Non-Junk lenses for under $100?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Anupam Basu, Jan 25, 2006.

  1. Anupam Basu

    Anupam Basu Member

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    Hi, A friend wants to gift her sister a lens on her birthday. The recipient is a beginner and owns an F75 + 50/1.8. Do you have any suggestions for good quality lenses that would fit the budget.

    I solved the quality/price problem in my own case by going for manual focus lenses - but for that I had to dump my N80 for an N90s - this is not an option for her. So, are there any AF lenses that are cheap but not absolute junk - I am not expecting the quality of a 180/2.8 or anything, but not Quantaray zooms either! :smile:

    I was thinking of a vivitar 100/3.5 Macro - I used to own this - plastic and fragile but sharp!

    Also maybe one of the 70-300 zooms might be useful.

    Any thoughts on the subject would be welcome.
     
  2. MattCarey

    MattCarey Member

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    Check out this page from Galen Rowell
    http://www.mountainlight.com/rowell/gr_camera_bag.html

    In particular,

    "28–80mm ƒ3.5–5.6 AF-D
    7 oz., $100, and sharp!"

    I think at KEH it is about $50 in bargain condition. Mine is nice, light and a good lens. Not a mark on it, and it was "bargain" grade.

    Matt
     
  3. Lachlan Young

    Lachlan Young Member

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    I got a mint condition late serial no. Zuiko 50mm f1.4 for £70 from my local Jessops store (Dundee) about a year ago - it is insanely sharp at all apertures! I would suggest something like a good secondhand Nikkor AF 28mm f2.8 as they are not only very sharp but currently appear to be selling for about $80-$100 on Ebay and elsewhere.

    Good luck with your lens hunting - you never know what you might find!

    Lachlan
     
  4. NikoSperi

    NikoSperi Member

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    For $100 or less, IMHO you and she would be better off if you gave her a brick of film, a bottle of HC110 and a daylight tank... The 50mm f/1.8 she already has is probably the best "deal" lens to be had. Chances are any other lens you find that fits the budget (AF) will be the first thing to reach the bin when upgrade time comes around.
     
  5. Anupam Basu

    Anupam Basu Member

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    I did consider the darkroom setup option - but that is too much like imposing my preferences on her and I don't want to do that.

    I am aware that I won't get a lens worth keeping a lifetime. But that Vivitar 100/3.5 got me into macro photography and even though I sold it when I upgraded to a MF macro lens, I still have fond memories of that piece of fragile plastic. The point here is to get her something which will encourage her to take more pictures, not quite blow Ansel out of the water on sharpness but not dismal either.
     
  6. NikoSperi

    NikoSperi Member

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    Fair enough... 'twas just my preference... based on the very personal experience that there is nothing more discouraging than crappy photos, and sometimes you can blame the gear. :tongue:

    But hey, I picked up a used 60mm Micro by pure happenstance as my "first" lens, and I love it and have it still. Might stretch the budget a little, but a great way to explore magnification and grizzly portraits.
     
  7. Sanjay Sen

    Sanjay Sen Member

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    I would suggest that you watch eBay - there are good deals to be had if you have a little patience. I got AF 28/2.8 AF about a year back for a little over $100, and it was near mint! I mostly get manual AI/Non-AI glass so my experience with buying AF lenses is limited.

    Good luck with your endeavour!
     
  8. joeyk49

    joeyk49 Member

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    I too would love to find sharper glass at more reasonable prices. I've been using mostly (because I liked the price <slaps forehead>) a Sigma 28-105, which has turned out to be somewhat of a dog. I stopped relying on the lens and camera to autofocus and did the job myself. I found that while I can focus a bit better than the camera, the lens just ain't got it!

    I'm told that Tamron, in some circumstances makes decent glass at reasonable prices, but I've yet to find the model that suits me.

    I've picked up a few Rokkor X lenses which seem promising, but alas my X700's capacitor gave up the ghost; so for now, they sit on the shelf...
     
  9. sanderx1

    sanderx1 Member

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    $100 is a hard budget for chipped F mount lens. 24-50mm f3.5-4.5 might fit the budget but beware that it has mixed ratings. If you would be prepared to go up to about $150, you can probably get her a used 24mm / 28mm f/2.8 - the 24mm is very good lens - from KEH or similar.

    An alternative might maybe be a external flash? The SB50-DX goes for about $100 new and would combine with the built-in popup flash for a bit of extra power. It also allows to do radicaly more in flash photography. You should also consider the Kenko extension rings or a set of 52mm filters.
     
  10. Nancy

    Nancy Member

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    I picked up an old AF 70-210mm f4 (non-macro version) at KEH a couple of years ago on the recommendation of a friend. It's old and it's ugly, but I wouldn't part with that lens for anything. I just checked and there's one on ebay right now that looks a little worse than mine and it's right at $100 with 3 days to go.
     
  11. Lee Shively

    Lee Shively Member

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    I was under the impression all Nikon lenses fit all Nikon cameras but some don't allow the camera to use some features like metering. Forgive my ignorance if I'm wrong but the newest Nikon I own was purchased in 1974 and all my AF stuff is Canon.

    If only the metering function is being lost on the Nikon model mentioned, buy her a used handheld meter and a couple of old manual focus lenses. Old silver barrelled Nikkors like the 35/2.8 and 50/1.4 and the 85/1.8 all gave a great look to black and white.
     
  12. Anupam Basu

    Anupam Basu Member

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    Thanks for the responses

    I managed to get the Vivitar macro for quite cheap - and so maybe I'll use the remaining money to get a daylight tank and some chemistry. The handheld meter isn't an option for a beginner who might depend way too much on on the matrix meter.

    -A
     
  13. mawz

    mawz Member

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    Lee: Pre-AI lenses won't mount on most AI cameras (There are exceptions, mostly the pre-1980 AI bodies, F3, F4 and F5, which have or can be factory-modded to have, a foldable AI coupling tab). Apart from that, they'll mount and work, but certain low-end AF bodies won't meter. Also new G lenses (Which lack an aperture ring) won't work fully on most older AF bodies or at all on any MF body except the F601m/N6000 which can use them in P and S modes.

    Unfortunately with an F75, you're pretty much out of luck for good lens deals. The 70-300G is decent (almost identical in performance to the 70-300ED on film) and you can get one under $100 used. The 70-210 f4-5.6 can be also had for under $100 at KEH in excellent or bargain condition, and it's a beauty (I shot with one for a number of years and do miss it).
     
  14. jason314159

    jason314159 Member

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    Anupam,

    I agree the Vivitar macros are surprisingly good. An excellent lens for a beginner. I have a 90/2.5 I bought for five dollars at a garage sale and it is very sharp. In fact, it is one of the sharpest lenses I have. This Tokina MTF is the same lens as the Vivitar 90/2.5 http://www.photodo.com/prod/lens/detail/ToAT-X90_25macro-855.shtmla The problem is it flares a lot.

    -Jason
     
  15. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    I still swear by the original f3.3-4.5AF 35-70 zoom. The one that came standard on most of the 6006 - 8008 era 1st generation AF bodies. I've got 20X30's on permanent display made with that little lens. I think 85 bucks would be a lot for one on Ebay these days. My daughter's (3) got all my Nikon stuff except the 300 f4 AF.
     
  16. MattCarey

    MattCarey Member

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    Jim, are you talking about this <$50 gem?

    http://www.keh.com/shop/SHOWPRODUCT...=newused&BID=NA&CID=07&SOID=N&curpic=0&dpsp=0

    Matt
     
  17. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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  18. Mongo

    Mongo Member

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    I used he manual focus version of the 35-70/3.3-4.5 for years (same optical formula as the original AF version). I gave it to my nephew along with an F3hp when he started going for his degree in photography...I miss that lens. Pretty amazing quality for a zoom lens of that age, and well worth what they sell for.

    I'm also a fan of the old (pre-Series 1) Vivitar 90mm f/2.8 macro. It's not quite as sharp as the 90mm f/2.5 Series 1 lens at 1:1, but from 1:2 to infinity it's extremely sharp and costs considerably less than the f/2.5 because it doesn't have the "cult" status. I paid less than $50 for each of mine (one for my nephew and one for me).