AI-S lenses

Started Sep 17, 2013 | Discussions
EcoPix
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Re: AI-S lenses
In reply to Tomasg71, Sep 19, 2013

Hi,

I don't want to break any dp rules but this is what I refer to:

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/221178903893?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1439.l2649

1.08x-1.58x zoom viewfinder eyepiece magnifier for D800 D3000 D5000 D90 D300

Seller is Phoebe_g2009 in downtown Shenzhen. I have nothing to do with them except I've bought 4 of their eyepieces and they work for me. They've replaced a DK21m and a Tenpa, which were also good - more compact but not quite as high-powered.

You have to be careful of the weakish plastic mounts, and threading in the lens - not too tight or hamfisted or something might break or the zooming thread might jam. Gently does it and they're fine. You'll need to adjust the diopter differently.

Also take care you don't lose the rubber cup, as it does slip off rather easily when taking the camera out of a padded case, as the eyepiece protrudes more than most.

Packaging is basic but service is quick. Optically pretty good. Different mounts available for just about any camera.

Cheers,

Wayne

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yray
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Re: Thank you all - much appreciated
In reply to leighton w, Sep 19, 2013

leighton w wrote:

Ken, you hit the nail on the head about lenses we once drooled over and now go for cheap. Take the 80-200 f4.5 AI with the rectangular cutout at the mount. This lens is considered a pro lens and once sold for between 600 and 700 bucks back in the 70's. Now you can get them for under $100 all day long!

Is 80-200 f/4.5 Ai still a really good lens? I can see an attraction of a small zoom like that, it would be very handy when I don't want to lug around an f/2.8 one, and I could probably live with f/4.5, especially at this price point. But how is it in terms of sharpness wide open, CA, etc?

Also, any opinions on the 200mm f/4 Ais prime?

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NancyP
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Re: AI-S lenses
In reply to sgoldswo, Sep 19, 2013

Thanks!

As a Canon user, I get the best of "both" (actually many) worlds, being able to use old Nikon, M42, Olympus, Pentax, and other mount lenses, but sadly, not the original Canon FD lenses, most of which require major surgery to change the adaptor (difference in mount registration is only 0.5mm). Both C and N users can consider old medium format lenses, which however tend to be more expensive (and much heavier) than 35mm format equivalents, and longer enlarger lenses, allowing tilt-swing-shift via various adapters. Arsat, Ukrainian brand, also makes tilt-shift-swing lenses for 35mm format - I don't know how good these are. But, like all PC-E/TS lenses, they  are manual focus. I'd also like to put in a good word for the new Samyang/ Rokinon/ Bower/ Pro-optic lenses - these are quite sharp, have low coma (I do astrophotography so I care about coma), and c-h-e-a-p. 14mm f/2.8 full frame lens is $330.00 or so. OK at f/2.8 but very sharp at f/4, with oodles of vignetting on FF and funky mustache distortion for which there are user-built lens profiles on the internet, should you wish to correct the distortion.

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MikeInIndy
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Re: AI-S lenses
In reply to CFynn, Sep 19, 2013

CFynn wrote:

For the 180mm you might consider the AF-D version that is still in the catalogue. I think the optics are the same and the build quality and manual focus is (nearly) as good as the AIS version. But at 180mm you might find autofocus useful.

Either way, the 180mm 2.8 is a lovely lens.

24mm 2.8 is not a bad small w/a lens

Agree 100% on the 180 f2.8, the AF version is often CHEAPER used than the AI-S and has comparable image quality and an IF design. The AIS is also heavier, though probably better constructed as well.  The manual focus depends on the model, early "plastic fantastic" smoothies have a very tiny and crappy manual ring, and all versions require switching on the body to manual.  I'd also take a look at the 200 f4 if you want a tiny telephoto in MF.

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KenHill
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Re: Thank you all - much appreciated
In reply to yray, Sep 19, 2013

EcoPix,

You may have something interesting at least for me. I am using a D7000 and a D800 and have discovered using the camera as I was originally taught how to has made improvements. Having said that and using MF I've been changing my diopter wheel when using different lenses and have chalked it up to my eyes. I do a lot of competitive shooting and the eyeballs are growing old! I'll look at the idea you suggested.

Leighton W,

Yes to the 50-135, especially on the D7000. I often carry only the 25-50 and the 50-135 with the D7000 and have the same range as D800 with the 24-70 and my 80-200 AF-S. An unnoticeable bump in the ISO on the D7000 eliminates the stop advantage of the faster lenses. The weight advantage is considerable.

yray,

In the past 6 weeks I decided to go all MF in my D7000 kit. I've traded/sold some DX away, pocketed some cash after spending less than $250.  I got the 80-200 F4.5 ($99) eBay, 100-300 F5.6 ($80) flea mkt and the 80-200 F4 ($49) KEH BGN.  So far I see no difference in the 80-200's both are Ai-S and have good glass, the 4.5 being the last model number BCO 04 3656 with the rear rectangular cut out.  Neither match my 80-200 F2.8 AFS on the D800 but are fine on the D7000.  The 100-300 has only been out twice and is soft at 300 and wide open.  However both times have been on very hot humid days.  With longer lenses (just as in rifle scopes) there is a tendency to see mirage in the lens, that off course is captured in the image.  The 4.5 is a bit smaller and my goal is to keep weight and size down.

YMMV

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leighton w
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Re: Thank you all - much appreciated
In reply to yray, Sep 19, 2013

yray wrote:

leighton w wrote:

Ken, you hit the nail on the head about lenses we once drooled over and now go for cheap. Take the 80-200 f4.5 AI with the rectangular cutout at the mount. This lens is considered a pro lens and once sold for between 600 and 700 bucks back in the 70's. Now you can get them for under $100 all day long!

Is 80-200 f/4.5 Ai still a really good lens? I can see an attraction of a small zoom like that, it would be very handy when I don't want to lug around an f/2.8 one, and I could probably live with f/4.5, especially at this price point. But how is it in terms of sharpness wide open, CA, etc?

Also, any opinions on the 200mm f/4 Ais prime?

It's good, but I don't use mine that much. I much prefer the 180/2.8 ED AIS due to the creamy bokeh. The 80-200 is really sharp wide open and the CA is not bad, not that I've ever seen enough to do anything about it. The biggest problem with the lens is finding one in good enough shape that the zoom/focus ring is dampened well.

It also works great with tubes for Micro work. Here's a link to a couple of images from it.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/t_leighton_womack/sets/72157633456865858/

I had the 200/4 for a while and never warmed to it, so I sold it. However, due to the size, it would make a nice little lens to take with you hiking.

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kewlguy
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Re: AI-S lenses
In reply to sgoldswo, Sep 20, 2013

I collect some old Nikons (well, not all of them are that old)

my favorite:

Nikkor-P 105/2.5

Nikkor AI-S 105/2.5 (same character as the P, with better MC)

Nikkor 180/2.8 ED AI-S

Nikkor-S-C 55/3.5 Micro (I have two of these in like new condition )

Nikkor AI-S 28/2.8

But, the one Nikon I like the most is the one in LTM mount; Nippon Kogaku 5cm f/2. It's as sharp as my modern Leica 50/2 Summicron

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Angular Mo
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Re: AI-S lenses
In reply to NancyP, Sep 20, 2013

These threads help me maintain my relationship with these MF AIS lenses, no matter how impractical they may be.  My family no longer tolerates the couple of seconds needed to get the focus right.

50/1.4

85/1.4

105/2.5 both versions.

135/2

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stevo23
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Re: 58mm Noct-Nikkor f/1.2 is a collector's lens
In reply to NancyP, Sep 20, 2013

NancyP wrote:

How many people actually use it? It is approximately $5,000.00 on ebay.

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NancyP

It's a cool lens, mostly optimized for night shooting with no coma wide open. It's rare, but if I found one that someone was selling for a reasonable price, I'd grab it.

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HRonen
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200mm f/4 AI
In reply to sgoldswo, Sep 20, 2013

Needing a longer reach than the 105mm f/2.5 AI for my street photography I chose the 200mm f/4 AI which is smaller and much cheaper than the 180mm.

Its image quality is really exceptional (in terms of sharpness, contrast, colors and bokeh) and the price is very reasonable. Mine (in very good condition) cost $96.

Two recent images taken with the lens:

Pigeon guards

The corner

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marco1974
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Re: AI-S lenses
In reply to sgoldswo, Sep 20, 2013

sgoldswo wrote:

I enjoy photography but I've not adverse to making life harder for myself in order to enjoy the experience of photography, which is, to me, at least as important as the resultant stills. I recently discovered the joys of MF AI-S lenses (in particular the 50mm F1.2 and 35 F1.4) which has lead me to order the 105 F2.5. I'm eyeing up an old 28 F2 too as well as a 180mm F2.8. I used them mounted on my D800E and D600.

Optical performance would be important, though I don't really care if the relevant lens is soft wide open if its sharp at about F4-5.6. The key to me is the render and the quality of the images at screen size.

Are there any others people would recommend (or others from other brands that fit my description above)?

Thanks,

Simon

Hi, I totally relate to what you say here.

I tried a number of AI-S lenses, including two of the ones that you mention (50/1.2 and 180/2.8 ED), and I can offer the following insight:

EXCELLENT ONES: 55/2.8 micro, 180/2.8 ED

VERY GOOD ONES: 28/2.8 (0.2m mfd version), 50/1.2, 105/1.8, 400/5.6 IF-ED

GOOD ONES: 200/4

POOR ONES: 20/2.8, 24/2.8

Cheers,

Marco

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leighton w
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Re: Thank you all - much appreciated
In reply to leighton w, Sep 20, 2013

leighton w wrote:

yray wrote:

leighton w wrote:

Ken, you hit the nail on the head about lenses we once drooled over and now go for cheap. Take the 80-200 f4.5 AI with the rectangular cutout at the mount. This lens is considered a pro lens and once sold for between 600 and 700 bucks back in the 70's. Now you can get them for under $100 all day long!

Is 80-200 f/4.5 Ai still a really good lens? I can see an attraction of a small zoom like that, it would be very handy when I don't want to lug around an f/2.8 one, and I could probably live with f/4.5, especially at this price point. But how is it in terms of sharpness wide open, CA, etc?

Also, any opinions on the 200mm f/4 Ais prime?

It's good, but I don't use mine that much. I much prefer the 180/2.8 ED AIS due to the creamy bokeh. The 80-200 is really sharp wide open and the CA is not bad, not that I've ever seen enough to do anything about it. The biggest problem with the lens is finding one in good enough shape that the zoom/focus ring is dampened well.

It also works great with tubes for Micro work. Here's a link to a couple of images from it.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/t_leighton_womack/sets/72157633456865858/

I had the 200/4 for a while and never warmed to it, so I sold it. However, due to the size, it would make a nice little lens to take with you hiking.

EDIT: I told you that it didn't have bad CA. Well I just looked at some of my work closer and it does exhibit CA in bright contrasty images. But I was able to remove it easily in LR. Just thought you should know.

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marco1974
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Re: 200mm f/4 AI
In reply to HRonen, Sep 20, 2013

Nice images there, and true, the 200/4 is a nice lens.

Having said that, the 180/2.8 ED is visibly better at all comparable apertures (better contrast, better resolution, less CA).

Marco

HRonen wrote:

Needing a longer reach than the 105mm f/2.5 AI for my street photography I chose the 200mm f/4 AI which is smaller and much cheaper than the 180mm.

Its image quality is really exceptional (in terms of sharpness, contrast, colors and bokeh) and the price is very reasonable. Mine (in very good condition) cost $96.

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EcoPix
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Re: AI-S lenses
In reply to marco1974, Sep 20, 2013

This thread has become a who's who of Ai-S, so I can't leave it without mentioning the King of Big Lenses, for the record: 400mm f3.5 IFED.

Not a general-purpose lens by any stretch so not relevant to the original post, but if we're listing top lenses (by anyone anywhere ever), then this gorgeous example of the lensmaker's art needs to be on it.

Agree exactly with Marco, on those I'm familiar with (all except the 50mm f1.2 and 105 f1.8). The little 24mm f2.8 is a treasure on film but it doesn't translate to digital that well, like many wides, unfortunately. Too much micro colour fringing and slur.

Another one that disappointed me on digital was the old 600mm f5.6 IFED, which is also a pity, given it's so much more compact than the current offerings. Put a TC14b on one of those magic 400mm f3.5 IFEDs instead, and be happy.

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yray
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Re: AI-S lenses
In reply to EcoPix, Sep 21, 2013

EcoPix wrote:

This thread has become a who's who of Ai-S, so I can't leave it without mentioning the King of Big Lenses, for the record: 400mm f3.5 IFED.

Not a general-purpose lens by any stretch so not relevant to the original post, but if we're listing top lenses (by anyone anywhere ever), then this gorgeous example of the lensmaker's art needs to be on it.

Put a TC14b on one of those magic 400mm f3.5 IFEDs instead, and be happy.

Yes indeed, this is a beautiful lens, and it works very well with TCs. This is wide open, with the Kenko 1.4TC. Zoom to 100% to appreciate the sharpness, you can see every hair at a pretty large distance.

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Cerumen
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Re: AI-S lenses
In reply to yray, Sep 21, 2013

This was shot with the old Nikkor 400mm f3.5 coupled to the TC-301 2X converter, mated to the PK-11A extension tube (so that I could focus closer than the prime's sucky minimum distance of 15 feet). Hundred-percent crop, with minimal sharpening and some curve.
This is a testament to the quality of the 400 that it can handle those two pieces between it and the body, which was a D700.
Shutter was 1/320th, f5.6 (or, really, f11 w/TC).

BTW, the 400 f3.5 often sell for around $1000 US on eBay, often less. The dollar to performance ratio is significant, and it looks great, even wide open, and plays really nicely with those old TCs.

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yray
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Re: AI-S lenses
In reply to Cerumen, Sep 21, 2013

Cerumen wrote:

BTW, the 400 f3.5 often sell for around $1000 US on eBay, often less. The dollar to performance ratio is significant, and it looks great, even wide open, and plays really nicely with those old TCs.

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I agree, for those situations when you can get by without AF, the better Ai/Ais lenses often represent a ridiculous bargain. You can get a truly outstanding performance for relatively very little money. I also get a special pleasure from simply handling those old lenses, they seem to be built to such an amazingly high standard that probably almost nothing manufactured these days can touch then in this regard.

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Graham Hill
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Re: AI-S lenses
In reply to yray, Sep 21, 2013

yray wrote:

I also get a special pleasure from simply handling those old lenses, they seem to be built to such an amazingly high standard that probably almost nothing manufactured these days can touch then in this regard.

Ever hold a Carl Zeiss lens for Nikon?  Not a single piece of plastic on it, unlike the AIS lenses.

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