One cool thing about the retro-design of Fuji X cameras and the vast amount of adapters for Fuji’s X-mount is that you can save a lot of money by using really well-built, vintage lenses instead of their modern-day equivalents. They feel right at home on the camera.
While visiting Victoria, B.C. in Canada I found the Nikkor 85mm 1.8 for about $150CDN. It fits on my camera with the appx $40 Fotodiox adapter (so Nikon F -> Fuji X mount).
This Nikon lens was first made in 1964. It’s bulky, and feels like it could survive through a lot with its all-metal housing.
The 85mm focal length has a 135mm FOV on the crop sensor, so it’s definitely well into the telephoto range.
The lens itself isn’t quite as sharp as modern day lenses wide open at 1.8f – which is where I shot most of the samples on this page. But you don’t buy vintage lenses for sharpness. I’m more interested in the unique characteristics of a lens built in the 60’s than the precision coatings and designs that modern lenses employ for sharpness.
More importantly, I think it has a really pleasing look for portraiture. I really like the way it renders flare and out of focus areas as well. It’s difficult to describe but it does resonate with me in that classic way. Call it a ‘filmic look’.
In terms of actual use, the focus ring is very smooth and was actually really enjoyable to use in accordance with Fuji’s focus peaking.
The aperture dial, on the other hand, feels ..terrible. I mean, it works fine, but turning it gives me that nails-on-chalkboard sensation.
I have two more Nikon lenses from the same era on the way, both purchased for under $100 so hopefully I can add to this soon.
Apart from minor adjustments on the exposure slider, all images below are straight out of camera. This should hopefully help give a sense of what the lens really delivers. So no sharpening/colour/contrast processing added beyond Fuji’s in-camera film simulations, of which most portraits were using the Astia + BW colour presets, flowers were Standard.