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Nikkor 28mm f/3.5 K

Ian Rance , Jan 12, 2010; 06:19 a.m.

On Saturday, I was given at an absolute rock-bottom price a Nikkor 28mm f/3.5 K lens. This is the type http://www.destoutz.ch/lens_28mm_f3.5_198040.html and to say I am impressed is an understatement. There looks to have been plenty made, but I have never seen one for sale.

It has the (very sharp) early small rear element design, excellent multi-coating, f/22 minimum aperture with seven blades, 0.3 meters close focus and the slickest focus feel you could wish for. It also has all the most wonderful flare resisistance and colour you could wish for.

I have never seen it mentioned here, nor seen it for sale before as I said. So, does anyone else here own and use this lens? What do you think of it?


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Francesco Pessolano , Jan 12, 2010; 06:33 a.m.

I use to have it. On my old d200 I was never impressed with it, but I found it much better on the D700. Not a star, but a reliable workhorse.

Ian Rance , Jan 12, 2010; 06:42 a.m.

Francesco, was that the early design Ai'd or the later Ai/AiS type? I find the Ai is just an average performer, but that may be sample variation.

Matthew Brennan , Jan 12, 2010; 06:53 a.m.

I also owned an Ai'd version of that very same K series lens.

I thoroughly agree with your observations as to the anti flare properties of the lens. I found it equally as sharp in centre and corners as my 17-35mm f/2.8 zoom at 28mm (on a D700)

I'm happy to carry my 17-35mm zoom as part of my travel lens kit as well as having it as my everyday wide zoom as I'm yet to find (affordable) primes wider than 24mm that are the equal to the zoom's IQ.... so I have sold this lens now. anyway I digress.......

Francesco's "reliable workhorse" is a fair comment, it's level of build is indeed exemplary, I'm 38 years old and I expect the 28mm f/3.5 ai'd K lens I had will outlast me easily.

Anthony Bez , Jan 12, 2010; 07:09 a.m.

I have this K series lens for shooting into the sun and for IR photography. For these applications it is superb, but there are better 28mm lenses for general use.

Francesco Pessolano , Jan 12, 2010; 07:16 a.m.

I had the AIS and loved to use it mostly reverse actually. But also in normal mode, it is a very nice lens on FX.
As a note, it was my dad's lens ...... and he took it back :-( Otherwise, I would have never get rid of it. But I plan to get it back.

Luis G , Jan 12, 2010; 08:02 a.m.

I've owned three samples of this lens over the years, one the same version Ian has. I found the middle version to be the best, though with digi screens, they are devilishly hard to focus in anything other than strong light levels. I like the IQ of these lenses a lot. And yes, they work quite well reversed.

Read Bjorn Rorslett's review of this lens.

Bjorn Rorslett , Jan 12, 2010; 08:19 a.m.

My work-horse IR lens, Ian. Written about it everywhere - how could you possibly miss that :)

You are absolutely correct in your analysis. A remarkable performer if "speed" is not important and you can tolerate some corner vignetting (not seen on a DX camera, though). It does very well on the D3X, too.

It should be noted that the next versions after the "K" had a slightly altered optical design, probably to get more evenly distributed light over the imaged frame. Unfortunately, some of the sparkle of the "K" got lost during that development.

Ian Rance , Jan 12, 2010; 08:35 a.m.

Glad it has not gone unnoticed. Bjorn, I remembered that you enjoy this lens too, but did not realise that you have the exact same one that I just purchaced! Just read what you have to say on your website and I agree exactly. You mention sparkle - that word describes it very well.

Akira Sakamoto , Jan 12, 2010; 10:33 a.m.

I've owned the K version, Ai-converted multicoated version with hill-and-dale metal focus ring and non-Ai single-coated version. The multicoated versions showed no difference in image quality. For IR, all three performed equally well on my (unmodified) D40.

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