Sunday, June 10, 2012

Old Nikkor 35/1.4 on OM-D E-M5

When I joint the newspaper in 1974 as photojournalist, there was one lens that was found in every photojournalist's bag throughout the 70s and 80s; that "standard lens" was the Nikkor 35mm f/1.4 wide angle lens.

The Nikkor 35mm f/1.4 was introduced, in 1969.  It was Nikon's first multicoated lens and it has been used by NASA in space!

This was also the first Nikon lens that incorporate the "floating elements", an innovative close focus optical system to enable the lens retains its exceptional optical performance at its closest focusing distance. The rear group of lens elements automatically shifts its relative position with other elements according to focused distance.

Legend has it that this was also the first lens that the famous Nikon NIC (Nikon Integrated Coating) multicoating was first applied.

My 35/1.4 was acquired back in 1980 I think, it did not see much action because I found my 24/2.8 was far sharper than this "low light king". 

I gave my copy a through clean this afternoon, it has been sitting among my old Nikon primes for more than ten years!  I was surprise there are no visible fungus infestation among the elements!

The old and the new... my 25 year old Nikkor 35/1.4 mounted on the OM-D with a Voigtlander F adapter.

I took some shot of the thermometer under my iMac on ISO 800 and full f1.4, expecting a abysmal result; after all, this lens is REALLY OLD ;)

 Wow! A 25 year old glass at F1.4, that is not bad at all!  Oh, that orange reflection is from my electric heater; it is winter and bleeding cold ;)

I packed the camera and drove to my favorite lens testing location...

This was shot with the Nikkor 35mm f1.4 lens at f5.6, ISO 200.
A 100% of the picture above, the image was noticeably soft!
 Flare like overall softness at f2.8 made me wonder if this venerable 35mm can perform nicely as a portraiture lens. After all, it is behaving like a 70mm on the M4/3 format.

 Shooting at different aperture settings, the effect of diffraction can be seen clearly.  By now you should have realised in digital photography, the smaller aperture settings like f11 and f16 will usually degrade the image sharpness.

Cambridge In Colour explained the effect of diffraction in a easy to understand way, take a look!

Lenses has came a long way, today even a compact zoom like the Lumix 45-175 easily flatten the "low light king" of yesteryear ;)

Sea front properties over looking the Oriental Parade in Wellington, New Zealand. Notice everyone is different?  Shot with my favorite Panasonic zoom.


Anonymous said...

nice review, thank you. Mt Vic?

cy.leow said...

Thank you whoever you are :) Mt Vic is short for Mt Victoria in Wellington, New Zealand. The view from the lookout is nothing short of spectacular!