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Nikkor 50mm f/2 K

Nikkor 50mm F/2 K
Weight: 7.2oz
Filter Size: 52mm
The Nikkor 50mm f/2 K is a bit of an odd lens, like all K lenses they were non-Ai with Ai looks as the older hill and dale focusing rings were phased out. This version of the 50mm f/2 was introduced in 1974 and "withdrawn" in 1977, when the identical optics continued in the Ai version until 1979. Said optics were inherited from from the 1964 Nikkor H version. The front element is well recessed, so there is no need for a lens hood. It's slightly heavier than the 50mm f/1.8 AF-D, simply because it's made from all metal  and glass.

 Wide open it's only 1/3 of a stop slower than the various 50mm f/1.8 lenses, yet f/2 manages to sound a lot slower.

   Performance is quite similar to the Nikkor 28mm f/2 AI-S.. It's far better on the edges wide open than the 28mm, but retains a special soft look, while still retaining that resolution. With the ease of pushing contrast in post processing, I haven't found this to be much of a performance issue.

   With only six diaphragm blades, the 50mm f/2 K is rare in the Nikon line up of AI and AI-S lenses. Nearly have an odd number of diaphragm blades. The number of diaphragm blades dictates how the sun and other bright sources of light with look in an image.

The six blades 50mm f/2 K

Here is the 300mm f/4.5 ED IF in action with it's nine diaphragm blades and eighteen pointed stars of light.

Nikon D700, Nikkor 300mm f/4.5 ED IF @ 13" f/11 ISO 200

The 28mm f/2 AI-S in action with seven blades and a fourteen pointed light star.

Nikon D700, Nikkor 28mm f/2 AI-S @ 120' f/22 ISO 200

The 50mm f/2 AI, with it's six blades, gives a six pointed sun star.This is nice if you want to accentuate the bright lights in an image.

Nikon D700, Nikkor 50mm f/2 K @ 30" f/8 ISO 200

Ok enough about sun stars, how does it do for kayaking? Amazingly similar to the 50mm f/1.8 AF-D. Which is to say, stunning sharpness.

Daniel Brasuell, Mill Creek, Ca.

Nikon D700, Nikkor 50mm f/2 K @ 1/1000 F8 ISO 400

The whole proof in the pudding thing, 100% crop from the raw file, unsharpened.

Nikon D700, Nikkor 50mm f/2 K @ 1/1000 F8 ISO 400

Size compared to the 70-300mm VR. 

  Build: 10/10                    - All metal AI era quality
  Handling: 10/10             - Not much to handle with no zoom, but the focus ring is perfectly smooth and has a nice long focus throw, nearly 3/4 of a turn.
  Performance: 9/10         - Good at f/2 and amazing by f/2.8
  Value: 10/10                   - Can't ask for more for the price.
  Overall: 9/10                 - Great for kayaking, light, fast and cheap.

Practicality for kayaking: 8/10

  Light, fast, cheap, and durable with good optics. Can't really go wrong with that combination. With a market value of $50-100 this lens is a steal, especially if you are shooting video, where the smooth manual focus ring and long focus throw make this far superior to the 50mm f/1.8 AF-D. For every day use taking stills the 50mm f/1.8 AF-D will come in more handy. (provided your body can run the AF). On the other hand if you want to save a little money, plan shooting video and want durable lens, I'd suggest this over the AF-D.

Other links:
   Bjorn Roslett

The lack of contrast and retention of detail at f/2 can be used to your advantage. Jesse Coombs.

Nikon D700, Nikkor 50mm f/2 K @ 1/60 f/2 ISO 400