Nikon MF 45mm f/2.8P - The Collector's Lens

Nikon MF 45mm f/2.8P with hood Nikon MF 45mm f/2.8P with hood removed
Nikon MF 45mm f/2.8P with hood Nikon AF 50mm f/1.4D, Nikon AF 50mm f/1.8D, Nikon MF 45mm f/2.8P

Lens data for the Nikon MF 45 mm f/2.8P:
Lens construction: 4 elements in 3 groups (Tessar-type optical design)
Closest focusing: 0.45 m / 1.5 ft
For DX sensors: full frame equivalent: 67.5 mm
Filter: 52 mm
Hood: HB-35 (provided)
Dimensions: 2.5 x 0.7 in
Weight: 4.2 oz.
Appearance: 2001

Performance on cameras with DX-sized sensors:
After reading many good comments about this lens, I decided to give this rather exotic lens a try. It could be regarded as a mountaineer's lens because it is very light and small - even smaller than the Nikon AF 50mm f/1.8D lens. It can be purchased in black or grey. I ordered the black version but got it in grey finally...

The Nikon MF 45mm f/2.8P lens is a jewel. The focus ring turns smoothly and it produces nice and tack sharp pictures - as long as there is no movement. It's not the lens to shoot action but for still life it is a great lens. The MF 45mm f/2.8P lens produces very nice out-of-focus areas - much better than the 50mm f/1.8D. It is thus a great lens for portraiture even though there is quite some distortion in close-ups.

I have to admit I haven't used this lens very often anymore on cameras with APS-sized sensors because I am so used to autofocus lenses and manual focusing is a challenge with small viewfinders.

Performance on a full frame camera (Nikon D3):
With the Nikon D3 full frame camera, using the Nikon MF 45mm f/2.8P is a new experience. With the large and bright viewfinder of the D3, manual focusing is as easy as it was back in the "film days". The 45mm f/2.8P lens is much wider and delivers beautiful images. Unfortunately, vignetting is quite strong at f/2.8 which is hard to understand since this lens has been introduced only a few years ago - specifically for full frame cameras. At f/4, vignetting is almost gone. It came as a surprise that the Nikon sun hood and NC filter don't really add to vignetting. So you can leave it on all the time. Click here to find out more about it. I've finally sold this lens in 2008 and replaced it with a Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.4G. The Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.4G is sharper at the edges, shows less vignetting and offers a bokeh which is comparable to the bokeh of the Nikon MF 45mm f/2.8P lens.
Rating for the Nikon MF 45 mm f/2.8P lens
(Maximum: 5, Minimum: 1):
Image quality wide open: 4.5
Overall image quality: 4.5
"Bokeh": 4.5
Build quality: 5

Lens construction for the Nikon MF 45mm f/2.8P:

Unfortunately, Nikon hasn't published a lens construction image of the 45mm f/2.8P. Since it is a Tessar design, the construction will match the image above closely.
Image © Carl Zeiss 1996 - 2008 (source)

External reviews (Nikon MF 45 mm f/2.8P)
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*) Contact me if you know interesting reviews not listed here. The cache numbers in parenthesis next to the links lead to cached pdf files (just in case the original links don't work anymore). The files usually only represent parts of the original contents from January 2010.

Images taken with the Nikon MF 45mm f/2.8P lens
(Sensor: FX format):