interesting lenses I'd love a 21 or a black paint sp!
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Old 10-02-2017   #9
ChrisLivsey
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fraser View Post
Really hard in the uk as there is just nothing available, especially interesting lenses I'd love a 21 or a black paint sp!
Peter Loy has a Nikkor-H 18cm f2.5, not may of those about, amongst other more standard fare, he is probably the best UK source but I agree it is hard going.
I took my S3 Olympic on holiday with the CV 21mm as standard lens but not being able to swop anecdotes and cassettes/film etc with Tom has taken the shine off for me perhaps time will heal.

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Old 10-02-2017   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisLivsey View Post
Nikkor-H 18cm f2.5
I have one of those, it's a gorgeous piece of glass. I was lucky to pick up 2 of them from an old newspaper estate lot cheap, both in very poor condition. Got them both cleaned up at a repair shop and sold off one for the cost of both plus repair fees.

Unfortunately I can't use them on my SP because I don't have the reflex housing, and since they are such collectors items and sell for quite a bit I don't really plan on getting one. But it works on my F-mount cameras with the NF adapter so at least I can shoot it like that.
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Old 10-02-2017   #11
Erik van Straten
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I have an original black paint S2 that I use regulary.

Nikon S2 bp, Nikkor-H 50mm f/2, 400-2TMY, Perceptol.

Erik.

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Old 10-02-2017   #12
Erik van Straten
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Nikon S2, S-Skopar 50mm f/2.5, 400-2TMY, Perceptol.

The man mirrored by the window behind the eating man is RFf member Michael Bialecki looking through his Leica.

Erik.

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Old 10-02-2017   #13
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We seldom see them in Australia, sadly although occasionally a Nikon lens turns up either in native Nikon mount or in LTM mount - usually something common like a 135mm. Had I access to one of these cameras I would have happily used one during my film shooting years.
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Old 10-02-2017   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vickko View Post
Who is rallying the flag for Nikon RF these days?

I miss Tom A.

And what about the collectors? i.e. news, photos, lusting for things like the 21/4, 50/1.1 and 85/1.5 lenses.

Any current sales, or lenses available, or current valuations?

Were there any at Westlicht this year?

regards
Vick
Vick,

I assume you mean rallying the flag on this site. Well, as a long time NHS member, the flag has never dropped for me and other NHS friends. Our Head Bartender here is a HUGE Nikon RF enthusiast, as you know, and losing Tom A. means this site lost a champion of Nikon RF. My collection is complete-so far-but fun to look, and I rotate my Nikon RF gear in with my Canon and Leica RF gear. Facebook has a LOT of Nikon RF fans who report daily on gear, photography, and pictures of their equipment.


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Old 10-02-2017   #15
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In June/July I spent two weeks in AZ with my Bessa R2S and a few good Nikon and Voigtlander lenses (along with some 120 gear). I decided to take the Bessa instead of my 2005 SP because I wanted the built-in meter and a camera that was not quite as valuable, just in case.

That camera and the Nikkor/Voigt lenses never disappoint. Along with my SP 2005 and R2S I have a black-dial S2 I recently fixed up. Great cameras, all of them.

One from AZ:

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Old 10-02-2017   #16
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Have some Ilford FP4+ loaded in an SP right now, with the 10.5cm f4 T lens attached. A lot of fun with not just the SP but the S2/3 or also. Fantastically build and great looking workhorses.
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Old 10-02-2017   #17
Erik van Straten
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Nikon S2, S-Skopar 50mm f/2.5, 400-2TMY, Perceptol.

Erik.







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Old 10-05-2017   #18
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My only camera for a 1300 km trip trough Austria from east to west and back was the SP with 50/1,4 and Voigtländer 25/4.
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Old 10-05-2017   #19
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With a streak of bad luck in health since late last year for some reason I lost a bit of that drive for photography.
I photographed much less (partly also because I wasn't able to walk on my own legs for several months) but also spent otherwise much less time with photography as it pained me to get to do something I just couldn't physically do any longer as I wanted.

Just in that time though I started a little journey into Nikon RF gear, which IU always had a big interest in but have been telling me that I just didn't need yet another system to add to the collection (I was always using Leica M and Nikon F SLR gear + many odd other cameras).

Well, … it turned out I am not using any of the Leica M gear any longer and usually have an S3 or SP loaded with film (as usual mostly BW film).
Now that I can walk better again, I also finally get to shoot more again.

I am at the moment exclusively using a Nikon S3 or SP and absolutely love them.

2017-09-06-0035--for_flickr by Dirk Steffen, on Flickr

2017-09-08-0033--for_flickr by Dirk Steffen, on Flickr
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Old 10-05-2017   #20
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Hey Dirk,
I hope you will soon recover in full! A year of health issue is for sure no fun at all!
Wish you all the best.
LG
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Old 10-05-2017   #21
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Great shots, Dirk! Above all the old woman. Impressive.

I hope you'll be 100% again soon.

Erik.
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Old 10-05-2017   #22
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Hey Giulio and Erik thanks so much for the kind words ;-)
This motivates me to post a few more in the proper thread some time.
And thank you Erik, reading a comment like that coming from you means a lot to me ;-)
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Old 10-07-2017   #23
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Dirk your insights are always valuable and I too hope you continue to heal up and get back to 100%!

As an aside, the Nikon SP is still on my list of "must-try" cameras. The classic F is and likely will always be my favorite SLR so it's safe to assume I would greatly enjoy the SP.

I would love an SP with the 3.5cm f/1.8, that would be plenty for me. Maybe one day.
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Old 10-07-2017   #24
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As a somewhat recent devotee to the Nikon rangefinder line, I'm probably not one to be "carrying the flag", but I'll try to do my best to keep things moving along.

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Old 10-08-2017   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by agoglanian View Post
Dirk your insights are always valuable and I too hope you continue to heal up and get back to 100%!

As an aside, the Nikon SP is still on my list of "must-try" cameras. The classic F is and likely will always be my favorite SLR so it's safe to assume I would greatly enjoy the SP.

I would love an SP with the 3.5cm f/1.8, that would be plenty for me. Maybe one day.
Thanks Abram, so very kind of you ;-)

Regarding the 3.5 cm lens I very much prefer the Nikon S3 to shoot the 3.5cm - it has a fixed 3.5cm frame in the finder so you can focus and compose in the same finder (with the SP you have to compose with the 3.5cm lens through the small wide angle finder and focus through the main finder).

Both are wonderful cameras though and the SP is arguably the pinnacle of Nikon RF cameras. You will feel right at home using a Nikon F (one of those I wish to use some day too).

The only downside to the S3 is that you will have at the same time 3.5cm, 5cm and 10.5cm frames in the finder at all times and there is no parallax correction as you focus (the 3.5cm finder frame in the SP's wide angle finder window also has no parallax correction).
I never found this to be a problem for myself though and a 3.5cm lens is permanently glued on my S3 ;-)

Untitled by Dirk Steffen, on Flickr


Quote:
Originally Posted by farlymac View Post
As a somewhat recent devotee to the Nikon rangefinder line, I'm probably not one to be "carrying the flag", but I'll try to do my best to keep things moving along.

PF
Oh, we all keep pushing it along ;-) Spread the word, tell your friends how nice the Nikon gear is (I do) and ask them now and then to buy a new Nikon product to help the Nikon factory out, they are not doing too well at the moment.
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Old 10-12-2017   #26
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Great shot, Dirk!

I have some street sports too.

My favorite Nikon RF is the S2. I love the fact that there is no parallax-compensation. With a little experience you "feel" what will be recorded on film and what not.

For a 35mm lens you simply clip on an extra finder.

O! And how much I love the S Skopar 50mm f/2.5. That lens fits all the Nikon rangefinders and is the best 50mm available for them.

Nikon S2 black paint, S Skopar 50mm f/2.5, 400-2TMY, Perceptol.

Erik.

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Old 10-12-2017   #27
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Great shots Dirk and Erik! Keep posting!

Giulio
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Old 10-12-2017   #28
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I'm selling a couple of Nikon RF 43mm filters, unfortunately I don't have a Nikon RF to go with them
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Old 10-12-2017   #29
Erik van Straten
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Thank you, Giulio, will do.

Nikon S2 black paint, S Skopar 50mm f/2.5, 400-2TMY, Perceptol.

Erik.



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Old 10-12-2017   #30
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Thanks Erik and Giulio ;-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik van Straten View Post
Great shot, Dirk!

I have some street sports too.

My favorite Nikon RF is the S2. I love the fact that there is no parallax-compensation. With a little experience you "feel" what will be recorded on film and what not.

For a 35mm lens you simply clip on an extra finder.

O! And how much I love the S Skopar 50mm f/2.5. That lens fits all the Nikon rangefinders and is the best 50mm available for them.

Nikon S2 black paint, S Skopar 50mm f/2.5, 400-2TMY, Perceptol.

Erik.

That is one great shot Erik - not easy to get and with the famous flawless Erik composition ;-)

Did you ever have a chance to try the Olympic or Millennium Nikkor 50/1.4 double gauss design?

I have a 50/2.5 Skopar in LTM mount and really like that lens but when I first tried a Millennium Nikkor both on a Leica MM and on a Nikon SP with pushed TriX it was a revelation for me.
I would say it had a similar eye opening effect for me as when I tried my first Leica camera with a 50/1.4 Summilux ASPH as my first lens (that lens made me jump the SLR ship and start using rangefinder cameras).

The Millennium is very sharp, contrasty and especially impressive as it is sharp across the frame even wide open!
It clearly outperforms the last pre ASPH Summilux and I would say is close in performance to the current latest ASPH Summilux, which is quite a feat considering it's optical design stemming from the 1950's.
It is a longer than a 50/2.5 but still a diminutive little lens, very handy to have - it may very well be my favorite Nikon RF lens.

The lens that hasn't come off the Nikon SP since I have received it is this big 5cm f1.1 and I will continue to leave it on the camera and share photos as I develop and edit through the rolls.

Here is two more shots from the 5cm f1.1 Nikkor-N on a BP SP re-issue:

Untitled by Dirk Steffen, on Flickr

by Dirk Steffen, on Flickr

It is a very sharp lens stopped down (these must be somewhere around f4 - f5.6) - I do like though that the 5cm f1.1 does keep a more rounded contrast, rendering contrasty scenes more gentle, more natural to the eye.

It also does have a certain beauty about rendering highlights once stopped down to f2.8 and smaller (wide open it has severe coma, especially in the outer zones and should be used carefully, hence Nikon moving on to develop their next high speed lens specializing in the complete elimination of such aberrations with the Noct Nikkor 58/1.2 F mount lens which is a landmark all by its own).
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Old 10-12-2017   #31
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Wonderful results, Dirk, I admired the pictures already on Flickr.

Thank you for your compliments.

Dirk, the Millennium is a lens I should try, but I am in a period now that I favor small lenses that do not interfere in the viewfinder. However, I will look for one.

The f/1.1 has too much distortion for my liking, but I must say that its sharpness stopped down is incredible. True, the VC 50mm f/2.5 has a tiny little bit of distortion too.

The Millennium is quite difficult to get. As I live in the Netherlands, the importation taxes for objects from outside the EU are terrible.

Nikon S2, S Skopar 50mm f/2.5, 400-2TMY, Perceptol.

Erik.

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Old 10-14-2017   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik van Straten View Post
Dirk, the Millennium is a lens I should try, but I am in a period now that I favor small lenses that do not interfere in the viewfinder. However, I will look for one.
I used to own the Millenium. I sold it eventually. It was big and heavy and I never found it to be a "special" lens. The humble and small Nikkor-H-C 5cm f/2 (which I still have, and use a lot) produced results really as good as what the Millenium did.

Jonmanjiro published some serious tests here. He came to the same conclusion that the older and smaller lens was probably the one to keep.

Like many modern lenses said to be up-to-date the Millenium seems to be more prone to flare than its ancestors. I had some unexpected flare phenomenons to deal with when using that lens.

Of course it's an excellent 50 but it might not be "the" 50 to use on a Nikon RF camera at the end of the day.
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Old 10-14-2017   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik van Straten View Post
Wonderful results, Dirk, I admired the pictures already on Flickr.

Thank you for your compliments.

Dirk, the Millennium is a lens I should try, but I am in a period now that I favor small lenses that do not interfere in the viewfinder. However, I will look for one.

The f/1.1 has too much distortion for my liking, but I must say that its sharpness stopped down is incredible. True, the VC 50mm f/2.5 has a tiny little bit of distortion too.

The Millennium is quite difficult to get. As I live in the Netherlands, the importation taxes for objects from outside the EU are terrible.

Nikon S2, S Skopar 50mm f/2.5, 400-2TMY, Perceptol.

Erik.

https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4469/3...49708ab7_c.jpg
Thanks Erik, truly the 5cm f1.1 is a very exotic lens, hardly can be reasoned to be used in practical manner with todays choices in fast films, digital sensors and wide choice of vastly optical superior and smaller lenses.

I always had a love for super fast lenses and their optical flaws though and enjoy them for what they are.
Photography was never about image perfection to me but first and foremost curiosity and character.
To many optical perfection is an achievement to strife for (just look at the latest uncompromising lens designs from Leica and Zeiss, seemingly completely dialing out ANY possible imaging character by the used lens into the final image - this is nothing something that interests me the slightest).

I love my lenses to be flawed, the more interesting or unique the flaw, the more I like it (it still has to pass my personal taste in imaging character though - some aberrations like for example the heavy coma of the 5cm f1.1 wide open are not to my taste while others like barrel distortion in certain 50mm lenses do not bother me and sometimes I even embrace that distortion - I for one are one of the few people who truly like the vignetting characteristics of the Leica f1 Noctilux and although I have had a E60 Noctilux for years just recently have gotten an E58 Noctilux just as I know that that lens does have a more pronounced vignetting AND a slightly different imaging character as of its different glass recipe and coating differences.

So you see - to me a better lens is not necessarily one that performs to a higher degree optically but one that interests me more then another.
By that logic I have sold my 50 Summilux ASPH years ago as I simply found the older Summilux vII E43 and vIII E46 so much more rounded lenses.

I did find for myself that the 50/2.5 Skopar is a lens with a very understated character and very modern optical performance, hence I rarely use mine although I really like what it does with colors on a Leica CCD sensor.

The Millennium Nikkor is another lens of VERY high optical performance (especially resolution and contrast are it's main advantages) - it's major flaw is the background rendering, clearly showing it's double Gauss design formula (it is nowhere near as smooth as a 5cm Sonnar or as a modern ASPH Summilux) but then it is a lens designed in the 1950s where larger compromises were to be made in order to achieve it's performance in such a compact package.

Regarding viewfinder obstruction - I never use the Millennium Nikkor with a lens hood, only have a slim B+W XS-Pro 007 MRC filter on it at all times as it is the fastest way to wipe off fingerprints and rain drops when in use. This type of filter has also some very advanced coatings rarely ever having shown usual issues with ghosts, reflections and flare.
It barely shows the filter rim in the lower right corner of the 50mm frame line in my SP at infinity and only marginally obstructs the lower right corner at close focus.

I tend to not have an issue with one corner being slightly obstructed when at very close focus distance and if I have I usually just switch my camera holding, flipping the camera around 180º and have the opposite corner obstructed instead - I can fully understand though that for your main subject matter and perfectly composed photographs this might be a much bigger issue than it ever will be for my "sloppy" compositions

Often enough also I do overlook the comments many people voice about fast rangefinder lenses being big, as I majorly use fast lenses and lenses as the Millennium Nikkor are truly diminutive, tiny really compared to a current 50/f1.4 Summilux ASPH or even super fast lenses as a 50/1.1 Nokton or Noctilux or the very, very large 5cm f1.1 Nikkor, not to talk about the f0.95 Canon "dream lens".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Highway 61 View Post
I used to own the Millenium. I sold it eventually. It was big and heavy and I never found it to be a "special" lens. The humble and small Nikkor-H-C 5cm f/2 (which I still have, and use a lot) produced results really as good as what the Millenium did.

Jonmanjiro published some serious tests here. He came to the same conclusion that the older and smaller lens was probably the one to keep.

Like many modern lenses said to be up-to-date the Millenium seems to be more prone to flare than its ancestors. I had some unexpected flare phenomenons to deal with when using that lens.

Of course it's an excellent 50 but it might not be "the" 50 to use on a Nikon RF camera at the end of the day.
I am happy for you having found to prefer the 5cm f2 Nikkor over the Millennium Nikkor although I disagree with your findings.
I never had issues with flare or ghosting on the two Millennium samples I currently have compared to all the other lenses I have used.
I have not used the Millenniums much though as their purchase fell into a rather unfortunate time of bad health for me but I have used them extensively different lighting conditions both on a Leica MM and on Nikon RF bodies.

What immediately stood out for me about the Millennium Nikkor is it's high resolution (surely also helped by its higher contrast) and it's very high contrast.
It's biggest downside to my own taste is that it clearly shows the typical optical characteristics of a double gauss 50mm in the way it renders busy backgrounds at certain apertures.
Other double gauss designs as Leicas later pre ASPH Summilux lenses do handle such backgrounds gentler but they also do not have the high resolution and even performance across the entire frame as the Millennium + they are much larger lenses.

I find the Millennium clearly the most modern looking lens Nikon made for the Nikon RF system - so much so that it looks almost out of place (images can be immediately distinguished from other Nikon lenses on the same roll of film as of resolution and contrast). I have to admit though I did not have the chance of trying a 5cm Micro Nikkor, the "mountain Nikkor" and the 2.1 and 2.5 cm Nikkor lenses for the Nikon RF yet.

Here are a few Millennium Nikkor lenses (please be aware that ALL my film shots I share via flickr are made from low resolution pre scan files - I do not carefully scan them but they are quick, unadjusted pre scans to quickly archive my film shots and be able to find individual shots in my Lightroom archive for proper, well exposed and sharp high res scans). Think of them as "instagram shots of my film"

50/1.4 Millennium + TriX @ 800 in D76 1:1 (Yes I shoot most of my film photography like this, although a high resolution, low contrast ISO 100 BW film would have been a more logical choice in this light).
This was probably at f4:
Untitled by Dirk Steffen, on Flickr

This was probably the worst case scenario for flare and in my opinion this is a lens holding up VERY well here (the only 50mm lenses I know performing better in such circumstances are the v4 f1 Noctilux and the Noct-Nikkor which I have both used in similar conditions). I focussed on the little girl, making her homework late at night in her parents shop.
It was shot probably at f2 or f2.8:
2017-03-07-0028--for_flickr by Dirk Steffen, on Flickr

A file of a parking attendant in Shanghai, shot @ f4:
2017-03-11-0027--for_flickr by Dirk Steffen, on Flickr

Unfortunately the raw resolution this lens is capable of is entirely lost in 35mm film. It really is jaw dropping when used on a digital camera with very thin sensor filtration as a Leica MM or maybe an old Leica M8 (has a much thinner sensor filter than the later color sensor Leica digitals).
I do not have digital shots from the Millenniums I may share on the internet.
The Nikon RF cameras also did have the effect of me completely neglecting the Leica M gear, I enjoy the Nikon gear simply too much

Oh one last mention as the thought comes to my mind: I must mention how surprised I am how well the 5cm f1.1 Nikkor-N performs in regard to flare and ghosting.
It behaves very, very well so far (I expected it to be rather susceptible to flare with its very large front element - it has a gigantic 62mm filter tread after all).
I found this was a similar case with the f1 Noctilux - one of the most flare resistent lenses.
Was this one of the lens characteristics NK optical engineers were aiming for in this superspeed lens?
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Old 10-14-2017   #34
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I used to own the Millenium. I sold it eventually. It was big and heavy and I never found it to be a "special" lens. The humble and small Nikkor-H-C 5cm f/2 (which I still have, and use a lot) produced results really as good as what the Millenium did.

Jonmanjiro published some serious tests here. He came to the same conclusion that the older and smaller lens was probably the one to keep.

Like many modern lenses said to be up-to-date the Millenium seems to be more prone to flare than its ancestors. I had some unexpected flare phenomenons to deal with when using that lens.

Of course it's an excellent 50 but it might not be "the" 50 to use on a Nikon RF camera at the end of the day.
My S2 came with a black 2/50 with separation issues, so I bought a chrome 1.4/50 to replace it before I ever tested it out. Later on I ran a roll with the 2/50, and I couldn't find anything that indicated there was something wrong with the lens. So yeah, it's an excellent choice in gear to have, though I do find myself shooting with one of the 35's more often than not.

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Old 10-14-2017   #35
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What immediately stood out for me about the Millennium Nikkor is it's high resolution (surely also helped by its higher contrast) and it's very high contrast.
It's biggest downside to my own taste is that it clearly shows the typical optical characteristics of a double gauss 50mm in the way it renders busy backgrounds at certain apertures.
Having started photography long ago, when "bokeh" was a thing which hadn't come to my location yet, I'm not a "bokeh guy" but, yes, the busy backgrounds obtained with the Millenium made me think of those of the Nikkor Ai-S 50mm f/1.4 (which can be ugly while this lens too has a very high resolution power when stopped down a bit).

My copy of the Nikkor-H-C 5cm f/2 is razor sharp corner to corner from f/2.8 onwards. It shows a bit of pincushion distorsion but I am not an architecture photographer so I don't care.

The Millenium is a gem of a lens but I just couldn't find that it provided any real advantage. So I didn't keep it. But if I hadn't had any other 50 for my Nikon RF gear, I would have kept it and wouldn't have bought anything else.

It would be interesting to dig out the tests provided by Jonmanjiro's old thread where the Millenium was compared with the Nikkor-H-C 5cm f/2, for sharpness and all optical aberrations.
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Old 10-15-2017   #36
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My copy of the Nikkor-H-C 5cm f/2 is razor sharp corner to corner from f/2.8 onwards. It shows a bit of pincushion distorsion but I am not an architecture photographer so I don't care.
Strange, Nicolas, that your copy of the Nikkor H 50mm f/2 has pincushion distortion. Mine has barrel distortion. See my picture underneath.

Dirk, many thanks for your dissertation on the lenses. It is very interesting to read about your experiences with these lenses. However, I see some severe distortion in the picture with the Millennium (the boy that snaps a shot of a beautiful girl, see the curb). I understand that you do not care for some distortion. Personally I find it disturbing, above all on a digital screen. Printed on paper it is much more acceptable. That is why I shoot at the moment with a Summicron 50mm f/2 v4.

Nikkormat FTn, Nikkor H Auto 50mm f/2, 400-2TMY, Perceptol.

Erik.

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Old 10-15-2017   #37
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Having started photography long ago, when "bokeh" was a thing which hadn't come to my location yet, I'm not a "bokeh guy" but, yes, the busy backgrounds obtained with the Millenium made me think of those of the Nikkor Ai-S 50mm f/1.4 (which can be ugly while this lens too has a very high resolution power when stopped down a bit).

My copy of the Nikkor-H-C 5cm f/2 is razor sharp corner to corner from f/2.8 onwards. It shows a bit of pincushion distorsion but I am not an architecture photographer so I don't care.

The Millenium is a gem of a lens but I just couldn't find that it provided any real advantage. So I didn't keep it. But if I hadn't had any other 50 for my Nikon RF gear, I would have kept it and wouldn't have bought anything else.

It would be interesting to dig out the tests provided by Jonmanjiro's old thread where the Millenium was compared with the Nikkor-H-C 5cm f/2, for sharpness and all optical aberrations.
Yes Nicolas the whole "bokeh" craze of recent years has been highly overrated and I hope I myself did not get hung up too much about it. I do know though when I see something in a lens that I like.
I have seen so many of these now old lenses mostly on digital Leica M bodies and have studied the details these lenses can produce (we could never see in traditional analog photography) that I may seem to favor certain lenses over others.

With the Millennium Nikkor for example I do feel that the busy background rendering is it's achilles heel - if it would be as smooth as a wartime CZJ Sonnar, it would be pure perfection to me, but then again we can just use a CZJ Sonnar when we want to stress beautiful smooth backgrounds and high resolution in center over a high resolution and contrast across the frame at all apertures as does the Millennium Nikkor at the cost of it's background rendering.

This is the beauty of having such a wonderful choice ;-)

There is one thing I do also truly love about the Millennium Nikkor (I could not see this in film photographs as of the lack of resolution in my preferred film with TriX, usually pushed to ISO800 in D76) - finest detail as skin pores in a portrait are rendered with a certain luster (for a lack of proper word).
It does render fine skin detail slightly radiant - the way certain Carl Zeiss medium format lenses do.
This quality is also VERY visible in Nikons later Noct-Nikkor 58/1.2 lens.
I do value such characteristics very high - I just love this look.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik van Straten View Post
Strange, Nicolas, that your copy of the Nikkor H 50mm f/2 has pincushion distortion. Mine has barrel distortion. See my picture underneath.

Dirk, many thanks for your dissertation on the lenses. It is very interesting to read about your experiences with these lenses. However, I see some severe distortion in the picture with the Millennium (the boy that snaps a shot of a beautiful girl, see the curb). I understand that you do not care for some distortion. Personally I find it disturbing, above all on a digital screen. Printed on paper it is much more acceptable. That is why I shoot at the moment with a Summicron 50mm f/2 v4.

Nikkormat FTn, Nikkor H Auto 50mm f/2, 400-2TMY, Perceptol.

Erik.

Erik, usually these fast lenses do have distortion to a certain extent. I must say though that the Millennium Nikkor's barrel distortion is from all lenses I have seen a very mild distortion (it takes less than +2 in distortion correction in Adobe Lightroom to be completely removed).

Here is another photograph with the 50/1.4 Millennium Nikkor that shows distortion - but again, it would be trivial to completely remove it if post processing is done on a computer and as of it's mild character it may not even be very obvious when printing traditionally but to the well trained eye searching for it ;-)

Untitled by Dirk Steffen, on Flickr

Please see that this shot is not perfectly level, adding to the effect of mild distortion. Also I may add the shot above with the sneaky photographer is made in a small alley where the kerb may not be perfectly straight either.

Also my 50/2.5 Skopar in Leica mount does show a slightly more complex pincushion distortion, harder to correct if necessary.
Did you see this in your Nikon RF mount copy and how to you treat this - does it get neutralized in the process of wet print and flat bed scan?

I will note this into my todo list to take some deliberate distortion test photographs on a digital camera.

PS: I completely forgot to add a VERY important note to the film based photographs I post here.
As I mentioned early these photographs shared via flickr are made during my rescan for archive.
It means generally that I take a complete freshly developed and dried roll of TriX, cut it and IMMEDIATELY scan it in bulk at low resolution without any adjustments.
Usually these fresh Trim rolls are VERY curly and I often have a very hard time to get them even aligned in the Minolta film holders.
When looking at an angle at the loaded film holder and see the reflection of light play on the mounted film it is very apparent that the film is strongly distorted, bulged in the holder as of the very curly film.

This certainly has an impact on how well the film is scanned towards the corners and may also have a certain effect on how distortion plays out in the final pre-scans.
When scanning film later for print at proper resolution and careful scan settings the film usually has flattened nicely in the heavy archival folders I use and such issues are mostly eliminated.
The ultimate distortion and sharpness test may therefore be better done on a Leica M Monochrom.
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Old 10-16-2017   #38
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Also my 50/2.5 Skopar in Leica mount does show a slightly more complex pincushion distortion, harder to correct if necessary.
Did you see this in your Nikon RF mount copy and how to you treat this - does it get neutralized in the process of wet print and flat bed scan?

I will note this into my todo list to take some deliberate distortion test photographs on a digital camera.
Dirk, again many thanks for this analysis of the lenses. It is very important to share these in a forum like this.

The distortion of the Color-Skopar 50mm f/2.5 in Leica mount made me to change it for a Summicron-M 50mm f/2 v4. This Summicron has no distortion at all. Here's an example of the distortion of the Color-Skopar.

Leica M2, Color-Skopar 50mm f/2.5, 400-2TMY, Perceptol.



Here's an example of the Summicron-M 50mm f/2 v4:

Leica M3, Summicron-M 50mm f/2 v4, 400-2TMY, Perceptol.



To scan: I simply lay a stroke of negatives on the glass plate of my flatbed scanner (Epson V600). This scanner has autofocus. I cover the negatives with a piece of Anti Newton glass so the film is perfecly flat, like in an enlarger.

I scan every image individually. I adapt the histogram with the software of the scanner.

Thanks again!

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Old 10-16-2017   #39
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If the Color-Skopar did not show this distortion, I would use it as my standard lens. I also like the way it reduces the grain of the 400-2TMY-film. The Summicron gives more grain, believe it or not.

I do not believe that the S Skopar 50mm f/2.5 is for 100% the same lens as the Color-Skopar 50mm f/2.5 LTM. In any case the coating is different. I've noticed however the same amount of distortion.

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Old 10-16-2017   #40
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Talking about freedom of distortion: The Leitz Summilux 50mm f/1.4 v1 is practically free from it in, contrast to the Leitz Summilux 50mm f/1.4 v2. That lens shows a severe distortion.

The lens is however too big for me to be used as an "everydays" lens.

Leica M5, Summilux 50mm f/1.4 v1, 400-2TMY, Perceptol.

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