Nikon EM & Nikkor-S 50mm 1.4

Nikon EM (1979 - 1982) with Nikkor-S 50mm 1.4

Last year my film-photographer-partner-in-crime, Mike Williams, sent me a Nikon N2000 with Nikkor 50mm lens. Mike had wrapped the camera and lens in several layers of bubble wrap before placing in the box. That however didn’t stop USPS from damaging the contents. When I received the box, one side was damaged to the point that it looked like someone had taken an axe to it. The camera appeared to be fine, but the lens had a noticeable dent where you would thread on a filter. Fast forward eight months, Mike reminds me to test the camera. I hadn’t told him about the damage (because I knew he’d be pissed), but intended to use the camera and lens despite the damage. The N2000 body that appeared to be un-wounded, and working, was now dead. I still wanted to use the lens despite its new dimple, so I mounted it on my Nikon EM. I refer to this camera and lens combination as, “like putting an engine from a Mustang in a Pinto.” The images were shot on FPP High Speed Retrochrome 320 and processed E6. The resulting colorcast is very retro, warm, with medium grain.

6 thoughts on “Nikon EM & Nikkor-S 50mm 1.4

  1. Hey Shaun, really cool photos! Looks like you have a light leak, time to refoam maybe but it looks at home in these images. What I’m curious about is why/how you’re using a pre-AI lens on N2000 and EM bodies which only accept AI lenses. As this lens been converted? I can’t see the AI prongs in the image but am unsure if they are not present or if that is just the angle of the photo. I have the 50/1.4 S and SC and greatly prefer the SC which just has a little more coating to hold back the flaring. Both the S and SC have that classic, all metal Nikkor build quality and beautiful soft/sharp look at wider apertures which is reminiscent of early Leica but with more sharp than soft. These pre-AI lenses are great performers without the harshness of modern Nikkors. I use my 50/1.4 SC as the primary lens on my regularly used F2sb where it’s a great combo. There aren’t going to be many folks with a 50/1.4 S mounted to an EM, neat combo. I bet the lens makes the body very front heavy but sometimes this can help the rig sit comfortably in your palm. Cool write-up and glad you’re keeping that sadly abused lens in use!


    1. Hey Johnny, thanks for the comments and questions. First, I’m by no means a Nikon expert. 🙂 This is the only Nikon I currently own. All I know is the N2000 came to me with the lens attached. I have replaced the light seals on the EM, but it could be from the lens mount or somewhere else because it doesn’t seem consistent in all the images. I was out shooting one morning and ran into a friend who had the identical lens mounted on one of his Nikon’s. He looked at mine, moaned and asked, “What did you do to that?” 😦 Lesson learned: insure boxes being shipped via USPS.


      1. Ah, well that Ken Rockwell link that was kindly provided id a good start to understanding Nikon lens history, which is needed to pair lenses with bodies. Nikon SLRs are all F mount but they have different ways of engaging the meter and in later models, auto features. Nikon isn’t like Pentax K and Leica M where pretty much everything is compatible. It seems your lens has been upgraded is all. But it looks like the silver prong that should be present on the aperture ring was removed, making it incompatible with the bodies it was originally built for like the F, F2 and most Nikkormats.

        As far as the leak, it is on the left of the images snd therefore on the right (when looking through the viewfinder) side of the camera. Did you replace the vertical seal along the door hinge? If so, I suppose this could be from the shutter. Lens mounts on SLRs can’t really leak light but usually just doing the seals around the back door takes care of everything. Strange.


  2. Holy cow, what kind of manhandling did the USPS do that damaged the filter ring that badly? Wow. Kind of a shame; it’s otherwise a lovely lens.

    I own an N2000 and shoot it surprisingly frequently. It’s a useful body for those times when I’m worried about taking my F2 or F3 lest they be damaged, lost, or stolen — of course, any lens I own for those two cameras also works on the N2000. I shot my N2000 in Ireland in Sept., for example.


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