Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Lens Stories ~ Nikon Nikkor 24mm f/2.8 AiS

Lens Stories ~ Nikon Nikkor 24mm f/2.8 AiS

When we moved to France I brought a number of old manual focus Nikon lenses.

One of the lenses in the batch of Fun Things was a 24mm f/2 Nikon Nikkor Ai.  I never used it and sold it.  The reason is I didn't like it.  It was soft wide open and I wasn't convinced that it could match the image quality of the inexpensive AF lenses I used at the time.

After watching a Joel Grimes portrait lighting video I saw that he used a 24mm lens to great effect.    The idea of using an old manual focus lens for portraiture was suddenly attractive.  I felt the desire to try another 24mm full frame lens.

I have two autofocus wide angle lenses that I could use but don't like using AF lenses with their manual focus function "focus by wire."  Justification and rationalizing comes easy to me.

Scanning le bon coin one day I stumbled on a 24mm f/2.8 Nikkor.  The price seemed correct when compared against eBay completed auctions.  After firing off an email to the lens' seller we made arrangements to meet so I could view the object en vente.

The Nikon Nikkor 24mm f/2.8 AiS is a pretty little thing.  It's relatively small and light for a lens that comes mounted in real metal (as opposed to plastic that tends to be used in current AF optical implementations).

The f/2.8 version of the Nikon 24mm lens is most definitely sharper and more contrasty in the center than the f/2 I sold.  But, and this is a huge "but", the corner performance suffers to the extent that it is unusable on my APS-C Sony mirrorless cameras when mated to a Lens Turbo II focal reducer.  Stopped down to f/8 and f/11 the lens never cleans up in the corners.


Mounting the 24mm Nikkor on a straight-thru adapter turns the effective focal length into a 35mm f/2.8 lens on my tiny Sony APS-C mirrorless.  This isn't exactly what I intended.  If I wanted a 35mm lens, I'd prefer to have my old Nikkor 35mm f/2 back.  I foolishly sold the 35mm when I went through a fit of "downsizing" my Collection of Photographic Tools.  Though, I suppose, I could wait until full frame Sony mirrorless prices descend from un-obtainable to somewhat affordable and use the 24mm lens on that.  Someday.  Maybe.

I feel "stuck."  Again.  This is a lens I really want to love.  Yet, here is another 24mm Nikkor that, for one reason or another, I can't use as I intended.

No comments: