The AF version of the Micro-Nikkor 55mm f/2.8 lens was first introduced in 1986. It was among the first batch of SIX prime autofocus and FIVE AF zoom-Nikkor lenses, along with an AF TC-16A Teleconverter being introduced at the time. The first generation of these AF lenses was a radical change from previous Manual Focus Nikkor lenses in their feel and appearance. Even many Nikon faithful found it hard to adapt to such change and adopted a wait and see attitude Anyway, other than its exterior cosmetic which kept users skeptical, this lens was indeed an optical marvel as Nikon engineers did put some effort to ensure the famed Micro-Nikkor line of fine lenses had an worthy upgrade along with rapid changes in the development of camera and lenses occurred during the mid-eighties.
Basically, the AF Micro-Nikkor has a very strong plasticey feel which made many users doubtful relating to its long term reliability. Next, when the lens is at its maximum magnification, the lens extension causing the barrel in a separate ring inside protruding outward which makes it vulnerable to look at. The lack of good illustrations of depth of field scales to aid photographers was another. In fact, other than the tiny yellow distance scale the concealed in a plastic window - the only "colour" you can see from the lens was the tiny orange tab lock and the minimum aperture of f/32 at the ADR (Aperture Direct Readout) value.
But the most discomforting feature was the ridged, flat and extremely narrow manual focusing ring which locates at the outer edge of the lens. I am not sure whether Nikon realized during that time they actually didn't have "serious" grade AF SLRs offered to users as well as the limited number of AF Nikkor lenses introduced was still far from calling it a complete AF system - which means chances could be high that many Nikon photographers may still be using possible investment of the newly acquired AF lenses with their MF Nikon SLRs. So, manual focusing was still a major feature to be considered in a transitional stage of change from MF to AF. Naturally, although all these cosmetic changes are non relative to its optical performance but still overall, these have projected a very negative feeling at first impressive of the AF Nikkor lenses as a whole.
Well, I am not trying to picked up something that has already a history. But Nikon did suffered from sluggish sales on these lenses and thus made amendments to tiny details later. Whatever it is, this has not done any justice to this little lens which I felt was a very good lens in terms of technical specification it provides. Firstly, after twenty odd years - the Micro-Nikkor lenses at these focal length was finally be able to "revert" back to its old original Reflex Lens version that offers 1:1 Life Size reproduction ratio without any aid of external devices. Next, the lens offers both AF and MF capability as and when the appropriate Nikon SLRs is used. Lastly, this lens is incredibly sharp and colour fidelity is top rated too ! Considering the lens has the same number of lens elements with the previous manual focus Ai-s Micro-Nikkor 55mm f/2.8s in 6 elements in 5 groups design, this is really an amazing feat. Obviously this lens has also greatly benefited from the deployment of Nikon's NIC ("Nikon Integrated Coating ") and CRC ("Close Range Correction) system which contributes to its exceptional high image contrast, exceptional stable, natural colour fidelity and silky smooth focusing, in particular during manual focusing.
This lens seldom surfaces in online auctions (Even if it has, quality of image is not as desirable for use) and I have to resort back to Roland Wink's website to download an contributing image for his site.
Credit: The original image of this AF Micro-Nikkor 55mmf/2.8 lens can be downloaded HERE. This image has been scaled and retouched for broadcasting. © Copyright 2002 of the contributor to Roland's website on serial numbers.
Naturally, we would assume all subsequent Micro-Nikkor lenses introduced after the early segment of the '80 would carry an Ai-S lens specification and this lens was also a Ai-s native lens which can be used with virtually any Nikon SLRs that requires such lens coupling for proper transmission of data in programmed AE and shutter priority AE modes. The Micro-Nikkor 55mm f/2.8s lens has not had a breakthrough it its lens speed but since maximum aperture are not frequently used in close-up photography, it has also the same f/32 in its minimum aperture to ensure better depth of field control. However, despite that -strangely, the lens has an larger filter attachment size of 62mm. It has a very far separated A setting which requires to be set when operating in AF mode. The lens still uses conventional AF system and it was driven by camera's AF motor. The rotations from its closest focusing distance to infinity demands a lot of energy and thus, it can be very hungry for power. A good advice is to determine what are you going to shoot, use manual focusing if it demands frequent near to far focusing operations.
This AF Micro-Nikkor lens can be used in combination with other Nikon Macro accessories such as Bellows, PK Auto Extension Rings to achieve higher magnification ratio beyond its physical helical focus limit of 1:1 (1.0X) If you can live without AF, try using the lens with a 2X Teleconverter such as Ai-TC-200 or Ai-s TC-201 where it can double the focal length to 110mm while maintaining similar minimum focusing distance at 9". The lens was eventually replaced with an AF Nikkor 60mm f/2.8 in 1989. Note: a variant of this lense was produced by Nikon. It was a special modified lense based on the normal version of the Micro Nikkor 55 mm f/2.8 for NASA. It has a larger data engraving as well as an oversized scalloped focusing barrel, designed for easy hand gripping by astronaults. It comes with NASA own version of serialized codings. A few of these lenses were shown as demonstration unit for public viewing.
Specifications for AF Micro-Nikkor 55mm f/2.8s lens:
Focal length/Aperture: AF 55mm f/2.8
Lens construction: 6 elements in 5 groups
Picture angle: 43°; Diaphragm: Automatic
Attachment size: 62mm (P=0.75); Aperture scale: f/2.8 - f/32 on both standard and aperture-direct-readout scales
Exposure measurement: Via full aperture method with AI cameras; via stop-down method with non-Ai cameras.
Distance scale: Graduated in meters and feet from 0.229m (9 in.) to infinity (OO)
Maximum Reproduction ratio(s): Scales provided, 1:1 with lens only
Weight: 420g; Dimensions: 74mm dia. x 74mm long (overall); 82mm extension from lens flange
Filters: 62mm front screw-in; Front lens cap: Snap-On
Lens case: Lens only: CL-32S hard leatherette, No. 62 soft pouch
Usable Auto Extension Ring/Bellow Unit: Usable auto extension ring PK-11, 12 and 13, Bellow Unit PB-6
Usable Teleconverter: TC-200, TC-201, TC-16A*, TC-14A; Note: Serial Number for this version of the AF Micro-Nikkor lens may have began with 200001
| Early AF Micro-Nikkor 55mm f/2.8s | Micro-Nikkor 55mm f/2.8s | Micro-Nikkor 55mm f/2.8 | Ai Micro-Nikkor 55mm f/3.5 | Pre-Ai Micro-Nikkor 55mm f/3.5 | Non-Ai Micro-Nikkor-P 55mm f/3.5 | Non-Ai Micro-Nikkor-P.C 55mm f/3.5 | Non-Ai Micro-Nikkor 55mm f/3.5 Preset | Special version Micro-Nikkor 55mm f/2.8 | RF Micro-Nikkor 50mm f/3.5 lens |
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Special Application lenses:
Micro-Nikkor Lenses - 50mm~55mm -60mm 85mm -105mm 200mm Micro-Zoom 70-180mm
Perspective Control (PC) - 28mm 35mm PC-Micro 85mm
Dedicated Lenses for Nikon F3AF: AF 80mm f/2.8 | AF 200mm f/3.5 EDIF
Depth of Field Control (DC): 105mm 135mm
Medical Nikkor: 120mm 200mm
Reflex-Nikkor Lenses - 500mm 1000mm 2000mm
Others: Noct Nikkor | OP-Nikkor | UV Nikkor 55mm 105mm | Focusing Units | Bellows-Nikkor 105mm 135mm
Nikon Series E Lenses: 28mm35mm50mm100mm135mm | E-Series Zoom lenses: 36~72mm75~150mm70~210mm
MF Zoom-Nikkor Lenses: 25~50mm | 28~45mm | 28~50mm | 28~85mm | 35~70mm | 36~72mm E | 35~85mm | 35~105mm | 35~135mm | 35~200mm | 43~86mm | 50~135mm | 50~300mm | 70~210mm E | 75~150mm E | 80~200mm | 85~250mm | 100~300mm | 180~600mm | 200~400mm | 200~600mm | 360~1200mm | 1200~1700mm
Tele-Converters: TC-1 | TC-2 | TC-200 | TC-201 | TC-300 | TC-301 | TC-14 | TC-14A | TC-14B | TC-14C | TC-14E | TC-16 | TC-16A | TC-20E
Recommended links to understand more technical details related to the Nikkor F-mount and production Serial Number:
http://rick_oleson.tripod.com/index-153.html by: my friend, Rick Oleson
http://www.zi.ku.dk/personal/lhhansen/photo/fmount.htm by: Hansen, Lars Holst
Recommended Reading Reference on Nikon cameras and Nikkor lenses | about this photographic web site
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Co-developed with my web buddy, Rick Oleson® & Denmark, Creator of the Nikon Repair Group Mailing-List; A contributing effort to Michael Liu's Classic Nikon SLRs and Nikkor optic site.
Credit: MCLau®, who has helped to rewrite some of the content appeared this site. Chuck Hester® who has been helping me all along with the development of all these Nikon websites; Lars Holst Hansen, 'Hawkeye' who shares the same passion I have; Ms Rissa, Sales manager from Nikon Corporation Malaysia for granting permission to use some of the official content; Ted Wengelaar, Holland who has helped to provide many useful input relating to older Nikkor lenses; Some of the references on production serial numbers used in this site were extracted from Roland Vink's website; Hiura Shinsaku from Nikomat Club Japan. Lastly, to all the good people who has contributed their own expeience, resources or kind enough granted permission to use their images of their respective optic in this site. It is also a site to remember a long lost friend on the Net. Note:certain content and images appeared in this site were either scanned from official marketing leaflets & brochures published by Nikon and/or contribution from surfers who claimed originality of their work for educational purposes. The creator of the site will not be responsible for may discrepancies arise from such dispute except rectifying them after verification. "Nikon", "Nikkormat", "Nippon Kokagu KK" & "Nikkor" are registered tradename of Nikon Corporation Inc., Japan. Site made with an Apple IMac.