recommend me some legacy Nikon glass

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by uci2ci, Jul 27, 2013.

  1. uci2ci

    uci2ci Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 22, 2012
    Los Angeles, CA
    I have a Nik-m43 adapter coming my way, but i dont have any Nikon lenses. :redface:

    Im not looking for any focal length in particular. Im looking for eithe great IQ, or a nice bokeh, or even just good build quality. Basically, a lens that you would consider "special".....something that would entice you to use it. Keeping the price south of $300 would be appreciated.
  2. dougjgreen

    dougjgreen Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 5, 2013
    San Diego
    Doug Green
    35mm f2 Nikkor AI or AIS - should be available for under $100

    55mm f3.5 Micro Nikkor P.C. or Nikkor AI - should be available for under $75

    85mm f2 Nikkor AI or AIS - should cost under $150

    105mm f2.5 Nikkor AI or AIS - should cost under $150

    180mm f2.8 Nikkor ED AI or AIS - should cost under $300

    These are some of the top Nikon manual focus lenses of the 1970s and 80s.

    If your budget was unlimited, I might mention some of the long fast lenses like the 300mm f2.8 ED AI or the 400mm f3.5 ED AI.

    Although, truth to tell, I wouldn't actually go out and buy any of these lenses other than the 55mm f3.5 Micro Nikkor P.C. at the current prices they sell for.
  3. Pecos

    Pecos Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 20, 2013
    The Natural State
    The 28mm f/2.8 ais is legendary. It's sometimes referred to as Nikon's best wide-angle lens. I've used it and it is super. I'm not sure how useful I'd consider it on MFT given the Leica-Pansonic 25mm f/1.4. I think if I were going to use legacy glass I'd do macro, where AF doesn't matter anyway. In that regard, the 105mm f/2.8 ais would be a killer.
  4. dougjgreen

    dougjgreen Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 5, 2013
    San Diego
    Doug Green
    It is a great full frame wide angle, but it's certainly of limited use as a manual focus long-normal lens in MFT. That's why I didn't recommend anything wider than 35mm. I agree with you that Macro is the way to go - but because of the crop factor, as well as the BIG difference in costs presently on the open market - that's why I recommended the 55mm rather than the 105mm Micro-Nikkor.
  5. uci2ci

    uci2ci Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 22, 2012
    Los Angeles, CA
    Thanks guys for the recommendation. My understanding has been that Nikon legacies are priced higher than their Canon FD counterparts, since they still fit current Nikon models. Is that correct?

    The 35mm and 55mm f3.5 sound interesting since I don't have any lenses at those FL. I could always go for another fast 50 to go with my Canon FD 50 1.4 ...I couldnt help but noticed that you didn't recommend any Doug...are the Nikon nifty-fifties just not that great?

    While I'd love to have a fast tele, I simply can't convince myself to pay the $1000+ for it. I've dabbled with third party fast teles, but was disappointed. Although I've been eyeballing a Canon FD L 300mm f2.8 on Adorama for some time now. $1149 but no hood. Even had them send me some pics of the looks new! Someone buy it so I stop looking at it.
  6. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    I went through a legacy lens buying spree a few years back and ended up with a small collection which I used with the E-510 and E-P1.

    Havent used them much recently, but I recall that the 24/2 didn't impress me much, but that the 35/2, 50/1.4, 50/1.2 and the 105/2.5 gave some nice results.

    examples in this Flickr set

    Nikkor Lenses - a set on Flickr


    From a Paris Street 1 by kevinparis, on Flickr


    looking by kevinparis, on Flickr


    cafe life by kevinparis, on Flickr


    Oliver Runs by kevinparis, on Flickr

    must get round to trying them on the OMD.

  7. RnR

    RnR Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    The 50mm f1.8 and f2 are supposed to be quite good. I have the 50mm f1.8 and like the results wide open.

    Bjørn Rørslett's lens comments are a handy reference to all things Nikon. Might be of use to you in terms of narrowing down the targets.

    Lens Evaluations

    Scroll down to the bottom and get busy with fleabay :drinks:
  8. uci2ci

    uci2ci Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 22, 2012
    Los Angeles, CA
    Those are some excellent photos Kevin, love the dreamy look of the 50 1.2. The 50 1.4 looks very sharp actually. I guess that answers my question about the nifty-fifties
  9. uci2ci

    uci2ci Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 22, 2012
    Los Angeles, CA
    Thanks for the link! Looks like a great place to start :drinks:
  10. speedandstyle

    speedandstyle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Don't overlook the E series lenses. Although they got a bad rep in their day they are actually very good. The later ones are better but even the early ones are good optically. They are small and light and adapt super to m4/3 because of it.

    Back in the 80s all high end lenses used expensive metal bodies. Nikon wanted to bring in more customers on a tighter budget. So they introduced economy bodies{EM and then the FG} and a series of lenses called "E" series. There are 5 primes and 3 zooms in the E lenses. The zooms are OK and can be adapted but they are nothing great.

    The primes on the other hand are very good. There is a 28mm f2.8{a fav of mine - then and now}, a 35mm f2.5, a 50mm f1.8 pancake{super small and light - with the adapter fitted it is smaller and much lighter than my 50mm f1.4!}, a 100mm f2.8{which even back then was considered the jewel of the line and the only time Nikon ever made a 100mm}, finally there is a 135mm f2.8{I have not used this one but it is suppose to be good}.

    Nikon made the lenses cheaper by using plastic and making them a tiny bit smaller but the optics are top notch for the day.

    I wouldn't say that Canon FD lenses are cheaper than old Nikkor lenses. IT totally depends on the lens and how much in demand it is. Canon did and still does make some very nice lenses.

    Keep in mind with Nikkor there are several generations. The first one is called pre-AI and includes all lenses from 1959-1977, AI and then AI-s 1978-current, AF/AF-D screw drive autofocus 1986- present, AF-S and AF-I internal motor autofocus 1992- present. Most AF-S lenses are also "G" lenses which means there is no external aperture control. These are harder to adapt and require an adapter with an added aperture control ring. There are also a couple of AF-D lenses that are "G" lenses.
  11. slothead

    slothead Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 14, 2012
    Frederick, MD
    I may have said this before (somewhere here), but I love my 85 f/1.4.

  12. romanchukenator

    romanchukenator New to Mu-43

    Jul 22, 2013
    Oh, dude, the 50mm f1.8 is superb. Beautiful lens, I found mine for an absolute steal of $100. Great pictures:
    <a href="[email protected]/9342193490/" title="James' Confusion by romanchukenator, on Flickr">[​IMG]"684" height="1024" alt="James' Confusion"></a>

    The 28mm 2.8 is another Nikkor I've found to be fantastic. Crisp, clear and a well made lens with some nice smooth focusing action.
    <a href="[email protected]/9374601487/" title="BackgammonAndChessRust by romanchukenator, on Flickr"> 9374601487_82937f4b26_b.jpg "1024" height="684" alt="BackgammonAndChessRust"></a>

    If I'd have to choose between them I'd go for the 50mm, though. On a m4/3 you just seem to get more keepers with a 50mm.
  13. Uncle Frank

    Uncle Frank Photo Enthusiast

    Jul 26, 2012
    San Jose, CA
    I was just shooting with my 55/3.5 this morning. It would be a great starting point for your vintage lens collection, giving you a macro lens with 110mm reach on mft. You can usually find clean copies for around $100 at places like




    It's good for non-macro stuff, too... crisp and colorful.

  14. dougjgreen

    dougjgreen Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 5, 2013
    San Diego
    Doug Green
    My personal opinion is that the Nikon nifty-fifties are fine, but they are not as good on a value basis - because they aren't any better than the similar Canon FD, Minolta, Konica, and Pentax lenses - all of which tend to sell for less than the comparable Nikons. And yes, one reason for that is that they can still mount without adapters on many current Nikon DSLRs. Case in point - the poster above paid $100 for a Nikon 50mm f1.8, which is a fine lens, but not any better than the Canon, Minolta, Pentax, Olympus or Konica f1.7 or 1.8 lenses that can commonly be found for $20-50.
  15. Pecos

    Pecos Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 20, 2013
    The Natural State
    I agree with Frank; the 55 micro would be a good choice if you want to use old Nikon glass on MFT.
  16. eno789

    eno789 Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 5, 2010
    Bay Area, California
  17. wlewisiii

    wlewisiii Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 16, 2011
    Hayward, WI
    William B. Lewis
    Look for Pre-AI lenses. You don't need the more modern coupling for the meter and they can be considerably cheaper than the AI lenses that Nikon people can use on their DSLRs.

    I have the 24/2.8, 50/1.4, 105/2.5 (P version - last of the great Sonnars) and a 200/4 that are all wonderful lenses on my E-PL1.

    I used the shorter three in this thread and it's link.
  18. dougjgreen

    dougjgreen Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 5, 2013
    San Diego
    Doug Green
    I agree on the earlier 105mm 2.5 - the earlier Nikkor-P Sonnar design might even be better than the later Gauss design at long distances (especially with respect to bokeh) - but the Gauss version is better on close-ups (say anything inside 5-10 meters).

    But I think the old Nikkor-Q 200mm f4 is one of the worst lenses Nikon ever made. I own one, that I would sell to anyone for $25 plus shipping, but I can't in good faith recommend it to anybody. You can get a Vivitar 200mm f3.5 that's sharper, faster smaller, lighter, and more modern for around the same price.
  19. RnR

    RnR Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    Ken Rockwell would disagree with you :wink:

    Nikon 200mm f/4 Nikkor-Q

    I have the Q.C version and its not bad @f5.6 - These days though I reach for the 180mm f2.8. Got it cheap because of a few small scratches on the front element :thumbup:

    Edit: if you need 200mm and you see a Nikon 80-200mm f4 zoom for cheap, grab it -
  20. dejongj

    dejongj Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 3, 2013
    Whipsnade, UK
    I have my old nikon film cameras and all my favourites have been mentioned.

    On my Pen 5 I like

    100mm f2.8 series E over the 105mm f2.8. The lightweight design makes it very well balanced.

    The 75-150 is also a fantastic zoom lens. Highly recommended.
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