Nikkor 45mm f/2.8 P owners - did you keep your 50mm?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by robert_lai, Apr 8, 2005.

  1. I've gone through my "fast lens" phase. You know what I mean -
    having to get the 35mm f/1.4 when the 35mm f/2 was so much smaller
    and lighter to carry. Getting the 50mm f/1.4 when the f/1.8 is so
    much smaller and lighter to carry. Getting the 85mm f/1.4 when ... I
    didn't go that far yet!<p>At one point I had the 50mm f/1.4, f/1.8AI
    and f/1.8 Series E lens. I got rid of the Series E as being too
    redundant, but now I miss the slim little guy. It was great on the
    FG - a very light weight kit. Now I find that I have these wonderful
    fast lenses, but carrying them around is less fun then before due to
    their bulk and weight. The other aspect about the 50mm lenses that I
    currently have is that I hate their bokeh. You see sharp 7-sided
    polygons whenever you shoot at anything less than wide open. It's
    really beginning to annoy me - especially when you compare it to the
    creamy bokeh of the 105 f/2.5. All of this is pointing me to the
    ultimate in petite - the 45mm f/2.8 AI-P. Most importantly, the 45mm
    f/2.8 P has great bokeh (as per reviews, I've not had one in my
    hands).<p>OK, make fun that it only has 4 elements and is based on a
    Tessar design. Who cares as long as the images are sharp? By all
    reports this is a sharp lens. It also has a trace of pincushion
    distortion as opposed to the barrel distortion that my 35mm and 50mm
    lenses currently have. I'd prefer neutral to a miniscule touch of
    pincushion over barrel if I can get it. I took a full length picture
    of a female co-worker with the 35mm f/1.4 and she was NOT pleased
    with the outcome. The barrel distorion of the 35mm f/1.4 visually
    added 10-15 lbs to her weight.<p>The downside is the f/2.8 aperture,
    which I can live with. I've not used f/1.4 or f/1.8 in a long time.
    The other BIG downside is the BIG price for this tiny lens.<p>Before
    I get deep into this, I'd like to obtain information from current and
    former 45mm f/2.8P owners. Once you got the lens, did you have any
    use for the 50mm lenses anymore? How about the 35mm lens? My
    thought at this point is that if I get the 45mm, I could just get rid
    of the 50mm lenses, and possibly even the 35mm. I don't need to do
    this for the money. I just think that too many lenses in the same
    general focal length just doesn't serve a useful purpose. I'd love
    to hear what you did, 45mm f/2.8 P owners!
  2. Robert, I do not own the "P"lens but have its earlier version the GN-Nikkor. I understand the "P"is a different design similar to the improved GN-Nikkor C lens (made in small numbers towards the end, supposed to be a better performer beause of the "C"which stands for coating or multicoat). The GN lens shows some barrel distortion at longer range. At close ranges where a flash can be used, it is a very sharp lens with an excellent performance. I have use it with extension tubes for close range photos, it does a decent job there as well.

    Will it replace the 50mm f/1.8? As for as I am concerned, No. Will it replace your fabulous 35mm f/1.4? I very much doubt it.

    The size/weight is great, especially when combined with a light weight body, like the EM or FG.

    With your F3, the 35/1.4 is a great match, in terms of handling as well.

    However, as a lens on its own, I think it is very good.
  3. I did the reverse. First I had an 20-35mm f2.8 then I bought the 45mmP then I felt I needed a couple of fast lenses for available light non flash photos and bought the 50mm f1.2 and 85mm F1.4. Not that anyone should do what I do, but the fact is their are a lot of instances where a fast lens is the way to go and these two lenses are 2 or mor F-stops faster that the f2.8 of the 45mm P lens. You should have at least one fast lens and your own preference for focal length should decide what that should be. I don't think one f-stop difference would have made me get the 50mm f1.2 since it is so close in focal length and 4 degrees in view. For over 2 f-stops its usefulness for speed alone is worthwhile. It has 9 blades and nice bokeh and very very little depth of field wide open but still good image quality.
  4. The 45mm AI-P is a bokeh luxury item. It is really too slow for its focal length (well, the speed that lenses close to this focal length have) and as mentioned by Bjorn Rorslett it is slightly less sharp than most modern Nikkors. That's something that contradicts with your 'reports', Robert. Not to criticise people's private spending habits, but I do not understand why anyone would want to spend the kind of money that this lens commands. I imagine that basically any 50mm lens would have serviceable if not decent out of focus highlights by f/2.8

    Is the $300 pricetag worth not seeing 7 sided polygons?
  5. Robert,

    The 50/1.8 is suppose to be neutral in perspective. I haven&#146;t photographed any brick walls lately but I trust that it is. If you want a touch of pincushion get a 50/2.0 AI.

    I&#146;m confused as to how the photo of a woman with a 35/1.4 has any bearing on the 50mm lenses you own. Musical lenses, musical chairs: if you want the attributes of two different lenses it&#146;s OK to own them both even if they have the same focal length. It&#146;s not a sin.

    &#147;My thought at this point is that if I get the 45mm, I could just get rid of the 50mm lenses, and possibly even the 35mm. I don't need to do this for the money. I just think that too many lenses in the same general focal length just doesn't serve a useful purpose.&#148; --Robert Lai

    Oh No! You&#146;re deep into NAS-NLS or NAILS (Nikon Acquisition Intertwined with Liquidation Syndrome). When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping at B&H or KEH.

    Robert I own a 105/2.5 AIS, 105/2.8 AIS Micro-Nikkor and a 105/4.0 AI Micro-Nikkor and I&#146;m not worried.

    What the lady wants is a shot with your 180/2.8 ED that makes her look like a 20 year old fashion model. Can it be done? Do you have Photoshop? Stretch the photo about 1% or so in height. Use PanoTools to add a trifle of pincushion.

    Honest Robert, you worry too much about your equipment...

    I don't believe what I read in the papers
    They're just out to capture my dime
    I ain't worrying
    And I ain't scurrying;
    I'm having a good time

    --Paul Simon

    Try it!


    Dave Hartman.
  6. Here I used both the 45mm f/2.8 GN ; 50mm F2; and 5.8cm F1.4 in the 1960's. Each had a defined good purposed. Folks really didn't collect cameras much at all then. The 45mm was automatic flash with flashbulbs; and manual strobes. The 50mm F2 was a common lens packed with a Nikon when bought. It is great for copying work; good for bellows; and a great overall performer. The older F1.4 weighs 50 grams more than the newer 50mm F1.4; which came out later. It is decent in available light;a nd quicker to focus than slower lens. The old 45mm F2.8 GN is a great lens; but my 50mm F2 was sharper in the far corners for a group shot of folks. The 45mm and a Nikkormat was a decent compact setup of the 1960's. The new designer version -P has the new Nikon electronic contacts; and probably; or maybe higher index glass than the older GN; but no flash GN automation. The older GN version was about 75 bucks new; I never would have sold off my F1.4 and F2; just to use the 45mm; with somewhat weaker corners.
  7. Robert - I own an AI-converted GN, the new 45p and several 50 1.4. I would not sell the 50 1.4, because I use it on a F3 as a walk-around camera. I put the new version of the 45 on an FE2. Both are small, light, and do a great job. One of the problems with the 45 is the fairly narrow focus ring. Takes some getting used to each time I use it.
  8. Some of the reviews I've read of the 45 say that it is not as good as the other nikkors in
    this range, but people seem to like it's small size. My opinion is that it would not make
    much sense to give up a superb lens like the 35 1.4 or the 50 1.8 for a possibly inferior,
    way over-priced slow 45, with a miniscule focus ring. Another thing you would be giving
    up would be the bright focussing image of 1.4, even if you don't shoot at that aperture.

    If it is the size that's important, I would keep the other lenses, and get the 45 also, or
    maybe, er... get one of those light compact series E. 50s. :)
  9. I like my 50/1.8 E. I also have the 50/2 AI, but I use the little E lens more often because of the compactness. I think it's the same optical formual as the highly acclaimed 50/1.8 AF, but no multi-coating. Stopped down a little it is a good preformer in my opinion. No complaints. The newer 45/2.8 P reminds me of a range finder lens. I've never shot with it, but I've played with it in the camera store. The focus and aperture rings are too thin for my tastes. It doesn't quite look right mounted on my black camera body.
  10. "The other aspect about the 50mm lenses that I currently have is that I hate their bokeh. "

    Robert, I don't know if you or anyone else should purchase the 45mm AIP lens or not. And I don't really care. But I have tried the 50mm f1.8 AF, the 50mm f1.4 AF, the 50mm f1.4 AI, the 50mm f1.8 AI, and the 50mm f2 AI. All of those 50mm models take deadly sharp and well-saturated photos, as does the 45mm AIP. But the 45mm AIP has a smoother transistion to OOF details, and it handles glare better. So if these are the optical improvements you want, I think you should stop cycling through the 50mm models simply because they are dirt cheap and ALMOST perfect. Consider, as I did, the continual disappointments of having images that you will never enlarge simply because they have wierd looking backgrounds.

    I still have two 50mm lenses which would bring in so little I that haven't gotten around to selling them. I occasionally carry the 50mm f2 AI around when I can't protect my gear from theft. I've never even seen a 50mm f1.2 model, so I have no basis for a comparison. But I think the 50mm 1.2 is even more expensive than the 45P.

    I never stopped using other focal lengths except 50mm after I got the 45P. But my other lenses include the 28mm PC, the 35mm PC, the V/C 90mm, the Tamron 90mm macro, the 105mm f2.5 AIS, the 35-70mm f2.8 AFD, and the 80-200mm f2.8 AFS. I'm not saying any of these lenses are perfect, but they all take prettier shots than the common 50mm models.

    The 45P filled an important vacancy for me particularly because I shoot a lot of antique autos in harsh midsummer sunlight. But I have shot several rolls of landscapes on Realla, and the lens just gets seasonal moods onto film really well. Maybe it is a little like a Rollei TLR or something. I'm not saying it is a Leica or a Zeiss equivlent, because I have never used Leica or Zeiss glass. But then again.....

  11. Ha ha, not only do I have the 45mm f/2.8, I have the 50mm f/1.4 AF-D and the 50mm f/1.2 AIS. I guess I just love normal primes! I also have the 60mm f/2.8 which is almost a normal prime too!
  12. The 45mm is abit wider than a 5.8cm; and weighs way less too .:)
  13. The 45/2.8P simply rocks! A lovely lens with a simply beautiful image rendition. Extremely well made with very smooth focusing. Don't take too much stock in lens evals, but Rorslett has upped his rating of the 45/2.8P to a full "5" (highest) when evaluating on a D2X. Go read it for yourself.

    I have a 50/1.8 AFD and that lens (1) is a great value, (2) is extremely sharp and (3) just sucks. It's clinically sharp, maybe good for crime scene photos or something, but otherwise way too contrasty and not so hotsky. Beyond some basic quality threshold, there's LOTS more to lenses than sharpness. Go Google for favorite 50's and you'll see what I mean. Many older designs are prefered to today's ultra-contrasty lens designs.

    As for cost, go compare to the cost of a lovely Leica 50/2.8. The 45/2.8P is downright cheap. If folks can't afford pricier lenses, that's fine. But they should just leave their personal financial state out of the discussion. All lenses seem pricey when compared to the cheapest prime in Nikon's kit.

    As for speed, you can dial in whatever you want/need. Different lenses for different needs. I have a Leica 28/2 and a Nikkor 28/2.8 AIS. The Leica may or may not be "better," but certainly not because of 1 stop. At close focus, I happen to just love the Nikkor. I appreciate faster lenses when I need them, but in any case, I generally try to shoot between f4 and f8 whenever practical/possible. f2.8 is hardly a liability. Go ask the 'blad or RZ medium format shooters - great lenses, and the fastest lens available is only an f2.8.

    Of course, honor your wallet, but trust your eyes.

    I'd say keep the 50/1.8. It's resale value is next to nil, and it may come in handy. Oddly, I use mine mostly for self-portrait tests on a D70 as I'm learning about studio lighting. The ~75-80mm equiv FL is about right, and it will auto-focus, meaning I can experiment with lighting on my own without a model.

    I do use my 35/2 quite a bit on my D70. I like this lens and makes for a nice digi-50. I shoot the 35mm focal length on film mostly on my Leica.

    Have fun! And keep enjoying the superb results from your lovely 45/2.8

  14. The E is good but not as good as the Nikkor version. The extra coatings help. The 50 F1.8 is the sharpest of the normal lenses. The 45P comes close but at a higher price. I never liked the F1.4 version, but then it was an older model back in the days when the FM first came out.
  15. The 45/2.8's poor price/weight quotient is obviously off-putting to those who judge lenses on that basis alone. I don't and that's why I got it and like it("demo" pricing also helped things along).I've also got my fair share of shelf real estate claimed by various 50s, most of them "kit" lenses that came along with used body purchases over the past 1O years.Having a plus-size 50/1.8AI, a 50/1.4AI and a 50/2AI isn't depriving me of any sleep, though, nor should it you, Robert. The 45/2.8 is all but glued to an N90s and works near-perfectly as my "street" set-up. The CPU lets this lens talk to all recent film and digital bodies AF bodies, too. I usually hate short focus throw lenses. What saves the 45 is the very old school Nikkor rotational "feel" lacking in most AF lenses. The skinny focus ring is a red herring. With a decent viewfinder the 2.8 is no penalty, either. Things are plenty bright with non-K screen FM/FE bodies, N90s and F3/F3HP bodies. The short focus throw allows for very quick focus lock. The "look" produced by this lens is bound to be open to interpretation and endless argument. Close range, environmental portraiture is one area where this lens simply "works" for me. Get a clean used one, Robert. Just be sure to get the black version; silver will look tacky on your F3. Please yourself; life's short. Nikon won't make this lens much longer, I suspect.
  16. Although I love my 50 1.4 AF-D for the bright viewfinder image, I consider its distortion disturbing for some applications. Also the narrow DOF can be disturbing if you want to photograph a scene and you see only some parts of the scene sharp without pressing the DOF button, and if there is enough light, I rarely use the lens wider than f2.8. Therefore I very much like the 45 2.8 P as a daylight, walkaround lens. I consider the distortion not noticeable and the image quality all I wish for, and the nice focusing feel makes it a pleasure to use.
  17. I agree with Gary. Mine lives on my FM3a. I, too, have a shelf full of breeding 50mm lenses. That has to be what they're doing because I can't have bought that many.

    I disagree about the silver. I have a silver on my black FM3a and I really like the distinctive appearance.

  18. I got a black lens and it makes my F100 feel light and look sleek. On my D70 it is very in proportion to the smaller body and the lens is almost like a 70mm short tele with less visable edge softness and light falloff. I feel it is maybe not a cost wise choice but a satisfaction wise choice, as a sometimes Leica user I like this lens for all the reasons Leica users like leica lenses. One thing for sure the lens has a different signature than any other Nikon lens and for indoor work it matches well to smaller space requirements.
  19. The look of the old 45mm F2.8 GN was sort of like the look of my Kodak Signet 35; both are Tessar lens formulas.
  20. Since buying a 45mm f/2.8 P, my 50mm f/1.8 AIS gets very little use. I usually only bring it out when f/2.8 isn't fast enough for the film currently loaded in my camera. The 45 is closer to the 50 and could replace it, but I'd still want 35, especially if shooting in tighter quarters.
  21. Hi Robert, I`m owmner of several versions of 35`s and 50`s, even a 45P.

    "Once you got the lens, did you have any use for the 50mm lenses anymore?" ---I have the 45P, and I use it -only- for mountain trips or whenever I need to go lighter. I like this lens specially with my FM2. For the rest of the work, I always take the 50/1.4. Anyway, IMHO the 45P is a better lens; I suspect that 45/2.8P images are sharper (and without glare effects) that those taken with my 50/1.4. Focus ring is perfect to me.

    "How about the 35mm lens? My thought at this point is that if I get the 45mm, I could just get rid of the 50mm lenses, and possibly even the 35mm." ---No! As I said above, I like to take the 50/1.4 for the rest of the work; gloundglass is two stops clearer and this two stops are great also for focusing and available light shots. About bokeh, yes the 50/1.4 enjoy an ugly bokeh, and unfortunately worst, a high softness on the entire image when shooting at full aperture. Just I shot at a closer aperture if I want sharpness and be sure there is no light points on the image when bokeh is important and I must to shot at f1.4. That`s all.

    The same for the 35/1.4, wich I prefer over the 35/2.
  22. The 45 is a special lens, great at all stops but very different from the standard f1.4 or f1.8. It has saturated and smooth color. Picture wise, I prefer it to all the other 50mms and unless f2.8 absolutely won't do.

    Unless you have a favourite 28mm, the 35/1.4 should be a keeper.
  23. Here's an example:
  24. I now own the 45mm f2.8P and have owned the nikon 50mm f1.4, nikon 50mm f1.8 and canon 50mm f1.4. I have found the 45mm P my favourite with the canon 50mm f1.4 coming in second. I have found the resolution at all aperatures to be excellent (to my eyes). I found the colour of the nikon 50mm lenses to be very saturated compared to the 45mm P and the canon 50mm f1.4. The nikon 45mm P with NPH@400 gives beautiful and clear colour and with smooth and subtle tones. I did not think much about bokeh until I compared my 45 shots with my nikon 50mm shots. The 45 widen open is delightful. The nikon 50mm f1.8 has a harsh and angular bokeh whereas the 50mmf1.4 is just hazy. I feel confident about using my 45P wide open, but was always wary of using either nikon 50mm lense any wider than f4 due to the above charactersitic. In summary I do not miss either of my nikon 50mm lenses but still pine a little( but not too much) for my canon 50mm f1.4. I hope this helps Jon
  25. I own the 45MM GN Auto and it appears to be a pretty sharp lens to me. Would the 45MM P or the GN replace my 50MM F1.8 AIS? NEVER!
    The Nikkor 1.8 AIS made from I believe 1981-1985 is one of the best 50's I've ever seen in my 30 years of photography. Bar none. It's the one with the double rubber rib on the focusing ring and NOT the single rib (ie. the pancake lens). Saturation and sharpness is beyong excellent....

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