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Nikon AF Zoom Nikkor 70-210mm f/4.0~5.6D Telephoto Zoom lens - Part III

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Nikon AF Nikkor 70-210mm f/4.0~5.6D (MK III) telephoto zoom lens
Introduced: February, 1993; Discontinued: 1999+

The basic Ai-S-spec AF Nikkor zoom 70-210mm f/4~5.6S was serving Nikon photographers needs from the period of 1988 to 1993 until the debut of the Nikon F90(X)/N90(S) where it revolutionized concept of including focus distance into account for metering/exposure measurement and many AF Nikkor lenses have went through a round of lens updating process during this era. The AF-D Nikkor lenses as we called this series basically has a built-in sensor for relaying distance information to the camera's metering and exposure control circuitry. Typically, a D-Nikkor autofocus lens has the lens data ends with an alphabet "D" to differentiate this version from the earlier basic non-D Ai-S versions. Generally, we assume all D-spec AF Nikkor lenses also are Ai-S native which makes them fully compatible with any Ai-spec Nikon SLRs which includes Manual Focus Nikon bodies. As of 01.2007. the AF Nikkor 70-210mm lens group has not being introduced with a G-spec* version to confuse anyone here.

* Current series of AF Nikkor lenses that offer WITHOUT an aperture ring on the lens are referred as AF-G Nikkor lenses. Virtually all G-spec AF Nikkor lenses are AF-D-spec in nature but they are less appealing for Nikon owners who may like to share old and new, manual and autofocus in their lens system.

Credit: Images displayed herein courtesy of DanBrownLaw® <>. Images copyright © 2006. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

In terms of lens spec, technically the AF-D spec AF Zoom Nikkor 70-210mm f/4.0!5.6D is identical to AF Zoom Nikkor 70-210mm f/4~5.6S featured earlier except it embodies inside with a distance information chip within. Another possibility is, version of this AF-D 70/210 zoom introduced at later stage could have been benefited from the Nikon proprietary SIC (Nikon Super Integrated Lens Coating) which evolves from NIC. How significantly the updated lens coating process has improved between the versions of the AF Zoom Nikkor 70-210mm f/4.0!5.6D is not clearly known. Other than this inclusion, there is not significant differences between the AF Zoom Nikkor 70-210mm f/4.0!5.6D and the previous basic Ai-S AF Zoom Nikkor 70-210mm f/4.0!5.6s. If you are very particular into this area, perhaps serial numbers may provide a clue to identify the version number. Early production in Japan may bear serial number in six digit, later models were changed to seven digits (also made in Japan), if we make an assumption, the series with 7 digit (310001+) could have been treated with SIC and all previous numbers may have been using NIC lens coating. Next, the production of some version of the AF Zoom Nikkor 70-210mm f/4.0!5.6D lenses have been shifted to Nikon's Thailand optical plant, and those involved series produced from Thailand may bear serial number started from 350001 onwards. Reference: Roland Vink, NZ.

Any issue with a made in Thailand Nikkor optic ? NO. It is all in the mind set in believing a produce by Japanese assembling and/or QC inspection worker is far attentive/responsible in work duties and I don't buy such discriminating concept. Trust me, work force in Nikon Japan may not be intellectually superior than a Thai. Modern lens manufacturing are very different from the old days, and many process in production, fabricating and assembling are fully automated. So, you can just use your lens with confidence. Instead, I would think there are a few other issues that need to be address rather than letting this made-in-Thailand issue boggling your mind to relate it was a produce of third world and it must has some compromises here or there. Err ..a SIMPLY NO. If ever it has, blame it on Nikon.

Nikon AF Zoom Nikkor lens 70-210mm f/4~5.6D telephoto zoom lens.
Credit: Image(s) displayed here are courtesy of betteroffblu ® 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.

A creative expresssion on sense of movement by a standard lens  by Wes Kawachi
Peking University campus. Taken with a Nikon D70 digital SLR

Credit: Image courtesy of Wes Kawachi, from Hawaii, whose online PORTFOLIO can be accessed at PBase. Image copyright © 2006. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

Similarly with the predecessor, this AF-D Nikkor Zoom 70-210mm uses a rotating mechanism during focusing. Nikon has not considered to update the lens with an IF design because I think probably due to few reasons. Firstly, the lens has been serving the market for more than a decade. Regardless how we value it as a good, versatile zoom lens but it is far from consider it as a classic Nikkor zoom nor a star financial performer in the Nikkor lens family. It is still being listed in the official lens list simply aims to serve a demand for budget conscious users who may not be able to afford a high end spec Nikkor zoom lens such as AF Zoom Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8 ED class. Next, towards the end of the century, the emergence of digital imaging with most of Nikon's DSLRs were adopting the DX format making the rise of the matched DX-Nikkor lenses. After the Nikon F5,many followed up Nikon models use Sub-Command Dial design where we seen many of the AF Nikkor lenses being upgraded into a G-spec Nikkor where aperture is control via camera rather than on lens. So, if ever there will be a next upgrade of a new AF Nikkor 70-210mm again* in the future, probably Nikon will take the chance to make it a G-Spec Nikkor 70/210. Further, if you are observant enough, you may notice Nikon has shifted their attention to develop the new found zoom range of 70-200mm. And lastly, when you can have a 70-300mm f/4~5.6 ED at almost the same price - why would you still require to invest into a decade old design of a 70-210mm f/4~5.6 right ?

* Nikon did introduced a budget Manual Focus Zoom Nikkor 70-210mm f/4~5.6 in 1995/6 for the entry level MF Nikon FM10 and FE10 SLR models.

For DX format digital SLR users, the lens will amplify the primary focal length to approx. 105-315mm

Credit: Images displayed herein courtesy of DanBrownLaw® Images copyright © 2006. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

I have been receiving some contradicting comments relating to performance of this lens. But personally I feel this area can be very subjective as individual interpretation on "good" or "bad" in a lens as this can be very personal. Assuming you have snapped a series of a very satisfactory visual you would term the lens is excellent; similarly if consistently you have got disappointing results, usually the lens you are engaging will become a scapegoat. From a practical point of view, the AF Zoom-Nikkor 70-210mm f/4~5.6D presents a very good value telephoto zoom lens. (using Ebay traded prices as an indicative point). The only weakness i find is the lack of lens speed where it requires good light level to bring its best. This is not an issue as you can simply choose a faster film type for more flexible usage and/or sturdy support for slower speed shooting). For DSLR user you may activate the higher ASA to compensate this flaw; the zoom range of 70-210mm is traditionally has its strength in its reach, compressed perspective and substitute a few long primes. Applications can be very extensive where you can use it freely for many possible usage such as for travel, candid, head/shoulder, full length portraiture, indoor or on location, scenic and nature is equally useful as it permits the photographer to compose or isolate a particular section in a given scene. Using the lens for sport arena may require a little compensation on film type or ASA manipulation to gain shutter speed. The close focusing ability of the lens is often ignored by many as it is also be able to deliver an impressive magnification ratio across its entire zoom range where you may also use it to explore other possibilities in this range.

Lens comparion on dimensions between 80-200mm f/2.8 ED, 75-300mm
The strength I find in this AF Zoom-Nikkor 70-210mm f/4~5.6D is with its full system compatibility provides. If you own any 3D Matrix Meter powered Nikon SLR camera or planning to do so in a Nikon Digital SLR investment in the near future, this AF-D Tele-zoom seemingly is a more worthy investment than any of the previous version. For MF user and/or users of non 3D Matrix Meter equipped Nikon bodies, I can't see any significant advantage this AF-D delivers over the original versions such as the AF Zoom Nikkor 70-210mm f/4.0S nor the Ai-S non 3D equivalent. Another version people often like to make comparison is a few options on AF Zoom Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8 ED where I think it may not be appropriate as it is a zoom lens in different league in their price category as well as overall versatility. If you are looking for a good value zoom, I think a more appropriate consideration is the alternate AF Zoom Nikkor 70-300mm lens group. Well, if ever this remark has upset a few stomach out there, that is too bad then but that is how I will choose a lens, simply based on logical thinking.

<<<---Size comparison between the AF Zoom Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8ED, AF zoom Nikkor 75-300mm and AF Nikkor 70-210mm f/4~5.6D.

Technical Specification for Nikon AF Zoom Nikkor 70-210mm f/4.0~5.6D Telephoto zoom lens:-

Type of lense: Autofocus Nikkor zoom lens with built-in CPU and a metal rear Nikon bayonet mount
Focal length: 70mm to 210mm; Maximum aperture: f/4.0 (up to 135mm); f/5.6 for 210mm; Minimum Aperture: f/32;
approx. 105-315mm for APS DX format DSLR.
Lens construction:
12 elements in 9 groups
Picture angle:
34° 20' ~ 11° 50'
Focal length scale: 70mm (marked in green), 85mm, 100mm, 135mm and 210mm (Yellow) imprinted on lens barrel on zoom ring
Diaphragm: Fully automatic,
AF Actuator:- Nikkor Micro Motor
Focus control: Autofocus with zoom control; Manual via manual focusing ring
Zoom control: Via one-touch push and pull zoom ring

Distance scale: Graduated in meters and feet/inches from 1.5m (5.0') to infinity (OO); MACRO: Closest distance 1.2m (3.9') for all zoom range in manual focus
Distance information: Output into camera body with CPU interface system
IS POSSIBLE with this lens; Option for manual focus provided

AF Zoom Nikkor 70-210mm f/4~5.6D side view
Aperture scale: f/4.0, f/5.6, f/8, f/11, f/16, f/22 and f/32 on both standard and aperture-direct-readout scales
Mount: Nikon bayonet mount with 5x CPU contacts;
Attachment size
: 62mm (P=0.75mm); Meter Coupling Prong: NONE
Depth of Field Scales: NONE
Reproduction ratio: approx. 1:5.6X; Diaphragm: 7 blades
Minimum aperture lock: Provided via press and twist knob

Lens Coating: NIC (Nikon Integrated Coating); SIC for later versions
Exposure measurement:
Via full-aperture method with Ai cameras or cameras with CPU interface system; via stop-down method for other cameras

Dawn, outside my balcony
A telephoto range of a zoom is also useful for isolating a small segment of a common scene, a view from my balcony at Kia Peng, Kuala Lumpur .....

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

Infrared compensation index: Two white indexes are provided for the 70/105mm
Standard accessories: 62mm front lens cap; Rear lens cap LF-1; Hard lens case: CL15S ( CL-35A may be usable)
Optional Accessories: Snap-On Metal Lens hood HN-24; 62mm screw-in filters, No 63 etc.
Dimensions: Approx. 73.5mm dia.(2.9") x 108mm (approx. 4.3 inches), 116mm from the lens flange
Weight: Approx. 600 (approx. 21.5 oz)
Compatible Tele-Converters: - TC-201S; TC-14AS (note: MANUAL focus only and when using aperture smaller than f/11 with high shutter speed, uneven exposure may occur.* 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**. Nikon doesn't advise the use of TC-16AS with this lens. 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;

NOTE: Startup Serial Number for this Nikon AF Zoom Nikkor 70-210mm f/4~5.6D telephoto zoom lens may have been began from: AF 70-210/4-5.6 D slide aperture lock, 6 digit serial 4+ 200001 < 200485 - 207277 > - AF 70-210/4-5.6 D 7 digit no, Made in Japan 4+ < 3100257 - 3214004 > - AF 70-210/4-5.6 D 7 digit no, Made in Thailand 4+ 3500001 < 3502678 - 3518745 > - 1999 Reference: Roland Vink's lens data sheet.

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AF Zoom-Nikkor 70-210mm f/4.0s | AF Zoom-Nikkor 70-210mm f/4~5.6S | AF Zoom Nikkor 70-210mm f/4~5.6D

RELATIVE:- Nikon Series E Manual Focus Zoom 70-210mm f/4.0S | Manual Focus Zoom Nikkor 70-210mm f/4.5~5.6S | AF Zoom Nikkor 75-300mm f/4.5~5.6S / AF Zoom Nikkor 70-300mm f/4~5.6D ED / AF Zoom Nikkor 70-300mm f/4~5.6G / AF Zoom Nikkor 75-240mm f/4.5~5.6D / AFS VR Zoom Nikkor 70-300mm f/4~5.6G IF-ED

EXTERNAL LINKS: Good review provided by KenRockwell, Australia on AF70/210f4s and AF f4~5.6D; Another good review with technical analysis on AFD- version by Yurly Vilin for Photozone as well as another by Ulrich Grothaus on the older 70-210mm f/4s; Nikonian site on some recommendations; Photonet discussion on this AF Nikkor tele-zoom ONE/ TWO

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Recommended links to understand more technical details related to the Nikkor F-mount and production Serial Number: by: my friend, Rick Oleson by: Hansen, Lars Holst

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