Additional Information on
Nikon's Nikkor 50mm standard / normal lenses - Index Page


An introductory group pictures of the many Nikon's Nikkor standard lenses owned by Nico

You may ask, what is "standard" about this lens? Why is the 50 mm lens referred to as the "standard" lens? Aside from the fact that in the past a 50 mm lens has customarily accompanied 35mm SLR cameras on purchase, there are several other reasons. Technically, a normal lens is defined as one whose focal length closely approximates the diagonal dimension of the picture frame. A 50mm lens' focal length is closest to the 43.2 mm diagonal of the 35 mm camera's 24 x 36 mm frame. Another is that its field of coverage (40° horizontally, 46° diagonally) is roughly equal to what one human eye can view with relative clarity. Even though their focal length are somewhat longer than the 43mm diagonal of the 24 x 36mm format, simply, the 50 mm standard lens gives an "honest" image because of its perspective yields, which is extremely close to faithfully close to human vision. Combine this with the fact that this lens is often successful in creating the same image of the scene that the photographer has in mind, and it's easy to see that the 50mm lens is a good basic lens. Another usual feature found in standard lenses are their high speed (maximum aperture). When that is used cleverly with high ISO film, these lenses can handle virtually any light level. There are a few alternatives in the Nikkor manual focus series, from a very high priced special application lens of 58mm NOCT Nikkor which has an aspherical element used in its construction that is used to contain flare quite common in fast lenses used at maximum aperture to a normal f1.2 high speed Nikkor, a very popular f/1.4 lens and a very good price versus performance ratio lens in f/1.8.

A very nice picture of a Nikon FTN with an AUTO Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 standrd lens attached
Lenses of f/1.8 maximum lens speed and above will definitely produce a bright and easy to focus image in the viewfinder and allow you to shoot in low light condition without using a flash. An additional characteristic of fast lenses is the shallow depth of field that can be obtained when the lens is used at maximum aperture. When the aperture is big, the foreground and background become blurred, isolating and emphasizing the main subject. The difference between the minimum and maximum apertures of these two lenses is very large so you have a lot of control over whether the depth of field should be deep or shallow. Normal lenses can be used for a variety of subjects like candid, landscapes or full length portraits inside a studio to on location. Instead of assuming that the standard lens can only take normal pictures, we should explore its possibilities further. Always think of it as a short telephoto lens. Since it is the only lens which lies between the two types between wide angles and telephoto lenses.

<<<--- Credit: Images of the Nikkor-S mount on the Nikon FTn courtesy of Mr. K. Weiman from Image copyright © 2005 All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the respective contributing photographers.

A beautiful landscape picture by Bert-Vos

Credit: Image courtesy of Bert Vos, whose online PORTFOLIO can be accessed at PBase. Image copyright © 2006. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

It used to be true that Standard lenses also doubled as a "reference lens" for respective camera/lens manufacturers. In most cases, a popular standard lens such as the 50mm f/1.4 or the f/1.8 lens was used for optical measurements at various public institutions and is also the standard which determines color balance for the rest of the rest of other lenses in the Nikkor family. Perhaps instead of "standard", a more accurate name on technical specification would be a "reference" lens. Due to the marketing aspect, for many decades, a standard lens was usually packaged with a camera in a standard purchase which could have resulted them combinely as one of the most sold optical lens in any label or brand. Because of all these qualities, those days, standard lenses are usually regarded as a starting point from which to build a lens system including wide-angle and telephoto lenses before the emergence in popularity of zoom lenses which has slowly replacing the status of 50mm as 'standard lens'. NOTE: Perspective is entirely based on camera to subject distance and actually has nothing to do with focal length. However, in practice, normal focal length lenses because of their angle of view, are usually used at "normal" shooting distances i.e. 5" to infinity. Thus, perspective tends to look "natural".

Optically, the good picture of angle in the 45-60mm focal length has resulted it to have highest number in lens types, varieties in other specialized optical Nikkor lenses. Partly due to this reason, I have set aside development of this 50mm focal length site for so long. But one fine day when a Dutch Nikon collector, Nico van Dijk mail/asked if he can offer some help for my long pending project, I just sent all my compiled materials over the last few years and invited him to patch the missing link in my Nikkor site. Although I know this could be an enormous task to create a useful references for all to use and might also take a long time to do so, but I never expect it will take such a long duration (actually, it took a span of a 6 months period). Well, I was about to think it could be another episode of die-on-natural-course- Unexpectedly, Nico came back with two complete PDF files and added some visual works comprised of his personal collection of a long list of Nikkor 50mm lenses that his owned !

A creative expression on Macro using standard lens
An excellent illustrative creative use of a standard lens for close-up photography...

Credit: Image courtesy of Brian Cartwright, whose online PORTFOLIO can be accessed at PBase. Image copyright © 2006. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.
Macro Photography with the Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 standard lens with a Hoya filter lens attachment The Nikkor 50mm (f/1.8) D lens is famous for its sharpness and general application as a 'walkabout' lens, and yet considering its low cost is extremely good value for money. For those on a tight budget but wishing to try macro photography, this lens offers further useful options when combined with screw-on filter lenses such those marketed by Hoya. The following image(s) were captured using a 4-diopter filter lens. - Brian -

Well, what you will be witnessing is, all these could be the essence of somebody's work which reflects the dedication and effort poured in. I request your appreciation and patience to read and digest whatever Mr. Nico van Dijk can offer to all of you here. Thanks, Nico - for such a great, courageous presentation. As Nikkor lenses were began with the rangefinder series of Nikon, I will just add some background prior going to the reflex photography section.

Canon Kwanon camera model
The first Nikkor 50mm lens can be traced back to 1937 when Nippon Kogaku was asked to produced a lens for Seiki Kogaku Kogio(CANON INC.)'s Hansa camera. By the way, "Kwanon" was a pre-Canon Hansa product name as well. Although we don't intend to go to the details, but the early Nikkor 50mm lenses (or sometimes may also termed as 5cm) in various forms and design served for Canon early rangefinder camera models until 1940 where Canon produced their own rangefinder lenses under the trade name of "SENENAR".

UPDATE: for those who are seeking for specific information on RANGEFINDER Nikkor lenses by Nikon/Nippon Kogaku KK , CLICK HERE

It was not entirely true that lenses produced by Nippon Kogaku for Canon rangefinders only confined to the 1:3.5 f=5cm which most people thought it was so; but there were also a slower Nikkor 1:4.5 f=5cm and two other versions that came with a faster lens speed of a German Sonnar type (6 elements in 3 groups) Nikkor f/2.0 and a Tessar type (4 elements in 3 groups) Nikkor 1:2.8 f=5cm standard lenses designed for the Canon Hansa rangefinder camera series. Below are some versions shown in different lens designations as well as designs of the rangefinder Nikkor lenses for the Canon Hansa cameras.
Canon's HANSA camera with a Nikkor lens attached Detailed view of a Nikkor 50mm f/3.5 lens Detailed view of a Nikkor 50mm f/3.5 lens ona Canon HANSA camera Detailed view of another version of a Nikkor 50mm f/3.5 lens ona Canon HANSA rangefinder camera

Probably we believe Nippon Kogaku also produced their own collapsible Nikkor -Q (C) 5cm f/3.5 as well as a 6 elements faster Nikkor-H 1:2.0 f=5cm standard lenses for their Nikon I & Nikon M in postwar era between 1946/48. During the occupied period, the first fast speed 50mm f/1.4 Nikkor for the RF Nikon may has being produced during this time (1950), from what I can searched for, it was a 7 elements Nikkor-S 1:1.4 f=5cm (probably another rare Nikkor-S 1:1.5 f=5cm was also being introduced at the same time). While the 50mm Nikkor went through many round of updates in its exterior design as well as lens coating process (a known update involved internally was probably the Nikkor-H Olympic), Below are some guide on the optical formula for some of the older RF Nikkor lenses which you may use them as a reference when the reflex versions were introduced later in Nico's content. NOte: for other info, here is another LINK to Dan STELLA's ranegfinder site.

Optical contruction of a Nikkor-H 5cm f=1:2

Optical contruction of a Micro Nikkor  5cm f=1:3.5

Optical contruction of a Nikkor-S 5cm f=1:1.4

Optical contruction of a Nikkor-N 5cm f=1:1.1

Optical design for Nikkor-H 1:2.0 f=5cm

Optical design for Micro-Nikkor 1:3.5 f=5cm

Optical design for Nikkor-S 1:1.4 f=5cm

Optical design for Nikkor-N 1:1.1 f=5cm

an old Rangefinder Nikkor standard lens

an old Rangefinder Nikkor standard lens picture II

an old Rangefinder Nikkor standard lens picture II with lens case

vertical view of an old Rangefinder Nikkor standard lens

" This close focus RF Nikkor one of the rarest of all Nikkors " The estimate about 600 hundred were produced...".

<<<--- Credit: Images of the shown courtesy of Mr. Mike (blacks2) who happens to the a member of the Nikon Historical Society| Ebay Contact|) . All Images copyright © 2005 All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the respective contributing photographers.

Optical preformances of old Nikkor RF 50 & 80mm image
Japanese Icon  
These are the published lens test result of these two old Nikkor lenses by Popular Photography, please note these lenses are of an optical products prodcued during the '50;
so - some 50 years ago and nobody cares about a relative unknown Japanese Optical manufacturer's new products for the photo community but it did rocked the photographic world during when a few incidents with some high profile journalists which indirect did some PR for the Company to expose their products to the outside world ... a lens test such as this, helped them a lot indeed.
Nikon 1 Nikon S with  an old 5cm Rangefinder Nikkor standard lens  Nikkor-S.C Nikon SP with  an old 5cm Rangefinder Nikkor standard lens  Nikkor-S
During the post-occupation era in Japan, two very interesting Nikkor lenses, an ultra high speed, 9 elements, Nikkor-N 1:1.1 f=5cm as well as a dedicated close-up lens, Micro-Nikkor 1:3.5 f=5cm with a collapsible, with a n unique Petzval symmetrical design were also being introduced by Nippon Kokagu to the photo community. So, all these made up a very knowledgeable base for Nikon designers to step up to meet the demanding task for their 50mm lenses when Nikon finally announced the 35mm reflex Nikon F in 1959.

- leofoo 10.2006 -

| previous | NEXT | 1/10 - An introduction of a collector's overview of all standard prime Nikkor lenses in F-mount by a passionate collector for Nikkor lenses, Mr. Nico van Dijk from Holland. with featured Nikon Auto Nikkor-S 1:2 f=5cm (50mm) standard lens; Nikon Auto Nikkor-H(C) 1:2 f=5cm (50mm) standard lens

| Index Page | Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IIIa | Part IV | Part V | Part VI | Part VII | Part VIII | Part IX | Part X |

Part 1

Part II

Part III

Part IIIa

Part IV

Part V

Part VI

Part VII


Part IX

Part X

Intro. by Host
Non-Ai Nikkor Auto 5cm 1:2

Non-Ai Nikkor 5cm 1:1.4

Nikkor-S(C) Auto 1:1.2 f=5.5cm
Noct-Nikkor 58mm f/1.2; Nikkor 50mm f/1.2

Special featured section
on Nikkor 50-55mm f/1.2 lens group by host, Nico

Ai-Nikkor 50mm f/1.4, f/1.8

Ai-Nikkor 50mm f/2.0, Series E 50mm f/1.8s

Nikkor 50mm f/1.2, f/1.4, f/1.8 Ai-S,

AF-Nikkor 50mm f/1.4s, f/1.8s

AF-Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D, f/1.8D

Nikkor 45mm lens group

Special 50mm Editions

NOTE:- A collector's overview of all standard prime Nikkor lenses in F-mount by a passionate collector for Nikkor lenses, Mr. Nico van Dijk from Holland. Nico van Dijk's own website can be accessed via

KIds at play by Glenn bachfan@pbase

Credit: Image courtesy of Glenn bachfan from Pittsburgh, US, whose online PORTFOLIO can be accessed at PBase. Image copyright © 2006. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

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Nikkor Link.jpg   Special Application lenses:
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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
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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: by: my friend, Rick Oleson by: Hansen, Lars Holst

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A Nikkor lens Resource site Co-developed with Nico van Dijk , Holland Email Nico via:-<>; assisted by leofoo, Rick Oleson

Credit: To all the good people who has contributed their own experience, resources or those who are kind enough granting us permission to use their images appeared in this site Note:certain content and images appeared in this site were either scanned from official marketing leaflets, brochures, sales manuals or publications published by Nikon over the years 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.