The ongoing adventures of the Nikon 50mm f1.2



The Nikon 50mm f1.2 MF lens fitted to a Leica M9. Not a very practical combination as focusing is by guesswork. No Rangefinder coupling. The distance scales on the lens also didn't work plus using the hyperfocal distance was way out. To get a sharp picture the only alternative was to "bracket" the focusing. In the end a few sharp pictures emerged.


And sharp is the word. We were never in doubt that this was a good lens. Until using it with the Leica M9 sensor we didn't realise how good. Its right up there with the Zeiss and Leica lenses we use. A completely useless combination in the real world, we didn't even attempt to try anything less than f11 as we would have been trying all day to get an image in focus!


The test (more a leap of faith than a test!) pandered to a couple of prejudices/opinions that exist round here. Firstly that the quality of the M9 is down to the sensor. Its not just a vehicle for Leica lenses, which some maintain is the real reason why the pictures are so sharp. Having already established to our satisfaction that Voigtlander, Zeiss and now Nikon make lenses that perform as well as Leica lenses on the M9 we can say unequivocally (in our opinion!!!) that Leica lenses are OVERPRICED! I'm sure this will be news to all of you. (Not!) However it has removed that nagging voice in the back of the mind that kept suggesting that only super-expensive authentic Leica lenses would deliver the ultimate quality for the M9.

The second prejudice/opinion that has been "confirmed" is that Nikon can make damn good lenses. Though designed a long time ago (1989?) the 50mm F1.2 MF is a current lens. Here it is sitting in the Grays of Westminster online catalogue.


As you will see Nikon manual focus lenses aren't cheap. Though they can be picked up second hand for a lot less.

So, as indicated, a one-off, and probably not to be repeated test. Unless somebody knows of a rangefinder coupled adapter that is.