Decent Zoom Lens : Nikon FM2n/F3/FE-2

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by denmark.yuzon, Feb 13, 2009.

  1. denmark.yuzon

    denmark.yuzon Member

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    Ive been on the look out for a decent zoom lens that is wide enough at the same time, not too long... Ive been offered a MF Nikkor Zoom 35-105 f/3.5, and its a bargain.. but ive read some reviews that its not that sharp...

    recently I've found one that covers the length i want.. a Nikon Mount Vivitar 28-105 f/2.8.. and its cheap too, though i cant find any reviews here for that lens.. and im leaning towards the vivitar, though i know its not a nikon, but, it covers the length i want, and at the same time, its wider than the nikkor zoom... f/3.5 vs f/2.8?

    i like to take photos at night and out in the streets... so larger openings is a plus.. sometimes, only sometimes, i find my 50mm f/1.8 limiting... but its sharp as hell...

    you guys have any other suggestions? any third party lens i have to look out for?

    i like primes too, but i have a limited budget, and i want a flexible lens that i can zoom in on my subject and take wide angle shots too... and Ive seen a nikkor 28-105 too.. but it costs an arm and a leg... two arms and two legs in fact..
     
  2. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    I've got a copy of that Vivtar. I'm not too thrilled with it. I'm spoiled by the results I get from my primes.
     
  3. denmark.yuzon

    denmark.yuzon Member

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    really? so its a bad buy then... whew, almost bought the glass yesterday.. so you would say the 35-105 would be ok? or should i keep my eyes open for other options? i trust nikkor lenses, but if theres any third party lenses out there that are of the same quality and much cheaper, then i would not hesitate buying it..
     
  4. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

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    I have the 35 - 105 zoom lens, I bought it new about 1983 as a single travel lens. Good compact lens with a limited macro facility, but the lens is soft.

    Vivitar lens of the same period were very good if they are the "Series 1" range I had a Vivitar Series 1 135 f2.3 (I think) which was excellent, I don't know about Vivitar zoom lenses though.

    I haven't used my 35 - 105 lens in about 20 years, last year I lent it to a student who only had a 50mm 1.8, she thought it was wonderful for everything, except it wasn't too sharp.

    Mick.
     
  5. titrisol

    titrisol Member

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    The Nikkor should be fine, check for a review here
    I have yet to find a "dog" Nikkor.

    If the Vivitar is a Series1 is really good.
    I have the non-seies1 vivitars and they are decent, specially in the 70+mm range.

    Try searching for the Tokinas, they were outstanding and there was a 28-80 to die for.
     
  6. kivis

    kivis Subscriber

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    Anybody ever used the Nikon 35-70/f2.8? Right now my zoom lens is my Nikkor 50mm/f1.4 and my feet!!
     
  7. rthomas

    rthomas Subscriber

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    I have a lot to say about these lenses, but I'll keep it short. Nikon's fixed-aperture 35-70 lenses are good but you could just as easily foot-zoom with a 50 (as kivis suggests above). I have used the Vivitar Series 1 28-105 and I think it stinks, the image quality was acceptable for the school paper where I encountered it. The Nikon 35-105 and 35-135 lenses have mixed reviews and think they are only a little better than the Vivitar. The 28-85 or 28-70 Nikkors might be a good choice if you don't mind the variable aperture. Also, Tamron made 35-105 and 28-105 f/2.8 fixed aperture lenses which were quite pricey when new, probably they are good optics.
     
  8. rosey

    rosey Member

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    I own and use two of those 35-105 AIS Nikkors. They are both very, very sharp up to 8x10 prints. I use them on an FM, FE2, FA, FG and N2000.
     
  9. bwakel

    bwakel Subscriber

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    This isn't perhaps a direct answer but I've found the Nikon 25-50/4 provides a wonderfully sharp wide-to-normal lens (although it would ne nice if it was f/2.8). It's a bit heavy and chunky but the results make it worthwhile. I find the ability to go to 25mm more useful than a 28mm or 35mm wide end and when I need to go beyond 50mm I find that it convenient to swap the 25-50 for my 105/2.5 prime which is incredibly sharp, fast and pretty compact. Carrying two lenses isn't too much of a hardship and since wide to normal shots are usually very different to tele shots I find it helps me to frame my view of the world depending on which lens I have on the camera. With these two lenses you get two very sharp lenses covering a good range rather than a compromised lens covering a wider range.

    Barry
     
  10. Dave Swinnard

    Dave Swinnard Subscriber

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    I agree with Barry, the 25-50 and the 105 make a great walking around pair. Over the years I've found that if I'm not "seeing" wide(ish), then the 105 usually grabs what I'm looking at. I find having the few extra mm at the wide end makes a difference. Since obtaining the 25-50 a few years back the 28, 35, and 50 primes have stayed at home. I'm not making huge prints from these negs. and I haven't noticed a degradation in image quality since I started using this zoom. It might not make for a lighter bag, but it's now less cluttered and I spend less time changing lenses (it's my "vacation" kit).

    Dave
     
  11. johnnywalker

    johnnywalker Subscriber

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    Anybody have any comments on the 43 - 86 3.5? I got one on a whim very cheaply, but don't use it much.
     
  12. rthomas

    rthomas Subscriber

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    When I was a teenager (during the 1980's), I loved the 43-86mm... but I have learned from that experience! That lens, which I still have in fact, is an early non-AI model, and has lots of flare with very poor resolution. I've heard that the last version, which was AI, was slightly better but I don't know how true that is. Most lens reviewers give this lens a very hard time, with some going so far as to blame it for the bad reputation of zoom lenses in general. This isn't quite fair as there are certainly other bad zoom lenses, as well as really great ones. Since you already have one, it might be put to good use as a portrait lens.
     
  13. johnnywalker

    johnnywalker Subscriber

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    I had heard rumblings that it wasn't the best lens Nikon ever made, but that's a useful tip regarding trying it as a portrait lens. Now all I need to do is find someone besides one of the dogs to sit for me (pun intended).
     
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  15. denmark.yuzon

    denmark.yuzon Member

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    or should i get three primes... a 20ish, 50 and a 105 (or an 85)? would it be better than those zoom lenses?
     
  16. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    The 28-105 Nikkor is said to be a very good lens with a decent close focus ability.
     
  17. Peter Black

    Peter Black Subscriber

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    I have the AF-D version of the Nikkor 35-105 and have always found it to be an acceptably sharp lens. However, once I started hanging round internet forums I realised I "had" to get something faster and sharper, so moved onto the Tamron 28-75 f2.8 which I found to be a fine lens, albeit one that could be a bit strange wrt focus when a polariser was fitted. So as I couldn't afford the bigtime Nikkors, I was convinced that the 35-70 f2.8 was the way to go and then I could sell the Tamron.

    The great thing about having more than one camera is that you can convince yourself that you might just have to keep both lenses. :tongue: The truth was that my copy of the Tamron was every bit as good as the Nikkor 35-70, but with the benefit of the extra reach and therefore I still have them both, plus the 35-105! The 35-70 is a pro-build metal lens with faster AF, which won't be an issue on your MF gear. If it means anything to you, Ken Rockwell eventually got round to testing it at the link below.

    http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/3570.htm

    My final thought would be that the manual 35-105 always seemed to attract a higher price than the AF version,even though they were both metal bodied lenses, so that may say something. I'd certainly advise you to try any of these lenses if the price is right.
     
  18. nyoung

    nyoung Member

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    I'll vote for the three fast primes. With some practice you'll be able to swap lenses by feel in the dark if necessary and almost as quickly as zooming in and out.

    A lite jacket with a lens in each side pocket and one on the camera works well for a tourist/walke around kit.

    Over 30 years I've owned the 43-86, the 80-200, and the 24-120 Nikkor zooms. None of them IMHO have ever matched the sharpness of the fast primes.
     
  19. elekm

    elekm Member

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    Years ago, I bought the Vivitar Series 1 f/2.8 35-85 lens. It's variable focus and not a true zoom, although most people would consider it to be a zoom.

    It's a fat, heavy lens with a large focusing ring. I was always satisfied with the results, despite the barrel distortion at the wide end -- which seems to be common with many zooms. Optically, it seemed sharp.

    But I was young, and I didn't pay as close attention to corner to corner performance and all of those OCD things. I just wanted to take photos, and for that, it performed admirably.

    And I agree that zooms are a trade-off -- convenience vs. performance.
     
  20. denmark.yuzon

    denmark.yuzon Member

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    oh ok... its hard being out in the streets and in the dark to change lenses often... so i favor zoom lenses though.. so i guess, yes... convenience vs. performance will be the deciding factor on what lens should i get next to my 50mm f/1.8...i dont know anything about third party brands.. and im too scared to try them, worrying about my money's worth... and some third party lenses dont even have a review online.. and testing these third party lenses would mean buying them, then get my negatives developed and printed first before knowing if its a gem or not... so far, you guys have mentioned tamron... and on my next visit to the flea market, il try to look for one...
     
  21. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

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    As far as third party lenses go, you could look at Sigma.

    At the time your camera was being sold, Sigma were on the up and had a small range of prime lenses that were in the Nikon mount. At the time I was looking for some cheaper alternatives as money was tight, I looked at Tokina, Tamron and Sigma. After doing careful evaluation of all three aftermarket lenses, I chose Sigma as the best of the bunch.

    I have an 18mm which is not razor sharp like the Nikkor 18mm, and the 24mm which isn't quite as sharp as the sharpest 24mm Nikkor. However they are both very, very acceptable in both resolution, contrast and usability. I have shot both using colour negative and transparency film as well as B&W film. The colour difference between the Sigma and Nikkor lenses is very slight, about the same difference between some of the earlier Nikkor lenses and the later ones.

    The Sigma Super-Wide II 24mm which is an f2.8 with multi coating could be useful to you. It uses the 52mm standard Nikon filter size which is used by most Nikkor lenses. The Sigma lens I have is also good as it has click stops in half stop spacings, something no Nikkor lenses I have has.

    Another important feature of the Sigma range was the focusing direction. All of the Sigma lenses that I have used or own from this era, focused in the same direction as the Nikkor lenses. This may sound silly, but when you suddenly wish to go straight to infinity, you don't have to think which direction to go, it is the same direction as the Nikkor range.

    When travelling light, I run with the Sigma 24mm, 50 1.8 Nikkor and the 105 2.5 Nikkor. I took these three lenses to Germany in December/January last, great range for virtually any shooting situation.

    Mick.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 15, 2009
  22. Excalibur2

    Excalibur2 Member

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    Well I too have that sigma (for Canon mount) and am pleased with the results, if you can get it cheap (paid £7 for mine with a tiny bit of fungus) it's a bargain......but don't think results from macro use are the best you can get though.

    [​IMG]
    sigma as above, 5"X7" print scanned with a very old scanner.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 15, 2009
  23. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    I think you have some very good answers to your question above.

    However, have you really thought about whether or not f/2.8 is truly fast enough for your pix? Lens speed restrictions will be much more of a dealbreaker for most pix than will focal length restrictions, in general, but specifically for what you mentioned shooting (assuming you mean hand held shooting). If you sometimes find f/1.8 limiting, you will find f/2.8 or f/3.5 downright horrible. IMO, zoom lenses have one huge application: when you are physically stuck in one location or otherwise have a very limited range of personal movement. The rest of the benefits of zooms are there, but are minor in comparison to that one, and they have huge drawbacks, the most important of which in a practical sense is speed. Compare the weight, size, and cost of a quality zoom to two more fixed-length lenses and an extra body, and look at the benefits you get in speed, optical quality, true lens speed based on transmission (t stops), viewfinder brightness, ease of focusing. I like zooms OK for a lot of things (will be using one tomorrow), but all this stuff should be considered, if it has not been already.
     
  24. denmark.yuzon

    denmark.yuzon Member

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    yeah, you're right.. well, you know, i do street.. most of the time at night... and when at daylight, i say that the 50mm is sometimes limiting because i cant get very close as i wanted to my subjects... and sometimes, i want to get all the real estate as i can in my frame... thats why i want a wide angle lens at the same time a nice decent long range lens..

    i thought that a zoom lens with a range of 20ish - 100ish would definitely cover my range, but i know, it wont be as fast as my 50mm... and to think, that i shoot at night.. 50mm f/1.8 is good for me in low light, (thinking about it, i need a f/1.2, but i have to sell my kidneys for one.. ) so i know that a lens with a f/2.8 or f/3.5 would be horrible, and i have pump up my film speed to compensate for it...

    with the recent booming of photography here in my country, the prices even for the old manual lenses is quite high, and the demand for it has gone up high too since everybody is looking for an alternative to the more expensive modern AF lenses... third party lenses is cheap here, but, i would have to search high and low for those mentioned above... i was lucky to get a 50mm f/1.8, but its Series E... but so far, im happy with the results im getting..

    but i know, at the end of the day, after the light has gone, i would always put my 50mm back onto my cam... i just wish i could test the 35-105 Nikkor zoom lens that was offered to me for a bargain price and see it is good enough... i have my fm2n now, so, the zoom lenses would be mounted on it, and my 50mm f/1.8 will be mounted on a F3 (im still looking for one in good condition)... so, what do u guys think?
     
  25. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    I think a zoom is fine in the daylight. Once the sun goes down, you have much better options. Everything is a compromise in some way. You need different tools for different things. Don't expect one thing to do everything perfectly. I think you just have to decide what the one tool is that you lack, that is preventing you from doing the most at this point, and then save up for that tool. Do you find yourself wanting that tele in the daytime the most, or the fast wide at night? Do you find yourself wanting to zoom in or out more than either one of these? Don't try to solve all your problems with one item. Ask yourself what you are missing the most, and go for that item, IMHO.
     
  26. gratefulphotog

    gratefulphotog Member

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    Fast Zooms are bulky (and really not that fast compared to primes).

    I'd suggest looking for a 28-50mm f3.5 AIS, but your search may require some patience as only 20,000 or so were produced. Partner this with a 75-150mm f3.5 Series E. Both lenses accept 52mm filters and are reasonably compact and they are both of very nice optical quality.

    If you can't find a 28-50mm you might consider a 35-70mm F3.5 AIS, or the 35-70mm f2.8 AFD. These are both excellent lenses but they are bulkier than the little 28-50, and they require 62mm filters.

    For a one lens zoom solution I've had very good results with the 35-200mm f3.5-4.5 AIS. It's not particularly compact, but it's no bigger than most other 200mm options and it's smaller than many. Of course it's a stop slower at it's longer settings, but the optical quality is quite good and it's range makes it an very useful lens.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 15, 2009