Updated Oct. 20, 2023
When it was released as the first of the AI-s Nikkors in February of 1980, the 55/2.8 Micro-Nikkor sported a 2/3-stop faster maximum aperture than its AI predecessor and, in a first for a Micro-Nikkor, Close Range Correction (CRC). CRC was Nikon's fancy acronym for a "floating" element focusing system. In contrast to a standard "fixed" focusing mechanism, where only one lens block or group moves to achieve focus, a floating system adds a mechanism to provide the capability to move another lens block or group in addition to the primary focusing unit. In virtually every category, the new lens offered improved optical performance to the older one. Yet, today, the popularity of the 55/2.8 is no greater than that of the 55/3.5, and dollar values are basically a wash despite the 2.8's greater complexity and performance potential. Weird. But how come? Let's dig in.
Suffers from a quarter-century and counting film and manual focus SLR addiction. Has recently expanded into 1980's AF point and shoots, and (gack!) '90s SLRs. He even mixes in some digital. Definitely a sick man.