Ai-S Nikkor 50/1.4

The Ai-S Nikkor 50/1.4 is a great example of the final version of Nikon's manual focus lens technology. Optical performance and mechanical construction are both excellent. Both the Ai and Ai-S versions are slightly sharper than their earlier incarnations, such as the Nikkor-S 50mm f/1.4 Auto. This Ai-S version would have been the contemporaneous state-of-the-art large-aperture normal lens for cameras such as the F3HP, FM2N and especially FA. This Ai-S 50/1.4 has a significantly larger aperture and is of a higher standard of build quality than the alternative Ai-S 50/1.8, yet it is significantly sharper and, at only 250g, significantly lighter than the Ai-S 50/1.2. The Ai-S 50/1.4, like all Nikon 50mm prime lenses except the 50mm AF-S lenses, take classic Nikon standard 52mm filters. The lens is still manufactured and available new in 2013, although its sister Ai-S 50/1.8 has been discontinued. The Nikon HS-9 snap-on hood is designed for this lens. The HS-9 is moderately thin, so it fits nicely into a pocket of the camera bag when removed from the lens. Although this Ai-S lens was originally designed for manual focus cameras, it also works great with Nikon auto focus film and FX digital bodies. You can even program certain advanced cameras, such as the F6, D7000 and D610, to display full viewfinder information and provide basic matrix metering with these lenses. The Ai-S 50/1.4 looks beautiful and is period-correct on late model Nikon manual focus SLRs. However, if one will be shooting on both the most advanced Nikon autofocus SLRs and classic manual focus SLRs, the AF 50/1.4D provides the same optical performance, takes advantage of all advanced electronic features, and still has an acceptable manual focus feel, if not as silky as the Ai-S version.

Copyright © 2014 Timothy A. Rogers. All rights reserved.