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Millennium Nikkor 50mm F1.4

I am delighted that I can use the millennium nikkor lens on my Sony NEX-5N. To be able to use a lens such as this on a digital camera is fabulous.

I still have my first roll of film in my Nikon S3 2000 rangefinder camera - the advent of digital cameras has really destroyed my ability to use film cameras. You get used to being able to adjust ISO speed on the fly - whereas with film, you are stuck with a single ISO. I had high hopes from scanning film images but I found that it takes very long to scan film, and the image quality after scanning is not comparable to digital pictures. The other issue with film photography is that you cannot immediately check results, you have a long wait before you know whether the pictures came out as expected. Nevertheless, film gives you a different look, and if you do manage to take a good picture, this has its own value.

Performance of film

I have not yet seen the results from my film camera yet. 

The optical formula for the millennium nikkor is not published, but it is reportedly a better performer than the original 50mm f1.4 nikkor from the 1950s. Apparently the lens has the same formula as the special Olympic edition of 1964, but with modern coatings.

Performance on Digital

I am using the 50mm nikkor on a Sony NEX-5N, which has an APS-C size sensor. This means that I get a crop from the central portion of the full 35mm image. The angle of view roughly equates to a 75mm lens. 

I have not taken enough pictures to form a final opinion but my initial impression is that the lens is sharp straight from F1.4. There is some amount of spherical aberration at F1.4, which makes bright surfaces glow slightly. This goes away at F2. 

At F1.4, there is coma towards the edges of the image - this causes point sources of light to appear slightly distorted. 

I need to take many more pictures before I can comment on the image quality overall. So far I am very pleased.

The lens has a very long focus throw so it takes a while to move from one end to another. The flip side is that the focus can be adjusted to a fine degree.

One of the odd aspects of internal mount Nikkor rangefinder lenses is that the entire lens is turned to focus - there isn't a focussing ring. Instead there is an aperture ring where you would normally expect the focussing ring to be. 


ISO 1600 F1.4 (handheld)
ISO1600 F1.4 (handheld)
You can see coma in point light sources especially at the edges
ISO 1600 F1.4 (handheld)
ISO 1600 F1.4 (handheld)
ISO 1600 F1.4 (handheld)
ISO 1600 F1.4 (handheld)
Notice the glow on bright areas - due to spherical aberration I think