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06-10-2009, 01:06 PM   #1
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1001 nights of Nikkor (good lens writing)

I stumbled onto this page while looking into old Nikkors. While the Nikkor isn't of great interest in a Pentax group, I feel many here will appreciate the writing...

I find this an enchanting discussion of various Nikkor designs, histories, optical formulas, and subjective evaluations (check out the AI Nikkor 50mm f/2 article for a true appreciation of lens characteristics, the most empathetic and wise I've read) by Haruo Sato and Kouichi Ohshita

Nikon | Imaging Products | NIKKOR - The Thousand and One Nights

For me this represents the ultimate in lens understanding and appreciation, thoroughly rooted in the practice and theory of lens construction.

06-10-2009, 03:01 PM   #2
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Fascinating read, thanks for posting.

Whenever I read something like the following:

QuoteQuote:
In 1971 the lens underwent fundamental design changes, emerging as the Nikkor Auto 105mm f/2.5. The optics were designed by SHIMIZU, Yoshiyuki, who was one of WAKIMOTO's disciples. He designed a large number of lenses from the early Nikkor Auto through AI Nikkor, and was also active in designing optics for diverse other applications, including object lenses for microscopes. He was active as a designer until quite recently, and still comes to Nikon as an educator, and he has taught me much since I first entered Nikon. In fact, he is probably one of the most experienced people at the company.
( Link to a lens I own. )


I just wish someone like Yoshiyuki Shimizu would post in this forum. Imagine the depth of knowledge and insight he'd bring to why certain lenses behave like they do, what to expect from certain designs, why some decisions get made, etc.


QuoteQuote:
SHIMIZU, Yoshiyuki

Mr. SHIMIZU likes to go fishing or play mahjong... here are a few interesting episodes to amuse you.

When I was still new to Nikon we had our regular (unofficial) mahjong tournament in the department,
and he revealed a totally different face. He was sharp and fast, a different person entirely. One of the
other people explained that "the best optics designers are good at mahjongg, because they combine
flashes of sheer genius with the objective ability to observe and analyze." I had to agree.

When I had the occasion to check later, I was astonished to discover that most of the Nikkor lenses
loved in my student days were designed by him. As he taught me their aberration and other characteristics,
he also told me tales of how difficult many of them were.

I once asked him a geometry optics question, and he pulled out a stack of ancient notebooks. "I had the
same question, and solved it. Here, take them." These "SHIMIZU Notebooks" were almost legendary in
the department. Before they had all these modern optics design tools, they knew their basic much more
solidly then. It was this hard-won expertise that made Nikkor what it is today.

.
06-10-2009, 06:29 PM   #3
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I'm glad you liked the series - My FE was delivered today, and I have to say, even though Nikon sold these for 1.5-2x more than the Pentaxes back when, this Nikon is so well thought out, with the best aspects you'd have to combine from several Pentax models (and did any auto Pentax ever have an exposure lock?)... Of course the lenses work the opposite of the Only True Pentax way... (It was funny, my trying to mount my first lens on the EM... I didn't manage but a half mount, and then got scared I'd stuck the damn thing on for good...)

That 105 is legendary - I have two good ones in a SMC Tak and a Vivitar T4, but some day will try to compare with the Nikkor.

The grass isn't greener after all... I'd looked at ebay and thought there were so many Nikkors and Nikon mount lenses out there, cheaper than the over-bid Taks and SMC-A's... but turns out, the good ones are just as expensive, if not more so, than the good Pentax glass.
06-10-2009, 11:19 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Nesster Quote
I'm glad you liked the series - My FE was delivered today, and I have to say, even though Nikon sold these for 1.5-2x more than the Pentaxes back when, this Nikon is so well thought out, with the best aspects you'd have to combine from several Pentax models (and did any auto Pentax ever have an exposure lock?)... Of course the lenses work the opposite of the Only True Pentax way... (It was funny, my trying to mount my first lens on the EM... I didn't manage but a half mount, and then got scared I'd stuck the damn thing on for good...)

That 105 is legendary - I have two good ones in a SMC Tak and a Vivitar T4, but some day will try to compare with the Nikkor.

The grass isn't greener after all... I'd looked at ebay and thought there were so many Nikkors and Nikon mount lenses out there, cheaper than the over-bid Taks and SMC-A's... but turns out, the good ones are just as expensive, if not more so, than the good Pentax glass.

The 105 Nikkor is legendary, but it isn't any better than my Tak 105 or my M 100 2.8 were. I was a bit surprised, having heard so much about it - I expected optical Nirvana, and it's merely great.

Now, the 180 2.8 AF ED IF is a lens to go crazy for, and is still kinda flying under the radar in people's minds. It's like a great baseball player that hasn't been voted into the Hall of Fame yet, even though they will eventually. It's a semi-legend, on it's way to legendary status.

The there's the 28mm 2.8, which almost destroyed Nikon's reputation for making primes. It's the only prime lens I've ever shot that gets beat by an 18-55 kit zoom consistently.


.

06-10-2009, 11:39 PM   #5
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I can imagine you two wearing raincoats and rubbing your thighs vigorously while having this conversation.

Seriously, thanks for the link Nesster, fascinating stuff.
06-11-2009, 05:51 AM   #6
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heh heh heh... yeah, I feel a bit filthy discussing the wonders of old Nikons here...
06-11-2009, 05:59 AM   #7
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It would be very nice if Pentax made such a page having their old lens designers tell stories of what was behind the different lenses...
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