Nikkor-H 50m F2 / D300 ?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by smw-jmw, Mar 1, 2011.

  1. I have read some threads that give this lens great reviews stating it was one of Nikon's sharpest 50mm lenses. I have just acquired one of these lenses and have given it a brief trial on my D300, this is the camera I intend to use it with. I entered the Non CPU info and first results seem very good.
    Am I right in thinking these lenses can be converted to Ai...if so is it worth the cost and trouble involved, does anyone else use this lens on D200/300 etc ?
    How do the modern 50mm 1.8 lenses compare ?
    Any thoughts you have would be most welcome.
  2. Steve,
    If your Nikkor-H ( also know as Nikkor Hex because of its 6 elements) is in its original state and its a before 1972 one, and has not been modified, it might damage camera's like the D300 ( its pre -ai) , so carfull with that..
    There are more versions of this lens , main difference is single or multi coated , the latter one says Nikkor H-C , the formar one just Nikkor- H. The H-C vesion is a slight bit better than the Nikkor-H one.
    It starts performing after closing down to f2.8 up to f11 , wide open it shows some vignetting in my xperience , but after 2.8 it gets very good (if you manage to focus it properly..).
  3. If you have been using it on a D300, maybe it`s already an Ai`d unit.
    Well, you are asking; I`d not convert a non-Ai lens. It`s a shame to break it. I bet most of these lenses are one-hour toys, that will never be a collectable or interesting item again. Let it as it is. If you want something sharp&cheap buy a 50/1.8AF. Or buy a D60 to use it without the need of spoil it.
    Many people appreciate these lenses in their original form to be used in their pre-Ai cameras.
  4. pge


    imo it is worth ai'ing, and as other say, don't use it until it is. JA seems to be speaking from the perspective of a collector, which I am not.
  5. Another vote for leaving it alone, if it's not already neutered. A lens that has been AI'd is always a neither this nor that creature. For a very few dollars you can buy an old Nikon F, a Nikkormat FTn, or other cameras that will shoot this lens without modification so you can enjoy it as it was meant to be used. There are AI and AI-S descendants of this lens that should be usable without modification.
    All the same, if you must 'AI' some lens, this is probably the one. It has to be one of the commonest Nikkors ever, since it was the default or 'kit' lens on a huge number of early Nikon SLRs. It was my first regular Nikon lens when I bought my first Nikon camera.
    I still use mine regularly on a number of different cameras.
  6. Nikkor-H.C 50m F2
    I have an AI'd one that gives beautiful results on my D200. I don't agree that it'll be a one hour toy. Go ahead and do it, and enjoy this wonderful lens.
  7. I have one that has had the factory AI kit installed on it. I find it to be much sharper then its faster cousins even wide open. Its a very compact lens as well as being built like a tank.
    If you can find the AI kit thats great if not and you are in to using not collecting I would say go for it. I do not think you will be disappointed.
  8. If you do want to get it AI'd try John White.
    Henry Posner
    B&H Photo-Video
  9. I second the vote of confidence for John White. He has converted two of my lenses and did exemplary work
  10. Why don't you look for a 50/2.0 AI lens - you could probably pick one up for the cost of converting-ing your Nikkor-H, and they are a great lens - as good as the "H". AFAIK it's the same optical construction as the H, but it'll be multicoated. KEH currently has an EX example for $99, but you can get them for way less on fleabay. Check out Bjorn Rorslett's comments.
  11. If you already mounted the lens on your camera and used it, then it may already be AI'd. It's easy to tell if it has been or not. If the rear of the aperture ring is smooth all the way around, it's non-AI. If the aperture ring has uneven edges, then it's either AI or it's been AI'd. Here's a picture that might help. If it is a non-AI lens, it's not a good idea to try to use it without converting it first.
  12. Nitpicks regarding the illustration above: this leaves the impression that AFS and G are inextricably linked concepts, which is incorrect. In fact you can have AFS without G (for example, AFS 17-35/2.8, AFS 28-70/2.8), AF/AFD without G (AFD 85/1.4), and G without AFS (for example, 10.5 Fisheye). The mothership didn't want it *that* simple ....
  13. Thank you all for your informative and interesting replies !
  14. Totally agree that the 50mm f/2 was one of Nikon's best lenses, with bags of bite and contrast. I must dig mine out from its hiding place and try it on my D700 - I've been using the 55mm f/3.5 Micro Nikkor and 50mm f/1.4 up to now, so thanks for reminding me about this gem of a lens. Last seen lurking on a disused Nikon FM as a body cap!
    Anyhoo. It might be possible to convert your lens to Ai for nothing. Some of the old pre-Ai lenses had enough of a projection on the aperture ring to catch the Ai coupler on the camera body. If that's the case with this lens then a screwdriver and a file are all you need to do a quick'n'dirty Ai conversion.
    First you need to mark on the lens aperture ring where the Ai coupler tab of the camera rests at maximum aperture. Next remove the mount from the lens (this'll be 3 or 4 screws in the chrome lensmount). Now ease the aperture ring off the lens; being careful not to lose the little ballbearing that may provide the click-stops - although later Nikkors use a phosphor-bronze plate for the click-stop mechanism.
    Now comes the use of the file. You need to file about 2mm off the back of the aperture ring from the line where the Ai tab came to rest to about 1/3rd the way around the lens. This is working toward the maximum aperture mark (f/2) and going a little way beyond that. The critical point is the Ai tab line, while the distance you go beyond the f/2 mark really isn't that important, as long as the lens can be mounted without fouling the Ai tab of the camera. Once the filing's done you can tidy the lens up with a bit of paint if you think it necessary.
    Reassemble the lens and you're done! When Ai came in years ago I successfully converted pre-Ai 105mm f/2.5 and 35mm f/2 Nikkor-O lenses this way. They didn't look very pretty, but the new meter coupling worked a treat.
    PS. Hope you collectors are now quietly throwing up in a corner or having a nice fit of apoplexy.
  15. I have 2 of them, a Nikkon-S 5cm (50mm) f/2 and a Nikkor-H 50mm f/2. Both of them have a nice blue coating, and picked up the H and put it on the D40 and shoot an image from my balcony. Unfortunately as you can see, I have a direct lighting, sun behind me, witch is not the best lighting situation for a good sharp and contrasty image, but, still, the image shown sharp. They are non AI lenses, and if you wanted to use on any other DSLR cameras, somebody has to modify it to fit. It is very easy, I did myself on some of the old non Ai lenses. I'm attaching an image, shoot right now, a full size and a 100% crop.
  16. The full frame. I like both of them, they are very nice sharp lenses. Some people say, they are one of the sharpest old nikkor lenses.
  17. Due to its age it is unlikely you will find an AI modification kit for this old, venerable lens. All is not lost, however. See if you can find a qualified repairman to do the modification, it is possible to modify the aperture ring to where it will mate with the meter coupling ring on your camera.
    The other choice is to modify it yourself. I have a beautiful condition and sharp as a razor 50mm f/1.4 non-AI that I modified myself to AI. It took removing the aperture ring (not difficult at all) and using a Dremel and cutting wheel to remove part of the aperture ring so that it now mates up with the meter coupling ring of the camera. For an f/2 ring, the cutout needs to start opposite the f/11 position on the aperture ring. Cut it out, along with enough of the ring so that it does not interfere with anything.
  18. You don't have to be a "collector" who, you assume, doesn't use the lens to not want to see old and historic lenses battered into nothingness by preachy and sanctimonious "users" with a file.
    Why so hateful to people who appreciate these things as they are?
    AI versions and later are really cheap, why screw up an old one just to have something you'll probably use a few times and then get rid of?
    If you must have this done, have John White do it - he at least will not produce a Frankenstein monster result with electrodes and stitches on it.
  19. John White does a 'good' job, but I would recommend microbee on _bay, he does a better job...
  20. The Nikkor-H is a beautiful lens, a Nikon version of the Summicron. I'm also a 'user' and have been known to modify lenses and cameras to that end, but all the same, it's a shame to butcher these old Nikkors when there are so many AI lenses around.

    Try to source a conversion ring. I managed to find three new old-stock AI Kit #3 conversions for early versions of the Nikkor-H. I converted three lenses, kept one as a 'user', and put the other two up for sale. Hopefully this means there will be at least two other shooters who won't want to hack into this simple, classic, high-performance lens.

    If you can't help yourself, and are intent on converting an early version of the Nikkor H, there's a trick to getting the old aperture ring off, with a tiny grub screw you can only access by removing the coupling prong and using the access hole underneath. Only then can you unscrew the retaining ring and remove the scalloped aperture ring. Construction was simplified in later models, which is another reason why these earlier versions are venerated. They are beautifully engineered masterpieces. If you can - leave them be!

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