Older zooms on a D90

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by mark_mitchell|5, May 2, 2011.

  1. Good morning to all. I've been looking to buy a second zoom for my D90, something inexpensive (I have no need for a 2.8 zoom) and been looking at the 70-300vr, but have wondered about the older 70-210 AF-D 4/5.6 lenses. Has anyone used any of the older AF-D zooms on a D80/D90/D7000 and liked the results? Or am I chasing a bad idea?
  2. I use not only older AF lenses but also MF lenses on a D70s & am more than satisfied with the results...On the D80/D90, you won't have metering with older MF lenses but all 3 bodies will AF & meter with older AF glass. The D7000 will meter with both older AF & MF lenses.Newer lenses will have better coatings , but with Photoshop, many of the shortcomings of older glass can be rectified. Most people won't notice those differences anyway. Best advice is to try them out & if you like what you get, great, otherwise you can always sell the lens if you don't like it.
  3. mtk


    Hi Mark,
    I shoot with a D90..have had an 80 and a 70s. Great idea! Go snooping in KEH.com...especially look for bargain grade. Lots of options and not alot of $$$. I concur with Scott as well.
    Have Fun!
  4. Another inexpensive and very good lens to consider is the Nikon 70-300mm f4-5.6 D ED. Some users here have found image quality to be as good as or better as the new VR version. I found AF to still be reasonably quick, and very quiet, on a D90. Image quality on my D2X was certainly below the 80-200/2.8 AF-S, but still very useable.
    I second keh.com. I should stop recommending them because their prices have climbed 50% over the past 2 years. They are still the cheapest though!
  5. I use a AF 70-210mm f/4-5.6 (non-D) on my D90 from time to time, and I'm perfectly happy with the image quality. I bought the lens back in the 90's in my film days. I expect you could pick one up very cheap now. Presumably the D version would be better with slight improvements in exposure and IQ.
    The main reason it gets left at home is that my kit zoom is the 18-105 and the extra reach is not worth the weight on my shoulder for the stuff I shoot. I must admit though, I do miss VR when working handheld at 210mm.
    I would buy without fear. If you don't like it you can just sell it on. It won't depeciate much in a few months.
  6. I had the 70-210 AF-D 4/5.6 and it wasn't bad. The 70-300mm VR is significantly sharper, obviously has VR and a longer reach, and weighs about the same, so it promptly displaced the older lens for me.
    You're not chasing a bad idea. It's a usable lens, and a good implementation of a push-pull zoom, but if you are willing to spend more, the 70-300mm VR AF-S is a better option.
  7. If you enjoy using a monopod or tripod, the lack of VR in a lens that goes to 300mm will be a non-issue. But if you get to a great shot at, say 270mm, and don't have a solid camera support, and no VR -- you may not have captured exactly what you want with a little lens shake to spoil your work.
    It's a trade off and, of course, your choice.
  8. I am sure you could get some great bargains along with great image quality...but, do you shoot a lot hand-held? The VR might be quite valuable and negate the nice image quality of these older lenses--unless you are shooting from a tripod. Maybe something to consider.
  9. VR is SO awesome at the long end of the VR zoom that I would encourage you to try real hard to get it. There are refurbs from time to time for a good price and I've seen them in the classifieds here, too.
  10. I am using all "older" Nikon AF zooms.
    I started with a 70-210 AF 4-5.6 and a 35-70 3.3-4.5. I really like the IQ from the 35-70, but the variable aperture is a bit slow. I was not crazy about the 70-210, I found it lacking a bit of contrast and the bokeh was pretty ugly. Both lenses were cheap, so I opted to upgrade a bit further. I added the 35-70 f/2.8 AF and the 80-200 f/2.8 AF (neither the D versions.) They cost a bit more, but are a bargain compared to current f/2.8 zooms. The image quality, as expected, is superb. If you don't need VR I can highly recommend an older-generation pro zoom.
  11. I'm another who uses the old 70-210mm f4-5.6 a surprising amount of the time, both as a "light" long lens on D90 and because it has pretty consistent center to corners quality on the D3, while my 70-200mm f2.8 VR imparts its own rather unique "look" on D3 shots.
    I expect you could pick one up very cheap now.​
    Would you believe that Ken Rockwell (yeah, I know) wrote so glowingly about that old lens that he started a cult, with enough demand that it's driven the price up surprisingly high...
  12. there's something nostalgic/romantic about using older zooms, i know, but honestly, either the nikon or the tamron 70-300 VR/VC models are the way i would go from a long-term perspective. i have the 70-300 ED, it's fairly average optically until f/8 when it suddenly becomes contrasty and needed a fast shutter past 200mm b/c of camera shake. upgraded to the tamron 70-300 VC, much better optically especially wide-open and the stabilization works down to 1/25 @ 300mm, maybe even 1/15. balances well on a d90 too. if budgetary concerns are the biggest priority, i would consider a refurb 55-200 VR.
  13. I'm using this lens, AF 70-210mm f/4-5.6 (non D ) with great results. Beside the mach more expensive lenses I'm own, as a 24-70/2.8 & 80-200/2.8, this lens really a good lens. And also the manual focus 35-135mm f/3.5 is a great lens too, on the D700 or the D300. I have several images on my PN site, photographed with this two lenses. The 70-210/4-5.6 D or not D is really doesn't mater. The lens is the same, added on the D version some additional electronic information for the flash. The AF 70-210 and the 35-135(manual) lenses, full frame, are very sharp, metal build lenses, not like the todays plastic AF lenses. And they are around 100-125 dollar in the used market. You can't bet that.
  14. isa


  15. The 70-210/4-5.6 D or not D is really doesn't mater. The lens is the same, added on the D version some additional electronic information for the flash.​
    Bela, you've actually run into one of the two (possibly three, more on that in a second) known exceptions to that rule. A lot of lenses got revisions at "D time", the most common revision being a modern, slide switch for the minimum aperture lock, instead of the original "push the little button, and try to turn the button while pushing it" system. I have 2 lenses with that lock (the original 70-210, and an original 50mm f1.8) and man, does it suck. Always popping up unexpectedly, at the slightest jiggle, then being a pain to lock again.
    But the 70-210mm f4-5.6 got a serious change in 1993 when it got D'ed. Nikon changed the autofocus gearing, decreasing the final gear ratio. The AF-D focuses faster on most bodies, although it does focus erratically on the 2020 and the 4004, while the older AF works just fine on those first generation cameras. And it got the new minimum aperture slide switch.
    The 28mm f2.8 is the most well known of the lenses that actually got a major change when it went to AF-D. It got a total optical redesign, and got wider, longer, and heavier. Back in 1985, before AF, Nikon had two 28mm f2.8 lenses in the lineup, the Ai-S, which was an 8 element in 8 group design, and the Series E, a 5 element in 5 group design. When Nikon first launched an autofocus 28mm f2.8 in 1986, they wrapped an AF mechanism around the 5/5 Series E design, and the lens quickly earned a horrible reputation. So, in 1984, after 15 years of bad reviews (first as series E, then as AF) they brought out a new and improved 28mm f2.8, a 6 element 6 group design.
    The 80-200mm f2.8 may or may not have gotten an AF gear ratio change (accounts vary) when it was updated to a D back in 1992. It did get a new, less screwed up AF range limit mechanism. The 80-200mm f2.8 was a very important lens to Nikon, so there were actually 4 revisions. Some of the changes are obvious (2 ring design and tripod foot in 1997) and some are the subject of rumor and speculation (the 2005 revision, for example).
    wizfaq d
  16. If all you need is up to 200mm and f4-5.6 is OK then the Nikon 55-200 VR is really an excellent lens. Why muck around with older lenses when a (used ?) 55-200 VR is cheap and optically excellent ?
    If you simply want to do the old lens route for the sake of doing it then maybe the Nikon 70-210 f4 ( constant f4 ) which was good.
    I think the Nikon 70-210 f4-5.6 is quite good also.
    But I don't think either would be better ( or even as good ) as the 55-200 VR.
  17. I used the old 70-210mm non-D on a D2H back in 2005. I did notice two shortcomings.
    1.) It was subject to pretty bad veiling flare.
    2.) The contrast wasn't very good.
    I have no idea how it would handle the much higher resolution of the D90.
  18. The 55-200 VR has a polycarbonate mount doesn't it?
  19. Hi Hernest. You right in detail with the 70-210 D or not D lens. I wanted to highlight only, optically was no change. I have the D and no D version, and both perform well. Hawing the latest and most expensive modern lenses in my possession, around this range, I wouldn't use them if they are not producing good sharp images. Like the old AF 70-210, AF 75-300 with sturdy tripod collar, and many other old, old manual lenses, they are very sharp lenses in the hand of a good, experienced photographer. If Galen Rowell produced world winning photographs with a Series E 75-150/3.5 lens, ( The Dalai Lama's Pagoda ) then those lenses even better, some even have an auto focus. I have 4 version of the 200/4 AI-S lens, and they are as sharp as an expensive 70-200/2.8. Just for the curiosity, I bought , cheep, 50-135/3.5 AI-S manual zoom, and was very surprised of the sharp contrasty result it delivered. Or the 28-50/3.5 AI-S. It is so good, the used price is higher then originally it was, when those years was available.

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