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The 10 most rare F-mount lenses
Old 06-11-2008   #1
naren
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The 10 most rare F-mount lenses

I thought this would be a fun poll to do if anyone's interested (someone who certain of the answer would be good too). To me F collecting seems the most interesting thing to collect. Also this list may contain some not so early lenses also like the 300mm f/2 AF. Top 15 would be reeaally interesting...
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Old 06-15-2008   #2
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hmm... as I've said elsehwere NOT really a whole lot of F collecting interest. C'mon prove me wrong!

So methinks there was less than 350 300mm f/2 AF lenses made. How bout the UV Nikkors? 55mm micro 1:1 ?
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Old 06-15-2008   #3
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Well there's no doubt that F collecting is a growing hobby. I'm not sure there's that many at RFF involved in it. Early era Nikon F gear is really something to behold from a quality standpoint.
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Old 06-15-2008   #4
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1. very 1st version of the 43-86 zoom

2. 28/2.8 non-AI, but lettering modern style

3. 80-200/4.5 AI (12 element)
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Old 06-15-2008   #5
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There are quite a few rare lenses for Nikon F-Mount cameras, as they have been in production for 50 years and used in many applications. Special lenses made for NASA and other scientific/technical applications are all low-production.

Now, Rare lenses made for "the common user" that were oddballs, unpopular, or just short-lived are the most fun to go after. The 5.8cm F1.4 is not rare, but not as easy to find as a 50/1.4. It probably delivers an image that is close in look to the 1950s Leica glass. The 5cm F2 Nikkor-S is in the same short-lived, uncommon category, but was a real optical kludge.
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Old 06-16-2008   #6
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http://www.photosynthesis.co.nz/nikon/serialno.html

a quick glance at fellow Kiwi Roland's work reveals that every lens has a rare prototype model that would be impossble to obtain. Although much of the table was worked on "the highest serial number sighted minus the lowest" basis, many novelty lenses auch as the aforementioned 100/6.3 are indeed rare. So does certain fisheyes and N-type pre-AI telephotos, and of course the 1200-1700 zoom.

AF300/2 does not exist; there are actually quite a few AIS300/2 made, however many of those has been modified for cinematography and few remained intact in F mount. As far as I know, Bjorn Roselett owns 3, someone from Australia back in a while had one, B&H have one avaliable for $9999 sans the teleconverter right now if anyone has the spare cash.
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Old 06-16-2008   #7
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Is the 200/2.0 AiS one of the rare ones? There is also the first version of the 55/3.5 Micro, one incredibe close-up lens even today. One of the pieces I kept from my SLR days.

The 25~50/4.0 AiS was never a big seller and is hard to find today, but I don't know how rare that really is.
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Old 06-16-2008   #8
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You should have been around when I put the Nikon F with FTn Photomic head and 50/1.4 up for $100.

The Nikon F already went though it's collectors phase, with the premium paid for cameras, lenses, and cases matching up based on age. The early Brown Leather cases were going for outrageous prices, especially first version for the Photomic. Now, things have settled back down on the F and accessories. The F2 seems to have a run-up on prices or the cameras, but not as much for the accessories. Nikon lenses have gone up with the Digital age as Nikon retained compatibility. A few years ago, a Micro-Nikkor-P 55/3.5 non-AI was $25. prices are up a bit because of users.

I bought my F's and F2's either before or after the run-up. They've all had film through them, but are in categories of "beaters-Users-Shooters-mint". All are handled with care.

Last edited by Brian Sweeney : 06-16-2008 at 03:41.
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Old 06-16-2008   #9
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Oh dear, earlier this year I tried to get rid of a brown case for nikon F because it does nothing but draws fungi spores. Put it up on a local auction site and got a unexpected fanatical response. It sold for much more than what you'd expect for a neveready case. Also had the black bottom half case with my black F before I sold it due to space constraints....

Well at least I am very glad that the fad is gone, it is just lagging a bit in the rural slum I live in.
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Old 06-16-2008   #10
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Maybe prices are back up again! I'll have to check. I picked up several of those early Nikon F cases for under $20 about 5 years ago, including one for my Photomic F "Bullseye". I keep a 5.8cm F1.4 on it, picked up fairly cheap.
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Old 06-16-2008   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by naren View Post

So methinks there was less than 350 300mm f/2 AF lenses made.
Apparently a lot of these ended up in the movie business, converted to ARRI or PL (Panavision) mount. I was on a night shoot a few years ago and we were using one to shoot a 'burning' building from across a small canyon, with a Arriflex 435. Big piece of glass! That front element is huge.
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Old 06-19-2008   #12
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How about a nice little zoom, like the 1200-1700 f5.6-8.0? It is always handy to have such a thing in your camera bag!
http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography...12001700mm.htm
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Old 06-19-2008   #13
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I am not sure what are the 10 most rare but I can say that there certainly are any number of excellent F mount lenses that are great performers - even now. Overall the prices of manual lenses seems to have fallen a bit due to the fact that most DSLRs need a "chipped" lens for all of its functions to work. This applies even more to early non AI lenses which will not mount and function on later cameras. But there are also some desirable rarities that seemed to still be in demand. The 58mm Nokt Nikkor for example and the 300mm f4.5 ED. Both appear to be in great demand and attract a premium. I think I can say that Nikkor lenses are also beautifully made.

There are also many good lenses that are relatively cheap. The 50mm f2.0 is an excellent example being common and a great lens which turns in lovely photos, especially in black and white.
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Old 06-22-2008   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peterm1 View Post
I am not sure what are the 10 most rare but I can say that there certainly are any number of excellent F mount lenses that are great performers
Agree completely! Before the D200, when only the expensive Nikon DSLR's could meter the older lenses, and the prices of them was really low, I managed to finally pick up my "dream set" which I couldn't afford back when they were new (so I went into Pentax).

20/3.5-UD, 24/2.8, 35/2, 85/1.8, 105/2.5, and 180/2.8. All of them are AI-converted with the factory part, except the 85, which was converted by my friend Pete Smith. I've used all of them on my Canon 20D with adaptors, but maybe one day I'll pick up a D3 when it's been replaced and the price comes way down.
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Old 06-24-2008   #15
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I've heard or read that the chrome barrel 85mm f/1.8 Nikkor is quite a rare lens as well... so is someone who thinks they've got a pretty good handle on what this list is going to step up and make a poll?? I've read a few mentioned here that I don't think make the list, but it is really hard to say where the line is as far as a rare version of a lens or how to define these select lenses we would list... for instance the 20-60cm zoom I believe it is, in 1 touch or 2 barrel adjustments. I believe just the dual ring is rare. Does that make it unique enough or is it a big enough change to give it status as its own lens? I would say yes. I think also the 9 blade early 5cm, 3.5cm, 10.5cm lenses would be considered individually for such a poll although they were produced in great numbers thereafter with the same lens design...

Last edited by naren : 06-24-2008 at 10:28.
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Old 05-26-2009   #16
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not a rare lens but:
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Old 05-26-2009   #17
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Nikkor 500mm/5.0 mirror lens?
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The 10 most rare F-mount lenses
Old 05-26-2009   #18
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The 10 most rare F-mount lenses

Hey Guys,

How about the older Nippon Kogaku labeled lenses? I have quite a few of these older non-AI lenses made originally for the F. Had all of them AI converted by Nikon.

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Old 05-26-2009   #19
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200mm Medical Nikkor.
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Old 05-26-2009   #20
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These come to mind:

1st gen 43-86 zoom

28/2.8 non AI

80-200 fixed f4 zoom with latest optics design (12 elements I think)

105/2.5 *PC* coated version. There are 5+ versions of the F mount 105/2.5, but I *think* the *PC* one is the rarest.
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Old 05-26-2009   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ampguy View Post
105/2.5 *PC* coated version. There are 5+ versions of the F mount 105/2.5, but I *think* the *PC* one is the rarest.
Hmmm... I have one of those.

A real jewel...

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Great photo!
Old 05-26-2009   #22
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Great photo!

Very nice, sharp, but not too sharp.

I mostly use the lens in color, wide open with the cat, I can follow the cat around, and easily blur a messy background into a nice studio pastel ...

Of course, the lens is great for people too!

Quote:
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Hmmm... I have one of those.

A real jewel...

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Old 05-26-2009   #23
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Quote:
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not a rare lens but:
I've seen a few S-mount Nikkors with a colon after the serial number, but this is the first F-mount Nikkor I've seen with a colon!
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Old 05-26-2009   #24
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I know of a Canon FD 85L in F mount Might be one of a kind!
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Old 05-26-2009   #25
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6mm 2.8 fisheye
http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography...es/6mmfish.htm

No idea on total production, but I can't be that many.
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Old 05-26-2009   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ampguy View Post
Very nice, sharp, but not too sharp.

I mostly use the lens in color, wide open with the cat, I can follow the cat around, and easily blur a messy background into a nice studio pastel ...

Of course, the lens is great for people too!
Ampguy,

Thanks, the Nikkor 105 is a legendary portrait lens for good reason.

Not sure about rarity... but there a few less common lenses I would still like to try with my Nikon F one day, including...

Nikkor-O 2.1cm f4.0
Nikkor-S 5.8cm f1.4
Nikkor-S 55mm f1.2 - Type II single coated
Nikkor-H 85mm f1.8 - first version that is only single coated
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Old 05-26-2009   #27
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Quote:
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I am not sure what are the 10 most rare but I can say that there certainly are any number of excellent F mount lenses that are great performers - even now. Overall the prices of manual lenses seems to have fallen a bit due to the fact that most DSLRs need a "chipped" lens for all of its functions to work. This applies even more to early non AI lenses which will not mount and function on later cameras. But there are also some desirable rarities that seemed to still be in demand. The 58mm Nokt Nikkor for example and the 300mm f4.5 ED. Both appear to be in great demand and attract a premium. I think I can say that Nikkor lenses are also beautifully made.

There are also many good lenses that are relatively cheap. The 50mm f2.0 is an excellent example being common and a great lens which turns in lovely photos, especially in black and white.
Gee, I Ai'd a bunch my F mounts and they work fine on my D200 in A and M mode which is all I would use anyway. When I want to let it out, I use the excellent CV 40mm/f2 with the "chip".
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Old 05-26-2009   #28
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Quote:
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Agree completely! Before the D200, when only the expensive Nikon DSLR's could meter the older lenses, and the prices of them was really low, I managed to finally pick up my "dream set" which I couldn't afford back when they were new (so I went into Pentax).

20/3.5-UD, 24/2.8, 35/2, 85/1.8, 105/2.5, and 180/2.8. All of them are AI-converted with the factory part, except the 85, which was converted by my friend Pete Smith. I've used all of them on my Canon 20D with adaptors, but maybe one day I'll pick up a D3 when it's been replaced and the price comes way down.
Interesting, Nikon returned my 105/2.5 when I sent it for conversion in the 70's, saying they would not convert that one, and doubled the price on the other two lenses I sent.

Have had a couple of them, always a terrific lens.

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Old 05-27-2009   #29
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According to the Nikon/Nikkormat Manual by Abbott and Cooper, the 55/1.2 Nikkor-S was the first regular production Nikon lens to get multicoated surfaces- but for the rear cell only. This practice started in 1969. I had one of those lenses, but favored and kept the 55/1.2 Nikkor-SC. The 55/1.2 is a true F1.2 lens as measured, and the SC and Ai version has a T-Stop of T1.25. It has 7 element in 5 groups, as opposed to the 50/1.2 and 58/1.2 that are 7 elements in 6 groups.
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Old 05-27-2009   #30
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Quote:
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Interesting, Nikon returned my 105/2.5 when I sent it for conversion in the 70's, saying they would not convert that one, and doubled the price on the other two lenses I sent.

Have had a couple of them, always a terrific lens.

Regards, John

It depended on the serial number of the lens, some were constructed differently and could not be "factory converted" with a new aperture ring. Typically, the lenses without screws in the rear were not eligible for factory conversion. Other shops would cut a groove in the aperture ring, but not Nikon. Some lenses were more expensive to convert, such as the GN-Nikkor.

I had my 105/2.5 "RIFR", 24/2.8 Nikkor-NC, and 55/3.5 Nikkor-P factory Ai'd for $18.50 each. In the 1970s of course.
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Old 05-27-2009   #31
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I have a F2.8 200mm Ais lens made by Sun which i think is the first name for Sigma.
Would this lens be rare now?
Sorry to bring this up when talking about Nikkor lenses but i can't find any information about this lens online.
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Old 05-27-2009   #32
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I have no rare ones, but a few favorites. 50 2.0 35 2.0 original 105 2.5 original.

I use them on my D700 I consider them wow.

Got a bounch of new AF lenses that live in a drawer and save `em for kids baseball etc.
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Old 05-27-2009   #33
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Quote:
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It depended on the serial number of the lens, some were constructed differently and could not be "factory converted" with a new aperture ring. Typically, the lenses without screws in the rear were not eligible for factory conversion. Other shops would cut a groove in the aperture ring, but not Nikon. Some lenses were more expensive to convert, such as the GN-Nikkor.

I had my 105/2.5 "RIFR", 24/2.8 Nikkor-NC, and 55/3.5 Nikkor-P factory Ai'd for $18.50 each. In the 1970s of course.
Some guys have all the luck, price doubled during the process I had my lenses converted, but the 50 1.4 was and is beautiful, then I did send the 105 to be machined. Fond memories of that lens, but I have more equipment than time, and at least two of them. I think they sent the old parts back?

Thanks, John
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Old 05-27-2009   #34
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Nikkor 105mm 2.5 P:








The lens is not really "rare", but it is awesome. I have it as RF and as SLR lens. Both are the Sonnar versions.
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Old 05-27-2009   #35
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How rare would be the first generation Noct-Nikkor?
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Old 05-27-2009   #36
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I use a zoom-Nikkor 80~200 2.8 ED AIS, and as I understand Nikon only made about 1,500 of this lens before it was discontinued. Not the rarest of lenses, but certainly difficult to find today.


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Old 05-27-2009   #37
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Old 05-27-2009   #38
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For me it's a converted and unique 85/1.5 Helios 40-2. But I've bragged about that before
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Rarity amoung the F Mount Lens
Old 05-27-2009   #39
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Rarity amoung the F Mount Lens

Having collected the early non-AI F mount Nikkors for years, it makes me cringe hearing about them being converted to AI, especially when the aperture ring is mutilated by grinding. Not to long after the introduction of AI lens indexing, I remember sending off a mint "K" type 85/1.8 to Nikon for conversion. Today, it is very rare finding a true mint "K" type 85/1.8 in original condition.

The 5.5cm/3.5 Micro Preset has already been mentioned as a rarity. The "NKJ" labled 180/2.8 non AI & the "NKJ" labeled 28/2.0 non-AI are two more that are not seen very often. You can also add the "NKJ" labeled, 9 aperture blade, 35/1.4 non-AI to the list of rarities. Another rarity is the 3.5cm/2.8 non-AI "Tick-Mark" lens while the 3.5cm-8.5cm/2.8 non-AI zoom has to rank up there with the UV 55mm/4 as two of the rarest F mount Nikkors.
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Old 05-28-2009   #40
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Quote:
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Having collected the early non-AI F mount Nikkors for years, it makes me cringe hearing about them being converted to AI, especially when the aperture ring is mutilated by grinding. Not to long after the introduction of AI lens indexing, I remember sending off a mint "K" type 85/1.8 to Nikon for conversion. Today, it is very rare finding a true mint "K" type 85/1.8 in original condition.

The 5.5cm/3.5 Micro Preset has already been mentioned as a rarity. The "NKJ" labled 180/2.8 non AI & the "NKJ" labeled 28/2.0 non-AI are two more that are not seen very often. You can also add the "NKJ" labeled, 9 aperture blade, 35/1.4 non-AI to the list of rarities. Another rarity is the 3.5cm/2.8 non-AI "Tick-Mark" lens while the 3.5cm-8.5cm/2.8 non-AI zoom has to rank up there with the UV 55mm/4 as two of the rarest F mount Nikkors.
I don't understand your "cringing" remark.
I am a user rather than a collector of equipment, so I see no problem at all when someone has a piece of gear modified in some way to make it more convenient to use for taking photographs, as I have often done.
After mentioning that I put Nikon F2 film advance lever plastic tips on my S3 rangefinders, I was admonished by an insulted collector who told me that it was my duty to preserve my gear in its original condition for future generations. There are enough Polishers and Worshippers out there with the pristine stuff squirrelled away in glass cases to keep the future generations happy, so it's not anything I'll waste any time worrying about.
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