A reader bought a refurbished Nikon 13mm f/5.6 NIKKOR AI-S lens with a 90 day warranty!

A reader found a refurbished Nikon 13mm f/5.6 NIKKOR AI-S lens in a great, "like new" shape, at B&H last week and purchased it for $8,499 (the lens came with a 90 day US warranty). This was a pretty good deal considering previous listings of this lens. Here are the unboxing pictures:

See the related discussion on Fred Miranda. Additional information on that lens can be found on Wikipedia and mir.com. Picture credit: Jim Sullivan (used with permission), you can follow Jim on BehanceInstagramSmugMug.

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  • Ben Cushwa

    Oh wooooow….

  • cBBp

    Is this just to collect?
    I love the old film lenses .Bet it’s a nice lens but wonder how it compares to other similar focal lengths of today’s time.

  • Ok, but let’s see some images with it!!!

    • catinhat

      Images *of* it is what matters here.

    • Michael Flores

      If he had a Nikon body…

      • James W Sullivan

        I’m considering either buying an F-mount adapter for my GFX or getting a used Nikon Df to use it on. If I do take some shots with it, they’ll get posted on the Fred Miranda original thread.

        • T.I.M

          Imagine the 4K videos you could make with that lens mounted on a D850!
          That beauty would make a perfect couple with my F6

          • James W Sullivan

            Yes, a landscape time lapse in full retro-meets-modern Nikon 13mm glory 🙂 Yes, it would be perfect on the F6!

            • Roger S


  • Aurelie

    I don’t get it. Is it like collecting all pokemon but for lenses?

    • catinhat

      LOL. This is for the great grand kids. If Nikon is still in business a hundred years from now, this lens might be worth a lot of money…or possibly not… The best way to find out is to collect it.

  • Michele Perillo

    it’s a lot of glass as well, and a legend to boot. I could not afford it, but oh, boy.

  • catinhat

    For this money it should be f/1.2 and make coffee too.

    • T.I.M

      I sold my AF-i 400mm f/2.8 last month for the same price.
      The guy who bought it told me he has hundreds of Nikkor lenses.

      • Neutron

        Wow. I do also know a buy who has more than a couple of hundred vintage lens.

      • Lara Fiona

        $8500?????????? WTFE…you can buy a 400 2.8 AF-I right now for $2765 on ebay.The 400 2.8 AFS G sells for $5750.

        • PhilK

          Haha we both basically said about the same thing at about the same time..

        • T.I.M

          mine was in like new condition, not even a finger print on it!

        • T.I.M

          With the money I paid of few debts and I bought a AF-s 300mm f/2.8 + AF-s 500mm/4, both in like new condition.

      • PhilK

        Considering what a new 400/2.8 FL sells for, and that it should be far superior in almost every respect to the AF-i, that’s clearly not someone looking for a good deal on a lens to shoot with.

        You may have gotten the highest price ever for a used copy of that lens. 😀

  • RC Jenkins

    This lens was more relevant as a tool (rather than collector’s item) before a bunch of ultra-wides came out, like the 14-24mm F/2.8, Irix 11mm F/4, (now, Canon 11-24mm F/4), etc.

    No doubt there’s history to this lens that can make it valuable as a collector’s item, but I probably wouldn’t use it for most photography today.

    As far as value goes, original MSRP on this lens was just over $8229…50 years ago.

    Here’s some good background on the history behind the lens:

    • James W Sullivan

      One in average shape sold in 2016 on eBay for $25K. One in the like-new condition like mine (but with a pristine Nikon box) sold for over $50K at an auction in Germany last year. Not sure what mine will sell for, but it should be more than I paid 🙂

      • Yes, you can contact Westlicht or Tamarkin auctions if you want to sell it.

        • T.I.M

          no, contact T.I.M, he will pay for the shipping.

          • James W Sullivan


        • James W Sullivan

          I’ve sent an email inquiry to Westlicht to test the waters. I know their window for their 2018 auction is about to close.

    • PhilK

      Funny thing is, the prices that seem so outrageous for them today are not much different than the original value at the time it was released.

      According to a US govt inflation calculator, $8229 in 1976 is equivalent to $36,685 in January 2018.

      And people think those new FL super-teles are expensive…

  • CaMeRa QuEsT

    Wow, can’t believe that somebody had actually once bought this lens brand new and then sent it back for a full refund! Or maybe he/she found this “copy” soft or de-centered and sent it back for a replacement (quality issues on a “holy grail”!)? This seems to be a pretty recent refurbishing job, as the box, “egg crate”, bag, rubber band and “90 day” warranty paper look just like the ones used on their current “mainstream” refurbished products, so it most probably was a NOS sitting on a shelf forever and somebody found it with its original box rotten down, thus it needed to go through a “refurbishing” job, because it basically looks brand spanking new to me. Great discounted price find, the new owner can make an instant turnover for at least 10 times what he paid for it if he can find the “right” buyer!

    • James W Sullivan

      The stickers on the box look really old, which made me think this was refurbished a long time ago; however, the rubber band that holds the instructions and card to the case is obviously new. The problem with it being a recent refurbished product would be issuing the stickers on the box. I’ve called Nikon lens tech support, and they can’t even look up the serial numbers for lenses made that long ago. I wish I could know for sure, but perhaps “not knowing” is part of the mystique of vintage equipment like this. I’m hoping at some point someone from Nikon will see one of these articles and email me with some history on it.

      • RC Jenkins

        The serial number points to it being one of the later models, produced between 1982 – 1988.

        The last serial number for this lens is 176202.

        • PhilK

          If you’re using Roland Vink’s webpages for that “last serial number” claim, they are not definitive.

          I have owned products with serial numbers much higher than the highest he had on his database on a product that had been discontinued for years.

      • CaMeRa QuEsT

        The “Aisle” sticker might actually be a B&H addition, the other 3 look just like the ones that have come with all my refurb purchases for the last 2 years, but not beyond that as I’m pretty sure that Nikon didn’t use that “refurbished” sticker before. In any case, you got a heck of a deal here, as, again, and thankfully, the refurbisher was gracious enough and “respected” this jewel by not stamping dots on either end of the serial number, thus forever marking it as a refurb.

        Nikon wouldn’t treat this, or any NOS for that matter, as a museum piece that needs to be curated, rather, their bean counters would have seen that that $8500 number has been burning a hole on their bottom line for too many years and thus needed to unload it fast to cash in and add to the tally for next March’s year end financial statement. What is amazing is that B&H’s own used department didn’t notice its existence, as I am sure that the guys keep a list of interested people wiling to pay big money for one, so the B&H used department might have bought it in and re-sold it for even more. In all cases, their big loss is your big gain!

        • James W Sullivan

          What you’re saying makes a lot of sense. I feel bad B&H lost out on a better price, but I did call them the next morning after I ordered it to make sure the listing was correct. During the call, I brought up the fact that one sold on eBay in average condition last year for $25K. I said something to the effect of, “I don’t mind getting a bargain, but I wanted to make sure it’s all good.” Blows my mind, too. Made me so nervous waiting to receive it. I was worried it might be a different lens that was mis-marked.

  • T.I.M

    Best Valentine gift I ever seen !

    • James W Sullivan

      Happy Valentine’s Day to myself, indeed! 🙂

      • T.I.M

        We should all thanks you, now that you bought this 13mm f/5.6 Nikon will release a nice distortion free 13mm f/4!
        I hope you will post some pictures samples soon!

        (I think you got a heck of a deal, make sure you keep it away from moisture, to avoid any fungus)

        • James W Sullivan

          A modern 13mm f/4 prime would be nice! And thanks – I’ll keep a few silica packs with it to keep moisture away.

  • Oh, no problem, I was joking:)

    • The internet is a series of tubes…that are all circles and connected!

  • David


  • PhotoJoe55

    This looks like the third version (AI-S) from 1981. It’s mentioned in the book “The New Nikon Compendium” (2004 updated North American Edition) on page 165. Picture, is of the Nikkor-HD C Auto 1:5.6 13mm. One difference though, it mentions four filters; Skylight, Orange, Pale Amber and Pale Blue. The serial number is 173092. I see you have three filters. What a Beautiful find, I hope you post a few images taken with it. Good Luck with your new lens! … Joe

    • James W Sullivan

      Thank you! One of the filters is supposed to come installed in the rear of the lens. I haven’t taken off the rear lens cap to check.

  • Spy Black

    It’s too bad these lenses today are kept strictly as collectors items.

    • BernhardAS

      No, some are used.

    • T.I.M

      My wife is also rare, beautiful & priceless, but I still use her!

  • You know that Ken is making it up as he goes… not worth using him as a source…

    • PhilK

      There are things he gives accurate appraisals of, and other things he just posts his biased opinion.

      If there isn’t an economic reason to post BS, he opinion on basic quality issues is often decent. If he figures he can make more money from reseller referrals if he bigs up some particular product (or trashes something else, or posts a review before he has a chance to actually use something), then he will post BS.

    • ZoetMB

      Just went to his site for the first time in years. I can’t believe he’s still around. It still looks like a ransom note and he seems obsessed with posting photos of his junk food eating kid.

      For some reason, he updated his review of the Nikon 24-70G a few days ago. He says that it’s “too big and too heavy” yet says it’s “perfect for use as your only lens”, but also says that it’s an “expensive pro lens; hard to find” yet it’s in-stock at B&H, so it’s not hard to find. His ratings give it an average of 4.4, but he gives it an overall rating of 5 anyway. So as far as I’m concerned, his review makes absolutely no sense. His image of his son is horrible aesthetically (the kid is smiling but looks in pain), but is quite good technically – his sample is very sharp.

      Do people really “donate” money to this guy? Unbelievable.

      • This is why I don’t like to mention Ken’s name anywhere. The discussion automatically changes about him and his opinionated views based on nothing.

      • T.I.M

        I did donate a few times to Ken R, he like what he is doing and spend a lot of time and efforts on keeping his website going on.
        There is nothing wrong about Ken, Peter, or GMC (Guy Michel Cogne from Chasseur d’Images)
        These people are passionate, they may not be right 100% every time but even if I’m a professional photographer since 1989, I like to learn and I learn almost every day !
        So, once again, thank you all for sharing your knowledge, experience and passion.

  • BernhardAS

    Just quickly pulled up a few shots from the (old and now broken down) Fish market. The lens is the Ai version. These have been taken on a D810 with high ISO and handheld, so some have motion blur of moving subjects.

    There is obviously the perspective distortion. But otherwise it is quite distortion free. If there are strong colors it handles it well. The near correction is very good. It takes direct light sources quite well. I very rarely mange to get a ghost (second last picture)

    It is a bit weak in the twilight where colors become grey (like with most lenses).

    I liked it as a street lens as most people cannot imagine the angle and are relaxed.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/29a7ee140a79a84eed29cb7fb7a4c29505a0673d89f5d178505ec51c8e4a96fb.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b41b7bd7f3dc0936dfba84658779700124e73e03eebbe4f5adfef250c4770e5e.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/4d625f2b481e8a925e6a67e400f009a5d06bfe80695a82b8d762b87b9115ad01.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/369d6c13b13d2138a9df8bcda817f7e12c6b8215402add523945a3332f52a8dd.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/21e2aef102f721f186c3470f6ec4beeea59c4a1a60da5275676700d80e99b1ef.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8edb7cd33170518ed1c793de34576d2893e39ecfaa4c02675be80659e9697e71.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/22df1c59a236ee1665e64ee092cc2232bb518c039f982343d4377b8f1269996c.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/442e2f15b106ee51d67938fcd974d2479eedfd00583e7e019cb35628ce4b9c17.jpg

    • James W Sullivan

      Thank you so much for sharing that information and the photos! You’re going to convince me to keep it!! 🙂 I think the third and last photos are my favorites.

      • BernhardAS

        most welcome. There are of course modern peers. but working on all my film bodies and having the filters for BW is quite an advantage.

        • Spy Black

          As far as I know, the 13mm and 15mm Nikkors are the best corrected super wide angle lenses ever made, to this day. They suffer from a chromatic shift from center to edge, but that’s relatively simple to correct for today.

  • PhilK

    That’s amazing. 😀

    As usual, those leather cases end up looking a lot worse than the lens inside it after a few decades. I’m surprised the plastic filter pouch isn’t all clouded up from the plastic outgassing too, tbh.

  • Amir

    A rich gulf prince?

    • T.I.M

      They are not rich anymore, spending all the money buying electric cars patents to delay gas cars replacement…

  • Pk Bullock

    From the standpoint of someone w/o money. Cool collector’s piece.

    I’d never buy any lens w a max aperture of 5.6. Hell, I bought a 5-300, only to find it so tight to focus and to zoom I will likely have to spend a lot on a CLA. When I was in my teens it did not seem heavy. Now in my late 50’s it feels like a ton of very expensive bricks. I hope the buyer enjoys that little gem. Sure is pretty!!

    • Ben Cushwa

      With ultrawides, the faster the aperture, the harder it is to keep distortion down. I imagine that even an f/4 13mm with the same low level of distortion using the technology of the era would have been *truly* massive.

  • Sorry, it was late 😉

  • Pat Mann

    Desperate for a wide DX prime, no doubt. That’s 19.5mm equivalent on DX.

    • T.I.M

      better hold the lens, not the camera…

  • Ben Cushwa

    This is the kind of lens I’d love to shoot with once or twice, but I’d never want to own. I’d be forever afraid of damaging that massive front element!

  • Photoman

    Will this even work on the D850?

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