Additional Information on
Manual Focus Nikkor Zoom lenses 35-70mm <Part II>

 

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As discussed earlier, zoom lenses were, in most cases, heavier than fixed focal length lenses, which sometimes reduces their practicality and convenience. Hence, realization of a possible lightweight, compact zoom lense has thus been a long sought-after goal by many camera/lens manufacturers. Nikkor did made an encouraging attempt by introducing a new series of ultra-compact sized SLRs such as Nikon EM (1979) and Nikon FG (1981) and they were supplemented by series of extremely lightweight Nikon Series E lenses. A fixed aperture Series E 36-70mm f/3.5s was the Nikkor primary offering at the wideangle zoom section. However, it was Canon turn that drew the first blood by introducing a new series of compact, plastic zoom lenses with a 'molded' lens barrel for reduced weight. The FD 35-70mm f/3.5-4.5 zoom was debuted in late 1982 to supplement their 'new' Canon T-series camera bodies. Both the Canon T-series SLRs (except the Canon T90) and new generation of FDn zoom lenses have put portability and affordability as major selling point to lure in new SLR users. Take the FD 35-70mm f/3.5-4.5 zoom as an typical example, the zoom lense was so compact and lightweight (length of 60.9mm and a weight of a mere 200g) that seemed to be about the same size and weighs as a fixed focal length standard 50mm FD lense. The new concept adopted by Canon to provide a companion "standard" zoom lense to replace traditional 50mm standard lense with every SLR sold very well in numbers. This has put Nikon (and others) under immense pressure to counter such aggression Well, although the matched fixed aperture Nikon's Series E lenses that were designed to package with the Nikon EM, FG and FG-20 equally seemed offering in a similar fashion but Nikon has decided to follow same path with the introduction of a Nikkor equivalent in October, 1984 (Incidentally, an earlier effort with a variable aperture Zoom-Nikkor 35-105mm f/3.3~4.5s MACRO was already introduced in January, 1983).

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Similarly, the Zoom-Nikkor 35-70mm f/3.3~4.5s MACRO was copying other's idea too with an variable maximum aperture designing concept to reduce its weight and size. Solely from a perspective of lens design, Nikon optical engineers have did a marvelous stripped down work while maintaining an impressive optical "objectives". See below for a brief account comparing the three MF Nikkor 35-70s and a Nikon Series E 36-72mm f/3.5s zoom:

Credit: Image courtesy of Mr "Joshua Cohen" <joshua@jcohenphoto.com>. Image copyright © 2003 All rights reserve

Lense Version 35-70mm f/3.3~4.5s 35-70mm f/3.5 (72mm) 35-70mm f/3.5s MACRO (62mm) Nikon E 36-72mm f/3.5s
Angle of view 64* - 34* 20 64* - 34* 20' 64* - 34* 20 62° -33° 30'
Minimum Aperture / Coupling f/22 Ai-S f/22 Ai f/22 Ai-S f/22 Ai-S
Maximum Aperture/ variation f/3.3 at 35mm; f/4.5 at 70mm 35-70mm constant at f/3.5 35-70mm constant at f/3.5 35-70mm constant at f/3.5
Elements/groups 8 elements in 7 groups 10 elements in 9 groups 10 elements in 9 groups 8 elements in 8 groups
Closest focusing distance 0.5m (Macro at 0.35m) 1.0m 0.7m (Macro at 0.35m) 1.2m
Macro / Ratio Yes; 1.44 at 35mm No (unknown) Yes; 1:1.3.4 at 70mm No 1:1.5
Filter thread diameter 52mm 72mm 62mm 52mm
Weight 255g 550g 520g 380g
Dimension/ lens to flange: 63mm x 61mm (69mm) 75mm x 101mm (92.5mm) 66.5mm x 105mm (96.5mm) 67mm x 71.5mm (63mm)
Compatibility with Non-Ai SLRs Meter coupling prong provided Meter coupling prong provided Meter coupling prong provided NOT provided
Zoom /Focusing control Dual rings Dual rings Dual rings Single push and pull
BLUE: Best performer in terms of specification in this group; RED: Weakest link within this group

As you can observe from the table, although this little zoom lacks the traditional rock steady Nikkor feel physically but Nikon did spend considerably effort to ensure it never be inferior (in fact, excels others in many areas) in terms of its technical specifications. Like other Nikkor zoom lenses at 35-70mm range, this extremely light and compact Nikkor zoom lense uses similar two rings control for its focusing and focal length setting.

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Credit: Both images of this Ai-S native Zoom-Nikkor 35-70mm lense courtesy of Mr. Tim V® <tvdweert@bellsouth.net>. Image copyright © 2003. All rights reserved. Note the Ai-S lens coupling used.

The lense has an orange MACRO stripe indicator engraved which indicates its close focusing range at closest distance at 1.1 ft. (0.35m) and provide an impressive reproduction ratio of 1:4.3 (1:6.7 at non-Macro setting). Although it was close to the feat in its technical data similar to those fixed aperture Nikkor counterparts can offer but the macro-focus only works at 35mm settings which is less desirable to offer true distortion-free close focus photography. Anyway, an interesting thing for you to note is, Nikon did followed others in marketing too and when the last MF Nikon SLR during the '80 Nikon F-301 was introduced, the lense was offered as an optional companion standard zoom lense that sold as a entry level Nikon SLR package. Similarly, this zoom was also offered as a standard zoom for the 90' Nikon FM-10, FE-10 but Nikon also introduced another weakly-spec MF Zoom-Nikkor 35-70mm f/3.5~4.8s specifically for the Nikon FM-10 aimed for potential SLR users at later stages. However, with 2001's MF Nikon FM3A that followed, it was sold independently (as a new camera body) and none of these zoom were being packaged with the Nikon FM3A.

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Specifications:

Focal length/Aperture
: 35 -70mm f/3.3~4.5
lens Coupling: Ai-S
Lens construction: 8 elements in 7 groups
Picture angle: 62° - 34°20'
Diaphragm: Automatic
Aperture scale: f/3.5 ~ f/22 on both standard and aperture-direct-readout scale
Focusing and zooming control: via two separate rings
Exposure measurement: Via full aperture method; meter coupling ridge provided for Ai cameras and meter coupling shoe for non-Ai cameras

Credit: Image courtesy of Mr. Anthony Dufault ®<anthony_dufault@yahoo.com> . Image copyright © 2003. All rights reserved.

Distance scale: Graduated in meters and feet from 0.5m (1.5 ft) to infinity (oo); In macro focusing mode (at 35mm), down to 0.35m (1.1 ft).
Macro operation: operate at 35mm
Reproduction Ratio: 1:1.43 at 0.35m (1.1 ft) 35mm focal length; 1:6.7 helical focus
Focal Length markings: 35 (green), 50mm (white) and 70mm (orange)
Attachment size: 52mm (P = 0.75); Weight: 255g
Dimensions: 63mm dia. x 61mm long (overall); 69mm extension from flange
Filters:52mm front screw-in; Front lens cap: Screw-in; Lens hood: HN-2 screw-in type; Lens case: CL-31S hard leatherette; Usable Teleconverter(s):
TC-200 | TC-201 | TC-14A



Zoom-Nikkor 35-70mm f/3.5-4.8s

When Nikon introduced both FM-10 and FE-10 during the early '90, there were many rumors circulating within the photo community that both of these cameras were actually a subcontracted work from a third party Japanese manufacturers (similarly, the Canon T60 and Olympus OM-2000 were being associated into this as well). Although originally aimed and intended as a competitive entry level SLR that bear a Nikon name plate and F-mount for the poorer third world countries (as evidenced by omission of these two cameras from US market during its first few years); both of these cameras have a customized Zoom-Nikkor 35-70mm zoom lense which packaged along with them.

Nikon zoom lens 35-70mm f/3.3~4.8 Front section of Nikon zoom lens 35-70mm

Seemingly carried with same physical appearance and feel, I was misled to believe it was the same Zoom-Nikkor 35-70mm f/3.3~4.5s but later I found out it was another stripped down version from the original zoom. Instead, the optional companion "standard zoom" was a Zoom-Nikkor 35-70mm f/3.5-4.8s with some slightly modification (or scaled downed version).

Nikon Budget Zoom 35-70mm
A mini showcase of some lovely images of the lens by Jeff of Photocreative inc., Ontario, Canada. Credit: Images courtesy of Jeff@photocreative ® from Canada where Jeff's Company PHOTO CREATIVE INC> has a very popular EBAY STORE on its own. Tel: (905) 629-0100 Image copyright © 2006. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

The zoom Nikkor lens also has a dual rings design type. It is light, (very light - weighs at merely 200g as compared to 255g of the f/3.3~4.5 counterpart) compact and also reasonably well-finished. Strangely, other than not being featured in the US market, this lens was not even being mentioned in the official Nikon site in Japan. Despite it shares similar optical composition in a 8 elements in 7 groups design, this lens has an even smaller aperture at the 70mm setting of f/4.8 ! The variable aperture means when the lens is at 35mm, the effective maximum aperture of the lens will be f/3.5, while it will be reduced to f/4.8 when the zoom setting is extended to 70mm. There is a green and yellow aperture index each represents the focal length of either aperture at 35mm or at 70mm (So does the infra-settings of the focal length is shifted). The macro setting is beyond the closest focusing of 0.5m and the engraved orange indicative stripe is shorter than the f/3.3~4.5 version. However, a significant difference is, unlike the Zoom-Nikkor 35-70mm f/3.3~f/4.5s zoom, this version does not provide a meter coupling shoe on the aperture ring. Although I don't like to question the wisdom of others, but I don't understand WHY Nikon think the already weak Zoom-Nikkor 35-70mm f/3.3~f/4.5s needs further scaled down just to save further cost, as far as I am concerned, the only two positive readings from this version is, it carries a native Ai-S lens coupling and it should be priced even cheaper for the budget strapped users. Personally, as a Nikon user, it was one of those things that really sometimes can demoralize you to believe your principal is not offering you products with good justification of investment - just read and compared how the Zoom-Nikkor 35-70mm lenses had evolved all these years and you will understand why I am so depressed.

Jeff_Nikkor3570mmZoomC.jpg Nikkor3570mmZoomB.jpg
Specifications:

Constructions: 8 elements in 7 groups
Focus distance
: 0.4m to infinity with macro settings
Attachment size: 52mm (P=0.75mm)
Dimensions: Approx. 63mm dia. x 64mm extension from the camera's mounting flange
Weight: Approx. 200g

Credit: Image courtesy of Mr. "Chip Roy" ® <chiproy@hotmail.com>. Image copyright © 2003. All rights reserved.

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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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Credit: MCLau®, who has helped to rewrite some of the content appeared this site. Chuck Hester® who has been helping me all along with the development of all these Nikon websites; Lars Holst Hansen, 'Hawkeye' who shares the same passion I have; Ms Rissa, Sales manager from Nikon Corporation Malaysia for granting permission to use some of the official content; Ted Wengelaar, Holland who has helped to provide many useful input relating to older Nikkor lenses; Some of the references on production serial numbers used in this site were extracted from Roland Vink's website; Hiura Shinsaku from Nikomat Club Japan. Lastly, to all the good people who has contributed their own expeience, resources or kind enough granted permission to use their images of their respective optic in this site. It is also a site to remember a long lost friend on the Net. Note:certain content and images appeared in this site were either scanned from official marketing leaflets & brochures published by Nikon and/or contribution from surfers who claimed originality of their work for educational purposes. The creator of the site will not be responsible for may discrepancies arise from such dispute except rectifying them after verification. "Nikon", "Nikkormat", "Nippon Kokagu KK" & "Nikkor" are registered tradename of Nikon Corporation Inc., Japan. Site made with an Apple IMac.