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This is a fantastic lens, but probably not for everyone. First it is manual focus, which to me is no big deal but could be for others. Second, if you worship at the altar of sharpness and optical perfection, this lens is not for you.
This lens works well with Nikon Ai manual bodies and most early Nikon autofocus bodies. It works with pro and advanced later film and digital cameras. Pro series digital cameras have an arrow, spot, arrow focus assist for manual focus lenses.
It is wonderful that Nikon still makes simple, robust, all-manual lenses. Not only are they a pleasure to feel and hold, they are a pleasure to use. The 50mm Ai-S f/1.2 Ai-S not only takes great portraits and is superb for general photography, but you can reverse it (using the Nikon Nikon BR-2A...
A lens with a dual personality : At 1.2-1.4, you get a sharp center but the whole pic looks veiled and dreamy. I could get "underwater" rendering without ever getting wet. From f/2, it is as sharp as any modern 50mm lens, and flares reasonably.
Sharpness from f/2, bokeh
High barrel distortion, some CA
My first 50 was canon 1.4 which was okay. I, however, wanted a better build and optical quality. It is important for me lenses "feel" right because i am tactile person (lack of AF is not a concern).
nice bokeh (to my taste), solid build, wide aperture, very sharp stopped down, reasonable sharpness wide open with a dreamy effect, light and compact
If you look online, youll find slightly patronizing reviews of this lens suggesting its dated, and the only reason to buy it is because its sharp at f2. Dont believe a word of it.
I LOVE this lens. The sharpness is superb! This lens requires some getting used to (at 1.2 the depth of field is incredibly thin)-- and it's taken me back to when I was first learning photography. I actually LOVE the manual focus.
Purchased this lens to go along with my Nikon F3. It's easy to focus and exceptionally well made. I highly recommend it.
As a nature photographer, this lens is a 'must have' for my bag. It is fairly-light (360g), it is extremely sharp, and (best of all) you can buy a Nikon BR-2A adapter, flip the lens around, and use it for macro photography (1.1x), , reversed, giving you essentially 2 lenses for the price of one.
What an outstanding lens! It's a joy to photograph with this piece of art. Build quality is amazing and fantastic zoom ring, precise without being too much long compared to zeiss plannar 50mm.