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Nikkor-H 50m F2 / D300 ?


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david carroll , Mar 01, 2011; 09:38 p.m.

Why don't you look for a 50/2.0 AI lens - you could probably pick one up for the cost of converting-ing your Nikkor-H, and they are a great lens - as good as the "H". AFAIK it's the same optical construction as the H, but it'll be multicoated. KEH currently has an EX example for $99, but you can get them for way less on fleabay. Check out Bjorn Rorslett's comments.

Cory Ammerman , Mar 01, 2011; 11:39 p.m.

If you already mounted the lens on your camera and used it, then it may already be AI'd. It's easy to tell if it has been or not. If the rear of the aperture ring is smooth all the way around, it's non-AI. If the aperture ring has uneven edges, then it's either AI or it's been AI'd. Here's a picture that might help. If it is a non-AI lens, it's not a good idea to try to use it without converting it first.

lens mounts

Bjorn Rorslett , Mar 02, 2011; 05:31 a.m.

Nitpicks regarding the illustration above: this leaves the impression that AFS and G are inextricably linked concepts, which is incorrect. In fact you can have AFS without G (for example, AFS 17-35/2.8, AFS 28-70/2.8), AF/AFD without G (AFD 85/1.4), and G without AFS (for example, 10.5 Fisheye). The mothership didn't want it *that* simple ....

Steve Wadlan , Mar 02, 2011; 08:45 a.m.

Thank you all for your informative and interesting replies !

Rodeo Joe , Mar 02, 2011; 10:12 a.m.

Totally agree that the 50mm f/2 was one of Nikon's best lenses, with bags of bite and contrast. I must dig mine out from its hiding place and try it on my D700 - I've been using the 55mm f/3.5 Micro Nikkor and 50mm f/1.4 up to now, so thanks for reminding me about this gem of a lens. Last seen lurking on a disused Nikon FM as a body cap!

Anyhoo. It might be possible to convert your lens to Ai for nothing. Some of the old pre-Ai lenses had enough of a projection on the aperture ring to catch the Ai coupler on the camera body. If that's the case with this lens then a screwdriver and a file are all you need to do a quick'n'dirty Ai conversion.

First you need to mark on the lens aperture ring where the Ai coupler tab of the camera rests at maximum aperture. Next remove the mount from the lens (this'll be 3 or 4 screws in the chrome lensmount). Now ease the aperture ring off the lens; being careful not to lose the little ballbearing that may provide the click-stops - although later Nikkors use a phosphor-bronze plate for the click-stop mechanism.

Now comes the use of the file. You need to file about 2mm off the back of the aperture ring from the line where the Ai tab came to rest to about 1/3rd the way around the lens. This is working toward the maximum aperture mark (f/2) and going a little way beyond that. The critical point is the Ai tab line, while the distance you go beyond the f/2 mark really isn't that important, as long as the lens can be mounted without fouling the Ai tab of the camera. Once the filing's done you can tidy the lens up with a bit of paint if you think it necessary.

Reassemble the lens and you're done! When Ai came in years ago I successfully converted pre-Ai 105mm f/2.5 and 35mm f/2 Nikkor-O lenses this way. They didn't look very pretty, but the new meter coupling worked a treat.

PS. Hope you collectors are now quietly throwing up in a corner or having a nice fit of apoplexy.

Bela Laszlo Molnar , Mar 02, 2011; 01:55 p.m.

I have 2 of them, a Nikkon-S 5cm (50mm) f/2 and a Nikkor-H 50mm f/2. Both of them have a nice blue coating, and picked up the H and put it on the D40 and shoot an image from my balcony. Unfortunately as you can see, I have a direct lighting, sun behind me, witch is not the best lighting situation for a good sharp and contrasty image, but, still, the image shown sharp. They are non AI lenses, and if you wanted to use on any other DSLR cameras, somebody has to modify it to fit. It is very easy, I did myself on some of the old non Ai lenses. I'm attaching an image, shoot right now, a full size and a 100% crop.

100 percent

Bela Laszlo Molnar , Mar 02, 2011; 01:57 p.m.

The full frame. I like both of them, they are very nice sharp lenses. Some people say, they are one of the sharpest old nikkor lenses.

The full frame

Scott Murphy , Mar 04, 2011; 04:06 p.m.

Due to its age it is unlikely you will find an AI modification kit for this old, venerable lens. All is not lost, however. See if you can find a qualified repairman to do the modification, it is possible to modify the aperture ring to where it will mate with the meter coupling ring on your camera.

The other choice is to modify it yourself. I have a beautiful condition and sharp as a razor 50mm f/1.4 non-AI that I modified myself to AI. It took removing the aperture ring (not difficult at all) and using a Dremel and cutting wheel to remove part of the aperture ring so that it now mates up with the meter coupling ring of the camera. For an f/2 ring, the cutout needs to start opposite the f/11 position on the aperture ring. Cut it out, along with enough of the ring so that it does not interfere with anything.

JDM von Weinberg , Mar 07, 2011; 09:00 p.m.

You don't have to be a "collector" who, you assume, doesn't use the lens to not want to see old and historic lenses battered into nothingness by preachy and sanctimonious "users" with a file.

Why so hateful to people who appreciate these things as they are?

AI versions and later are really cheap, why screw up an old one just to have something you'll probably use a few times and then get rid of?

If you must have this done, have John White do it - he at least will not produce a Frankenstein monster result with electrodes and stitches on it.

chris burgess , Sep 20, 2012; 07:00 a.m.

John White does a 'good' job, but I would recommend microbee on _bay, he does a better job...

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