Repair: Nikkor-S 5cm f/2 Auto

Hello, everybody! Do you like “Full Metal Jacket“? This masterpiece is one of Stanley Kubrick’s best films. I love the cinematography there and it also has this authentic-feel to it thanks to the late R. Lee Ermey. That movie showed a lot of realism which can be uncomfortable for some to watch, it could open a deep psychological wound in some people. The Vietnam War is something a lot of us wanted to forget and it still affects many of us today, good or bad. Today, I will show you an icon of the Vietnam War, a lens that took plenty of photos from the conflict. It’s an unwilling witness to a dark chapter in Asian history.

Introduction:

The Nikkor-S 5cm f/2 Auto is the first 50mm lens for the then-new F-mount. Nikon needs a standard-lens to compliment the Nikon F during its launch in 1959 and that resulted in the Nikkor-S 5cm f/2 Auto (Tick-Mark) which is the very-early version of the lens in this article. The biggest difference between this and the Nikkor-S 5cm f/2 Auto (Tick-Mark) is the 6-bladed iris but you’ll find that earlier production models still retained the coveted 9-bladed iris. I think that this lens is distinct from the Nikkor-S 5cm f/2 Auto (Tick-Mark) so I wrote separate article for it despite both lenses having the same optics. Its angular-iris alone is enough to give small differences in bokeh quality. That and a couple of minor differences are all worth documenting.

It’s a stubby little lens. The minimalistic-look works and it helps give this an expensive, serious feel. Its tough, all-metal construction ensures that it will survive professional use, even in the battlefields of Vietnam.

More

Repair: AF Zoom-Nikkor 35-70mm f/2.8D

Hello, everybody! Do you know the song “My Boy” by Elvis Presley? This is a masterpiece, it’s about a father trying to keep his family together despite his hardships with his partner. He wants to explain everything to his child who is sleeping. It’s a depressing song but at the end, the father found the will to endure everything all because he wanted to stay to see his son grow. We do not hear masterpieces like this nowadays but I’ll show you an amazing lens that held-on just like the father in the song. It stayed in-production because it wanted to see its Nikkor children grow.

Introduction:

The AF Zoom-Nikkor 35-70mm f/2.8D was sold from 1987 to 2005. It came at a time when the whole industry was making a huge leap towards autofocus and companies like Minolta were pressuring the big boys to make a system that would satisfy the demanding professional market. Nikon came up with the Nikon F4 at around 1988, always late to the game but ever-cautious. The new professional, upgraded F-mount needed to have an ecosystem of lenses ready to support Nikon’s new flagship and this is where this lens comes in.

Most zoom lenses come in either the now-standard 2-ring configuration or the older-style “push-pull” type where the focusing and zoom controls were combined into a single barrel but this one is different. You extend the barrel to zoom and turn the focusing ring to focus manually. You see this mostly in cheaper Zoom-Nikkors from the 1980s to the mid-1990s but not usually on a professional lens. I don’t know why the decision to use this type was chosen but it may have to do with making it compact. It resulted in a rotating front barrel which is quite annoying but nothing unusual for older-type Nikkors.

More

Repair: AF Zoom-Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8D ED

Hello, everybody! Have you seen the latest iPhone? It looks great and it has a high-performance camera, too. I’m not the type who always buys the best and the latest so I’m not interested in the new phone at all. Newer does not always mean better either, some new features actually end up being buggy. That just makes upgrading pointless. Today, I’m going to show you another example but it’s for lenses this time. It’s an upgrade of a well-regarded lens but it seems that the old one is more reliable at doing one important thing.

Introduction:

The AF Zoom-Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8D ED was made from 1992 to 1997, this replaced the older AF Zoom-Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8 ED which is similar to it in many ways. The former is an amazing lens optically but it focuses slow, a big issue for some people. Its front barrel moves in-and-out as you focus so it’s not convenient to use circular polarizers. This model fixed that, its front doesn’t move as its housed within the main barrel. The focusing speed went from slow to not-too-slow, it’s now able to help you track moving subjects. If you look at them externally you wouldn’t think that much has changed but I will tell you that their internal constructions are totally different.

It’s a handsome lens. It’s heavy, big and inspires confidence when you hold one in your hands. It balances better with heavier cameras but it could still make your setup front-heavy. Carrying it with a Nikon F4 or a Nikon D3 all-day will make your neck hurt. I had this in my backpack and my back was not feeling comfortable for a few days.

More

Repair: New-Nikkor 135mm f/3.5

Hello, everybody! Sean Connery’s passing came as a surprise to me because I am a big fan of his “007” movies. I loved every movie despite them being a bit repetitive when it came to plot. Secret agent investigates an evil villain, he screws some chicks, gets into a fight with some goons using gadgets and finally saving the world from said evil villain. They’re all predictable but it’s amazing how each movie has its own charm. Today, I am going to show you something that has become quite repetitive in Nikkor-land but like the “007” movies each version has its own unique quirks so it’s a lot of fun collecting them. Read the article to find out what this lens is.

Introduction:

The New-Nikkor 135mm f/3.5 was sold from 1975 to 1977, quite short if you ask me. It’s merely an update of the Nikkor-Q.C 135mm f/3.5 Auto, the optics are similar, if not identical. The barrel is totally-different so it handle much better in some areas. This was in-line with what Nikon was doing with their “legacy” Nikkors in the 1970s, they would update the lenses with a new look and sometimes even new optics and market them as “New-Nikkors“. You are right to say that New-Nikkors are some of the best-built Nikkors made, these are tough and the build quality remained until the Ai-series.

It feels dense when held, the wide focusing ring is easy-to-hold and you can turn it precisely. The focus-throw is a bit long which is typical of this family of lenses. This one doesn’t have the factory Ai-ring installed, you should not use it with modern Nikons that have an Ai-coupling tab that can’t be lifted-up or you’ll damage the camera.

More

Repair: Nikkor-Q 13.5cm f/3.5 Auto (Tick-Mark)

Hello, everybody! I saw a Cadillac a few days ago, something that I have not seen for decades. When I was young, the streets were filled with heavy-duty cars like Lincolns, Buicks and other models that people call “rolling coffins” today. They were built to last, slam a door and listen to how nice it sounds. I remember the sound of their engines but I don’t miss the smoke they made. For me, vintage equipment means a lot of things, not only are they tougher, they evoke a certain emotion that you’ll never get from recent products. It’s a shame how planned-obsolescence changed all that. Today, I will show you a lens that will give you a similar feeling when you hold one, it’s something that will bring you back to those times when things were made to be abused until they fall-apart. Read this article to find out what this is.

Introduction:

The Nikkor-Q 13.5cm f/3.5 Auto was sold from 1959 until 1960 so the Nikon F will have several lenses for a kit. These earliest F-mount Nikkors were made with different standards, higher than what was usual for Nikkors. All of the lenses in this series have 9-bladed irises, engraved lines (tick-marks) on the numbers, a red “R” on the depth-of-field scale, hidden screws, a satin-finish and better fit. The internal differences are harder to document since you’re not going to see them unless you get to service them. The workmanship of the internal parts are excellent, similar to what you’ll find from the vintage rangefinder line of Nikkors. These were sold for only a short time and they were given the unofficial nickname of “Tick-Mark Nikkors” by collectors for obvious reasons. There are 4 lenses that belong to this, the Nikkor-S 5cm f/2 Auto, Nikkor-S 3.5cm f/2.8 Auto, Nikkor-P 10.5cm f/2.5 Auto and this one. The other ones were never sold so we only have these 4.

The special hood is expensive but I got these for $10.00, lens and all. Visible here are the beautiful engravings. Later versions don’t have this. You won’t see any visible screws on the sleeve, too. Those are hidden so the lens looks clean. This level of workmanship will never be seen again in this lens class.

More

Repair: AF Zoom-Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8 ED

Hello, everybody! I’m enjoying a few days of vacation before I start on my new job. The pay is less than what I’m getting at my former post but I hope that things are a lot better this time around. I’m not averse to dialing-down anything, money, skill, expectations, whatever. I’m flexible enough to know and understand my situation in order to adapt and succeed. Being stubborn won’t help anyone at all and will only lead to a disaster and whining. I’m in the mood these days to “dial-down” on my photography equipment and I’ll show you something that many people today will consider to be inadequate but it’s still able to give you satisfactory results so long as you know how to compromise and work within its constraints.

Introduction:

The AF Zoom-Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8 ED was made from 1987 to 1992, this is the first autofocus version of the 80-200/2.8 class of lenses. This was a big hit when it came out, Nikon shooters were able to get to autofocus with this on their then-state-of-the-art Nikon F4. Unlike the older 80-200/f4 versions, this gave a bright f/2.8 maximum aperture for that shallow depth-of-field that is a trademark of this lens family. Its performance is top-notch, too. Even with today’s standards it’s still a capable lens. People who shot news, sports and portraiture now have a formidable option, if they could afford this since it wasn’t cheap. If the older Zoom-Nikkor 80-200mm f/4 Ai-S costs the same as a cheap Japanese sedan in 1986 then this will certainly cost a lot more.

It’s a handsome lens, its form gave you an impression that it’s made for use by professionals. This is one of the first Nikkors with the crinkle-type finish, something that many people love. It’s dense and it would’ve been better if it has a tripod collar like the AF Zoom-Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8D ED (N). This is challenging to hand-hold at times but its weight means that your setup will be more stable. It’s not well-balanced if mounted on a tripod with a camera since all of its weight is supported by the lens mount which isn’t good. I do not think it was made for that, a hint is the large, push-pull zoom/focusing barrel which is a big clue that the designers envisioned it to be used mostly hand-held. You are going to need aftermarket options if you want a tripod collar for this.

More

Repair: Zoom-Nikkor 100-300mm f/5.6 Ai-S

Hello, everybody! It is beginning to get cold here and it’s now time to shoot pictures of migratory birds. Birding has never been my thing because of its high-cost in terms of equipment, it’s very demanding to your body and also to your pocket. A professional-grade camera is required along with a heavy, long and fast lens with the best autofocus performance. These are above my paygrade. However, you could still enjoy shooting photos of birds even with a budget if you can live without autofocus and a fast maximum aperture for your lens. There are many options out there today and I’m going to show an interesting alternative to you, read this article to know what this is.

Introduction:

The Zoom-Nikkor 100-300mm f/5.6 Ai-S was sold from 1984 t0 1998, it has an unusually-long production span for a Zoom-Nikkor of the period since a lot of its contemporaries were soon replaced with autofocus versions. This did not get any upgrades or successors, it remains to be the only lens of its class as far as Nikkors are concerned. It was highly-regarded by a lot of people in its day and I’ve even heard of people using this during the digital age when lenses with advanced features are the norm and I’m referring to the period between the late 1990s to the mid-2000s.

Handling is kind of awkward, it’s long, heavy and the focus-throw is rather long. It’s difficult to turn the aperture ring and manipulate the focusing and zoom barrel at the same time with one hand since the distance between the barrel and the aperture ring is quite a far. It doesn’t balance well with most Nikons, even ones with a hug body, the setup always feels front-heavy. Your mileage may vary.

More

Repair: Zoom-Nikkor 80-200mm f/4.5 Ai (New)

Hello, everybody! I went to buy some burgers at McDonald’s, it was early so they sold me McMuffins instead. I liked their burgers because they’re cheap, I didn’t have the urge to try anything else since the regular $2.00 burger is a satisfying enough meal for me. Reluctantly, I tried the McMuffin and to my surprise, it tasted quite nice. I’ll admit that it’s better than a regular burger, I have been living without tasting this for decades! How could something so delicious be taken to another level? Today, I’m going to show you a lens that underwent an upgrade. Many thought that it’s an already excellent lens but Nikon took it to the next level. Read this article to find out what this it.

Introduction:

The Zoom-Nikkor 80-200mm f/4.5 Ai N (for New) appeared in 1977 and was made until 1981. It is called “New” since there’s another lens with the same name so it helps differentiate it. It’s hard to identify all of the versions, this lens has undergone so many revisions that it is difficult to memorize these small variations from the outside. It’s easy to identify this version, though. I just look at the rear and if it has a rectangular baffle then it’s the last model and the best version in terms of optical quality.

It feels great in your hands, really well-built and dense. It is a professional’s lens in its day, something that journalists and sports photographers have in their bags always. It’s also great for portraiture and other things. This was a premium lens and with a premium price to go along with it. These are very cheap these days, I could easily get one from $10.00 to $20.00 depending on the condition. Nobody wants these today except for you and me.

More

Review: Nikkor Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S

Hello, everybody! There has been a lot of excitement lately regarding Nikon and its announcement of the Nikkor Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S and the phenomenal NIKKOR Z 50mm f/1.2 S, the fastest autofocus Nikkor ever. I went to Nikon’s Shinjuku location to get some first impressions of the NIKKOR Z 50mm f/1.2 S but I couldn’t since the only one available was on-display and it’s tied to a security device, I was told to visit again next week. However, I could get my hands on the Nikkor Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S instead since there’s 2 of them in the building, one for display and preproduction model in case somebody wants to test it out for fun, I was more than happy to oblige.

Introduction:

The Nikkor Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S is a worthy (Z-mount) equivalent to the much-beloved AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm F2.8G ED. The latter is a gold-standard lens, it’s considered to be one of the best ultrawide lenses ever made but the new Z-mount has yet to have its own version so Nikon answered our prayers and now we have this. Expectations were quite high, the new Z-mount promised a lot. Landscape photographers are some of the most-demanding people on the hobby, I should know because I used to be one. I was lucky to play with it despite not being able to take it out of Nikon’s Shinjuku office, it has a tag around it that would trigger an alarm if I took it out.

It’s surprisingly light, the AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm F2.8G ED feels more dense. This is because it has smaller elements, the front one is noticeably smaller. I was amazed at how they managed to make an ultrawide lens with all these features without making the front element bulbous. The smaller front glass alone is enough to make it a lot lighter. I was hoping that it would have the tripod foot somewhere but it does not look like it will need one. It would be nice to have it just-in-case, adding accessories to the front makes the setup even more front-heavy.

More

Repair: Nikon 70-210mm f/4 Series-E

Hello, everybody! In recent years, youngsters have discovered “City-Pop”, It is an obscure genre of music from 1980s Japan and its revival owes much to Takeuchi Mariya and her song “Plastic Love” which has been everywhere in the internet. It’s nice that young people are finding value in what we had in our younger days. They could learn a lot from the experience and take a lot of inspiration from what the songs of yesteryears. Speaking of “Plastic Love” and the 1980s, I will show you something made of plastic that you will love. It was made in the 1980s and proving quite popular with many new young photographers these days the last time I checked several years ago. What is this lens? Stay with me and find out more about it.

Introduction:

The Nikon 70-210mm f/4 Series-E was sold from 1981-1985 to compliment its other siblings in the Series-E line which were made to be sold with the little Nikon EM. This line of lenses were made with budget and weight in mind so they could be sold to those who were just starting in the craft, students and women. The latter statement is controversial today but 4 decades ago it was not considered to be something that was done in bad taste. Nikons and their lenses had the reputation of being durable, heavy, precise, expensive and a bit unfriendly for beginners since they were made for professionals. People who wanted a fun, simple system had to look elsewhere so Nikon made this big decision to “dumb-down” their products for the masses. These lenses do not even carry the tradename “Nikkor” for that exact reason. This lens is an oddity since all Series-E lenses were made to be compact but this one is just as big as its Nikkor counterparts, I guess there’s not much you could do if it’s physics that’s involved.

Despite its cheap origins it’s a good fit with Nikon’s flagship cameras. This is a long lens but it balances quite well with most cameras, even ones that are bigger. Smaller cameras like the Nikon EM that it was made to partner with may feel awkward with it unless you use it with its special motor-drive just to prevent the setup from being too front-heavy.

More

Previous Older Entries