Great Classic Nikon Lenses

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by loves_guitar, Apr 4, 2007.

  1. loves_guitar

    loves_guitar TPF Noob!

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    One of the big deal busters for me to go with Nikon is the fact that I can buy a lens that was made 30 years ago and put it onto my d70s body and use it.

    So my question to the masses is what are some great, classic lenses that I could get at great prices?
     
  2. jwkwd

    jwkwd TPF Noob!

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    I don't know about great prices, but I would not mind having a 50mm 1.2, or perhaps a 135mm 2.8. There is the 35mm 2.8 and 28mm 2.8 also. Hmm...It seems that 2.8 is the magic number for classics
     
  3. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    The 35-70 f/2.8 is easily one of the best older lenses that you can get. I have one and It could be my sharpest lens, Film grain and sensors don't have enough resolution to be able to get to the point where you can tell where it's the sharpest with those two lenses.

    The 35-70 f/2.8 is just as sharp (if not sharper) than the 28-70 f/2.8 and it's only about $500
     
  4. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    One thing to consider is whether any lens you buy will be supported by other bodies you may wish to use. Lenses without internal AF will not AF on the D40 or D40x; presumably Nikon will continue to include AF motors on all but entry-level models such as these in future but I don't know. Also there's metering with manual focus lenses; as I understand it you will not be able to meter with old manual focus lenses on a D40 or a D80, while a D200 or upwards will allow it. Obviously if these old lenses work on your D70 then that's good, but bear in mind their functionality may be limited if you replace it with a newer 'entry-level' or mid-range dSLR. Just something to think about before investing.
     
  5. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I don't know about prices either but here are some of the lenses that old time Nikon shooters consider the best of the best:

    15mm f2.8, 17mm f2.8ED, 24mm f2.8, Either of the classic PC Nikkors, 55mm f2.8 Micro, 85mm in either maximum aperture, 105mm f2.5, 180 mm f2.8ED, 300mm f2.8ED, 600mm f4ED. The 35-70 f2.8 and 80-200 f2.8 would be the only zooms that would get into the best of the best category. Understand Nikon made a lot of great lenses. But a few of them as mentioned above are among those that excel beyond excellence.

    I can tell you that there are some other great ones as well but were perhaps less popular. The 200mm f4 and 135mm f2.8FC were pretty good for me as was the 20mm f3.5. I was also always impressed with the wonderful contrast produced by the 35mm f2.

    There are also some awful Nikkors. 43-86 zoom was probably the worst. The 24-50AF zoom wasn't too hot either. I owned both of these zooms at one time and can attest to that. The 28mm Nikkors except for the PC Nikkor are probably the worst 28's in the business. That's why Nikon shooters always used the 24 f2.8. Some expensive Nikkors, like the fast 28mm ED lens weren't so hot. The 50mm f1.2 needs to be stopped way down to get sharp. That's not why you buy a fast lens.

    If I were going to suggest the best of the best of the best, the 180mm f2.8 AF AD is probably the best medium telephoto lens ever designed. It is one of those rare perfect designs. Many would say the same thing about the inexpensive 105 f2.5 short telephoto. It had only 4 or 5 elements and never did anything wrong.
     
  6. loves_guitar

    loves_guitar TPF Noob!

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    Thanks everyone. This is exactly what I was looking for.

    Question: when loooking around for older lenses, I see the letters "AI" and "AI-S". What do these mean?

    Thanks.
     
  7. loves_guitar

    loves_guitar TPF Noob!

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    And where else could a guy shop for used lenses other than ebay?
     
  8. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    AI means auto indexing. You need to have it to work with your camera. A pre AI lens will damage your mount. AI-S is an AI lens with a silent wave motor.
     
  9. panocho

    panocho TPF Noob!

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    don't forget the E series. they were created as Nikon's cheap option, along with the EM, a small camera that you always have to shoot in aperture priority, since it doesn't let you select the shutter speed.... but we were talking about lenses, weren't we... ?

    so, the E series: great quality for no money. i'm sure that many of these E series are far better than some newer AF lenses that cost a lot more. i like them very much. will never forget the stupid thing i made selling the 50mm i had, just because i had a 50mm AF! :x that tiny thing was so nice!

    you just can't beat the relation price/quality of the E series!
     
  10. loves_guitar

    loves_guitar TPF Noob!

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    Any suggestions on where to buy used lenses (other than ebay)?
     
  11. panocho

    panocho TPF Noob!

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  12. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    I would think some Nikon-specific forums will have a Buy & Sell area as we do here. Obviously there is some element of risk but this is fairly low when you get to know the forum and the people.
     

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