An unreliable memoir

Little Gem

EL Nikkor 50mm f2.8 N

Ladies and Gentlemen, allow me to introduce you to the EL Nikkor 50mm f2.8 N, the little gem that time forgot. Manufactured for one purpose, this lens has a special ability. When you project an image from a photographic negative onto a piece of flat, rectangular photographic paper, you want the image to be sharp and even all the way out to the corners. And that means you want a planar lens, which is what the EL Nikkor 50mm f2.8 N is. Good planar lenses are not easy to make. If you buy one with Zeiss written on the side you can pay a thousand pounds. But the world doesn’t want to project images onto flat, rectangular photographic paper any more, so the EL Nikkor 50mm f2.8 N languishes on eBay for thirty quid. But what if you took a lens that could project a sharp and even image from a photographic negative onto a piece of flat, rectangular photographic paper and bought a few cheap Chinese metal rings from eBay that allowed you to fit an EL Nikkor 50mm f2.8 N onto a camera the other way round? Why, then you’d have a high quality planar lens which could capture sharp, flat and even optical slices of an object and enlarge them onto the sensor. Which would be perfect for focus stacking. All for thirty quid. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the EL Nikkor 50mm f2.8 N. The lens that the world doesn’t want any more. Thrown on the scrapheap at 60 years old. Not that this is in any way allegorical. No siree bob.

EL Nikkor 50mm f2.8 N. Nikon D5200 Tokina 100mm f11 1/250 ISO 800

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4 responses

  1. You’re not 60 yet?? Unlike some I could mention…?

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    November 29, 2015 at 4:47 pm

    • Not me, the lens. As I said, not at all allegorical.

      Like

      November 30, 2015 at 8:12 am

  2. But seriously: good idea!! I am presently refurbishing a 28-yr-old Czechoslovakian enlarger for my daughter, who is doing Fine Art and has graduated from pinhole cameras using photographic paper…to actual cameras! Using film!! Which I happen to have in my office and my home cupboard, as it happens (Nikon FM and Ilford FP4 and Fujichrome), so she is sorted. It’ll just cost me a bit.

    Like

    November 29, 2015 at 4:51 pm

    • Sounds like fun.

      Like

      November 30, 2015 at 8:12 am