Can one 50mm lens do it all?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by Ian Rance, Feb 10, 2009.

  1. Just trying to move on some kit to put money towards the new primes as and when they arrive, however whilst the wobbly zooms were easy to lose, I am having trouble with the 50mm lenses that I have aquired. I have too many I think, but my mind is spinning trying to work out which to get rid of. Perhaps none - what do you think?
    50mm f1.8 E - kept for the small size and low distortion.
    50mm f2 K - kept for the smooth rendering and clean sharpness.
    50mm f1.8 Ai - excellent on the F3, and good sharpness.
    50mm f2 H - Too nice just to give up, and I am still working to get the best out of it.
    55mm f2.8 micro - sharp and allows close focus, but slow.
    50mm f1.4 AF-S - just got it, but not seen the results yet (procesing delay).
    So, do you have a few 50's? Should I just sell some? Are they not worth selling so just keep them? What have you kept?
    Any guidance welcome.
  2. Hey! There are two 50's I have not got that Adorama are offering just to the right of this page! What a coincidence...
  3. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Not that this reply will help you much, but you have exactly 6 more 50/55mm lenses that I have.
  4. I think the 50mm f/1.4 AF-S is sufficient, but it's good to have backups handy.
  5. The 50 AF-S would be plenty for me, although the 55 Micro has the obvious benefit for macro work.
  6. pge


    Nice collection. I have three, the 50mm f1.8 mf, the 50mm f1.8 af and the 55mm f1.2 mf. I would like your 55mm.
  7. sell them all and get the noct. :)
    • 50mm f1.8 E
    • 50mm f2 K
    • 50mm f1.8 Ai
    • 50mm f2 H
    Personally, I would pick one from the above list to keep with your AF-S 50/1.4 and 55/2.8 Micro, and then sell the other three.
    Or perhaps you should try to find the AIS 50/1.8s pancake (0.45m min. focus , s/n 2050001 - 226xxxx) which was originally sold only in Japan, and replace all of the above with that one. Or just add it to the collection. ;-) ;-)
    Same size as the 50/1.8E and the recently discontinued plastic barrel AIS 50/1.8N pancake , but with a metal barrel and aperture ring, metal internals, and full NIC multicoatings. A bit hard to find, but they do turn up occasionally (I acquired and sold two recently).
    I have the 50/2 AI and 50/1.2 AIS. One for small size, one for speed and shallow DOF effects. I also used to own the 55/2.8 Micro, but sold it to a friend this winter when I realized I had not used it for at least two years (I have the 105/2.8 Micro).
    Yes you have too many 50's, but except for the AF-S 50/1.4 those you have aren't expensive. You could be addicted to much more expensive vices. :)
  8. Lenses are like money, you can`t have to much. Personally I never sell, only aquire.
    If you like the original, make it Ai and that`s the one to keep. I think the new 50 1.4 AfS is a winner and I would not be unhappy with that one.
  9. That old 50 1.8 Ai is a beast, none sharper than that, I still have mine on the N90, plus the old E I use as a loupe and a D50 AF 1.4 use on my D200s. They're not worth anything, keep em' all.
  10. I have a "thing" about standard lens. Let's see if I can remember what I have in that range.
    1) Voigtlandar 40 mm f2
    2) Nikkor 45 mm f2.8P
    3) Nikkor 50 mm f1.2 AIS
    4) Nikkor 50 mm f1.8D AF
    5) Nikkor 50 mm f1.4 AIS
    6) Nikkor 50 mm f1.8 AIS 3rd generation (2 copies)
    7) Nikkor 50 mm f1.4D AF
    8) Nikkor 50 mm f1.4G AF-S
    9) Zeiss 50 mm f1.4 Planar
    10) Sigma 50 mm f1.4 USM
    11) Rokkor Minolta-X MD 50 mm f1.2 converted to Nikon F
    12) Nikkor 55 mm f1.2 pre-AI
    A few that I like to have:
    1) Voigtlandar 58 mm f1.4 Nokton
    2) Nikkor 58 mm f1.2 Noct
    3) Leica R 50 mm f1.4 Summilux
  11. Well, I have a lot of M42 screw-mount 50 something lenses but only two in Nikon mount. I do however have 6 500mm lenses and counting. Rest assured that something like your compulsion is shared by many of us at
  12. I only have five.
    1) Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 AF-S
    2) Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 AF-D
    3) Nikkor 50mm f/1.2 AI-S
    4) Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 AI
    5) Nikkor 55mm f/3.5 AI
    They're all quite different. In your case you have four manual focus lenses at f/1.8 to f/2 so you could probably pick one and get rid of the rest. But they are not expensive so why not keep them unless you are relly short of space or cash?
  13. I feel poor - I only have two...
    50mm f1.2 AIS & a 50mm f1.8 AF(but it is made in Japan...)
    Ah well - Life goes on....
    Lil :)
  14. My policy (at least my latest one), is to have lenses for their proper cameras. I have non Ai lenses for non Ai cameras (of course non Ai`d!), Ai-AiS lenses for their age cameras, etc. You cannot use an AF lens on a manual focus camera, or an Ai lens on an AF camera screen (well, actually you can, I hope you understand what I mean... ).
    I think you have an interesting collection, I`d not get rid of any lens unless you`re decided to. If so, I`d only keep the ones in Mint condition. Anyway, my favourites could be the "H", the 1.8Ai and -probably- the AFS. I consider the 55 micro from a different group.
  15. I did an informal test a while ago with the 50mm lenses I had at the time and found the 50mm f2 AI and the 55mm f2.8 AIS Micro-Nikkor were the two best of the lot. I recently bought the 50mm f1.2 AIS and will hopefully get a chance to shoot with it after it gets cleaned (bought it with dust inside, but otherwise mint). I enjoy the 50mm f1.8 AF-D lens on my D700 when I want to stay light and compact. My Micro-Nikkor is great when I need zero distortion and max sharpness. I have the 50mm f2 H Non-AI that came with my fathers Nikon F Ftn, it lives on that camera hanging in the closet. And I have the 50mm f1.8 AI on my Nikon FM, which also lives hanging in the closet. I try to exercise the shutters in these cameras once every few months. I sold both of the f2 AI 50mm lenses I had, preferring the f1.8 AI version for my FM even though it was originally sold with the f2 version. I don't know why some people disdain the 50mm lens, I find it a good general focal length, though I do prefer the 35mm f2 AI Nikkor for a general walkaround lens if I have to choose just one.
  16. Ray House

    Ray House Ray House

    If you have to ask other people if you've got too many lenses you've got a problem. Work on the problem and you will have your own answers (which I think you already do).
  17. Thank you for the comments. Concerning my reason about 'keep' or 'sell' I am making efforts not to just keep items for the sake of it - that is a slippery slope, but I read many times of people saying:
    "I used to have that lens, but I sold it long ago - but I regret that and need to get it again".
    After reading your comments I will sell two of my 50's and it is the two f2's that are for the chop.
  18. Love "normals".
    50mm f/2 pre- ai, had ai'd.
    50mm f/1.4 ais
    50mm f/1.2 ais
    55mm f/3.5 Micro, had it ai'd.
  19. I've always been a fan of the "normal" focal length for any format. With my first cameras as a kid I didn't have a choice - that's what I got with the Yashica compact 35mm rangefinders and TLRs I had available. When I got my first SLR, a Miranda Sensorex, all I could afford was the 50mm lens. Over the years I've always first gotten a 50mm lens for my various systems from Ricoh, Canon, Minolta, Olympus and, now, Nikon.
    At the moment, I have a 50/1.8D AF and the same 50/2 AI Nikkor that came with my battered F3HP when I bought it used several years ago, my first Nikon camera. Occasionally I've used the 55/3.5 Micro Nikkor as a sort of normal lens.
    If I had my druthers and was independently wealth I'd add a Noct. Lacking that kinda loot, the 50/1.2 AI-S would be useful. I'm still primarily an available light photographer and the new 50/1.4 AF-S Nikkor doesn't offer enough advantages over the 50/1.8D AF. Not enough extra speed, not enough significant improvements in optical performance and, according to the handful of folks who've actually tried it, the AF-S doesn't appear to autofocus any quicker with a competent camera. The 50/1.8D AF already autofocuses very quickly on the D2H, even in very dim lighting, so only an f/1.2 lens would offer any benefit to me.
    Even on the D2H the 50mm focal length seems comfortable. I've never experienced the "crop sensor crisis" so many other folks describe. As soon as I look through the finder I quickly adjust to what the lens offers. It still looks like a "normal" lens to me. Doesn't much matter if it's 28mm, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm, I don't stress out over perceived limitations but instead see challenges and opportunities. For me, a lens needs to be wider than 28mm or longer than 85mm before I find myself having to consciously adjust the way I think about and compose my photos.
    I suspect that wildlife and sports photographers probably find themselves more comfortable with teles in the 200-400mm range and probably don't need to consciously adjust their mental approach to photography until they deal with a lens much shorter or longer than the familiar telephoto range.
  20. What's the point in breaking up a collection... you'll only regret it. I always have:)
  21. I like 50's. That said, I think that if one needs several 50's, I would choose one fast for low light and one high quality and close focusing for good light and when you need to get close. My choice would pretty much be the 50/1.2 and a macro, I have a 55/3.5. Of your set, I'd probably choose the 55/2.8 and the 50/1.4. More is nice, but do you really need all those? Maybe a small 50/2 might be nice.
  22. I don't think you have a problem, however I have 14.
    45 2.8GN
    50 1.4 (original F model) - (2)
    50 1.4 AI
    50 1.4 AI-S
    50 1.4 AFD
    50 1.8 E
    50 1.8 AI-S
    50 1.8 AF
    50 1.8 AFD
    50 2 - (2)
    55 1.2 AI
    55 2.8 micro
    How do you decide which of your children to get rid of?
  23. I too have gone through the process of trying out all these different 50mm variants, as well as the 45mm f/2.8 AIP. Currently, I have the 50mm f/1.8 AI, 50m f/1.2 AIS, and 60mm f/2.8 Micro AFD.
    In your case, I would keep the 55 f/2.8 Micro, and ONE of the faster lenses. I have no experience with the AFS 50mm f/1.4. I hated the 50mm f/1.4 AIS. Or, if you still shoot Kodachrome 64 like I do, having the f/1.2 aperture can be very useful. I keep the 60 Micro for use in duping slides. It seems a trivial use now, but it is one heck of a sharp lens.
    At least with the Micro, and a fast lens, you have a clear separation of uses between these lenses.
    Probably the most economical choice is to keep the 55 Micro and the 50 f/1.8 AI. Sell the rest. That's probably what I would have done, if I didn't get the f/1.2 lens. Now that I've got it, I can't let go. However, the 50 f/1.8 AI is perfectly satisfactory, distortion free, and sharp.
  24. Hmm, all this talk about 50mm lenses made me realize that I don't have a "small" aperture manual focus 50mm. So I've contacted a seller about a 50mm f/2 AI. Bad thread :)
    But maybe the 50 f/1.8 AI would have been better? I like AI better than AI-S because of the longer focus throw.
  25. If I am counting them properly I have eight 50/2 lenses, a 50/1.8 AI, the last version of the 50/1.8 AIS, six 50/1.4 lenses and twelve 55mm Micro Nikkors. These are all manual focus lenses. There is also the 45/2.8 GN C lens. My favorite 50/2 is the 'K' model. I prefer the original 50/1.8 AI to any of the later ones. I mostly use an old pointy prong 50/1.4 Nikkor S but I think the prettiest and nicest 50/1.4 is the first 'K' lens. My favorite 55 Micro Nikkor is probably the f/3.5 PC. When I went to FL last month I brought a Nikkormat FT2 with a 28/3.5 AI, 35/2.8 'K', 55/2.8 AIS, 85/2 AI, 135/3.5 AI and 200/4 AI. The four rolls of Ektachrome I shot look nice and I didn't miss a faster standard lens. The 55/2.8 is a very good lens but its build quality isn't as good as that of the older f/3.5 PC. The prettiest 55/3.5? The 'K'. I have too many of these now to use all of them regularly but I like knowing they are around. When the weather gets a little nicer I will give some of them a workout.
  26. You know, I forgot one, an Arsat H 50/2 (Nikon AIS mount) that came on a Kiev 19M. Didn't count 2 Pentax 50/2 or the Zorki Jupitor 50/3.5 cause they're not Nikon mount.

Share This Page