Repair: Nikon L35AF/AD

Hello, everybody! I am actually amazed by how many youngsters are into film photography these days. It is a good thing because it keeps the industry alive and the appreciation for older equipment ensures that the little mom-and-pop shops selling used cameras stay open. The side-effect to this is prices of used gear is on the rise, even cameras that used to be less-desirable now cost more than they should. I am not against this, in fact, it’s a sign of a healthy market. Today, I’ll introduce to you something that represents this social phenomenon, it was something that people forgot but kids these days remind us of what used to be precious and how photography is supposed to be enjoyed.

Introduction:

The Nikon L35AF/AD was sold from 1983 to about a few years after that since newer, improved models were introduced frequently to keep the market interested. It’s a handsome camera, the body shell was designed by no other than Giorgetto Giugiaro himself so it incorporated some of his design philosophies that you could see in a Nikon F3. Going back to its conception, this was made in order to give Nikon something to sell in this part of the market. Other manufacturers made early-advances with their all-automatic cameras and Nikon had to join the race in order to show them who was the boss back then. This resulted in this camera which is a good, reliable design and it performs consistently as you would expect from a Nikon. The designers were so proud of it that Nikon nicknamed this the “pikaichi” or “number-one”. It’s an impressive camera considering that it’s Nikon’s first fully-automatic compact camera.

It’s sturdy, certainly well-made compared to other cheaper compacts of its time made by other companies. Its plastic chassis is tough and the back is made from metal. The flash pops-up when the shutter-speed is too-low but you could trick it by covering the meter’s window and depress the shutter-button. You can also shoot with it in lowlight without the flash by depressing it so it won’t pop-up but the results won’t be as good because you are overriding what the camera thinks will give an optimal exposure. The flash’s GN is unknown but the user manual said that the flash is only able to give accurate exposures up to 4m at most. It’s also coupled to the iris module, ensuring accurate exposure within the 4m-range.

More

Repair: AF Zoom-Nikkor 28-80mm f/3.3-5.6G

Hello, everybody! My kid usually gets toys together with her “kiddie meal”, it’s a good tactic on the part of the restaurant because it keeps children occupied while eating or at least they could look-forward to something if they finished their food. These toys used to be made with better quality as opposed to how they are these days but they’re still quite nice considering how little they cost. It’s difficult enough to make a good product and sell them at a decent price but it’s even tougher to produce something that’s good at a much lower price. Today, I’ll show you something good that’s cheap, too. It will satisfy even the demanding photographer when you factor-in its price. A great value in today’s economy.

Introduction:

The AF Zoom-Nikkor 28-80mm f/3.3-5.6G was sold from 2001 to 2005. It’s considered to be the first real kit-lens in the true sense of the word. There were many cheapo lenses that were made before this but the kit-lens idea hadn’t been clearly defined yet, this lens defined the standard which every manufacturer follow to this day. It gave us a concrete idea of how these lenses should be – specs, price and expectations. It should have a decent-enough performance, acceptable build quality, practical specs for general photography and most important of all, a low price. These were not meant to be used by professionals but they were so good that many people use them for a living even today specially in less-developed economies.

This is the first G kit-lens as far as I know. Its compact dimensions and light-weight makes it ideal for travel or hiking but not so much for the latter since its mostly made of plastic, even the lens mount is plastic, too. It will survive heavy use but it may not endure the professional use in the field. A hard knock may split the lens into pieces as you’ll soon see why.

More

Repair: AF Zoom-Nikkor 35-80mm f/4-5.6D (N)

Hello, everybody! Recent events tells us that Nikon won’t be making cameras in Japan anymore, all cameras will now be made from the Thailand plant due to cost-cutting decisions made several years earlier. While it’s a big blow to Nikon’s prestige I don’t think it’s much of an issue since we’ve been using Nikons from the Thai plant for some time now and we’re shooting lenses that were made there for an even longer time. The earlier days of Nikon Thailand are now distant, they have now grown and acquired the precious know-how to create high-quality products. The growing-pains of setting-up an offshore company has all been ironed-out by now. I will show you something in this article that was made in the early days of the Thai plant, it harked back to the days when it was only relegated to manufacturing cheaper, bottom-shelf products but look at them now, they could now produce some of the best cameras on the planet! Let’s all support Nikon Thailand.

Introduction:

The AF Zoom-Nikkor 35-80mm f/4-5.6D (N) was sold from 1995 to 1999 and was made in Thailand. It replaced a similar-naming lens so it has the “N” suffix meaning it’s the “new” version. The older one was made in Japan, it has a different look which is more “premium”, that was made from 1994 until it was replaced by this one. A big reason for moving production to Thailand is to cut manufacturing costs and with it many of the products that were made there in the early days have a rather cheap feel to them. If you want to make it cheap why not go all-out? The Thai version has noticeably cheaper materials and methods used so people looked-down on it, so did I but I think I’ll have to look-back and correct my previous views of the early Thai Nikkors.

Handling is quite standard with all the conventional rings in their right places. The focusing ring is very thin, almost non-existent. Nobody was designing this to be focused manually it seems. The plastic body made this a light, compact but cheap-feeling lens. This is not the Nikkor that many people are used to, in fact, it feels quite cheap even compared to newer kit-lenses. The later ones also have plastic bayonet mounts so I replaced mine with a compatible one that I found in my spares box.

More

Repair: Nikkor-Q 13.5cm f/3.5 Auto

Hello, everybody! I was out shopping for some ginger. The market is flooded with Chinese ones and it’s hard to distinguish them from local produce but upon closer inspection you’ll find that their colors aren’t the same and putting one close to your nose will even make it easier to distinguish which one came from where. These imported ginger are less-fragrant and the color is a bit paler, they’re inferior but they serve a purpose that is why we see them at the grocers. They’re sold to the budget-conscious who won’t care about where their food came from and the subtleties in food quality. I’m not saying that Chinese ginger is bad, they’re just inferior to the local ones in every manner, that won’t fly with me but it’s good-enough for some people. Today, I’ll show you something similar, a watered-down version of a classic and it was done for the same reason, to cut cost.

Introduction:

The Nikkor-Q 13.5cm f/3.5 Auto featured in this article is the 6-bladed-iris version, an optimization of the older, more expensive 9-bladed-iris version that was sold from 1959 to 1960 with the rare Nikkor-Q 13.5cm f/3.5 Auto (tick-mark) as its most-prominent model. This one was sold from 1961 to 1969 with later ones named Nikkor-Q 135mm f/3.5 Auto which should not be confused with the identically-named Nikkor-Q 135mm f/3.5 Auto which is a different lens with a modified optical formula and a totally-new barrel. The earlier 9-bladed models were difficult and expensive to make due to the intricate design of the iris. Nikon decided to give this one a simpler iris mechanism in order to cut cost, that and a couple of minor internal revisions made this easier to create. It certainly made the accountants happy.

It’s a well-built lens. It feels dense when held, its all-metal construction ensures that it will survive field use in the worst conditions possible.

More

Repair: Zoom-Nikkor 35-70mm f/3.5 Ai

Hello, everybody! I was watching some videos of my favorite musicians when I was young and I was shocked to see them categorized as “oldies”. Some of them still sound great while a couple seemed “dated”. I consider them to be quite decent in their time but now they’re totally irrelevant, just a blip in the music scene. This is not to say that they’re bad if you put their music in the proper context, they did entertain us at a time when a lot of musicians simply made bad music. Today, I will show you something that used to be quite good at a time when many of its contemporaries simply couldn’t make the cut but it’s dated today, something that’s best left to the lens aficionado to appreciate. Read this article to know what this lens is.

Introduction:

The Zoom-Nikkor 35-70mm f/3.5 Ai was sold from 1977 to 1981. It’s one of Nikon’s original “standard-zooms”, it was revolutionary in a way since it covers some of the most important focal lengths used for photojournalism and events or travel photography. That allowed this to replace 2 or 3 lenses, a big convenience at a time when carrying several prime lenses was the norm. Its maximum aperture speed of f/3.5 is respectable but not as fast as most primes lenses, that’s a price many people were prepared to sacrifice for convenience. I suspect that it was made for use by professionals because it has a constant-aperture and other features that many of use will consider to be premium such as the amazing build quality and its well-corrected distortion profile.

Unlike many zooms of its time this one came with separate zoom and focusing rings. That means it’s better for shooting with a tripod since zoom-creep won’t be a problem. You could make precise turns with it, too. All this suggests that it was originally intended for shooting with a tripod instead of action photography. I was merely making an assumption with that statement.

More

Review: Nikkor 28mm f/2 Ai-S

Hello, everybody! I like Korean fried chicken, it tastes great and I won’t get tired of eating it all-day. It’s crispy and tastes better with the special sweet-and-spicy sauce. There are some things that you’ll never get tired of, I will show you something today that’s similar to Korean fried chicken, you could reheat it and it will taste just as good as the day you bought it but this one is something that you’ll never ever digest.

Introduction:

The Nikkor 28mm f/2 Ai-S was sold from 1981 to 2005, quite a long time compared to many Nikkors. This is an upgrade of the older Nikkor 28mm f/2 Ai wherein it gets a new barrel, later serial numbers have the then-new Nikon SIC coatings applied. It’s great to use, I know many people who love these but some people will always compare this with the cheaper and tinier Nikkor 28mm f/2.8 Ai-S and claim that the latter is better. Neither is, they’re different tools for different uses. If you want something that renders a scene with a delicate look, this is the one you need.

Its barrel is beautiful, the build quality is good and it will survive professional use in the field. It has a rather pathetic depth-of-field scale which I don’t like, it’s narrower compared to many wide-angle Nikkors. For those of you who are used to focusing with the scale, this may be a problem. The good news is your view is going to be a lot brighter because more light will reach the focusing screen.

More

Repair: Zoom-Nikkor ED 360-1200mm f/11 Ai-S

Hello, everybody! Do you remember the old British documentary called “The World at War“? Older people will remember that show with a smile. One of the things that fascinated me were the Panzers and the German gun called the 88mm Flugabwehrkanone. It’s a humongous gun that was originally designed for shooting planes. It has such tremendous firepower that it was also used as an antitank gun. It’s long, heavy, big and potent. I am not describing myself because I am anything but. Today, I will show you something that’s equally massive and like the 88mm Flugabwehrkanone and the Panzers it’s a formidable lens that commands respect each time you bring it to the field.

Introduction:

The Zoom-Nikkor ED 360-1200mm f/11 Ai-S was sold from 1982 to 1985. It’s an updated model of the legendary Zoom-Nikkor ED 360-1200mm f/11 Ai. At one point it was the longest zoom available anywhere, something that Nikon made to show the world that they could manufacture anything they wanted with what was available at that time.

It comes within its huge box. The Nikon SB-700 should give you an indication of how huge this thing is. Think about how heavy this is just by looking at the size of that tripod foot. You’ll require a caddy to help you bring this around the venue.

More

Review: AI AF-S Zoom Nikkor ED 28-70mm F2.8D (IF)

Hello, everybody! I was watching videos of hippos in the swamp. It’s amazing how powerful they are despite their appearances. They’re huge, fast and deadly. In fact, they cause more deaths each year compared to lions. They’re territorial and aggressive, too. It gave me a new-found respect for these beasts, it also reminded me of how we should respect beasts and how magnificent they are as creatures. Speaking of beasts, I will show you something that many photographers nicknamed “The Beast“. It’s fast, powerful and big, it commands respect even after more than 2 decades of its debut. Let’s get to know this “Beast” in today’s article.

Introduction:

The AI AF-S Zoom Nikkor ED 28-70mm F2.8D (IF) was sold from 1999 to 2007. Many manufacturers have lenses that offer similar specs at that time, even off-brand makers have them, too. Nikon had to respond to this but it took them a few years to get it right. There was a prototype of an early attempt to bridge-the-gap but it wasn’t sold for some reasons. Maybe Nikon was trying to perfect it? By the time it was ready, it surprised everybody due to its optical and mechanical quality, it was an amazing lens. Nikon gave everything they had in it and the result is a formidable lens but it has a flaw.

It’s a very handsome lens, something that I have always wanted for many years but I couldn’t afford one and I had the AF Zoom-Nikkor 35-70mm f/2.8D at that time. By the time I upgraded it I got the amazing AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED which was even more expensive but it’s a generation later. Finally, I got the chance to own one of these, 22 years after it was sold. It balances perfectly with my Nikon F100, this is period-correct.

More

Repair: Polishing Glass part 1

Hello, everybody! I’ll be showing you today a simple procedure that I do for polishing glass. This is the safest way that I know of, the other procedure that I rarely do is more aggressive and may change the curvature of the glass. This is not something that a beginner should attempt, this article is merely for your education and entertainment.

Since I am known for buying lenses that are in poor state to dismantle and document for this blog I regularly encounter lenses with damaged glass, some of them could be corrected to some extent while some of them are beyond restoration. For cases where there’s still hope, I’ll try and polish the affected parts.

This thing has seen better times. The fungus has etched the glass and left the acid scars from the mycelium. It is common for me to encounter this but this is not something that I should worry about.

More

Review: Nikkor Z 50mm f/1.2 S

There has been a lot of fanfare about the Nikkor Z 50mm f/1.2 S, it’s the most exciting Nikkor in recent months because it’s the first 50/1.2 Nikkor with autofocus. It’s expensive but not unrealistic and you could buy one of these without hurting your finances unlike the Nikkor Z 58mm f/0.95 S Noct. Today, I’ll show you some photos that I took with it and give you my opinions based on my observations. I was only allowed to use it within the perimeters of the Nikon office since it’s a preproduction model so my subjects won’t be interesting but at least it’s better than nothing.

Introduction:

The Nikkor Z 50mm f/1.2 S is a much-awaited lens. Nikon shooters have always envied Canon shooters because they have the Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM for a long time but it’s nothing compared to this one, far from it. The gap has been bridged recently thanks to the introduction of the Z-mount which offers lots of possibilities. This was announced since the launch of the Nikon Z series and people have been anticipating its release since. We now have the chance to play with it since it’s now in the market.

It’s a big lens but it’s not quite as heavy as I expected. In fact, it feels light in my hands or well-balanced to use a better description. Your hands won’t miss the broad focusing ring but the customizable ring near the throat is a bit thin for my taste. You could program it to suit your needs. The LED display panel is convenient, too.

More

Previous Older Entries