Stunning results…….

5 years, 7 months ago 4

I had to run over to Knoxville Tennessee today to call on a client before everyone disappears for the Thanksgiving weekend.   I knew that in part of the older part of town there were some killer old painted brick walls that I love to use as test targets.  I am really enjoying using some of the classic old Nikkor manual focus lenses from the 70’s and early 8o’s for my fun shooting.  It is great to get back to the slower pace of manual focus, and actually turning an aperture ring like in the old days!  I’m not suggesting that you should dump all your modern auto focus glass, but there are a number of reasons that shooting with manual focus is productive for some kinds of work!


1. For Video the smooth and long manual focus throws can give magical results!


2. Using the focusing aid in the D800 and other pro cameras can help you get very precise focusing.


3.  The Live View function really comes into its own when you use a magnified view to check critical focus.


4.  The lenses that I’ve selected are all part of a list I like ot call “Legendary Nikkor Glass”  Each and everyone is spectacular in sharpness and color fidelity.


5.  Many of these old manual lenses are available at bargain prices if you do a little searching.  One of my favorite past times is hitting the used cabinet in camera stores, and finding these gems that others have passed by!!


The shot above was hand held with a D800 and the old classic 50-135 f 3.5 Nikkor zoom.  Below is a section of the top image at 100%  Wow, is this fun!  Just for the record my set of manual glass is as follows:



Nikkor 24mm f 2.8 AIS   –    25-50 f4 AIS Nikkor zoom  –   55mm Micro Nikkor f 2.8   –   50-135 f 3.5 AIS  Nikkor zoom   –   105mm f 2.5 AI’d   –   105mm Micro Nikkor f 2.8   

80-200 f4 (and f4.5) AIS Nikkor zooms lenses   –   300mm f4.5 IF-ED Telephoto Nikkor   –   400mm f3.5 IF-ED AIS Telephoto Nikkor


If you own any of the modern Nikon bodies that allow the use of the older lenses, pick up one and give it a try…….  I think you’ll love it!




the pilgrim

4 Responses

  1. David Wilson says:

    Some of the old glass has magic in it. I think my old 105 F2.5 AI-S may be the best lens I will ever own. On the old film body through the viewfinder it looked better than other lens I used. On my digital body in manual, the magic is still there.

    • the pilgrim says:

      You bet, feel the same! In the old days we used to say any photographer with a Nikon that didn’t own that lens was committing as crime!

  2. Jenn says:

    Niiiiice! I have picked up a few used MF lenses for my Pentax K5 and absolutely LOVE them. Cheap, sharp and as you mentioned in your seminar at CC Camera Saturday morning, they focus is smooth unlike AF lenses. Glad you’re enjoying and that you were able to snag a few classics from my favorite used cabinet! 😉

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