Repair: Zoom-Nikkor 25-50mm f/4 Ai-S

Hello, everybody! Do you know “Ta-chan” (ターちゃん)? It is an old 1980s parody of Tarzan which was published in a weekly magazine for young adults. It’s toilet humor made it influential, breaking the barrier of what was considered acceptable back then. Many people consider it to be a real classic because of its shock-factor but younger people do not know about this masterpiece. It has now been relegated into a small corner as part of Japan’s subculture due to its scandalous nature. Many of us still remember it with fondness and we would like to share the blessing of reading “Ta-chan” to today’s youth. Today, I’ll share something that used to be popular back then but somehow became obscure due to the changing times. I believe that it’s still a relevant product today so long as you’re aware of its limitations. Read this article to find out what this is.

Introduction:

The Zoom-Nikkor 25-50mm f/4 Ai-S was sold from 1981 to 1985, a minor to the older Zoom-Nikkor 25-50mm f/4 Ai which in-turn replaced the Zoom-Nikkor 28-45mm f/4.5 Ai, an upgrade of the Zoom-Nikkor 28-45mm f/4.5K, Nikon’s first true wide-angle zoom. It retained a fixed maximum-aperture, a convenient feature that signifies that it’s made for professionals. It’s a beloved lens, many people consider this to be an excellent performer in its day. In fact, you can find people using these well into the 2000s because it’s really that good. Many people forgot about this since there are many excellent options these days that could go wider and faster.

The build quality is rather good and it’s more like an Ai lens in this regard. It’s heavy but well-balanced when held, giving you the impression of a professional’s tool. It could survive a lot of punishment and was built to last like an old Mercedes-Benz 123. It has separate rings for focusing and zooming which is unusual for a lens of this vintage. I assume that this was originally made for use with a tripod for landscape photography so the 2-ring setup will be better since zoom-creep won’t be a problem. The old “pumper-zoom” style is better-suited for action photography where it’s more important to operate your lens quick using just a single hand. It doesn’t have a depth-of-field scale which is a shame. The red numbers you see here are for infrared photography.

More

Repair: “alleged” Ai AF Zoom Nikkor ED 28-80mm f/2.8D (IF)

Hello, everybody! Do you believe in conspiracy theories? I don’t believe them myself since most of what’s being circulated are just nonsense. Conspiracy theories such as “Paul is dead” and “Elvis is still alive” are impossible to believe, Bigfoot is stretching it out too far. The Saddam Hussein sightings are justifiable before his demise since he was really a fugitive. I tend to be interested in the latter and things of the same nature because the probability of them being true is quite high. Of course, we are never short of these in the camera business. Today, I will show you once such thing and for all we know, it was real after all. That is if this is indeed the real thing. Read this article to find out what this phantom lens is. Is this real or an elaborate fake? Only you could decide, and like what the late great Jack Palance always said, “Believe it or not“.

Introduction:

The mythical Ai AF Zoom Nikkor ED 28-80mm f/2.8D (IF) was never produced. It was only seen once a few decades ago and was lost in collective memory until recently. Only 2 examples are known to exist and one of them arrived to me for servicing. I do not know much about this lens and I even made the name up but here it is, this thing is real. From what I know, it was supposed to be the replacement for the aging AF Zoom-Nikkor 35-70mm f/2.8D which was officially replaced by the Ai AF-S Zoom Nikkor ED 28-70mm f/2.8D (IF) around 12 after the former’s debut. That is a long time for lenses from this class which usually see replacements after 5 or 6 years. So what happened during that long period? Well, this thing happened but it wasn’t produced. We do not know if it was due to the then-upcoming release of the Ai AF-S Zoom Nikkor ED 28-70mm f/2.8D (IF) or the management thought that this is not a “finished” product. Nobody knows but one thing I know is that it only gave Canon another bite at the marker because there was nothing Nikon had at the time to challenge the Canon EF28-70mm f/2.8L USM which was the best of its class.

It’s a rather long lens, approaching the size of the AF Zoom-Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8 ED. This is because it’s front barrel is rigid. It’s a tough lens because of that unlike the Ai AF-S Zoom Nikkor ED 28-70mm f/2.8D (IF) which is more compact but its front barrel is not rigid and moves in-and-out when you zoom. It retains the fragile plastic A/M switch. The other details are standard for its time such as the crinkle-finish and the distance-scale window. It handles wonderfully as expected and the rings are easy to identify with your fingers.

DISCLAIMER:
There’s no official word on this lens’ existence. In fact, there’s no information about this at all. Just treat this article as a conspiracy theory or anything along that line. I will merely document this according to my experience using it and what I assume it to be. It’s not a real Nikkor unless Nikon says so, that’s why I added the word “alleged” to the title.

More

Repair: Fisheye-Nikkor 16mm f/3.5 Auto

Hello, everybody! I recently saw a DeLorean while walking down the street. It’s the stock, non-modified one but it turned a lot of heads, specially if one is a fan of the movie that made it famous. It’s a very rare car, I don’t imagine the owner driving it regularly. Maybe for picking-up chicks at some sci-fi convention is a good use for it, I suppose. Of course, the owner should bring it out at times to exercise it or the car will develop troubles from not being used. I don’t own a DeLorean but there’s something that I own that I rarely use. It’s not expensive or rare, it’s just that I don’t have a lot of practical use for it. Like the DeLorean, it’s also unusual in the sense that no modern Nikkor has the same feature that was incorporated in it and its immediate successors. Stay and read the whole article to know what this is.

Introduction:

The Fisheye-Nikkor 16mm f/3.5 Auto was sold from 1973 up to 1976 where it was updated as the Fisheye-Nikkor 16mm f/3.5 <N> and later as the Fisheye-Nikkor 16mm f/3.5 Ai which was sold until 1979. Before it, all Fisheye-Nikkors were of the circular-type. It means that the resulting projection is a circular-image instead of something that stretches across the whole film aperture. This is limiting in terms of creative use so I suspect that they were initially made for the scientific community. Most of the earlier ones do not allow you to view through-the-lens because they require the mirror to be locked in the up-position. It’s the first practical model in the whole Fisheye-Nikkor family and it allowed many photographers to experiment with it as a creative tool.

This is a very beautiful lens. Its build quality is amazing, something that you don’t see much these days. It’s heavy despite being an odd-shaped and compact lens. Handling is standard and the focus-throw isn’t that short since you could focus really-close with this up to about less than a foot or so. At that distance you could be easily-fooled since your subject appears tiny in the viewfinder but it is actually really close to the tip of the lens. Keep this in mind to prevent any accidents.

More

Repair: Nikkor 24mm f/2 Ai-S

Hello, everybody! It’s still early but it’s already dark outside. This is normal for this time of the year as the Sun sets earlier than it usually does. This means that there’s less time for me to take nice photos in daylight but it won’t prevent me from shooting at the dark since night-time urban photography is something that I am known for, at least I imagine myself to be famous for that. You’ll need fast lenses in order to shoot at lowlight, many of which aren’t cheap, specially if you’re talking about wider lenses. Today, I’ll show you one such lens that has fascinated me and it’s my pleasure to present to you one of Nikon’s more useful lens for shooting in the dark. Read this article to find out what this lens is.

Introduction:

The Nikkor 24mm f/2 Ai-S was sold from 1981 to 2005, quite a long time for a Nikkor. It succeeded the older Nikkor 24mm f/2 Ai, an amazing lens that began this class of lenses and it was sold from 1977 to 1981 where it was replaced by this lens. There was an initiative to upgrade or replace every Nikkor around that time to the then-new Ai-S standard, that’s the reason this lens came to be. It’s a great lens and it offered something that proved to be quite useful, a fast maximum-aperture which is uncommon for lenses in this category. This lens class allowed new creative expressions and a way to shoot with faster-speeds in lowlight situations. It was an amazing lens but it came at a cost and that’s the reason why not many people owned one, preferring the cheaper but slower ones instead.

It has a compact barrel with a wide front element which still accepts 52mm filters. The focus-throw is rather short which is typical of many wide-angle Nikkors of its time. It’s well-built but the older Nikkor 24mm f/2 Ai is a lot tougher. The Nikon Df works great with it, both are compact so they match each other perfectly.

More

Shopping: Ameyoko Camera (Ueno)

I consider this shop to be a hidden gem, it’s difficult to find and the only way I knew about this is from a friend. Despite being just a small shop it’s well-stocked and the inventory is better than most shops that I know of. I occasionally find interesting items here, parts, junks and items that are priced reasonably. The owner is friendly and knowledgeable, he seems to know how to repair, too. I always have interesting conversations with him when it’s not busy. The only reason I don’t go there often is it’s situated at the other side of the city, quite far from where I live.

This is what the shopfront looks like, it’s situated at the 3rd floor of an old arcade, by the stairs. From the outside you can see that it has a lot of things inside, some of which aren’t found in other shops. This is not your average used-camera shop, it’s a place for a camera-geek to get their next purchase, big-or-small.

More

Repair: Nikkor 200mm f/4 Ai-S

Hello, everybody! It’s really cold now as it’s the middle of winter, not a good season for birding if you ask some people but this is a good chance for me to take photos at the marsh because all plants are dead, leaving any wading birds exposed. This makes it easier for me to discover and shoot them, I won’t have to worry about anything obstructing my view. I could also get closer, too. Birding is not my thing so I don’t buy equipment exclusively for it but there’s a lens that I am fond of for this purpose. Today, I’ll show you a cheap lens that you can use for birding so you can try it for yourself and see if shooting birds is going to be exciting for you.

Introduction:

The Nikkor 200mm f/4 Ai-S was sold from 1981-1996, quite a long time for a lens from this class. This is the last of its class, it became redundant as zooms began to perform as good if not better than some prime lenses. This was one of the favorites of many travel photographers because it’s light and compact. Its optical performance is also quite good, making it an appealing substitute for bigger Nikkors. While it’s simply a refresh of the older Nikkor 200mm f/4 Ai with a new barrel and internal mechanisms the optics remained the same as far as I am aware.

It’s really well-made but not as tough as the older Nikkor 200mm f/4 Ai. Despite that, it’s able to withstand use by an amateur or professional in the field. The focus-throw is rather long which is expected from a telephoto lens but I would prefer that it’s a bit shorter. It’s not bad at all and it’s not a handicap. It has a built-in shade which is convenient so you will not worry about buying a separate accessory for it.

More

Repair: AF Zoom-Nikkor 75-300mm f/4.5-5.6

Hello, everybody! I’ve been watching some music videos and movies from the 1990s. I consider this era to be a “transition” era from “analog” to digital. Standards were not that well-defined yet, many things were in a state of flux until the mid-2000s where things began to take-shape. Many concepts from that era don’t appeal much to some people because they’re not “vintage” enough to be novelties or be tolerated for their flaws because the standards are too-close to what we consider to be the status-quo these days. They’re awkward but they play a huge role in forming many concepts that we have today so I think they require more recognition. Today, I will show you something from this era, it’s a bridge from the past that links us to the present. Many people do not give it the respect it deserves but without it we wouldn’t be enjoying some of the established lenses that we’re enjoying today. Read this article to learn more about the “Spice Girls” of Nikkors.

Introduction:

The AF Zoom-Nikkor 75-300mm f/4.5-5.6 was sold from 1989 to 1998. It was made to satisfy the need for a long 4x zoom that’s portable. It surely was until its successors were introduced which were all a lot smaller, lighter and made of plastic. To its credit, it replaced the Zoom-Nikkor 100-300mm f/5.6 Ai-S which was even heavier. It is also brighter and wider at the wide-end but it doesn’t have a fixed-aperture. That allowed it to be made with a more compact body which people were more than happy to compromise with. It proved to be quite popular thanks to its versatility, that “macro-gimmick” also allowed you to focus nearer, about 1.5 meters which is not that bad for a lens of this type back then. With it, you could shoot sports, journalism, fashion or anything else without the need to bring several lenses in your bag. It’s more about convenience, than image quality.

It’s a long lens so it comes with a tripod collar which helps keep your setup stable. You simply loosen the knob and adjust your setups orientation. It won’t click into-place at right-angles unlike some older lenses. The build quality is quite good, it’s mostly made out of metal, hinting that it was aimed at the professional market. It has a broad zoom-barrel which feels comfortable to use. The focusing ring isn’t as broad but it’s adequate. Using it manually doesn’t feel good at all, it turns lightly without much resistance or damping unlike manual lenses.

More

Repair: AF Zoom-Nikkor 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6D IF

Hello, everybody! Are you someone who demands the latest or the greatest in order to create something good or are you someone who could just go-by with what you have and make the most out of it and just bear with it despite the challenge? I fall into the latter, I am not demanding as a person so I’ll do what I could with what’s available to me at any time. The results won’t be my best but at least I ended up with something. There will be times when we just have to deal with things no matter how inadequate they are so long as it’s not impossible. Today, I’ll show you a decent lens that’s inadequate for professional use but it’s not unusable to the point that it couldn’t take decent photos. In desperate times, I would take this lens out and take some nice photos with it.

Introduction:

The AF Zoom-Nikkor 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6D IF was sold from 1998 to 2003. This lens is all about compromises, it could do a lot of things at the expense of some drop in image quality. It offers an amazing 7x zoom-ratio which is convenient for a lot of things specially when traveling so long as you have enough light to work with. It was a hit and many people bought it for its versatility, even professionals bought these.

The barrel is wide, it’s a bit heavy when held, too. The focusing-ring is slim and inadequate for manual-use, its really short focus-throw makes it even worse. Despite having a bogus “macro-gimmick” it won’t focus close at all. The zoom-ring is broad and easy to identify, this just shows that the designers envisioned it to be used like this wherein people will zoom with it more than use the focusing ring. The aperture ring is standard but since it’s a lot smaller than the focusing ring you could easily turn it by accident with your little finger. There’s not a lot of space for a grip so it’s a bit awkward to mount-and-dismount. There’s a tiny lock for the aperture ring at the throat so you won’t accidentally turn it, giving you an “FEE” error when used on many newer cameras.

More

Repair: AF Zoom-Nikkor 24-50mm f/3.3-4.5

Hello, everybody! I was listening to Modern Talking, their hits have catchy melodies that will leave earworms in your head for days. People will laugh at you when they catch you listening to them these days but the duo used to be very popular back then. I personally don’t mind what people think about my music choices, this is rather personal and we should listen to what we want wherever we want. Your choices shouldn’t be dictated by anyone and that includes what lens you choose to shoot with. Today, I will show you a lens that used to be quite popular back then but is now considered “unfashionable”. It’s not the best lens out there but people who know how to shoot with it will be able to enjoy using this and have a great time. You show the snobs what you could do.

Introduction:

The AF Zoom-Nikkor 24-50mm f/3.3-4.5 was sold from 1987 to 1995, it’s sort of the successor to the older Zoom-Nikkor 25-50mm f/4 Ai-S which was designed as a professional lens as evident by its fixed maximum aperture. It came out at a time when Nikon was making a huge move towards autofocus lenses to complement the then-new Nikon F4. Unlike the Zoom-Nikkor 25-50mm f/4 Ai-S it’s more compact and light so that compensated what I consider to be its biggest shortcoming, having a variable-aperture.

It’s well-built, typical of many Nikkors of its time. Despite not being all-metal like the classic Nikkors it’s quite dense when you hold it. The front and outer barrels are plastic but the chassis appears to be made from metal so it could take some form of abuse. Unlike many of the earlier autofocus Nikkors it has a decent build and the focusing ring isn’t flimsy at all.

More

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

Previous Older Entries Next Newer Entries