I have long been a fan of Nikon lenses. My early days shooting stills in my youth were mostly on the older Nikkor AIS primes. Over the years I collected many of my favourites of those lenses; but then after I switched to Canon DSLRs, those lenses sat dormant for a long time.
There was something about them, a look of an era, that is so engrained in my mind. These were the lenses that ILM would use for their Vistavision plate work on all the legendary VFX work they did in the 80’s and 90’s. Many of those favourite Nat Geo magazine photos of my childhood were taken with this era of Nikon glass. These were the lenses the NASA Shuttle astronauts took into space. Their look is unique.
I was always wanting to find a way to bring these lenses into a modern cinema lens housing. Then along comes Zero Optik, the California-based optics company that began to offer rehousing services for many types of vintage lenses, most recently, the Nikkor AIS primes. I decided in the fall of 2019 to send 8 of my set of these lenses to Zero Optik to have them rehoused.
They kindly sent me the Noct 58mm first. The story behind this lens and how it came to be is a story in itself. This was the first lens Nikkor lens that Zero Optik started with .
A few weeks ago, my partner Francis and I shot some test footage with this 58mm on our Canon C200. All shot at 800 ISO, 12-bit RAW. I love that they changed out all the irises in these lenses to be 16-bladed. So bokeh is super circular at any stop.
Take a look.