Nikon Micro-Nikkor 55mm 1:2.8 Ai-S Lens (f/2.8)

Review of the Nikon Micro-Nikkor 55mm 1:2.8 Ai-S Lens (f/2.8).

Overall Rating:

This lens was introduced in 1979 and therefore is 43 years old. Almost half a million copies have been produced. These lenses suffer from oil-on-the-diaphragm syndrome probably due to being poorly stored in the heat for long periods of time with the diaphragm fully opened. Yes, they are more sensitive to storage than many other Nikkors but with care, these lenses should last a life time.

This little lens is a great performer even for today's high resolution digital cameras.

Nikon
this lens is great for photographing flowers & insects, 1:2 macro (detail)

Performance

Unlike its earlier cousin, this lens is quite sharp for both macro shots and distant shots near ∞ thanks to its close-range-correction (CRC). But becareful when using the PK-13 27.5mm extension tube to go to 1:1 because the lens must be extended/focused to its max to make sure that its [CRC] elements are aligned for maximum sharpness for near subjects. So do not use this extension tube and only focus to 1:2.

There is no vignetting.

There is practically no color fringing and the corners look great. Center and corner detail (f/5.6) at 3-to-1:

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center at f/5.6
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corner at f/5.6

There is no distortion

Flaring and ghosting are not problems.

Nikon
f/32

Diffraction has begun by f/8.

The lens does not exhibit focus breathing, so a depth of field calculator can be used with it.

Infrared

This lens is NOT great for infrared photography as it demonstates a strong hotspot at smaller apertures.

Nikon
infrared, f/32

Bokeh

The bokeh is fair.

Nikon
f/2.8
Nikon
f/4
Nikon
f/5.6

Construction

This lens stops at infinity (∞) focus, and the focus throw is a nice, long 310° (for critical-focusing).

The quality of this manual focus lens is something to behold. The focus has a nice fluid resistance and each click of the aperture ring is very positive. This copy has a 744### serial number and it feels great to use.

Specifications

Focal length 55 mm
Maximum aperture f/2.8
Minimum aperture f/32
Lens construction 6 elements in 5 groups
Angle of view 43° (28°50' with Nikon DX format)
Minimum focus distance 0.25 meters / 9.8 inches (from focal plane)
Maximum reproduction ratio 1:2 (0.5×) and 1:1 (1×) with 27.5mm extension tube
No. of diaphragm blades 7
Filter-attachment size ø52 mm
Diameter × length Approximately 63.5 × 62 mm/2.5 × 2.4 in.
Weight Approximately 290 g/10.2 oz

Images

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Nikon construction legend

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