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Nikkor-S 55mm f/1.2 Experiences?
Old 03-12-2017   #1
jrose125
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Nikkor-S 55mm f/1.2 Experiences?

Hey Folks!

I have the opportunity to buy a Nikkor-S 55mm f/1.2 locally for an incredible price. The lens is 9/10 condition with only slight wear on the barrel (glass is immaculate) and the gentleman is selling it for less than half the price of what one in similar condition goes for.

The only thing that's stopping me from buying it immediately is the fact that I've never really heard much of this lens before and I can get a 50mm f/1.4 Ai for around the same price.

Does anybody have experience with this lense? Is it worth the buy over the 50mm f/1.4?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 03-12-2017   #2
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This might help with your decision:
http://www.nikkor.com/en/story/0049/
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Old 03-12-2017   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madNbad View Post
This might help with your decision:
http://www.nikkor.com/en/story/0049/
Hey! Thanks the link... An interesting read for sure
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Old 03-12-2017   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huss View Post
I use this lens with an F or F2. Only thing to watch out for is lens flare so make sure to use a hood.
Shots below taken with Nikkor S 55 1.2 and Nikon F

I'm not sure what an incredible price is, but I paid between $200 and $220 for the two I have. Which seemed good at the time. I would get it over the 1.4, I gave the 1.4 to my nephew when I gifted him a Nikkormat as it just didn't seem special to me.
Maybe incredible was a bit too ambitious of a word, but the gentleman is selling it for $200 CAD, which works out to about $150 USD. I thought it was a great price considering ones in similar condition are going for $300 USD or higher on Fleabay.
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Old 03-12-2017   #5
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If the glass is clean then, yes, I think that's incredible.
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Old 03-12-2017   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huss View Post
If the glass is clean then, yes, I think that's incredible.
I was a bit skeptical until I viewed it in person but yeah, it really is spotless. No scratches, haze, fungus, or other blemishes. The only issue cosmetically (it really isn't an issue at all) is very minimal wear on the barrel from it being used.

It even comes with the (what I presume to be) original Nippon Kogaku front and rear lens caps.
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Old 03-12-2017   #7
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Mine all have cosmetic wear. $200 CAD for clean glass is killer.
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Old 03-13-2017   #8
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Go for it. The only reason I sold mine was that I use mostly Leicas for low-light.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 03-13-2017   #9
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Little known gem; at that price its a steal. Definitely get hold of the clip-on hood that was meant for it. Here's a Flickr album with 55 1.2 pics: https://www.flickr.com/photos/maryla...57637496079283
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Old 03-13-2017   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madNbad View Post
This might help with your decision:
http://www.nikkor.com/en/story/0049/
fascinating how much effort and time was put to shorten the focal length by mere 8 or 5 mm.

am having 50/1.2, but the appearance and handling of all-metal 55 version is more appealing.
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Old 03-13-2017   #11
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Mind you, I'd rather have the 58/1.4 than any of them... I had the original; I've not tried the remake.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 03-13-2017   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maryland_fotos View Post
Little known gem; at that price its a steal. Definitely get hold of the clip-on hood that was meant for it. Here's a Flickr album with 55 1.2 pics: https://www.flickr.com/photos/maryla...57637496079283
Wow... That depth of field is razor thin wide open! Thanks for sharing
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Old 03-13-2017   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Hicks View Post
Go for it. The only reason I sold mine was that I use mostly Leicas for low-light.

Cheers,

R.
Totally understandable. Mirror slap on these old beauties makes in almost impossible to use a speed under ~1/60th.
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Old 03-13-2017   #14
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How does the Nikkor-S 55mm f/1.2 compare to the current Nikkor 50mm f1.2 AIS lens, optically? Do they have similar optical characteristics?

Best,
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Old 03-13-2017   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Hicks View Post
Mind you, I'd rather have the 58/1.4 than any of them... I had the original; I've not tried the remake.

Cheers,

R.
58 1.4? Do u mean the 58 1.2?

There are plenty out there, but the going rate is about $3000, vs $150 that the OP is looking at.

The current 58 1.4 is all about rendering, but since it no longer has an aperture dial it would be of limited use to someone using a Nikon F like the OP.
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Old 03-13-2017   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timmyjoe View Post
How does the Nikkor-S 55mm f/1.2 compare to the current Nikkor 50mm f1.2 AIS lens, optically? Do they have similar optical characteristics?

Best,
-Tim
Dear Tim,

Not really. The 50mm is technically better in just about every way, though you may prefer the "character" of the older lens. As I did with the 58/1.4 Nikkor-S, in production (as far as I know) only from 1959 or possibly 1960 to 1962.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 03-13-2017   #17
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The 55/1.2 is a character lens if there ever was one. Nowadays, quite a rare design for a fast normal, a rear extended Planar (where the typical more modern 50/1.2 - Zuiko, Nikkor, etc., all have two more air/glass interfaces).



My copy is slightly yellow.





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Old 03-15-2017   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huss View Post
58 1.4? Do u mean the 58 1.2?

There are plenty out there, but the going rate is about $3000, vs $150 that the OP is looking at.

The current 58 1.4 is all about rendering, but since it no longer has an aperture dial it would be of limited use to someone using a Nikon F like the OP.
Look up the original 5.8cm 1.4 - I believe that's what Ruger is talking about
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Old 03-15-2017   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huss View Post
If the glass is clean then, yes, I think that's incredible.
I agree! I got a newer version for quite a bit more than that...if it's in fine condition then I'd say the choice is obvious.
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Old 03-18-2017   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrose125 View Post
Totally understandable. Mirror slap on these old beauties makes in almost impossible to use a speed under ~1/60th.
Mirror slap! You are kidding right? have you actually done a test?
strangely at certain speeds on a modern Leica there was a shake caused by shutter mmm?
Even my Fat Albert Pentax 6x7 was OK even without mirror lock.
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Old 03-18-2017   #21
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I have the 55mm ai version, and maybe its just luck but my version is quite sharp wide open. Its not got any of that 'Leica glow wide open' a much more modern look.
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Old 06-21-2019   #22
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I bought one recently, and I'm enjoying it a lot. I found a relative bargain at $200, and the serial number is not far off from ferider's lens in Post #17. Unfortunately, Nico van Djik's wonderful resource is slowly disappearing, including the page on all the different 55mm f/1.2 types and versions. However, the Internet Archive has a copy, and according to his website, mine is a Version 3 circa 1971-72. Apparently, Nikon made some optical formula changes to lenses of this era:

Important changes were introduced on all lenses with serial numbers over 220001 (produced from August 1971). The optical formula was altered to improve the performance at close focus. The new lenses now bear the inscription 'Nikon'. 'No.' before the serial number disappears. Last known serial number - confirmed by the factory - #240533. All lenses in the 220001-240533 range also received a rounded fork.

Mine received a factory AI conversion somewhere along the way, so I'm able to use it on my Nikon FM2n. Here's the very first image I made with the lens (also the first shot on the roll).

Nikon FM2n, Nikkor-S Auto 55mm f/1.2, ORWO N74+, developed in LegacyPro L110 at 1:31 for 6.5 minutes.


2019.03.24 Roll #199-03432-positive.jpg
by dourbalistar, on Flickr
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Old 06-24-2019   #23
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Nikon FM2n, Nikkor-S Auto 55mm f/1.2, ORWO N74+, developed in LegacyPro L110 at 1:31 for 6.5 minutes.


2019.04.06 Roll #201-03478-positive.jpg
by dourbalistar, on Flickr



2019.04.27 Roll #202-03534-positive.jpg
by dourbalistar, on Flickr
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Old 06-24-2019   #24
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its a pretty good lens if you know how to use it
i did a review for that lens some time ago.
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Old 06-25-2019   #25
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Not sure if I "know how", but I'm going to use it anyway.

Nikon FM2n, Nikkor-S Auto 55mm f/1.2, ORWO N74+, developed in LegacyPro L110 at 1:31 for 6.5 minutes.


2019.04.27 Roll #202-03511-positive.jpg
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Old 06-26-2019   #26
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Nikon FM2n, Nikkor-S Auto 55mm f/1.2, ORWO N74+, developed in LegacyPro L110 at 1:31 for 6.5 minutes.


2019.04.06 Roll #201-03494-positive.jpg
by dourbalistar, on Flickr



2019.04.27 Roll #202-03522-positive.jpg
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Old 06-27-2019   #27
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Nikon FM2n, Nikkor-S Auto 55mm f/1.2, ORWO N74+, developed in LegacyPro L110 at 1:31 for 6.5 minutes.


2019.04.27 Roll #202-03527-positive.jpg
by dourbalistar, on Flickr
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Old 06-27-2019   #28
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Yeah, it's a little soft and glowy wide open, but not in an unpleasant way IMHO. Maybe I should have used it to shoot a hazy IPA instead...

Nikon FM2n, Nikkor-S Auto 55mm f/1.2, ORWO N74+, developed in LegacyPro L110 at 1:31 for 6.5 minutes.


2019.04.06 Roll #201-03502-positive.jpg
by dourbalistar, on Flickr
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Old 07-01-2019   #29
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Nikon FM2n, Nikkor-S Auto 55mm f/1.2, ORWO N74+, developed in LegacyPro L110 at 1:31 for 6.5 minutes.


2019.04.27 Roll #202-03519-positive.jpg
by dourbalistar, on Flickr
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Old 07-06-2019   #30
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Nikon FM2n, Nikkor-S Auto 55mm f/1.2, ORWO N74+, developed in LegacyPro L110 at 1:31 for 6.5 minutes.


2019.03.24 Roll #199-03441-positive.jpg
by dourbalistar, on Flickr
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Old 07-09-2019   #31
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Nikon FM2n, Nikkor-S Auto 55mm f/1.2, ORWO N74+, developed in LegacyPro L110 at 1:31 for 6.5 minutes.


2019.04.27 Roll #202-03521-positive.jpg
by dourbalistar, on Flickr
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Old 07-10-2019   #32
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Nikon FM2n, Nikkor-S Auto 55mm f/1.2, ORWO N74+, developed in LegacyPro L110 at 1:31 for 6.5 minutes.


2019.04.06 Roll #201-03483-positive.jpg
by dourbalistar, on Flickr
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Old 07-10-2019   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madNbad View Post
This might help with your decision:
http://www.nikkor.com/en/story/0049/


Link is now here:
https://imaging.nikon.com/history/story/0049/index.htm


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Old 07-15-2019   #34
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Thanks, maigo! Yes, it seems Nikon moved a bunch of articles on their homepage at some point during the last few years, breaking some of the old "The Thousand and One Nights" article links.

Nikon FM2n, Nikkor-S Auto 55mm f/1.2, ORWO N74+, developed in LegacyPro L110 at 1:31 for 6.5 minutes.


2019.04.06 Roll #201-03477-positive.jpg
by dourbalistar, on Flickr
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Old 07-17-2019   #35
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Nikon FM2n, Nikkor-S Auto 55mm f/1.2, ORWO N74+, developed in LegacyPro L110 at 1:31 for 6.5 minutes.


2019.04.27 Roll #202-03526-positive.jpg
by dourbalistar, on Flickr
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Old 07-19-2019   #36
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Nikon FM2n, Nikkor-S Auto 55mm f/1.2, ORWO N74+, developed in LegacyPro L110 at 1:31 for 6.5 minutes.


2019.04.27 Roll #202-03524-positive.jpg
by dourbalistar, on Flickr
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Old 07-23-2019   #37
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Nikon FM2n, Nikkor-S Auto 55mm f/1.2, ORWO N74+, developed in LegacyPro L110 at 1:31 for 6.5 minutes.


2019.04.06 Roll #201-03486-positive.jpg
by dourbalistar, on Flickr
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Old 07-25-2019   #38
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Nikon FM2n, Nikkor-S Auto 55mm f/1.2, ORWO N74+, developed in LegacyPro L110 at 1:31 for 6.5 minutes.


2019.04.27 Roll #202-03542-positive.jpg
by dourbalistar, on Flickr
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Old 07-27-2019   #39
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Nikon FM2n, Nikkor-S Auto 55mm f/1.2, ORWO N74+, developed in LegacyPro L110 at 1:31 for 6.5 minutes.


2019.03.30 Roll #200-03367-positive.jpg
by dourbalistar, on Flickr
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Old 07-29-2019   #40
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Nikon FM2n, Nikkor-S Auto 55mm f/1.2, ORWO N74+, developed in LegacyPro L110 at 1:31 for 6.5 minutes.


2019.03.24 Roll #199-03442-positive.jpg
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2019.04.27 Roll #202-03540-positive.jpg
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2019.06.08 Roll #207--56.jpg
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