Original Nikon AF 70-210 F4 lens from 1986. ANY OPINIONS?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by theo_vermeulen, Sep 4, 2011.

  1. This was the first auto-focus 70-210 lens made by Nikon back in 1986-87 before they introduced the variable aperture, push-pull barrel one (which I also have).

    I just bought one that looks like its been through a hurricane with lots of marks on the lens body (not glass), the AF gears make lots of noise when focussing (sounds like they are dry and need oil) but the photo quality is great.

    Many users have complained that this lens has front focussing issues but mine focussed perfectly depsite the grinding noise from the gears. The image of the Police bikes was taken from about 60 metres and completely in focus. The color tone is nice too.

    Overall I am very impressed with lens, esp as I dropped it on the road and it still shots perfectly!

    QUESTION: 1. Can I put some oil on the focussing gears and if so, what type?
    QUESTION 2: Any opinions on this lens?
  2. PS I'm using it on a Nikon D50.
  3. Answer to question :1 NO
    Answer to question :2 I have one and think it is an ok lens for what it is. Not as sharp as my 80-200 but lighter and smaller.
    And a question back to you
    You have one and you like it. What does it matter what other people think about it?
  4. Thanks Michael, for the advice. Just wondering because of the front-focussing issue this lens often gets bad reviews but I was amazed that such a badly battered and old lens (the body is covered in scratches, the gears grind etc) and dropped lens gives such great images. It really shows the quality of Nikon.
    I have used a lot of other Nikon lenses and cameras, including the legendary Nikon 180 lens. and this one is great. Just wondering if others had a similiar experience.
  5. There does seem to be a bit of fungus on the inner elements which is not surprising as I bought it in Mozambique; a hot and humid country.
    A related question: Des fungus 'spread' from one lens to another? That is, if you store a lens that has fungus with other lenses that don't, is there a risk that it will spread to the other lenses?
  6. i find this to be a great lens - particularly since it is light not heavy, and has a constant aperture. i bought it when it came out and it's a keeper
  7. Yes fungus can spread. You can try to kill it by placing the lens in the sun for several days. Make sure that the sunlight is striking the area that has the fungus.
    There are people who can clean the fungus off. it's not inexpensive and would probably cost more then replacing the lens would.
  8. UV light does not actually "kill" fungus, but stops it from growing. As soon as conditions become optimal within the lens, the fungus will grow again. Fungal spoors are always present in the air by the millions. They remain dormant until conditions allow for their growth.
  9. Thanks for the tips on dealing with the fungus. Actually, on closer lookk it seems that they are hairline scratches so it may be OK.
    Is there anything that can be done about the noisy AF gears? It is a kind of squeeking sound. Can graphie powder be used to reduce the noise? What sort of lubricant is generally used on camera lens AF gears?
  10. Same optics as the 70-210mm f/4 Series-E lens, but with a far better twist-ring zoom action and slightly improved coating. A good lens, but not superb, and as someone else commented the manual focus Ai-S 80-200mm f/4 beats it on IQ. Its main shortcoming is marked sphero-chromatism (bokeh fringing) and slight softness wide open at the long end. It's also one of the ugliest lenses ever made IMHO, but still miles better both optically and mechanicallly than the dreadful variable aperture 70-210mm AF Nikkor that replaced it!
    WRT front focusing: I've never noticed any on my copy, either with film or digital. It could be that some samples have simply got worn with use and what's being seen is backlash in the mechanical focus coupling from camera body to lens.
  11. Michael and Robert - I wonder how resistant to high temperature fungi and the spores are. I know that a black lens in full sun in areas not too far from equator can get above 70°C. That might kill a high percentage of many fungal species.
    The UV is probably pretty much blocked in most lenses by so much glass. The mentioned lens is not on the wish list of UV photographers as far as I know.And spores got a good UV protection.
    Does anybody know any particular species in favor of growing in lenses?
  12. Curious about previous posters comments about this lens being "smaller and lighter" ???
    the 70-210 /4 AF weighs about as much as a brick. They must be thinking of another lens.
    I really like my copy , and so does this guy :
    As to fungus : it will persist -if you don't go in after it ,it will kill the lens. Try the UV light trick,it can't do any harm. And, my copy grinds as it focuses : on F8008s,and D80 bodies.
    If you are brave enough to tackle the fungus,you are unlikely to harm the lens by using a little light machine oil on the focus screw mechanism - just don't use WD-40 or its variants.
  13. My copy also grinds when back-focusing. Actually sounds like something is wrong, but the lens works and the focus works properly on my D200.
    I think the IQ is good but not outstanding, but for 200€ one can't complain for a lens that is well build and has a constant aperture.
  14. If it is the lens I have in my hands f4-5.6. Its a great lens. I took a lot of photos and never had a problem. In fact I will use it again the winter.
  15. I really like my 70-210 f/4 as well. Optics are very good, it's built like a tank and it's a reasonable substitue for my 80-200 AF-S when I need to pack light.
  16. ian gordon: "Curious about previous posters comments about this lens being "smaller and lighter" ???
    the 70-210 /4 AF weighs about as much as a brick. They must be thinking of another lens."
    ian, this lens is substantially smaller and lighter than the 80-200mm 2.8 or 70-200 2.8! (not in absolute, but relative terms)
  17. James: The lens in question is the constant aperture original AF 70-210mm f/4, and not the variable aperture plastic trombone that replaced it. But if you're happy with that plastic trombone, good luck to you!
    I've not weighed the two lenses, but the AF 70-210 f/4 feels lighter on the camera than the manual focus 80-200 f/4 Ai-S. And as much as a brick? - I don't think so. Not unless it's one of those cheap modern bricks that's more holes than clay.

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