Every photographer's bag is full of tools that they used to create the photographs that they're known for and like most professions and hobbies you are always people out there pushing the limits of their equipment and new companies creating product to make something new. Though I love ripping the cellophane off of a brand-new piece of gear, opening up that crisp cardboard box and flipping through a brand-new manual, it's not always the most cost-effective way to improve your list of gear.
When I first started getting serious about photography, I started researching lenses that I could accompany my camera with and get better and different results. I scrounged eBay day and night looking for good deals on telephoto lenses and great primes and I ended up with a small bag full of gear that changed my perspective on photography. I'm not saying that these lenses made my photography better but they helped me learn how to measure exposure on my own because the lack of metering in the camera body with these old lenses.
Though most of those lenses are long gone from my current gear lineup, My love for vintage glass has not waned. Someone's as I desperately miss, such as my Soligor 135mm 2.8 which I sold an SLR a couple of years back. The land of my medium format cameras, I still crave that shallow depth of field with my 35mm cameras and my full frame DSLRs; so to satisfy that need, I found the OG of Nikon's low light performers. A lens so popular and so well made that all of these years later they still have them in production with no changes to the original design. The 50mm 1.2.
The coveted 1.2 aperture is something many people have taken the dive to invest in. Especially in the Canon persuasion, the super fast glass can be very expensive. The thing many people love about the Nikon's is that it gets out of the way of itself. With no autofocus and completely manual controls, this lens literally features nothing but glass. With a 52mm filter thread it's very versatile with easy to find and affordable filters and accessories. A sturdy, metal body provides great stability and control and providing great balance with larger bodies that usually wear small primes like body caps. A classic Nikon knobby rubber grip covers the focus ring which allows for precise maneuvers and a short throw perfect for photography but still a great contender for videography as well.
As a quick note: If buying a used lens, make sure to thoroughly test the aperture and focus rings to make sure they are stable and snappy. You don't want to be stuck with a lens that cannot correctly land on a desired aperture value. If you would like to read more about buying used gear, click here.
I love the look that this lens gives me. Though it can be difficult to use at times, when you nail focus this lens really is a ton of fun and produces an amazing quality image that oozes character. I will say right away, this lens is not something I use for on the fly work, I have to be very invested in the thinking of my shot for this lens to come out of my bag. Everyone deserves to have a specialty lens, when you attach your camera when you're looking for just that specific thing. That lens for me has changed numerous times over the years but I think I have found a keeper with this combo.