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Author Topic: The Repro-Nikkor: A One-Trick Pony  (Read 2413 times)

Michael Erlewine

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The Repro-Nikkor: A One-Trick Pony
« on: March 29, 2015, 09:16:24 PM »

A rare (and unusual) industrial lens is the Repro-Nikkor 85mm f/1.0, which is somewhat of a one trick pony. It weighs a whopping 640 grams (1.41 lbs.) and is faster than probably any lens you own. It is amazingly sharp, but designed for only a single reproduction ratio, that of 1:1. It is entirely reversible; you can mount it front or back and it can serve as a relay lens.

The Repro-Nikkor has an unmarked aperture ring that goes from f/1.0 to f/8, and the lens itself consists of 12 elements in 8 groups. The lens has 53mm external threads, with 48mm internal threads. The lens is five inches long, with a diameter of 2.5 inches, and is built like a tank, an elegant one at that. To hold one in your hand is an experience. It is so heavy.

As a reproduction lens, it was designed to function from 0.9x – 1.1x at a standard wavelength of 400 – 650 milli-microns. The lens is highly corrected, because it is a super copy-lens, with o% distortion and 0% vignetting. It resolves at an incredible 200 lines/mm and has an image area of 24mmx36mm (42.2 mm circle). The lens has an overall working distance of 8.82 inches and no way of focusing it.

In other words, it has no helicoid, but it can be mounted directly on the camera-and-a-focusing rail or on a bellows system. You won’t find a clearer lens with more light in your viewfinder, anywhere. And now for that one-trick.

Since it is designed only to be used at a 1:1 reproduction ratio, you don’t need to own it unless you want to work in a true macro range at exactly 1:1, in which case it is sharper than sharp, with a strange ethereal quality when used wide open. It has very limited range of use. The Repro-Nikkor is a very specialized lens. It does one thing very well, but that’s about it. I happen to like that one thing… a lot. It turns up on Ebay once in a while.

Here is a couple of images with this lens, a photo of it, and a quick shot of it mounted on Novoflex Castel focusing rail with the Nikon D810. The camera sits on the Swiss-Arca Cube C1 geared-head, on a RRS tripod. There is an old Zacuto Z-Finder on the back, to help magnify the LiveView screen.
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BobDavid

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Re: The Repro-Nikkor: A One-Trick Pony
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2015, 08:29:19 AM »

Neato! I did not know about this lens.
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Ajoy Roy

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Re: The Repro-Nikkor: A One-Trick Pony
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2015, 09:47:11 AM »

Not a bad idea for a macro lens. I would love to get one.

The helicoid of my 105mm AIS lense is so tight, that all my shots with this lens are maximum reproduction ratio of 1:1.15. I find no difficulty using the lens hand held. Just move the body closer or away from the object and the job is done.
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NancyP

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Re: The Repro-Nikkor: A One-Trick Pony
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2015, 11:23:41 AM »

How bold are you, Ajoy? There are some instructions on the web for "de-clicking" and otherwise servicing old manual focus manual aperture lenses. You would need some Japan Industrial Standard (JIS) screwdrivers. I am not sure where one can get appropriate helicoid grease. But the people at the manual lenses and analog photography fora often have good information.
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John Koerner

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Re: The Repro-Nikkor: A One-Trick Pony
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2015, 11:33:28 AM »

Interesting you mention having so much light in the viewfinder ... I am seeing your images as rather dark and somewhat murky ???

I find the subject of non-standard lenses interesting, but don't see enough DOF (or even image-quality) to make me interested in this lens.

Not being contrary to be contrary, only honest.

I found the images (as well as lenses mentioned) on this thread much more compelling.
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Michael Erlewine

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Re: The Repro-Nikkor: A One-Trick Pony
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2015, 11:38:15 AM »

I understand your point of view. I like darker subjects, but the lens, of course, can get as much light as you want, and depth of field is best obtained from this lens through focus stacking. It is not an all-purpose lens, but a specialized lens IMO.
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Ajoy Roy

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Re: The Repro-Nikkor: A One-Trick Pony
« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2015, 11:42:10 AM »

I was thinking of the same course of action. At present I am happy to use the lens in the "Fixed Focus" mode for macro, as I want maximum magnification. May be at a later stage when I move to FF sensor and the body can meter the AIS lens, I will dismantle the lens and make it fully functional. With D3300 and every thing manual, I have set up the work flow - F/44, SB-800 at 1/2 power, magnification = 1.15.
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: The Repro-Nikkor: A One-Trick Pony
« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2015, 12:08:07 PM »

Michael Erlewine

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Re: The Repro-Nikkor: A One-Trick Pony
« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2015, 12:14:52 PM »

LOL. No, not yet. Perhaps you could tell us about it. :-*
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: The Repro-Nikkor: A One-Trick Pony
« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2015, 12:28:05 PM »

LOL. No, not yet. Perhaps you could tell us about it. :-*

I wish I could, but I'll probably by 3 cars instead. ;)

Cheers,
Bernard

Michael Erlewine

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Re: The Repro-Nikkor: A One-Trick Pony
« Reply #10 on: March 31, 2015, 12:37:09 PM »

My approach to buying lenses is patience. That, and I set an auto-search on Ebay that shows me whatever items fit the description of what I am looking for as they come up for sale. When the price is right, I buy. Of course, in the background I am madly selling off lenses I no longer have to have. Recently I sold almost all of my 11 lenses for the Mamiya RZ67 camera. I also sold that camera and its 33MP digital back some time ago. This way, at any one time I have what I think I need. I stopped establishing a museum of macro and close-up lenses some time ago.
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