I’ve always been a big fan of 50mm lenses. Some people like ’em, some people hate ’em, and me, well I LOVE them.
Lately my love affair with the 50mm has been rekindled with an intense interest in an old classic, the Nikon 50mm f1.2 AI-S. It’s one of the few manual focus lenses that Nikon stills makes, and they’ve been making it since 1981.
There has been a lot written about the Nikkor 50mm f1.2 AI-S and many reviewers have complained everything from it’s softness when shot wide open to it’s unique coma effects, but I think a lot of these complainers are simply missing the point of this little gem of a lens.
The 50mm f1.2 AI-S is an f1.2 lens, and, really, you buy an f1.2 lens to shoot it at f1.2. The coma and other unique characteristics of this niftiest of the nifty fifties are part of it’s charm, and something to be embraced, not something to be looked down upon as less than desirable.
Take a look at this collection of images shot with the Nikkor 50mm f1.2 AI-S that I collected from Flickr. There’s something about them, something wonderful that comes from those inherent and less-than-technically-perfect characteristics of the Nikon 50mm f1.2 AI-S, something that I think is unique to this wonderful little lens.
These days, a lot of the old glass is making a come back, especially with all the incredible mirrorless full frame cameras that Sony has been releasing like the Sony a7 series, and it’s easy to understand why looking at images like these!
I’ll be getting my hands on a Nikkor 50mm f1.2 AIS for testing in the New Year, and I can hardly wait! Stay tuned.
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