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Lens Reviews

Nikkor AF 28-105mm/3.5-4.5D IF Review

J. Ramon Palacios (jrp)

Keywords: normal, lenses, nikon, micro, macro, nikkor, garden_of_gods, colorado, aspherical, focusmagic

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This lens, released along with the Nikon F100 35mm film camera, has become a very popular companion of the N80/F80."The 28-105 has been like my Swiss Army Knife of lenses" is the typical enthusiastic kind of comment from many Nikonians, whether shooting film or digital SLRs.

Click for enlargement

AF 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5D IF Zoom Nikkor 



Several factors come into play to make up the popularity of a lens:

* Quoted from B&H in the USA as of November 21, 2005 in US dollars, and without considering rebates

Price USA USD* when new
Imported USD when new
Recent used prices**
28-105mm f/3.5-4.5D IF AF



24-85mm f/2.8-4D IF AF



35-70mm f/2.8D AF




** Used, in EX+ condition as of Jan 3, 2011, in the USA

The 28-105mm remains the most economical of the three.

II. VERSATILITY (From landscapes to head and shoulders portraits) -


If you are into portraits, but also want to have the opportunity of making landscapes, again, the 28-105mm seems the clear winner for versatility.


If the landscapes are the primary concern, then the choice is the 24-85mm, that still allows for good portraits.


The 35-70mm allows for moderate wide-angle shots to moderate close-up portrait shots.

III. SPEED (For brighter viewfinder view and available light shots)

The 35-70mm has a constant aperture of 2.8
Then the 24-85mm with a 2.8, changing to f/4 as it goes into 85mm
The 28-105mm, at a max aperture of 3.5, is the slowest, hardly any good for ambient light photography, or extreme selective focus, as expected. Obviously not many of its happy users are into that type of photography.

IV. PERFORMANCE, IMAGE QUALITY (Sharpness -resolution, contrast + acutance- and color rendering)
This is what justifies the price differences. The order under Price and Versatility is reversed, as optical performance is highest with the 35-70mm (even when compared with the 28-70mm f/2.8 AF-S which costs more than twice as much as shown here), followed by the 24-85mm and then closely by the 28-105mm. 

It is important to note that if apertures are always around or at f/8, users will hardly notice the difference, especially if no huge enlargements are made. It should also be said that the 28-105 nevertheless has remarkable performance, especially if compared with all other zooms in the range not listed here.

If you treat your lenses well, built can be no major problem and it is not a concern at all in any of the lenses compared here.

Of course there are other factors (minor to me) such as front element rotation, etc. and others in the table below.  As for macro mode maximum reproduction ratios, the 28-105mm has 1:2, very close to that of the 24-85mm with 1:2; for the 35-70mm it is 1:4; so the three have a quasi-micro capability or macro mode.




 Filter size

28-105mm f/3.5-4.5D IF AF

455g / 16.0oz

73.0 x 81.5mm


24-85mm f/2.8-4D IF AF

545g / 19.2oz

78.5 x 82.5mm


35-70mm f/2.8D AF

665g / 23.5oz

71.5 x 94.5mm


The 28-105mm lens is the lightest, smallest and with a standard filter size.

When we talk about a lens being superior to others we usually refer only to optical performance as an overriding concern, not to any other factor. 

Since each user has its own priorities in regard to the factors listed and will assign a different relative weight to each of them, a lens is truly "inferior" or "superior" depending on the use it is put up to and the personal preferences of the user. 

As each lens is designed for specific requirements (including budgets), each solves a given set of problems while having to make some compromises as the cost is asked to be lower. Those compromises are made in either of the previously listed factors.

(9 Votes )
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Originally written on November 13, 2012

Last updated on August 30, 2016

J. Ramon Palacios J. Ramon Palacios (jrp)

JRP is one of the co-founders, has in-depth knowledge in various areas. Awarded for his contributions for the Resources

San Pedro Garza García, Mexico
Admin, 46140 posts

1 comment

Richard Luse (DaddySS) on August 3, 2015

Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Ribbon awarded for  his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2017 Ribbon awarded for his generous contribution to the 2019 Fundraising campaign

Thanks Ramon. I still have my 28-105 from my f100 purchase and like it so much I bought a second for my daughter when I gave her my original D70s. Thanks for taking the time for the review.

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