Nikon Nikkor 50mm f/1.2 AI-s Review and user experience - Part 2

All images Nikon D800E - Nikon Nikkor 50mm f/1.2 AI-s Manual Focus Lens

The Nikon 50mm f/1.2 was designed long before digital was even thought of. This 31 year old lens is distortion free, and has very little CA and fringing. It has no need of in-camera processing or any need to have a correctional lens profile either. Its a lens that was designed for film cameras, and for use at low ISO's and is therefore about as "old school" as you can get. 

Here are some of my previous posts on the lens. 

The full-size images from the D800E are lovely and sharp and the 50mm f/1.2 has a very nice colour rendition. Lens reviews these days often don't talk about this. But there are colour differences between lenses i.e. some are cooler than others, some are warmer. It is often the case that these differences are sometimes cancelled out by the jpg. conversion, but they do exist.

Shooting landscape with a 50mm lens on a 35mm sized sensor doesn't allow for the depth of field that other smaller sensored cameras have. I was working hand held, was keen to use ISO 100 throughout so in order to keep the shutter speed high, I was often shooting at f/4 and f/5.6. Though these web sized versions may not show it, there is somewhat limited DOF in some of the images. This can be seen as a disadvantage for landscape pictures, but it also makes the point of focus stand out more, giving a "large-format" look to the images, which can be quite attractive. It can also make an image look different to the viewer. Most won't know what the difference is, but it does produce an interesting image.

The 50mm wasn't particularly designed with landscape in mind, but as a general all round "fast" lens. As I mentioned yesterday its wide aperture is unique to Nikon and they have never repeated it. Canon once produced a 50mm f/1 and they have a current AF 50mm f/1.2 for their EOS cameras. I can't say why Nikon have chosen not to make anything similar for their autofocus range. Certainly this lens is capable of some odd results wide open, which I'll come on to in future posts, which may explain the lack of a modern alternative.

As ever it was an enjoyable experience using the lens and it was all I took out with me. Only having a 50mm standard lens to work with is something I enjoy doing. It was more common to do this in the past, and it always reminds me of my early days in photography, as when I started that was all I had. I find it more liberating than restricting, always have, and as a picture library editor told me many years ago "If you can't create magic with a 50mm, you should probably think about another career!"

For the rest of this Review and User Experience of the Nikon 50mm f/1.2 CLICK HERE

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