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Lens Review, Nikon AF-Nikkor 35-70mm 1:3.3~4.5N, The Kit Lens

Nikon AF-Nikkor 35-70mm 1:3.3~4.5N, On A Nikon D200
A retro look at the Nikon AF-Nikkor 35-70mm 1:3.3~4.5N, a wide-angle-telephoto zoom.

The Nikon AF-Nikkor 35-70mm 1:3.5~4.5N, officially named Nikon AF Zoom Nikkor 35-70mm f/3.3~4.5N Macro (MK II), a wide-angle-telephoto zoom lens, produced in 1989 to 1995/6, was the followup of the Nikon AF Zoom-Nikkor 35-70mm f/3.3~4.5S, or the MK I, which was in production from 1986 to 1989. These lenses were among the initial batch of Nikon autofocus lenses designed for the AF Nikon F501 / N2020 SLR camera in 1986.

The MK II version is identified by its broader manual focus ring and is assembled outside of Japan. Technically, the 8 elements in 7 groups with close focus design lenses were of similar optical composition to the Zoom-Nikkor 35-70mm f/3.3-4.5 Ai-S, a manual focus version that was bundled as a standard lens for the Nikon F301 and AF F501 35mm SLR film cameras, as well as other consumer-grade Nikon autofocus SLRs that follows the two. 

The all-plastic and compact metal mount zoom, which weighs in at 260 grams and is just slightly heavier than the manual focus version, is one of the most compact AF Nikkor zoom lenses on the market in the early years of AF photography. The AF version comes with a built-in CPU and continues with the metal bayonet mount of its predecessors. It has a rather frail look and comes with a low entry price that was set to attract first-time SLR buyers to the Nikon 35mm photographic system.

Nikon AF-Nikkor 35-70mm 1:3.3~4.5N

The AF-Nikkor 35-70mm 1:3.3~4.5N did not enjoy much of a rapport on the reviews, ending up with both brickbats as well s the occasional accolade. Nevertheless, it is still a lens worth looking at, taking a few images with, and working with a zoom range you can learn the basics of creative photography. On the APS-C Nikon D200, the lens is equivalent to a 52.5-105mm standard telephoto on a 35mm full-frame camera, a good option for having a standard normal 50mm lens, and a short telephoto for candids, portraits, and general photography.

Nikon D200, AF-Nikkor 35-70mm 1:3.3~4.5N

This review is part of the 'Re-living the CCD Sensor' series, with images captured on the 2005 Nikon D200, a very well-built and robust professional-grade digital SLR camera (much like the Nikon D2X) with a 10.3MP CCD sensor. While the interest in CCD photography is building up, why not grab the opportunity and enhance it with test shots and early images of equally vintage lenses.



Early Images

The lens I tested was still quick and nimble, even with the older camera, and comparatively noisy with its screw-drive mechanism, which is not really a bother for vintage Nikon users. Overall, the camera is still a good bet to have it mounted on your camera, and with the overall compact dimension of the camera and lens, should be fun to use and carry around, especially when you are traveling.

Nikon AF-Nikkor 35-70mm 1:3.3~4.5N, On A Nikon D200 01
Nikon AF-Nikkor 35-70mm 1:3.3~4.5N, On A Nikon D200 02

A couple of shots against a bright and slightly cloudy sky.

Nikon AF-Nikkor 35-70mm 1:3.3~4.5N, On A Nikon D200 03
Nikon AF-Nikkor 35-70mm 1:3.3~4.5N, On A Nikon D200 04
Nikon AF-Nikkor 35-70mm 1:3.3~4.5N, On A Nikon D200 05
Nikon AF-Nikkor 35-70mm 1:3.3~4.5N, On A Nikon D200 06

Shots across the zoom range.

Nikon AF-Nikkor 35-70mm 1:3.3~4.5N, On A Nikon D200 07
Nikon AF-Nikkor 35-70mm 1:3.3~4.5N, On A Nikon D200 08

A pair of close-ups from the garden.

Nikon AF-Nikkor 35-70mm 1:3.3~4.5N, On A Nikon D200 09
Nikon AF-Nikkor 35-70mm 1:3.3~4.5N, On A Nikon D200 10
Nikon AF-Nikkor 35-70mm 1:3.3~4.5N, On A Nikon D200 11
Nikon AF-Nikkor 35-70mm 1:3.3~4.5N, On A Nikon D200 12

And a walk around the kid's playpen in the community garden.


The CCD Sensor and Vintage Lenses

Working with CCD sensor cameras and vintage lenses are inexpensive tools to add to your camera bag. While CCD sensors are recognized for lower noise and higher sensitivity, vintage lenses, as in this case, the AF-Nikkor 35-70mm 1:3.3~4.5 can be found on online auction markets for as low as US S5.

Nikon D200, AF-Nikkor 35-70mm 1:3.3~4.5N

They are also much fun to work with, especially with image characters that may not be reproduced with the technologically advanced lenses of today.



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