Saturday, April 5, 2014

Nikkor 5cm f1.4 Rangefinder Lens on Leica M9

I mentioned that I'd purchased a very nice old Nikon S rangefinder camera, Nikkor 5cm f1.4 lens, and Amedeo adapter to mount the lens on my Leica M9. Here are some quick test shots to show what that Nikkor lens can do on the M9 body. All of these are jpegs right out of the camera, no editing.
First, I shot these three shots at the same exposure, but at three different f-stop settings (f1.4, f2, f2.8) to show sharpness and depth field.
Nikkor 5cm f1.4 at f1.4, 2, and 2.8
At this size, the most obvious effect of closing down the aperture is eliminating vignetting (darkening around the edges of the image). This lens vignettes quite significantly at f1.4. It clears up pretty well by f2.8.
How about sharpness? Here are crops of the same three shots, showing focus at the three f-stop settings:
Crops at f1.4, 2, 2.8
I think it's pretty sharp, even wide open. By f2.8, it's very sharp.
But, of course, none of that matters too much. If I was going to ultimate sharpness, a modern lens would be the best bet, not a lens from the 1950s. What really matters is whether or not I like the look the lens produces. Well, I'm not sure yet. But, here's an early hint:
Just a Quick Shot
This shot was also made wide open at f1.4. I'm definitely looking forward to shooting some more with this lens. I also need to explore how it renders color. I'm also interested in seeing how it does on the Nikon film body it was designed for.