eBay, you do amuse me (ugly 35mm f/2.8 lens)

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Ashley_Pomeroy
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eBay, you do amuse me (ugly 35mm f/2.8 lens)

Post by Ashley_Pomeroy »

Apropos of nothing, I was struck by this auction, for an old 35mm f/2.8 (described as an f/2.5 in the title):
http://preview.tinyurl.com/2db4cpw

"Good condition - Working Order - mechnically and optically sound. There are some light surface / cosmectic marks on the outer lens body / black coating illustrated in the actual photos on this page."

You have to see the pictures, really. It's not totally trashed, but it's rough; scratches on the front and rear elements, a bent filter ring, twisted rabbit ears, twisted "whatever it is that goes around the base of the lens" - I'm not a Nikon man, I don't know their terminology, their ways - rust and brassing and dirt. It looks as if it has led a life and has tales to tell. I'm sure you've seen worse. Someone was selling a used DCS 520 a while back that appeared to have been crushed by a truck.

The frustrating thing is that on an optical level I expect it's pretty good (the scratches are very light) but it's not even at a particularly bargain price.
Last edited by NikonWeb on Mon Dec 20, 2010 1:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Modified subject
Stan Disbrow
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Re: eBay, you do amuse me

Post by Stan Disbrow »

Hi,

That bent part is the Aperture Index. That part of the lens pushes against a tab on a ring on the camera body. Its purpose is to tell the meter in the camera what aperture the lens is set at.

The camera holds the iris wide open for focusing, so the light meter would read too much light to set the proper shutter speed. So, they used this scheme to adjust the metering for what the shooting aperture will be relative to the wide-open aperture of the lens during focusing.

Anyway, this one is slightly bent. It can be easily straightened, as I've had lenses like this in the past and fixed them with needle nose pliers.

You are correct, this one has seen a lot of use. This particular lens model was the favorite of the photojournalists, and I expect that's how this one got that way. The PJ's are sometimes rather rough on their equipment. ;)

I have a few of the old AI Nikkors in my kit that look a lot like this one does. They do still work fine, even if they look trashed, coatings and all. The difference is that I don't think I've paid more than $10 USD for one! There was once a time when you could score these things super cheap from thrift stores and pawn shops.

I used to have several AI style Nikon manual focus film camera bodies so at one time all my lenses were of this style. I can still use them as the Kodak DCS 720x and 760c both sport the old style Aperture Index ring on their F5 bodies. I lose the fancy matrix metering option, but the F5 does pretty well with the old style metering it switches to when an AI manual focus lens is attached.

In fact, I only have three of the newer AF-D auto focus lenses. The rest are either AI or AI-converted (even older Nikon lenses).

Anyway, one could fix this one up and use it still. Not for that price tag, though!

later!

Stan
Amateur Photographer
Professional Electronics Development Engineer
Ashley_Pomeroy
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Re: eBay, you do amuse me

Post by Ashley_Pomeroy »

Stan Disbrow wrote:That bent part is the Aperture Index. That part of the lens pushes against a tab on a ring on the camera body. Its purpose is to tell the meter in the camera what aperture the lens is set at.
I did not know that. I have a few Nikon lenses that I use quite often with Canon bodies, and that part, the aperture index, occasionally jams against the cheapo Nikon-EOS adapters I use with some of the lenses. E.g. my old Sigma Super-Wide 24mm. Most lenses are fine though.

These Nikon people and their non-standard terminology! I dunno. And yet they seem happy enough.
Stan Disbrow
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Joined: Fri May 20, 2005 7:33 pm
Location: Raleigh, NC USA

Re: eBay, you do amuse me

Post by Stan Disbrow »

Hi,

Yes, it can be confusing. Nikon kept adding functionality to lenses whilst keeping backwards compatibility for a long, long time. Every time they did so, we get some new letters to deal with! :P

Canon decided to go the other route, so that makes the Canon system a bit simpler: Can't use old lenses at all on new bodies. Note that 'old' and 'new' are relative here!

Both schemes have their good points and bad points, of course, which we'll leave out of the discussion since things are what they are. :P

BTW, that AI tab on the lens *used* to be a full skirt around the base of the lens in the days when the cameras either had no meter at all, or used that little stainless steel 'ear' to couple to the early meters.

With the early meters, you had to set the lens aperture to 5.6 tomount the lens so a pin on the meter dropped into that little ear. Then you had to work the aperture ring from one end to the other to 'index' the lens to the meter. I guess we could call that 'manual index', but Nikon guys refer to that as 'Non-Automatic Indexing', or Non-AI for short.

Some smart cookie at Nikon came up with the idea to cut off most of that skirt and use the remaining part as a tab to automatically index a lens to a body without having to set the ring just so and then crank it back and forth. Much better! :)

Some of the older Non-AI lenses had their aperture rings changed to make them AI and it's those AI 'tabs' which I find like to drag on the Canon adapters. I have four or five AI'd lenses and a couple liked to drag, so I filed some of those AI tabs down (I can hear the shudders out there) to provide the needed clearance.

Personally, I like using the old Non-AI lenses the best with those neat scalloped metal focusing rings. :)

Later!

Stan
Amateur Photographer
Professional Electronics Development Engineer
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