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Seeking recommendations for an AF-D Nikkor "walk-around lens"
Old 12-02-2019   #1
Smaug
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Seeking recommendations for an AF-D Nikkor "walk-around lens"

Here's the situation: I shoot probably 70% family photos, with the rest mixed between street, cityscapes and landscapes. I'll shoot this with film bodies only; I have an FG body, and a few nice manual focus lenses:
  • Nikkor 35/2 AI
  • Nikkor 50/1.4 AI
  • Nikkor 50/1.8 AI-S
  • Nikkor 50/1.8 Series E
  • Nikkor 105/2.5 AI
  • Tokina AT-X 28-85/3.5-4.5 AI-S
  • Vivitar (Kiron) 75-205/3.8 AI-S

I just won an N90s as a second bodyon ebay and am looking to add an AF lens or two. I don't need anything super fast, as I have fast primes, at least up to 105 mm.

I believe one of the latest G lenses would cripple me, as I wouldn't be able to use S or P. Happily then, I look at the AF-D series lenses.

I want to keep it affordable, as I'm also busy buying Christmas gifts and funds for this purchase are limited.

So far, I've considered:
  • Nikkor 28-70/3.5-4.5 D - Good reputation, compact, but I find 70 mm a bit limiting. Price is good.
  • Nikkor 28-85/3.5-4.5 - Good reputation, but larger and heavier. Price is good. Exact same range as the Tokina AT-X I've already got though...
  • Nikkor 35-105/3.5-4.5 D - Good reputation, but I sometimes find 35 mm limiting on the wide end. 105 is a nice short tele on the other end. Price is good. I have a 35-135 for EOS, and it is quite useful!
  • 28-105/3.5-4.5 D - Seems like Goldilocks, if I can find one in my price range...

Any others I should cosider that are equal in quality, ex. Tokina?

Any particular recommendations based on my use?

It will probably stay on the N90s body 90% of the time.
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Last edited by Smaug : 12-02-2019 at 07:35. Reason: Spelling, added 28-105
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Old 12-02-2019   #2
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28-70 if you prefer compact

28-85 is a absolutely stellar lens - forget the Tokina!
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Old 12-02-2019   #3
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Of those options I've only used the 28-70, but it is wonderful. Really really compact and for what I shoot the 70 end was plenty. Have always been happy with the results.

Also, nice pick up with the n90. It's a bit of a lug, but it's such a great camera.
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Old 12-02-2019   #4
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I have the 28-70 and 28-105.
Both are excellent but the 28-70 is much nicer to carry around as it is a lot smaller.

I bought it based on this review and no matter how some like to dismiss him he is on the money when it comes down to the nuts n bolts:

https://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/287035af.htm
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Old 12-02-2019   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B-9 View Post
28-70 if you prefer compact

28-85 is a absolutely stellar lens - forget the Tokina!
Thanks! One thing I noticed about the aftermarket lenses is that they're either f/2.8 or f/4-5.6. Nikkors are f/2.8 or f/3.5-4.5. I figure they stuck with max. f/4.5 so that the AF has enough light to work properly on the bodies.

So yeah, I think I'll stick with a Nikkor, as there doesn't seem to be too much of a "Nikkor Tax" in this class of lens. (going to the f/2.8s is a different story, and the reputation of Tokina in that class is excellent)


Quote:
Originally Posted by twvancamp View Post
Of those options I've only used the 28-70, but it is wonderful. Really really compact and for what I shoot the 70 end was plenty. Have always been happy with the results.

Also, nice pick up with the n90. It's a bit of a lug, but it's such a great camera.
N90s, I used to sell these new at Ritz Camera for $1,000 in the mid-90s. Now, they don't cost any more than a Rebel or N6006*. I needed one like another hole in the head, as I've got EOS for film autofocus, but for $30 shipped, I could NOT resist! I've always liked the control layout.


* This has the same excellent control scheme as the N90s and they were good cameras, but I remember them being noisy and feeling quite cheap, compared to an N90s...
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Old 12-02-2019   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huss View Post
I have the 28-70 and 28-105.
Both are excellent but the 28-70 is much nicer to carry around as it is a lot smaller.

I bought it based on this review and no matter how some like to dismiss him he is on the money when it comes down to the nuts n bolts:

https://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/287035af.htm
Agreed on Ken Rockwell.

Thanks for the size comparison, as it's one of those things that's hard to tell from isolated photos online.

I'm thinking size is not going to be a big factor, as the N90s body is largish and heavy to begin with, and if I want to go light, I have the primes. Also, I was (briefly) considering f/2.8s, so any of these will seem small & light in comparison.
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Old 12-02-2019   #7
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You can't go wrong with either of the 28-70 or 28-105 Nikkors. I use both on F100 & D700. As said above, the 28-70 makes a more compact kit for walkabout.
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lens choice
Old 12-02-2019   #8
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lens choice

When I acquired an F100 some years ago, I went though this analysis. I have a number of highest quality Nikon primes, both manual and AF, but no AF lenses. I wanted to assemble a three zoom lens kit for general use with good quality at a frugal cost. I picked the 35-105mm 3.5-4.5D Nikkor. I think its optical design is superior to its similar manual predecessors and when found, they seem to be dirt cheap. It's light and small enough to pass as a full time "normal" lens. I've no regrets. Use the money saved for the latest 18-35mm Nikkor, a real winner.
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Old 12-02-2019   #9
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28-70 perfect N90s lens actually in my case F90x, I'm pretty sure that at one point it was a kit lens.
_FJB5154_1 by Fraser John, on Flickr
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Old 12-02-2019   #10
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Looking at 35-105s now.

I see there is a D model, which is a one-touch. I don't really like one-touch zooms. They've got to be REALLY cheap...

Is it the same optically as the previous two-touch?
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Old 12-02-2019   #11
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Thanks for that photo, Fraser. That lens is a little bigger than I expected. It makes sense though, since it is an f/3.5-4.5 and not an f/4-5.6.

Not big enough to turn me away, mind you, but no longer what I think of as 'compact', since my digital system is µ4/3...
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Old 12-02-2019   #12
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If you can handle the limited range the Nikkor 35-70mm f2.8 AF D is superb. It was the choice of many pros back in the day and when I travel, this is still a lens I often use on my D700 in lieu of the later 28-70 AF f2.8 which is much bigger and heavier and more difficult to lug around on foreign shores. It produces comparable images to the later lens and these days is also pretty cheap to buy especially for a pro lens. It is comparable in size and weight to the Nikkor 28-85/3.5-4.5 you mention which I also have and which was my main non-prime lens back in the day when I mainly shot a Nikon f801s. There is little wrong with the latter lens though, apart from a slower max aperture and its tendency to flare badly if the sun or bright lights get into its front element. Oh and a bit of image curvature at the wide end though that seldom worried me.

I also agree with your suggestion of the AF D version of the Nikkor 35 - 105mm f3.5-4.5. It is tiny by comparison to most other lenses in a similar range and according to Moose Peterson has an aspherical element which no doubt helped make a smaller lens. It is said to be by far the best Nikkor in that specific range though it was only around for a relatively short time due to the market moving in a different direction not long after its advent. Its a sleeper. There is a review at Ken Rockwell's site and though his images are always horribly over colored the images give a good idea of what it can do in terms of contrast, sharpness etc.
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Old 12-03-2019   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peterm1 View Post
If you can handle the limited range the Nikkor 35-70mm f2.8 AF D is superb. It was the choice of many pros back in the day and when I travel, this is still a lens I often use on my D700 in lieu of the later 28-70 AF f2.8 which is much bigger and heavier and more difficult to lug around on foreign shores. It produces comparable images to the later lens and these days is also pretty cheap to buy especially for a pro lens. It is comparable in size and weight to the Nikkor 28-85/3.5-4.5 you mention which I also have and which was my main non-prime lens back in the day when I mainly shot a Nikon f801s. There is little wrong with the latter lens though, apart from a slower max aperture and its tendency to flare badly if the sun or bright lights get into its front element. Oh and a bit of image curvature at the wide end though that seldom worried me.

I also agree with your suggestion of the AF D version of the Nikkor 35 - 105mm f3.5-4.5. It is tiny by comparison to most other lenses in a similar range and according to Moose Peterson has an aspherical element which no doubt helped make a smaller lens. It is said to be by far the best Nikkor in that specific range though it was only around for a relatively short time due to the market moving in a different direction not long after its advent. Its a sleeper. There is a review at Ken Rockwell's site and though his images are always horribly over colored the images give a good idea of what it can do in terms of contrast, sharpness etc.

I agree that the 35-70mm f2.8 AF D is superb EXCEPT that some have a problem in that an internal element becomes cloudy. I had one such. I had it repaired by Camera Clinic in Melbourne with a new Nikon part and a few years later it developed the same problem. This was not a cheap exercise! I gave up and have reverted to a manual focus zoom in a similar range.


For walking around I use a 35mm/f2 AF. I like compact.


The F90x (F90s) is the most ergonomic Nikon body ever IMO. I love mine, although I have an F100 and an F6, both good but there's something about the earlier one, maybe it's my small hands.
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Old 12-03-2019   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by john_s View Post
I agree that the 35-70mm f2.8 AF D is superb EXCEPT that some have a problem in that an internal element becomes cloudy. I had one such. I had it repaired by Camera Clinic in Melbourne with a new Nikon part and a few years later it developed the same problem. This was not a cheap exercise! I gave up and have reverted to a manual focus zoom in a similar range.


For walking around I use a 35mm/f2 AF. I like compact.


The F90x (F90s) is the most ergonomic Nikon body ever IMO. I love mine, although I have an F100 and an F6, both good but there's something about the earlier one, maybe it's my small hands.
Thanks for sharing your experience with the 35-70/2.8; I'm scratching that one off the list.

I already have a 35/2 AI, so I hesitate to spend again on that exact same focal length. Especially considering how easy it is to focus a 35/2 and how forgiving the DoF is.

I see myself only having one or two AF lenses, so I was thinking they'd probably be a moderate wide-to-short tele and a short-long tele. That's still up for consideration.

Agreed on the ergonomics of the F90/N90 family. I liked the ergos of its prececessor too, the N8008/F800 also, but the N90/F90 family is a clear step up.

So far, the only camera I've found that beats it is the EOS 620/650/630 family; those are really perfect in the hand, though they won't sit flat on a table, because of how the grip protrudes down past flush.
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Old 12-03-2019   #15
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I have not seen a bad review of the Nikon AF 28-105 3.5-4.5 D lens. I have a copy and I have been very pleased. Used on an aps-c camera there is little to no distortion. On FX a little at the wide end only.

https://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/28105af.htm

As mentioned elsewhere, Rockwell is pretty on target with lens reviews. But there are loads of other good reviews for this lens.
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Old 12-03-2019   #16
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The Nikon 35-70 f/2.8D auto focus (on left) and the Nikon 28-70mm f/2.8D auto focus (on right) are what I have used as walk-around lenses.


Nikon Mid-Range Zooms by Narsuitus, on Flickr
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Old 12-04-2019   #17
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I’d just stick with fast primes at this time of the year. I find slow zooms too limiting with film in winter. I use a 50 1.8D that I rotate around my af bodies
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Old 12-06-2019   #18
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Guys, thanks a lot for all your opinions and recommendations. I happened across a 28-105/3.5-4.5 D from ebay for $99 + $12 shipping and dropped the hammer on it just now.

I will end up with a similar outfit to narsuitus soon.

He's got an EM backup, I've got an FG.
He's got an F4 pro body, I've got an N90s.

I won't have any f/2.8 zooms though.

The plan is to eventually add an AF telephoto zoom for the action shots that are too far away for the 28-105, and just use my legacy glass for the rest. MAYBE add a 35/2, just to have a fast AF prime.
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Old 12-06-2019   #19
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The 28-105mm is a lens I find hard to beat. It is a little slow, but I still use it, even though I have much more expensive lenses. You should look at Bjorn Rorslett's review of it:
http://www.naturfotograf.com/lens_zo...tml#AF28-105IF

You made a good choice. I'm sure you will like it!
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Old 12-06-2019   #20
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Why zoom? Go prime. Heaps cheaper, more versatile than the G range (my local dealer refers to these as "castrati" lenses) and far fewer optical etc problems.

Sure, a bit more discipline is required, more careful composition, legwork. One learns to actiavte brain before trigger finger. A useful exercise in many things in life, not just photography...

Get a 28mm 2.8 D. These are often available at discounted prices on Ebay - I bought one in 2017 for $99.

Superb image quality, colours and mid tones. In all, a very, very underrated lens. One of Nikon's very best.

If you want a little more 'width' in your images without too much distortion, the 24mm 2.8 D may suit you better. I have both the 28 and 24 but I use the former 98% of the time.

Best lens I've ever had for almost everything I shoot. It lives on one of my D700. (Okay, so you wanted to know - my second D700 wears a 85mm 1.8 D.)
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Old 12-13-2019   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ozmoose View Post
Why zoom? Go prime. Heaps cheaper, more versatile than the G range (my local dealer refers to these as "castrati" lenses) and far fewer optical etc problems.

Sure, a bit more discipline is required, more careful composition, legwork. One learns to actiavte brain before trigger finger. A useful exercise in many things in life, not just photography...

Get a 28mm 2.8 D. These are often available at discounted prices on Ebay - I bought one in 2017 for $99.

Superb image quality, colours and mid tones. In all, a very, very underrated lens. One of Nikon's very best.

If you want a little more 'width' in your images without too much distortion, the 24mm 2.8 D may suit you better. I have both the 28 and 24 but I use the former 98% of the time.

Best lens I've ever had for almost everything I shoot. It lives on one of my D700. (Okay, so you wanted to know - my second D700 wears a 85mm 1.8 D.)
Thanks for the detailed reply, ozmoose.

I have a bunch of primes, and I like them, everything you said is true.

I guess a big part of the reason I want this zoom is that a big part of what I shoot is family candids. If I zoom with my feet, esp. with a 24 or 28, the moment will have passed (as I switch lenses) or I will have influenced the candid nature of what I was going for. (if I have a 24 or 28 and get close enough)

As a side note, I'm thinking of a 35/2 for either my EOS or N-AF, but they're spendy, right around $200. In my local shop, there are 3 different f/2.8 wide angle zooms for $150. They're not as light, but they cover ultra-wide, too!
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Old 12-13-2019   #22
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Quote:
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In my local shop, there are 3 different f/2.8 wide angle zooms for $150.
Is Central Camera your local shop?
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Old 12-13-2019   #23
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Quote:
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Is Central Camera your local shop?
I guess it's one of three; using the term 'local' loosely:
  • Central Camera (Chicago Loop) is a 1 hour train ride + 20 minute walk
  • Helix camera (Itasca, IL) is a 45 minute drive, but not much film stuff
  • Rode's Camera (Kenosha, WI) is a 5 minute drive from work. They're the ones I really consider local.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #24
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Just to close the loop, I wound up with the Nikkor 28-105 f/3.5-4.5; love it!

It's enough faster than an f/4-5.6 to be noticeable, esp. in AF performance in low light.

I also picked up an old Nikkor 75-300 f/4.5-5.6 pumper zoom. Developed the first images from it last night. Can't wait to see the scans. Might add a 50/1.8D just to have something fast, light and AF.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #25
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I have one of those on the way, too. Looking forward to trying it, apparently it's well-corrected and an excellent performer.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by splitimageview View Post
I have one of those on the way, too. Looking forward to trying it, apparently it's well-corrected and an excellent performer.
Here's my assessment of it (28-105) so far:

+ Sharp
+ Well-corrected
+ A good compromise between speed, size, weight and price
+ As always, it is a good range of focal lengths, without getting so rangey that optics suffer. 28 is a proper wide angle, 105 is noticeably closer than 85; a proper telephoto.
+ Good build quality & coatings

- Due to gearing, manually focusing is not realistic
- Macro focusing takes some deliberation; look at how the orange markings are laid out.

= Might seem a bit heavy on a lightweight plastic body, but is perfectly balanced on heavier bodies.
= 62 mm filter threads
= Might make you too lazy to use primes...
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #27
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Get the AF 50/1.8D - it's a no-brainer for the price, assuming you prefer 50mm. If you prefer something a bit wider the AF 35mm f/2D is very nice (but costs more).
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #28
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No one mentions the 17-35/2.8 AFD. Great film lens.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by james.liam View Post
No one mentions the 17-35/2.8 AFD. Great film lens.
It is. I bought mine with an N80 body attached. But I must admit, that camera likes the 24-120 f/3.5-5.6 G VR better. That's the lens that everybody loves to hate, so my poor N80 is an outlier.

By the way, Smaug already has a great walk around camera:
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #30
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I believe one of the latest G lenses would cripple me, as I wouldn't be able to use S or P.
Actually, only P and S modes are usable on the N90 with G lenses. DX G lenses are widely available and are perfectly compatible from a certain FL and longer. xample: the 18-55mm DX works as expected from about 24mm to 55mm.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by james.liam View Post
No one mentions the 17-35/2.8 AFD. Great film lens.
Are you referring to this one?

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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris101 View Post
.. But I must admit, that camera likes the 24-120 f/3.5-5.6 G VR better. That's the lens that everybody loves to hate..
I have the latest version of that lens (current version) and it is superb. I have a feeling that someone on the web b!tched about it, then others chimed in thinking because they heard it was bad from some rando.. then they have to agree as it shows they also know what they are talking about. Lemming mentality.

It has been great on my D850, and on my F6.

F6, 24-120, Fuji C200, Z7 scan, negativelabpro


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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #33
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The current version is f/4, is that the one you have?

It's far better than the first two versions, which were pretty much crap. I owned the first version unfortunately...
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #34
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Well... I was about to suggest a lens that left sweet memories in me until I switched bodies and went the dSLR route: the Nikon AF-G 24-84 f3.5-4.5 VR. I used it with my F80, later with my F100 and I think my F5. Replaced it with a Sigma AF 24-70 f2.8, and then got the first version of the Nikon AF-S 24-0 f2.8. But I digress... I think if the OP wants another lens in the future, the AF-S 24-85 f3.5-4.5 will work with the F90.

Also, it's a good idea to stay away from any of the early versions of the AF 24-120. They can be disappointing...

Enjoy your camera and lens!
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by splitimageview View Post
Are you referring to this one?

Yes indeed. Get a newer copy and no squeaking issue. It really is a fantastic lens for film.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris101 View Post
It is. I bought mine with an N80 body attached. But I must admit, that camera likes the 24-120 f/3.5-5.6 G VR better. That's the lens that everybody loves to hate, so my poor N80 is an outlier.
It was the "pre-G" versions of the 24-120 that people hated.

The G version (a $1,000 lens) is actually quite good. It wound up being my favorite lens for my D610, when I was doing full frame digital. I still remember it fondly. When I was looking for a "street-sweeper" lens for µ4/3 digital, I got the Panasonic equivalent, and it's awesome too.

Ken Rockwell did a good job of summing it up. Look under the 'History' heading here: https://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/24-120mm.htm


By the way, Smaug already has a great walk around camera:
[/quote]

I started back into Nikon with the FG, as I needed a cheap body with which to dip my toes into the Nikon waters again. (having just found a couple of nice F-mount lenses at the thrift store for $10) It was $30 on ebay, near mint. Pretty outstanding feature set, too: OTF TTL metering, incl. flash, A and P modes, mechanical 90th and B, small and light... The only thing missing is DoF preview. The small and light thing got me started looking for another body that would not be so tough to handle with even moderately heavy lenses. I wanted an FM2N, but they're too expensive, so I got an N90s. (great camera, but it's the opposite of small and light.)

I just got an FE2 yesterday; this seems to be the Goldilocks camera between the FG and N90s.

For the FG and FE2, I have the Tokina AT-X 28-85/3.5-4.5 and for the N90s, I've got the aforementioned AF-D Nikkor.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ste_S View Post
I’d just stick with fast primes at this time of the year. I find slow zooms too limiting with film in winter. I use a 50 1.8D that I rotate around my af bodies
Reading through this thread again, this post struck a chord. I went on a photo walk in Hyde Park, Chicago this past weekend with a bag full of slow glass:
  • Sigma 28-80 f/3.5-5.6
  • Sigma 100-300 f/4.5-6.7 (ouch!)
  • Quantaray (Sigma) 24 f/2.8

That 24/2.8 was noticeably better. I could hand-hold at 1/30s because it's a 24 (4-stop shutter speed advantage, compared to the 300 mm f/6.7) then another 2.5 stop advantage from the larger aperture.

I was pretty much crippled on that cloudy day with the 100-300, even with 400 film. If I had more experience with such slow tele zooms on cloudy days, I would have pushed the whole roll to ASA 1600. Or brought a tripod.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smaug View Post
I went on a photo walk in Hyde Park, Chicago this past weekend ...
The Washington Park camera club meets at 7pm on Tuesdays at the Washington Park Recreation Center on Garfield and South King Drive. You may want to check them out.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smaug View Post
It was the "pre-G" versions of the 24-120 that people hated.
...
Right. KR mentions straight-line distortion with it. However I have the 24-120 AF-D on my D700 as it's main lens and have used it for motorsports and general photography and the lens seems fine. Perhaps I have a good specimen or I consider any distortion to be of no significance considering the image as a whole.
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