Is Nikon 35-70mm f/3.3-4.5 Worth Buying?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by albertdarmali, Sep 6, 2006.

  1. Hi,

    Just wondering, is it worth buying second hand Nikkor 35-70mm 1:3.3-4.5 AF?

    Someone at my uni is selling it cheap, but just wondering whether it worths it
    or not (no point buying cheap lens if the quality is horrible).

    Can someone who's got experience on the lens give some comments about it please?

    Maybe some photo samples if possible.

    Thanks a lot in advance!
  2. Albert,

    I had one of these lenses, but I sold it when I got a fixed 35mm lens. It's not a bad lens, but not especially brilliant either. If you want a nice little zoom lens for holidays or street photography where changing lenses is difficult, you can check it out. But I think there are better zoom lenses around. A 35-70mm f:2.8 will be more expensive, but I've heard good reviews about it. Unfortunately, I haven't used the f:2.8, so I can't compare. And as I use several lenses during a photo shoot, I can't post you any images taken with it, as I usually don't keep notes.

    If it's cheap, I suggest you buy it and give it a try. If you're not convinced about it's optical quality, you can always put it up for sale again. You won't loose much in the process.
  3. i have it. i'm using it well. it's compact, light, and good quality prints if you're not going over 8.5x11. if you're just using it for weekend family photos.. it's good.. if it's for professional work then no good. you should look for f/2.8 ED ones.. simple!!
  4. I had this lens and was a decent performer, even very good at f8 and usable for close-up at 70 mm, even coupled to a 4T.

    Very compact and lightweight, I mainly used it for mountaineering, as a versatile alternative to carrying just 1 prime.

    It is worthy if you like the range, unluckily 70 mm was too short for me.

    For additional info, check Bjorn Rorslett's page

    Riccardo Polini also comments on this lens:
  5. Thanks for the info.

    I was wondering, for digital, which one will perform better, 18-55mm DX lens (the kit from D50) or this one?

    I assume this one will have much better build quality than 18-55mm DX (the 18-55mm is practically like holding a plastic), but in terms of image quality, I wonder if that old 35-70mm is better?

  6. "I was wondering, for digital, which one will perform better, 18-55mm DX lens (the kit from D50) or this one?"

    That is a question you would need to ask to someone who has actually used both lenses on the D50. It's not very clear from your post (or maybe I overlooked it) if you already own the D50 or not. If you do own the D50, then you can try both lenses and find out for yourself.

    Go to a good camera shop, say you're interested in buying the 18-55 (if you can buy it by itself, not just in kit form) and ask if you can try a few shots on your D50. Then ask the same question to the person who is selling the 35-70. Try and get the same type of shots, that is, both indoors in low light and outdoors in sunny conditions. Don't judge the pictures on the camera screen, download your pictures on your computer and compare.

    Although this will not be the best way to find out the differences (you would have to shoot the same subjects, under controlled light conditions and on a tripod with both lenses, and even that would not be a technically perfect test), at least you can get a feel for the 35-70mm lens and find out if it performs well, reasonably well or not good at all.
  7. I have the AF & MF - the MF (AIS) lens is much better. If it's really cheap (less than 50USD) I'd say yes, but otherwise there are many better AF lenses around.
  8. Here are a few examples
  9. Most of these shot were at about f4 or f5.6
  10. The early models were pretty soft. But the later ai models are decent performers. The slow speed limits them but for the price they aren't a bad deal.
  11. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Moderator

    Albert, the real question is that a 35-70mm zoom is a standard to short tele on the D50 or any Nikon DSLR. Is that the kind of zoom range you want and does the relatively limited 2x range a problem for you. If those are ok and your budget is limited, perhaps this lens is worthwhile to you.

    Personally, I have the 2x zoom range too limited and something starting from 35mm not at all wide enough even for 35mm film and certainly digital. I would get a zoom that starts from 18mm, as there are good reasons that Nikon currently has four DX zooms that begin from 18mm. As Peter mentions, if you can afford it, the 18-70 DX is a very good choice as a consumer zoom.

    Your mileage may vary, though. If the 35-70mm is available at your university??, is it possible to try it for a few shots and check out whether its range works for you?
  12. I've got one and I use it on my D50 as a 'standard' lens, most often kept at the 35mm end, but with the option to zoom in if I require. I like to think of it as a cheap yet more flexible alternative to a fixed 35mm prime. I've got loads of examples of it in use on the D50.
    I rate it as one of the most surprisingly crisp lenses I have, on digital. Considering I only picked it up secondhand because it was on offer too cheaply to pass up about a decade ago, even though I already had a perfectly good 24-50mm on my F4 at the time, among other lenses that all clustered around that range, I disregarded it for a very long time. Until I got my D50, in fact - when I realised that the combination really suits my shooting (which tends to be 'standard lens' view, a habit I still carry over in shooting on my TLRs.
    I think it's one lens I'd immediately replace with another like it, if I had to. It sits on the camera more often than the 18-55 kit lens. I even sent off and bought a new lens hood for the 35-70 a few months ago, such is how much I like it. I think of it as my own little secret - how can a lens this cheap be so good, so small, so effective? I shouldn't be trumpeting this, in fact - I don't want there to be a craze starting, driving prices up.
  13. I could get it for less than 50 bucks. So I guess just try it and see if I like it or not eh? If not, then I can just sell it again without much loss anyway.

    Thanks a lot for the replies guys.

  14. If its less than $50 like you said, might as well go for it.
    If you are trying to go wide though, get a zoom that starts at 18mm.
    Don't for get, with Nikkon DSLR's you have to time the focal length by 1.5 times.

    Craig Morris

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