Additional Information on
Nikon's AF Zoom Nikkor 28-70mm f/3.5~4.5D wide-Telephoto Zoom lens - Part I

 
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2nd Edition 23.09.2007

Part 1:- Background and Development History on AF Nikkor 28-70mm lens group

Nikon's AF Zoom Nikkor 28-70mm f/3.5~4.5S wide-telephoto Zoom lens
Year Introduced: May, 1991; Discontinued: Sept. 1992

In 1991, Nikon had released a zoom lens that that caught many consumers attention. Firstly, it looked like a logical extension of the popular 35/70mm zoom as a standard zoom lens for the Nikon where the wideangle section was offered wider at a very useful 28mm wideangle. But the real reason for the excitement that centered around the AF Zoom Nikkor 28-70mm f/3.5~4.5S was, for the first time, Nikon applied their aspherical lens element technology / know-how on a mass market consumer optical product. During those days lenses with an aspherical has a mystical charm to photographers. Generally, aspheric lenses were very difficult to produce using traditional and time consuming polish method. If I can recall correctly, during the third quarter of the '80, many third party labels such as TAMRON and even the rivaling Canon had adopted a new cheaper method of applying a layer of optical resin onto the primary optical lens element which aims to correct aspherical level to meet designers desire for a high quality zoom lens. Nikon was quite reluctant and slow to adopt the same approach throughout this period and the AF Zoom Nikkor 28-70mm f/3.5~4.5S was the first consumer class AF Zoom Nikkor zoom lens which used the renewed method to deliver an aspherical lens element in its optical composition.

Nikon AF Zoom Nikkor 28-70mm f/3.5~4.5D wideangle - telephoto lens Side view with various lens control features and display
Basically, Nikon method was not too different from others, where a layer of optical resin was applied to a pre-polished primary lens element in order to shape the particular piece to exact standard to deliver its purpose to reduce any distortion and aberration to absolute lowest possible level in an overall zoom lens design. It was simply of this factor that had helped the lens became immensely popular, other than it has a very practical zoom range than the comparing Nikon's 35/70mm class of AF Nikkor zoom lenses. Further, many of the budget and/or entry level Nikon AF SLR cameras such as Nikon F601, F401X etc. which has a built-in speedlight where the flash coverage also extends to 28mm and this zoom lens makes a perfect companion for those Nikon bodies than other AF Zoom such as the bulkier AF Nikkor 28-85mm Zoom lenses.

Credit: Image(s) displayed herein courtesy of all the nice folks from Taiwan's Digitize-Future@EBAY®. Some of them are extracted from their very popular online EBAY STORE. The Company also has a website on their own at shueido.com Image(s) copyright © 2006. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

The diminishing Penang Ferry service..
A diminishing old ferry service across to the Penang island.

Leofoo® 2007

Interim photo ONLY. Looking for contributing image to replace this.

The original version of the AF zoom Nikkor 28-70mm f/3.5~4.5S was debut as a native Ai-S autofocus zoom lens. It has superb mechanical built. It was not exactly too large as a 2.5X zoom lens but the more important factor with it was the picture angle of its 74° - 34° 20' it offers which is very useful and practical as a wideangle zoom lens with a Nikon camera. However, I guess the more juicy part was the much hyped use of aspheric glass element in its optical group. Generally, the use of aspherical lens element in an optical lens is aimed to achieve an objective of both compact size and obtaining excellent optical performance where common spherical aberration usually causes sharpness inconsistency in a typical wideangle zoom lens. In the case of the AF Zoom Nikkor 28-70mm, Nikon designers had used an aspherical element where delivers technically a zoom lens with fewer lens elements. The benefit is a smaller and lighter weight as well as lesser number of lens elements in its optical composition. This reduces chances of internal reflection which may also degrade the optical quality further. Besides, other possible optical aberrations such as sagittal (narrow shaped coma) can be tamed to absolute low level. The resulting AF-D zoom LENS has a 8 elements in 7 groups optical train and it was quite compact. How compact ? Well, somehow it delivers the objective of uses standard 52mm filters! Well, the weight is not significantly being reduced, but I guess there is no middle of the road between mechanical quality & weight factor so, it weighs approx. 355g - considered to be quite heavy for a zoom lens with 52mm filter attachment size but personally, this is one area that has made consumers felt confident enough with the high quality built factor, although other than the rear lens mount was a metal piece but overall the lens construction was still based on large portion of high quality polycarbonate material as its basis of construction, but as usually weight can add a layer of quality feel to a zoom lens. It does make you feel sold and rigid as a whole. I guess one of the main reason was, the aperture ring, zoom and manual focus ring are cleverly adopted with a very well grip design pattern. The Ai-S version of this compact 28-70mm zoom lens barely lasted a year in the market, as there were changes occurred at the Nikon camera side, the innovative 3D Matrix Metering system was introduced in some of the Nikon bodies and the AF 28/70mm zoom lens went through a round of general lens updating program by Nikon in 1992.

Nikon AF Zoom Nikkor 28-70mm f/3.5~4.5D wideangle - telephoto lens vertical view withy front lens element
Nikon AF Zoom Nikkor 28-70mm f/3.5~4.5D wideangle - telephoto lens side view with metal rear lens mount section
OFF TOPIC:- I have no complaint whatsoever over the weight. Reducing bulkiness and heavyweight are usually priority on revised design for some of the super-tele and high end, large aperture zoom lenses. For a pin-size zoom lens, added weight somehow adds a quality feel over the mechanical quality. considering many people can accept the bulky SLR with a heavy power pack attached, but just like to trim the weight down from the optic that attaches to it, it doesn't make sense as the material used are not titanium, manufacturers just turned to use plastic instead of metal for critical components in a lens to answer your needs, so, I would think this AF Zoom Nikkor 28-70mm f/3.5~4.5S.

Credit: Image(s) displayed herein courtesy of all the nice folks from Taiwan's Digitize-Future@ EBAY STORE. The Company also has a website on their own at shueido.com Image(s) copyright © 2006. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

Vietnam Series by Arthur Teng, Street photography
Part 2:- AF Nikkor with embedded Distance Chip

Nikon's
AF Zoom Nikkor 28-70mm f/3.5~4.5D wide-telephoto Zoom lens
Year Introduced: Released in Sept. 1992, Discontinued: 1999

When the original Ai-S version was introduced, the 3D Matrix Metering System was not made available on the Nikon cameras yet. It was only after the
Nikon F90/N90 during late 1992 where the enhanced 3D Matrix Meters powered Nikon were beginning to emerge. In order for the F90's 8 segments metering system to work, the matching AF Nikkor lenses requires an embedded distance chip where it relays the info back to the camera's circuitry to evaluate lighting and contrast for a precise exposure calculation where now the subject in focus (distance) was part of an exposure calculation. Incidentally, the N90/F90 was also the world's first 35mm SLR camera which offered TTL Multi-Sensor *5 segments) to use distance info for both ambient light and flash exposure calculation. The introduction of said Nikon bodies had changed the course of design of many AF Nikkor lenses and in fact, the innovative system has also turned into a mainstream metering system used by other labels. As for AF Nikkor lens group, some were being introduced as a new AF-D model but many were being upgraded from the previous Ai-S version. The AF Zoom Nikkor 28-70mm f/3.5~4.5S was no exception and belongs to the latter group, it was updated in Sept. as an AF-D AF Nikkor zoom lens in 1992, actually along with the timed release of the Nikon F90/N90.

Vietnam Beauty, Tour to Vietnam Series

Credit: Image courtesy of another my long time personal friend, Award Winning photograher/writer, ARTHUR TENG®, Malaysia. ARTHUR''s PORTFOLIO can be accessed via MIR. Image copyright © 2007. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.



Nikon AF Zoom Nikkor 28-70mm f/3.5~4.5D wideangle - telephoto lens by Roland Vink Nikon AF Zoom Nikkor 28-70mm f/3.5~4.5D wideangle - telephoto lens the MACRO index line
Basically, other than the updated distance chip into the lens design. There is no significant differences between previous Ai-S and the AF Zoom Nikkor 28-70mm f/3.5~4.5D version where the optical composition for both new and old remain identical. However, as the AF-D version has a wider system compatibility that bridging the old and new metering systems, so it actually brings the extra benefit. For manual focus Nikon owners, probably it doesn't really matter which version is suitable, but for photographers who live with a hybrid system among MF/AF and film/digital, the AF-D model should be the more ideal choice.

Purely from the perspective of lens design, it is indeed a very good effort by Nikon to deliver such a good value zoom lens for the consumers. Combining both excellent mechanical engineering with very well illustrated features as well as a very functional control during operation. Similar to its non AF Ai-S predecessor, other than the rear metal lens mount, the majority of the made up components of this zoom lens were polycarbonated materials. I guess the selection and design of both the zoom and manual focus rings could had made the difference where despite plastic parts are there but it still presents itself with a quality feel. There are a few points that you have to bear in mind, the lens actually extends physically when you zoom. Next, the front element also rotates when focusing, these are not entirely an important issue as it only involves with an additional step during shooting i.e. adjust the filter or the mount on accessory after focus is achieved, Generally, the noise level during AF is at a moderate level (with my Nikon F4) but AF is considered to be fast and smooth on a Nikon F5. Although this compact AF-D 28-70mm has a so-so close focusing capability where its closest focusing distance permissible is approx. 0.5m (2 ft) but you can extend the physical rotation beyond 0.5m to reach a MACRO mode. The close up range reaches 0.39m (1.3 ft) at this setting. I am not sure what is the reproduction ratio (you can help by furnish me this information if you have an instruction manual with you). The filter attachment size of a popular 52mm is another delightful feature, as other than maintaining the overall compactness, it permits easy access as well as sharing of common filter accessories with other lenses. Personally, I would rate this lens highly as it offers an excellent price versus performance ratio for a day to day zoom lens that can attach to any of the Nikon - be it film or digital. The only issue is a lack of lens speed as well as the tele-end section is a little too short for a wider scope of picture application and/or requires a telephoto zoom lens as companion. Well, I guess it is not possible to screeze all the good elements in a compact zoom, so as long as you can find a good usage of it, it should be a lovely zoom for your camera. Please take note: after format conversion, the lens will replicate as a 42-105mm zoom lens on any of the DX format Nikon digital SLR cameras.

Fishing by the pond near residential area at a lazy afternoon., Kuala lumpur.
Urban Life. Fishing by the pond near residential area at a lazy afternoon.

Leofoo® 2007

Interim photo ONLY. Looking for contributing image to replace this.

Nikon AF Zoom Nikkor 28-70mm f/3.5~4.5D wideangle - telephoto lens the lens coating and front lens element
While commercially this little zoom lens was once a huge success for Nikon. Optically, the zoom lens has a good suppression of common optical aberration such as barrel and spherical distortions. Generally, consumer's reviews were sandwiched between good and some which has reservation. Overall, I would rate this lens as an excellent entry as a standard zoom for a Nikon. This zoom reminds me with the same market scenario with the AF Zoom Nikkor 24-120mm f/3.5~5.6D IF introduced later in 1996. But I guess the less confident photographers who depends so much on an optical lens to create miracles for their photography mis-thought the magical term "aspheric" and probably had too high of an expectation as well as a product that originally intended to target for the masses.

To use a line to summarize this zoom lens, the zoom lens doesn't behave like a creative filter where it still requires a creative mind to unleash its potential as a very useful imaging tool. It is actually a very portable standard zoom lens which can deliver decent optical performance and may well be remembered by many as the first Nikon mass market zoom lens that uses aspherical lens element in its optical composition. For modern photographers who enjoys the many readily available options in the market today, a 2.5X zoom ratio with a startup picture angle of 28mm of this compact zoom lens may look like a so-so range of a product but personally, I still think zoom lenses between 28-85mm has a very practical usage. This discontinued) AF Zoom Nikkor 28-70mm f/3.5~4.5D may has been phased out some time long ago, but as the apparent weakness of zoom lenses within this zoom range are generally confines to lack of lens speed. Nikon actually patched this vacuum back in Sept. 1998 with an alternative AF-S Zoom Nikkor 28-70mm f/2.8D ED-IF which has proven to be a hit among consumers. And with other alternatives such as the 24/85 as well as the budget range of AF 28/80mm lens group that began to emerge within the AF Nikkor lens family, Nikon only retains the fast speed AF-S 28/70 f/2.8 as the sole model at this specific zoom range of 28-70mm.



Technical Specification for Nikon Autofocus (AF) Zoom Nikkor 28-70mm f/3.5~4.5S MACRO & AF Zoom Nikkor 28-70mm f/3.5~4.5D MACRO wide-tele zoom lens:-

Type of lense: Autofocus Nikkor wide-telephoto zoom lens with built-in CPU and a metal rear Nikon bayonet mount
Focal length: 28mm to 70mm; (Magnifies approx. as a 42-105mm zoom lens for Nikon DX format Digital SLRs)
Maximum / Minimum aperture: f/3.5 / f/22
Lens construction: 8 elements in 7 groups; with close focus design built-in
Picture angle: 74° - 34° 20' for 35mm format SLR
Focal length scale: 28mm, 35mm, 50mm and 70mm printed circularly around the zoom ring
Diaphragm: Fully automatic,
Focus control: Autofocus. Camera driven autofocus. Manual focusing possible, via MF ring at the front end
Zoom control: Via two-touch rotating zoom ring
Distance scale: Graduated in meters and feet/inches from 0.5m (2ft) at normal focus to infinity (OO); close focuses at its nearest distance at 0.39m (1.3ft) at extended MACRO mode
Distance information: Output into camera body with CPU interface system is
NOT POSSIBLE with the early Ai-S version, FULLY FUNCTIONAL with the AF-D models for 3D Matrix / TTL 3D Matrix flash; Option for manual focus provided

Nikon AF (Autofocus) Zoom Nikkor 28-70mm f/3.5~4.5D wide-tele zoom lens front view

Nikon AF (Autofocus) Zoom Nikkor 28-70mm f/3.5~4.5D wide-tele zoom lens rear section view with metal lens mount


Credit: Image(s) displayed herein courtesy of all the nice folks from Adenairways®, Australia Some of these images were extracted from his online EBAY STORE. Image(s) copyright © 2006. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

Aperture scale: f/3.5, f/4.5, f/5.6, f/8.0, f/11, f/16 and 22 on both standard and aperture-direct-readout (ADR) scales
Mount: Nikon bayonet mount with CPU contacts;
Attachment size
: 52mm (P=0.75mm); Rotating when zoom and/or focusing
Meter Coupling Prong: NONE
Depth of Field Scales: NONE
Infra compensation index: Two settings; for 28mm and 70mm
Reproduction ratio:
unknown (please furnish info if you have an instruction manual).
Minimum aperture lock: Provided. Via slide-switch

Lens Coating: NIC (Nikon 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

Nikon HB 6 lens hood for AF Zoomm Nikkor 28-70mm f/3.5~4.5 Front and side view of a AF Nikkor zoom 35-70mm f/2.8 lens
Credit: Image of the Nikon HB-6 lens hood attached on AF Nikkor zoom 28-70mm Ai-S zoom lens courtesy of 'Shutterblade team'.The Company also operates a popular Ebay Store. All image(s) appeared herein are Copyright © 2005. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

STILL LIFE in simply red by Arthur Teng, Street photography
Standard accessories: 52mm front lens cap; Rear lens cap LF-1; lens case CL-32S; Optional Accessories: 52mm screw-in filters; Lens hood HB-6 *; No. 62, CP 9 may also be possible
Dimensions: approx. 67.5mm dia. x 71mm; Weight: Approx. 355g; Usable Tele-Converters: -
TC-201S; TC-14A. Note: The said Nikon TC with this AF Zoom lens will only work in MANUAL focus only;

*
Other information: This lens cannot be used with AF Finder DX-1 attached to the Nikon F3AF camera.
Serial Number for the Nikon AF Zoom Nikkor 28-70mm f/3.5~4.5S and the AF-D version lens may have been began from: AF 28-70/3.5-4.5 1st hybrid aspherical Nikkor 3+ 2000001 < 2009663 - 2072238 > Jun91 - Sep92 72238; AF 28-70/3.5-4.5 D 3+ 3000001 < 3001358 - 3323540 > Sep92 - 1999 323540 Reference: Roland Vink's
lens data sheet.

EXTERNAL LINKS: A very good review of the AF Zoom Nikkor 28-70mm f/3.5~4.5D prepared by jeudi 3 février; Photozone's Klaus Schroiff accesssment, Ken-Rockwell review on the AF-D version; mixed general opinion expressed by users at photographyreview.com. Used prices of this lens at EBAY

Simply Red..

Credit: Image courtesy of another my long time personal friend, Award Winning photograher/writer, ARTHUR TENG®, Malaysia. ARTHUR''s PORTFOLIO can be accessed via MIR. Image copyright © 2007. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

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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
http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/hardwares/nikonfmount/lens2.htm
http://www.photosynthesis.co.nz/nikon/serialno.html

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