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Thread: choosing nikkor lens for manual SLR

  1. #1

    Default choosing nikkor lens for manual SLR

    hey everyone
    i recently got myself a nikon FM2n SLR camera, my intro into old-style film photography, and im really enjoying it. i got the SLR serviced, n its working great. however, the lens i got with it (the only one i could afford at the time) is a nikkor 35-70mm f3.5-4.8, the lens that comes with the FM10 kit. its alright for now, but when i got it serviced, the guy said that the lens has fungus on it, and cant be cleaned properly, so i'd be better off getting a new lens (or two, i thought )

    firstly, i thought i'd get a 50mm prime lens. not such a hard one, this.. im looking at one of:
    Nikon Nikkor 50mm f1.8 AI
    Nikon Nikkor 50mm f1.8 AF-D

    these both seem to perform very well, and theyre cheap.. im generally careful with my lenses, and im not expecting them to last a lifetime, so i dont mind cheap build quality

    and im quite used to having a walkabout lens, a midrange zoom, at times, so i thought of getting one to replace the current lens i have. somethign with a range of around 28 or 35mm at the wide end, and 70 or 80mm at the tele end..

    i dont mind buying old stuff, if i can find in good condition.. and again, i dont mind build quality being not so great.. but i want the optical quality to be as good as possible for the price.. and of course i need manual focus+aperture ring to work on my SLR. my budget again, is pretty low..
    the following seem to work for me:
    Nikon Nikkor 35-70mm f3.5 AI
    Nikon Nikkor AF-D 28-80mm f3.5-5.6

    and they seem to be pretty affordable too. any comments on these lenses, or any other recommendations? thanks for ur time reading this!
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  2. #2
    Senior Member ZerocoolAstra's Avatar
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    Default Re: choosing nikkor lens for manual SLR

    Quote Originally Posted by heshanj View Post
    hey everyone
    i recently got myself a nikon FM2n SLR camera, my intro into old-style film photography, and im really enjoying it. i got the SLR serviced, n its working great. however, the lens i got with it (the only one i could afford at the time) is a nikkor 35-70mm f3.5-4.8, the lens that comes with the FM10 kit. its alright for now, but when i got it serviced, the guy said that the lens has fungus on it, and cant be cleaned properly, so i'd be better off getting a new lens (or two, i thought )

    firstly, i thought i'd get a 50mm prime lens. not such a hard one, this.. im looking at one of:
    Nikon Nikkor 50mm f1.8 AI
    Nikon Nikkor 50mm f1.8 AF-D

    these both seem to perform very well, and theyre cheap.. im generally careful with my lenses, and im not expecting them to last a lifetime, so i dont mind cheap build quality

    and im quite used to having a walkabout lens, a midrange zoom, at times, so i thought of getting one to replace the current lens i have. somethign with a range of around 28 or 35mm at the wide end, and 70 or 80mm at the tele end..

    i dont mind buying old stuff, if i can find in good condition.. and again, i dont mind build quality being not so great.. but i want the optical quality to be as good as possible for the price.. and of course i need manual focus+aperture ring to work on my SLR. my budget again, is pretty low..
    the following seem to work for me:
    Nikon Nikkor 35-70mm f3.5 AI
    Nikon Nikkor AF-D 28-80mm f3.5-5.6

    and they seem to be pretty affordable too. any comments on these lenses, or any other recommendations? thanks for ur time reading this!
    501.8D is popular for the low-price and good optical quality. I guess you can't really go wrong getting this
    I have an AF 28-105 f/3.5-4.5D that is cheaply-built but is sharp and works fine as a walkabout lens Added to that the ability to focus close (up to 1:2 magnification) and it's quite a handy lens. Got it 2nd hand in great condition for well under $250. The focus ring isn't the smoothest though, so trying to manual focus might not be the most pleasant experience.
    Last edited by ZerocoolAstra; 9th November 2011 at 11:46 AM. Reason: add URL

  3. #3

    Default Re: choosing nikkor lens for manual SLR

    thanks! that bit of info helped a lot. the 28-105 looks very nice, although u mention the manual focus not being great.. and its a bit on the high end of my budget. but by visiting that link u provided, i noticed two lenses that i hadnt noticed before, the AF 28-70 f3.5-4.5 and the 28-85mm f3.5-4.5. these two look great, and manual focusing is supposed to be fine, and very good optics.. the 28-85mm looks to be pushing my budget a bit too but not by much.. and the 28-70mm looks ideal too! i'll try hunting for one of these two, for sure
    Last edited by heshanj; 9th November 2011 at 01:02 PM.
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  4. #4

    Default

    In my opinion the 28-70/3.5-4.5 is a better lens than the 28-85. Same maximum aperture, the 28-70 is smaller and the use of aspherical lens element augurs well - less distortion and more snap to the colour. You won't miss the extra 15mm at the tele end, btw. I've had 3 pieces, the first one non-D, the others D lenses. Still have the final piece which I plan to use as my kit lens when I eventually get my FX camera.

  5. #5

    Default Re: choosing nikkor lens for manual SLR

    thanks, i was just gonna ask if anyone could compare the 28-80 and 28-85, coz i found both, and the 28-85 is about 30% more expensive, and i was wondering if it was worth it. i read on kenrockwell.com about the aspherical lens element and also the 9 blade diaphragm which is supposed to be excellent. the only thing that made me look at the 28-85 is that ken mentions the 28-70 is a bit soft when wide open, whereas the 28-85 is a bit sharper.. can anyone comment on this? is it really noticeable? if not very noticable, im definitely gonna get the 28-70, it sounds fantastic, and i found one in great condition very cheap

    but anyway, anyone else got any comments on comparison between the 28-70mm f3.5-4.5D & and the 28-85mm f3.5-4.5?
    Last edited by heshanj; 9th November 2011 at 07:35 PM.
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  6. #6

    Default Re: choosing nikkor lens for manual SLR

    Firstly, good choice mate, FM2n was my first SLR and it still is the camera I use most often.

    I had always recommend anyone using older SLRs to pair it with Prime AIS / AI / Series E lenses, because those lens are specifically designed for manual cameras and most importantly manual focusing.

    The rough focus ring on my 50mm F1.8D is nowhere near my 50mm F1.8 AIS, whereby the focus ring is so smooth and "shiok".

    By the way, try to find our what most similar users commented on the older zoom lens model.

    Personal opinions, zoom lens is a technology that is still improving everyday. But Prime lens is the core of the photography equipment in the past, present and future. It maybe due to availability or lack of good zoom mechanism technology, but most importantly it has prestige image quality.

    Do consider prime lens, you can try it out even after you get a zoom lens for FM2n, but don't regret hehe.
    Last edited by saveDqueen; 10th November 2011 at 01:14 AM. Reason: Adding on
    Hsteric Motion media ;a memorable experience.

  7. #7

    Default Re: choosing nikkor lens for manual SLR

    thanks im loving it already, haha.

    yeah, im definitely getting a prime lens 50mm. getting the cheap canon 50mm f1.8 was one of the best choices i made on my digital system, so im kinda familiar with prime lens work, and i want to get one for this camera too..and depending on when i find a good one, i'll get one asap thanks for the tip about the focus ring on the new AF-D, i'll start looking for a good condition AI/AIs then.. maybe even a 50mm f1.4 AI, ive seen those for around the same price as a new f1.8D cheers

    EDIT: although it looks like the reviews on kenrockwell suggest that the f1.8 AI is a better one than the f1.4, so i might stick with looking for the 1.8!
    Last edited by heshanj; 10th November 2011 at 08:26 AM.
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  8. #8

    Default

    Do take KRW's reviews with a heavy dose of salt. I've learned that the hard way - observe the way he praised the 18-55 lenses, and D40. Although I do agree that the 50mm f/1.8 AI or AIS are good choices.

  9. #9

    Default Re: choosing nikkor lens for manual SLR

    haha i see problem is, i cant seem to find any full reviews for older model lenses like the ones im looking for anywhere else, only ken rockwell seems to have a detaile review. and of course, u guys here are giving me the support evidence to confirm my choice

    so again, anyone had any issues with the 28-70mm f3.5-4.5 with sharpness? especially when compared to the 28-85mm? thanks
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  10. #10

    Default Re: choosing nikkor lens for manual SLR

    still a bit undecided between the 28-70 and 28-85, to be honest keep the comments coming, if u got more
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  11. #11

    Default Re: choosing nikkor lens for manual SLR

    The old FM series with honey comb shutter are prone to failure. Other than that, stick to one cheap all-rounder lens. Play with the camera and see its worth the hassle of going film. By that I mean shoot about total of 50 rolls and see if going film is for you. Unless you have good eye-sight look for lens with f/2.8 or wider as its very hard to focus under dim light. Most old manual lens are not optimized for digital bodies so avoid old zooms. If you insist, I got one in pristine condition to sell you cheap.

  12. #12

    Default Re: choosing nikkor lens for manual SLR

    thanks haha yeah, its definitely a bit hard to focus in low light with f3.5. im starting to enjoy this film thing, and though ive not done more than a few rolls, i think i'll be keeping it up.. and the 28-70mm that i found seems to be less than $50 and the owner states online that its in good condition, no fungus etc, so i might just go with that. he's a reputed seller. thanks again. any comparisons between the lenses mentioned in previous post, let me know
    Check out my blog: pixelogist.me

  13. #13

    Default Re: choosing nikkor lens for manual SLR

    another question! haha. about the MF 50mm lenses, ive been seeing quite a few for sale, n there are f1.4 and f1.8 and AI and AI-S. im getting a bit confused. is there a major difference in the optical performance of the AI and AI-S lenses? and out of either AI or AI-S, would the f1.4 or f1.8 be a better choice? seems like the price differences between them are not that wide
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  14. #14

    Default Re: choosing nikkor lens for manual SLR

    so i finally decided to go with the nikkor 28-70mm f3.5-4.5D and the 50mm f1.8 AI - should be picking them up tmr!
    Check out my blog: pixelogist.me

  15. #15

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by heshanj
    another question! haha. about the MF 50mm lenses, ive been seeing quite a few for sale, n there are f1.4 and f1.8 and AI and AI-S. im getting a bit confused. is there a major difference in the optical performance of the AI and AI-S lenses? and out of either AI or AI-S, would the f1.4 or f1.8 be a better choice? seems like the price differences between them are not that wide
    No difference in AI or AI-S functions on FM series. The AI-S lenses, besides being newer, will allow matrix metering on the FA and some other bodies. All AF lenses are AI-S. sI understand that some people like the AI lenses more because the build seems better.

  16. #16

    Default Re: choosing nikkor lens for manual SLR

    oh i see, thanks! i got the 50mm f1.8 AI and the 28-70mm f3.5-4.5 yesterday. gonna start shooting today n see how the photos look!
    Check out my blog: pixelogist.me

  17. #17

    Default Re: choosing nikkor lens for manual SLR

    Diff btw AI & AIS other than matrix metering and build quality. AI has a longer focus turn which help in precise focusing.

    For a cheap n good 50mm prime, I would recommend 50mm/f2.0 AI. It is reasonable sharp at wide open n sharper than most current lens at f5.6. Forget about yesteryear zoom lens, it is too dim for manual focus n lack sharpness. When I go out on film, I only bring along 20mm n 50mm, n sometimes 105mm n zoom with my legs.

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