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Nikon's Autofocus (AF) Zoom Nikkor 20-35mm f/2.8D IF wideangle zoom lens- Index Page

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AF Zoom Nikkor 20-35mm f/2.8D IF ultra wideangle Zoom lens
Introduced: August 1993; Discontinued: 1998

Canon was probably the first Japanese camera manufacturer that had successfully pioneered the design of ultra-wideangle zoom lens for commercial usage during the manual focus days. The first of its kind, the Canon FD 24-35mm f/3.5 S.S.C. Aspherical wideangle zoom with a constant aperture of f/3.5 was already being introduced to the market as early as in 1978. During those days, even Canon photographers could had some reservation on its true performance of whether it will measure up to the mark of the comparing prime wideangle lenses but in 1984, I guess Canon had made few people doubting its caliber of a workable solution for ultra-to-wideangle zoom lens with a revised, new FDN-mount Canon 20-35mm f/3.5L. The zoom had changed general perceptions of users towards use of ultrawideangle zoom lens as with the earlier model did. Besides, it had opened up a new scope of high performance ultra-wideangle zoom lenses good enough for professional use. Nikon seemingly was not that enthusiastic in following CANON's path despite mid the '80 onwards, many third party labels had also joined in the bandwagon to deliver the comparing solutions. IF I can still recall correctly, up to the pre-AF era, the widest wide of all Nikkor zoom lenses was still the Manual Focus Zoom-Nikkor 25-50mm f/3.5s which was first introduced way back in 1979 (It was a Non-Ai zoom then followed by a Zoom-Nikkor 28-45mm f/4.5 lens in 1975. It took a while for Nikon to begin development in this area as the first autofocus Nikkor zoom lens that actually broke the wideangle barrier of 25mm was the AF Zoom-Nikkor 24-50mm f/3.3~4.5s, where it was a produce of 1987. The AF 24/50 Ai-S zoom was not exactly an exotic Nikkor zoom lens to be mentioned and in fact even after its debut, hardly anyone had noticed its existence in the AF Nikkor lens lineup. So, what the hell was going on with Nikon during those days ? The Company was used to be a pioneer in optical innovations - as along with the debut of the Nikon F in 1959, Nikon had already released their the first zoom lens Auto Nikkor Tele-Zoom 85-250mm f/4~4.5; their second zoom has an even more exotic zoom ratio with the Auto Nikkor Tele-Zoom 200-600mm f/9.5~10.5; they had also produced one of the most popular zoom lens of all time with immensely popular Zoom-Nikkor 43-86mm f/3.5. They had the widest and the longest focal length in the 35mm SLR photography with a 6mm Fisheye-Nikkor (1972), Nikkor 13mm f/5.6 (1976); Nikkor 1200mm f/11 ED and Reflex-Nikkor 2000mm f/11 (1972) and even was the first Company in the market that offered the world's first 6X zoom ratio (Zoom Nikkor 50-300mm f/4.5) as early as in 196; they had designed / produced many fine series of optic - not only for land but as well as underwater. An example was the exotic UW Nikkor 13mm ultrawide for professional underwater photography etc.; they used to lead in this race of optical development in 45mm reflex photography, with all the records after records were being made over the years and others were just simply followers. But now when entering into the autofocus era, Nikon was giving the impression that they were facing some real problems in delivering workable solutions for ultrawide angle zoom lenses for their Autofocus Nikon SLR cameras. No. I guess not. I am sure they were capable. But just didn't, that all.

So, during the pre-launching of the Nikon F4s in 1988, I happened to meet some Nikon folks from Japan during the PR event and has raised this issue with them. They simply replied with some muddy answers but all I can catch on was the aspherical technique was one issue they faced. I remembered "some guys out there" was using molded aspherical elements as a new technique for zoom lenses, the issue of whether was the new Aspherical technology in lens making was being patented or simply Nikon thought the method was not good enough for their Nikkor lenses was not the main issue - but all we know is, Nikon was quite reluctantly in bringing their research works of ultrawideangle zoom lenses (if there were any) to the market. So, all these had Nikon photographers waited for a long spell until in 1993 - we finally witnessed a first Nikon's Autofocus zoom lens that eventually broke the technological barrier of 24mm with the AF Zoom-Nikkor 20-35mm f/2.8D IF - it was almost a decade late as compared to Canon's FDN version and almost 4 years after Canon had released their Canon EF 20-35mm f/2.8L (1989). I guess it was okay if all these were "a little bit late" but overall, undeniably, it had created a sense of discomfort among professional users during those days.

AF Zoom Nikkor 20-35mm f/2.8D IF ultra wideangle Zoom lens front view with various details

AF Zoom Nikkor 20-35mm f/2.8D IF ultra wideangle Zoom lens rear lens mount section details
Credit: Image courtesy of Digitize Future@EBAY®. who operates their online EBAY STORE. Image(s) copyright © 2006. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

R-UW AF Nikkor 20-35mm f/2.8 for Nikon NIKONOS RS underwater camera

However, Nikon introduced the lens in a rather different manner. They had a version for the land as well as for the underwater - BOTH AUTOFOCUS. The R-UW AF Nikkor 20-35mm f/2.8 for the Nikonos RS remains as the one and only ultrawide zoom underwater - even today.

With a rather fast speed constant aperture of f/2.8, the design of the AF Zoom Nikkor 20-35mm f/2.8D IF can be regarded as a little "odd" for a fast speed zoom lens. If you have never seen this lens before, you probably would expect a moderately fast f/2.8 aperture zoom should has a larger front protruding lens element. No. Physically if you compare the moderate diameter of the front moderate diameter with the overall dimension of the lens as a whole, it is a little towards oversized The exposed front lens element exhibits a heavily dark greenish lens coating color and the outer filter ring tends to make the lens looks quite unbalance in proportion. However, the rear lens element is quite a large piece which is typically associated with a large aperture lens.

Although this lens uses a rotating method, with dual independent rings designed for separate zooming control and another ring for manual focusing. Lens handling is excellent with the manual focusing ring being designed in a 4 rolls of hard rubberized rectangular square pattern covered grip. Strangely, the manual focusing ring has a same width with the zoom ring which locates at the center of the lens tube and it has been designed using a different rubberized diamond shape pattern design. You can easily get accustomed to the difference via your hand between the two rings even if you are busy shooting or leeching your eyes to the viewfinder and may never get them mixed in their respective purpose. Mid between the two rotable rings for zoom and manual focus control have two extra ring - one is fixed while another is also rotable. The movable ring is a thin strip of plastic where it provides the M/A* (Manual or Auto) setting for you to switch between autofocus focus or manual focus activation. It requires to depress a tiny button to activate the shift between the two functions. The broader one closer to the zoom ring section is a non-movable, fixed ring as part of the lens tube design. This is where most of the focusing information is provided via a distance scales window as well as displaying the lens data where it reads Nikon AF Nikkor one one end and another that imprinted as 20-35mm 1:2.8D. The focusing index at the center of the fixed ring is assisted with two separate marks for 20mm and 35mm infra index compensation. * As with most AF Nikkor lenses; this lens can be used for both autofocus and manual focus. To select autofocus, while pressing the A-M ring lock button, turn the A-M ring so that "A" is aligned with the A-M index. To select manual, turn the A-M ring so "M" is aligned with the A-M index.

Lily Pads by

Taken with a Nikon D200; Nikkor AF20-35mm f2.8D IF f8 1/320 160 ISO. I feel this shot really demonstrated this lenses strength in sharpness and colour rendition - it would be good on the page you have about this lens. Credit "Alex Scott" <> All Rights Reserved, please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

Nikon AF Zoom Nikkor 20-35mm f:2.8D IF side view
The numerals printed at the lower section of the zoom ring ring indicates the various most frequently noticed zoom wideangle settings i.e. 20mm, 24mm. 28mm and 35mm. As zoom can be seamless, these serve as a rough visual guide the whereabouts of the wide to ultra-wideangles range. Well, shooting in a zoom, one tendency is, you often ignore these and rather use the viewfinder image to judge if it suits your preference. So, this is not as important but they simply serve as a rough guide.

The last section towards the rear lens mount is the aperture ring with its minimum aperture f/22 marked in orange and a tiny slide switch to lock the minimum aperture for Shutter Priority and/or Program AE shooting modes.

Credit: Image courtesy of Digitize Future@EBAY®. who operates their online EBAY STORE. Image(s) copyright © 2006. All rights reserved.

BUT - one area that was strangely enough as Nikon has not installed AF Nikkor Zoom 20-35mm f/2.8D IF with any depth of field scales onto this ultrawideangle zoom lens. Huh >? Yeap. Those guys at Nikon probably were concluded things for us and thought depth of field features must be useless an ultrawide zoom lens OR simply are making an assumption those who can afford to buy it must probably are the financially the capable group of users; where they must be owning a high end Nikon SLR models with a DOF preview feature. Anyway, the DOF scales are a missing good feature in its basic lens spec and could have been included. Is this omission disastrous ? Well .. I guess not quite but it makes a lens less functional where in situation you require a quick visual check on the approximate. Instead Nikon provides a stupid alternate way for photographers.
Depth of field Usage reference chart for Nikon AF Zoom Nikkor 20-35mm f/2.8D IF lens
To remind you once again and are they important or not, as this is all simply depends on individual shooting habit, the AF Zoom Nikkor 20-35mm f/2.8D IF does not even has any depth of field scales visual guides on the lens. But if this is one feature you cannot live without, Nikon does provides printed guide in the instruction manual and expect photographer to determine the whereabouts of the depth of field for each f/stop and focus distance. Funny as it seems, but it is true, ..are Nikon lens designers expecting everyone to bring a piece of paper long wherever we go ? This is nuts....

<<<-- To use depth-of-field scale 1. Cut out the scales along the lines indicated. 2. Place scale (B) over scale (A), so the top edge of scale (B) is aligned with the focal length in use and the distance is aligned with the central indicator line on scale (A) 3. Read the scale (B) numbers that correspond to the aperture in use. For example, if the 3m with the focal length at 20mm and the aperture at f/22, the depth of field will be at infinity.

1: Meter Coupling Ridge
2: CPU Contacts
3: Aperture Indexing Post
4: Aperture-direct-readout scale
5: AF Coupling
6. Minimum aperture signal post (EE servo coupling post)
7: Aperture Ring
8: Aperture index/Mounting index
9: Focal length scale
10: Infrared compensation dot
11: A-M Ring
12: A-M Button
13: Minimum Aperture Lock
14: Aperture scale
15: Zoom Ring
16: Lens barrel
17: A-M Index
18: Distance Scale Window
19: Distance Scale
20: Distance Index Line
21: Bayonet hood mount
22: Focusing Ring

You can also use a black screw on the lens bayonet as the mounting index.

The front lens coating and color of the AF zoom Nikkor 20-35mm f/2.8D IF lens The metal lens mount of AF Nikkor 20-35mm zoom
The AF Nikkor Zoom 20-35mm f/2.8D IF was introduced as a native "AF-D" Nikkor. So, there is no version history to confuse anyone as with the other AF Nikkor lenses. The front of the lens is cleanly presented with simple lens data. The rear mount has the data terminals and possesses every essential elements for a Ai-S spec. Thus, it permits using the lens with many Non-AF (manual focus) Nikon SLRs with no issue. Naturally, autofocus in not possible in such a combination.

Although with a 1.8X zoom ratio, it may not read significant but the AF Nikkor Zoom 20-35mm f/2.8D IF offers a truly extensive 94°~62° field of view. Optically, it uses a rather quite complex optical group of 14 elements in 11 groups design with placement of an aspherical lens element at the front and has an Internal Focus (IF) design. Popular Photography reviewed the lens as "one of the best fast speed ultrawideangle zoom around.." and many Nikon photographers have also presented their enthusiastic opinion on its optical quality. Most agreed it is an excellent ultrawideangle zoom but some did raised their conservative views. To me. ultrawide zoom will provide a solution to replace a few prime wide angles in your camera bag, but it also has compromises to made. In general, most cheap zoom lenses should behave reasonably well in general photography; when they are tested in adverse situations some common issues such as aberration in zoom lenses may surface. The main task for lens designers to deliver a high performance zoom lens is usually centered on correction of various aberration and other issues such as light falloff, vignetting, coma, barrel distortion etc. Personally, I guess it is an enormous task to design a truly high performance at ultrawide range, if not, they could have been here a long time ago. If you wish to invest into an ultrawide zoom, be prepared and don't expect every aspect of its performance is superlative grade, that is all. But no doubt, ultrawideangle zoom lenses do bring all the convenience of a zoom to you in a singe, portable lens package. The next consideration is whether other secondary features such as practical focal length, lens speed, overall built quality, dimension / weight factor etc. In this regards, the AF Zoom Nikkor 20-35mm f/2.8D IF is not a very compact zoom lens, the filter attachment size may give you a clue as it has a 77mm filter thread making secondary investment such as special filter such as polarizer with 77 diameter such a pain for your wallet. So, unless it is truly find a purpose for your photography, this ultrawideangle zoom lens is not entirely very forgiving in many departments. Nikon has offered a bayonet lens hood HB-8, made out of a hard plastic and personally, I thought at least when it has such a high price tag, at least one expect some quality metal hood being offered. You can omit this as I find it offers little help due to its wide picture angle. When it was introduced, the AF Nikkor Zoom 20-35mm f/2.8D IF was not that cheap, it has a rough price of approx. USD1,200-00 when sold as new during those days. But towards the end of Y2K, suddenly Nikon has announced a sharp drop in price by almost halved. Today, as the lens has been discontinued, you may be able to hunt for a bargain at Ebay where used items may range from USD250-00 to USD500-00 a piece. With such a realistic modest entry price, this journalist specialized ultrawideangle zoom lens can be of a very good consideration for some of you who may not be able to afford the AF-S 17/35mm Nikkor Zoom.

Hinduism Ritual and spritual Guard statues at Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur / Selangor, Malaysia (43k) Loading ...
The magnificent gigantically religious / spiritual statue guarding entrance of the Batu Caves - the most sacred place for Hindu in Malaysia. Each year, a million of Hindu devotees gathered during the 2-3 days Thaipusam festival, performing their ritual return of a wish come true to the Lord Subramaniam. Leading up the cave is the 272 steps steep climb. A versatile ultrawide zoom with constant focal length is good for this nature of photographic usage.

Overall, this first Nikon AF ultra-wideangle zoom does delivered its basic objective to serve those who may be in hunting of such a particular lens type in practical entry price. With a constant and moderately fast maximum aperture of f/2.8, other than providing a brighter viewfinder image for comfortable viewing and photo composition, it also permits handheld photography in available light photography. The f/22 minimum aperture is useful when stop down for maximum depth of field - in particular when combining the native optical characteristic of an ultrawideangle, you can literally have anything from mid distance to infinity well covered in its extended zone of sharpness. The close focus of 0.5m (1.7') ability of the lens also provides one of the most frequently used wideangle technique for composing pictures closer to subject while retaining close association with the subject. While for those who still think Nikon makes good lenses, just leave it to your faithful trust and this AF Nikkor ultrawideangle zoom does justify a long wait . As a native Nikkor AF-D lens, the AF Zoom Nikkor 20-35mm f/2.8D IF has maintained full system compatibility with the latest Nikon film/digital AF SLRs and adding the extra bonus of full compatible with any MF Nikon made since 1977. This simple fact alone may make it a very appealing startup zoom lens for your ultrawideangle photography.

The AF Zoom Nikkor 20-35mm f/2.8D IF was eventually phased out by Nikon in 2001. I recall some events happened in the market place where Canon realized the eventual debut of this AF Nikkor ultrawide, the Company had responded with a revised Canon EF 17-35mm f/2.8L USM in 1996, and it was updated again with another EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM in 2001 the moment when Nikon unveiled their AF 20-35mm substitute, the AF-S Zoom Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8D IF-ED with Silent Wave Motor Technology. The technological race catches on, as long as the prevailing price of these lenses don't catapult as it goes, we consumers should benefic from such competitions.

Technical Specification for Nikon AF Zoom Nikkor 20-35mm f/2.8D IF lens:-

Type of lense: Autofocus Nikkor zoom lens with built-in CPU and a metal rear Nikon bayonet mount
Focal length: 20mm to 35mm; Maximum aperture: f/2.8; Minimum Aperture: f/22
Lens construction:
14 elements in 11 groups; Internal Focus Design
Picture angle:
Focal length scale: 20mm, 24mm, 28mm, and 35mm
Diaphragm: Fully automatic,
Focus control: Via focusing ring
Zoom control: Via zoom ring

Distance scale: Graduated in meters and feet/inches from 0.5m (1.7') to infinity (OO)
Distance information: Output into camera body with CPU interface system
IS FULLY FUNCTION with this lens; Option for manual focus provided
Aperture scale:
f/2.8, f/4, 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
: 77mm (P=0.75mm); Meter Coupling Prong: NONE

Standard and optional accessories for Nikon Zoom Nikkor 20-35mm f/2.8D IF lens cap, rear cap, bayonet lens hood HB-8
Depth of Field Scales: provided for/16 and f/22 only
Reproduction ratio: 1:8.8 maximum
Minimum aperture lock: Provided via slide switch

Lens Coating: SIC (Nikon Super Integrated lens Coating)
Exposure measurement:
Via full-aperture method with Al cameras or cameras with CPU interface system; via stop-down method for other cameras

AF Zoom Nikkor 20-35mm f/2.8D IF with dedicated bayonet lens hood HB-8

* Notes on optional bayonet hood HB-8 (hard plastic, not metal). To attach bayonet hood MB-8, attach the hood aligning the mounting indexes on the lens and the hood (white dot) and fully turn the hood clockwise (from the front side of the hood). If the hood is not attached properly, vignetting is likely to occur. To attach/detach the hood properly, make sure to hold the lens side of the hood (not the tip of the hood) when attaching/detaching.

Credit:- Image courtesy of John Preston® <>, who also operates a popular Ebay Store. All images appeared herein are Copyright © 2003. All rights reserved

Infrared compensation index: Two white dots are provided for the 20mm and 35mm focal length setting
Standard accessories: 72mm front lens cap; Rear lens cap LF-1; Hard lens case CL-46
Optional Accessories:
77mm screw-in filters; Bayonet hood MB-8 *; Flexible lens pouch No.62. CP 9 may also be possible

The reclining Buddha at Wat Pho, once a university and birth place for Thai trational massage
The huge Reclining Buddha at WAT Pho Which claimed to be be one of the largest in tthe world often atrracted many tourists from the west. This is also the birth place for Thai Traditional Massage.

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

Optical contruction for AF Nikkor 20-35mm f/2.8D zoom
Dimensions: Approx. 82mm (3.2 inches) dia. x 94mm (3.7 inches) extension from the camera's lens mounting flange; overall length is approx. 105mm (4.1 inches)
Weight: Approx. 585g (20.6 oz)

Usable Tele-Converters: -
TC-201S; TC-14A (note: MANUAL focus only).
Lens case: older Hard case fro MF version CL-32S may be usable, Case CL-38 for the new lens is original case for the lens.

A mini showcase with other views from different angles, courtesy of Future@EBAYD from Taiwan.
AF Zoom Nikkor 20-35mm f/2.8D IF side view AF Zoom Nikkor 20-35mm f/2.8D IF rear view AF Zoom Nikkor 20-35mm f/2.8D IF side view from non data area AF Zoom Nikkor 20-35mm f/2.8D IF side view with data and description
Minimum aperture lock illustration
Minimum Aperture Lock (See a graphical illustration at left) A feature that began implementing with the Nikon FG of 1982 and subsequently, virtually all Nikon SLRs with program AE and shutter priority AE use this method. For programmed auto or shutter-priority auto shooting, use the minimum aperture lock lever to lock the lens aperture at f/22. 1. Set the lens to its minimum aperture (f/22). 2. Slide lock lever in the direction of the aperture ring and so the white dot on the lever aligns with the orange dot; 3. To release the lock, slide lever in reverse direction. If you have forget to set the minimum aperture when shooting in certain AE mode, the viewfinderand LCD panel will blink with a reminder.
Side view of the AF Nikkor 20-35mm f/2.8D IF Zoom lens by Digitized Future from Taiwan Vertical view from a camera Side view with the HB-8 on a Nikon F5

Two old pictures taken while Nikon loaned me the lens for a qucik snap with the Nikon F5. I didn't keep the negatives after I scanned the strips, the images are too small for broadcasting in the web now. The left image was provided by those nice folks at Digitised Future from Taiwan, Thanks, pal.

* 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; B. Startup Serial Number for the Nikon AF Zoom Nikkor 20-35mm f/2.8D IF lens may have been began from: 200001 < 201420 - 244928 > Sep93 - Apr 2001 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: by: my friend, Rick Oleson by: Hansen, Lars Holst

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