Nikon Micro-NIKKOR 55mm f/2.8 Ai-S

Nikon Micro NIKKOR 55mm f/2.8 Ai-S

Lens Summary

Brand: Nikon

Also Known As: Nikon 55mm f/2.8 AIS

Lens Type: Prime Lens

Format: Full Frame / FX

Focus: Manual Focus

Lens Mount: Nikon F

Release Date: 1979-09-01

MSRP Price: $409.95

Made in: Japan

Infrared Rating: Good

Production Status: In Production

Lens Description: This manual focus Micro lens is perfect for extreme close-up and general photography with continuous focusing from infinity to 1/2 life-size (1:2).

Photography Life Review Summary: A great classic with impressive performance, especially when stopped down to f/5.6. CA levels are controlled extremely well and the lens is distortion-free. A great buy, especially on the second hand market.


Nikon Micro-NIKKOR 55mm f/2.8 Ai-S Specifications

Lens Specifications
* Supplied accessories may differ depending on country or area 
Lens TypePrime Lens
Focal Length55mm
Mount TypeNikon F
FormatFull Frame / FX
Compatible Format(s)FX, DX, FX in DX CRop Mode, 35mm Film
Compatible with TeleconvertersNo
Vibration Reduction (Image Stabilization)No
Aperture Information
Aperture RingYes
Maximum Aperturef/2.8
Minimum Aperturef/32
Maximum Angle of View (Full Frame format)43°
Optical Information
Lens Elements6
Lens Groups5
Nano Crystal CoatNo
Super Integrated Coat (SIC)No
Focus Information
FocusManual Focus
Built-in Focus MotorNo
Silent Wave Motor (SWM)No
Minimum Focus Distance0.9 ft. (0.25m)
Filter Information
Filter Size52mm
Accepts Filter TypeScrew-on
Physical Characteristics
Weather / Dust SealingYes
Mount MaterialMetal
Tripod CollarNo
Dimensions(Approx.) 2.5x2.4 in. (Diameter x Length), 63.5x60.9mm (Diameter x Length)
Weight(Approx.) 10.2 oz. (285.6g)
Other Information
Available in ColorsBlack
Supplied Accessories52mm front lens cap, Rear lens cap

MTF Performance

Here is how the lens performed according to Imatest:

Performance is very impressive wide open in the center of the frame. Mid-frame and corners start out a little weaker due to field curvature, but the performance is restored to very good levels when the lens is stopped down to f/8. Center frame peaks at f/5.6 reaching excellent results, while the corners are the best at f/8. The lens did exhibit some focus shift issues, but they were not anything major like on some older manual focus lenses.

Distortion

This lens is practically distortion free – very few Nikkor lenses are this good! Imatest measured a tiny bit of barrel distortion at -0.05, which is not something one would be able to see with a naked eye.

Chromatic Aberration

Chromatic aberration levels are surprisingly low for a classic lens (most modern lenses measure around 1 pixel in CA):

Vignetting

Vignetting levels are moderate wide open and decrease significantly when stopped down to f/4:

Here is the worst case scenario, shot at f/2.8:

Nikon Micro-NIKKOR 55mm f/2.8 Ai-S Vignetting

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. 1) Somupadma
    April 10, 2017 at 6:54 am

    Got a decent used one for 100$ ebay, compared with several of my about 15 lenses for sharpness at the widest aperture, it produced sharpest & most detailed image beating all even the modern one like 35mm f1.8G DX lens known as a sharp lens.Unless the subject is stationary it is not easy to use the Macro due to close distance and subject could get shadowing.Of course this is a Great Macro.Focusing is quite comfortable even though being Manual focus lens.Handling the lens is smooth.It is as good for general photography too forgetting the macro tag.A worthy must have lens for all those who love Manual photography.Using this on my Nikon D5200 camera.

  2. 2) Huwiler
    July 21, 2017 at 5:08 am

    Super macro lens
    My wish for 40 years. It was too expensive. Buy it now as second hand.

  3. 3) bgavin
    August 16, 2017 at 9:44 am

    Thanks for running this test!

    I’m looking at your IMA test results, and thinking my 55 / 2.8 AI-S at f/11 would make an outstanding multi-row panoramic lens on my D810.
    Center, Mid and Corner are the closest at f/11, and (on paper) might prove the most consistent for stitching.

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