Noct-Nikkor 58mm f/1.2 7 blade vs. 9 blade

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by seiji_kamiya, Jun 11, 2006.

  1. What are the mechanical and optical differences between the two versions of the
    Noct. So far, I have read and am led to believe that the 7 blade is
    mechanically superior for the following reasons.

    - Ai body has a lens mount that is secured with 5 bolts instead of 3.
    - Aperture connecting lever is steal instead of aluminum.
    - Some weight savings changes were done that may affect durability.
    - Helical pitch of the focus mechanism is slower allowing for more fine tuned

    Optically, the 9 blade maybe superior:
    On the other hand, the 9 blade version might produce a slightly better bokeh
    stopped down because of a more circular opening of 9 blades. I don't know if
    there are any other improvements.
  2. I believe the 3 screw vs 5 screw may make a difference long term slightly for the relatively
    heavy optic, although my 50mm 1.2 Ai has only 3 screws and seems to support the weight
    OK. I do prefer the Ai series for the longer thread pitch especially with such a fast lens
    with a narrow angle of depth of field. However, I think most of the differences may be on
    the order of purely argumentive, since this is such a rare and worthy optic, they all are
    great. I tested one for sale 10+ years ago and am still kicking my self for not getting it at
    the measly sum of 750.00!
  3. I think many people probably passed on the Noct just like you while it was still cheaper than it is today. How can you predict that one lens out of many will suddenly become valuable instead of depreciate like 99% of the lenses produced today.

    Nikon lens technicans tell me that the Ai is the better lens. Probably so few people have an opportunity to use one that nobody knows for sure, or maybe care.

    Just for comparisons, the photo below shows what the blades look like on a 7 bladed Noct.
  4. I would be happy with either....this lens is made to be shot wide open....number of blades not a huge factor....whatever I could get my hands on for reasonable price.
  5. There might be other changes though other than the obvious difference in the aperture opening. But you are right, doesn't make sense to use a Noct at say f-stop 8.
  6. Hi, dear friend. The nine blades are very good for nice bokeh, but also seven blades work properly. The differences in bokeh quality are insignificant, from nine blades to seven blades.

    Vincenzo Maielli Italy
  7. I guess to sum it up, does the 9 blade take a better picture than the 7 blade? Is the difference undetectable in everyday usage and more or less just an academic difference?
  8. Highly academic. Seven or nine won't matter when you shoot the lens wide open, which is _the_ way to work the Noct. I own an early AI (7-blade) and it is a fine performer when you understand its quirks.
  9. Thank you Bjorn, so little information exists. I recently purchased a mint 7 blade at the recommendation of others over the 9 blade, but have been very curious about the facts.
  10. ky2


    Let's put it this way: if you can tell the difference between 7 and 9 blades, you're in the wrong format. Upgrade to medium or large format.
  11. I speak from previous experience sorting through 35 f1.4 AiS. I did not like the first 3 copies I tried until I found a near mint AiS version. The Ais focuses faster, to my dismay, but either the condition of the lens is better or it is designed better than the pre-Ai and Ai I sampled.

    I use a D2X which I realize I really am not using to its limits printing 8x12 inches. However, during cropping and PP, I notice the flaws of many lenses.
  12. ky2


    Seiji, there's more to sample variation than 2 extra blades will ever show.
  13. Hmm, interesting about the 35mm 1.4 AiS. I have 3 versions of the Pre-Ai, one N and two
    N.C. I have used and tested 3 other AiS lenses from friends. My N version has 9 blades and
    both the N.C versions have 7 blades. Changes to out of focus character is minimal
    between them, although the 9 version has ever so slightly smoother transistion. I seem to
    recall that most of the Ais versions I tested had 9 blades, yet did not have the yellowing
    from the radioactive elements that all my Pre-Ai versions have, which I prefer, even in
    color. To clarify about the Noct for 750, I knew fully what lens it was in 1996-7 and even
    at that time the running price was 1200-1400 so I knew it was a very good deal as the
    lens was in excellent shape and it tested well, however at the time my equipment purchase
    fund was low so I had to let it go. It sat in the shop for at least 2-3 weeks tempting me
    and calling me. Funny, just 2 weeks ago I ran into another Nikon fanatic and we both
    remembered that particular lens, it made quite an impression!
  14. The Noct is an interesting lens. I wonder though if it isn't more of a lens for the photographer rather than a client? I keep wondering about the extreme shallow dept of field. I don't think I can recall seeing a photo using this technique in a periodical.

    I purchased mine primarily for my own pleasure and enjoyment. The type of photos I enjoy taking were just too difficult to capture with f2.8 lenses.
  15. Looking at the picture posted earlier, you can see the blades on the Ai Noct are slightly curved which should make for nicely rounded highlights at wider apeture settings. While the AiS version has more blades, I believe they are straighter so you'll see polygons more clearly. In the end I don't think it makes much difference.
  16. I sort of agree, but you have interested me. I am looking for photos of the blades on a 9 bladed Noct... Just my nature, once I latch onto something, I can spend days trying to locate information to validate.
  17. I have an AIS and I like it very much.

    I was wondering whether there is any other difference in the optical formula between the 7 and 9 blade Noct. Shot wide open, will there be a bokeh quality difference?

    There is another thing that I noticed with the Noct, it "suffers" from a quite significant focus shift on a D200 - I have to focus at least half an inch behind my expected point of focus. I tried this with two different AIS models, and I got exactly the same results, so it's not the camera body.
  18. I have noticed my 55mm f/1.2 has a slight chamfer on the rear element, I believe this produces lenticular shaped, out of focus, point source highlights.
    Q: I'm wondering if any of Nikon's 50, 55 and 58mm f/1.2's have a perfectly circular rear element/exit pupil?
    My 35mm f/1.4 does, and has pleasing bokeh and well has circular OOF point sources, best of both worlds!
    If not, I'll try blacking the rear element so the exit pupil is circular.
  19. How can you tell if a Noct lens is the AI or the AI-S version? Is there a way to identify?

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