Preliminary draft last edited on 28.07.2007
Nikon's Autofocus (AF) Zoom Nikkor 28-200mm f/3.5~5.6D IF wideangle-telephoto zoom lens
Year introduced: 28.02.1998; Discontinued: March, 2003
The very well received AF Zoom Nikkor 24-120mm f/3.5~5.6D IF of 1996 probably had given Nikon some clues how to design ad configure a "salable" specification carefully in a few zoom lenses that followed in order hoping to replicate the hugely successful 24/120 commercially. Basically, there was no secret formula with the 24/120, it simply filled the inner desire of Nikon photographers with a single zoom lens in an ideal high power 5X zoom range from wideangle to medium telephoto. The difference was just simply Nikon had not* been offering such a lens package in an affordable, portable form for consumers previously. (* NOTE: The manual focus Zoom Nikkor 50-300mm series can be regarded as one of such a breed but it came with a "professional" price tag as well as restricting as a telephoto zoom).
Credit: Image courtesy of my nephew EEWYN Foo. Model: Miss Elena from Ukraine. Image copyright © 2007.. All rights reserved.
With a little compromise on the wideangle (from 24mm to 28mm) but extends the longer end of the zoom to 200mm from a medium 120mm focal length used in the 24/120, the AF Zoom Nikkor 28-200mm f/3.5~5.6D IF was packaged in a similar fashion. Beauty is, both the overall dimension as well as the weight of the two AF-D Nikkor zoom lenses are very similar where the 28/200 measures approx. 78mm dia. (3.1") x 86.5mm (3.4") and weighing just approx. 555g / 520g (original model is slightly heavier and for units produced from 1999 onwards, it is lighter). So, although it measures slightly larger than the 24/120 (Dimensions: approx. 79mm dia. x 80mm (3.14") but actually weighs lighter than the original AF-D 24/120 IF which weighs 550g. So, it retains the great portability of the earlier popular zoom lens that has helped to start the new wave of high power zoom lens design.
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* Compact and lightweight
* 7X zoom ratio with very usable wideangle range from 28mm to telephoto 200mm.
* Aspherical lens elements was used to minimize aberrations for optimizing optical performance.
* Internal Focusing (IF) system enables faster and smoother focusing without changing external lens length (excluding zooming).
* Closest focusing distance is 0.85m (2.8 ft.) at 28mm, 1.5m (4.9 ft.) at 200mm.
* As a D-type AF Nikkor lens, it transmits distance information to the Nikon AF SLR cameras for enhanced exposure calculations* and flash control**
Dual sections view of the AF Nikkor 28-200mm zoom lens.
Credit: Image courtesy of shutterblade*com where the Company has a website on its own. Image copyright © 2007.. All rights reserved.
The AF Zoom Nikkor 28-200mm f/3.5~5.6D IF has an approx. 7X zoom ratio - probably it can be rated as the highest among all AF Nikkor zoom lenses. The emphasis is to offer one of the most frequently used focal lengths for day to day photography. It employs two aspherical lens elements which minimize aberrations including distortion, often a problem for high-power zoom lenses. Plus, the lens Internal Focusing (IF) system contributes to faster autofocusing and macro shooting capability. The zoom lens was introduced as a native D-type Nikkor where it provides distance information to most of the Nikon AF SLR cameras for the most advanced 3D Matrix Metering system for ambient and flash control*. For manual focus Nikon users, as long as your camera is an Ai-spec Nikon, simply treat it as an Ai-S Nikkor. The only issue is, the manual focus ring with a narrow MF ring is a little uncomfortable to use.
* 3D Matrix Metering: compatible Nikon Digital SLR models, Nikon F6, Nikon F5 (3D color Matrix Meter), F90X (N90s in the U.S.), F90 (N90), F70 (N70), F50 (N50) and PRONEA 600i (6i) etc. ** 3D Multi-Sensor Balanced Fill-Flash: compatible Nikon DSLRs, Nikon F6, F5, F90X, F90, F70 + compatible Nikon flash models such as SB-XXX series, such as SB-28, SB-27 Speedlight as well as some of he sophisticated Nikon SB-XXDX range of AF-TTL speedlight models etc.
Maples on the pond
Credit: Image copyright 2007 Armindo Lopes from Portugal. All rights reserved. You can access Armindo's portfolio at Pbase for more creative visuals. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.
I would think the AF Zoom Nikkor 28-200mm f/3.5D IF could had sold very well in numbers and probably even superseding the 24/120. The ideal zoom range fulfills the wish of many Nikon photographers for an all round zoom lens. One of the reason could be the start up wideangle is 28mm, which is more practical than 35mm while the 200mm provides the moderately long reach which is the apparent weakness found in the 24/120. Basically, the lens is still a rotating zoom lens. It has a very wide and comfortable zoom ring for controlling the desired focal length. In comparison, the manual focusing ring requires a little extra attention as it only offers a very thin, two rows of grip at the outer section of the lens. Personally, I felt the the hard rubberized covered pattern used on the two rings should have been improved upon. It lacks the rigid feel and I guess primarily the objective is to achieve the lightweights of the lens and the preferred choice of material is synthetic rubberized material. Further, somehow it can also gather dust easily and if exposed to high temperature for a long period of time, the cover tends to crumple a little.
This AF-D Nikkor zoom lens is basically segmented in three sections. The lens mount with the aperture ring, mid section of the zoom ring has the widest length and a narrow manual focusing ring separated by a fixed ring which printed with the lens data. The outer ring is the filter thread, it is very compact when it is at the widest 28mm setting, when zooming out to longer focal lengths, the hidden zoom lens tube begins to extend outwards.
Credit: Image courtesy of Steve Smith ® from U.K. where he has an EBAY STORE on his own. Image copyright © 2007. All rights reserved.
At the front, the large front lens element has helped to make the lens looks very appealing as if it was a large aperture Nikkor lens but the underlying start up aperture is a moderate f/3.5. The front diameter of the filter attachment size stays at 72mm, similar to the 24/120. Technically, it can be scaled down to 62mm which even would make it even more portable (This was actually realized in the second upgrade, the AF Zoom Nikkor 28-200mm f/3.5~5.6G IF-ED in 2003. This was part of the reason why the lens has an overall mushroom shape appearance, with the center section larger in diameter. Although the lens deploys with an internal focus design (IF) where focusing is done internally with the corresponding floating elements shift to adjust focus which resulted in no physical extension during focusing, but when it zooms - it does. On full zooming, the extended portion is almost at the same length as the basic lens tube when rested at 28mm. The lens focuses down to a minimum distance of 2m (7 ft) at normal focus which is quite long for a zoom lens with wideangle shooting; it offers an alternate MACRO mode which indicates via an orange index line after the end of focusing scale. The macro extension operates from 0.85m ~1.5m (2.8'-4.9'). Please take note, the closest distance is 0.85m (2.8') for 28mm or 1.5m (4.9') and 200mm respectively. Well, the maximum reproduction is a so-so rating of 1/12.7X for closest normal focus distance but magnifies to approx. 1/9.9X at the longest setting of 200mm. It is not exactly being designed as a true performer for close-up photography but simply serves to fill the needs should you desperately requires this feature to perform a task.
Optically, I wouldn't rate this lens as superlative kind of Nikkor performer either but it delivers one step down from excellent. Simply as designing a high power zoom ratio optic is no easy task where designers have to counter numerous optical issues to stay at an optimize level across the entire zoom range. Nikon has employed two hybrid molded aspherical elements at 4th and 12th placement in its 16 elements in 13 group optical design hoping to minimize aberrations as well as optimizing its overall optical performance. Further, the lens was also beginning to enjoy the benefit of using enhanced Nikon SIC lens coating process which partly also contributes to counter ghosting and flare issues in unfavorable shooting condition. A pleasant surprise was a bayonet HB-12 lens hood is supplied as a standard accessory for this purpose. Was this the ultimate zoom lens you are looking for ? Provided what it delivers in real life situations lives within individual expectation, in a way I guess it is a very good zoom lens. For photographers who may be seeking for a single zoom lens with good portability factor for traveling, quick grab candid, street photography, PR and/or day to day general photography, this is a probably a very good zoom lens for your Nikon. Besides, the startup picture angle as well as some of the mid range focal lengths for this 7X zoom also correspond to most electronic speedlights which extends its usage to night photography or daylight filled-in flash.
Cold Spring Sunrise
Credit: Image copyright 2007 RUTH C. Taylor from USA. All rights reserved. You can access RUTH's portfolio at Pbase for more creative visuals. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.
At the same time of its launch, Nikon has also smartly introduced a highly affordable ED glass powered AF Zoom Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.0~5.6D ED telephoto zoom to extends the telephoto reach to 300mm but I don't see it possesses enough of reasons as a companion tele-zoom to this 28/200. Barring expectation of optical deliveries to other top rated Nikkor optics, I guess one main weakness of this zoom lens is still confined to the so-so lens speed it offers. Where firstly, you have to live with drop in shutter speed. Next, it has restricted wider control over depth of field usage. Well, probably with the use of a moderately fast film type, you can compensate the first (or alternate use of good support if shutter speed drops to unstable state for handheld photography). The latter on depth of field can be partly offset by choosing its usage for topics where shallow DOF is not entirely an important element.
To summarize this lens, it is a very good working zoom lens with very wide system compatibility as well as excellent zoom range. The compatibility factor alone has made this lens certainly offers more appealing element than the next IF-ED G-Spec lens upgrade. For MANUAL FOCUS Nikon users, if you find the basic lens specification is attractive enough to suit your needs, this is the only version you can consider as the next AF-G model does'nt has a conventional aperture ring to adjust aperture. Well, with such an extensive focal length coverage, I guess there is no need to outline all possible application that it can be used on the field or in studio. Well, somehow the generous extension and in-finder zooming control makes you forget this zoom lens provides such a high level of ease and convenience never being dreamed possible by during the old days. So, if you are a owner of this fabulous zoom lens, do some thinking while you shoot, it only awaits a creative mind to unleash its potential.
The rear section is fully exposed. Easily letting dust or foreign particles penetrating inside. So, be careful when performing lens interchanging in dusty environment.
Credit: Image courtesy of Steve Smith ® from U.K. where he has an EBAY STORE on his own. Image copyright © 2007. All rights reserved.
Technical Specification for Nikon AF Zoom Nikkor 28-200mm f/3.5~5.6D IF wide-telephoto zoom lens:-
Type of lense: Autofocus Nikkor zoom lens with built-in CPU and a metal rear Nikon bayonet mount
Focal length: 28mm to 200mm (approx. 42-300mm for Nikon DX format Digital SLR camera); Maximum aperture: f/3.5; Minimum Aperture: f/22
Lens construction: 16 elements in 13 groups with 2X hybrid and molded Aspherical elements (G4, 12th) with close focus / IF (Internal Focus) design
Picture angle: 74° (28mm) - 12° 20' (200mm); 53° ~ 8° for Nikon DX format Digital SLR cameras
Focal length scale: 28mm (green), 35mm, 50mm, 70mm, 85mm, 105mm, 135mm and 200mm (orange) (engraved circularly on zoom ring)
Diaphragm: Fully automatic; Focus control: Autofocus, manual focus via manual focusing ring (IF design)
Zoom control: Via a separate rotating zoom ring
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Distance scale: Graduated in meters and feet/inches from 2m (7 ft) at normal focus to infinity (OO) ; 0.85m ~1.5m (2.8'-4.9') MACRO mode. Note: 0.85m (2.8') for 28mm or 1.5m (4.9') at 200mm.
Distance information: Output into camera body with CPU interface system IS FULLY FUNCTIONAL for 3D Matrix Metering
Lake front, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario
Credit: Image copyright 2007 ARUNA Kalutanthri from Ottawa, Canada. All rights reserved. You can access Aruna's portfolio at Pbase for more creative visuals. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.
Aperture scale: f/3.5, f/5.6, f/8, f/11, f/16 and 22 on both standard and aperture-direct-readout (ADR) scales.
Mount: Metal Nikon bayonet mount with CPU contacts;
Attachment size: 72mm (P=0.75mm); Meter Coupling Prong: NONE
Depth of Field Scales: NONE; Diaphragm: 7 blades
Reproduction ratio: 1:12.7maximum; 1:9.9 at 200mm setting
Minimum aperture lock: Provided. Via slide switch design
Lens Coating: SIC (Nikon Super Integrated lens Coating)
Exposure measurement: Via full-aperture method with Ai cameras or cameras with CPU interface system; via stop-down method for other cameras
Infrared compensation index: Two. Provided for the 28mm and 50m focal length settings
Standard accessories: 72mm front lens cap; Rear lens cap LF-1; Bayonet lens hood HB-12; Original hard lens case CL-49
Optional Accessories: 72mm screw-in filters; Flexible lens pouch No.62. CP 9 may also be possible; Gelatin Filter Holder AF-2
Dimensions: approx. 78mm dia. (3.1") x 86.5mm (3.4") extension from lens flange approx. 95mm (3.7") overall length (excluding zoom/lens extension).
Weight: Approx. 555g (19.6 oz)
<<<--- Placement of the two hybrid molded Aspherical lens elements at G4 and G12.
A typical lens packaging for US market and markets outside (EU, Asia/Africa and Oceania) of the AF Nikkor zoom lens.
Compatible Tele-Converters: - TC-200/201S; TC-14A (Note: MANUAL focus only); Nikon does not encourage the use of early AF Teleconverter TC-16S with this AF zoom lens.
* Circularly polarized light filter suitability for focused subjects, except when zooming,
Other Information:- Nikon advised autofocusing ay not work properly with Nikon F801s / N8008s.
Startup Serial Number for the Nikon AF Zoom Nikkor 28-200mm f/3.5~5.6D IF lens may have been started from:
AF 28-200/3.5-5.6 D IF 72mm filter, metal mount 4+ 200001 < 204295 - 427276 > Feb98 - Mar03 Approx. number produced:- 227276 Reference: Roland Vink's lens data sheet.
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Recommended links to understand more technical details related to the Nikkor F-mount and production Serial Number:
http://rick_oleson.tripod.com/index-153.html by: my friend, Rick Oleson
http://www.zi.ku.dk/personal/lhhansen/photo/fmount.htm by: Hansen, Lars Holst
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