Micro-NIKKOR-P Auto 55mm --> Ai conversion

Started Aug 14, 2017 | Discussions
Captain Hook
Captain Hook Senior Member • Posts: 2,156
Micro-NIKKOR-P Auto 55mm --> Ai conversion
6

I got my hands on this little gem; the Micro-NIKKOR-P Auto 1:3.5 f=55mm. Although it has a F-mount, you cannot use it on a e.g. D700 or D800. It would damage the aperture feeler of your body when you would try to mount it.

Some remarks about this lens can be found here:

https://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/companies/nikon/nikkoresources/6070nikkor/micro/index.htm

http://www.naturfotograf.com/lens_spec.html

The lens, before the surgery:

Although it's manufactured in 1970 (!), it looks and feels like brand new.

I used these instructions to operate on this little guy:

http://pindelski.org/Photography/2013/02/06/nikkor-ai-conversions-diy/

https://richardhaw.com/2016/01/21/diy-ai-conversion/

After some careful disassembly, determining the right position for the filing, the filing itself, some spray painting (mat black) the trimmed rim and assembly again, it looks like this:

As you can see, it's hardly noticeable.

I only used handtools for this DIY job.

Some metal files of different roughness, some fine sanding paper and some tiny screwdrivers + pliers to disassemble/assemble the mount/aperture ring. And a spray can of mat black metal paint.

Took me about 30 minutes to do everything very carefully and thought through, because there is no way back if I would file to much material away. And then some time for the paint to dry.

But it works! Mounts correctly on my ff body and the correct aperture settings are detected when rotating the aperture ring.

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Dave Sanders Senior Member • Posts: 2,610
Re: Micro-NIKKOR-P Auto 55mm --> Ai conversion

That's a good looking lens. How does it perform optically? You  may have inspired me to try this on some older lenses...

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Dave Sanders

Captain Hook
OP Captain Hook Senior Member • Posts: 2,156
Re: Micro-NIKKOR-P Auto 55mm, test images.
3

Dave Sanders wrote:

How does it perform optically?

You can judge for yourself!

I've made some test images @ different apertures, just this evening in our garden:

From f/3.5 - f/32

see: https://www.flickr.com/photos/chasa-imago/albums/72157687607644755

Maximum resolution (7360x4912), 100% uncompressed JPEG. Just converted from RAW --> JPEG with Nikon ViewNX-i

At apertures >f/16 you can see that diffraction kicks in.

And @ f/3.5 there is of course small DOF.

Best results are @ around f/8

What do you think? Not bad for cheap old glass!

Just Tim 3 Contributing Member • Posts: 880
One of the best MF Nikkors made
5

A real nice conversion there.

I've got three of them but prefer the Micro-Nikkor PC 55mm f3.5 for general use.

Sharp enough for 24mp but with very flat field and sharpness extending across the whole frame. It also is very useful at f16 as softening isn't a problem until f22. Bokeh can be a little disappointing especially in front of the focus point at large apertures, but not really a problem when you use the lens for what it's good at.

Dave Sanders Senior Member • Posts: 2,610
Re: Micro-NIKKOR-P Auto 55mm, test images.

Great! Thanks for those...impressively sharp, even at f/3.5!

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Dave Sanders

Mark9473 Veteran Member • Posts: 5,914
Re: Micro-NIKKOR-P Auto 55mm --> Ai conversion

That lens looks exquisite! It's remarkable how different it looks from the 55/2.8 AIS version that I'm using. Yours is a piece of art.

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Mark

 Mark9473's gear list:Mark9473's gear list
Canon G1 X II Panasonic Lumix DMC-G6 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85 Panasonic G85 Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 50-200mm 1:2.8-3.5 SWD +21 more
Dave Sanders Senior Member • Posts: 2,610
Re: Micro-NIKKOR-P Auto 55mm --> Ai conversion

Mark9473 wrote:

That lens looks exquisite! It's remarkable how different it looks from the 55/2.8 AIS version that I'm using. Yours is a piece of art.

Yeah, I'm not gonna lie, i love the aesthetics of those lenses, especially with the (slightly impractical) metal focus ring. The new silver nosed Voigtlander 58 is a looker in the old style.

-- hide signature --

Dave Sanders

Captain Hook
OP Captain Hook Senior Member • Posts: 2,156
Re: Micro-NIKKOR-P Auto 55mm. Focus ring?

Dave Sanders wrote:

Yeah, I'm not gonna lie, i love the aesthetics of those lenses, especially with the (slightly impractical) metal focus ring. The new silver nosed Voigtlander 58 is a looker in the old style.

? The focus ring is the broad, black rubber(ized) ring. IMHO not impractical at all...

Or do you mean something else?

Captain Hook
OP Captain Hook Senior Member • Posts: 2,156
Re: Micro-NIKKOR-P Auto 55mm --> Ai conversion

Mark9473 wrote:

That lens looks exquisite! It's remarkable how different it looks from the 55/2.8 AIS version that I'm using. Yours is a piece of art.

Thanks.

Yes, I found it @ local second hand photographic website, checked if it really was this specific model as described by Bjørn Rørslett:

http://www.naturfotograf.com/lens_spec.html

55 mm f/3.5 Micro-Nikkor Auto (Compensating Aperture)

5(up close)
2(distant)

The modified Micro-Nikkor from the mid '60 had much flatter image field than the first version of 1961, and gave close-ups with tremendous sharpness. Despite its single-layer coating, the deeply recessed front element ensured flare problems were minimised. This lens had an outstanding feature directed at the non-TTL light meters of its era, viz. an aperture that changed f/numbers by itself as the lens was focused closer. This meant the photographer could measure exposure the usual way and let the lens take care of the adjustment needed by the close-focus extension. Really neat if you didn't use TTL (I did TTL, however, with my Nikon F Photomic of these halcyon days, and the aperture re-re-adjustment was cumbersome indeed - I ended up doing stopped-down metering with it). The 55 mm Micro was optimised for close-ups with peak performance at 1:10 magnification, and the image quality suffered when it was used for landscape shots. For close-up work, peak performance was between f/5.6 and f/8. The near symmetrical design ensured that it performed well when reversed onto a bellows or extension tubes. I have used it this way successfully for shooting macro images on 6x9 cm and 4x5" formats.
Some confusion exists as to which Micro-Nikkor is the one with adjusting aperture. Partly this is due to the term "Micro-Nikkor P" used in Nikon literature, whilst the lens itself only is engraved "Auto". At least my sample is. Since there is an immediate successor without the compensating feature, but "P" designation, identifying this model is not easy. However, a lens with chrome barrel, magnification factors printed in light blue, and hill-and-dale focusing and aperture collars likely is the real thing.

And made a good deal with the seller, for this lens.

The seller didn't think a proper Ai conversion was possible/feasible, but I proved him wrong.

Just Tim 3 Contributing Member • Posts: 880
Re: Micro-NIKKOR-P Auto 55mm --> Ai conversion

Captain Hook wrote:

Mark9473 wrote:

That lens looks exquisite! It's remarkable how different it looks from the 55/2.8 AIS version that I'm using. Yours is a piece of art.

Thanks.

Yes, I found it @ local second hand photographic website, checked if it really was this specific model as described by Bjørn Rørslett:

http://www.naturfotograf.com/lens_spec.html

55 mm f/3.5 Micro-Nikkor Auto (Compensating Aperture)

5(up close)
2(distant)

The modified Micro-Nikkor from the mid '60 had much flatter image field than the first version of 1961, and gave close-ups with tremendous sharpness. Despite its single-layer coating, the deeply recessed front element ensured flare problems were minimised. This lens had an outstanding feature directed at the non-TTL light meters of its era, viz. an aperture that changed f/numbers by itself as the lens was focused closer. This meant the photographer could measure exposure the usual way and let the lens take care of the adjustment needed by the close-focus extension. Really neat if you didn't use TTL (I did TTL, however, with my Nikon F Photomic of these halcyon days, and the aperture re-re-adjustment was cumbersome indeed - I ended up doing stopped-down metering with it). The 55 mm Micro was optimised for close-ups with peak performance at 1:10 magnification, and the image quality suffered when it was used for landscape shots. For close-up work, peak performance was between f/5.6 and f/8. The near symmetrical design ensured that it performed well when reversed onto a bellows or extension tubes. I have used it this way successfully for shooting macro images on 6x9 cm and 4x5" formats.
Some confusion exists as to which Micro-Nikkor is the one with adjusting aperture. Partly this is due to the term "Micro-Nikkor P" used in Nikon literature, whilst the lens itself only is engraved "Auto". At least my sample is. Since there is an immediate successor without the compensating feature, but "P" designation, identifying this model is not easy. However, a lens with chrome barrel, magnification factors printed in light blue, and hill-and-dale focusing and aperture collars likely is the real thing.

And made a good deal with the seller, for this lens.

The seller didn't think a proper Ai conversion was possible/feasible, but I proved him wrong.

There are two different versions here, not to be confused. The one with the metal, (hill and valley), focus ring is the compensating version discussed in your italics above. The one with the rubber ring is the later non-compensating version. Although the same optical formula it does not have the compensating aperture and it is corrected more for general use. The compensating version was corrected for close-up and really optimised for 300mm or there about, a little "soft" at infinity. Yours is the later one corrected for more general use. An excellent lens, very sharp with a very flat field. If you look at my image in the post above the compensating version is the one on the right with the PC, or P, version in the middle.

Dave Sanders Senior Member • Posts: 2,610
Re: Micro-NIKKOR-P Auto 55mm. Focus ring?

Captain Hook wrote:

Dave Sanders wrote:

Yeah, I'm not gonna lie, i love the aesthetics of those lenses, especially with the (slightly impractical) metal focus ring. The new silver nosed Voigtlander 58 is a looker in the old style.

? The focus ring is the broad, black rubber(ized) ring. IMHO not impractical at all...

Or do you mean something else?

Ahhh, yes, sorry, I didn't make it clear. The oldest versions have a knurled metal focus ring. Looks great, very old school, but the broad rubberized one like yours is much more practical.

I really like the looks of the first guy, but think the second, like yours, is the best balance of looks and practicality.

The new Voigtlander has gone old school:

Super slick, IMO. Already really wanted this lens, the new aesthetics don't help my gear lust haha. I'll likely buy an already ai'd one like yours, though, and call it a day.

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Dave Sanders

afoton
afoton Senior Member • Posts: 1,629
Re: Micro-NIKKOR-P Auto 55mm. Focus ring?

Dave Sanders wrote:

Captain Hook wrote:

Dave Sanders wrote:

Yeah, I'm not gonna lie, i love the aesthetics of those lenses, especially with the (slightly impractical) metal focus ring. The new silver nosed Voigtlander 58 is a looker in the old style.

? The focus ring is the broad, black rubber(ized) ring. IMHO not impractical at all...

Or do you mean something else?

Ahhh, yes, sorry, I didn't make it clear. The oldest versions have a knurled metal focus ring. Looks great, very old school, but the broad rubberized one like yours is much more practical.

I really like the looks of the first guy, but think the second, like yours, is the best balance of looks and practicality.

I have never experienced any practical difference between the metal focus ring and the rubberized focus ring. For me it is just different surfaces.

Dave Sanders Senior Member • Posts: 2,610
Re: Micro-NIKKOR-P Auto 55mm. Focus ring?

afoton wrote:

Dave Sanders wrote:

Captain Hook wrote:

Dave Sanders wrote:

Yeah, I'm not gonna lie, i love the aesthetics of those lenses, especially with the (slightly impractical) metal focus ring. The new silver nosed Voigtlander 58 is a looker in the old style.

? The focus ring is the broad, black rubber(ized) ring. IMHO not impractical at all...

Or do you mean something else?

Ahhh, yes, sorry, I didn't make it clear. The oldest versions have a knurled metal focus ring. Looks great, very old school, but the broad rubberized one like yours is much more practical.

I really like the looks of the first guy, but think the second, like yours, is the best balance of looks and practicality.

I have never experienced any practical difference between the metal focus ring and the rubberized focus ring. For me it is just different surfaces.

Narrower, they get cold and they scuff/scar. Not really major.

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Dave Sanders

UGPRO Contributing Member • Posts: 615
5 element wonder!!

Just Tim 3 wrote:

A real nice conversion there.

I've got three of them but prefer the Micro-Nikkor PC 55mm f3.5 for general use.

Sharp enough for 24mp but with very flat field and sharpness extending across the whole frame. It also is very useful at f16 as softening isn't a problem until f22. Bokeh can be a little disappointing especially in front of the focus point at large apertures, but not really a problem when you use the lens for what it's good at.

Awesome pics, what a pop, depth and microcontrast, thank you for sharing.

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