USER Q
REPORT
LENSES
Testing the 58.28.28-85.and 35-i05mm lenses
tor the N2828 camera ByJackandsueDratahl
hroughout 1987 Nikon will be introducing a variety of new lenses for
the new N2020 autofocus camera
system. We had the pleasure of testing
four of these new lenses—the 50mm
f/1.4, 28mm f/2.8, 28mm-85mm zoom,
and the 35mm-105mm zoom. These
new additions to the vast Nikon camera
system retain the same smooth operation, sharpness, and basic size of the
older, manual-focus lenses, yet they offer autofocus capability. These lenses
also feature a variety of special functions
for the amateur as well as the professional photographer.
When first glancing at the new lenses,
the most obvious change is the focus
scale located on the top of the lens. A
window displays the approximate depth
of field at any selected focus point instead of displaying the entire focus
scale. The focus scale is sealed behind
this window to protect the gear system
and electronics from dust and moisture.
Another welcome change is the fact
that all the serial numbers and inscriptions normally found on the front of the
zoom lenses have been moved. This is
extremely valuable when photographing
reflective surfaces or with very bright
light sources. By the way, in case you
have difficulty locating just where Nikon
hid those serial numbers, they are
etched on the side of the lenses, just
T
above the bayonet mount.
All the lenses have the minimum-aperture lock button on the side of the lens.
This is for photographers using the camera and lens in the dual program mode.
For programmed or shutter-priority auto
shooting, this button is used to lock the
lens aperture to f/22. The camera will
then select the best aperture and shutter
speed for a correct exposure. If the photographer wants an out-of-focus background, the minimum-aperture lock can
be reset to a desired f-stop almost wide
open. The camera then will not close
down smaller than the aperture selected
when using a programmed mode.
Because data on the focal length and
actual lens aperture should always be
monitored, a zoom encoder reads the focal lengths and actual aperture set on
the lens and transfers the information to
the camera via the five autofocus signal
contacts on the back of the lens. These
contacts allow the camera's CPU (Central Processing Unit) to communicate
with the lens's CPU in order for the lens
to focus properly. The CPU's built into
the lens have a 1K byte memory capability. Opposite these signal contacts is a
small slotted drive shaft that hooks up
with the drive mechanism inside the
camera body. When the lens is in the
manual focusing position, this coupling
drive axis is disconnected.
28mm f/2.8
This lens has the same optical qualities as the manual version, is approximately the same size, yet weighs only
195 grams. Since the autofocus system
works best with vertical lines, we chose
to test this lens on architectural photos
that were primarily vertical. The focus
travel of the lens through its range of
one foot to infinity is so short, the time
for maximum focus change was less
than a Vi second. The maximum depth of
field obtainable is at f/22 at four feet, allowing sharp focus from two feet to infinity. When the camera is set for manual
focus, the small focusing ring on the
front of the lens moves more smoothly
than that of any lens we have ever seen.
The actual image veiwed through the
lens was very bright and had excellent
resolution at both the center and edges.
50mm f/1.4
Like the 28mm, this lens has the same
basic optical design as its manual counterpart. Viewing through this lens in low
light is a real joy, as the image in the
finder is extremely bright and easy to
see. Because of this lens's high speed,
focus becomes very shallow, forcing the
lens to be more sensitive to focus. Because of this, we found this lens the
most difficult to use. Extra care had to be
taken to ensure that the desired focus
point was well centered in the viewfinder
PholoGraphic/April 1987
55
NIKON AF LENSES
35-105mm
focus area. With practice, however, focusing became much easier than using
manual focus. We tested this lens while
attending a national convention. Even
though people constantly moved from
trade booth to booth, the camera and
lens were able to hold focus. There were
times when the subject and background
blended together, so then we would
change to the smooth manual focus.
Closest lens focus is at about 1.5 feet
and, as typical with most fast lenses,
there is a slight change in focus plane
from the center to the edge of the frame.
28-85mm ZOOM f/3.5-4.5
For the photographer who enjoys using only one lens, this one fits the bill. At
28mm the lens was sharp at both center
and edge, and worked as well as the
prime 28mm lens. When the lens was
zoomed out to 85mm the focus was perfect and required no change. As the focal length is changed, a zoom encoder
located on the inside of the lens monitors which aperture and focal length are
selected and relays that information
through the lens CPU to the camera
CPU. Manual focus must be used when
using the macro function of this lens.
The manual focus on the zoom lens is
not quite as smooth as on the prime
lenses, but it is considerably better than
the manually focused lenses. Minimum
focus is slightly less than two feet when
56
PhotoGraphic/April 1987
28mm
28-85mm
used in the normal mode. If the macro
button on the side of the lens is depressed, you can focus down to three
inches. The lack of distortion found with
the macro function at this close distance
was remarkable.
35mm-105mm f/3.5-4.5
For the photographer who enjoys tak-
ALL PHOTOS BY AUTHORS
ing scenics one minute and portraits or
telephotos the next, this lens just might
be the ticket. The autofocus in this lens
is very accurate and, like the previous
zoom lens, focus remained perfect when
changing from 35 to 105mm and back
again. Images taken with this lens were
very sharp at center and edges, includ-
SPECIFICATIONS
LENS: AF Nikkor 28mm f/2.8
CONSTRUCTION: 5 elements in 5 groups
APERTURE RANGE: f/2.8-22
ANGLE OF VIEW: 74°
WIN. FOCUSING DISTANCE: 1 ft. (0.3m)
EXPOSURE MEASUREMENT: Full-aperture
with Al cameras; stop-down with non-AI
cameras
ACCESSORY SIZE: 52mm
OVERALL LENGTH: 1.9 In. (48.7mm)
DIAMETER: 2.56 in. (65mm)
WEIGHT: 6.87 oz. (195g)
LIST PRICE: $255
LENS: AF Nikkor 50mm f / 1 . 4
CONSTRUCTION: 7 elements in 6 groups
APERTURE RANGE: f/1.4-16
ANGLE OF VIEW: 46°
MIN. FOCUSING DISTANCE: 1.5 ft. (0.45m)
EXPOSURE MEASUREMENT: Full-aperture
with Al cameras; stop-down with non-AI
cameras
ACCESSORY SIZE: 52mm
OVERALL LENGTH: 2.07 in. (52.5mm)
DIAMETER: 2.56 in. (65mm)
WEIGHT: 9 oz. (255g)
LIST PRICE: $267.50
50mm
ing those taken in the macro mode. In
the normal position the lens can focus
down to just under five feet, but when in
macro position it can focus down to nine
inches.
While completing our field tests, several professional and advanced amateurs commented that they felt the new
autofocus systems would take the creative edge out of photography. After
testing the N2020 camera and four of its
lenses, we feel the opposite is true.
Lenses do not select the subject to be
photographed. The photographer still
has to decide where he wants the focus
point. While watching other photographers focus cameras manually, we
found that most focus several times
across the desired focus point until they
are satisfied they have critical focus.
With Nikon's N2020 and the autofocus
lenses, depressing the shutter release
LENS: AF Nikkor 28-85mm f/3.5-4.5
CONSTRUCTION: 15 elements In 11 groups
APERTURE RANGE: f/3.5-22
ANGLE OF VIEW: 74° to 28.5°
MIN. FOCUSING DISTANCE: 3 ft. (0.8m)
EXPOSURE MEASUREMENT: Full-aperture
with Al cameras; stop-down with non-AI
cameras
ACCESSORY SIZE: 62mm
OVERALL LENGTH: 3.84 in. (97.5mm)
DIAMETER: 2.8 in. (71mm)
WEIGHT: 19 oz. (540g)
LIST PRICE: $550
LENS: AF Nikkor 35-105mm f/3.5-4.5
CONSTRUCTION: 16 elements in 12 groups
APERTURE RANGE: f/3.5-22
ANGLE OF VIEW: 62° to 23.3°
MIN. FOCUSING DISTANCE: 5 ft. (1.1m) normal; 9 in. (0.23m) macro
EXPOSURE MEASUREMENT: Full-aperture
with Al cameras; stop-down with non-AI
cameras
ACCESSORY SIZE: 52mm
OVERALL LENGTH: 3.76 In. (95.5mm)
DIAMETER: 2.72 in. (69mm)
WEIGHT: 17.5 oz. (497g)
LIST PRICE: $475
DISTRIBUTOR: Nikon Inc., 623 Stewart Ave.,
Garden City, NY 11530
halfway will move the lens focus to the
desired point and then stop: the autofocus system actually saves time and uncertainty when focus is critical.
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