Built quality of Nikon 50mm f1.4 AI(S) and 35mm f2 AI(S)

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by alvin_lim|5, Nov 25, 2008.

  1. Hi,

    I am currently looking for a lens that can take some rougher handling and have narrowed down to four lenses

    1. Nikon 50mm f1.4 AI
    2. Nikon 50mm f1.4 AIS
    3. Nikon 35mm f2 AI
    4. Nikon 35mm f2 AIS

    I am wondering among the four of them, which are generally better built? I currently own the AFD versions of the
    50mm f1.8 and the 35mm f2; but they seem a little delicate for rough handling. I am intending to use the lens on
    my F3HP.

    The reason why I want a tougher lens is because I intend to solely use my F3HP as my everyday camera which will
    be stuffed into my (non camera) backpack. With the amount of times I am squashed in the trains etc, I am hoping
    to get a lens that is tougher.

    Of course, I am hoping also that I do not need to trade off so much of the picture quality. Thanks!
  2. All of them are equal in build quality. The only difference between the AI and AI-S lenses is the aperture index key.
  3. You could also stick to you AF50 or the AF35mm, I carry around more delicate lenses (af28-105, af35-70) in my cycle back pack all the time and they seem to do fine...
  4. The internal construction of the AI versions is slightly different from the AIS if my memory serves correctly (primarily in the way the inner helicoid is constructed and keyed), but I would agree with Ellis that they are essentially equal in build quality. Early AI versions have 5 mount screws as opposed to 3, but that is not really significant. One other functional difference is that the focusing is "quicker" on the AIS versions compared to the AI versions (i.e. shorter focusing ring rotation from infinity to minimum focus). FYI, here is an "exploded" 50/1.8 AI (the f/1.4 would be similar). Head and shoulders above the construction of the AF versions. No plastic or tape here. :)
  5. Aside: Michael, I like the photo!
  6. I had an AIS 35/2 in a similar stage of deconstruction several weeks ago ... unfortunately for this particular
    discussion I
    did not bother to take a photo before reassembly. :-(
  7. Yeah, great shot. BTW, I've modified several of that lens to shorten focus by filing a bit of the chrome lip on the center ring,
    (the one with the DOF markings), drops the minimum focus from 18 inches to about 12 or so.
    I'd agree with Michael's view of build quality, although I think I'd be more inclined to take an AiS lens. The Ai's often have a
    few internal construction 'quirks' that IMO make them a bit more difficult to adjust/repair if something goes wrong. They
    work fine when Fine but if dropped or abused can take serious effort to bring back, whereas the AiS versions to me seem
    more robust. I stress, very small differences, besides, I'd still take a NAi lens, those were REAL tanks inside.
  8. Slightly OT: No plastic here, but the next worst thing: aluminum/aluminum helicoids which, if the grease gets too thin, start
    gouging each other out. Keep it greased!
  9. Thanks guys for the information! Since the quality of the lenses are pretty similar, I think I will be going for the 50mm f1.4 AI or AIS then; may not make that much sense getting the 35mm as it is too similar to the AFD version that I have.

    Michael: Wow, love that picture! Thanks for sharing!

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