Nikon Micro-Nikkor Auto 55mm 1:3.5 Non-Ai Lens (f/3.5)

Review of the Nikon Micro-Nikkor Auto 55mm 1:3.5 Non-Ai Lens (f/3.5).

Overall Rating:

This lens was introduced in 1968 and it's made in Japan. This was a time before aspherical and ED elements. It was also a time before multi-coating. This is a pre-Ai lens with a scalloped focus collar and this particular copy was factory AI'd using AI kit number 63. This is not the version with the chrome nose but otherwise looks identical with a black nose. This and the chrome-nosed version have a compensating diaphragm which increases in size as the lens is focused toward 1:2 (macro). This lens is supposedly optimized for near focus as opposed to infinity focus. This was before Nikon produced lenses with close-range-correction (CRC). This particular lens is marked in feet only, some where marked in meters only.

This little 54 year old lens holds its own against today's high resolution digital sensors.

Nikon
this lens is great for photographing flowers, 1:1 macro using 27.5mm extension tube

Performance

Lens is quite sharp for macro shots even wide open. There is pretty much no vignetting.

Nikon
1:2 macro (detail)
Nikon
1:2 macro (detail)

There is almost 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
Nikon
corner at f/5.6 (slight softness and very slight color fringing)

There appears to be no distortion and there is little flaring, but very minor ghosting is a problem.

Nikon
f/32

Diffraction has begun by f/8.

The lens does not exhibit focus breathing.

Infrared

This lens is great for infrared photography.

Nikon
infrared, f/22

Bokeh

The bokeh is fair just like the Ai-S version.

Nikon
f/3.5
Nikon
f/5.6

Construction

Because this lens stops at infinity focus, it makes focusing at infinity a breeze. This can not be said for Nikon's current lenses which focus beyond infinity.

This lens has a focus and depth of field scale that's very useful and it has an infrared focus index.

The quality of this old manual focus lens is impeccable. It is not prone to attracting dust inside and it, well, extrudes quality. The focus throw is about 300° so it makes critical focus easy.

Specifications

Focal length 55 mm
Maximum aperture f/3.5
Minimum aperture f/32
Lens construction 5 elements in 4 groups
Angle of view 43° (28°50' with Nikon DX format)
Minimum focus distance 0.24 meters / 9.5 inches (from focal plane)
Maximum reproduction ratio 1:2 (0.5×) and 1:1 (1×) with 27.5mm extension tube
No. of diaphragm blades 6
Filter-attachment size ø52 mm
Diameter × length Approximately 66 × 55.5 mm/2.6 × 2.2 in.
Weight Approximately 240 g/8.5 oz

Images

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