Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Nikon 55mm f/3.5 pre-AI Micro-Nikkor Lens Review

Background

A very capable and sharp near 1:1 macro lens, this sharp wide open gem is inexpensive and another great legacy lens.  Read on to see our impression of this pre AI lens.

Handling/Size/Weight

Very similar in size to the Nikon 105/2.5 AI lens, this lens is missing the AI or aperture indexing ridge on the aperture ring.  This means that it may not be able to be mounted on some cameras safely without modification.  I'm using it adapted on the Olympus PEN-F and the Nikon Df.

On the Df, you need to flip the aperture indexing tab up, so as not to damage it.

1/100, f/3.5, ISO 250 - Olympus PEN-F
You then enter the lens info into the camera as a non-ai.  Then in order to register accurate EXIF, you turn the aperture ring to the desired size, then also spin the command dial to match

It is all metal construction, so it does have weight to it, but not something that I would consider "heavy".
1/400, f/3.5, ISO 200 - Olympus PEN-F

Image Quality

Even at f/3.5, this lens is super sharp. Stopping down increases sharpness a bit.
I'll let images speak here.

1/1250, f/3.5, ISO 200 - Olympus PEN-F

1/80, f/4, ISO 100 - Nikon Df

Focusing

Being a macro lens, the focus throw is longer than a standard optic.  It is not too bad, but going from infinity to close focus takes more than one turn.  I still found it easy to manually focus the lens on either body I used.

1/100, f/3.5, ISO 100 - Nikon Df

1/125, f/3.5, ISO 100 -  Nikon Df

Bottom Line

Not the fastest 55mm lens, but it's hard to beat the price to quality ratio here.  A solid build, excellent optics and a used price that is worth the experiment.  An experiment for me turned into a keeper lens.  

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