Review of the Nikon Zoom-NIKKOR 28~50mm 1:3.5 Ai-S Lens (28-50mm f/3.5).
This lens was introduced in 1984 and discontinued in 1985 — a very short run. It has one-touch zoom/focus mechanics. Thanks to the fixed aperture nature of this lens, it is fine to use on Nikon DSLR bodies because, as opposed to variable aperture lenses, it keeps EXIF aperture data relatively accurate.
Diffraction has begun by f/8. Shoot at larger apertures for greatest sharpness.
While there is some barrel distortion particularly at f=28mm. From f=35mm and on, it is not really enough to get in the way of architectural photography.
There is a softness in the corners particularly on the short end. There is also some slight color fringing with this lens. Here is the corner and center detail at 3-to-1.
At reasonable apertures, flaring is not a huge problem though it does flare more than modern designs. Ghosting is a problem, but usually only the best, newest designs hold up well in this regard.
Infrared is poor due to hot spots.
Bokeh is neither great nor fair. It is just plain POOR.
This lens has a macro function which goes all the way down to a reproduction
ratio of 1:5.1! The front element DOES turn when it is focused and this
makes for difficult times when using a polarizer. It has a focus scale and stops
at infinity (∞). This design does not suffer from zoom creep. The
front element is recessed when zoomed to 50mm making for a pseudo-hood. The
focus-throw is a paltry 60° not including the macro function which is only
available at f=50mm as one would expect.
What makes this lens an interesting prospect is that it is compact with three popular focal lengths (28mm, 35mm and 50mm), has a relatively fast constant maximum aperture, and a macro function. Not surprisingly, the macro function is not as competent as a proper macro lens, but it works in a pinch.
Focal length: 28-50mm
Maximum aperture: f/3.5
Minimum aperture: f/22
ø52mm filter ring
Lens construction: 9 lens elements in 7 groups
Picture angle: 74° - 46°
Distance scale: 0.6m/2 ft. to infinity with infrared focus indexes for 50mm and 28mm
Macro mode at f=50mm: 0.32m/1 ft. - 1:5.1 (0.196×) reproduction ratio