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Archive 2012 · Nikon 35mm f1.4 ai-s
  
 
byteseller
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Nikon 35mm f1.4 ai-s


I have the option to purchase one at a very reasonable price, what is the buzz out there about this lens? Seems like it would be a very good option for video of fairly still subjects.

Thanks



Aug 18, 2012 at 04:46 AM
turnert
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Nikon 35mm f1.4 ai-s


I've owned one for many years, and though I don't use it often, I think it's excellent and perhaps underrated given the attention the newer generation of 35mm lenses have received. I've used it on my D2H, D2X, and D700. It's not stellar wide open - contrast is relatively low and I've seen a bit of veiling flare in some shots. But stop down just a bit and performance increases rapidly. I love the silky smooth manual focus and excellent build quality.

Bjorn Rorslett gives it a good review, particularly on FX bodies: http://www.naturfotograf.com/index2.html

I would also guess that it would be a fine lens for video work.

~Ted



Aug 18, 2012 at 11:28 AM
EB-1
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Nikon 35mm f1.4 ai-s


Its a 42+ year old design, with no benefit of aspherics, although it was Nikon's first lens designed from the start with multicoating (IC). I had that lens for ten years and am a bit surprised that it is so popular lately. At the large apertures optical aberrations are severe and flare and contrast are an issue. If the subject is in the central area the IQ should be acceptable (especially on video) as an artistic look. By f/5.6 the lens produces quite sharp images.

EBH



Aug 18, 2012 at 04:04 PM
jhinkey
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Nikon 35mm f1.4 ai-s


If you want to make the absolute best high sharpness high contrast images near f/1.4 then there are other better options. But making interesting photographs is not all about sharpness and contrast.

The 35/1.4 AIS has a unique look due to its optical properties and is capable of making excellent images. It has funky bokeh and some weird undulations in it's sharpness across the frame when stopped down, but ii is a very useful lens when used within it's abilities.

Many folks have one and love it for it's look.



Aug 18, 2012 at 06:00 PM
CGrindahl
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Nikon 35mm f1.4 ai-s


Remarkably, this is one of Nikon's MF lenses still in production with a retail price north of a thousand dollars at B&H. A really clean copy in EX condition will be over five hundred dollars. If you're getting a very good price you can likely try the lens out and sell it if you're not happy without losing any money.

As noted above the lens wide open produces a very distinctive bokeh that can appear to be quite jittery if the background is busy, much like other fast MF Nikkor lenses at standard focal lengths. Some folks don't like the look, some are fond of it. Here is a rather extreme example in black and white.

Shot Taken With 35 f/1.4 AI

It should be noted the AI has seven aperture blades and the AI-s has nine. Here's a shot wide open with the AI-s version.



I find the lens to perform very well with excellent color and contrast. Yes, the bokeh can be agitated at times but the key is to stay away from busy backgrounds if you're going to be shooting wide open. The Close Range Correction is a nice feature in this and other MF lenses. This is not my go to focal length but when I use this lens I'm never disappointed. Here is a crop from a recent photo of the Golden Gate Bridge in fog. This was shot at f/8.




Aug 18, 2012 at 09:01 PM
williamkazak
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Nikon 35mm f1.4 ai-s


EB-1 wrote:
Its a 42+ year old design, with no benefit of aspherics, although it was Nikon's first lens designed from the start with multicoating (IC). I had that lens for ten years and am a bit surprised that it is so popular lately. At the large apertures optical aberrations are severe and flare and contrast are an issue. If the subject is in the central area the IQ should be acceptable (especially on video) as an artistic look. By f/5.6 the lens produces quite sharp images.

EBH

+1
Stopping down cleans it up.



Aug 18, 2012 at 09:38 PM
carlitos
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Nikon 35mm f1.4 ai-s


The current crop of 35/1.4 lenses are quite a bit larger than this one. The filter on this lens is 52mm. Amongst trees, shrubbery, etc. the bokeh could be called organic.


Aug 18, 2012 at 11:07 PM
byteseller
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Nikon 35mm f1.4 ai-s


Thanks all for the feedback

CGrindahl - loved the images and you and I were thinking along the same lines - I did buy the lens early today and will play with it a bit and see how it handles. Have already noticed that on my version (ai-s 9 blade aperture) the Bokeh is actually nice and while f1.4 much softer than I would want it to be (although it does have a dreamy quality to it), one click in (f2) it is VERY sharp.

Regardless, give the absolute minty-ness of this lens (and leather case) and price it went for, it was a bit of a no brainer and I can't imagine loosing any money on it.




Aug 19, 2012 at 03:11 AM
CGrindahl
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Nikon 35mm f1.4 ai-s


How exciting for you. I'd thought myself content with the 35 f/2 AI-s that I bought for $135 from a lovely Japanese gentleman who'd bought it brand new and was selling it out of his excitement at having bought his first AF camera. Then a person I contacted through craigslist showed me a like new copy of the 35 f/1.4 AI-s together with four other Nikkor MF lenses. I ended up buying three of them including the 35. It is such a gorgeous lens to hold and to use. Have fun with it. It will be clear soon enough whether that lens and that kind of shooting is right for you. The reason the Manual Focus Nikon Glass thread is so active, is the simple fact those folks shooting with these lenses are having a great deal of fun. Unless one absolutely MUST shoot with AF lenses, shooting MF is remarkably engaging and rewarding. I'll be curious to hear what your experience is. If you're mounting this lens on a Nikon camera, I hope you'll drop by the thread and share some photos and some comments on using it. Congratulations!


Aug 19, 2012 at 07:41 AM
Chris Dees
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Nikon 35mm f1.4 ai-s


I'm pretty happy with my copy, but you need to stop down a little.




  NIKON D800E    35.0 mm f/1.4 lens    35mm    f/5.6    1/250s    100 ISO    0.0 EV  




Aug 19, 2012 at 10:06 AM
 

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byteseller
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Nikon 35mm f1.4 ai-s


Chris,

Hope you get some good moonshine from that unit (old fire engine I assume?)

Didn't have decent weather to play with the 35mm f1.4 today. But with the little that I did shoot it looks to me like by f2 it is already a tiny bit sharper that my (pretty sharp) Nikon 35/1.8G at f2.2 in the center, and with better Bokeh and corners. More importantly, and harder to quantify the colors just have more "pop". Hopefully after a very busy Mon/Tues I'll have a chance mid-week to really play with it...

What ap do you tend to shoot at?



Aug 19, 2012 at 10:55 PM
Chris Dees
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Nikon 35mm f1.4 ai-s


Yes, it's an old fire engine powered by steam.

I shoot mostly between 2.0 and 8.0



Aug 20, 2012 at 07:11 AM
byteseller
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Nikon 35mm f1.4 ai-s


Chris,

That was going to be my first guess... the No.3 Steam fire engine (1908) by Bikkers &Zn in Rotterdam



Great photo! makes me lean towards keeping this lens and maybe selling off the 50mm f1.2



Aug 20, 2012 at 07:41 AM
Chris Dees
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Nikon 35mm f1.4 ai-s


byteseller wrote:
Chris,

That was going to be my first guess... the No.3 Steam fire engine (1908) by Bikkers &Zn in Rotterdam



Great photo! makes me lean towards keeping this lens and maybe selling off the 50mm f1.2


Thanks, I have both lenses but almost always pick the 35mm as I like this focal length more.

This picture was taken at the "Steam Event' in Dordrecht (close to Rotterdam) which is the largest (European?) steam event and takes place every 2 years.



Aug 20, 2012 at 09:30 AM
byteseller
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Nikon 35mm f1.4 ai-s


Chris

I knew it was a steam fire engine, but the rest of the info was googled info :-)

But I do remember seeing something very similar when I was a kid growing up in Chile at the old volunteer fire station - where there was some equiment donated by Germany from the turn of the century (you know, the last century). These thing are like old camera equipment, so beautifully built, puts modern stuff to shame.



Aug 20, 2012 at 01:26 PM
ryankarr
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Nikon 35mm f1.4 ai-s


If you pixel peep, you probably won't be happy. If you don't, you'll be fine.

I only shoot mine wide open. Stopping down is for the weak!


Grayson by ryankarr, on Flickr


Cauliflower, Apple, and Salmon. by ryankarr, on Flickr



Aug 20, 2012 at 01:55 PM
jamach
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Nikon 35mm f1.4 ai-s


ryankarr, that is a distinguished looking young gentleman with charisma!

Joe



Aug 20, 2012 at 04:14 PM
byteseller
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Nikon 35mm f1.4 ai-s


Ryan,

Those are fantastic and exactly what I would want for the lens! To me color rendition and bokeh are much more important that resolution/sharpness. Awesome.

FX or DX body?



Aug 21, 2012 at 03:57 PM
byteseller
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Nikon 35mm f1.4 ai-s


Well after much thought and pain, I have decided to sell the lens in part to fund the purchase of a 70-200 VR. I took the lens out the other day for some shots, and I was almost afraid to look at the photos for fear of changing my mind.... and I was right, I should not have looked at them, pure masochism.

BTW - I'm also planning on selling my 50/1.2 AIS... the 70-200 might be a killer lens, but I'll very sorely miss the absolutely gorgeous mechanics of these two prime lenses, the feel of turning the focus on these lenses is really a fetishistic pleasure :-)



Aug 30, 2012 at 05:03 AM





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