Hi all. I know this subject must have been discussed many times. I am one of those people who sold all my ais lenses when the AF rage came out and now I am looking for a good quality compact general purpose zoom for my F-3hp. I have a 24-120 AF which I keep on my F-100 but would prefer something smaller and lighter like a 28-70 which they don't make any more. There's a 28-85 ais which sounds nice but they are out of stock at B&H. Any opinions? I like the idea of being prepared for wide angle or semi telephoto on one lens. Thanks, Tony
#1. "RE: zoom lens choice" | In response to Reply # 0f8bthere Basic MemberMon 29-Jul-02 11:19 AM
I am kind of a prime lens snob, but I like a couple of zooms, and can tolerate a couple of others. Just as a matter of curiosity, do you like that 24-120 zoom? I have this lens also, and it doesn't meet any of my requirements, so it sits un-used these days. I ask only to see what level of optical quality you wish to get from your zoom.
As a small general use lens that gives great optical quality, the one zoom I have in auto-focus version that I like best is my 28-70mm f/3.5-4.5. I use this on my F3 and FE2 often (less on the FM2 because of the variable aperture). It is small, light and very sharp. It only has 8 elements and uses an aspheric surface, so the contrast is right up there with primes. This lens would be worth seeking out even used. Here is a link to a shot made with the 28-70 at 70mm wide-open. Look at the man's shirt to see the detail.
Very close, but a true AIS lens is the 35-70mm f/3.3-4.5. This is a tiny lens and has very good optical quality. It has a very close focus range at all focal lengths and is just a delight when size and weight are concerned. The extra 7mm of the 28-70 makes that lens more usful to me, but I could survive with the 35-70 if I had to. Just a note... I am talking about the AIS version, not the auto-focus model which while using the same optical configuration, had a larger lens body.
I also have the old manual focus AIS 35-105 f/3.5-4.5 zoom. It is tiny and sharp, but I have trouble these days focusing the lens at the long end. the finder gets a bit dark, and the focus throw is long, so the image "oozes" rather than "pops" into focus. On the up side, this lens has depth of field marks for all focal lengths, and I have used it for good hyper-focused shots.
In all honesty, I have pretty much given up on "do-it-all" zooms and have decided to use primes, or prime / zoom combinations. The zoom I choose for this is an old 75-150mm f/3.5 to which I add either a 35mm or 24mm lens (depending on the subject). This zoom would also be a good partner with a 28-70.
Photo from 75-150mm zoom at 75mm and f/3.5
I'm sure you will get many opinions here, but these are lenses I have used and like.
#3. "RE: zoom lens choice. I NEED expertise in making decis" | In response to Reply # 1Wed 31-Jul-02 01:16 AM
Thanks again, Al, for your input. The two lenses I have narrowed it down to are: 24-85 AF f2.8-4.0D IF macro and 28-85 AIS 3.5-4.5 which is about $100 cheaper than the AF, but the AF has the advantage of a true wide angle at f2.8. I had typed up my order form on line to B&H for the ais lens; then indecision made me void the order as part of me was drawn to the more versatile AF. I like the 24-85 for what it offers, but at the same time I'm drawn towards the 28-85 AIS because of it's beautiful focussing range. I need a concensus to steer me in the right direction re quality and specs. I hope you or someone else will give me that encouragement, because tomorrow I intend to go to the store and make my choice. Tony
#2. "RE: zoom lens choice" | In response to Reply # 0
>Hi all. I know this subject must have been discussed many
>times. I am one of those people who sold all my ais lenses
>when the AF rage came out and now I am looking for a good
>quality compact general purpose zoom for my F-3hp. I have a
>24-120 AF which I keep on my F-100 but would prefer
>something smaller and lighter like a 28-70 which they don't
>make any more. There's a 28-85 ais which sounds nice but
>they are out of stock at B&H. Any opinions? I like the
>idea of being prepared for wide angle or semi telephoto on
>one lens. Thanks, Tony
If you dont mind a manual focus lens, I highly recommend a used Vivitar Series One 28-90 or the Kiron 28-85. I love both of mine, and the quality is very good. Can be had on the used market for well under $125.00-$150.00
It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye
#4. "RE: zoom lens choice" | In response to Reply # 0
The Nikkor 24-120 is kind of my idea of a good all purpose lens. No it is not a small thing but it covers most daily oportunity shots and the wide end is really great for crowded conditions. I do have an issue with the brightness of the lens, but in all other things, I think its the lens of choice for general use.
#5. "RE: zoom lens choice" | In response to Reply # 4Wed 31-Jul-02 09:46 AM
Thanks for your opinion, Chirotk. The only thing that bothers me about it is on the longer end I get that blacking out of half the center spot which makes it harder to focus. I was hoping a faster lens would solve that problem. Ironically I have probably one of the best Nikon zooms which I paid a fortune for and never use because of the size and weight: the 35-70 AF silent wave f2.8. Tony