January 22, 2009
The Nikon 35-70mm f/3.5 AI dates back to the late 70's, early 80's and was made in somewhat low quantities (about 50.000 units were made) It's a pro grade normal zoom with a constant f/3.5 aperture. Do note that the lens reviewed here has a 72mm filter size. I mention this as a lot of people confuse this lens with the 62mm filter tread, that has a different construction. As usual with old manual focus Nikkor lenses the build quality of the lens is outstanding. The 35-70 focal length is considered a normal zoom range (on a full frame camera), covering medium wide angle to medium telephoto. As usually the lens will be tested on the Nikon D3 for normal shooting and the Nikon D2H for infrared performance.
||10 elements in 9 groups
||62° - 34°20 (35mm/FX)
|Minimum focus distance:
||Front lens cap
Rear lens cap LF-1
75mm x 92.5mm
||7 straight blades
- Performance. Just stunning performance, both on normal shooting as well as on infrared shooting
- Infrared marking, good thing as this lens has a huge focus shift at 35mm.
- Build Quality, typical excellent Nikon MF quality.
- No DOF(Depth Of Field) markings.
- To me 35mm is not wide enough, but the performance is outstanding in the whole range.
- Rotating front, can be annoying if you use Pola or Grad filters.
- Close focusing is 1m 7 3.5 ft.
- Lens flare, this lens is very prone to flare. Use the lenshood at all times to get the most out of the lens, and try to stay away from filters unless it' a must.
The Zoom-Nikkor 35-70mm f/3.5 AI is an amazing piece of optics. Wide open it outperforms the AF 35-70mm f/2.8D with ease. To top it all of the IR performance is excellent as well. The sweet spot of the lens is f/4 to f/11. Diffraction starts kicking in about f/16 on the D3. The lens is more then useful at f/22 if you add a bit of sharpening to the images. If you like manual focus lenses I highly recommend trying out the Nikon 35-70 f3.5 AI
Purchasing items through these links helps me adding more content to this website. The links on the prices takes you to B&H's website, which is my recommended store to get equipment from. I've used B&H personally since 2005, and I get all my equipment from them these days(including the lenses used for these reviews). Thanks for your support, Fredrik.
Nikon AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8G IF-ED From: $1,649.95 USD
Nikon AF 24-85mm f/2.8-4.0D IF From: $659.95 USD
Nikon AF-S 24-120mm f/3.5-5.6G ED-IF VR From: $509.95 USD
Sigma AF 24-70mm f/2.8 EX DG Price: $569.00 USD
Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 XR Di LD Price: $459.00 USD
*Prices are subject to change. Listed price is from May 8, 2010
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