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Nikon lenses for Speedbooster


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I believe the pre-ai Nikkors have a single coating, but I've never experienced any issues due to the fact that they aren't multicoated.  Sure they flare if you point them directly at the sun or directly into a light source, but almost any lens will, and I don't know about you, but I enjoy the occasional lens flare.


I don't think they are any harder to find either, and usually right around the same price as the AI or AIS. I built the entire set in about a month's time, and spent under $700 for...


20mm f3.5

24mm f2.8

35mm f2

50mm f1.4

85mm f1.8

105mm f2.5

135mm f3.5


...all in great condition.  I think they are a great choice because they are built like tanks, cheaper than most primes, and produce very beautiful images.  They have been nothing but good to me so far, but to each his own I guess.  

AFAIK coatings also help with light gathering ability. I remember reading somewhere that the pre-AI 85mm 1.8 is actually a stop slower than the AI 85mm f2.0!

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They won't be as sharp either.  That may or may not be a decision making factor, depending on what and how you're shooting and personal preference.  "Soft" from a 35mm stills perspective may be perfect for motion pictures and a desirable trait in some instances and by certain DPs (Cooke S4 on Red, for instance).  


I'm curious if there's a linear relationship between a lens being "soft" at 3K-5K versus 1080-2K or if it's fairly consistent between the two if you're dealing with similar aperture sizes.

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Don't want to hijack the thread, but if anyone has any suggestions for decent wider-than-24mm Nikon-mount manual primes, I'd be very interested.


Can't afford the Sigma right now - not just for the wide end anyway.


There's the AI-S 18mm f/3.5, but they're usually a bit pricy. Pricy enough that you'd be better saving up for the Sigma 18-35.


If you need something wide on a tight budget for Nikon mount, I'd recommend getting the Tokina 12-24 f/4 zoom (for Nikon DX / APS-C). Hard to beat the performance of that one for the price. Should be possible to find one for around 200-250 euro. Although it's a zoom, size is similar to a Samyang 24mm f/1.4.

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  • 3 years later...
On 12/15/2013 at 6:29 PM, RupertPupkin said:

Everyone seems to be suggesting the AIS primes, but I think you should also consider the pre-AI primes, the black and silver, all metal ones.


I have a complete set from 20mm-135mm and they are all lovely lenses and all create beautiful images.  I actually prefer the pre-AI lenses to the AI or AIS because they are all metal, and I like the scalloped focus rings as opposed to the rubber rings.


Ones that stand out in particular are the Nikkor-O 35mm f2, the Nikkor-H 85mm f1.8, and the Nikkor-P 105mm f2.5.  All relatively fast lenses and they all create superb images, even wide open.

I agree the pre-ai lenses are the way to go. The images have character and the speedbooster sharpens em up

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