Old Nikkor lenses and front aperture stop

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bokemon Regular Member • Posts: 432
Old Nikkor lenses and front aperture stop

Hello folks,

I have a few older Nikon lenses:

300mm F2.8 AF

180mm F2.8 AF-D

85mm F2 AI

ALL of them have the problem that the largest aperture takes a hit in sharpness and contrast.  When focusing on a pinpoint of light, like a star, it's clear that the problem is a small halo around the point that can't be focused away.  And if you use the second largest aperture, you get diffraction spikes or polygon bokeh.

One "trick" I used on the 300mm F2.8, for astro, is a front aperture stop, which is just a ring at the front of the lens that cuts the aperture down a notch, say F3.5.  This seems to fix the problems 80% and no diffraction spikes either.

I tired the same trick on the 85mm lens, and while it does boost the contrast and sharpness, the round bokeh balls have a brighter ring on the outside, so background bokeh is still a bit on the "distracting" and "busy" side.  Is there a way to soften the edge of the bohek ball?  I dunno, maybe move the aperture stop forwards?  Not sure if that would cause vignetting.  Also, I am reluctant to use a step down ring because now the lens hood won't work.

 bokemon's gear list:bokemon's gear list
Olympus OM-D E-M10 II Panasonic G85 Nikon Z6 Panasonic Lumix G Vario 7-14mm F4 ASPH Sigma 105mm F2.8 EX DG Macro +15 more
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