AI-S lenses

Started Sep 17, 2013 | Discussions thread
EcoPix Regular Member • Posts: 278
Re: AI-S lenses

There are various unanswered questions in this thread. These thoughts might be useful:

PC Nikkors

Just use the software, I reckon. I used a 35mm PC back in film days (it only had shift, but that's all you need for straightening verticals). It was semi-useful then, but generally I reached for a Linhof for that kind of shot.

It wasn't a notably sharp lens, and I wonder whether it would sing on a D800 sensor, especially with a bit of shift. I suspect you'd get better IQ just using the software on a sharp shot - you've got plenty of reserve to play with on a D800 with good lens.

Manual focussing

You'll have no trouble focussing a bright, sharp lens like the 180 2.8 if you use a focus magnifier. Not the ones that only see the middle, I mean ones like the DK21m, or Tenpas, that still see the whole frame.

I like those cheap Chinese zoom magnifiers, because when you screw them out, you can really see the fine differences in sharpness. It's almost like a microprism - you can see the detail wobble slightly with the texture of the focussing screen when the image just goes out.

Or you can screw them in a bit to get the whole frame comfortably for composition.

Modern cameras are fine for manual focus with good lenses, even the little D3200. They just need magnifying eyepieces. I have one on every body I use.

I'll go further and suggest that if you take the trouble to focus carefully instead of just accepting the AF hyperbole, you'll start to see how good your AF lenses really are. Especially on bodies without AF fine tune - what a joke!

I suspect that's why people are getting so excited by the old Ai-S lenses - they have to bother to focus them, and are actually seeing lens sharpness for a change.

50mm f1.2

Watch for focus shift at open apertures - it doesn't show on the focussing screen, so you need to focus by live view.

I know the 50mm 1.4 Ai-S at minimum focussing distance has a measureable 10mm of focus shift between f1.4 and f4. If you focus on the focussing screen at f1.4 (easy to do with that depth of field), your recorded image will be in focus about a centimetre closer (if your camera's collimation is correct).

What I can't work out is why that isn't automatically adjusted for with manual focus in the viewfinder. It seems to fool the focussing screen, but not the sensor.

50-135 Ai-S

Add one vote for this incredible lens. Nikon seem to have lost the knack of making zoom lenses with this optical quality for under about two thousand dollars. In fact, it's the lens they should be making now, with their alphabet soup added, for DX.

Come to think of it, they can leave off ED - there's zero CA with the old one!

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