Opinions on medium zoom for FE

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by alex_m|7, Apr 13, 2008.

  1. If I?m posting in the wrong place please let me know. I have a Nikon FE with
    a 50mm fixed lens and I?ve really been enjoying it lately. I was looking to
    buy a nice medium range Nikon zoom for it but the more research that I do, the
    more I can?t make up my mind. The FE is so flexible between older and not so
    old lenses. I was going to buy a 35-70mm AIS 3.5 fixed lens but I?ve been
    learning that there are many lenses that will work with my FE metering. Most
    of the AF/AFs lenses will work fine also. I would please like some opinions
    from you knowledgeable people on this forum. Quality, ease of use, and weight
    are factors that I am mainly considering. Any suggestions would be greatly
  2. When Nikon produced the AF version of that lens they made the very fine 35-70/2.8 AF-D. All metal construction, it is just as robust as an AIS lens regarding build and you have the extra speed of 2.8.
    The price would be similar.
  3. I like to use Ai or AiS primes with my manual focus cameras. The feel of the focus barrels on AF lenses is a bit hateful to me. Also, focus ring displacement from the minimum focus distance to infinity has been shortened, something also annoying... The size of that focus rings are usually narrower too.

    My choice would be only primes, but if you like a zoom I would choose the "pro" fixed aperture type (like the one you mention), Ai or AiS version to enjoy AE priority mode.
  4. I think there was a 35-70 f/3.3 at one time which was supposed to be very good. Soligor made a 35-70mm f/2.5-3.5 which is very nice. It was also sold under the Access name. The Tokina 28-70 f/3.5-4.5 is very sharp. I have it in Canon FD, Konica AR and Nikon AI mounts. The earlier version of the Tamron Adaptall II 28-70mm f/3.5-4.5 is nice too.
  5. IMHO the Nikkor 35-70mm f2.8 or the Nikkor 25-50mm f4 should be considered depending on want you want to do.
  6. Despite being routinely crapped on, the late model 43-86/3.5AI zoom(not its early NAI version)is more than OK and cheap, thanks to its undeserved reputation as a dog.Even better is the 75-150/3.5E. The latter is a sweet lens for the FE--light and compact. Just be aware than many AF lenses lack the greater focus rotation of MF Nikon glass--something many find annoying.
  7. FWIW... already having a 50mm lens, the 35-70mm zoom may look better on paper than in real life. Zooming to 35mm from 50mm, or to 70mm from 50mm is not that dramatic. For an increase in both size and weight, and a loss of speed (over the 50mm prime), you gain not too much in terms of span or reach. I went through this several decades ago, and found the fast aperture of the 50mm (or in my case 35mm) was better than a slower zoom that just went a bit wider or longer. That said, if you want a zoom, and since it was already brought up by Gary, let me also recommend the 43-86mm f/3.5 (AI version). This is a good contemporary lens to the FE, and while not state of the art today, more than good enough for your camera. The build quality is better than anything out there today, as it was made before Nikon started to build down to a price. The long end is better than 70mm for portraits, and wide open can give a good out-of-focus blur to make the subject stand out. I'll also second gary's recommendation for the 75-150mm series E if you need some reach. My example now over 25 years old is still super sharp and mechanically sound, outlasting several AF Nikkors that I have worn out.
  8. I'll also vouch for the 75-150mm series E (constant 3.5). It's a fantastic lens that can be had for around $100 on the used market. You should definitely get one at some point.
  9. Vivitar Series 1 28-90 or the Kiron 28-105. Both are well built and very sharp.

  10. Alex,

    The Nikkor 35-70/3.3-4.5 is very sharp and light, making it an ideal travel lens. Unfortunately the front filter thread rotates when focusing, thus making it awkward to use with rotating filters such as polarisers.

    The Nikkor 75-150/3.5 is very light in weight. The chrome mounting ring (second) version is the better quality one. Be aware that the zoom is frequently "loose" in most used versions. It just takes constant handling of the zoom/focus to overcome this. I understand it can be fixed by a technician, but at what cost I don't know. The filter thread also rotates during focusing.

    The Nikkor 80-200/4.5 and 80-200/4 are claimed to be the absolute best that Nikon ever produced in that era. I do not dispute this, and even more, agree with these statements; but, however, my preference is for the Vivitar Series 1 (first version = 67mm filter ring) 70-210/3.5. This is a heavy weight lens and the front filter ring rotates when focusing. I don't use a polarising filter on this lens.

    The Vivitar Series 1 35-85/2.8 is an excellent lens (IMO) that covers a vast range. It is one of the most frequently used lenses in my collection. It is a heavy weight and the front filter ring rotates when focusing and zooming. Very rarely do I use a polarising filter on this lens. The Nikon 72mm polariser is the only one used if required, as all else vignettes.

    The cameras these lenses are attached to are FM's, FM2, FM2N's and FM2T.
  11. Thank you all very much for your help. I have read every response several times and Im glad to see that I have many options. Options that I did not think about before I posted. There were a lot of great points made about the differences in lenses. The reason Im not looking for a bigger zoom is because I have a Vivitar series 1 70-210mm. A couple of you mentioned the Nikon 43-86/3.5 ai and Vivitar Series 1 35-85/2.8 and those really make me think twice because I love to take people/portrait pictures. Thanks again everyone for your input. I do have another question. Is the newer 35-70/2.8d AF suppose to be a sharper/better quality lens than the older 35-70/3.5 fixed ais?
  12. Is the newer 35-70/2.8d AF suppose to be a sharper/better quality lens than the older 35-70/3.5 fixed ais?
    Maybe it is. It is well regarded as a very fine lens. One thing to think about however is that it is optimized as a lens to be used on auto-focus cameras, and while it can be manually focused, the ergonomics are not the best. The manual focus ring is very far forward, so cradeling the lens (which is quite substantial) and spinning the focus ring is not as easy as focusing a true manual focus lens where the focusing ring is more close to the center of gravity.
    I tried this lens when it was introduced, but found the handling on my manual focus bodies to be less than ideal due to that far-forward focusing ring. When it comes to manual focusing, handling is everything for all but the most static of subjects. You might try this lens out on your FE before you commit to it.
    Good luck in your quest.
  13. Thanks for the advice Albert. Very good point.

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