Additional Information on
Nikon's AF Zoom Nikkor 28-85mm f/3.5~4.5s lens group - Part I

 
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Background and development history: Nikon first zoom lens that broke the technological wideangle zoom barrier of 28mm was the pre-Ai MF Zoom Nikkor 28-45mm f/4.5 in 1975 whichhas an approx. 3X zoom ratio (the much acclaimed Ai-spec MF AF Zoom Nikkor 25-50mm f/4.0 was only being introduced late in 1979; the Ai-version of the 28/45 was released in 1978). Subsequently, a very compact MF Zoom Nikkor 28-50mm f/3.5s with an updated Ai-S spec and a slightly faster lens speed was introduced in 1984 where I used to own the lens briefly but was quite disappointed and concluded it was not quite up to the quality built and performance of the oldies of 28/45 f/4.5. Well, barely a year later, Nikon unveiled a MF Zoom Nikkor 28-85mm f/3.5~4.5s and it has proven to be a cracker in the Nikkor lens family as the focal length has created a wideangle-zoom trend of 28/85, until today. Mid between Nikon has tried to offer many variations such as AF Zoom Nikkor 28-70mm f/3.5~4.5s (1991); AF Zoom Nikkor 28-80mm f/3.5~5.6D (1995); AF Zoom Nikkor 28-70mm f/2.8D IF-ED (1998); AF Zoom Nikkor 28-105mm f/3.5~4.5D IF (1998); AF Zoom Nikkor 28-200mm f/3.5~5.6 IF (1998) etc. Possibly from the first quarter of '80, photographers were began to acknowledge the convenience and quality of zoom lenses, the MF Zoom Nikkor 28-85mm was still sold by Nikon until the end of first quarter after year 2000 (amazing, isn't it ?)

Pre Ai Nikkor Zoom 28-45mm f/4.5 LINK Ai Nikkor Zoom 25-50mm f/4.0 - web LINK Ai-S Nikkor Zoom 28-50mm f/3.5 WEBLINK Manual Focus Ai-S Nikkor Zoom 28-85mm f/3.5~4.5 MACRO lens - WEBLINK


Nikon's AF Zoom Nikkor 28-85mm f/3.5~4.5s MACRO wideangle-telephoto zoom lens - first version, 1986
Nikon's AF Zoom Nikkor 28-85mm f/3.5~4.5s MACRO wideangle-telephoto zoom lens Year introduced: Sept. 1986; Discontinued: 1990/1991

The first AF Zoom Nikkor 28-85mm f/3.5~4.5s was offered among the first series of AF Nikkor lenses in 1986. It was the only AF Zoom at the time that extends the wideangle range to 28mm so, it made a good supplementary zoom for early Nikon AF SLRs such as Nikon F501 and F401 series of bodies. For those who may be seeking a wideangle zoom beyond 74° field of view, Nikon did supported photographers with an AF Zoom Nikkor 24-50mm f/3.3~4.5s a year after the debut of the original 28/85 lens in September, 1986.

The AF Zoom Nikkor 28-85mm f/3.5~4.5s was essentially a replica of the MF counterpart where optically, it still uses the same 15 elements in 11 group design. The AF version weighs lighter by approx. 30g. It still retains a dual rings design for zooming and focusing except that now it has a customary early Nikon AF Nikkor exterior. The lens was separated by the filter thread / all plastic manual focusing ring at the front end; a distance information window and a fairly wide zoom ring that follow - it rotates while you zoom. The ring has a MACRO button and when you depress, it permits the lens to reach an extended MACRO setting. Unfortunately, the mode was set to be at 28mm which means one would need to focus very close in order to reach its maximum reproduction ratio- in this case,
1:3.4 is achieved at its closest focus distance of 0.23m (approx. 9.1"). Personally, if the macro is designed to work at 85mm should provide longer reach and a more natural perspective of close-up shots.

During zooming, the lens extends and rotates. The use of special filter requires more attention (The best way is to achieve the focus first before turning a filter for effect generating- say, polarizer). The lens barrel has a typical early Nikkor zoom appearance which may exhibit signs of wear and tear. But overall, I think it is still acceptable to rate it as an above average in its built quality (come to think of it, at least it still has a decent quality and a metal lens mount as compared to many of today AF Nikkor which has an all plastic mount and fragile light weight body, huh ?). Optically, in most cases (esp. when light level is ideal) the lens can deliver excellent quality pictures. When shoot against backlit, it is always advisable to install the HB-1 lens hood as in most cases, multi elements zoom typically exhibits its less desirable factors in these kind of situations. Since the light gathering nature is not particularly impressive, the use of plain field focusing screen will ease the problem for manual focus Nikon users but it only affects AF users on shutter speed compensation.

Swedagon Pagoda in the evening, Myanmar 2006
The slow lens speed is not an issue, provided you need some support to counter the slow shutter speed. An evening view at the 2000+ years old Swedagon Pagaoda in Yangoon, Myanmar.

Interim photo ONLY. Looking for contributing images to subsitute this.

Front lens element of Nikon's AF Zoom Nikkor 28-85mm f/3.5~4.5s MACRO wideangle-telephoto zoom lens early version Rear lens element of Nikon's AF Zoom Nikkor 28-85mm f/3.5~4.5s MACRO wideangle-telephoto zoom lens early version
Despite having an variable aperture, both the front and rear len element is quite large in diameter.

Credit
: Image displayed here courtesy of Maryahna <ricex034@tc.umn.edu> where I spotted the image via this EBAY STORE on their own. Image(s) copyright © 2006. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.


The thin/narrow all plastic manual focusing ring which had faced so much criticism by Nikon photographers during that early era was the only reason why Nikon upgraded the lens in 1991 with an improvement on the manual focusing ring. Other than uncomfortable to hold and operate (esp. when using the camera with glove during cold weather), performance of early Nikon AF SLRs added to the problem too. Typically with subjects with less distinctive outlines or low contrast matters, the AF hunts. It adds issues on power efficiency and lengthy operation, so, manual focus is often used to counter these and hence exposing the weak design of the MF ring. Anyway, some users of later Nikon SLRs models such as Nikon F90X and F100 with better light capture and AF capabilities have commented the issue is less disturbing.

Early version of  Nikon's AF Zoom Nikkor 28-85mm f/3.5~4.5s MACRO wideangle-telephoto zoom lens  image courtesy of Roland Vink
The versatile picture angle from 74° - 28° may suits many picture taking situations such as travel, PR gathering, outdoor portraits, quick snaps of candid and even presents itself as an excellent all round zoom lens for indoor studio shots where usually artificial illumination is used to offset the lack of lens speed. Overall, as the lens has been long discontinued, and prices on an used, early version of this AF Zoom Nikkor 28-85mm f/3.5~4.5s may present an attractive buy for the cost conscious minded who may be seeking for a wide-tele zoom which delivers both optical and built excellence and comes with a starting focal length of a 28mm wideangle.



Technical Specification for Nikon AF Zoom Nikkor 28-85mm f/3.5~4.5s 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 85mm; Maximum aperture: f/3.5; (28mm=1:3.5; approx. 50mm=1:4.0; 85mm=1:4.5) Minimum Aperture: f/22
Lens construction:
15 elements in 11 groups; with close focus Design
Picture angle:
74° - 28° 30'
Focal length scale: 28mm, 35mm, 50mm and 85mm
Diaphragm: Fully automatic,
Focus control: Via focusing ring
Zoom control: Via rotating zoom ring

Distance scale: Graduated in meters and feet/inches from 0.8m (2.6') at normal focus to infinity (OO); close focuses at its nearest distance at 0.23m (9.1") at MACRO mode
Distance information: Output into camera body with CPU interface system
IS NOT POSSIBLE with this lens; Option for manual focus provided
Aperture scale:
f/3.5/f/4.5, f/5.6, f/8, f/11, f/16 and 22 on both standard and aperture-direct-readout scales
Mount: Nikon bayonet mount with CPU contacts;
Attachment size
: 62mm (P=0.75mm);

Sunrise Porto... by Armindo Lopes
A sunny morning, Porto

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.
Side view and viaul illustration / identification of Nikon early AF zoom 28-85mm
Meter Coupling Prong: NONE
Depth of Field Scales: NONE
Reproduction ratio: 1:3.4 maximum
Minimum aperture lock: Provided. Via twist button
- an alternate way to verify this early version
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

* Notes on optional original bayonet hood HB-1. If the hood is not attached properly, vignetting is likely to occur.

Credit: Three easy visual identification of the early version. Image displayed here courtesy of Maryahna <ricex034@tc.umn.edu> where I spotted the image via this EBAY STORE on their own. Image(s) copyright © 2006. All rights reserved.

Original box for Nikon AF Zoom 28-85mm f/3.5~4.5S MACRO wide=tele lens Optical contruction illustration on Nikon AF Zoom 28-85mm f/3.5~4.5S MACRO wide=tele lens
Infrared compensation index: Two; for the 28mm and 50mm setting
Standard accessories: 62mm front lens cap; Rear lens cap LF-1; Hard lens case CL-33S
Optional Accessories:
62mm screw-in filters; Bayonet hood HB-1 *; Flexible lens pouch No.62. CP 9 may also be possible
Dimensions: Approx. 71mm dia. x 89mm (approx. 3.5'); overall length is approx. 91.5mm
Weight: Approx. 540g (1 Ib 3 oz)

Usable Tele-Converters: - TC-201S; TC-14A (Using aperture smaller than f/11, vignetting may occur). Note: MANUAL focus only); Nikon does not encourage the use of early AF Te-converter TC-16S with this AF zoom.

* Other information: A. Be careful not to soil or damage the CPU contacts. Do not attach the following accessories to the lens, as they might damage the lens' CPU contacts: Auto Extension Ring PK-1, Auto Extension Ring PK-11*, K1 Ring, Auto Ring BR-4**. Other accessories may not be suitable for use with certain cameras. This lens cannot be used with AF Finder DX-1 attached to the Nikon F3AF camera. * Use PK-11A instead. **Use BR-6 instead; Serial Number for the Nikon AF Zoom Nikkor 28-85mm f/3.5~4.5S lens may have been began from: plastic focus, twist aperture lock 4+ 200001 < 220058 - 336770 > Sep86 - Aug90 136770 Reference: Roland Vink's lens data sheet.

| NEXT | 1/2 The upgrade of Nikon AF zoom Nikkor 28-85mm f/3.5~4.5s (New or MK II)

Page One:- Original Version (1986~1991) | Page Two:- Nikon AF zoom Nikkor 28-85mm f/3.5~4.5s (1992~2005) |
Relative:
Manual Focus Nikkor Zoom 28-85mm f/3.5~4.5s; MF Zoom Nikkor 28-45mm f/4.5; MF Zoom Nikkor 28-50mm f/3.5s

EXTERNAL LINK: Indicative used equipment prices at EBAY for this AF Nikkor zoom lens; A one page user summary Ken Rowckwell, Australia; Images / sample photos from PBASE; A short write-up @ phototestcenter; CPU ID of this lens by Rottmerhusen.com

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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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