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i was recently considering purchasing a new 50mm prime f1.8 lens to fit onto my Nikon D300s but i was really put off by the apparant poor quality of build. it felt a little like the old " E" series lenses that Nikon produced some years ago against their previous trend to only produce pro quality equipment.
so much so that despite their pretty good optical quality, they didnt label them nikkor but simply nikon. for many reaching out to the mass amateur market and making Nikon more high end hobby and less professional was a retregrade step and in the final analysis a poor move. this policy however continued to the present date where pro lenses are sold against others that are little better than the old Hanimex beauties of the eighties, probably better glass but rubbish contruction with heavy reliance on plastics.
with this in mind, i sat a while and contemplated some of the greats that i had owned like the 28mm Nikkor AIS 2.8 and the nikkor f1.8 ais which were solidly build like the beautiful precision items that they were, and its well known that they were the best optics that ever came out of the Nikon factories and possibly the whole of Japan. they were designed with a no ceiling budget to combat Canots gains in the pro market and as far as i recall, the 28mm is pretty much without any distortion at all. similarly the 50mm.
over a two week period i searched the famous interweb trading site - bay and managed to win two mint samples, one of each and by sheer good luck and careful bidding, managed to buy the 28mm for £65 and the 50mm for £48. i couldnt believe my luck as they are fetching well over £150 each in the buy for nows.
NOW HERE IS THE GREAT THING.
they fit directly into the D300s and with a 2 minute set up and button allocation, they can be used in Aperature priority and in manual providing i dont mind focusing manually. now thats not really a hardship considering that i had no other alternative for the first 20 years of using cameras. the aperature is selected as previously by rotating the aperature ring on the lens. the iris stopdown is handled automatically. dont ask me how, its magic to me.
so im back to using nikkor classics and loving them, its got to be worth a try hasnt it, it would be interesting to compare the optical quality when used on the modern body and i can certainly see gains over even my best zoom lenses.
have a look out there, i even saw a Ziess Planar with NIKON mount that needed a service, it went for £75.
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I really like using old lenses on my Pentax. I have a collection of primes and nothing beats that super gliding focusing ring of a high quality manual lens.
i intend to be buried with my Pentax MX fitted with its 28mm pentax lens, loaded with my last roll of tri X, so i can get a shot of St Peter in front of his pearly gates shrouded in glowing backlight like a brochenspectre .
it will be a moody mono of course. ill process it when i get inside the red lighting of the hot room when they direct me back downstairs.
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