Repair: Nikkor-UD 20mm f/3.5 Auto

Hello, everybody! I was talking with a colleague of mine about how the old, original iPhone changed how we look at mobile phones these days. It got all the right features and it pushed the limits of miniaturization, enabling it to add as many features as possible within a small housing. It was smart, cute, reliable and responsive for its time, it is one of the high-points of industrial engineering and design that’s being studied to this day by people who make and design tools and software such as me. I’m not an “iZombie” but nobody (I assume) will object to my statement from an engineering perspective. It’s a great design that spawned copycats as a testament to its success. Today, I’ll show you one such game-changing design from Nikon. This lens made a big difference back then and it brought the F-mount to newer heights. Just like the original iPhone, it was expensive when it debuted because it broke new grounds and it pushed the limit of optical engineering back then. Let’s now see what this lens is all about.

Introduction:

The Nikkor-UD 20mm f/3.5 Auto debuted in 1968, it’s the first lens of its class and it was a game-changer. Back when the Nikon F was introduced up until the unveiling of this lens you only have the choice of using your Nikon F in mirror-up configuration since most of the lenses’ optics have to be inside of the mirror-box. You frame with an external viewfinder and focus using the distance and depth-of-field scales. The Nikkor-UD 20mm f/3.5 Auto did away with all those inconveniences and that changed everything for Nikon users since. This is an interesting lens from a historical and technological point of view and is one of the high-points in optical engineering in the past century.

The front element is the largest of all the classic 20mm Nikkors and a 72mm filter size is a must. People who are invested in 52mm filters need to get the bigger 72mm equivalents or just get a step-up ring and adapt their existing 77mm filters. This is the reason why buying bigger filters makes more sense for landscape photographers and adapting larger ones will prevent any sort of mechanical vignetting.

More
Advertisements

Repair: Nikkor-S•C 5cm f/1.4 (LTM)

Hello, everybody! Do you remember “I Feel For You” by Chaka Khan? But do you know that it was originally by Prince? Many people thought that Prince covered this song (and many more) but he’s actually the one who wrote the song in the first place! It’s important that we find out more about the things that we like, this will give us a better connection to them and appreciate the origins that they came from. I will show you today a Nikkor that many don’t know much about and even confuse it as something else since information about it is kind of scarce online. Like the Chaka Khan song, this is a variant of an existing Nikkor.

Introduction:

The Nikkor S•C 5cm f/1.4 is one of Nikon’s best during the post-war years, it’s basically an improved Nikkor S•C 5cm f/1.5 which is a copy of the Carl Zeiss Sonnar 5cm f/1.5 but with better performance at closer distances. This was a very popular lens and Nikon made plenty of these. Many professionals had them in their bags including the recently-deceased Robert Frank. It’s sharp, durable and cheaper than the German equivalents so it became a success. It remained generally the same optically for a long time until Nikon decided to stop rangefinder camera production.

The Nikkor S•C 5cm f/1.4 was made in different mounts, the native Nikon S-mount version and an LTM (Leica Thread Mount) version which we’re going to talk about in this article. Both share the same optical formula but this one is special because it can do something special – focus really close. It does this by extending the barrel further but it gets decoupled from the rangefinder. If you think this sounds familiar, it’s the same trick that the Nikkor-H•C 5cm f/2 (LTM) employs to achieve the same thing. This is a clever gimmick which many Leica users can exploit, I do not know any native Leica lens that does the same thing.

More