How to solve Nikon 35-70 f/2.8 veiling flare and more

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by alffastar, Jul 20, 2008.

  1. Hello Everybody,

    I own Nikon D300 for 2 months now. I have the new Nikon 16-85 and 2 days ago I bought used Nikon 35-70 f/2.8. I
    like the latter lens very much although a bit heavy. What I found out when comparing pictures done with my two
    lenses is that with the Nikon 35-70 images are 'washed out' when there is a light source behind the object or
    at its side. I found out this was called veiling flare. Is there any way I can reduce it - through a specific hood, filters
    with coatings etc.? Any specific advice would be helpful.

    One more thing. Nikon 35-70 rotates when it focuses. Now the part that rotates on my lens is a little loose and it
    slightly clatters. Should I be concerned about this? Does this have an effect on the images? How can this be

    Thank you!
  2. sounds like you have a worn lens. Do you have a lens hood at all?
  3. I use it with its original hood 'HB-1' all the time.
  4. I think you're experiencing the result of an aging mediocre lens. I had to replace a lot of older lenses with newer, better designed lenses.
  5. There is nothing "mediocre" about the 35-70 f/2.8D. Optically, it rivals many of Nikon's prime lenses. Like all lenses, it does have its limitations - one is that it tends to produce lens flare with strongly back lighted subjects (the other is the front element rotates as it focuses which can be a problem with polarizing filers and split density filters).

    Vesselin, I also like the 35-70 very much; you picked a classic lens. As for the flare, be aware of it (you can see it in the view finder if you look for it) and if you can and the the sun if off to the side, use a hat or your hand to shield the lens and cut the flare. If you are shooting directly into the sun ... use a different lens.
  6. This is a great lens, although I must confess to having it on my camera less often than I originally anticipated.

    On my example also, there is approximately 1mm of rotational play in the front element when using autofocus, however it
    doesn't cause any obvious problems with images (

    I haven't personally been bothered by flare with this lens, but in addition to Brooks' suggestions above, ensuring that the
    front element is spotless will help reduce the effect.
  7. You can solve it by selling it to me for a $100 buck :)
  8. I agree with Chris and Brooks -- this lens is a classic. It can produce wonderfully sharp images, and it's built like a tank. Because of all the metal parts, it sometimes sounds like a tank, too. Mine has a little play and clatters a bit, but it hasn't affected image quality, and I've come to appreciate those sounds as very "un-plastic." A lens hood helps with flare, but it does suffer some with backlight or strong background highlights, so it's best to use a different lens in those situations.
  9. Flare is a problem with many older lenses. I notice it with the 35-70, 180 and 300. I don't think there is much you can do.
    Look for the flare in the viewfinder as told above, cover your lens with a hat. I used a round flexible shade. Also since you
    are using it with a DSLR you can check the shot after you take it and you can always recompose and retake it. After you
    use it a little more you will know in advance when you'll have flare and you will learn to predict it and avoid it. Rene'
  10. I've never tried the pre-D version of this lens. I've never been able to induce really bad veiling flare with the D version, despite trying. It's no worse than the very good performance of the 18-70 DX and 24-120 VR, which offer excellent multicoating for lenses of this price range. Some veiling flare is unavoidable with most lenses in such difficult lighting.

    However the 35-70/2.8D is vulnerable to ghosting flare in very difficult lighting, altho' even then it's exceptionally good for a zoom. It will reveal one or two minor ghosts, usually in a lower edge or corner away from the central subject. I've seen this only at night when bright point light sources were in the frame.

    Backlighting is a challenge to any lens. It's not just zooms. Wide angle lenses are also vulnerable.

    A filter, even the best multicoated filter, is likely to make matters worse when the light source is in the frame. Try to shade the lens, as already suggested, or avoid shooting into the light. If you want to shoot directly into the light, you'll need to do some careful research to find the tiny handful of lenses that can perform well in such a difficult situation.
  11. I am using the D version and I have veiling flare all the time! Compared to my 16-85 the colors are washed out when taking picture of an object against the window, for ex.
  12. A very frequent issue with 35-70 is the rear lenses being fogged. If you see the same kind of fog either looking
    through it or in the viewfinder it is your case.

    Otherwise consider an oversized lens hood. Since you are in DX format consider one going from 50mm to 100mm,

    Not exactly the ideal lens for contra light (even if the source is lateral).
  13. Mauro, when you say that very often the rear lense are being fogged, does it mean, that I should take the lens to a Nikon service center to clean them, or may be I do not understand what 'being fogged' means?
  14. Still, despite the veiling flare effect, I really like the lens - both construction and image quality, plus the constant 2.8 aperture!
  15. I too very much like my 35-70/2.8 mine has certainly seen better days and has that loose feeling to it, the front element looks like it's spent more time on a gravel road than on a camera and still it takes great pics. When I got the lens there was no hood, so I used the one off my 85/1.8 (HN-23) which worked great, I've since got the correct hood but it certainly doesn't perform as well as the HN-23 although I'm only using DX sensors at present.

    Also a good filter will help, when I finally get round to replacing my front element then it'll also get a Hoya Pro-1

    So, if you're not using full frame then I'd recommend the HN-23
  16. I have the AF-D 35-70/2,8. I don't know the difference between between "ghosting flare" and "veiling flare". But yes, it has a lot of flare in backlit compositions. I use the hood HB-15 (originally for the 70-300ED non VR), and it helps A LOT. I'm using the lens on a D300. I'm not sure the lens/hood combination would be good on a fullframe.
  17. From what I understand most of these are loose from new, a tolerance issue that matters not one whit to lens
    performance - so they clatter a bit when you AF them - the screw drive seems to bring out the worst in them! They
    can also collect material between the elements - some speculate that the sucking action of the zoom is to blame -
    I doubt it.

    My shop told me this was the lens bought by wealthy lawyers rather than pros, when they were released ;-) One
    thing I discovered which, besides peering though the lens into a bright light to check for fungus, dust etc.,
    will help - get hold of a larger, more protective hood than Nikon specifies. Remember you are shooting DX on a
    D300 so you can get a lot more front element protection with no risk of vignetting. I got a retractable rubber
    hood which plain works, for $10.

    I have noticed a certain flatness to the 35-70/2.8 images pre-post processing, older coatings and old lens
    technology is my guess. The mid-range zooms are very, very good nowadays - that is where the R&D is going, for
    obvious market reasons. And it is paying off, as these lenses are much better matched to DSLR requirements,
    coatings are much better, you are seeing ED and Asph elements as commonplace now, for example.

    As a result, you can see increases in colour fidelity and contrast (not to mention resolution) to levels
    unthinkable in zooms from the 1980s. I think the 16-85 and similar lenses are real bargains compared to the
    overcooked pro lenses for most uses, and the weight savings can't be bad either...and they handle well too, no
    creep and pretty solid, thinking here of the 16-85 and 70-300. They will finally get there with these types of
    lenses, which are almost certainly much more important for them to get right as a company than the big ticket 2.8
  18. Just to clarify - my lens slightly clatters not only when AF them, but just when carrying it around. Just the front element is slightly loose.
  19. Hmmm.. I have this lens in the D version, originally used on my F5... I also use a 50 F1.8 prime - great lens... When I switch between them, which I do often, I usually have to look at the EXIF data to tell which lens took which picture... I do not notice significant flare and contrast loss with this zoom - other than what is expected for having more glass elements in the light path...

  20. Hi Vesselin,

    I just picked up my lens and gave it a good shake. No significant clattering to be heard, and aside from the previously
    mentioned minor rotational play in the front element under AF, it all seems extremely solid. What condition is your lens in?
    Does it appear to have been dropped or otherwise abused? Perhaps it would be worth having it serviced?
  21. Hi Chris,
    I do not think it was dropped, but who knows. It is used, but by a professional photographer who cares about his equipment, so it is in good condition. I have never had a lens with rotating element so I am not sure whether this clattering is an indication of some problem. Still, my greater concern is the veiling flare. I will buy hood HB-15 and will see whether the flare will diminish significantly.
  22. I have seen and used several 35-70 2.8 lenses, and most are incredibly sharp and contrasty. But a few have done exactly what you are describing. I'm afraid it sounds like you have a worn out lens, Vesselin, and you should return it immediately. Buying another hood is not going to change the wear inside and the resulting slight misalignment of the lens elements. You'll just be throwing good money after bad (as the saying goes).
  23. It could be a rear lens group fogging up. Shine a flashlight through the lens from the rear to your eye will tell. Although everybody seems to avoid talking about this, 35-70/2.8 is one of those self-destructive lens like the early Leica glass. One cemented lens group is very sensitive to enviroment conditions, and will eventually to become hazy. Hot, arid climates seems to acclerate the process and I have seen brand new samples with noticable fogging in the same place so there isnt much we can do about it. The remedy involves removing the affected lens group, use heat to seperate the group, polish and re-glue, possibly recoat the elements if needed. I have heard of this being done however the service is rather hard to access

    Nonetheless, software can restore a lot of suppressed details by simply boosting contrast and adjusted photos are still better than a non-veiling photo from a so-so lens.
  24. Judging whether a lens group is fogging up is too complicated for me as I cannot tell the difference. Anyway, I bought a rubber hood - the situation is better. I ordered hood HB-15, as recommended by Jan Nielsen. I will see how the lens will behave with it.

    Thanks everyone for your comments and suggestions :))
  25. Dill,

    I have checked the lens as you suggested and the lens is indeed fogged up!!! What a pity! I guess I will not be able to return it. I will check how much it will cost to have it serviced.
  26. Please let us know the cost of servicing, i'm curious about that......thanks.
  27. After testing, I note that on FX, both the HB-15 and HN-23 vignette below 40mm. Propensity to flare is much reduced, but at a wide end cost. For DX, these two hoods are clearly an improvement and do not have the same penalty.
  28. I didn't read all the responses, so this may be a dupe.
    Some older lenses, particularly zooms, develop a gradual build-up of grime and haze on the internal elements (smoke, dust, oil, etc.). This leads to worsened veiling glare. A good CLA can greatly improve the problem.
  29. Note Vesselin's followup post on Jul 28, 2008; 04:13 a.m., confirming that his sample of the lens was fogged. So the flare he described was *not* inherent to the design of the 35-70/2.8 AF Nikkor.
    I've mentioned before that I've used the 35-70/2.8D AF Nikkor in all kinds of adverse lighting conditions that would exploit any tendencies toward flare: into the low angle sun; at night with emergency responder lights in the frame; bright overcast days; candlelight indoor events.
    The only type of flare I've seen is ghosting flare and that only at night in photographing emergency responders at fires. In each case the ghosting flare occurred only when the bright light source was at one far end/corner of the frame, with the colored flare "ghost" visible on the opposite side/corner of the frame (typically greenish). I'll attach an example from a recent nighttime fire.
    I took more than 100 photos at this recent fire and this ghosting flare occurred in only one frame. In a previous event, at which time I took hundreds of photos, I saw this type of ghosting flare two or three times - it may have been aggravated by the foggy conditions. But no problems whatsoever with veiling flare.
  30. Good day,
    After I read this set of discussion, I just realize that I also got the same issue for my 35-70 which I bought 10 months ago. I took it to the nikon service center, however, they can't fix it. It's so sad.
    Vesselin Iossifov, what u do with your lense?

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