I have a sister in college with an FM3A. She wants a zoom lens or maybe a fixed telephoto for some sports photography for the school paper or something like that. She currently has a Nikon 45mm f/2.8 P AIS Manual Focus Lens and a very cheap Tokina 70-210mm. She likes the Nikon and says the Tokina is noticeably less sharp. So, I believe that she is looking for something new or used for under $200-250 with at least 300mm and as sharp as her Nikkor prime lens. Does anyone have any suggestions? I only have prime lenses for my F2 so I don't have any real input to give her, but I knew the good people of Nikonians would have some advice for me.
#1. "RE: Zoom lens for FM3A" | In response to Reply # 0Jonmanjiro Registered since 15th Mar 2004Fri 17-Sep-04 01:30 AM
Hmmm sports photography ... ideally one would use a constant aperture F2.8 80-200mm Nikkor zoom. Somewhat above your price range. However, with higher speed films the Nikkor 70-300mm F4-5.6D may work.
On a recent trip to Europe I used this lense with my FM3a (originally purchased to use with my D70) and was VERY VERY pleased with the results, very sharp and colourful! I was a bit worried about the variable aperture at first but its not an issue at all in aperture priority mode. I've also obtained excellent results with my Nikon 75-150mm F3.5 E-series lense (including shooting horseback archery). Both of these lenses are in your price range second hand. Although, neither lense is as sharp as the 45mmP which I also took to Europe. But I doubt if there is a zoom in your price range that is as sharp as this little wonder. I just finished scanning 12 rolls of film with a Coolscan V from the trip and the 45mmP shots blew me away. They are consistently reaaaallly sharp. This is one sharp lense! I was thinking of selling it but won't now.
I don' have any experience with the longer primes. Perhaps someone else out there can comment!? I imagine they'd be getting over your price range though. Good luck.
Jon in Tokyo
#2. "RE: Zoom lens for FM3A" | In response to Reply # 0Paul L Registered since 15th Apr 2002Fri 17-Sep-04 12:40 PM
SpaceMonkey, I would favour primes over zooms, the results will be far better under most circumstances and never worse assuming one can frame the shot.
Since your sister is taking the time and trouble to command a classic manual camera such as the FM3a, a little moving around is just another step on top of the manual focusing and thought process that often goes into it compared with the autofocus beasts. Even with my F90X I shoot prime 50mm 1.8AF-D and 85mm 1.8AF-D. With FM2N I shoot 50mm 1.8AI-S and I am slowly looking out for 105mm 2.5 and 180mm 2.8 AI or AI-S manual lenses. The results of the latter when I tried one a while ago were noticeably better than the latest non-AFS 80-200 AF-D zoom I tested at the same time.
For sports, zoom will give you the flexibility a prime doesn't but at the expense of weight and possibly smaller aperture. I don't think there's a short cut, good glass gains a reputation and costs money. Thankfully, used manual lenses do appear at reasonable prices as yesterday's outdated old kit is discarded for the latest and greatest. Personally I would rather have an old 180mm AI than a current Tamron, Tokina, Sigma consumer or prosumer zoom for similar money.
Anyway, if your sister hasn't found much information to help, there are good web sources on all things Nikon out there in addition to Nikonians. Get your sister to take a look at http://www.naturfotograf.com/lens_short.html
http://www.photo.net/community/forums where you'll find a Nikon area
If she doesn't know them she will learn a lot and it will help her choose.
#3. "RE: Zoom lens for FM3A" | In response to Reply # 2
#5. "RE: Zoom lens for FM3A" | In response to Reply # 4
#6. "RE: Zoom lens for FM3A" | In response to Reply # 0
You won't find too many zoom lenses which are as sharp as the 45mm, especially in the center of the shot.
However, I recommend any of the following used options, as long as they are in good condition.
Nikkor 80-200 f/4.5 or f/4
Nikon 70-210 f/4
Nikon 75-150 f/3.5 (forget to add this one)
Kiron 70-210 f/4
Tokina 80-200 f/2.8 (manual focus)
The last is a huge step up from her current Tokina. I enjoyed using mine for 18 years before trading up to an AF Nikkor.
"There is no real magic in photography, just the sloppy intersection of physics and art." — Kirk Tuck