Nikon Lens Porn

One of the great advantages of using a DX-format Nikon DSLR is that you’re still able to use older 35mm manual focus Nikon lenses. How true is this and what do the resulting pictures look like? Here are the results of my totally un-scientific tests.

Spot the unusual lens on a Nikon D5100

As these lenses are manual focus, they will only be useable when the DSLR is in ‘manual mode’ and there are no focusing aids available other than a Mk 1 eyeball.

Shooting conditions: Using a Nikon D5100 body in the kitchen, at night, using available incandescent light on a cheap, wobbly tripod. I used ‘Live View’ on the LCD back to get the sharpest possible focus and to meter the scene. To minimise camera shake, each exposure was taken on a 10 second self-timer. Images have not been Photoshopped.

Nikon 50mm f/1.8 AI-S Prime Lens

Nikon D51000 with f1.8, 50mm Prime AI-S lens

This prime lens is normally used on my Nikon FM2n film camera and is from the late 1990s. The image shows its bokeh rather well. When you look at the 100% crop around the Nikon logo (below), you can see the focus point.

Nikon D51000 with f1.8, 50mm Prime AI-S_lens - detail

An expert reviewer has lauded this lens as … just about the best performance you can get for your Nikon.”

Nikon Series E, 35mm f/2.5 AI-S Wide Angle

This lens is from the 1970s, from my father’s Nikon F2, and despite being a budget lens, still shoots a decent image. It’s extremely light and despite having plastic coverings, is a solid lens.

Nikon D5100 body with Nikon 35mm f/2.5 E-Series AI-s lens - manual focus

Nikon D5100 body with Nikon 35mm f/2.5 E-Series AI-s lens - picture detail

Nikon 135mm f/3.5 AI-S Telephoto

A pro lens from the 1970s (again from my father’s kit), this was a real surprise. It’s heavy, solid and has a wonderfully smooth movement. As for its imaging quality, ..the 135mm f/3.5 is extremely sharp and has no visible distortion” I found manual focussing in the dark, without any focussing screen or aids, very difficult.

Nikon D5100 body with Nikon 135mm f/2.8 AI-s lens

Nikon D5100 body with Nikon 135mm f/2.8 AI-s lens - detail

This lens is over 35 years old and still works flawlessly in a 2012 Nikon D5100 DSLR, albeit in manual mode. These old lenses are still useable as long as you know when to use them. Ensure that you check for compatibility before using them with your Nikon DSLR. And best of all, they all have a depth-of-field scale.

Oh, if you want to read Lens Porn, have a look here and here.

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