Which Prime Lens for my Nikon F90x/N90s?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by jodie_chapman|2, Nov 23, 2010.

  1. Hi there,
    I have a Nikon F90x (known as N90s in the states) body that I would really like to buy lenses for. I shoot with prime lens for my professional work (digital Canon user) and love the glass quality and shallow dof I can achieve with these lenses.
    Could anyone recommend which 50mm and 35mm lenses I should get? I don't have a massive budget, so would be looking to spend around the £100 mark per lens, although if there is a superior lens for a little over, that's fine. I mainly work in manual or aperture-priority modes, so a lens that allows me to use these modes would be ideal. I am happy with manual focusing but would like to have autofocus too if possible.
    Thanks in advance for any help you can give me!
  2. The most obvious answer would be 50/1.8 and 35/2, both AF. They should add up to $475 and be 50% above your budget. Used 35mm lenses may be vailable, however.
  3. I have used 50mm a/f f1.8 lenses on f801s, f4 and f90x cameras. They have always performed superbly. Good used ones can be found from around 60gbp upwards, and new they are not a fortune. I can say no more.............
  4. Thanks Kam and Mervyn for your replies.
    Mervyn - are the 50mm 1.8 AF lenses intended for digital? ie Are they brand new? Do you have to do anything extra to make them work on the F90x, or do they fit on straight away? Thanks.
  5. The 50mm f1.8 a/f lenses will go straight onto an F90x and work like magic. I have that very combination on the top of our piano now - with several other Nikon cameras! Whilst there is current debate about how well particular lenses perform on film/digital, I don't believe that is an issue with the 50mm f1.8 a/f.
    You might usefully have a look on UK ebay. The 50mm comes-up quite often, but, obviously read the description very carefully and check the feedback of the seller. I bought one of my 50mm lenses on ebay - it was like new. The other - from a dealer - was in a similar condition. Both were around 60gbp.
    Used ones are not too easy to find from dealers. However, a web search - and for new ones - might be worthwhile.
  6. Jodie, this lenses are pre-digital designs, hence not intended to be used with digital cameras; the only 35 and 50mm primes designed for digital use are the current "G" versions, which doesn`t have aperture ring, hence not usable on your camera unless in P or S mode. M and A will work only at their smallest aperture. Anyway, this pre-digital designs show a reasonably good performance on current digital cameras.
    If you want full specs go for the AF-D versions that take advantage of the 3-D metering feature in the your camera. Any AF non-D version will work perfectly fine too, although Matrix metering will be limited to the "non 3-D" mode (a negligible loss for most users).
  7. Thanks for your response! Jose, thanks for your comment ~ I don't want to use it on a digital camera though. The F90x is a film SLR. I was just worried that if the lens was intended for digital, it might not work immediately on my F90x, but Mervyn has cleared that up for me. :)
  8. I have a 50mm 1.8 AFS-D. It works great on my F90x, meshing with autofocus and autoexposure seamlessly. These lenses are so inexpensive when new that it makes no sense to get one used. They go for about $115 new! Some people swear this is Nikon's sharpest lens. I don't know about that, but it is startlingly sharp with nice bokeh and fast AF. Do some research on the 35mm lens. The f2.0 gets mixed reviews. The f1.4 is praised, but is costly. There has to be another option.
  9. In response to Red's posting, the cheapest 50mm I could find was at Amazon - 91gbp.
    It depends on how much cash Jodie has to buy the two lenses. I haven't checked 35mm lenses, but I suspect they will be rather more expensive. Jodie will also need to make sure she is looking at FX versions.
  10. From a budget standpoint the 50mm f1.8 Nikon "D" lens. The are roughly about $130.00 for a new one. Cheap plastic and disappointing construction but the optics are very good. Remember the price is low and you do not get rock solid lenses for that price range. I have one and it will work properly on your N90. You can also use manual focus AIS lenses if you wanted to. I always have the 50mm in my bag. I use it on all my camera's. N80, FM2n, D200. It will work properly on any Nikon AF film camera.
  11. Jodie may be confused about the "D" lens.
    As I understand it, those lenses deal better with flash pictures, although I've never had a problem with the pre-D ones. The latter are also rather better made.
  12. jodie –

    First a comment: There is no such thing as a “digital” lens. All lenses exist here in the analog world. Nikon does make lenses that only have good coverage of DX (half frame) sensors. Except for one kit lens I don’t own any. I want to be able to use my lenses on FX (full frame) bodies also.

    My suggestion: I use the Series E 35mm f2.5 and 50mm f1.9 lens on my F3, F5, D1 and D70 bodies. I’m an old-timer who still likes to control the focus and exposure myself. I have found both of these great performers, compact and if necessary, based on their replacement cost on eBay, expendable.

    Ken Fretz
  13. "this lenses (50 mm / 1.8 AF) are pre-digital designs, hence not intended to be used with digital cameras"
    no. I used this nice lens on my F80 and now on my D90 w/o any restrictions. AF lenses like this one are perfectly alright for Nikon DSLR like D90, D7000 etc.
    however, if I was to buy a new lens for a DX format, I would buy a DX lens in most cases - except if wanted to return to digital FX format in the near future.
  14. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I shoot with prime lens for my professional work (digital Canon user)​
    Jodie, in your situation wouldn't it be a lot simplier to buy a Canon EOS film body that can share your Canon lenses? (Unless your Canon lenses are mostly EF-S; in that case you are out of luck.)
  15. Peter, the 50/1.8AF is a middle eighties release (probably still an optical design from the seventies). Then I bet this lens was not intended to be used with digital cameras. The development of the D1 started in 1996, almost ten years later. Don`t know about Kodak DSLRs in "F" mount, maybe a bit earlier.

    As you mention, can be used, and with a good performance level, on many cameras.
  16. Jodie,
    I fear this is getting rather complicated in relation to the question you asked.
    Subject to the valid point made by Shun, I would get a 50mm a/f f1.8 Nikon lens, either new or good used. See how you get on, and then look for a 35mm one.
  17. The 50mm. f/1.4 D is the sharpest lens that I own. It is a bit more expensive than the 1.8 but it is a killer lens with a great build.
  18. Thanks everybody for all your help. I've gone for the 50mm 1.8 for £90 and am going to see how I get on. If I find the plastic build frustrating or if my budget increases, I will look to maybe get the 1.4. I love shallow dof, so the extra stop is tempting (though probably unnecessary!)
    Shun - that would make sense, only my dad gave me the Nikon F90x body as a present (he had two), and I had already got a lot of Canon kit. I've shot the F90x a few times with his lenses and I just love the way the camera handles, so that's why I want to build up a few Nikon lenses. It's unlikely I will use it for anything other than personal work, which is why I need to keep my budget low. I've also just bought myself a large format camera and am heading to Scotland next month to learn about wet plate collodion, so I have lots to pay for!
    Thanks again for everybody's help. Much appreciated.
  19. The AF 35mm f/2.0 has been my favourite lens so far, very sharp and overall good image quality. The manual focus works like a dream, and the lens is very small, which is great. You might be able to find one used for 200$ or less.
    The AF 50 f/1.8 is great also, but IQ degrades really fast in the sides/corner (my sample, at least). It works amazingly on DX, but for 35mm, I would suggest either a 50 1.4, or the 85 1.8.
    Here are some samples of the 35 f/2 (most of the most recent images are taken with it): http://www.flickr.com/photos/hugolaporte/
    Hope this helps
  20. Hi all,
    I went for the 50mm 1.8 D AF lens in the end, which arrived today. The only thing is that I am having trouble attaching it to the camera body. I am putting the aperture index spot on to match the body, then turning anti-clockwise (as per the manual), but it certainly isn't clicking into place and isn't firmly on. The problem is that I can't turn it anymore. I know the lens isn't weather-sealed, but I can clearly see the silver mounting ring on the body. When I turn the camera on, it flashes the two "><" (which usually means it can't autofocus & needs to be manual focus), plus looking through the viewfinder is completely dark, plus if I change the aperture by turning the lens, it just brings the lens straight off the camera. It definitely doesn't seem to be working on the camera!!
    Any idea? It's driving me mad and I'm desperate to get started!
  21. Jodie,
    Forgive me for stating the obvious, but the plate of the lens flange and the plate of the body flange should be in contact before you turn the lens anti-clockwise when you are looking at the camera from the front. Are you saying that the lens is not going into the throat of the body enough for that to happen?
    I've been putting lenses on to Nikon bodies for more years that I can remember, and I can't recall that sort of problem provided the body spots/marks are aligned. It sounds as though you are not getting to the two plates into contact before you turn the lens anti-clockwise.
    Might it be possible to load a couple of digis to show us what is happening?
    Whatever you do, don't force anything! Lenses don't need that when being put on or removed.
  22. Jodie,
    I think you are in the UK. If you get stuck, feel free to phone me and I'll try to take you through it.
    01969 623502.
  23. Hi Mervyn,
    Thanks so much for your response.
    I am wondering if it's something to do with me, as Google isn't throwing up any solution so it looks like I'm the only one who's ever experienced this! The thing is, I have attached lenses to the F90x and an old D50 before, plus I am a photographer so know how to use a camera!
    I've attached a few images to show what it looks like. I put the marks on the mount together (image 1) and then turn anti-clockwise, but there is no click and the lens doesn't seem to want to turn so that the mark is heading straight up (image 2). It's more of a 1 o'clock (if I'm looking at the camera front on). Also, you can see from the pictures (image 3) that the metal mount of the camera body is clearly visible, even though the lens is "on". I am guessing that isn't right? I know it's not weather-sealed, but all kinds of dust could get through that far too easily.
    Also, even though the camera isn't on manual focus (and is in aperture priority), the lens isn't adjusting for focus at all.
    The viewfinder got brighter the wider I made the aperture. Kinda obvious I know.
    Thanks again! It's driving me nuts.
  24. here is image 2
  25. and image 3
  26. Jodie,
    Thanks for the images.
    If the lens is not properly attached, it certainly will not convey information to the body and vice-versa. There are both mechanical and electrical factors.
    When you put the lens onto the body, ie with the dot on the lens opposite to the dot at 1 o'clock on the body, does the lens and body flanges make contact then? That is, if you gently push the lens against the body, and just move the lens clockwise and anti-clockwise a tiny bit, can you "feel" the lens against the body?
    When you try to turn the lens so the spot is at the top (but can't) does the resistance feel firm/solid?
    If you look at the lens flange a little below the white spot, there is a short pin that sticks up. That should go down under pressure. Is it doing that?
    Is the lens new? I take it you don't have access to the lens you put on the camera before?
  27. Jodie,
    I did a google search "Nikon lens won't lock onto body". This revealed a Flickr query 9 Mar 2010 with seemingly the same problem as you. It looks as though in that case a little more pressure was needed when trying to get the lens to the locked position. You might try that again. That is why I was asking the question whether when you turned the lens but it wouldn't go any further, did the resistance feel firm/solid? Obviously, don't force anything if it feels solid.
  28. "Also, you can see from the pictures (image 3) that the metal mount of the camera body is clearly visible, even though the lens is "on". I am guessing that isn't right?"
    That is completely normal for a lens with an aperture ring and no sealing gasket. See the image below.
    As I mentioned in your other posting, this lens model (AF-D 50/1.8, China) is often very tight to turn when mounting, particularly when brand new (quite a few people seek out the older discontinued non-D model that was made in Japan for this very reason). There may be considerable resistance when turning the lens to seat it fully. I can see by your "image 2" above that you have the lens properly mounted, but not seated all of the way to the 12 o'clock position. You are doing nothing wrong. If you can not rotate it further by gripping it tightly and pushing in while you turn the lens to 12 o'clock, then the mounting flange on the lens is out of tolerance and you should return it and exchange it for another.
  29. Hi Mervyn and Michael,
    Well, I decided to bite the bullet and just forced it! And happily heard the desired "click". It had felt like it wouldn't go before, but I pushed it in a bit harder whilst turning it (as per the above reply) and it seemed to do the trick. The auto-focusing is now working properly too. It seems I was being a bit of a wimp before. :)
    Thanks so much for all your responses and assistance. Really appreciate it and you have been a big help. Now I'm off to take some pictures...
  30. Splendid! Don't feel wimpish about it. It is better to take these things gradually rather than break them!
    I must have about 20 Nikon or Nikon fit lenses, and whilst some have a little resistance, none of the proportions you seem to have experienced. I don't have any of the made in China versions, although I understand they are fine optically.
    The f90x is a super camera, although mine gets little use nowadays - f4s and digitals and medium format taking my time. I almost always used it - as with most cameras - on aperture priority. With the standard lens you will get some first class images.
    All the best.
  31. Hi Jodie
    I use a couple of F90X cameras, the 50mm AF-D F1.8 is the obvious choice for an essential prime, but I would really go for a zoom. My favourite is the AF-D Nikkor 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5, an easy all rounder.
    Here are a few shots produced by this lens (not mine !):

    I use big heavy lenses also like the 80-200 AF-D ED 2.8, but obviously these are quite a bit more expensive.

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