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Thursday, 26 March 2020


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I keep watching for a Nikkor AI-P 45/2.8 which is my current dream lens.

50mm? Not quite but close enough for me.
Tessar formula - rare from Nikon.
Manual Focus.
Chipped so matrix metering works.

But rare and beloved of collectors. Fah. Perhaps I can find one of the good Japanese dealers If/When the $1200 checks get cut... :D I'd get the 2 Nikkor Sonnars (105/2.5 P & 135/3.5 Q) in AI'd format eventually as well.

I've never held a nicer camera than an RTSII.

Having returned pretty much exclusively to film, developing it myself (C41, E6 and B&W) and scanning it with my Pentax DLSR I picked one of those up for my recently aquired Nikon F3/T. 40mm is probably my favourite focal length too, I enjoyed the Olympus Trip 35 for that reason. See the web-site URL below for some recent examples.

Bought a secondhand Voigtländer 40mm ƒ/2 SLII for Nikon F-mount over nine years ago. Still a firm favourite. Amongst various reports and tests, this article was influential. Hope that you like and enjoy using yours.

That 40 is a great lens, but it is not a 35. And isn’t the RTS II a bit big for it? Interested to hear how it handles, and if it lives up to memory.

If you are shooting with it next summer, let us know how the mirror fares - they are glued in place and slip in hot weather, and it seems age doesn’t help.

Voltz (still has and uses an Aria and 28/2, 50/1.4 and 85/2.8 because some American guy convinced him it was the ne plus ultra Of compact SLRs some time in the 1990s...)


I still have and use the 159 and the trio 35/2,8; 85/2,8; 50/1,4.
The 85/2,8 was suggested by Cora W. Kennedy, many years ago.

Ah the days when I had that glorious Pentax 43/1.9 ... not technically great .. but somehow wonderful ... mount that on your LX ... and life is good!

Sadly that and the 77 have gone now ...

Honey of a lens, one you can use with the confidence that if it can't do it, no other brand can either! And my go to lens for waist up portraits...


I like my old film era lenses and I use them on my modern Sony A7 but something I've wanted since going mirrorless is native mount lenses of about the same bulk and weight of those old f1.8 film era lenses.

The closest I've come is the Sony mount Voigtlander 35mm f1.4 which may not be to everyones taste but I love it. I'd really like a similarly compact 50mm, something from f1.4 to f2. I have the Sony mount Voigtlander 50mm f2 but it's a bit bigger than I'd ideally like.

The native Sony AF 35mm f2.8 is very nice and compact and light but only f2.8.

I've never even seen an Olympous 40mm f2, I have the 50mm f1.8 plus the equally compact 24, 28 and 35mm f2.8's.

I know for the type of photography I like to do -- late night, using long exposures at base ISO -- using lenses with fast apertures will make it easier for me to compose and focus in the dark.

(This is how, for a time, I came to own five Sigma Art lenses, even though I never took even a single photo with any of them with the aperture opened wide!)

But once I've composed and focused, I stop down the aperture to somewhere between f6.3 and f9, depending, then take my photo. Because I absolutely need the additional DoF stopping down the aperture provides to take the photos I want.

Did you really need an f2 lens because you were going to use it at f2 or because, as was true of most lenses back in the day (and still today, for that matter), it would perform better stopped down to, say, f2.8 and f4 than an f2.8 lens would?

I ask because you don't seem like a "shoot everything wide open" kind of photographer to me. (Although, back then, perhaps you were?)

On the other hand, I do get your preference for the 40 mm focal length, even though my personal preference is 28-30 mm.

Oh, and one more thing: Zeiss never made the lens I want, either. Which is a 24-50/f2.8 that performs as well as its now legendary 35-70/f3.4 does.

Not that I would have bought one back in the day, mind you, but I would happily buy a used one today and likely for a small fraction of its original MSRP, too!

Since early on in my passion for photography I discovered and developed a complete passion for the 40mm FOV. Never liked the 35mm and 50mm focal lengths and for me the 40mm always felt "just right" as Sally Mann said.
I think this is one of the two things that I discovered in photography in terms of equipment . The other being, having been used to film medium format photography, my intense dislike for the 35mm and all other 3:2 ratios. I think the 3:2 ratio in vertical orientation is horrendous
This is why for me in the digital age, the choice of my system is much easier than for most other people. I choose m4/3rds because of the ratio and of course my most used lens is the tiny but very capable Panasonic 1.7/20mm

For a long time I owned a Minolta CLE with the 40mm f2 Summicron and and Leitz 90mm F4. The latter was great for portraiture and some street photography, but the 40mm was by far my favourite lens at the time. I sold the outfit to buy a M6 with 50mm f2 Summicron, but missed the 40mm focal length and eventually bought a 35mm S'cron, but that lens never 'clicked' with me the way the 40mm did.
I now have the Panasonic 20mm f1.7 and Olympus 45mm f1.8 with my Olympus Pen F - as near a perfect combination (for me) as that CLE was.

I too was a student at U of MD during the late 1970's and took a lecture optics course; if my memory serves correctly it was designed for non-engineering majors.
I always enjoyed a visit to Industrial Photo on Georgia Ave, it was one of those retailers were you could spend chewing the fat with the sales people and handling the equipment without any pressure. Service Photo in Baltimore comes close, but its not as convenient as downtown Silver Spring.

Don't forget another classic lens: the 75mm Planar or Xenotar for the Rolleiflex. Measured on the diagonal and converted to 35mm format, this is about 41 or 42mm. Perfect.

Well, the proper Olympus 40 appeared as the 42/1.7 on the 35SP RD, and LC rangefinders, and maybe a couple of others. Beautiful bokeh, IMO, but I defer to the expert.

BTW, my son got his PhD in linguistics at University of Maryland.

It is funny that what we used to think of as large, heavy lenses in the 70s are about the size and weight of today's kit 50mm autofocus (or maybe the 28-85 auto).

Not praising something so it doesn't go up in value until after you get one sounds a little like "insider purchasing" :-)

The lens names Planar, Distagon, & Sonnar were on my 3 Zeiss Hasselblad lenses and, unfortunately, I've come to link those names by the quality of the pictures I got. My 80mm Planar was really sharp and it was easy to see differences when compared to my 50mm Distagon and 150mm Sonnar. Because I was "evolving" into a wide angle guy, I was continually bummed by the less than stellar output of the Distagon (app 28mm in 35mm terms).

To this day, when I see a Zeiss Distagon lens, I think it can't be any good! I do know better but it haunts me!

[The magic of the associations is part of my journey through photography for me. It's all good. --Mike]

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