This Vintage Nikon 15mm F5.6 Makes the Coolest Images

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I think we can all agree that people love old Nikon lenses. And that’s really going to be the case with this vintage Nikon 15mm f5.6 lens. It’s not a fisheye: it’s a wide-angle lens with all the yummy character people have been missing for a while. Modern lenses have had the character engineered out of them and are often way too sharp. But for a solid price, you can get this lens in wonderful condition from the Rare Camera Store

Welcome to the Rare Camera Store: a joint initiative of The Phoblographer and the wonderful folks at Blue Moon Camera. We work to bring you some of the coolest and rarest items for a great price.

You’re probably thinking this is the famous Nikon fisheye lens. But that’s not the case: you’d be thinking about the Nikon 8mm f8 lens. That lens went on to have a ton of influence. Getting that lens would be hard and very expensive. This Nikon 15mm f5.6 is going for a much more affordable price.

According to the listing at Blue Moon Camera:

First produced in March of 1973, this Nikon 15mm f5.6 Nikkor QD-C lens was the widest angle non-fisheye lens built by Nikon at the time.  This super wide angle lens has a field of view of 110 degrees with an aperture scale running from f5.6 to f22.  It has a minimum focus distances of 30cm (1 foot) and has a built-in rigid hood to protect it’s bulbous front element.  This 15mm f5.6 Nikkor QD-C lens features four built-in filters: L1A (skylight), Y48 (yellow), O56 (orange), and R60 (red).

This lens is the Non-AI variant and is therefore only compatible with Nikon SLRs cameras that mount Non-AI lenses.

This lens is clean and ready to use. It comes with original Nikon metal front cap and case. 

You can mount this lens on pretty much any Nikon full-frame DSLR and almost any Nikon film camera. More importantly, you can put it on a ton of other cameras using an adapter. This will produce some extraordinary images. We did a deep dive on Flickr for photos using the Nikon 15mm f5.6. We’re pretty amazed at how good the images can be, even with film. We’re really in love with this image from M. Patrick Kavanaugh. According to the description, he shot Kodak Ektar 100 film using a Nikon F4E and the 15mm f5.6 lens. I mean, how could you not like that image?

Even though this isn’t a fisheye lens, the the Nikon 15mm f5.6 can sometimes make people think this is the effect if they didn’t know better. And I’d also use it for all the cool things that I’d use a fisheye lens for. Specifically, I’d have a ton of fun photographing skaters with this lens. Something that would be incredibly fun is having them jump over me while I use this lens and shooting with stroboscopic flash. That way I’d have a whole trail of the skaters flying above me. Otherwise, I’d use second-curtain flash and probably get them trailing behind a bit. Or, of course, you can just use it to go photograph landscapes. Take note though, this lens isn’t one of Nikon’s weather-sealed lenses. So if you’re using it with an adapter, be careful. Also, bring extra cleaning accessories like a Rocket Blower or an Arctic Butterfly.

Go pick it up from Blue Moon Camera.

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.