Sunday, March 3, 2013

Nikkor AF 35-70mm f/3.3-4.5

A very cheap, very basic, very modest autofocus (screw-type) lens, that often comes bundled with film cameras - but sometimes digital ones, too. It's so easy to find and so cheap to buy, that I got one myself just for reviewing purposes :)

+ a very cheap lens - I bought mine (used of course) for $25.
+ stopped down, it does the job decently.
+ small and light

- very modest focal length range...
- ...and definitely not wide enough for DX
- optical quality is nothing special, particularly wide open. Significant chromatic aberration and low contrast throughout the range

Closed down it's not bad, but not spectacular either

Wide-open, sharpness is OK in the center, but there is visible chromatic aberration

Intended Users
Great for:
  • bundling a camera with, to increase selling value
  • cheapest AF lens for full frame, probably
  • the center is quite good, so I suspect (although I admit I haven't tried it), that it would work reasonably well on a mirrorless (2x crop) camera - although remember, it'd be manual focus.

Not for:
  • a "proper" (i.e. main) midrange zoom lens for DX. Simply not wide enough.
  • for $20-30 more, the Nikkor AF 28-80mm is better.
  • apart from experimenting with it for a while, I don't see why someone would like to really use this lens for longer term.

Final Verdict
As cheap as they get. There might be a cheaper third-party AF lens out there, but I don't think there is a cheaper AF nikkor lens. Is it a lousy lens? No, I can't really say that. I think you get at least as much as you pay for - probably a bit more, too. But with so, so many options around, there are many other lenses that make more sense.

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