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LENS PORN: Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (1967 Non-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (1967 Pre-AI)
Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (1967 Pre-AI)


Originally published on March 2016
Revised November 13, 2016 - Changed the format, added new photos.
Revised November 29, 2016 - Added new photos.
Revised December 7, 2016 - Added new video 'time-lapse'
Revised December 10, 2016: Added new video 'Sunset Over Pasig River'



Nikon made several versions of their 50mm lens and the one with me is a Pre-AI lens, which Nikon produced between 1966-1974. This copy of my lens was made around 1967-1968, so it's 50 years old already! It may have been passed down from one owner to another with a rich history behind, but this lens is a fighter and is still as sharp and contrasty as it was 50 years ago.

After my Nikkor 18-55 kit lens, I got myself a Holga 60mm f/8 and then this 50mm lens. If you still only have a kit lens at this point in your life and then get this as your next lens, you will really be shocked by the ability to take clear images in low light and the clarity of your photos.

50mm is a favorite all-around lens on full frame cameras because of its versatility. On a DX (Nikon jargon for 1.5x APS-C crop factor), the effective focal length becomes 75mm and is a good portrait lens.

You might by chance, come across a version of this lens labeled as 'Nikkor-S.C.', with a C. The C stands for 'coated'. Nikon began updating their old lenses with multicoating around 1973, for better handling of flare and improved contrast. (Apparently, the one I have is not the updated coating version.)










========================================


Specifications


Focal Length: 50mm (DX = 75mm)

Version: Pre-AI (1966-1974), All-Metal Body

Aperture Blades: 7

Max./Min. Aperture: f/1.4 to f/16

Glass: With amber-colored coating

Filter Thread: 52mm

Minimum Focusing Distance: 2 feet / 0.6 meters

Manufactured by: Nikon

Made in Japan

Serial# 553603
(Made between 1967-1968)

*Reference: www.photosynthesis.co.nz/nikon/serialno.html#50fast

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (1967 Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (1967 Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (1967 Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (1967 Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (1967 Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (1967 Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (1967 Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (1967 Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (1967 Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (1967 Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 Lens (Pre-AI)
The Minimum Focusing Distance of 0.6 meter was still too far for me.
A set of 52mm screw-in macro filters come handy for the task.
But I find my Micro-Nikkor 55mm f/3.5 to be used more often than this one.

========================================

Summary


For

Body is made of all-metal. You can drop this on the floor and it still comes unscathed (unlike the newer more sensitive plastic ones). It also comes in handy as a defense weapon...

Very smooth focus ring

Aperture ring has full stops, I like it that way

This lens is SHARP! (Especially from f/4)

Most of the time, it has given me super saturated colors even at f/1.4.

Oh yes... this is your cheapest ticket to f/1.4! Its low light capability will open up a new world for you.

Awesome bokeh, the world just dissolves smoothly.

I like pairing this lens with a fisheye adapter.

On DX or crop sensor camera, this becomes a portrait lens at effectively 75mm.

If you have a high quality 2x teleconverter, this lens effectively becomes a 100mm f/2.8 (DX = 150mm f/4.5)



Neutral

The Pre-AI version has that trademark Nikon 'rabbit ear prongs' that was meant to be used together with their manual SLRs for metering. It's pretty useless nowadays other than for having a unique look. Watch out, because some digital Nikon SLRs could be damaged, so you have the option to remove the metal prongs.

"Oh! This is a manual focus prime lens! It's the end of the world!!!"... NOT.

There is a softness at f/1.4 that you may or may not like (I like it).

Since it's a 75mm lens on my Nikon D5200, sometimes it's too tight for indoor shots (think group shots).



Against

The chrome and black colors of this lens fits well with the Nikkormat FT, for which it was made as a kit lens. On my Nikon D5200, it looks awkward, and the fully black AI version would be a better match.

MFD of 0.6 meters. This is not a macro lens, of course. Based on my use, I often like to go as close as 0.2 meters, so the Micro-Nikkor 55mm would suit me better, even if it isn't an f/1.4 for low light.



Conclusion

This is a nice lens to have after your kit lens because it's excellent quality and you can have it for super cheap. It's your cheapest ticket to an f/1.4 lens for low light photography and dreamy bokeh. It's not a macro lens that I wish it was (I have the Micro-Nikkor 55 for that purpose), but it's great if you use it anywhere else.


Great for: portrait, events, travel, street, low light

Not for: closeup product photography, macro shots, flowers insects


========================================

Samples


Nikon D5200 Settings

Size - Basic/Small
White Balance - Mostly Preset/Custom, a few in Auto
Picture Profile - SD (Standard)
HDR/ADL/Noise Rediction - Off

No edit were applied to the photo (as in SOOC)
except for the ones with fisheye adapter
(added contrast for effect).


Flower Photography

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (Pre-AI)
With +10 Macro Filter attached

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (1967 Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (1967 Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (1967 Pre-AI)



Food Photography

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 Lens (Pre-AI)
This was shot at night

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (Pre-AI)
With Macro Filter attached

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (Pre-AI)
With Macro Filter attached

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (Pre-AI)
Cropped



Pet Photography

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (1967 Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (1967 Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (1967 Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (1967 Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (1967 Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (1967 Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (1967 Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (Pre-AI)
Used with macro extension tube

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 Lens (Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 Lens (Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (Pre-AI)



Portrait Photography

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (Pre-AI)
With fisheye adapter attached

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (1967 Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (1967 Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (1967 Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (1967 Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (1967 Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (1967 Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (1967 Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (1967 Pre-AI)
Intentionally shot against strong backlight, f/1.4

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (1967 Pre-AI)
f/1.4 I'm experimenting recently with shooting overexposed photos.



Landscape / Street / Architecture Photography
(Without Fisheye Adapter)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (1967 Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (1967 Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (1967 Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (1967 Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (1967 Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (1967 Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (1967 Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (1967 Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (1967 Pre-AI)



50mm + Fisheye Adapter Combo

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (Pre-AI)
Used with 720nm Infrared Filter

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (Pre-AI)



Low Light / Night Scene

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (1967 Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (1967 Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (1967 Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (1967 Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (1967 Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (1967 Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (1967 Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (1967 Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (1967 Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (1967 Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (1967 Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (1967 Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (1967 Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (1967 Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (1967 Pre-AI)

Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (1967 Pre-AI)


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The Nikon D5200 as my weapon of choice.

Vintage lenses are my poison.

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