Nikon NIKKOR-S Auto 1:2 f=5cm Nippon Kogaku Non-Ai Lens (50mm f/2)

Review of the Nikon NIKKOR-S Auto 1:2 f=5cm Nippon Kogaku Non-Ai Lens (50mm f/2).

Overall Rating:

This is the old 5cm focal length f/2 Nippon Kogaku lens sold with Nikon cameras during the early sixties and, curiously, the front element appears to be flat. It was introduced in 1959. This is a Nikkor-S which means it has seven elements (S for Sept). In 1964, the optical formula was changed to have six elements making it become a Nikkor-H (Hex).

The reason the front element is flat (very slightly concave, really) is because, at this time, Nikon were unable to make a standard 50mm lens and had to improvise by adding this special front element thereby changing the angle of view of the light going to the lens elements behind it. With the Nikon NIKKOR-H Auto 1:2 f=50mm Nippon Kogaku lens, Nikon solved all their problems and did not need the flat front element.

This lens is made in Japan. It has distance markers in feet only and an infrared focus index. It is marked Patent Pending and stops down to f/16 using a six-bladed diaphragm. This is a pre-Ai lens meaning it will not work on most modern Nikon cameras even though, technically, the lens mount has not changed since its introduction in 1959. It is single-coated and has depth of field and focus scales.

The performance of this lens is a worse than that of the Nikkor-S Auto 1:1.4 f=50mm Nippon Kogaku pre-Ai. This lens is softer in the center than in the corners! This has been verified several times on two samples. Bokeh-wise they are equivalent. And the bokeh is something to behold.

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bokeh at f/2
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bokeh at f/4
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bokeh at f/2
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bokeh at f/2.8
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bokeh at f/4
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bokeh at f/5.6

Color fringing detail at 3-to-1:

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center, f/5.6 (3-to-1)
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corner, f/5.6 (3-to-1)
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corner, f/8 (3-to-1)

Flaring and ghosting are well controlled.

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f/16

This lens exhibits an infrared hot spot at smaller apertures.

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hot spot at f/8

Around f/8, diffraction begins.

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Nikon construction legend

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