Repair: Nikkor 50mm f/1.2 Ai

Hello, everybody! Did you watch the Joker movie? I think it’s a great film, it showed us a different aspect of the character and gave him some humanity. I love this version of the Joker a lot but I think that Jack Nicholson’s version is the better one because it’s closer to the classic depiction of the character. I love both versions, they explore totally different aspects of the Joker. Today, I will show you a version of the lens that I prefer over the newer one. This is just as amazing as the later one but it has a few more things to offer.

Introduction:

The Nikkor 50mm f/1.2 Ai debuted in the late 1970s as a native Ai lens and it replaced the New-Nikkor 55mm f/1.2 as Nikon’s fastest “standard” lens. This is a dream-come-true for Nikon since they have trying very hard to produce something like this for nearly 2 decades now. What filled that gap is the old Nikkor-S 55mm f/1.2 Auto, it was a compromise in the sense that it had to be a 55mm lens instead of 50mm. It was difficult to design something like this for an SLR system at that time because the required technology to make this hasn’t matured yet. The rear element has to avoid the flapping mirror of an SLR and that took some time to solve. This lens was a technical wonder and its design lives to this day in the Nikkor 50mm f/1.2 Ai-S which is still made to this day.

The big front element is the showcase of this lens. It’s needed in order to get as much in to the film or sensor. It’s impressive, an amazing feat in terms of optical engineering.

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Repair: New-Nikkor 20mm f/4

Hello, everybody! I was excited when the new Macbook 16″ was announced a couple of days back. The sad part is it’s still missing the function keys and the trackpad is still the new, larger one which requires more effort to swipe across compared to the older, smaller one. I still use the old, original Retina Macbook and I wish that the next one will be just as good as that release. It’s reliable and it still has an SD card reader and the good, older-type charging connector. There are many parallels to this in the real world, a new product that failed to supersede the older one because some people lost a few things in the name of an upgrade. This happens very often with cameras, too. I will show you an example of it when it comes to Nikkors.

Introduction:

The New-Nikkor 20mm f/4 debuted in 1974, replacing the popular Nikkor-UD 20mm f/3.5 Auto which is a fine lens but it’s big, takes bigger filters and a lot heavier than this. The impetus for designing this lens is to make a compact 20mm for the F-mount and Nikon succeeded in doing that with this lens. It’s amazingly compact and light compared to the older lens, a big advantage if you are traveling or hiking because every gram counts at the end of the day. It’s also a great performer optically and it has a cult-status amongst those of use who shoot high-magnification photography. When mounted in-reverse, it is able to achieve an unbelievable 12x magnification ratio which makes it a favorite for bug, coin and technical photographers. It was even mentioned in the user manual or brochures if I am not mistaken.

Despite its size, it’s well-made and will last you more than a lifetime. You’re going to need a step-up ring in order to avoid mechanical vignetting when you use filters with this. I haven’t tested this lens with any filters yet but it’s safe to assume the worst based on my experience. Notice that hole with the broken screw? That caused me a lot of headache when I was repairing this.

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Repair: W-Nikkor•C 2.8cm f/3.5 (LTM)

Hello, everybody! Nikon just announced the Nikon Z50, it is a small camera that’s equivalent to the Nikon D7500 just without the mirror. Nikon sure has earned back the money spent on developing that sensor several times over, Nikon loves to repurpose older flagship sensors and use them on lower-end cameras after a few months or years. Nikon has been doing this thing since the start of their rebirth after the war. Repurposing isn’t a bad idea and I’m an advocate of it when I am designing studio workflows at work. It saves a lot of money but it also ensures repeatability which is important. Speaking of repurposing, our topic for this article is a lens that was sold in 2 different lens mounts, you don’t have to re-invent the wheel but you sure can modify it to fit different needs, so to speak. Please enjoy this article.

Introduction:

The W-Nikkor•C 2.8cm f/3.5 was a game-changer when it came out. It used to be the fastest lens of its type when it debuted in 1952. It was based on an old Nikkor that was used during the war for taking aerial spy photos, it has high resolution and a low distortion profile. It was miniaturized and it ended up being this lens. I have covered the W-Nikkor•C 2.8cm f/3.5 (S-mount) before so read that article if you want to know more about this lens. The lens that’s featured in this article the W-Nikkor•C 2.8cm f/3.5 (Leica Thread Mount). It’s similar to the W-Nikkor•C 2.8cm f/3.5 (S-mount) optically and that’s all. Many people debate to this day on which version came out first. Some say that it’s the Leica Thread Mount version came out earlier as Nikon wanted to get the Leica market which was bigger back then. There’s a lot of merit to it, I think that this lens was aimed at that market where there’s nothing equivalent to it for some time. It was the fastest wide-angle lens when all the competition (Germans) had were f/6.3 to f/8 ones. You can now buy a faster, cheaper lens at the loss of some prestige. This mattered to some people while some folks didn’t even care.

The lens arrived in this state. It was dirty, the paint’s worn and the inside of the objective was oily. I now it looks small in the picture but the lens is a big one as far as slower W-Nikkors are concerned. It’s dense and it reminds you of a hockey puck.

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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.

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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.

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Repair: Nikkor 105mm f/1.8 Ai-S

Hello, everybody! Do you love Genesis? I am a big fan of Phil Collins and he is the better frontman for the group if you ask me. Not that Peter is bad but Phil just took the band and its music into a higher level. He defined Genesis’ sound as we know it today and most of the band’s best songs were sung by him. I could not think of Genesis without thinking about him, I was shocked when he left the group to pursue his solo career which he did very well. Life is like Genesis’ story, sometimes you find yourself replacing an old favorite and you eventually mature into your own style and start walking your own path. Today, I will show you a Nikkor that out-performed an old favorite. It’s so-good that it eventually got its own fanbase and defined a lens family. It is now not only a little brother to the one that it’s supposed to compliment.

Introduction:

The Nikkor 105mm f/1.8 Ai-S debuted in 1981 and was sold until 2005. It was the fastest lens of its type and is a high-mark of optical engineering. It has a 5-elements-in-5-groups design of the Xenotar-type compared to the common Gauss-type which would have resulted in a lens with typically 7 elements so this was a remarkable feat. One of my lens heroes, Sato Haruo-san said that this was not an easy task according to his excellent essay. The lens designer stretched the limit of this design and came-up with a masterpiece to say the least. If you think that you have seen this somewhere then that’s because it was made to complement the Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 Ai-S so they look alike. The 2 lenses were sold as offerings for the then-new Nikon F3 that was released a year earlier, the most beautiful Nikon ever made (to me).

The barrel is fat as it is wide making it a nice lens to pair with a bigger body. I love how it handles despite being huge. The construction is typical of Ai-S lenses which is good but not as tough as the Ai and earlier lenses. The shade can be deployed rather easily but it’s too-shallow in my opinion. It handles similarly to the Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 Ai-S because that’s also a fat lens. This is a great lens to pair with that when you need speed.

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Repair: Fabricating Iris Blades

Hello, everybody! We will tackle something different today, I would like to show you how to fabricate iris blades so you’ll know how these things were made. This is a delicate task that is best left to the advanced amateur or the professional repairman because it requires several special tools and a lot of practical know-how to achieve acceptable results. This is very troublesome, I would rather salvage parts from another lens than do this but this lens is a very valuable one and it’s a historic lens, too. It deserves to be restored and I will give it my best effort just to have it working perfectly again.

This is something you don’t see everyday, an article that teaches you how to fabricate intricate parts! It’s best to have the right tools to do this properly, I don’t want to invest too much money on this because all I wanted to make is a single blade. If I were to fabricate several ones then I would buy a press, a punch and some die-making tools so I can make accurate replicas.

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