My Favorite 24mm Lens: Nikkor-NC 24mm

My favorite 24mm lens is the Nikkor-NC 24mm f2.8. It is not optically perfect, but it’s well built and well balanced. There are a couple of versions of this non-AI 24mm lens; the Nikkor-N and the Nikkor-NC are identical except the C version has a coatings to improve image quality for color photography.

This Nikkor non-AI lens was produced from around 1970 to 1979. Nikon replaced this lens with the 24mm AI in 1979. My version of the Nikkor-NC 24mm was professionally converted to AI which is always preferable to the file-down conversion method. This lens is right at home on my Nikon FM2n and works well on my N8008. This lens to has great image quality and character. It looks nice too. I love the old-school scalloped focus ring.

I enjoy this lens on my Fujifilm crop sensor cameras. This gives me a full-frame equivalent of 36mm and f4.8. (Read more crop factor and aperture here.) This is a little slow, but when I am shooting on the street, I like to shoot at 5.6–8 anyway. Image quality wide open is still very nice. I also adapt this to my Sony full-frame mirrorless and it provides absolutely lovely images.

The lens renders on film beautifully. Is it the best 24mm ever made? Hardly, but best is subjective anyway.


Weight without caps276g (9.7oz)
Height flange to front at ∞ 50mm (1.95in)
Width 65mm (2.55in)
Lens Configuration 9 elements – 7 groups
Min. Focus Distance0.3m (11.8in)

Final thoughts

This is a wonderful lens. It has a good dollar value to IQ ratio. I got mine for $80 at my local camera shop. I have seen these on eBay for $150.00. Like I wrote earlier, my lens has been converted to AI and it appears they were only released as a non-AI lens. I am sure the 24mm AI version is a great lens too, but I can’t imagine it would be necessary to upgrade.

Check out The Thousand and One Nights Blog No.14 for detailed information from the engineers of this lens.

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