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  1. #1

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    Best AF lenses for Nikon FA

    I picked up a good ol' 28-80 3.5-5.6 AF lens the other day with the intention of using it on my N80 and FA. Of course, it works just fine on the N80 but because of the small rear element, it almost completely blacks out the split image on my FA at focal lengths greater than about 35mm. Does anyone know of another AF lens that performs better on manual focus cameras? I would like to get away from using my Vivitar Series 1 28-90 because the focus direction is backwards from Nikon and is really soft at f/2.8 and only so-so at f/4.

  2. #2

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    You might also consider the K3 split image screen that was released with the FM3A as it will never blackout - slow lens, stop down, multiplier, bellows, etc. These screens are all interchangeable with FM2/FE2/FA/FM3A.

  3. #3
    ColdEye's Avatar
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    50/1.8d if you want a cheap and good prime lens.

  4. #4

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    Thanks for the info. $35 for the lens and $35 for the screen still makes it a pretty good deal.

  5. #5

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    ColdEye - that's the one lens I regret selling (along with my SB-800 - grrrr) when I sold both my D200's and a few other lenses so I could fund my film habit. I wasn't thinking at the time that it would be handy to use on the FA.

  6. #6
    markbarendt's Avatar
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    It is my understanding that the split prism needs a certain amount of light to work well, so blacking out of the split prism is normal as the full open aperture gets smaller.

    Variable f-stop lenses show this problem remarkably well. As you move from 28mm toward 80mm on your lens the aperture gets smaller moving from 3.5 - 5.6 and as the light available on the focus screen drops. The split prism reaches its usable limit at whatever aperture the lens reaches at 35mm, maybe f/4ish.

    This isn't just an aperture issue, poorly lit scenes can cause the same problem.

    Any fixed aperture lens at say f/2.8 or better should should be a big improvement.

    This would be nice. AFS-Nikkor 28-70 mm f/2.8 ED IF
    Mark Barendt, Ignacio, CO

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by markbarendt View Post
    It is my understanding that the split prism needs a certain amount of light to work well, so blacking out of the split prism is normal as the full open aperture gets smaller.
    Not so with the Nikon K3. There are other screens for other bodies that also do not black out like the B (New Split) for the Canon F-1N.

  8. #8
    PhotoJim's Avatar
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    The AF 28-85/3.5-4.5 ought to be fine on your camera. The 28-70/3.5-4.5 should also be fine.

    The 28-105/3.5-4.5 has a short focus throw on its focus ring, but might be comfortable enough - give one a try if you can.
    Jim MacKenzie - Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada

    A bunch of Nikons; Feds, Zorkis and a Kiev; Pentax 67-II (inherited from my deceased father-in-law); Bronica SQ-A; and a nice Shen Hao 4x5 field camera with 3 decent lenses that needs to be taken outside more. Oh, and as of mid-2012, one of those bodies we don't talk about here.

    Favourite film: do I need to pick only one?

  9. #9

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    I'd stick with fixed lenses.. F/2.8 zooms are just not meant for lil' FA's

  10. #10

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    The 28-85 was my first choice, however, KEH didn't have a late one with the good focus ring in stock. Plus, it would end up costing more than what I wanted to spend this time around (except that I went ahead and ordered a focusing screen...). I almost bought a 28-105 locally, but it was too much as well. The N80 will primarily be a 'point & shoot' used with flash for family gatherings and such so I'm not too concerned about maximum aperture.

    I have a couple days to think it over - I may still send the 28-80 back and get something else.

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