Additional Information on
Nikon's AF Zoom Nikkor 35-80mm f/4.5~5.6D wide-telephoto zoom lens

 
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Preliminary draft last edited on 28.07.2007

Nikon AF Zoom Nikkor 35-80mm f/4.5~5.6D Zoom lens
Nikon's Autofocus (AF) Zoom Nikkor 35-80mm f/4.0~5.6D wideangle-telephoto zoom lens

Year introduced: 1993; Discontinued: 1995

Although as early as in 1961, Nikon has already showcased a short-lived production of a MF Zoom Nikkor 35-80mm f/2.8~4 but Nikon had revised the old zoom range with a new AF zoom of 35-80mm in 1993. It was like the once popular AF Zoom Nikkor 28-70mm f/3.5~4.5s in 1991 (updated as an AF-D in 1992) where it was among the early series of budget AF Nikkor zoom lenses that has an Aspherical element in its optical design. The optical train was a simple, straight forward 6 elements in 6 group design and it was made as a very compact zoom lens. The physical appearance coincides with other zoom lenses that appeared during this period where a customary zoom and Manual Focusing ring were using a smaller rectangular pattern. The manual focusing ring, with a double row grip is not the most generous form but it offers a better design from previous design used on earlier series of other AF Nikkor lenses.

Although it looked like an extension from the AF Zoom Nikkor 35-70mm f/3.5~4.5S/D where it was aimed as a companion zoom lens specifically catered for some of the budget entry level Nikon SLRs such as Nikon F50, F70, F65 etc. but as it was released as a native AF-D zoom lens, it may also be used for other high end models introduced at later stages such as Nikon F90X, Nikon F100, F5 etc. Although from the perspective of a serious user the restrictive zoom range as well as slow maximum aperture it provides, the compactness and lightweight in a useful wide to medium telephoto zoom range did attracted some serious followers who may just looking for a portable AF Nikkor zoom lens that can supplement their heavier prime or fast speed zoom lenses of other focal lengths.

Chinese Liberation army uniform, a friend who posed for me, north east of China
A portrait of an old Chinese Liberation Army uniform. Friend as model.

Leofoo® 2007

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

Nikon AF Zoom Nikkor 35-80mm f/4.5~5.6D vertical side view
Nikon autofocus  (AF) Nikkor 35-80mm f/4~5.6D zoom lens front section view
Credit: Image(s) displayed here are courtesy of betteroffblu/Jenny® where the EBAY STORE is also one of my favorite spot to look for great images on used photographic equipment. Image(s) copyright © 2006. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

Major Features:-

* Compact and lightweight
* 2.28X zoom ratio with moderate wideangle of 35mm to short telephoto 80mm.
* Aspherical lens element was used to minimize aberrations for optimizing optical performance.
* Closest focusing distance is 0.5m (2 ft.) with close focus (MACRO) which extends down to 0.35m (1.15ft).
* As a D-type AF Nikkor lens, it transmits distance information to the Nikon AF SLR cameras for enhanced exposure calculations
* and flash control**

Optically, it has received a mixed reviews but I guess the lens is catered for certain market which is less critical of extremes and it is very much depends on individual interpretation. Well, although this little zoom lens may not meet expectation for the demanding pros or serious amateurs, but overall, I would still rated it as a very usable AF Nikkor zoom lens that can deliver decent optical deliveries. Further, as the picture angles from wide to its maximum tele-range is corresponding to most Nikon Speedlights, the Distance information is carried forward from ambient to 3D Matrix flash as well for compatible Nikon bodies. For film user, the zoom range may be just about acceptable but for digital SLR users, the DX format conversion as a 52.5-120mm may seem rather odd. So probably this was the reason why Nikon has discontinue the production.

Basic lens accessory NIkon AF budget zoom lens 35-80mm f/4~5.6D rear section metal mount view
* 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, F65, F55, F50 etc. with any compatible Nikon flash models such as SB-XXX series, such as SB-28, SB-27 AF-TTL Speedlight models etc.

As an AF-D Nikkor lens, the AF Zoom Nikkor 38-70mm f/4.0~5.6D offers wide system compatibility for the new and old Nikon, even for previous MF Nikon users. The only issue that I am not too happy about was the focus and zoom control mechanism where it is too loose and when you combine the lightweight of the lens, it doesn't gave an impression of a quality construct. Well, although some people may claim the lightweights is its strength but I guess good mechanical quality feel of an optical lens always goes the opposite way. So, for previous generation of MF users, the zoom lens may be a different experience for them altogether But it is a very well priced with more than acceptable quality with a moderate zoom ratio in a single, highly portable lens package.



Technical Specification for Nikon AF Zoom Nikkor 35-80mm f/4.0~5.6D wide-telephoto zoom lens:-

Type of lense: Autofocus Nikkor zoom lens with built-in CPU and a metal / plastic rear Nikon bayonet mount (last version made in Thailand has plastic mount).
Focal length: 35mm to 80mm (approx. 52-120mm for Nikon DX format Digital SLR camera);
Maximum aperture: f/4.0; Minimum Aperture: f/22
Lens construction: 6 elements in 6 groups with an aspherical element; Made in Thailand units: 8 elements in 7 groups
Picture angle: 62° (35mm) - 30° 10' (80mm);
Focal length scale: 35mm (green), 50mm and 80mm (orange), WHITE lettering on all Thai-made models; scales are printed circularly on zoom ring
Diaphragm: Fully automatic;
Focus control: Autofocus, manual focus via manual focusing ring; double rows for original version, thin, ridge plastic ring on all Thai-made versions
Zoom control: Via a separate rotating zoom ring
Distance scale: For Original version:- Graduated in meters and feet/inches from 0.5m (2 ft.) with close focus (MACRO) which extends down to 0.35m (1.15ft). works across the entire zoom range; For made in Thailand units version:- 0.35m (1.2m)
(AF) Nikkor 35-80mm f/4~5.6D zoom lens front lens element (AF) Nikkor 35-80mm f/4~5.6D zoom lens
Distance information: Output into camera body with CPU interface system IS FULLY FUNCTIONAL for 3D Matrix Metering
Aperture scale: f/4.0, 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; MK II (made In Thailand: Metal mount for early version, black plastic mount for later versions).
Attachment size: 52mm (P=0.75mm) for original version; Meter Coupling Prong: NONE
Depth of Field Scales: NONE; Diaphragm: 7 blades
Reproduction ratio: unknown for original version; 1/3.6X for Thai made units
Minimum aperture lock: Provided. Via slide switch design
Lens Coating: NIC for early models, possible SIC (Nikon Super Integrated lens Coating) for later Thai -made versions

Comparing the AF Zoom Nikkor 35-80mm with AF Zoom Nikkor 28-70mm f/3.5~4.5D
Standard accessories: 52mm front lens cap, Rear lens cap LF-1; lens case CL-31S (for Thai models, not sure if this is standard).
Optional Accessories: 52mm screw-in filters; lens hood HN-2 for original or HN3 for Thai made models, Flexible lens pouch No.62. CP 8, CP-9 may also be possible;
Dimensions
: approx. 66.5mm dia. x 60mm for original version; 66.5mm x 67.5mm for Thai-made version:
Weight: Approx. 255g; 180g for Thai-made modelsx. 180g for Thai-made models

<
<<--- Comparing the dimension between the popular AF Zoom Nikkor 28-70mm f/3.5~4.5D with the AF Zoom 35-80mm.

Compatible Tele-Converters: -Due to lack of primary lens speed, use of TC with this zoom is very unpractical. Compatible units are TC-200/201S; TC-14A (Note: revert back to 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 Numbe
r for the Nikon AF Zoom Nikkor 35-80mm f/4~5.6D IF lens may have been started from:
AF 35-80/4-5.6 D metal mount, Japan 3+ 6000001 < 6046585 - 6074745 > Jan94 Approx. number produced:- 74745

Nikon's Autofocus (AF) Zoom Nikkor 35-80mm f/4.0~5.6D MK II/III wideangle-telephoto zoom lens
Year introduced: 1995; Discontinued: unknown

The second version of the compact AF 35-80mm Nikkor zoom was introduced towards end of 1995. It has been redesigned with a new facelift. As Nikon probably had only AF as the core aim in designing the lens, the most noticeable change with this lens update was the very thin manual focusing ring, which is almost not serving any true purpose other than it is there just in case, or something like in an an emergency situation if the camera's AF mechanism doesn't work. Next, the lens has a very plasticy feel and look. The production from this version onwards has been shifted to the Thailand Nikon factory. The early batch came with a metal mount. Subsequent production units rolled out from the Thai plant has a rigid, black all-plastic rear lens mount. To separate the metal rear lens mount version with the last batch with all black plastic mount model, I termed Thai-made metal mount version as MK II while MK III is used for the plastic mount units.

Nikon AF Zoom Nikkor 35-80mm f/4.5~5.6D version II Zoom lens
Generally, the metal mount MK II has a starting serial number that begins from 300001 while the MK III plastic mount version starts from 4000001. You may use this as a simple visual guide. The change with this lens update is not entirely confine to cosmetic. Internally, the Thai-made AF Zoom Nikkor 35-80mm f/4.0~5.6D MK II/III uses a new 8 elements in 7 group optical formula. While you thought the original version was compact/lightweight enough (at 225g), the new lens is even lighter, weighing just only 180g ! Nikon also improves the close focus ability from 0.5m found on the predecessor to quite an impressive 0.35m - where the closest focusing is maintained throughout the zoom range from 35-80mm.

So, the little zoom, other than as an excellent companion for light travel, it is also suited for general photography from close-ups to landscapes and/or PR photography. As most electronic flash units readily accessible on the market provides good coverage from 35 to short telephoto, so, it also makes a perfect match for either TTL or auto flash.

If you are a dedicated Nikon fan, probably you may get a little uneasy with the construction and mechanical quality presented in this lens. Probably it may not be an ultimate zoom lens for the serious photographers but this zoom lens is intended to serve the masses as well as countering comparing competitions such as the budget Canon EF 35-80 f/4.0~5.6 which actually bundled with many Canon budget SLR cameras (the EF power zoom actually went through MK III variation as well). So, for some of the entry level Nikon SLR models that surfaced during this period, the AF Nikkor Zoom 35-80mm was aimed to make the Nikon leveled in the market place. So, it probably has a different objective and the main criteria is to ensure the lens is cost efficient, where adoption of the plastic mount was following the Canon's path where they made assumption nobody within this segment (casual shooters) of the market will change a zoom lens that often and ruggedness is not entirely an issue as with the old days.

Rear mirror of a traveling car along the lonely country road in the evening, north east of China
Rear mirror of a traveling car along the lonely country road in the evening, north east of China

Leofoo® 2007

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

Good thing is, other than a fragile mechanical quality which could have been made better by Nikon as well as coupling with a damn bloody slow lens speed which is almost relegated the lens to confine the user to shoot in good light level and/or using a flash, it is still being designed with a little seriousness in its overall lens spec. Similarly, it delivers decent optical performance. As compared to the long time budget AF 35-70mm zoom class which has a moderate f/3.3 maximum aperture, although the longer end of the focal length of this compact AF Nikkor zoom has been extended slightly to 80mm, Nikon could had designed this AF 35-80 with a comparing lens speed to improve its usability. Other than the AF-D lens configuration which enables this autofocus Nikkor zoom to take full advantage on some of the advance 3D Matrix Metering and flash exposure control on the Nikon camera section, personally, I don't see it has a significant advantages over the AF 35-70 group of AF Nikkor Zoom lenses. Overall, it is an optical zoom that won't make a Nikon fan feel delightful, but just is a product that sold very well in number, deliver acceptable image performance but you have to live with compromises. For owners who got hold of this lens from your initial purchase of your Nikon, this zoom lens is okay. But for those who may be seeking for an used zoom lens, for practical usage (make sure it is an AF-D version if your Nikon is a 3D Matrix Meter enabled model), you may also consider other step-up alternative such as the AF Zoom Nikkor 28-85mm f/3.5~4.5N (non D version), AF Zoom-Nikkor 28-80mm f/3.5-5.6D or the AF Zoom Nikkor 28-105mm f/3.5~5.5D etc.

NOTE: This AF Nikkor zoom lens has been discontinued by Nikon in 2006.

Last version of AF Nikkor zoom 35-80mm f/4~5.6D MK III Thailand made AF Nikkor zoom 35-80mm f/4~5.6D MK III  



Technical Specification for Nikon AF Zoom Nikkor 35-80mm f/4.0~5.6D MK II (metal Mount) / III (plastic Mount) wide-telephoto zoom lens:-

Type of lense: Autofocus Nikkor zoom lens with built-in CPU and a metal / plastic rear Nikon bayonet mount (last version has plastic mount).
Focal length: 35mm to 80mm (approx. 52-120mm for Nikon DX format Digital SLR camera);
Maximum aperture: f/4.0; Minimum Aperture: f/22
Lens construction: 8 elements in 7 groups
Picture angle: 62° (35mm) - 30° 10' (80mm);
Lovely image of this AF zoom Nikkor 35-80mm f/4.0~5.6D lens by rjk97@EBAY
Focal length scale: 35mm , 50mm and 80mm (colorless), WHITE lettering on all Thai-made models; scales are printed circularly on zoom ring
Diaphragm: Fully automatic;
Focus control: Autofocus, manual focus via manual focusing ring; thin, ridge plastic ring on all Thai-made versions
Zoom control: Via a separate rotating zoom ring
Distance scale: 0.35m (1.2m)
Distance information: Output into camera body with CPU interface system IS
FULLY FUNCTIONAL for 3D Matrix Metering

Credit: Image courtesy of Rjk97@EBAY® where I have found these lovely images from his EBAY STORE. Image copyright © 2007. All rights reserved.

Cable cars up to Genting Highland resort
Cable cars up at Genting highland resort, Kuala Lumpur Malaysia.

Leofoo® 2007

Interim photo ONLY. Looking for contributing images to replace this.
Aperture scale: f/4.0, 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; MK II (made In Thailand): Metal mount for early version, MK III black plastic mount).
Attachment size: 52mm (P=0.75mm) for original version; Meter Coupling Prong: NONE
Depth of Field Scales: NONE; Diaphragm: 7 blades
Reproduction ratio: unknown for original version; 1/3.6X for Thai Made version
Minimum aperture lock: Provided. Via slide switch design
Lens Coating: NIC for early models, possible SIC (Nikon Super Integrated lens Coating) for Thai -made versions
Exposure measurement
: Via full-aperture method with Ai cameras or cameras with CPU interface system; via stop-down method for other cameras

Thaiand made AF Nikkor zoom 35-80mm f/4~5.6D MK III

Thaiand made AF Nikkor zoom 35-80mm f/4~5.6D MK III with lens cap

Credit: Image courtesy of Rjk97@EBAY® where I have found these lovely images from his EBAY STORE. Image copyright © 2007. All rights reserved.

Opticl construction for Nikon AF zoom 35-80mm version Thai
Standard accessories: 52mm front lens cap, Rear lens cap LF-1; lens case CL-31S (for Thai models, not sure if this is standard).
Optional Accessories: 52mm screw-in filters; lens hood HN3 for Thai made models, Flexible lens pouch No.62. CP 8, CP-9 may also be possible;
Dimensions
: approx. 66.5mm x 67.5mm for all Thai-made version:
Weight: approx. 180g for Thai-made models

Thai made AF Nikkor zoom 35-80mm f/4~5.6D
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. Further, due to lack of primary lens speed, use of TC with this zoom is very unpractical.
Other Information:- Nikon advised autofocusing ay not work properly with
Nikon F801s / N8008s.
Startup Serial Numbe
r for the Nikon AF Zoom Nikkor 35-80mm f/4~5.6D IF lens may have been started from:
AF 35-80/4-5.6 D metal mount, Thailand 3+ 3000001 < 3067424 - 3069318 > - Approx. number produced:- 69318
AF 35-80/4-5.6 D plastic mount, Thailand 3+ 4000001 < 4012095 - 4813399 > Jan95 - 1999 Approx. number produced:- 813399 Reference: Roland Vink'slens 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
http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/hardwares/nikonfmount/lens2.htm
http://www.photosynthesis.co.nz/nikon/serialno.html

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