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Old manual 50mm - f/1.8, f/2.0 or f/1.4?

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Hi all,


My Nikon experience is mostly limited to film as I have a brace of F801Ss with an AF 50/1.8 which I enjoy using.  I'm interested in picking up an older, manual focus 50mm as I enjoy using manual lenses on other platforms and want one for the Nikons (and probably for adapting to my Lumix S5 at some point too).  Maybe in the future I could pick up a mechanical Nikon film SLR too.


I know that I need an AI lens for the F801S, to be able to meter, but if I got a pre-AI lens would it just be unable to meter, or would it not be able to mount on the camera?  Would the lack of bunny ears impact the ability to mount or the usefulness on an older mechanical SLR?


Beyond that, I see that there are several speed options - f/1.8, f/2 or f/1.4.  From what I've read, the f/1.4 is not great wide open but bokeh may be smoother than the slower options.  Of the slower options, there are those who like the rendering of the f/2 over the 1.8 and even the 1.4.


Sharpness is good but so is smooth bokeh and general rendering.  I don't need the speed of a 1.4 but if there's a big difference in rendering from f/2 to f/4 then I might consider that a better option.  I'd like to hear some opinions, whether it's from film users or digital users still using these old lenses.


Many thanks




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Mounting a non-Ai lens on an F801 will break the Ai tab on the body as the aperture ring protrudes too far rearwards.

If I remember correctly, it is only the short Ai-S version of the 50/1.8 and the Series E that lacks the bunny ears. All the others work with full meter coupling on Nikkormats and F and F2 Photomics.


I would rather go for a 50 or 55 Ai f/1.2 lens than either of the slower options, not for the speed, but for the rendering. I would stay away from the 50/1.2 Ai-S as the short focus throw mahkes it harder to focus precisera than the others.


In this gallery are some samples from the 50/1.2 Ai.

50/1.2 Ai - Gallery - NikonForums.com